Doctor Who: “Caretaker,” “Kill the Moon” and the Bond With Humankind


S8xE06 “Caretaker” and S8xE07 “Kill the Moon”

Since we took a week off, this post we are combining the last two episodes of Doctor Who, which have highlighted on the relationship between the Doctor and his companion, the link to and representation of a long term connection to humanity. Both episodes reveal a Doctor who shares a precarious bond with humankind that has become damaged by prejudices, preconceived notions and the Doctor’s struggle with his own heroic nature.

Spoilers ahead, Sweetie!

The Doctor and Humanity

Since the First incarnation of the Doctor, he has traveled with a human companion, usually female, across space and time, exploring the limitations of humanity as well as our accomplishments. As a Timelord, the Doctor is one of the oldest beings in the universe, and has probably time traveled more than anyone, ever. He has operated inside and outside of physics, has met (and married) queens, encountered numerous different alien species and saved/rebooted the universe multiple times. So then, why does the Twelfth Doctor seem so lost? His disposition isn’t much improving, as we’d initially hoped, he seems ambivalent to Clara on a good day and snarky and rude on a bad. The being who has saved humankind countless times over during his tenure as Doctor can’t seem to make up his mind if he wants to help Earth or watch it burn.

This troubles me.

It also causes me to question where Twelve’s motives lie. When the Doctor came to Clara’s school to banish the Skovox Blitzer robot, he withheld information from Clara. When he left the women on the moon, he again withheld information. What does this all have to do with Missy and the Promised Land? Yes, I’m coming back to that, after a few weeks of quiet. Who is Missy? Does the Doctor really know her? What do these interactions within his current timeline have to do with this strange place the dead end up and Clara and Danny Pink. It’s got to all be connected, but how? What does the Doctor know about these three entities that he isn’t telling us yet?

A New Companion?

I’ve said before that I believe Clara will be leaving the TARDIS soon, and I wonder if this current fracture with the Doctor, along with the mystery of Missy, will facilitate that break. The Doctor seems to have lost his faith in the people of Earth. I read an interesting op-ed piece on Nerdist that posed the Doctor should get a non earthly companion.

What a great idea.

In “Caretaker”, the Doctor initially refuses to acknowledge Danny Pink might be the kind of man Clara might be interested in, although the two aren’t as different as they would like to believe. It makes me wonder, who exactly is this Doctor, after the regeneration and experiences of Trenzalore? He spent his time as Eleven acting like a man/child/god protecting those of Earth. Is Twelve capable of opening his heart to the uncertainties of time and space and the beauty of true friendship and love? After all he’s been through, who exactly is this alien being and what is his purpose in the universe and does Clara even fit in those plans any longer?

If the Twelfth Doctor needs to renew his appreciation for the wonders of the universe, perhaps he should get off Earth with a different kind of traveler. The Collective gals loved the interaction with Psi and Saibra in “Time Heist”, and the Doctor seemed to enjoy his time off planet helping aliens reunite and get home safely. In “Kill the Moon”, the Doctor leaves Clara, Courtney and Lundvik to supposedly decide the fate of Earth and the huge baby bug incubating in the moon, all the while, keeping secrets and developing plans. We know that isn’t an uncommon occurrence (rule #1, the Doctor lies), but his usual teaching moment and the “guiding of the amazing little earthling who is only started out in tis great, big universe” attitude is distinctly lacking in Twelve. Will the Doctor ever be able to tell Clara the whole truth or will their friendship crack under the weight of too many lies and broken promises?

Perhaps a new companion, a different kind of being–whether he is a non-Earth human or a half-cyborg bank robber–can instill a bit of purpose into Twelve and remind viewers why we love the Doctor in the first place. Because he is a healer of worlds, he cares about the individual, he runs toward the problem not away from it, and he thrives in the company of those who he feels a connection to and responsibility toward. This is the Doctor who will endure.

xoxo Your friendly neighborhood Wholigan

The Collectiva Diva