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"The Caretaker" (Pic: BBC)
"The Caretaker" (Pic: BBC)
“The Caretaker” (Pic: BBC)

Back from their experiences at the bank, it’s time for Clara and the Doctor to get back to a life of domestic bliss. Should be fairly straightforward, right?

Clara is struggling to match the demands of her life with the Doctor—all sand piranhas and near-death experiences—with her blossoming relationship with Danny. The Doctor, meanwhile, is investigating something that requires him to go undercover. Deep cover, he says. So it looks like Clara as the space to give Danny the benefit of her undivided attention.

Or at least she would if Coal Hill School hadn’t taken delivery of a new caretaker, by the name of John Smith.

Whatever the Doctor is investigating, he’s not telling Clara about it just yet, and Danny is already suspicious.

Meanwhile, a policeman investigates a noise from an abandoned building and discovers an upsetting robotic presence. With a cry of “PROBLEM: SOLUTION: DESTROY” he is killed.

The Doctor continues to fail to melt into the background, interrupting Clara’s English lesson and leaving little technological devices wherever he goes. Oh and deliberately confusing Danny with a PE teacher, thanks to his soldiery past. This does nothing to allay Danny’s suspicions about the school’s new arrival.

An interesting moment occurs when the Doctor meets Adrian, a colleague of Clara’s with floppy hair and a bow tie. He automatically assumes this is Clara’s new boyfriend (because of the resemblance to a certain previous incarnation). Then the Doctor’s planning is interrupted by Courtney Woods, a very confident student who seems to know something of Clara and Danny’s situation. He fobs her off with paper towels and sharp words, and then Clara comes in, demanding to know what is going on.

Finally the Doctor explains that a Skovox Blitzer is holed up nearby (perhaps in an abandoned building). He plans to lure it out of hiding with his invisibility watch, then draw it back to the school so he can attack it with time mines—those devices he’s been leaving everywhere—and throw it billions of years into the future.

He’s still not letting Clara help though. And Danny’s suspicions about him are reaching a new peak, especially when he discovers some of the time mines. This means that while the Doctor is off luring the Skovox Blitzer back to the school, Danny is accidentally dismantling the Doctor’s trap.

Things do not go well. Danny confronts the Doctor just as the Blitzer opens fire, and even though the time mines drag it off into the future, it’s only by a matter of a few days at most. And now Danny knows about the Doctor, and Clara too. She tries to bluff her way out of it, which is a mistake, and then there’s a moment when the Doctor tries to erase Danny’s memory and Clara has to disabuse him of the notion that Adrian is her boyfriend. But that’s as nothing compared to the confusion when Danny gets to see inside the TARDIS.

No one is explaining anything very well and the Doctor is too chippy about Clara dating a soldier to help Danny deal with the new revelations. Clara tries to help him make sense of it all, telling him how much she loves traveling with the Doctor, but Danny feels shut out of her life.

So, to show him what her life is like with the Doctor, she gives Danny the invisibility watch and takes him into the TARDIS. Naturally the Doctor is not fooled for long, and there’s an ugly confrontation. Danny calls the Doctor an officer, which infuriates him to even greater depths of unfriendliness. And that’s when Courtney Woods pops up again. Being frustrated and worried that he has really upset Clara, the Doctor shows her the TARDIS too.

And that’s when the Blitzer comes back. Before the Doctor is ready and right in the middle of parents’ evening. He interrupts proceedings to grab Clara and shout at Danny. She has to be the decoy, leading the Blitzer through the school while he hurriedly finishes a new device. It’s a voice-throwing doohickey that mimics the Blitzer’s commanding officer. Having first ordered a self-destruct, the Doctor needs a few seconds to work out the correct code to abort this, and order the Blitzer to shut itself down. Thankfully Danny arrives, invisible watch and all, to confuse the Blitzer with a somersault, and the Doctor shuts it down.

Danny points out that the reason the Doctor is so angry with him is that he needs to know he’s good enough for Clara. He’s taking on a parental role, an actual care-taker, which is ironic given that Clara has already referred to herself as the Doctor’s carer (and conscience).

Later on, Danny and Clara compare notes on the Doctor. Still unimpressed, he thinks she’s being pushed to perform great things, and insists that she tell him if the Doctor ever pushes her too hard. That’s the deal-breaker in their new relationship.

And that is that, save for Courtney Woods being sick in the TARDIS and the policeman finding himself in a place that looks a lot like heaven. And if it is heaven, what would that make Missy?

Next week: “Kill The Moon”

See more:
‘Doctor Who’ Recap: ‘Time Heist’
‘Doctor Who’ Recap: ‘Listen’
‘Doctor Who’ Recap: ‘Robot of Sherwood’
‘Doctor Who’ Recap: ‘Into The Dalek’

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By Fraser McAlpine