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S08.E06: The Caretaker

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Well. Another stinker. Out of 6 I liked three. That's good right? Seasons 6 and 7 I didn't really like that many, maybe 2 in 6 and 3 in 7.  I'm not giving up though. This one goes on the "never watch again" list along with the Fantastic Voyage rip-off. HATED that one. Seriously.

 

Twelve and Clara have zero chemistry. You just don't buy them as companion and doctor. Just like I don't buy Clara and Pink as a couple. She LOVES HIM? ALREADY???? They've only had like 3 dates!

 

And somebody up-thread said it. Why couldn't the doctor take her back like an hour or so BEFORE the date so she can refresh? It IS a time machine, after all!  Why hasn't either of these idiots thought of that? It's annoying as all get out.  Seriously, we're not that dumb. Why is Moffat treating us as if we had no brain?

 

This may sound disloyal to the franchise, but I am NOT enjoying 12. Not. At. All. Maybe it's the writing, maybe its the companion, maybe it's the shitty story-lines. I'm going to give it this season and next (

when Clara's finally gone and we get a new companion

) to see if this is really 12 or the writing or what. After Season 9, if it's still this ugly, I'm out.

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One would think that, right?  For Nine maybe! (that was a snark at Moffett not you).  But even when surrounded by soldiers, Nine was still trying to help everyone from the mess that Captain Jack inadvertently made.  If he was as anti-soldier as Twelve is, he would have been so busy insulting all the uniforms around him to have figured out what was the key to saving the child and everyone else.

Yes, Twelve has the memories of the Time War but he also has the now know that he did not destroy his own race and another by using "The Moment".  And, why in the name of not killing would he save and release what was basically a "planet destroying weapon"?

 

I don't think he does have those memories. Didn't they say 10 & 11 would forget what they did and how they changed things? I have to go back and watch again but I'm pretty sure he doesn't know.

 

Yes, 9 still tries to help and so did 12. As angry and nasty as he was he risked his life twice to save the Earth. That has not changed. And from the fitz sound the thing was making as it floated away into empty space I would say it is not working anymore. 12 has a different personality, one very different from any we have seen since the reboot and I don't think this one has settle in as quickly as the last two. I think there will be more of a growth period for this one. Remember 10 was cheerful but had a very dark side which seemed to almost disappear with 11. Now it is back and the dark side is the major part of his personality. Also he has lost River, Rory and Amy to death. Not the same a his usual swanning off leaving them to live their lives.  I think this one's attitude can be attributed to a build up of pressure which has exploded with 12. I will wait to see where they take us.

 

All that said, yeah Moffitt is writing him badly.

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This episode was so, so frustrating. As has been said, far too sitcom-y, and far too much harping on the abrasive, downright mean soldier & "PE teacher" thing, with the added failing of far too much of Clara not explaining things well to Danny, and Danny not trying to listen to Clara, and the Doctor making snap judgments about people, etc. Agh.

 

Things I did like: several fantastic lines/scenes, with the Doctor as the Caretaker especially, the River reference, and the setting. Also Danny being useful with his impressive flip over the killer robot (which, also as been said, not at all scary).

 

But overall, I keep wanting to love this show as much as I used to, and almost every time, I'm disappointed. Not that I'm giving up, because it's still the Doctor and there are still things to love - and I still hope that Capaldi's Doctor gets the chance to shine that he deserves.

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As a stand-alone episode, I liked it, as I've liked most of the episodes this series. Capaldi is a great comic actor, and I loved watching the Doctor's awful attempts at undercover. Yes, I think he was excessively obnoxious to Danny, but the payoff was some good development of that character and his relationship with Clara, which I don't think needs any grand justification. They were attracted to each other, they began dating, have presumably been dating for some length of time, and have fallen for each other. Since I'm not interested in watching a standard romance, I'm happy to skip most of the preliminaries, except insofar as they have related to Clara's time-traveling life.

 

This episode really drove home for me, though, the larger issues I, like many of you, am having with the Doctor. I've touched on them in earlier posts, but now I've got a clearer sense of what is troubling me: while the Doctor's behavior in any given episode can be reconciled with the behavior of previous incarnations, and thus doesn't automatically ruin the individual episodes for me, when you put it all together, the writers really aren't giving me a Doctor I can like very much, or even be terribly interested in.

 

Twelve being nasty to Danny? That isn't so different from Nine being mean to Mickey. Twelve displaying lack of ordinary emotion at a death? Four did that too. Putting others in danger? That's par for the course. Sanctimonious? Try Ten condemning Harriet Jones. But with all of the new series Doctors - and all of the old ones I've seen (1-5) -- there were a lot more redeeming moments to balance out the negative. Let's start with "Rose." Nine isn't particularly pleasant during that episode. He shrugs off several deaths, acts generally condescending about humans, and, to top it all off, the episode introduces the idea that the Doctor is not a magical space tour guide, but a deeply dangerous person whose actions put those around him in grave danger. We also, however, see other things as well. First of all, even in an episode where the Doctor isn't saving the day, we get an idea of how formidable and powerful a figure he is both in Clive's warnings and in the magnificent "I feel the turn of the Earth" speech. Second, there's a sense of the wonder of the Doctor and his world - just look at Rose's face as she runs to the TARDIS - and of his power to transform his companions for the better as he lifts Rose out of a dead-end life that had stifled her potential. Very quickly, Nine would also begin to have moments that demonstrated his deep love and compassion for humans - think of him kissing Gwenyth  on the forehead before she sacrifices herself to the Gelth, or his speech about the wonder of ordinary human life in Father's Day. 

