How much would you want the Doctor to be your caretaker? Answer: I would very much. In this episode, not only are we half way through the series (ALREADY?!), but we have yet another great story. Seriously, why is this series so good?
This week, the explosions and monsters take a backseat as the episode focuses more on relationships. The Doctor goes undercover as the school caretaker in the school where Clara works. He is determined to stop the deadly Skovox Blitzer, a high tech robot, from destroying the school. Unfortunately, this means clashing with Clara’s personal life and, in turn, meeting her boyfriend, Danny Pink. This results in the Doctor’s hatred of soldiers coming full front and creating an interesting dynamic.
It’s obvious that the Doctor cares about Clara, and it’s hilarious when he thinks that the Matt Smith look alike is her boyfriend. However, the relationship becomes more interesting when Danny becomes involved, as he discovers what the Doctor thinks of him and of soldiers in general. The Third Doctor may have teamed up with UNIT many times, but after spending hundreds of years in conflict and warfare, the Doctor now has every right to hate soldiers. It’s just like with Robin Ho0d- in that case, the Doctor hated the idea of a perfect hero as he knew that he cannot be that, and in this episode he hates the idea of people following orders and people being controlled, as he knows that he himself is bound to the laws of time, the very thing which drove David Tennant’s Doctor over the edge. This series is just full of ideas that develop the Doctor.
This episode develops all the characters, so much so that the alien threat is barely in the story. Now, that’s not a bad thing, as plenty of episodes like Human Nature, School Reunion and Vincent and the Doctor have the alien activity as a backdrop to the drama, but in this case, the threat really isn’t much. The Blitzer is meant to be on of the deadliest killing machines ever invented, but it kills one person. The Raston Warrior Robot from The Five Doctors in 1983 killed an armada of Cybermen. The monster in this episode really didn’t feel very threatening, despite the Blitzer looking great. I appreciate the use of practical effects in this series, meaning that the CGI creatures like the T-Rex and the upcoming spiders look better than previous stories. It’s this reason why the story gets an 8/10.
While the episode is stand alone, the ending is really something else. After a three week absence Missy returns, although it seems the ‘Promised Land’ is now picking up people wherever they are. It’s a great tease to an intriguing story arc. There are also hints to the Doctor’s dark side, which will come full force in this week’s episode. Speaking of which…
So, since we’re halfway through the series, time for a recap. Which of the six stories do you like the most? For me, it’s Listen, Robot of Sherwood and this episode so far, but that should change. What do you think? Be sure to say what you think is the best below!
Coming up: My five favourite Doctors!