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S08.E06: The Caretaker

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Clara has it all under control: her life at school, her life in space; her new boyfriend and her mad old Time Lord. Everything is humming along just fine, so long as everybody never actually meets. And then, one morning, just before assembly, Coal Hill welcomes a new relief caretaker with a Scottish accent.

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Yeah, no. I didn't like it. This season is an improvement over the last two, but the overall style of the Moffat era continues to leave me cold.

 

I never really like Clara. Here, I didn't like the characterisation in general, or the dynamics - too much abrasion, too little charm to offset it. I didn't like the sitcom/romcom styling. I like Capaldi's performance but not the way his Doctor is written. I want to like Danny Pink but dislike the story he's stuck in. Everyone's characterisation is being twisted and exaggerated just to suit a particular storyline, one that isn't even engaging to watch, and it does no favours to anyone. I feel like I need to go away and spend the rest of the night buried in...the UNIT era, perhaps, a time when the characters in this show actually liked each other even if they disagreed at times, that might wash the taste out of my mouth.

 

So Clara is now in love with Danny? Didn't they only just have their first kiss, prompted - in the wake of a disastrous first date - by her belief in predestination rather than the belief they are right for one another? Once again the Moffat era has a significant relationship form almost entirely off-screen, requiring us to simply accept that the characters have formed this close relationship rather than allowing us to watch it happen and form an emotional bond right along with them. Superficial storytelling at its worst.

 

There were a few little touches I enjoyed, but the episode as a whole left me cold and so did everyone in it.

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I liked this one. My favourite episode of the season so far. Of course, I'm a teacher so I liked the school setting and how they poked fun at it. I also continue to enjoy the very platonic relationship the Doctor and Clara have and him totally misreading her romantic attraction. Danny Pink felt a little bland to me this episode. I hope they make better use of him in the future.

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Absolutely hated it. The Doctor was annoying, Clara was annoying, the "romance" was bad farce and the "ultimate soldier" was pathetic (a clear graduate of the Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy). Danny was tolerable and I actually liked Miss "Disruptive Influence" (and her parents were a laugh - "You say she's a disrptive Influence - last year she was a completely disruptive influence, so she's improving!"). It was no Love & Monsters, but definitely the worst this Season.

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Boy they're really shooting for wacky and failing aren't they? Terrible writing leading to forced acting, godawful "wacky hijinks" soundtrack, and most of all the Doctor was an ass. And not in an 'I'm an alien so oblivious to human nuance" way but in an "I'm a total asshole way" that I think was supposed to be funny but wasn't.

 

This finally rams home that Moffatt can also only write one Doctor (which is the same character as his Sherlock) and putting his words into Capaldi's mouth just doesn't work.

 

Basically, this entire episode fell flat from beginning to end.

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Boy they're really shooting for wacky and failing aren't they? Terrible writing leading to forced acting, godawful "wacky hijinks" soundtrack, and most of all the Doctor was an ass. And not in an 'I'm an alien so oblivious to human nuance" way but in an "I'm a total asshole way" that I think was supposed to be funny but wasn't.

 

This finally rams home that Moffatt can also only write one Doctor (which is the same character as his Sherlock) and putting his words into Capaldi's mouth just doesn't work.

 

Basically, this entire episode fell flat from beginning to end.

 

He's been writing the same doctor and two companions since Girl in the Fireplace.

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He's been writing the same doctor and two companions since Girl in the Fireplace.

 

 

When Danny Pink came onto the Tardis and threw the same old Mickey/Rory dick swinging routine Moffatt always does with his male characters, I nearly turned it off. I was tired of this the first time around. And he wonders why people call him a chauvinist. I mean, when they're being kind. Misogynism is closer.

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(a clear graduate of the Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy).

Ha!

 

I know I don't have to ask with this crowd, there is someone else out there who would like to see the TARDIS to hit Ms. Snapping Fingers on the backside as she left.

 

Girls giggling at Mr. Pink and Ms. Oswald "Do they know"?  Oh yeah, they know.  They always know.

 

When did the Doctor become so prejudiced against soldiers?  He took the whole - the church is now militarized or vice versa- bit in stride.

 

This is the first episode that I have imagined Matt Smith in a scene instead of just watching the scene.  It started with the Doctor mistaking "Aid" for the boyfriend and just kept it up from there.

Edited by elle
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I could almost forgive the terrible plots if I could hear them. Every episode this season has had the dialogue too soft and the sound effects too loud, and nobody in my family can follow what they're saying. Is this a problem for anyone else?

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This finally rams home that Moffatt can also only write one Doctor (which is the same character as his Sherlock) and putting his words into Capaldi's mouth just doesn't work.

Thank you. I've been trying to find the right description for why I just don't like the fit of Capaldi as The Doctor. There was something always off with the actions and words. Maybe if we had a different writer and show runner, this might work better.

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When is somebody going to choke the Doctor? Not that it would do any good, and he probably would survive a throttling, but he seems to be begging for it these days.

 

I'm glad Danny's now officially in the know, and he proved his awesomeness with the backflip over the MOTW. I can understand where he gets off yelling at the Doctor. I mean, we know the Doctor means well nine times out of ten (99 out of 100?), but he didn't. I also enjoyed Clara trying to tap-dance through it, because it makes her sweat.

 

I didn't get the motivation behind MOTW. It was tech-hungry? Also not really sure about Missy and the Nethersphere. Would the Master have a support staff in place for dead people? I'm thinking that theory is out the window, though YMMV.

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Well, I was slightly distracted by doing laundry with this one, but I still didn't care for this episode all that much. When Capaldi's Doctor is being straightforward instead of eccentric or bitchy, I can picture him as a Doctor.

 

This finally rams home that Moffatt can also only write one Doctor (which is the same character as his Sherlock) and putting his words into Capaldi's mouth just doesn't work.

