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TV Review: Doctor Who 8.6 “The Caretaker”
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Dr. Geek, Ph.D.   |  
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The Doctor, Danny Pink, and Clara in the TARDIS control room in The Caretaker

Doctor Who
Season 8, Episode 6 “The Caretaker”
Directed by Paul Murphy
Written by Gareth Roberts and Steven Moffat
Starring Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman, Samuel Anderson, Ellis George
BBC America
Air Date: Saturday, September 27th, 2014

What happens when people you care about from two different parts of your life meet? Do they fight? Do they get along? Do they begin to see you differently? These are the questions that Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman) faces this week on Doctor Who. She’s been dating Danny Pink (Samuel Anderson) and traveling with the Doctor (Peter Capaldi). One thinks she’s only a teacher at Coal Hill School. The other doesn’t quite know that she’s dating. Both think (in different ways) that they are the most important man in her life. It’s a collision that’s seemed inevitable for a few weeks now. Finally, here it is.

The resulting episode is ultimately about character development and relationships. Yes, there’s a Terminator-like scary robot that’s the pretext for the two men in Clara Oswald’s life, but it’s just window dressing. The real conflict comes when Danny meets the Doctor and vice versa. It’s generally played for comedy with a fairly deft touch by all involved, though some sparks do fly. In the end, I’d call this a good episode without enough context to be a great one.

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The Doctor Who TARDISblend 77: The Caretaker
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cGt2099   |  
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Doctor Who TARDISblend Banner

The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) goes ‘deep undercover’ in Coal Hill School, where he aims to lure a dangerous alien robot into a trap, to save the Earth. Meanwhile, Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman) finds her universes colliding, as her boyfriend Danny Pink (Samuel Anderson) finally learns of her adventures into time and space…

During TARDISblend 77, we discuss our reactions to the latest Doctor Who episode, where the characters return to the first ever setting from the first ever adventure in 1963. Later, we speculate on how some elements may tie into the overarching plot running through this current series of Doctor Who.

All this and more on the latest TARDISblend!

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TV Review: Doctor Who 8.4 “Listen”
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Dr. Geek, Ph.D.   |  
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Teaser image for Doctor Who episode 8.4 "Listen"

Doctor Who
Season 8, Episode 4 “Listen”
Directed by Douglas Mackinnon
Written by Steven Moffat
Starring Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman, Samuel Anderson
BBC America
Air Date: Saturday, September 13th, 2014

There is nothing like a good scare. The creators of Doctor Who have known this for decades, and made more than a couple generations of children scurry behind furniture to peek out at the television screen from relative safety. That is Steven Moffat‘s intention with the fourth episode of season eight, “Listen,” to scare us and then soothe our fears. He does this by treading familiar ground: the realm of things that live in the dark and go bump in the night. It’s a mythic territory to which we can all relate, and Doctor Who can be at its best when the roots of its stories run deep and show it.

This may indeed be lauded as one of the best episodes of the season. Broken into multiple small acts, it is a tour de force for actors Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman, and Samuel Anderson. Together with director Douglas Mackimmon, they weave the various story lines in the episode into something like a dream that captivates while it is in progress but evaporates when it is done. It shows a cast fully in command of the material at hand, but can leave the viewer wondering if ending of the episode really pays off the marvelous setup (and it is truly a marvel at points) that proceeds it.

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