DOCTOR WHO Series Eight Review: “The Caretaker” (Co-written With Orphu @ A Mirror Made Of Words)

Good morning! Today I’m reviewing last Saturday’s Doctor Who episode, “The Caretaker,” with the amazing blogger Orphu from A Mirror Made of Words.

She doesn’t post often but when she does, I LOVE what she’s written. She’s smart, and quite geeky, and she makes me laugh. We started talking because of a mutual love of Harry Potter (though, strangely enough, neither of us are that into it anymore) and went on to introduce one another to a variety of our favorite stories. She’s the reason I’m reading the Skulduggery Pleasant series. I’m the reason she read A Song of Ice and Fire and watched Doctor Who. It’s been pretty fun.

Without further ado, I present our review! (Hey, that rhymed.)

P.S. You can find earlier collaborative reviews of Doctor Who here.

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Orphu writes novels and makes a lot of art, ranging from original drawings to fanart of the Skulduggery Pleasant series or Malinda Lo’s books. She has a lingering fear of the Internet. She still wants Dee Dee from “Midnight” to reappear in some capacity, however unlikely that might be. She blogs at at A Mirror Made of Words.

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Warning: Spoilers ahead, sweetie!

-~-

Yo, Engie here. For this review, we decided to keep things pretty simple. We each made two lists, one with things we did like about “The Caretaker,” and the other with things we didn’t like so much. Enjoy!

What Orphu Liked

+ I enjoyed the montage of Clara rushing from time traveling with the Doctor to dates with Danny. Although… seeing how she has access to a time machine, they might have given her at least enough time to collect herself and take off a space helmet. (Which wasn’t shown in the montage, but was mentioned.) I can understand being tan and even having wet hair, though.

+ It’s such a small, throwaway thing, but the Doctor’s and Clara’s conversation immediately after he showed up as caretaker did amuse me – although I might be biased since the episode I was watching had subtitles, and its thumbnail featured the phrase “Humans are not otters!” So it’s possible I was more amused than I might have been just because that out-of-context line got its context.

+ Despite my annoyance with how Danny was treated, I was interested in his interactions with the Doctor. Clara does disagree with the Doctor at times, but nothing at the level of Danny and the Doctor’s ‘conversation.’ (Scare quotes because his “Yes, sir!”s were at least much a conversation with Clara as with the Doctor.)

What Engie Liked

+ I loved the opening montage with Clara and the Doctor! I loved seeing – even for just a few minutes – how the rest of Clara’s life is affected by her travels in the TARDIS. I’d imagine that could get quite hectic, and it would be odd to jump from one time/place to another in the blink of an eye.

+ COURTNEY. We’ll probably never see her again, or at least not very often, and that’s too bad. She’s kind of fun. She’s a rebel. She has attitude. And she’s also a huge dork, as shown in the scene where she gets… I don’t even know what to call it… TARDIS-sick?

+ My favorite quote from this episode is the part where Danny thinks the Doctor is Clara’s “space dad.”

+ While this episode contained many elements – mainly yelling and being control-freakish – that I didn’t like, I did like the general story. The Doctor’s trying to save a school? Cool. It reminded me of an equally-silly episode from series two, “School Reunion.”

+ OMG WE SAW MISSY AGAIN!

What Orphu Didn’t Like

+ I really, really just want the Doctor to start treating Danny better. I want Clara to treat him better, too. Ever since he’s been introduced, they have taken every available opportunity to squeeze in a “but he’s a SOLDIER” remark. And while it’s true that he is a soldier, and that they might not agree with the idea of being a soldier, I’m pretty sure it’s still possible to treat him better than he’s being treated. (Half of their treatment of him isn’t even insulting the fact that he’s a soldier, either – when Danny asked if he could help, the Doctor wasted valuable time giving him a dramatic, “LEAVE US ALONE.”)

+ This is quite possibly just me being ridiculous and not understanding obvious things, but I honestly thought that the scene at the beginning in the desert was one of those situations where you’re thrown into the middle of the plot and then go back to see how it happened, instead of just an adventure that they happened to have at one point before one of Clara’s dates. I didn’t properly realize until the episode was over that that story was actually good and done with.

+ I was disappointed that Courtney – though established as being a proper, individual character – ended up being involved as little as she was. I quite liked Courtney and I thought that she had good potential. Every once in a while a character comes up and I immediately think, “They should be a companion. Go on, take them on. I’m sure they’d be excellent,” and Courtney was one of them. Unfortunately, she didn’t end up being as involved as I thought, and her TARDIS-sickness seems to effectively cut off whatever chance was left.

What Engie Didn’t Like

+ Seriously, what is the Doctor’s problem with Danny? He seems to have an issue with soldiers because they kill people, but… the Doctor has killed people. Quite a lot of them, actually. If the Doctor disliked Danny because that guy reminded him too much of himself and it made him uncomfortable, I could understand that. But the show hasn’t gone there yet, and I honestly don’t think it’s going to.