I still get the feeling they're trying to make Capaldi fit the mold of the previous Doctors, Smith and Tennant, instead of letting him find his own way. The "manic" dialogue would have come across as eccentric with those two. With Capaldi, it just comes across as grumpy old man, and not as the fun kind of grumpy that a person can laugh at. I really would like them to write to Capaldi's strengths.

 

Capaldi can be quite charismatic when he's not being dickish or ditsy. I especially liked his interaction with "Miss Disruptive Influence." Too bad she got Tardis sick; I think she would have been an amusing companion. I think Capaldi can pull off a parental type Doctor, but he really needs someone who can play off that vibe.

 

I'm starting to really like Danny Pink, but I'm still not warming up to Clara. I find I like her better with Danny instead of the Doctor. I don't hate her; I just don't feel much of anything for her character.

 

And still with the hating soldiers lines! I did like Danny saying that the Doctor wanted to see if he could be good enough for Clara. I wish the lines were written in that vein instead of the "I hate soldiers" vein. Because seriously, the Doctor doesn't hate all soldiers, so they need to stop writing him that way.

Edited by mustbekarma
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Guest Accused Dingo

When Danny Pink came onto the Tardis and threw the same old Mickey/Rory dick swinging routine Moffatt always does with his male characters, I nearly turned it off. I was tired of this the first time around. And he wonders why people call him a chauvinist. I mean, when they're being kind. Misogynism is closer.

I actually thought that was the best scene of the episode. Danny had The Doctor clocked almost immefiately. He is an officer giving orders to his troops and i liked what Danny had to say anout him. The Doctor does have flaws. I also liked the end scene between Clara and Danny whem he warned her that the Doctor will push her too far one day. That is true as well.

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When did the Doctor become so prejudiced against soldiers?  He took the whole - the church is now militarized or vice versa- bit in stride.

Also this is a man who worked for UNIT almost his entire third incarnation and was best friends with the Brigadier (a professional soldier if there ever was one) across almost ALL his incarnations. This whole anti-military mindset of the twelfth doesn't make any sense whatsoever since it comes out of nowhere and its actually insulting to the history of the character.

 

Twelve is also unlikeable (though Capaldi makes you watch) to me and not in a Sixth Doctor so-obnoxious-he's-funny way and not in a First Doctor he's just an old grump  way. I was actually uncomfortable with the way he was treating not just Danny but pretty much everyone else in this episode, which harkens back to his being a tool around Robin Hood.

 

I can't believe they had to the Doctor spend the entire episode in Coal Hill school and not even a name drop of Ian who's still involved in the school  (let alone a sighting of William Russell) or just the fact that the Doctor has history there. River (a Moffat character) though - she does gets name dropped.

 

One would hope that the ridiculousness of this whole part-time companionship gig (which was on full display in this episode) is on purpose because I would to think Moffat and his team really thinks we all want to know more about Clara's life outside the Tardis, and the Doctor's being a cranky dad looking about who she's dating, rather than adventures in time and space.

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Well, I quite liked it. Not the best episode no, and the MOTW was not the least bit scary, but still enjoyable. Loved the Matt Smith lookalike, the P.E. teacher insistence on the part of the Doctor, and of course the disruptive influence girl. This episode may not have had the visceral impact of others, but it was entertaining in its own way. More Danny, please.

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I could almost forgive the terrible plots if I could hear them. Every episode this season has had the dialogue too soft and the sound effects too loud, and nobody in my family can follow what they're saying. Is this a problem for anyone else?

Does your TV have closed captioning (CC)?  That is the only way I watch any BBC production with enjoyment.

 

 

Capaldi can be quite charismatic when he's not being dickish or ditsy. I especially liked his interaction with "Miss Disruptive Influence." Too bad she got Tardis sick; I think she would have been an amusing companion. I think Capaldi can pull off a parental type Doctor, but he really needs someone who can play off that vibe.

I was just thinking about that, how his best scenes where with "Miss Disruptive Influence" (Candace?) and that made me wonder what happened to the two kids who Clara was watching.

 

When Danny made that amazing leap-somersault, I really expected a line about "not PE, really" loaded with sarcasm.   I commented that I expected an explanation, my daughter replied "special effects".  

Edited by elle
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Well, it's official - I hate this Doctor.  He's an insufferable asshat and unlikeable, in my opinion.

 

I'll start watching this show again when they get a new one and maybe lighten shit up.

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Happy to hear a reference to River and I really like Danny but the Doctor was annoying tonight I really didn't like him. I actually haven't warmed up to him at all. Not a Clara fan either so that doesn't help.

I actually kind of liked Disruptive Influence... Wouldn't mind seeing her again.

Edited by Morrigan2575
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Can we trade Danny for Clara? Pretty please? Man I really like him. I think the actor is really compelling in a thankless role.

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Despite my misgivings based on the previews, I watched this episode.  Can I have that hour back?  We were beaten over the head by the Doctor basically just taking Clara out on day trips.  We had an episode about relationship drama, because I'm sure the audience has been clamoring for Doctor Who to be more like a soap opera.  We have a doctor that is pretty much unlikable.  Sure, 9 wasn't keen on Jackie or Mickey at first, but he wasn't such a jerk about it.  Also he's kind of an idiot with the inability to understand the difference between soldier, gym teacher, and math teacher.  I have a bad feeling this is going to be a repeat of Colin Baker's era which saw the show in a downward spiral.  

 

Not to mention a villain who is an alien super-weapon that can destroy the whole planet, but can be shut down with a few lines of BASIC.  Honestly the solution seemed 1 level above "10 Shutdown 20 GOTO 10"

 

And I'm getting tired of the arc teasing.  Yes it's some sort of afterlife.  Yes it seems to be focused on people killed relating to the Doctor (though the police officer was killed before the Doctor arrived).  Are they just going to show us random characters waking up in the promised land and calling that arc development.

