The Latest of my reviews of the Peter Capaldi Era of Doctor Who
Summary: A very interesting man is the new Caretaker at Coal Hill school, but what is he there to take care of?
Plot: Clara is having trouble coping with the demands of juggling Doctor life and real life while keeping her boyfriend Danny Pink out of the picture when the Doctor announces that he has a “thing” to do so won’t have time for a trip today. Clara is curious but lets it going offering to give Danny her full intention when Mr. Armatage introduces the new caretaker John Smith who calls himself the Doctor and has amazing eyebrows. Despite wearing a different coat Clara recognizes him and discovers a deadly alien menace is in play. Will the Doctor be able save them all from deadly danger without exposing Clara’s double life and the TARDIS to Danny, the Students and their parents while still keeping the school clean and tidy?
Writing: Gareth Roberts & Steven Moffat both have a credit on this one and if this any indication they should simply fire everyone else and lock them in a room together until the entire season is written. This is simply one of the most enjoyable episodes since Let’s Kill Hitler. The comedy is great, the danger and the resolutions are well done, the mini prequel is enjoyable and you never are quite sure where things are going. This is one of those episodes that you show to people to introduce them to the series. It also proves once and for all that Moffat can write a spectacular episode of Doctor Who without resorting to a paradox, at least with Gareth Roberts’s help
Acting: Capaldi absolutely rules in this episode, Coleman does a wonderful job and given the chance to shine Samuel Anderson grabs it by the horns and runs with it. He makes his presence known in every scene he’s in. The only weak link is Ellis George who’s merely above average but given this is her first television role, that’s not too shabby.
Memorable Moments: It’s all memorable, from the prequel, to dumb humans, to the bow tie, the sign, Jane Austen, PE, the play, the parent teachers meeting, I’ve got a brush, Spillage, oh hell just go and watch the whole thing.
Doctor Who Flashbacks: That Coal Hill school artron energy likely comes from the 1st & 7th Doctors.
Oddities: The doctor jokes about having being able to come back and worries about the two minutes but he’s actually right, if he uses the fast return switch he can come back, have all the time he needs to build his machines and get it done. (perhaps that’s what he’s been doing all these years.)
Pet Peeves: The confrontation between the kids and the cop seemed horribly contrived or it is a cultural thing.
Great Quote(s) You could pretty much put the whole episode in here so we’ll narrow it down to five:
Clara: We’re going to starve to death out here.
The Doctor:Of course we won’t starve. The sand piranhas will get us long before that.
The Doctor:Yes, no body’s taking any notice at all. Absolutely good news because it means I must be coming across just as an absolutely boring human being like you.
The Doctor: (from outside the window of a classroom on ladder) Wrong.
Clara: I’m sorry?
The Doctor: On the board. Wrong. Wrong.
Clara: Oh, no, no, no, no. You don’t do this. You are the caretaker, this is not what you do.
The Doctor:Just taking care.
Clara: Not your area!
The Doctor: Jane Austen wrote Pride and Prejudice in 1796.
Clara: (to the class) This is Mister Smith, the temporary caretaker, and he’s a bit confused.
The Doctor:Not in 1797, because she didn’t have the time. She was so busy doing all
Clara: (agitated) Oh, What? I suppose she was your bezzie mate, was she? And you went on holidays together and then you got kidnapped by Boggons from space and then you all formed a band and met Buddy Holly!
The Doctor: No, I read the book. There’s a bio at the back.
The Doctor:Can’t you read?
Courtney:Course I can read. Read what?
The Doctor: The door. It says: “Keep Out.”
Courtney: No, it says: “Go Away Humans.”
The Doctor: Oh, so it does. Never lose your temper in the middle of a door sign.
Courtney: What was you doing in there? What’s that box?
The Doctor: The caretaker’s box. Every caretaker has their own box.
Courtney: It says Police.
The Doctor: Exactly, there’s a policeman in there, in case of emergencies and children. Towels, there, g-g-go.
Courtney: What was that green glow? There was a green glow coming from in there. What was it?
The Doctor: Of course there was. What’s a policeman without a death ray? Oh, listen, there’s the bell. Off you go. Haven’t you got shoplifting to go to?
Danny:It’s all right, it doesn’t matter. I don’t need him to like me. It doesn’t matter if he likes me or hates me, I just need to do exactly one thing for you. Doctor, am I right?
Clara:What? What one thing?
Danny:I need to be good enough for you. That’s why he’s angry. Just in case I’m not.
Clara:He, er, he did just save the whole world.
The Doctor:Yeah, yeah. Good start.
Final Verdict: Five stars. Not counting the 50th anniversary special might be the single best Clara story slightly edging out The Bells of St. John back to back a few times to be sure.
Ranking of Season: 1st of Six. There is not a smidgen of weakness in this episode
1. The Caretaker
2. Into the Dalek
4. Robot of Sherwood
5. Time Heist
6. Deep Breath