Whatever your thoughts are on The Caretaker, and Series 8 of Doctor Who in general, it's hard to argue against Peter Capaldi's portrayal of the Doctor. Stacy Embry is especially moved by his performance in the current episode.
Just when I finally eased into the 12th Doctor and was beginning to feel the power of adults running the TARDIS (and enjoying it), The Caretaker shows up. I can say Capaldi broke my heart and actually made me cry. How tacky to admit, I know, but it is true.
I must confess that at the end of David Tennant's time as the Doctor - as the Tenth's regeneration began and he didn't want to go - along with anyone with a heart, I cried. When Matt Smith's 11th Doctor dropped the bow tie, I sobbed.... but other than the death of the Minotaur in The God Complex, no regular episode moved me so. Yet, the incredible pathos, paired with the definite acting choices communicated by Mr. Capaldi, meant that during The Caretaker I was moved to tears.
See, with minute finessed acting, usually saved for the likes of Geoffrey Rush or Judy Dench in a blockbuster film, Peter Capaldi made me understand the Doctor. He made me see all the incarnations, and why, as they have been advertising, he's "more alien" in series eight.
What he encapsulated was that the Doctor always forgets humans are superficial, and that we are swayed by shiny distractions. Duh. I've heard that so many times, but with The Caretaker I felt it. The Doctor cares about Clara and still has some residual feelings from his previous self. His "this old man" line when encouraging her to canoodle with her "serious boyfriend," hit home for me as an educator who daily sees this rite of passage, and it also makes me feel my years, in a good way.
Yet, it was when he heard her defend Pink over him that shocked the Doctor and me.
In that moment, and unlike any Doctor before, I felt Capaldi's take on the essence of the character. A character that in his Twelfth form has developed in a way that has expanded from episode to episode. Now, I can't imagine the show without Peter Capaldi in charge of the TARDIS.
Except taking Courtney on board, in an act of perpetual hope shown by investing in a new human, this episode just hurt. I hated it. I hated the Doctor being left - and for the first time, I disliked the character of Clara Oswald. And by extension, Amy, and River and even Rose.
And in a heartbeat, there's a stunning Peter Capaldi standing there being obsolete. His Doctor showing betrayal saying, "you haven't explained him to me" about Pink was speaking for both himself and Smith. Then with "humans, I never learn," I cried. Ah....that's why. The minotaur WAS the doctor. I remember thinking that when I watched The God Complex, this triggered the same reaction but on a deeper level. We are all obsolete aren't we?
So, am I as shallow as Clara? No. I stuck with Doctor Who past Smith's tenure. I went back into the show's history to understand the universe and was rewarded with Peter Capaldi. I am completely on board and tied to his character. I felt good when this episode started and horrified at the end. That's an adventure in time and space! But it wasn't the script, it was Capaldi spinning gold from straw. Molded rotting straw and I don't know how to reconcile it without attacking Moffat.
Ultimately... I think I just hate Steven Moffat. Don't know him, don't care to. I must acknowledge that hate is such a childish word, but it is the emotion I feel. After all, I am an educated woman who adored Smith and who is now already tied up with Capaldi. But Moffat makes me feel like a child, the way he manipulates me, and the Doctor, with substandard character development that requires the actor to inform roles which are not motivated by what the audience has experienced with them. Specifically, you can't dismiss Doctor's 11/12 with Clara declaring "not in that way" as a justification to a boyfriend we can't yet understand. We are the Doctor and need the relationship explained TO US, too.
I'd love to ask Peter Capaldi, did Moffat write this moment or did he interpret it? But at the end, I exclaim..."writers.... I never learn", as I dry my eyes and go back to work.
Stacy enjoys sharing her occasionally polarizing opinions to elicit
discussion. In a phrase, she states: "I don't want readers to be
parrots...unless they are of the Python variety wherein a "palindrome of
BOLTON would be NOTLOB." A former university professor and current
secondary educator... Ms. Embry is also a writer, Educational
Psychologist and Grief Counselor in Indianapolis, Indiana USA.