This week, the Doctor goes undercover at Clara’s school in order to stop a threat to Earth (of course!). In other news, Danny finds out about Clara’s secret life. Both plots go equally as well.
The Doctor shows up masquerading as the Coal Hill School’s new caretaker. He’s really there to track down and trap a robotic menace to human society.
For Clara, though, it’s a nightmare as she tries to figure out what the Doctor is up to, stop the alien threat, and keep Danny (Samuel Anderson) away from the Doctor. When Danny becomes unwittingly involved, though, all her worlds collide.
Danny and the Doctor don’t like each other at all. The Doctor’s bias against soldiers and Danny’s bias against officers get in the way. They end up working together to stop the dreaded Skovox Blitzer, though. Danny distracts it while the Doctor manages to shut it down.
Danny accepts that Clara has a life in the TARDIS, but he’s very worried about the whole thing. They agree that she cannot keep secrets about that part of her life any more.
And Missy shows up again, as her assistant of some kind welcomes to the afterlife a man that the Skovox Blitzer killed.
What Hit the Target
Peter Capaldi shines at this type of comedy. Unlike the forced attempt at humor in “Robot of Sherwood“, this story was actually funny, and the Doctor made me laugh without making me wince.
Danny’s reaction to finding out about Clara and the Doctor and the TARDIS was unique and interesting. I liked the fact that he didn’t approve, that he didn’t embrace the Doctor, and that he was most concerned about Clara. It says volumes about the character and his ability to stand up to the Doctor even though the latter was being very much a disapproving dad. Loved his bit of psychoanalysis of the Doctor as an officer as opposed to a soldier. True.
Courtney Woods (Ellis George), of course, has been seen before (in “Deep Breath“), which was a nice bit of continuity. She was a great counterpoint to the Doctor’s companions, and I’d be happy to see her show up again in some capacity.
Missy! It looks like she has some minions working or her in the Promised Land. Intriguing!
Both a Matt Smith and a River Song reference! Loved those bits, brief as they were.
What Missed the Mark
The Skovox Blitzer was a throw-away villain who had tiny amounts of screen-time and even less explanation. Let’s face it, this was only ever about bringing Danny Pink and the Doctor together. We knew it, they knew it, but I guess we all had to pretend there was some kind of thin plot going on.
For all the Doctor’s insistence that he’s ‘not Clara’s boyfriend’, he seems oddly pleased by the idea that Clara would fall for someone who resembled the 11th Doctor. While I found this to be interesting on a psychological level, it goes against what the series has been insisting ever since “Deep Breath”.
The Final Score
I found this to be another solid episode. It brought out the best in Capaldi’s comic timing and his ability to balance being hilarious with being serious. Danny finally gets a bit more to do, and I liked his reaction to all the alien shenanigans. There’s an interesting Dad/daughter’s boyfriend relationship going on here, which is fairly new for Doctor Who. Episodes where the Doctor is forced to spend time in the Companion’s world are always among the most fun and revealing, and this is no exception!
And the Quote of the Week:
“You cannot do this. You cannot pass yourself off as a real person among actual people!”
“I lived among otters once for a month. Well, I sulked. River and I, we had this big fight-“
“Human beings are not otters!”
“Exactly, it’ll be even easier.”