+ I am SO SICK AND TIRED of stories in which two guys fight over a girl. I don’t care whether they’re both after her as a girlfriend, or if one is a potential boyfriend and the other is a friend/father figure/et cetera. It’s overdone, and it’s irritating, and what’s the point anyway? If Clara is happy with Danny, the Doctor should butt out.

+ Basically, Twelve reminded me way too strongly of Eleven in this episode. (Eleven is my least favorite New Who Doctor.)

+ I hate Clara and Danny’s relationship. I think they’re both all right on their own, but why on earth are they a couple now? They have no romantic chemistry at all. As I was telling another friend on Facebook a short time ago, watching those two cuddle is about as exciting as watching two rocks cuddling. Which is to say, not very. Basically, not all stories need romance but if it’s going to be a thing, it should be GOOD. Clara and Danny don’t seem very affectionate or in love with one another to me, and basically I’m just grumpy because there hasn’t been any cute-couple-y bits since “Deep Breath.” Blergh.

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It’s Engie again. Orphu, what was your overall opinion of “The Caretaker?”

This episode wasn’t particularly dislike-able, but neither was it particularly spectacular. I was about to say it’s in the C+ sort of range, just for being neither high nor low, but now that feels far too set-in-stone. I’m sticking with the main point, though, which was that I neither greatly liked nor disliked it.

Hmm. It’s probably my least favorite so far… based on the trailer for it, “The Caretaker” LOOKED a lot more fun than it actually WAS. Oh, well. It could’ve been worse. It could’ve been a terrible two-part episode.

Oh, and one more thing before we wrap up this review: Who do you think Missy is? We finally saw her again in this episode!

…I honestly don’t know who she is. I still don’t have a proper theory as to who she is.

Fair enough. I’ve given up trying to guess, too, because it seems like every theory I hear/read is sillier than the last.

Thanks so much for reviewing with me, Orphu!

-~-

What is YOUR opinion on “The Caretaker?” I’d love to know!

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About nevillegirl

Elizabeth, University of Iowa class of 2019. Double majoring in English & Creative Writing and Journalism. Twenty-year-old daydreamer, introvert, voracious reader, and aspiring writer. Passionate about feminism and lesbian positivity.
This entry was posted in Nevillegirl's Adventures!, Non-Neville Posts, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to DOCTOR WHO Series Eight Review: “The Caretaker” (Co-written With Orphu @ A Mirror Made Of Words)

  1. I’m addicted to this show! I’m almost done with s4 and it’s so good, I love it ❤

  2. matttblack42 says:

    I think Courtney will be in the next episode. I haven’t seen it yet, but I thought I saw her in next week’s trailer. *fingers crossed* I thought she was great too.

  3. matttblack42 says:

    Twelve actually reminded me more of Ten than Eleven, what with his hatred of soldiers being similar to Ten’s hatred of guns and all.

    • matttblack42 says:

      Sorry, I did not mean to send those two comments individually. I accidentally clicked the enter button twice.

    • nevillegirl says:

      Hmmm… I guess that’s what I wished the show’s writers would discuss? Like, Ten didn’t like guns and stuff because he didn’t like violence, didn’t like people causing the same problems he used to. But I don’t feel like the showrunners have mentioned that reason at all.

      I guess Twelve reminded me of Eleven because Eleven acted like a petulant child so often???

      (And it’s OK, about the comments.)

  4. I love that you’ve gotten each other to read such good books. I didn’t read your review because I’m a bit behind (I have to wait for my sister) I’ll have to remember to come back though I’d love to have someone else to discuss Who with! 🙂

  5. Okay, the Caretaker was my least favorite episode by far. There was SO MUCH to explore with “what it means to be a soldier,” yet it just wasn’t done properly. I thought it would have been nice to see him reflected in there, and it sort of reminded me of Ten in a way, though I couldn’t explain why… Maybe his “I’m the winner” thing in Waters of Mars?

    UGH, Clara and Danny. I mean, I think he’s honestly just someone nice for her to look at. I think in a way Moffat is trying to imitate Rose/Mickey’s relationship, and how THAT was destroyed by the Doctor (I wasn’t a fan of that, either, but at least it was done well), but honestly, all Clara/Danny makes me think of is Rose/Mickey. And Danny’s role at the end was just BLERGH.

    I’m sorry, but I think this episode had SO MUCH MORE POTENTIAL. And I really do miss the Doctor’s “everyone’s special and can help out” sort of thing, which he’s had ever since the Time War. It actually kind of made me miss early-days Eleven.

    I don’t care too much for Missy, either. She’s just too River-y. I miss River. And Eleven. And Ten. And Rose. And Mickey. And Donna. And Martha. And Sarah Jane. And basically just RTD. I personally liked School Reunion better, if we’re talking episode out of setting.

    Honestly, after finishing this episode, I just thought: this show is not the show I fell in love with. It’s become unrecognizable.