 

I think Peter Capaldi's a great actor.  But the writing this season has been pretty shit.

 

I read the review on AV Club and I don't know what it is, but pretty much every episode I've liked they've hated, and vice versa.  Maybe this is a polarizing season?

Edited by futurechemist
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This was, by far, the worst episode of the season.  Nothing clicked for me.  And for someone who usually likes Clara, I didn't like her here at all.  She and Danny have no chemistry.  And honestly, Danny giving her an ultimatum didn't sit well with me, especially so early in  their relationship. Everything is so forced.  They don't even seem comfortable with each other. 

 

I liked Danny with the Doctor, though.  Everything else was not only dumb, but boring.  I kept looking at the clock wondering how much longer this was going to go on.   

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It feels like they mixed up their A and C plots in this one. The A plot is the MOTW, the B plot is the Doctor undercover and the C plot is Clara and Danny's love life. Which one did they focus on?

I think Capaldi is an awesome Doctor, I just wish the writing was up to his level. I could even get behind the Doctor's hatred of soldiers if there was a reason and it didn't come out of nowhere. Like Clara and Danny's Epic Love, it must have happened off screen.

I really don't care for Danny. He sort of blundered into everything, but most of it was Clara's fault for not really speaking up when she should have and the whole "talking about two different people when they think they're talking about the same one thing", you really went there, Moffat?

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This is the first episode that I have imagined Matt Smith in a scene instead of just watching the scene.

Especially this ongoing "P.E." thing.  Matt Smith would have made it amusing.  Picture him saying that he keeps hearing that Pink is a maths teacher "but that it's just not registering" and it would be funny.  When Capaldi says it he just sounds meanspirited.  It's like watching a drill sergeant pick on the outcast in a group of basic training recruits.

 

The whole episode was like that.  What might have been enjoyable in other eras was just gloomy here.  The music was dreary.  The lighting and sets were dreary.  It reminded me of when a show tries to do an alternate reality or alternate universe by having everyone dress darkly and act more depressed or something.  

 

And the comment upthread about the Clara/Pink relationship progressing entirely off-screen is dead on.  I saw absolutely nothing in this episode to even suggest that their relationship should be improving, let alone getting to the "I love you" stage.  Seriously -- why do they like each other?

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Ugh!  Sitcom city.  I half-expected to hear a laugh track.  

Well - - I liked Danny, I liked the disruptive girl.  Felt neutral about Clara.  I'm disappointed in the Doctor;  I still think Capaldi has great potential, so could they please give him some decent material?  I suspect that all this refusal to understand that Mr. Pink teaches math and not p.e. (just because he was a soldier) is supposed to be like Doc1 never being able to remember Chesterton's name, no matter what.  But this isn't handled well -- Doc 12 just sounds like a jerk, and a stupid one at that.

 

And, speaking of Chesterton, could they at least have made a mention of him?  It's the same school, for pity's sake.

 

Thumbs down for this one.

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So Clara is now in love with Danny? Didn't they only just have their first kiss, prompted - in the wake of a disastrous first date - by her belief in predestination rather than the belief they are right for one another? Once again the Moffat era has a significant relationship form almost entirely off-screen, requiring us to simply accept that the characters have formed this close relationship rather than allowing us to watch it happen and form an emotional bond right along with them. Superficial storytelling at its worst.

And you've just summed up a major problem I've had with pretty much every recent season. I like most of the main relationships pn the show -- but alot of what I like is what I've inferred from watching the little bits of real relationship activity we get over and over again. There is so little true onscreen relationship development to allow people to buy into the way these characters treat each other -- and Clara and Danny are another example. The little bits I saw in this episode I liked, but that's because I'm making up most of their story between "Listen" and this episode in my head. I shouldn't have to do that for every relationship in which I'm actually interested on the show.

Edited by RandomMe
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This episode really ticked me off.  The beginning was fine.  I like this Doctor and I even like Clara this season.  Plus, I like Danny Pink and Clara together.  The whole comedy routine at the beginning was enjoyable.  Then, the Doctor went off on a degrading, demeaning tirade against soldiers, which as others have pointed out, came out of nowhere.  It made the Doctor immensily unlikeable.  Worse,  Clara never stood up for Danny at all.  I kept expecting her to scream, argue, yell - anything in Danny's defense and she never did.  Then, to make matters worse, she expected Danny to like the Doctor.  I don't know why he should.  He was a complete asshole to him.  I have watched this show since the Tom Baker years and seen earler Doctors.  Never have I felt as much loathing for the character as I did in this episode. 

 

I truely have enjoyed this season, esp. after last season.  For me, the Doctor and Clara work together so much better this year.  But this was a horrible episode and was incredibly demeaning to every soldier out there and to every gym teacher out there, because, apparantly none of them have brains and are worthless human beings. (As an aside, the best teacher I ever had who pushed me to do better than I thought possible, was a PE teacher.)  Bad, it was just bad!

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First episode I've watched "live" this season. I just can't with this show anymore.  Whoever above mentioned Matt Smith with the p.e. bit was dead on, he would have killed it in a good way and we would have laughed.

 

Danny figuring out the Doctor right away was a good scene.

 

As far as Clara not sticking up for Danny, I think she tried but was just lame. Now if it had been Donna she would have left no doubt about her man. I can just hear her saying Oy that's the man I love.  She would be such a great companion for this Doctor.

 

I'm just waiting for this doctor to suck me in and make me not do other things when I'm watching.

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Guest Accused Dingo
This episode really ticked me off.  The beginning was fine.  I like this Doctor and I even like Clara this season.  Plus, I like Danny Pink and Clara together.  The whole comedy routine at the beginning was enjoyable.  Then, the Doctor went off on a degrading, demeaning tirade against soldiers, which as others have pointed out, came out of nowhere.

