The Doctor Revisits Coal Hill

Saturday, October 04, 2014

A weak monster and an out of character Doctor

It’s been a busy week, and I’ve had less time than I wished for writing on this blog. So this isn’t going to be very long. I might add more thoughts on this episode after I write the review for the next one.

The Caretaker” was a rather odd episode for Doctor Who - an episode where the science fiction was besides the point, bowing down to the storytelling bind that the season forced itself into. We’ve been looking forward to (or, in my case, dreading) the Doctor’s first meeting with Danny Pink, and it plays out pretty much exactly how everyone expected. This Doctor rails on Danny for being a soldier (and for some reason doesn’t catch the familiarity to Orson Pink), and Danny identifies the Doctor as not only a soldier but a commander.

The Doctor’s soldier hatred is a characterization that I cannot really understand. The Doctor has always been slightly down on the concept of a soldier — the blind taking of orders, the tendency to shoot first and ask questions later, etc. — but he’s also both had close friends who were soldiers and, as Davros pointed out to the Tenth Doctor, molded some of his companions into soldiers, including Clara. Generally, the Doctor’s attitude towards the army seemed more of a manifestation of his feelings towards himself than any individual soldier. I don’t think much has changed for Twelve, but he overreacts like crazy to Danny, and it really didn’t sit right with me.

I’m not a huge fan of Danny Pink’s character, but honestly, we’ve seen so little of it, I’m not going to judge. I did find the little bit of extra information we got about the series arc intriguing. Whatever “Heaven” in Doctor Who is, it’s not just one woman running the show — this is a bureaucracy1, an organization, and for whatever reason, dead individuals are being harvested for some reason. I’m intrigued at what this is building into.

Next week: Actually, more like today, the Doctor Who episode with all the hype. “Kill the Moon” looks like it’s going to be intense enough that Clara leaves the TARDIS, and I can’t wait.

  1. This actually reminds me a little bit of the Kingdom/Republic of Heaven concepts from the Dark Materials trilogy. Obviously not nearly as much of a deep dive as Pullman went for, but it’d be cool if Doctor Who plumbed the same depths.