#942 – Doctor Who-esday: The Caretaker


The Caretaker

Last week’s episode of Doctor Who was an adventure out in the reaches of space. This week’s adventure was a little closer to home in terms of distance and a little more personal in terms of intimacy.

One of my favorite aspects to the new series of Doctor Who has been the evolving relationship between the Doctor and Clara. Last week I wrote about the differences between how Clara interacted with Eleven and how she interacts with Twelve. Jenna Coleman has perfectly shown the tension in her character and how she responds to a new face on her same old Doctor.

“The Caretaker” not only shined the spotlight on that relationship but it also brought Clara and Danny’s relationship to the forefront. This episode was definitely all about Clara and her ability to maintain two significant relationships. I enjoyed the episode for what it was: an examination of Clara’s relationships with the Doctor and Danny. 


One of the definitions of integrity is “the state of being whole and undivided.” I love how that definition applies to our lives. A person of integrity is whole and undivided; he or she doesn’t live different lives in different situations. For all of her spunk and conscience, Clara does lack some integrity. She lives two lives: one with the Doctor and one back in London. I can’t blame Clara, though; I would love to travel through time and space all while still making it to each of my meetings. But withholding that part of my life from Alycia would almost be impossible. If we care about someone then we want he or she to be involved in every part of our lives. I don’t want to have a secret life from which I exclude Alycia. I also don’t want a secret life that’s independent from who I am as a pastor. Clara was forced to reconcile the two parts of her lives; integrity was forced upon her. We should make integrity our choice and choose to be the same person and live the same life wherever we find ourselves.


Trust is definitely one of the bricks that goes into building a relationship. The Doctor didn’t trust Danny because he didn’t know him. Danny didn’t trust the Doctor because he didn’t know him. Clara was able to trust both of them, though, because she had invested in those relationships. If we want the kinds of relationships for which we were created, we have to be willing to trust others. God created us for open and honest relationships that give us life. We’ll never find those relationships unless we’re willing to trust others. We have to trust that others will be there for us, that they won’t hurt us and that they want what’s best for us. We need to find trustworthy people and invite them into our lives. And one of the best ways to find trustworthy people is to be a trustworthy person.


Man, the Doctor really doesn’t like soldiers. Even though he has known some good soldiers during the course of his life, the Doctor is still very prejudiced towards soldiers. Danny has some of his own issues with the Doctor, seeing in him all of the arrogance and aloofness of other commanding officers. Prejudices make us look at people in broad, general strokes. Instead of seeing each person as an individual we fit them into some mold we have in our minds. The Doctor isn’t some heartless commander and Danny isn’t some brainless P.E. teacher. Prejudices keep us in those mindsets, though, and can’t let us appreciate each person as an individual independent of stereotypes.

“The Caretaker” was one of the most relationally driven episodes of Doctor Who in recent memory. I enjoyed seeing Clara reconciling her two lives and dealing with the consequences of that reconciliation. Jenna Coleman has been a great companion and I’ll be sad to see her go at the end of this year. She really puts the Doctor in his place, acting as both conscience and counselor.

What did you think of “The Caretaker?”


2 comments on “#942 – Doctor Who-esday: The Caretaker”

  1. “all about Clara and her ability to maintain two significant relationships” – Erm, yeah, to a fault. She maintains them by cowering to the Doctor (why didn’t she tell him she doesn’t OWE him any explanation about Danny?) and by promising Danny she’ll let him protect her?!? This is not the Clara we have seen to date, and I thought the episode dealt her character a big setback. It domesticates her too much.

    I agree with your points about integrity and trust being integral to relationships, of course. I’d even probably agree that Clara should have told Danny about her TARDIS-ing long before now. But this is the one epsiode where she manifestly does NOT put the Doctor in his place, and he is acting like wacko weird overprotective jealous dad throughout.

    There were some strong moments in the ep — I loved the whole subplot with Courtney — and it wasn’t a bad episode, for all that I think it diminished Clara quite a bit. But it was interesting and it made me think, and it’s another reason I’ll want to own series 8 when it all wraps up.

    1. I was commenting on your post while you were commenting on my post!

      To summarize, we are all defined by our relationships at some point in our lives. This episode highlighted Clara’s relationships with Danny and the Doctor, but that doesn’t diminish her strong, independent character.

      Thanks for your thoughts, Mike. I appreciate how they push me to think differently.

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