I really enjoyed this week’s episode of the Sarah Jane Adventures. Wait, hold on… that was Doctor Who.
Don’t take this badly, there is nothing actually wrong with that. I enjoyed SJA when it was on, but it didn’t hold a candle to the show it was spinning off. This week’s episode was certainly a filler with a forgettable villain and story. In fact this is true of most of this series so-far. Nothing really stands out as amazing. Yes, Hide was good, but it wasn’t Midnight. It’s odd that so far I don’t think we’ve had an episode I’ll look back on and think “God that was a brilliant episode” this series, but hopefully that is still to come. (Next week’s looks like a cool base-under siege/Alien-esque, tense episode. So maybe that’ll be it.)
This episode follows Clara as she tries to figure out why the Doctor is pretending to be a caretaker in Coal Hill School, while also trying to avoid letting Danny know that she’s a time traveler. Naturally, this all goes wrong and Danny ends up finding out, while also simultaneously ruining the Doctor’s plans to defeat a robot soldier. The actual robot is almost not important to the plot in any way. It gives the Doctor a reason to be there, and mostly is a background plot. The story of this episode is certainly Clara trying to get Danny and the Doctor (great name for an episode guys. I’ll write it if nobody else wants to) to actually like each other.
The Doctor, who hates soldiers suddenly. Doesn’t like Danny… because he’s a soldier. (There is also a not at all funny running gag about the Doctor thinking he teaches PE not Maths. Yay, stereotypes!) And Danny mistrusts the Doctor because he’s worried that he’ll get Clara hurt. When will this problem resolve!? Well, it doesn’t. But I’m sure we’ll see more of these two arguing. I rather liked the scene in the TARDIS where Pink is telling the Doctor that he’s just an officer. It’s lovely to see Capaldi getting angry, but despite the later time-slot, still no fucks.
I would like to draw attention to the Twelfth Doctor’s (I refuse to call him anything but) apparent hatred for soldiers. Like, I know the Doctor has changes of personality, but suddenly hating all soldiers is just ridiculous. He has not been a fan of soldiers in the past of course, but he recognizes that these are people and not all mindless killing machines or PE teachers. (See: Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, Ross from the Sontaran Stratagem, the Roman soldiers in Big Bang Two etc…) It just feels like his hatred is a little forced in order to create conflict between him and Danny.
I am also really disappointed with the Doctor’s complete disregard for the school. It’s Coal Hill! And yet this episode has no mention of Ian, Barbara, or Susan. Not a faint glint of recognition that he once fought off two opposing factions of Daleks on those very school grounds. Nothing. It just seems like such an odd thing to leave out considering the significant location.
Other than that, there was nothing really wrong with the episode. It was just an episode, it happened. I will forget about it. Will you? Tell me what you thought of the episode in the comments or on twitter @24hoursayear.