 

It is a pattern that has mostly held throughout the new series, and was evident in parts of the old as well. Neither RTD or Moffat has been unwilling to show the Doctor as deeply flawed, but until recently - probably the end of Eleven's tenure, but certainly this series -- there was still a sense of wonder, majesty and humanity (in the broadest sense) about the Doctor. Eleven may have been a little more clownish than RTD's Doctors, and more frequently forced to confront his at times damaging effects on both his companions and the universe, but at least through series 5, the Doctor was still a magic, wonderful man with a box. In Smith's second episode, we get a Doctor who can never run from a crying child. In Capaldi's, we get a Doctor whose hate can rival a Dalek. 

 

I mean, taking these episodes collectively, what really is there to like about Twelve? He is petty. He is rude. He is dismissive and unemotional, unless it involves the prospect of Clara leaving him. He is self-loathing, and why shouldn't he be, since evidently, he may well be a net force of destruction in the universe. He needs a "carer," not only to compensate for his lack of ordinary sympathy, but at times to mind him like an unruly child. His Time Lord intelligence still allows him to save the day, at times, but never, so far, in a way that inspires the awe of Eleven's "We're in the largest library in the universe. Look me up." or Nine's "I said no" or that could plausibly justify Tim Lattimer's "fire, ice and rage" speech about Ten. And while Clara says in this episode that she stays with him because of all the wonders he shows to her, and Danny acknowledges he inspires her to courage, that isn't where the emphasis of the narrative lies. Clara isn't being transformed by her experiences the way Rose was, and she isn't fully invested in them the way Amy was. I like her well enough, now, but I'm not being convinced that her time with the Doctor has had this profound effect on her, and at the end of the episode, our takeaway isn't "The Doctor is wonderful" but "The Doctor will push you too far." 

 

So, again, I can like an episode like "The Caretaker," on its own terms, but unless the show as a whole gives the Doctor back some combination of gravitas and heart and starts occasionally treating him like an actual hero, it won't be the show I once loved. 

Edited by companionenvy
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Because that would be a paradox. She can't come back before she leaves, or then there would be two of her in the same place and time.

 

True, but she could take a nap on the TARDIS before she goes back.

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True, but she could take a nap on the TARDIS before she goes back.

That's what I was thinking when we saw her dashing straight from adventure to date to adventure to date, even turning up at her dates still damp and with seaweed in her hair. Why can't she take half an hour to have a shower, change into something clean and dry, and catch her breath before going to meet Danny? She's making things harder than they need to be! The TARDIS has bedrooms and a wardrobe and hopefully a bathroom as well. It doesn't always have to be such a mad dash. Take some time to relax and freshen up aboard the TARDIS and then go back home for the big date.

 

I thought the same thing after Time Heist when Clara went rushing off for her date wearing the same outfit she'd had on throughout the adventure, complaining about having had a meal already. What's the rush? Why not spend the night on the TARDIS, freshen up, find a less sweaty outfit (or at least get it cleaned, if it has to be that outfit for the date) and then go to meet Danny once the adrenaline has worn off and she's hungry again?

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I really enjoyed this one.

 

The Doctor and Danny - maybe at some point they will get along but I'm guessing not for now. Some great moments with both characters and it's nice to see that Clara didn't lose either as well.

 

The Doctor trying to pass himself off as an ordinary caretaker was pretty funny as well in parts.

 

Skovox was a great monster, if somewhat underused as well though.

 

Intrigued by the Missy/Seb/Nethersphere stuff too.

 

I was dreading seeing Courtney but she was actually pretty likeable in the episode. Bodes well for the next one I guess. 9/10

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I am having such a hard time getting past Clara's mini skirt with leggings look.

While I have my problems with Clara, this is definitely not one of them.  :)

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I'm worried we are headed to a climatic scenario where the Doctor realizes he is in fact the ultimate soldier or warrior of sorts YET AGAIN. Back to the same well that has run dry after initially being great.

 

Take for instance Pandorica, which I absolutely loved. Throughout the history of the series the Doctor has saved countless worlds, timelines, races, and the Universe itself through destroying what he has deemed evil or wrong. Through all of this he was never framed as a warrior or soldier of course, and the real beauty of Pandorica is it took all those events and added them up to their logical conclusion....namely that the Doctor was the most feared person in the Universe, so powerful and beyond normal existence that his combined enemies dare to vaporize him due to understanding/belief that doing so would be useless and even self-destructive because he would 'get' them for doing such either somewhere in the past or the future. That was a really great wrinkle to add to the Doctor's character and one that came organically out of the long history of show rather than something writers had to beat us over head with time and time again.

 

However...so now what? The Doctor hates soldiers and doesnt seem himself as a killer or at least Architect of death? Even after Trenzlore and the Time War? So the Doctor is going to have to go through soul searching revelations about himself aided by Clara's nannying and the example that Danny Soldier Boy is actually a good and worthwhile person? All to defeat this new enemy who is surely going to question the Doctor on how he sees himself and throw things in his face that has apparently not considered? 

 

Geez Louise, can we just have some fun stories for a season? Maybe a 2 parter or even 3 part for a worthwhile villain? The Doctor doesnt have to go through all this endless angst and soul searching EVERY season......he knows who he is and so do we!

Edited by tv-talk
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I really enjoyed this one.

 

The Doctor and Danny - maybe at some point they will get along but I'm guessing not for now. Some great moments with both characters and it's nice to see that Clara didn't lose either as well.

 

The Doctor trying to pass himself off as an ordinary caretaker was pretty funny as well in parts.

 

Skovox was a great monster, if somewhat underused as well though.

 

Intrigued by the Missy/Seb/Nethersphere stuff too.