 

Well not really.  The Doctor never really trusted soldiers.  He never lets the ones who know about him salute him.  Whenever they try to shoot first approach he chews them out for it.  When Martha Jones UNIT Donna Nobel asked if that's what the Docotr did; turn people into soldiers.   I think the Doctor has passive/aghressive feelings toward soldiers.  The Doctor ALWAYS prefers to handle things peacefully.  If I remember correctly Soldiers "Big S" have burned him more then once. 

 

I think that is why his first instinct is to not trust them.  Plus he did like the one with the bow tie (bow ties are cool) better.  The one with the striking resemblance to the man he used to be.

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Gareth Roberts wrote two of my favorite episodes during Smith's run "The Lodger and Closing Time" so I was excited and then to have some previews compare it to Boomtown was icing on the cake. Man was I disappointed . It highlighted everything wrong with all of Moffat's companions and their relationships. They're completely one dimensional with no depth. Like it was pointed out Clara and Danny's epic love happened completely off screen. I still have no grasp on Reboot Clara or who she is. Maybe her and the Retcon Doctor can have a spin off. Moffat wants the emotional payoff and investment in these characters without doing the work establishing it. There's a reason why Doomsday is talked about and resonates with people to this day. RTD took the time and effort and showed us the relationship over the course of two seasons.

 

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Accused Dingo has it, I think. The Doctor knows that there are SOME soldiers who are also good people -- the Brigadier as the obvious example. But in general, he doesn't like how a soldier is basically a robot programmed to do its master's bidding. He's always had the attitude of dismissing salutes and being patronizing to common military folks. He is often able to live with it, to accept their usefulness, but for whatever reason, this incarnation has a stronger dislike. Like how 11 hated apples for no real reason, 12 has a stronger dislike for soldiers -- not unprecedented, but certainly a 'quirk' of this incarnation that doesn't necessarily need a 'reason'.

Anyway, I really liked this one. Fun and funny and we got movement on the Danny/Doctor storyline. I like this Doctor. I like the cranky old man who has a good heart underneath. I thought Danny's analysis was spot on -- the Doctor is just afraid that no man is good enough for Clara. If that man is a soldier, it's even more reason to be fearful, because he could be a mindless grunt; but it would be true for almost anyone -- unless you happen to look like 11 (that was hilarious).

I was disappointed that the Doctor didn't even mention his connection to the school. Didn't get all wistful about the junkyard nearby where he used to park.

But, I suspect we're not finished with Coal Hill school, and I predict that by the time Clara either leaves the school or leaves the Doctor, that he will have talked about it. Probably in their very last conversation. "You know, Clara, this school is the first place I came on Earth. My first companions were teachers here too." I wonder if that look he gave her when she said "the ones who came before me" might have been him bring reminded of them specifically.

Maybe we'll even find out what happened to Susan.

Note of interest -- Danny's somersault was not the somersault of a parkourer, or a hiphop dancer, or a soldier. That was the somersault of a trained gymnast. Ended in a lovely pike position.

New speculation on the nethersphere: Missy is trying to capture the Doctor. She lives in another dimension, and has somehow locked into various times when the Doctor is under threat and set up a blanket collection zone, whereby at the moment of death anything killed by the thing she's tuned into will be collected into her nethersphere. Every time that it's not the doctor, she's disappointed. But she welcomes them all anyway.

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I could almost forgive the terrible plots if I could hear them. Every episode this season has had the dialogue too soft and the sound effects too loud, and nobody in my family can follow what they're saying. Is this a problem for anyone else?

It's your local broadcaster that is messing up the sound levels. The show may be perfect but when broadcast the local people can be lazy about making sure the levels are good.

 

I'm thinking the Doctor's hate of soldiers may be a leftover from the Time War. He doesn't like the whole war machine and, as has been mentioned 10 wasn't all that thrilled to have to work with them. It could be 12 is less able to bury the pain of being a soldier and fighting. He never liked killing.

 

Does anything know if a squaddie is their name for a soldier?

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New speculation on the nethersphere: Missy is trying to capture the Doctor. She lives in another dimension, and has somehow locked into various times when the Doctor is under threat and set up a blanket collection zone, whereby at the moment of death anything killed by the thing she's tuned into will be collected into her nethersphere. Every time that it's not the doctor, she's disappointed. But she welcomes them all anyway.

Whatever is going on, Missy seems to have been plenty busy.  She used to greet arrivals personally, now she has an assistant.  

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I actually thought that was the best scene of the episode. Danny had The Doctor clocked almost immefiately. He is an officer giving orders to his troops and i liked what Danny had to say anout him. The Doctor does have flaws. I also liked the end scene between Clara and Danny whem he warned her that the Doctor will push her too far one day. That is true as well.

 

Yeah, I thought it was the best scene too.  Danny got into the Doctor's face and the Doctor deserved it considering how shitty he's treated him.  The whole "sir' thing and aristocratic reference worked.  It set up an officer/soldier conflict between the two and given how the Doctor reacted seems to indicate to me that he's suffering from PTSD from both Trenzalore and the Time War.  It's the only way to explain his bizarre anti-soldier garbage this season.  Otherwise, the Doctor's dislike of Danny is just contrived nonsense.

 

I did end up enjoying this one.  The Doctor's nonsense with Danny aside, I thought Capaldi was a lot of fun interacting with everyone else.

 

I finally started liking Danny at the end although I don't buy that Clara suddenly loves him now.  It seems like that all happened off-screen.  Still not a fan of Clara being a part-time companion.

 

It would have been nice to have some mention of the Doctor's history at Coal Hill.  It was basically the true start of his adventures through time and space.  Not that Clara would have remembered.  Her line to the Doctor asking if any of his companions put up with what he does further indicates that she remembers nothing about being in the Doctor's timestream. 

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The only thing that could've saved this would've been if Miss Disruptive Influence had stayed on board and found Ace's last cache of Nitro-9. And then we'd go off having adventures in all of time and space except "now".

