Day 271: Agents Of H.E.E.L.E.D

And no, I’m not going to come up with what that acronym stands for. You can try if you want to…

September 28 main

Doctor Who didn’t offer up any Sole Of Sci-Fi ideas last night (I don’t own a brown overall) so I thought I’d take the opportunity to put this Captain America entry into action. I’ve had the image in mind for ages (and the bought-off-eBay Asics are too knackered to be worth a close-up) but (would you believe?) I didn’t come up with the headline pun until yesterday! And when you think of a pun like that, you have to act on it swiftly (before you realise what a crap idea it is, and abandon it).

As for this week’s Doctor Who? Well, as I Tweeted last night, I didn’t love it, but I do love some of the ongoing arc plot elements that are developing this season. It was one of those episodes where the character development was more important than the plot, and in that regard, it was a very satisfying experience indeed, with some surprisingly complex dynamics between the Doctor, Danny and Clara. The dialogue was incredibly strong at times, and  for once I’m not just talking about the quips.

Doctor Who (series 8) Ep6The Doctor’s sudden dislike of soldiers feels a little forced, especially for long-time fans who enjoyed the UNIT era, but I presume it’s a reaction to his experience in the Time War – maybe even a reaction against being the War Doctor – but it would be appreciated if this could be made explicit at some point. Or at least for Clara to do what companions were invented for and ask the questions the audience wants to know: “Where’s your beef with soldiers come from, Doctor?”

I like Danny a lot, especially the way he’s got the Doctor sussed, though I wish his (not exactly unexpected) act of heroism to save the day hadn’t been a physical act. Not so much because his acrobatics looked so naff, but because I would have preferred for him to have showcased his intelligence, to really stick two fingers up at the Doctor.

I’m also genuinely intrigued by the “afterlife” arc and want to know where it’s heading.

But my main overriding problem was how fluffy, lightweight and silly the central plot was. Yes, I know the Skovox Blitzer was just a means to an end and not really the point of the episode, but I don’t see why we can’t have both great relationship drama and a clever plot. The monster plot needn’t take over – it can have just as little screen time – but it could just be sharper, more intriguing with a better denouement. Having a creature that – allegedly – can destroy all humanity scuttling round a school full of apparently deaf and blind pupils like a robot crab in a pedal car isn’t blackly comic, it’s just naff.

Doctor Who (series 8) Ep6With all the other silliness in the episode, I would have preferred a threat that actually felt like a threat. The Skovox Blitzer didn’t even have a USP, like most Who monsters, unless you count “least effective killing machine”. It’s just a robot with lasers and a silly walk. I can’t imagine there’ll be many kids doing Skovox Blitzer impressions in the playground on Monday morning.

So, yes, there was a lot to like in “The Caretaker”, but it almost undermined its own achievements, when a little bit more creativity and ingenuity could have produced an episode that delivered  in all departments.

See you tomorrow.

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