 

I was dreading seeing Courtney but she was actually pretty likeable in the episode. Bodes well for the next one I guess. 9/10

 

Courtney's coming back? I really liked her interactions with the Doctor -- basically the only thing I liked in this episode -- so I'm looking forward to it.

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Yes, tv-talk, I agree. I'm thrilled that DW is willing to discuss complex moral issues, but if I want to watch a story about a selfish and destructive person toxic to those around them, I can watch Breaking Bad. If every time the Doctor confronts a major threat, it turns out that he has caused it, then there isn't much joy in rooting for him, and if he is going to have the same crisis of conscience five times a series, it is no longer edgy and provocative, but predictable and tired. 

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I'm beginning to think this is all some kind of master plan by Moffett to take Doctor Who back to its roots. The story is more about the companion and his/her journey than the doctor - check.  The Doctor is a crusty old alien who doesn't really understand humans - check.  The stories are less complicated to appeal to children -check.  Even the repetition and non-subtle reactions - easier for kids to follow. 

 

The problem is, the genie was let out of the bottle over the past seasons.  Yes, sometimes it was wa-a-y too complicated - The Silence, babies born in space, so much timey-wimey that it was hard to understand what the heck was happening sometimes.  But, nu-Doctor is nu-Doctor.  That's the Doctor I loved.  I adored the fun episodes, but also the complexities. 

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I'm beginning to think this is all some kind of master plan by Moffett to take Doctor Who back to its roots. The story is more about the companion and his/her journey than the doctor - check.  The Doctor is a crusty old alien who doesn't really understand humans - check.  The stories are less complicated to appeal to children -check.  Even the repetition and non-subtle reactions - easier for kids to follow. 

If Moffat - or anyone else - thinks this is Doctor Who back to basics, they are seriously mistaken! Hartnell's Doctor could be autocratic and high-handed, for sure, but he was never just a 'crusty old alien who doesn't understand humans' and he was written with ten times the nuance Capaldi is getting. He had great dignity and commanded respect, was also playful and mischievous, full of fun, was warm and loving with those he considered his own, loved to learn and explore for the sake of learning and exploring - and he never had any trouble interacting with humans! You'd never catch him or any of his successors writing a 'keep out humans' sign; he knew how to blend in. Early Doctor Who was aimed very much at children, to be sure, but the characters were written as functional, competent adults and were played completely straight by the actors, as drama, whereas this episode (and much of this season) has been written more with sitcom stylings, the characters exaggerated and caricatured for 'humorous' effect. Early Doctor Who didn't repeat things ad nauseum 'for kids to follow', it delivered lessons clearly and simply;  repetition came when a point had to be reiterated from episode to episode for the benefit of viewers who missed last week, a problem today's show doesn't have, and what modern viewers consider exaggerated reactions were normal acting at the time, adapted from the theatre and necessary in television because they didn't have the dynamic camera angles modern actors rely on so heavily to lend nuance to scenes.

 

And anyway, I fail to see why repeating character development already achieved 50 years ago would be considered good progress. Allowing him to move past the NuWho self-loathing and depression, that would be progress and appropriate development!

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If it's a kids' show, what's it doing on at 9pm on Saturday nights?  That's like putting on Friday evenings after sundown a show for Jews who keep the Sabbath. 

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It still comes down to not knowing who Clara is. Has she grown as a person for better or worse? If you dropped her into any of the episodes would her actions seems out place? We don’t have interactions with any characters that knew her pre Doctor to show how she’s changed.  Why not use her father as a way to show how the Doctor influences her life.  Danny is supposed to be that but again we know nothing about him or their relationship. One minute they’re having a crappy date and the next it’s declarations of love. How can we gauge how her travels with the Doctor are affecting her life and relationships if we haven’t seen it progress?  Part of the problem is we see a lot of time jumps in the series. How did she become a school teacher? What happened to those kids she was a nanny for?  We’re told all these things but never shown them and that doesn’t have the same impact. This happened with Amy and Rory to a certain degree.  We never really saw them grow as people. Sure Amy went from Kiss o Gram to a model to a writer but how? Did her parents care that she disappeared? Yeah we got introduced to Brian at the end of their appearances but it was clearly just a way to up the grief when they “died”.  Like I said before it’s cheating, they want that emotional payoff without putting the character building into the story.

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Eccleston, Tennant, Smith -- they all "felt" like the Doctor.  Even with the changes in style.

 

Capaldi - at least the way he's being written and directed -- does not.

 

companionenvy and tvtalk get it -- there's no sense of wonder or adventure.  Mostly both the Doctor and Clara act put-upon.  "Oh geez I have to save the universe AGAIN!?  But I just started another load of laundry.  Oh, well, if I have to...."  

 

Eccleston was tragic, Tennant was steely, Smith was boyish and goofy, Capaldi is just nasty and short-tempered all the time, like my cat when her stomach's upset.  Of course, with my cat, I can shove a sliver of an antacid down her throat (doctor's orders).  Maybe someone should do that with 12? 

 

I was hoping for a characterization more like Eccleston's -- more grim, more removed, more alien -- but instead we've got poor Peter Capaldi trying to take Matt Smith's dialogue and make it his own.

 

Moffat was great as one of a stable of writers, but as showrunner and main writer, he's proven to be one-dimensional.  He doesn't write characters, he writes tics.  And generally only one set of tics (kudos to those who pointed out the Sherlock resemblance).  There's no chemistry among his characters because they're not characters, they're signposts.

 

On the plus side, I loved Danny's takedown of the Doctor.  And I like the new credit sequence, even if steampunk is totally 20 years ago.

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And sometimes 6.30

Quick question, how do people marry the complaints that we're seeing too much of Clara and Danny dating, yet simultaneously complaining that we've not seen their relationship develop? You can't have it both ways.