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I could almost forgive the terrible plots if I could hear them. Every episode this season has had the dialogue too soft and the sound effects too loud, and nobody in my family can follow what they're saying.

For me, PC's accent plus his low, hoarse voice is a really bad combo. 

 

 

Well, it's official - I hate this Doctor.  He's an insufferable asshat and unlikeable, in my opinion.

 

I sadly concur. If this wasn't Doctor Who - if it was just a new sci-fi show with no previous context and he was the lead character - this episode is the point where I'd delete my season pass.  

 

Well not really.  The Doctor never really trusted soldiers.  He never lets the ones who know about him salute him.

I know he never liked guns and soldiers but now it's turned into some kind of a sick obsession and he's insulting real-life people with his endless rants about them.  I want him to just shut up about it already.

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Boy they're really shooting for wacky and failing aren't they? Terrible writing leading to forced acting, godawful "wacky hijinks" soundtrack, and most of all the Doctor was an ass. And not in an 'I'm an alien so oblivious to human nuance" way but in an "I'm a total asshole way" that I think was supposed to be funny but wasn't.

 

This finally rams home that Moffatt can also only write one Doctor (which is the same character as his Sherlock) and putting his words into Capaldi's mouth just doesn't work.

 

I still get the feeling they're trying to make Capaldi fit the mold of the previous Doctors, Smith and Tennant, instead of letting him find his own way. The "manic" dialogue would have come across as eccentric with those two. With Capaldi, it just comes across as grumpy old man, and not as the fun kind of grumpy that a person can laugh at. I really would like them to write to Capaldi's strengths.

 

Capaldi can be quite charismatic when he's not being dickish or ditsy. I especially liked his interaction with "Miss Disruptive Influence." Too bad she got Tardis sick; I think she would have been an amusing companion. I think Capaldi can pull off a parental type Doctor, but he really needs someone who can play off that vibe.

 

Yes. This. This Doctor is being written pretty much the same as his predecessor, but with added aggression in place of flirtatiousness, and it doesn't work. He needs to be allowed to find his own voice, not just given the same dialogue pattern as the one before him. And I don't mind the Doctor being rude and arrogant - he always has been - but making him obtuse at the same time is ridiculous - this man has been around humans for a couple of thousand years, he's highly intelligent. So stop writing him as an idiot! Clara is definitely the wrong person to be companion to this Doctor. Little Miss Control Freak doesn't even like him, that much has been made painfully obvious. She sees him as a project, her responsibility. Oh, for the kind of genuine friendship of past Doctor-companion relationships - but these characters aren't drawn with nearly enough depth for that to be possible.

 

 

Also this is a man who worked for UNIT almost his entire third incarnation and was best friends with the Brigadier (a professional soldier if there ever was one) across almost ALL his incarnations. This whole anti-military mindset of the twelfth doesn't make any sense whatsoever since it comes out of nowhere and its actually insulting to the history of the character.

 

Twelve is also unlikeable (though Capaldi makes you watch) to me and not in a Sixth Doctor so-obnoxious-he's-funny way and not in a First Doctor he's just an old grump  way. I was actually uncomfortable with the way he was treating not just Danny but pretty much everyone else in this episode, which harkens back to his being a tool around Robin Hood.

I've banged on about this sudden anti-soldier vendetta of the 12th Doctor's before. It isn't so much that it's out of character for him to be uneasy with military tactics - he's always had an uneasy relationship with the military - it's that he's being so aggressive about it, like it's coming from a place of meanness rather than genuine concern. Partly that's the performance but mostly it's the writing, which is superficial for all characters - this era approaches characterisation by taking a few prominent personality traits and exaggerating them to make sure we spot them, rather than attempting anything approaching nuance or depth. Many of his previous companions have been soldiers or warriors and he rejected none of them, even if they occasionally clashed over strategy. But the portrayal of the Doctor is so different now. In the classic series, the Doctor was a positive, optimistic character, a scientist and explorer. He had an uneasy relationship with the military but was quite happy to befriend soldiers and warriors because he could provide a tempering influence on them, encourage them to look for peaceful solutions where possible - science leads, as Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart told his daughter Kate, having learned that lesson well. In the modern series, the character of the Doctor has become a broken, angst-soaked figure constantly battling his own inner darkness who needs the tempering influence of a non-martial human at his side to hold him back, or whatever, showing him a better way - the companion is now filling the role for the Doctor that the Doctor once filled for other people. It's a fundamental difference of approach that I've always been uneasy with - and this exaggerated anti-soldier vendetta really sets my teeth on edge.

 

Are they just going to show us random characters waking up in the promised land and calling that arc development.

Yep, apparently so.

 

And the comment upthread about the Clara/Pink relationship progressing entirely off-screen is dead on.  I saw absolutely nothing in this episode to even suggest that their relationship should be improving, let alone getting to the "I love you" stage.  Seriously -- why do they like each other?

Well, we know that Clara believes she has to be with Danny, whether she likes him or not, because they are 'destined' to be together. As for why Danny likes Clara...because she's pretty? I got nothing. He sure as heck knows he can't trust a word she says. They haven't had enough interaction prior to this episode for us to have any insight into their relationship at all. Lots of cutesy, no actual substance - the one time we saw them discussing things that actually matter, they both accidentally insulted each other and got upset. Solid basis for a relationship!

 

Well not really.  The Doctor never really trusted soldiers.  He never lets the ones who know about him salute him.  Whenever they try to shoot first approach he chews them out for it.  When Martha Jones UNIT Donna Nobel asked if that's what the Docotr did; turn people into soldiers.   I think the Doctor has passive/aghressive feelings toward soldiers.  The Doctor ALWAYS prefers to handle things peacefully.  If I remember correctly Soldiers "Big S" have burned him more then once. 

