The Caretaker, or perhaps a better title for this episode would be ‘Boyfriend Confusion’, is one of those episodes of Doctor Who, which has nothing to do with space or time, or running, or adventures, it’s a homespun story, which centres around truth, love and betrayal.
But as with so much of Doctor Who, it’s all that, and a lot more.
Let’s get on with the review.
Although first introduced way back in episode 2, Into the Dalek, The Caretaker is where we learn more about, and get to know Danny Pink.
Arriving not long after the departure of former male companion Rory Williams, and belonging to the same modern era, which also featured Mickey Smith, Danny is somewhat of a throw-back when it comes to male regular leads.
While Danny may be nice, and brave, he’s also bland, and no amount of war related angst can lift him out of this mire, especially when he’s partnered with Clara Oswald, and against The Doctor.
I am aware that the Whovian fandom is deeply divided when it comes to Danny’s actions, and while I do agree he can come off as seriously controlling, I also think he has a point in wanting to get Clara away from The Doctor.
Bear with me on this…
At no point in The Caretaker does The Doctor endear himself to Danny, and that’s no real surprise, because The Doctor is on full belittling, and patronising mode from the minute he learns that Danny was at one time a soldier.
But, so much, so 12th Doctor.
The problem for Danny really starts when he sees the sort of danger The Doctor is happy to put Clara in, we as the audience know that Miss Oswald is a willing and active participant, but Danny doesn’t, all he sees is an opinionated, and overbearing older man, and a much younger naive woman.
Danny is after all a human, from the early 21st century, and however unenlightened his opinion of The Doctor and Clara’s relationship may be, it’s based on his own cultural assumptions.
Further more, Danny was once a soldier, which means in understands danger, and at least something of the danger that Clara is putting herself in, for him this is all very, very serious, while it’s just another day at the office for The Doctor and Clara.
While Clara tries her hardest to put Danny’s fears to rest, her actions along with The Doctors just seem to underline all of his misgivings, and it’s Danny’s quick thinking, and soldier training, in the end that saves all of them.
So, in conclusion, while Danny’s behavior may be controlling in later episodes, I feel that in The Caretaker at least, he’s justified in his concern for Clara, and dislike of The Doctor.