If you aren’t caught up with Doctor Who, be warned, because:
Also, if you haven’t checked it out yet, you can read my recap of “Time Heist” here.
Here’s a quick and dirty summation of the plot for “The Caretaker” via IMDB: The terrifying Skovox Blitzer is ready to destroy all humanity – but worse, and any second now, Danny Pink and the Doctor are going to meet.
Though there was an impending alien threat–and at Clara’s school, no less–the heart of the episode came from Clara and the Doctor, and the Doctor finally meeting Danny. As I was watching and live-tweeting Saturday’s episode (follow me @Kendall_Ashley for future live-tweeting fun), I was really taken aback at all of the hatred I saw against Danny Pink. Honestly, I have been a fan of Danny since we met him, and “The Caretaker” really only solidified my feelings for him. So I was kind of surprised when I heard the outcry from some corners of the Who world. Because of this, I would like to present to you my case for Danny Pink:
We’ve known from the start Danny’s past as a soldier would absolutely cause tension with the Doctor:
The Doctor has never been a big fan of the military, but Twelve has a special distaste for them. I think a lot of that stems from guilt about his own past. Remember the last time he was called “soldier”at Demon’s Run after Rory and Amy realize their baby is gone?
It was here that River warned the Doctor to stop travelling down the violent path he was on, saying his actions were changing the meaning of “doctor” from a wise man and healer to a mighty warrior. Ever since that time, especially after being allowed a second chance at Trenzalore, I think the Doctor has tried to stay as far away from “soldiering” as he possibly could.
So back to “The Caretaker”. We all know the Doctor was well aware of Clara’s crush on him during his eleventh regeneration. So when, at the start of the episode, the Doctor first walked around Clara’s school and wrongly assumed Clara was dating this guy (aka: Matt Smith’s doppelganger):
I think the Doctor was happy about the pairing not only because it was a bit flattering for him…
…but I think he also liked the idea of Clara dating a safer “version” of himself. One who was human, who would stay in one place and in one body, and one who didn’t carry the destruction of an entire race on his shoulders. Sure, he wouldn’t be perfect, but Adrian-The-Eleven-Doppelganger would be safer and better for Clara than the Doctor. Of course, pairing his companions with a safer version of himself is something he’s done before:
However with Danny, I think the Doctor sees far too much of himself in Danny, and that scares him. The Doctor is rude to Danny the entire episode…
…and he belittles Danny’s intelligence from their first introduction…
…because the Doctor sees Danny as dangerous. He was a soldier. He killed people, and he’s far too similar to the Doctor himself to be a good match for Clara. What’s more, when Danny first meets the Doctor as the Doctor and not the school’s caretaker, Danny can sense that the Doctor is just as much of a soldier as he is. I think the Doctor is a tad threatened by that–I mean look at the Doctor’s face in this gif:
While Clara isn’t afraid to call out the Doctor, sometimes she lets him get away with a lot. Danny, on the other hand, is clearly not going to take any crap from the Doctor. Does that make him a bit abrasive at times? Maybe, but I think a good companion is one that isn’t afraid to tell the Doctor when he’s wrong. While Clara and Amy were/are always quick to call the Doctor out, I don’t think we’ve had a companion like Danny, ready to argue with the Doctor at the drop of the hat, since Donna Noble.
Ultimately, the Doctor knows it is likely that if Clara falls in love with someone, the time will come where she will have to pick between her partner and the Doctor. Going by history, the Doctor knows that Clara would pick her partner, much like one of his other companions faced with the Doctor vs. Partner dilemma:
I think he knows his companions should pick their partner over him, despite how much it hurts him. However, he fears that very choice is in their future, so he wants to be sure that Clara spends the rest of her days with someone who is truly good for her. Because he sees similarities to himself in Danny, the Doctor is being quite cautious in truly accepting Danny–which we see at the end of the episode when Danny explains to Clara that the Doctor is angry with him just in case he isn’t good enough for Clara.
As for me, I think Danny is great. He’s tough, he’s not afraid to stand up for himself, he truly cares for Clara, and he’s delightfully awkward with a penchant for the headdesk.
I think it is good he will be there to help reign the Doctor in, and I think he is a good match for Clara. More than being former soldiers, I think what Danny and the Doctor really share is a sense of regret for past violence, and a genuine concern for other people. Sure, Danny calls the Doctor out, but I think that’s good because the Doctor isn’t always right. Danny is committed to Clara, and he ultimately is only concerned with her being safe and honest with him. I think those are excellent qualities in a boyfriend. As a companion, the Doctor needs people who can be his friend, and people who can call him out and challenge him. I think Clara and Danny will bring that dynamic to the TARDIS.
Let’s just hope they stay away from Weeping Angels, amirite?