 

I think that is why his first instinct is to not trust them.  Plus he did like the one with the bow tie (bow ties are cool) better.  The one with the striking resemblance to the man he used to be.

Well, that's been the New Who approach to the Doctor's relationship with the military, sure - exaggerated tenfold for this new Doctor, for reasons of Plot. None of that was the case in the classic era - he often disagreed with and grumbled about the military outlook and strategy, but worked alongside the military many times and has had a large number of military/warriorly-minded companions. He spent years of his life at UNIT, forged a wonderful friendship with the Brigadier despite their manifold differences and was fond of the other soldiers there, such as Benton and Mike Yates. He took Navy doctor Harry with him as a companion in the TARDIS (although I've always wondered if it was significant that of all the officers he worked with and was friends with at UNIT, it was the medical officer, trained but technically a non-combatant, that he took for a spin in the TARDIS). Steven Taylor was a space pilot who'd fought in a war. Ian Chesterton would have done national service in one or other of the forces - most likely the army. Sara Kingdom was a space security agent, a soldier. Ben Jackson was in the Navy. Jamie McCrimmon was a soldier from a bloody 18th century war. Leela was a warrior. Ace was a fighter. He rejected none of those people on the basis of being 'soldiers'. He saw them as individuals first and foremost, his friends.

 

Like I said, uneasiness with a military approach is one thing. But this is beyond that - the writing and the angry performance combine to make this out and out prejudice, uncalled for and uncomfortable to watch.

 

I was disappointed that the Doctor didn't even mention his connection to the school. Didn't get all wistful about the junkyard nearby where he used to park.

 

But, I suspect we're not finished with Coal Hill school, and I predict that by the time Clara either leaves the school or leaves the Doctor, that he will have talked about it. Probably in their very last conversation. "You know, Clara, this school is the first place I came on Earth. My first companions were teachers here too." I wonder if that look he gave her when she said "the ones who came before me" might have been him bring reminded of them specifically.

Aye, the closest we got was him saying that enough weird stuff has happened in the area to attract the robot creature - whatever it was, it was so unimportant to the plot I didn't even catch what it was called. Which is absurd. I watch Doctor Who because I want to see the Doctor having adventures with whichever friend he has with him at the moment, not to watch some kind of soap opera/sitcom about Control Freak Clara attempting to hold down a career and date a colleague while babysitting an unpleasant alien she doesn't even like. :(

 

Does anything know if a squaddie is their name for a soldier?

Yes, a squaddie is a common term in the UK for a low-ranked soldier.

Edited by Llywela
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Aye, the closest we got was him saying that enough weird stuff has happened in the area to attract the robot creature - whatever it was, it was so unimportant to the plot I didn't even catch what it was called. Which is absurd. I watch Doctor Who because I want to see the Doctor having adventures with whichever friend he has with him at the moment, not to watch some kind of soap opera/sitcom about Control Freak Clara attempting to hold down a career and date a colleague while babysitting an unpleasant alien she doesn't even like. :(

 

Clara is certainly a bit of a control freak.  Still, I don't think she actually dislikes the Doctor, even if she gets exasperated with him.  And, to be fair, he's given her reason to be.

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Bored.

 

I was looking at the time and couldn't believe we were only 25mins in.. this episode was so dull in comparison to last episode and I just couldn't be bothered with it.

 

I liked that the Doctor mentioned River (he lived with Otters because he had an argument with River? I can only assume she stole the Tardis) and had a small spark of hope that maybe one day we'll actually see them together.

 

I don't understand the deal with the beginning.. it was just about all the adventures Clara had with the Doctor and we didn't need to know how they escaped them all? I couldn't help but think "I wish we were watching THAT episode" in one of the sections, rather than the episode we ended up with.

 

I also haven't had the "oh that's something 9/10/11 would say" but it was very much that way in this episode for me.. especially with the PE teacher comments and he was hovering over Clara and the teacher he wanted to be Clara's boyfriend.

 

Overall I was just happy when it ended.. next episode at least looks a bit better.

 

Also, anyone else notice a trend of the people 12 is bringing on board this season:

Journey, Saibra, "Disruptive influence" - I can't for the life of me remember her name now :P

 

I keep hoping he'll keep one of them and then he doesn't.

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Clara is certainly a bit of a control freak.  Still, I don't think she actually dislikes the Doctor, even if she gets exasperated with him.  And, to be fair, he's given her reason to be.

I just really don't like the dynamic that's formed between them. When Clara called herself his carer that time, it was amusing as a joke at the time, but more and more it seems like that really is how she sees herself - as his conscience, his minder. She acts as the moral arbiter keeping him on the straight and narrow, treating him as one of the kids she looks after. That is not the Doctor-companion I want to see. The Doctor doesn't - or shouldn't - need a bossy human to be his conscience. He does actually have one of his own and I'd quite like for the show to remember that and bring a bit of balance back into the relationship. But that won't happen while Clara is around. And I do get the definite impression that she doesn't really like him very much any more - and if that isn't the impression Show wanted to give, then it has failed and needs to do something about it.

 

I don't understand the deal with the beginning.. it was just about all the adventures Clara had with the Doctor and we didn't need to know how they escaped them all? I couldn't help but think "I wish we were watching THAT episode" in one of the sections, rather than the episode we ended up with.

Yeah, that was just a shorthand to show us how difficult it has become for Clara to balance the two different sides of her life, as background for the struggle she would face in the story proper. Part of me appreciated that insight. But part of me feels if it's that much hassle she needs to give up one or the other - either give up the Doctor and get on with her normal life on Earth or give up her job and travel full time for a while. It's trying to have her cake and eat it too that's causing her the stress, and it clearly isn't working for her - it isn't working for me, either, so I'd quite like it to end now, please!