Also, we know they've been dating for 3.5 months or so at the moment, not horrendously quick and only 3 dates in*. They started at the beginning of term, and they're out to parents' evening at the end of term.

* we see 3 dates in just this episode.

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Quick question, how do people marry the complaints that we're seeing too much of Clara and Danny dating, yet simultaneously complaining that we've not seen their relationship develop? You can't have it both ways.

Apples and oranges.  I want the show to spend as much, or as little, time as necessary to make Danny and Clara a believable couple.  Right now the show devotes an inordinate amount of time to Clara's personal life but has never once shown me any reason to believe that she and Danny even like each other, let alone should be romantically involved.  So it's not about trying to have it both ways.  It's about asking that the show put a little effort into character development.  If that means one 5-minute scene for the whole season then fine by me.  But we still need that scene.  Right now they have zero chemistry. 

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Quick question, how do people marry the complaints that we're seeing too much of Clara and Danny dating, yet simultaneously complaining that we've not seen their relationship develop?

 

I don't want to see any of it, but what they've shown, one awkward date - mild canoodling - I love him, is basically out of nowhere. And unnecessary. When the Doctor asks her why? Instead of 'because I love him' she could have easily said, "I like him, we have fun together, and you need to respect my choices." 

 

It's been So Much this season with everything. Tone it down. 

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I could do wholly without the Clara love-interest angle as well but if they are going to do it at least do it well. He seemed genuinely put off and hurt by fact she hadnt told him anything about Time Travel or the Doctor and specifically questioned what that meant she thought of him......was there ever an answer to that? Or had she already blurted out 'I love him' and so why bother actually telling the story?

 

At any rate, so far Capaldi is a lame Doctor undoubtedly one of the worst and Clara ranks similarly amongst Companions. If they arent going to start writing Capaldi differently at the very least Clara needs to be jettisoned and probably more than one Companion added. Preferably not humans circa 2014, or one of those and some random homo sapien from elsewhere.

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If your going to tell a story and in this case a love story between one of your main characters take the time to do it. Why not spread that montage of dates over the course of the season instead of what amounts to a recap at the beginning of the episode. Open some episodes with Clara and Danny together. Then have the Doctor wonder why she's so happy or distracted, instead of you know insulting her appearance. Or end an episode that saw Clara go through something horrible and have Danny try to get her to open up. Show the friction that traveling with the Doctor is causing on her personally and have an episode like this be the tipping point. 

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I don't think he does have those memories. Didn't they say 10 & 11 would forget what they did and how they changed things? I have to go back and watch again but I'm pretty sure he doesn't know.

11 does.  As I understand it when the Doctor interacts with his future self his past selves don't remember it only the the latest incarnation does.  (Time Crash kinda blows that up though, though it could be said that Ten doesn't really remember all the details just crucial ones and only when he absolutely needs to)

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11 does.  As I understand it when the Doctor interacts with his future self his past selves don't remember it only the the latest incarnation does.  (Time Crash kinda blows that up though, though it could be said that Ten doesn't really remember all the details just crucial ones and only when he absolutely needs to)

That is how I remembered the explanation went when the War Doctor says "I'm not going to remember this, am I?"  (Yay! for Continuity to have an explanation of why Nine does not remember)

 

The question is does Twelve not remember because he has not helped out with the 'cup of soup' maneuver yet and the memory of that is just sitting waiting to remind him that he has to go and do that at a certain time?

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That's what I was thinking when we saw her dashing straight from adventure to date to adventure to date, even turning up at her dates still damp and with seaweed in her hair. Why can't she take half an hour to have a shower, change into something clean and dry, and catch her breath before going to meet Danny? She's making things harder than they need to be! The TARDIS has bedrooms and a wardrobe and hopefully a bathroom as well. It doesn't always have to be such a mad dash. Take some time to relax and freshen up aboard the TARDIS and then go back home for the big date.

 

I thought the same thing after Time Heist when Clara went rushing off for her date wearing the same outfit she'd had on throughout the adventure, complaining about having had a meal already. What's the rush? Why not spend the night on the TARDIS, freshen up, find a less sweaty outfit (or at least get it cleaned, if it has to be that outfit for the date) and then go to meet Danny once the adrenaline has worn off and she's hungry again?

 

Excellent point about Clara always rushing off to meet up with Danny.  As she's on a time machine, there's literally no reason for her to be rushing off for dates.  She can take the time to rest, shower, and get ready on the TARDIS (the Doctor certainly doesn't mind having her around) and then return at the proper moment.  The whole "Clara rushing to her date" is as contrived as the conflict between the Doctor and Danny.

 

I'm not a fan of the current companion vibe with Clara acting like a nanny to the Doctor.  On the subject brought up about trying to return to the original Doctor Who dynamic where the companion was pretty much the main star (which Moffat has admitted Clara is), as pointed out, that went out the door ages ago.  Once Ian and Barbara left, it was clear that the Doctor was the star of the show and the one the show was centered around.  It's worked ever since then.

 

On the subject of a soldier teaching mathematics, I was watching Mawdryn Undead the other day where the Fifth Doctor encounters the Brigadier for the first time in many years.  The Brigadier is working at a boarding school as is teaching the students there mathematics.  The Doctor fails to keep a straight face when he hears that.  Granted, he knew the Brigadier personally for many years so the relationship is different.  But he did once laugh at the idea of his old military buddy teaching math.

That is how I remembered the explanation went when the War Doctor says "I'm not going to remember this, am I?"  (Yay! for Continuity to have an explanation of why Nine does not remember)

 

The question is does Twelve not remember because he has not helped out with the 'cup of soup' maneuver yet and the memory of that is just sitting waiting to remind him that he has to go and do that at a certain time?