    I know change IS Doctor Who. By Series 2, it wasn’t the same show as it was in Series 1. In Series 4, it wasn’t the same as Series 2. In Series 5, it wasn’t the same as Series 3. It’s never been the same. Change, and accepting change, is Doctor Who. But it was still recognizable as Doctor Who. And now it’s not. Which just makes me sad.

    (URGH ENGIE SORRY FOR NOT COMMENTING ON YOUR POSTS FOR SO LONG AHSDUFJHSDFG I’M WORKING ON CATCHING UP ON EVERYTHING NOW. AFTER I FINISH MY MATH HOMEWORK.)

    • nevillegirl says:

      I know, right? If the writers would FREAKING MENTION THE TIMELORD VICTORIOUS THINGY FROM SERIES FOUR, Twelve’s issues with Danny would make a little more sense.

      *le sigh* I am not a fan of that relationship. *grumbles*

      Yeah. I’m not a fan of /any/ scene where Eleven or Twelve (because Nine and Ten didn’t do this) tell the companions to go away. Like.. even if Rose or Martha or Donna couldn’t do much, they’d do /something/.

      I miss all those characters too. 😛

      There are some episodes where I go, “YES. THAT REMINDED ME OF RTD WHO” but they’re few and far between. xD Sure, series one was silly. But it was enjoyable? It wasn’t ridiculous in the sense that I didn’t really want to keep watching.

      (DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT FRIEND-PERSON I UNDERSTAND THAT PEOPLE ARE BUSY IT’S NO PROBLEM.)

      • OH MY GOD. YOU SPOKE MY MIND.

        11/12 seem to think they’re like the supreme overlords of their companions, which just ANNOYS ME. So very much. Nine and Ten would let Rose/Martha/Donna/Mickey/Clara/Amy/Rory stay despite danger, because they knew that they weren’t the overlords of everything. That they’d make mistakes and most of the time Rose/Martha/Donna would be the ones to get them out. But it’s not like that for Moffat’s Who. Yet another thing to dislike. *shakes fist angrily*

    • nevillegirl says:

      YAY.

      I know, right? It reminds me of a scene in “Partners in Crime” where Ten needs the adipose necklace thingy and he’s all panicky and OF COURSE DONNA HAS IT. 😀 I guess I want to see more goofy friendshippy adventures (where they BOTH mess up and they BOTH help) rather than the Doctor bossing people around… like, how are you going to have character development if that character isn’t allowed to do anything?

      • I MISS FRIENDSHIPPY ADVENTURES 😥

        Honestly, RTD’s plot sometimes weren’t the best and didn’t make *quite* as much sense as they should have… but I still think of the adventures with Nine and Rose, Ten and Rose, Ten and Martha, and Ten and Donna, and those are the ones I go back to watch, because I honestly miss it being a cheesy show in which you can laugh at the special effects monsters and the weird plots 😛 (run-on sentence alert)

        And yes, I quite agree. A lot of times, Nine and Ten (and I’m sure One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, and Eight) put their companions in danger before they put themselves in danger. I think calling Ten “the hero” in the 50th was just out of place; Eleven was more of the hero, with his “Amy/Clara/even River sometimes, get back in the TARDIS and let ME deal with the situation!” More than anything, Nine/Ten is the coward in the way he runs away from Rose when she comes back, how he would hide from his own past, and how he refused to blow up the Daleks in “Parting of the Ways.” (ugh bad grammar that’s okay, yes? No, bad grammar is never okay.)

        Um I wasn’t planning to get so long and analyz-y here (mainly due to the concept of homework), but yes. Sure. Yay? 😛

    • nevillegirl says:

      Exactly. It’s like the companions are just there to look impressed – hey, actually, didn’t Eleven say something like that? “What’s the point of me doing all this stuff if there’s no one here to watch me?”

  6. orphu44 says:

    WAIT, I knew I was forgetting something – I forgot to mention my actual favourite part about the episode, which was that when Clara did the ‘I’m watching you’ sign as she exited the TARDIS, I’m pretty sure she did it backwards, and that is both cute and ridiculous.
    Also yes, yes, yes to basically everything you said about Danny and the Doctor’s interactions.
    I also want to thank you for reviewing with me, but that doesn’t seem quite right, so … thank you for letting me review with you, then!

    • nevillegirl says:

      Ehehe, that was cute. 🙂

      I feel like Nine would’ve been harsh to Danny, but… IDK. It would’ve been different, somehow. Like… he wouldn’t have judged Danny right away but would’ve waited and then MAYBE gotten snarky with him if Danny was being useless? I don’t know.

      Thank you and you’re welcome! It was very fun! 🙂

  7. Pingback: DOCTOR WHO Series Eight Review: “Kill The Moon” (Co-written With Bridget @ Nerds Inc.) | Musings From Neville's Navel

  8. Pingback: “Doctor Who” Series Eight Recap: Reviews + Thank You + Lists + Analyses | Musings From Neville's Navel

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