Let's get this out of the way up front: Yes, The Caretaker is basically a rehash of The Lodger with a healthy dose of Closing Time thrown in for good measure. And the elements of the plot that AREN'T actually taken from those two episodes are about as predictable as it's possible to get. Although I must admit that I wasn't quite expecting the whole "boyfriend mucks up the Doctors plan to start with but redeems themselves by heroically assisting in the second go" part of the plot to culminate in a gymnastics competition. Especially when Mr Pink had spent the whole episode insisting he didn't actually teach P.E.
I'M A MATHS TEACHER!!!
I suppose it's in the smaller details and character interactions that the episode really works. As I said before we've already had the whole "Doctor tries to blend in an be normal but ISN'T ROFL" thing twice before, and from the same writer to boot. Maybe the production department has been trapped in a time loop by the Master or something?
"Oh my dear Doctor, you can't blame all this shoddy writing on me this time."
But that was a different Doctor, so at least we get to see more of the Twelfth doing his manic grumpy thing. And whilst they decided to go with the single most predictable plot angle it's nice to finally get the Doctor and Danny to meet. Because now perhaps we're going to have a shot at exploring just why exactly this particular incarnation is so intensely racist against the military.
I'm not racist, some of my best friends are soldiers.
Now, the Doctor has never exactly been what you'd call pro military, but it's always been more of a question of principle. But lately he's been making it rather personal. As epitomized in his attitude towards Danny Pink, who he hates on sight simply because he used to be a soldier. This does however at least give us the fun of someone directly calling the Doctor out on not just being a soldier, but an officer. It feels like there's a lot more to be explored here both with the Doctors attitude and Mr Pinks mysterious past.
This is what we like to call foreshadowing with a shovel.
Anyway, he seems like a good character, likable for both his flustered bewilderment and refusal to be treated like a fool. I'm still not exactly sure what it is he and Clara see in each other since they don't seem to get on all that well much. Still, maybe now things will start to develop in a more convincing fashion now he doesn't have to keep calling Clara out for being a lying bitch all the time. I'm certainly looking forward a lot more to seeing him in a companion role than the other candidate from this episode.
You'd normally think of Doctor Who as a fairly progressive sort of show. Not perfect by any means, but not exactly rife with your various terrible isms and being generally equal opportunity in outlook. Except of course for one very specific combination of demographics. That is if a character is both young, female AND black they must also be incredibly punchable.
Seriously, does nobody else find this a bit creepy? At least it's not yet another random thing for the internet to blame Steven Moffatt for, as it started back in the RTD years. We had the kid from Fear Her.
I think we can all agree that kid needed a punch in the face for being annoying. The we had the pilot episode for the Sarah Jane Adventures, featuring for one night only a conflux of shovel and cranium waiting to happen.
Is it any wonder this character mysteriously dissapeared after the pilot, never to be seen again? She only had to open her mouth and all teeth within hearing distance immediatly began to grind as fists began to reflexively tighten. After that monstrosity we seemed to be okay for a long time, but happened last series?
2 for the price of one. Yay. I'm not sure exactly why this should be so. I mean, there's plenty of characters who have been black and/or female that didn't immediately make me want to belt them in the face with a shovel. And whilst I admit most child characters are annoying they're not normally quite this ghastly. I mean, the brother was awful, but at least he was friendly and polite at the same time.
Thing is, I could totally see this latest one working as a one shot gag thing, only she's apparently coming back next week as well. In space. Maybe we'll luck out and she'll die horribly. Although I'm not entirely sure allowing such martyrdom would be a good thing. Still, maybe she'll soften and become at least slightly sympathetic, who knows?
Still, maybe it's just me and I'm racist against ghastly, ignorant, mouthy, stupid and thus allegedly "urban" chavy scum.
That or the writers are working so far out of their comfort zone on such characters they make some of Aces family friendly street slang sound believable. In which case you might as well give up and either give the job to someone who actually can write such characters or just bring back the Bandrils or something instead as they'd be more convincing.
Word up, Bilgebag. Street.
Still, whilst it's all nothing we haven't seen before it was at least entertaining, and hopefully will set up some more interesting developments later.
Although I do have to say that from the trailer it looks like next time is going to be a remake of the Waters Of Mars. Only with spiders.
That also reminds me of something, but I can't quite place it.....