 

This is what I'm thinking as well.  They needed all of the Doctors to freeze Gallifrey in time, including 12.  Which means 12 had to be the one who finished the calculations and only then did he go back in time to save Gallifrey.  Hopefully they haven't forgotten that part although I don't trust Moffat.  If we do get to see that, I hope we'll get to see the scene with 12 that we saw in The Day of the Doctor.

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It's making me sad that there's so much negativity about Twelve and Capaldi.  I think he's a fabulous Doctor: funny, intelligent, and yes, impatient and prickly; but deep down, he's determined to do the right thing.  As Clara said, he's trying to be a good man, and that's the point.  Maybe fighting on Trenzalore for so long forced him to back into his "Lonely God" role for so long that he's come out of that experience unable to relate to others as well as he did when he felt like he was part of a "team" with Amy, Rory, and River.  Maybe the anger and emotional distance we're seeing now is the cost of his being a "hero" for so long.  But he hasn't lost his desire to help others--we saw it in his "superpower" speech to Rupert.  And in his working with Maid Marian to help the peasants overthrow the robots in Sherwood.  And when he fought with Half-Face Man, saying that he would do anything to save the humans on the ground below.  He's having trouble connecting with people, but that doesn't mean that he doesn't care about them.

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The problem with Clara for me is that she has no reason to be there. She saved the Doctor from the Daleks and had adventures in Victorian England as other versions of herself. She also jumped into the time stream on Trenzalore. What the hell is she doing now? Her history has been very much in reverse. Companions in NuWho show some quality, get swept up, go on a bunch of stupid adventures that turn out to be important missions then generally end up sacrificing themselves in some way at the end.

 

Now if this is a kids show reboot, I guess it makes sense that Clara ends up safe and sound, having been fractured through time and space, killed countless times and then winds up married on earth and done with the Doctor no worse for wear.

 

Sometime it takes a new companion to fix Doctor Who. Clara is the new Mel.

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I just watched this episode last night. I am so deflated to admit that this season hasn't done much for me at all.

 

It's not Capaldi's fault in any way, it just seems to me that the writing is off. It's been mentioned in the thread already but I was immediately annoyed that the Doctor assumed Danny was the PE teacher. Yes, I immediately thought "oh god, because he's black!?" and it wasn't until later I understood the writers meant for the Doctor to put Danny down as a military knuckle-dragger who clearly can "only" manage PE.** Serious miss by the writing staff.

** having said that, I know many PE teachers who are not knuckle-dragging idiots by any stretch.

Edited by mledawn
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If Moffat - or anyone else - thinks this is Doctor Who back to basics, they are seriously mistaken! Hartnell's Doctor could be autocratic and high-handed, for sure, but he was never just a 'crusty old alien who doesn't understand humans' and he was written with ten times the nuance Capaldi is getting. He had great dignity and commanded respect, was also playful and mischievous, full of fun, was warm and loving with those he considered his own, loved to learn and explore for the sake of learning and exploring - and he never had any trouble interacting with humans!

I don't think that describes the Doctor of the pilot episode; One went through a transformation. Perhaps it's Moffat's idea to have Capaldi retrace those steps.

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This episode tipped me off as to why I'm having trouble getting on board with the new Doctor and this season generally. The Doctor doesn't appear to be having any fun and, therefore, neither am I. He's just such a grump. Seems to me previous Doctors would get excited learning new things about various species. This Doctor appears to be phoning it in. (Ugh, whatever. Gotta save the world. FML.) Maybe just my interpretation. I'm almost certainly wrong about this but honestly, I don't see any mischievous glee or spirit of exploration.

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I don't think that describes the Doctor of the pilot episode; One went through a transformation. Perhaps it's Moffat's idea to have Capaldi retrace those steps.

But he went through that transformation much faster than we're seeing here, and even in that pivotal first adventure (where we are seeing him almost exclusively from Ian and Barbara's perspective) we can see the seeds of the man beneath, in a way that simply isn't coming across in the frequently one-note, sit-com presentation of the characters this season. It was a different show then, with the emphasis in a different place. Plus, my other point still stands: what's the point of having the character go through the same development he already achieved 50 years ago? How is that better than building on his development (or lack thereof) of the last few seasons? He should be developing from where he is now, not resetting back to who he was in his first lifetime just so he can learn the same lessons all over again. Which I really don't think is what's happening here anyway. I think they're aiming more for a 6th Doctor, 'prickly cactus slowly mellows to reveal the soft centre beneath' development, which was a risky move back in the '80s (indeed, it proved fatal for the 6th Doctor) and imo isn't being handled any better here.

 

And the thing is, it needn't be this way. I think the problem is Moffat's tendency to rush at everything, like he's in a desperate hurry to get to where he wants to go. He tends not to take the time to lay the groundwork. Because you can get away with having episodes that exaggerate the characters in sit-com fashion for purposes of plot or comedy, but it needs to be done when the fuller personality is already well established, so that the viewer is already fully engaged with who the character is really, and won't be put off by having a flaw exaggerated. That's what's lacking here - a solid grounding in the broader personality of the new Doctor. We needed to spend some time peeling back his layers to get to know him properly, instead of spending the entire season so far emphasising one rather unpleasant aspect of his personality.

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Quick question, how do people marry the complaints that we're seeing too much of Clara and Danny dating, yet simultaneously complaining that we've not seen their relationship develop? You can't have it both ways.