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I hoped this episode might improve my outlook on the current state of the Doctor Who franchise but I'm bored. While Danny's rant about the Doctor being an officer temporarily amused because it's an accurate and scathing assessment of his personality the rest of the episode flailed. The Doctor using Clara as a decoy and ignoring her concerns makes me dislike him even though I'd rather Clara die so we could have a reset on the confusing Companion. Clara apparently can't remember anything that happened in the Time Stream that may or may not exist now anyway. Timey wimey nonsense. 

 

That super soldier robot managed to successfully hit one target in the entire episode. Yawn. 

Previous to that we had an enemy who wasn't an actual enemy and before that no enemy but the Doctor's imagination.

Am I supposed to care about these adventures? If there are no stakes then why bother. 

 

Like how 11 hated apples for no real reason, 12 has a stronger dislike for soldiers -- not unprecedented, but certainly a 'quirk' of this incarnation that doesn't necessarily need a 'reason'.

 

 

The apple dislike thing made sense because A) he had a new mouth with new taste buds B) was explained during the episode even if it was hand wavey.

 

This prejudice against soldiers doesn't play off funny because when he accused Danny of being a PE teacher 7 times or more he just came off as being willfully obtuse or stupid. Also it flies strongly in the face of 40 years of characterization. He disliked soldiers with guns because they shoot first. Danny was also unarmed engaged in a civilian lifestyle. River killed numerous Silences? in front of him and he showed no contempt for her. 

 

Why is the Doctor being critical and overbearing with Clara when he can just leave and pick up some other human or alien or cyborg. The best companion has been Handles. I want novelty. I want to see alien companions, or at least humans from other time periods. UGH

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Yeah, that was just a shorthand to show us how difficult it has become for Clara to balance the two different sides of her life, as background for the struggle she would face in the story proper. Part of me appreciated that insight. But part of me feels if it's that much hassle she needs to give up one or the other - either give up the Doctor and get on with her normal life on Earth or give up her job and travel full time for a while. It's trying to have her cake and eat it too that's causing her the stress, and it clearly isn't working for her - it isn't working for me, either, so I'd quite like it to end now, please!

I couldn't help but think "Why didn't she just ask to be taken home an hr or so before she had to meet Danny" and then she wouldn't be in some of those circumstances.. but I guess that wouldn't be funny.. assuming anyone thinks it was.

 

I hope this episode is the dealbreaker sort of episode.. she needs to decide, she could bring Danny along even. Hopefully though things improve after this episode but given the conversation at the end of the episode, it probably won't.

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I just really don't like the dynamic that's formed between them. When Clara called herself his carer that time, it was amusing as a joke at the time, but more and more it seems like that really is how she sees herself - as his conscience, his minder. She acts as the moral arbiter keeping him on the straight and narrow, treating him as one of the kids she looks after. That is not the Doctor-companion I want to see. The Doctor doesn't - or shouldn't - need a bossy human to be his conscience. He does actually have one of his own and I'd quite like for the show to remember that and bring a bit of balance back into the relationship. But that won't happen while Clara is around. And I do get the definite impression that she doesn't really like him very much any more - and if that isn't the impression Show wanted to give, then it has failed and needs to do something about it.

 

Certainly, there's much to dislike in the current Doctor-Companion relationship.  My impression, though, is quite different from yours.  Underneath the quibbling, I think they're rather fond of each other.

 

How about the rest of you?  What do you think?  Does Clara like the Doctor, or not?

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How about the rest of you?  What do you think?  Does Clara like the Doctor, or not?

 

 

It's unclear since the beginning of this season. She wanted to leave and the previous Doctor convinced her to stay. He constantly makes snide remarks to her but he may or may not help people sometimes in this season. Actually this season he hasn't seemed overly concerned with helping people. It's been more secondary to solving the mystery or because Clara nags him to... 

 

The asking if Danny likes him could lean either way. She likes him enough to care about other peoples opinion of him or she's unsure of his new personality and wants a second opinion.

 

I struggle to understand how The Doctor couldn't find one abandoned house or hypnotise someone into a holiday instead of involving school children. Frankly it smacks of contrivance that Danny was the only one curious about the strange metal things scattered throughout the school. One of note being under a fire alarm. 

People are notoriously fond of playing with shiny metal objects especially children.

 

Everyone and their motives and motivations are unclear at this point.

 

And honestly, Danny giving her an ultimatum didn't sit well with me, especially so early in  their relationship. Everything is so forced.  They don't even seem comfortable with each other.

 

 

Danny seemed to take Clara lying to him for days? weeks? months reasonably well. That ultimatum seemed fairly reasonable. The Doctor has a history of pushing people until they break. Much like a drill sergeant. Danny is familiar with the type. While it'd be unreasonable for him to demand she not go travelling with him or risk herself, he is merely asking her to keep him informed if she feels harassed which isn't a lot to ask considering. It's hard to judge how early it is in their relationship with Clara declaring her love and them chilling in front of the tv which seems more of a post dating thing and more of a relationship thing. This is the problem of major off screen development. We went from terrible first date to declaration of love with no context.

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Thanks elle, I hadn't thought of closed captioning. I don't know if my tv does it or not (it was a hand me down with no manual), but I can try to figure it out! 

 

 

And I don't mind the Doctor being rude and arrogant - he always has been - but making him obtuse at the same time is ridiculous - this man has been around humans for a couple of thousand years, he's highly intelligent. So stop writing him as an idiot!

 

That's exactly what grated about this episode. "Go away humans" on a sign? This is the same man who, as Ten, made such impassioned speeches about how complex humanity was, and who could read Rose's expressions like a book? There's a difference between not really caring as much about humans and not understanding humans. I know they're trying to make him more "alien", but he shouldn't be losing his knowledge about them. In fact, it would be much more interesting and sinister if he were to use that knowledge to be manipulative, which could set up an arc that turns him into something close to the Master before he realizes it and stops himself. 