 

It's too much because, for me, their relationship has been full of plenty of miscommunications and hurt feelings, but no real progression.  Some indication of the number of dates, or the two of them having real fun, or just some moonie eyes between them would have worked far better to establish a real relationship.  But, then again, I've always been fond of Clara and have come to think Danny a bore.

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It's making me sad that there's so much negativity about Twelve and Capaldi.  I think he's a fabulous Doctor: funny, intelligent, and yes, impatient and prickly; but deep down, he's determined to do the right thing.  As Clara said, he's trying to be a good man, and that's the point.

It is depressing. I wish people could have as much fun as I'm having with the Moffat era.

Edited by HauntedBathroom
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alrightokay, on 29 Sept 2014 - 10:08 PM, said:

    It's making me sad that there's so much negativity about Twelve and Capaldi.  I think he's a fabulous Doctor: funny, intelligent, and yes, impatient and prickly; but deep down, he's determined to do the right thing.  As Clara said, he's trying to be a good man, and that's the point.

It is depressing. I wish people could have as much fun as I'm having with the Moffat era.

 

I like Capaldi -- I think he's fantastic in this role. I like his Doctor for the most part, harumphing and all. I really enjoy that he is different from his predecessors. My problem is that the writing isn't different, and I don't feel like the story-telling is in sync with the Doctor we're seeing now, vs. the Doctor we were seeing previously. In some cases the result is that elements that didn't register on my radar before are glaring distractions now. This Doctor is a different man than the previous regeneration, and has a different relationship with the people around him, so I expect new and different stories to be told -- but what I'm getting is the same storytelling and storylines underneath what should be a radical shift. It doesn't support it, at least not nearly as well as I would like. I thought the show would sort of re-invent itself with the regeneration -- that's what I was led to believe would happen. Instead, I feel like I got a new car frame and interior design on my car, but I'm still running the same tires and engine. Not quite the overhaul I was expecting.

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Most of the episodes now have been a romcom about a school teacher and the guy she fancies as she jumps through time with an old man with no sense of purpose.

 

This is Twelve's problem. The Doctor is going on adventures in the TARDIS because the scripts tell him to. I have no idea what his motivation is at all. Even when Nine and Ten seemed to lack purpose, their wanderlust was the motivation to go different places. This Doctor constantly seems like he wants to go home and have a quiet night in.

 

Clara seems like an obligation to him as well. It's like he offers to take her places because she saved him from oblivion and the least he can do is take her on joyrides. Like I read upthread, no one seems to be having much fun.

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The Doctor doesn't appear to be having any fun and, therefore, neither am I. He's just such a grump. Seems to me previous Doctors would get excited learning new things about various species. This Doctor appears to be phoning it in. (Ugh, whatever. Gotta save the world. FML.) Maybe just my interpretation.

 

It's my interpretation too, he seems weary and harassed to me.

 

It is depressing. I wish people could have as much fun as I'm having with the Moffat era.

 

It's good you're enjoying it though. I would rather watch the worst most hated TV show on earth that I enjoy, than a critically-acclaimed beloved-by-everyone show that bores me.

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Plus, my other point still stands: what's the point of having the character go through the same development he already achieved 50 years ago?

Why does anyone remake a classic movie? They think they can put a fresh spin on it, perhaps taking advantage of missed opportunities. The fact that we're not seeing what Moffat had in mind by now means that he's failing.

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Well at least The Doctor isn't Doing the naughty with a Soulless Vampire as he goes through the motions of what his life used to be and is expected to be :p

Edited by tarotx
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Remember when Capaldi was cast and somehow his age became an overblown issue. Why are the writers constantly bringing it up? And something else that ties into a lot of the complaints I've seen here about his Doctor. Angry, grumpy, mean, crotchety, no compassion, etc all descriptions of 12. Why are they writing him as the stereotypical older man we've seen hundreds of times in movies and television.

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This is what I'm thinking as well.  They needed all of the Doctors to freeze Gallifrey in time, including 12.  Which means 12 had to be the one who finished the calculations and only then did he go back in time to save Gallifrey.  Hopefully they haven't forgotten that part although I don't trust Moffat.  If we do get to see that, I hope we'll get to see the scene with 12 that we saw in The Day of the Doctor.

 

My suspicion is that the first 11 doctors (well, 12, including War) didn't calculate with Capaldi in mind.  11/Smith thought they were finished.  12 wasn't part of the initial plan.  But, sometime into Capaldi's tenure, he's going to come up with an idea of how to modify what he/they did to Gallifrey that will make it rescue-able and not merely trapped in a pocket universe.  THAT is when he is going to show up to re-create the events of Day of the Doctor.  But then we'll go forward from there with his POV instead of 11/Smith's -- whereas Smith experienced Gallifrey being unreachable (except for through that crack), and doesn't remember 12/Capaldi's involvement at all (the aforementioned effect that past doctors don't remember interactions with future doctors) and so has no reason to wonder what he was doing there and also so that 12/Capaldi doesn't currently know that he already 'was' there -- instead of that we'll see 12/Capaldi start to engage in some brilliant rescue strategy and brings Gallifrey back successfully.

 

As for this episode, I think I liked it.  Did I already say that?  Watching it a second time I caught a lot more jokes than the first time.  Some that require a bit of anglophilia.  In NA we don't have this "Assembly" that they were going on about.  When Capaldi is first chatting with Clara as the new caretaker, he tells her to hurry up and get to Assembly -- and he says "Go worship something."  Very funny.

 

And I think someone mentioned the Pink Floyd reference -- very quick and subtle but I did catch that the first time.  "No playing ball on the chessboard!"  "Aw, Clara, let the kids think outside the box..."

 

I have been wondering something though -- Clara asked the Doctor if he recognized the name "Pink", making the connection between Danny Pink and the future time traveller.  So -- why did she not mention little Rupert?  Did the Doctor ever learn the name of the kid in that episode, or did only Clara know?  Because if he did know the kid's name, why did he not make the connection already between young Rupert and future time traveller Pinks?

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Along with all the other things I find ridiculous about this show in general and this episode in particular, the one that bothers me most is a teacher wearing micro-mini skirts. It's pure fanboy service and is insulting to many women fans.

Although the constant hand waving is making me really consider if I want to continue dvring this.  I forgot to watch this week's ep until monday.

is there any chance we will get decent writing any time soon?

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I purposely didn't post about the show because I was so angry.  But... almost a week later and my thoughts haven't changed.

 

I'm now officially hate-watching. This isn't the show I fell in love with.  I spent the entire time yelling at my screen.  Some of my thoughts:

 

  • Who the fuck do you think you are snapping your fingers at the TARDIS, Clara?!  Fuck off with your entitled ass!!  You should never, ever been allowed to do that.  People bristled when Ten did it, let alone you!  You're not that important and it pisses me right off that you pulled that shit.
  • "Sir?"  "Lord?"  Who the fuck do YOU think you are talking to the Doctor like that, Pinky?  I don't care that he's been an asshole to you, shut your mouth and show some damned respect.
  • Speaking of assholes.  You. Doctor. Are. One.  I'm still waiting to see one single reedeming quality.  Your name alone isn't enough.
  • Clara, how cute! You wanted to sneak your boyfriend on the TARDIS and trick the Doctor!  No.. that's not cute.  That's more of your arrogance showing. It was dangerous and stupid.
  • Danny and Clara are in lurve.  Great... .go away, together. Now.  Both of you.

 

I'll continue to watch, because it's Doctor Who.  But, I'm not happy. Not happy at all.

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Who the fuck do you think you are snapping your fingers at the TARDIS, Clara?!  Fuck off with your entitled ass!!  You should never, ever been allowed to do that.  People bristled when Ten did it, let alone you!  You're not that important and it pisses me right off that you pulled that shit.

 

Clara's done that before.  In fact, if I recall correctly, the fact that she was able to do that was an important point early on in her tenure.  I can't remember the circumstances, just that the Doctor was more or less saying 'wow, cool, that shouldn't work'.  

 

"Sir?"  "Lord?"  Who the fuck do YOU think you are talking to the Doctor like that, Pinky?  I don't care that he's been an asshole to you, shut your mouth and show some damned respect.

 

"Pinky" has no idea who the Doctor is at this point.  Unlike you and I, who have been observing him for years.  This "asshole" is the only aspect of the Doctor that Pink has ever seen.  He knows nothing (or at most very little and only third-hand) about how he's saved the universe so many times, how integral he is to the functioning of the universe throughout history.  He's just some arse alien who has been belittling him without cease and seems to hold bizarre sway over his girlfriend.  Why on earth would that deserve respect at all?

 

Speaking of assholes.  You. Doctor. Are. One.  I'm still waiting to see one single reedeming quality.  Your name alone isn't enough.

 

 

See the previous point.  Shouldn't you be treating the doctor with some damned respect, as you say?  Or maybe he actually deserved Pink's tirade after all.

Clara, how cute! You wanted to sneak your boyfriend on the TARDIS and trick the Doctor!  No.. that's not cute.  That's more of your arrogance showing. It was dangerous and stupid.

 

She wasn't trying to be arrogant or cute or 'trick' the Doctor.  Yes, she was trying to conceal Danny's presence from the Doctor, but it wasn't for the purpose of tricking the Doctor -- it was to prove to Danny that she was the same Clara when she was with the Doctor, and the only way she could think of to do so was to let him watch them interact normally -- and if the Doctor knew Danny was there, of course he'd start being an arse again and they wouldn't be able to have a 'normal' interaction to watch.

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Along with all the other things I find ridiculous about this show in general and this episode in particular, the one that bothers me most is a teacher wearing micro-mini skirts. It's pure fanboy service and is insulting to many women fans.

Although the constant hand waving is making me really consider if I want to continue dvring this.  I forgot to watch this week's ep until monday.

is there any chance we will get decent writing any time soon?

I think there's a difference when it's a miniskirt or dress with what are basically tights. Of course, she's wearing that as a woman closer to 30 than 20. If she were dressed like she was in Asylum of the Daleks, I'd consider it more exploitative.

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Speaking of assholes.  You. Doctor. Are. One.  I'm still waiting to see one single reedeming quality.  Your name alone isn't enough.

 

    

See the previous point.  Shouldn't you be treating the doctor with some damned respect, as you say?  Or maybe he actually deserved Pink's tirade after all.

 

 

There's a difference between calling someone an asshole and flat out mocking them to their face.

 

In fact, I think I'd probably respect Pinky a little more if he just said, "Hey, you're an asshole"  than the whole childish name calling he did.

 

"Pinky" has no idea who the Doctor is at this point.  Unlike you and I, who have been observing him for years.  This "asshole" is the only aspect of the Doctor that Pink has ever seen.  He knows nothing (or at most very little and only third-hand) about how he's saved the universe so many times, how integral he is to the functioning of the universe throughout history.  He's just some arse alien who has been belittling him without cease and seems to hold bizarre sway over his girlfriend.  Why on earth would that deserve respect at all?

 

 

I don't think there was any reason for him to go all 12-year-old "ooooohhh you're a 'LORD'  Wooooohoooooo"  The Doctor was an asshole in general, but I don't think anything the Doctor said to him specifically deserved that response.  Especially, if he lurves Clara.  A proper response could have been, "Hey, you spend a lot of time with my girlfriend and it's obvious you don't like me.  Who are you?  What's going on here? And why are you being such an asshole?"