 

That PE thing really smacked me in the face at first - I've never seen a connection between "a soldier must only be fit to be a PE teacher", but I've sure as heck seen "black people are athletic and not smart" my entire life. I'm sure it was entirely unintended, but that was a bad bit of congruence there.

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I've sure as heck seen "black people are athletic and not smart" my entire life. I'm sure it was entirely unintended, but that was a bad bit of congruence there.

That was exactly my wife's reaction.  She doesn't really watch the show but we sit there together and I'll be watching while she does something else.  When the Doctor scoffed at the idea of Pink being a maths teacher she immediately looked up and said "why?  Because he's black?  Since when is the Doctor racist?"  I agree that wasn't the intent, but it's further evidence that they didn't really think through the (ridiculous) plotline.

Edited by truther
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After last week's enjoyable "Time Heist" episode, this episode was a huge disappointment.  The Skovox Blitzer monster was a joke and not scary at all.  It looked like a mini-Transformer.  The Doctor's repeated calling Danny Pink the "PE" or a soldier, not a math teacher, and his rudeness to Danny got tiring after awhile.  I think Peter Capaldi's Doctor still works best when he's serious and that he lacks credibility when he's being "quirky".  I thought the Doctor going undercover as the school caretaker was just silly.  I also find little chemistry between Clara and Danny, so that romance seems forced to me.  I thought Danny became annoying with his "sir"-ing of the Doctor and that whole scene where he repeatedly picked at the Doctor for being a "Lord".  Also, his ultimatum to Clara irked.

 

I say, get rid of Clara and Danny (leave them on earth to live happily ever after together), and bring in Psi and Sabra as the Doctor's new companions.

Edited by tv echo
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...This is the first episode that I have imagined Matt Smith in a scene instead of just watching the scene. It started with the Doctor mistaking "Aid" for the boyfriend and just kept it up from there.

Me too, but just because I only started watching with the young doctors in 2005, so I was wondering at first if the Doctor's resentment of Danny Pink was the kind of jealousy one young man might have for another when a pretty young lady is involved.

I'm thinking the Doctor's hate of soldiers may be a leftover from the Time War. He doesn't like the whole war machine and, as has been mentioned 10 wasn't all that thrilled to have to work with them. It could be 12 is less able to bury the pain of being a soldier and fighting. He never liked killing.

The whole "sir' thing and aristocratic reference worked. It set up an officer/soldier conflict between the two and given how the Doctor reacted seems to indicate to me that he's suffering from PTSD from both Trenzalore and the Time War. It's the only way to explain his bizarre anti-soldier garbage this season.

I think they are both suffering from PTSD. While I really liked this episode (unlike most other posters above) I do think that if I am correct about this--if the arc is heading towards some sort of bonding with mutual respect between shell shocked soldiers--they could have lead up to it a little more clearly so as not to alienate so many viewers who were left wondering WTH was it all about.

Was Danny's mention of class distinction supposed to also reference race and class? If so, was the Doctor supposed to be oblivious of this?

...That PE thing really smacked me in the face at first - I've never seen a connection between "a soldier must only be fit to be a PE teacher", but I've sure as heck seen "black people are athletic and not smart" my entire life. I'm sure it was entirely unintended, but that was a bad bit of congruence there.

Yes. This too. Do they have no people of color looking at the scripts? Or, if so, maybe they just wanted to throw this stuff in to show how subtle prejudice can be?

...In the classic series, the Doctor was a positive, optimistic character, a scientist and explorer. He had an uneasy relationship with the military but was quite happy to befriend soldiers and warriors because he could provide a tempering influence on them, encourage them to look for peaceful solutions where possible...

In the modern series, the character of the Doctor has become a broken, angst-soaked figure constantly battling his own inner darkness who needs the tempering influence of a non-martial human at his side to hold him back, or whatever, showing him a better way - the companion is now filling the role for the Doctor that the Doctor once filled for other people. It's a fundamental difference of approach ....

Well, that's been the New Who approach to the Doctor's relationship with the military, sure - exaggerated tenfold for this new Doctor, for reasons of Plot. None of that was the case in the classic era - he often disagreed with and grumbled about the military outlook and strategy, but worked alongside the military many times and has had a large number of military/warriorly-minded companions....

I haven't seen any of the classic series, but I was a teenager during the Vietnam War, when much of it would have been written and airing, right? At that time, I'm guessing the writers would have been opposed to the war but also opposed to the maligning of returned soldiers who were drafted into the conflict. The military conflicts of today are different, and no doubt influencing the writing of the military aspects of the Who plots.

For me, PC's accent plus his low, hoarse voice is a really bad combo.

It's your local broadcaster that is messing up the sound levels. The show may be perfect but when broadcast the local people can be lazy about making sure the levels are good.

Yes. I'm watching on my iPad (don't ask, don't tell) and I find PC's elocution is so crisp that his accent doesn't matter. When I do watch shows on my TV, I always have captioning on in order not to miss important dialogue, and I'm always fiddling with the volume. I'm not sure if it's all the broadcasters' faults; my TV doesn't allow me very many adjustments. The main problem I have is that it always muffles music, so not only do I miss performances, but any dialogue spoken while there is a lot of music must be read via the captioning.

Anyway, I really liked this episode. I didn't love it, but it had some endearing moments. Even though the doctor was wrong about the Shakespeare teacher being Clara's beau, it was cute to see him happy about it and not the least bit jealous.

And although there was no explanation for Danny's ability to do gymnastics, that spin through the air was a fun way for him to show The Doctor that a good soldier wasn't just good at killing things.

Edited by shapeshifter
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I must've missed the River reference. What was it?

When the Doctor is telling Clara that he lived with Otters for a month, he says something like "well not really lived more like sulking, River and I had a fight" and then Clara cuts him off.

Unless I misunderstood I had to turn on captioning at one point (meet the parents night) because I couldn't understand anything Clara, Danny and bowtie said.

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