 

Again, I'd have much more respect for bluntness than the whole immature routine he did instead.

 

And I don't recall when Clara could snap her fingers before, but I'm sure it happened. I don't pay much attention to her.

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Along with all the other things I find ridiculous about this show in general and this episode in particular, the one that bothers me most is a teacher wearing micro-mini skirts. It's pure fanboy service and is insulting to many women fans.

All I can say here is Zooey Deschanel's skirt are shorter than that in New Girl (they do bother me in that case actually) and she is a Secondary School teacher as well... So I think it's just a trend. The quirky, throwback retro trend for petite girls with the wedges and peter pan collars. It's definitely not unique to the show/character and I don't think it's fanboy service. I say that as a 1.64m (not petite but definitely on the short side) 21 yr old girl so that's definitely what I wear. 

 

I liked this episode. I like the Moff's work in general. I just remember thinking that I kind of wanted to see the doctor go darker but also unsure that being this champion for the Universe something that he absolutely wants to do. I think the Doctor is lost and like every transition with the same companion but different Doctor, both the audience and the Doctor look to the companion to set the tone if you will. Then slowly it becomes more the Doctor's tune. I think this Doctor in particular is different because he is the start of a whole new regeneration cycle. His memories and references seem more shambled as well. He also seems to be trying to find his place among all these other versions of himself and he might be rebelling against the established notions that he is the saviour. Before this series started the creative team talked about the Doctor almost being the most immature he's ever been, that he would be trying to find himself. He has changed so many times that he is a myth more than he is a man, in the broadest sense of the term, and I can see why he is more abrupt. He is reestablishing his boundaries. As for Clara, I'll be honest she is not a favourite of mine. I only watched New Who so really she is the one I like the least so far. But I actually feel like she has relaxed a bit into the role and the absence of crush on the Doctor is quite a relief. I do think she likes the Doctor but is conflicted because she already has a strong idea of who he should be so there is disappointment when he seems to care less, be less cheerful and merry or loving of humans. Just like some viewers are disappointed that he seems less joyful. To me he is more the stubborn, grumpy pre-teen than he is an old geezer pissed at everything and everyone. I feel like he is going through some growing pains. 

I guess I feel like I am getting what they said they were going to deliver, a shift in tone with a paradoxical Doctor that is taking his time to find his own again.

 

I like Pink, I think that his denomination of the Doctor as an officer was quite spot on and touched a nerve. I also always appreciate characters using the mirror technique to show the other how their own behaviour is not good. The Doctor being stubborn about him teaching PE got him to be stubborn about the Doctor's rank/status. Also on the whole black thing, I can understand that there are cultural differences and the US is waaaayyy over-sensitive about race (Seriously, since coming to the Uni I have never had this many -if any- surveys asking for my race, it really weirds me out. I don't know what me being black has to do with what brand of soap I use). But it's a bit harsh to judge a British by American standards when it comes to race because it's different and the show is for Brits by Brits. It also shows in a bunch of other countries and they can't change the scripts just to avoid a misunderstanding that is quite clearly disproven in the dialogue just in case an American who doesn't know of the Doctor's dislike for soldiers (though exaggerated it is this series) thinks he is being racist. The man hangs with scaly green people, I think he might have elitist tendencies but race has never shown to be a problem. Anyway, I hope those who are tortured right now feel better about the show soon. I think the writers are also finding their footing when it comes to Capaldi so I'd like to think that by the end the show will be better for you guys if you stick around.

Edited by fantique
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I have no problem with Danny antagonizing the Doctor with the whole "Time Lord" thing.  The Doctor had that coming for being such an unreasonable, condescending asshole to him and Danny clearly touched a nerve, which was the intention.

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Along with all the other things I find ridiculous about this show in general and this episode in particular, the one that bothers me most is a teacher wearing micro-mini skirts. It's pure fanboy service and is insulting to many women fans.

As long as she doesn't have to keep adjusting her skirt to keep her knickers covered, I don't see what difference it makes.

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Let's see a black person get elected Prime Minister and then I'll listen to lectures from Europeans about race in America!

 

Haha, in all seriousness though, as an American who has watched Doctor Who for 30yrs I will say yet again that I don't think anyone thought the Doctor was being a racist...the issue with that scene was it being doubly uncomfortable as the Doctor was being a complete ass about Danny being a soldier and on top of that he happened to be telling a black person you are athletic but not smart enough to be a math teacher. I'm sorry but there is something to that (as far as it being very insulting) and it's not just because Americans are supposedly oversensitive about race.

 

As far as Doctor Who being a British show for a British audience, I'm not so sure that is set in stone any longer given it's worldwide appeal. Matt Smith might have even had a tinge of American in his Doctor, just a hint anyway. I might even say one of the things I miss most about Classic Who is how thoroughly British it was in a way that has become more rare as English speaking cultures have blended over the years with the rise of cross-cultural media platforms (ie you can watch everything on the internet now).

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Haha, in all seriousness though, as an American who has watched Doctor Who for 30yrs I will say yet again that I don't think anyone thought the Doctor was being a racist...the issue with that scene was it being doubly uncomfortable as the Doctor was being a complete ass about Danny being a soldier and on top of that he happened to be telling a black person you are athletic but not smart enough to be a math teacher. I'm sorry but there is something to that (as far as it being very insulting) and it's not just because Americans are supposedly oversensitive about race.

 

I'm not sure why you say "I don't think anyone thought the Doctor was being racist" as I (and at least one other commenter in this thread) did immediately think exactly that. Assuming because he's black he's athletic IS racist.

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