Clara has been trying to juggle traveling with the Doctor and her normal life as a schoolteacher in Coal Hill School going out with Danny. But the two sides of her life meet head on in this episode, as the Doctor is working undercover as the temporary school caretaker.
The Doctor meets Danny (technically for the second time, as he met him during his childhood in Listen), and doesn’t like him very much. This series, the Doctor has had a really bigoted attitude towards soldiers for some reason. In this episode he seems to hate P.E teachers as well, which he thinks Danny is at first. At some point he thinks that Clara’s boyfriend is a teacher who looks very like Matt Smith’s Doctor, and it’s implied the Doctor is pleased with it for that reason. All of this makes the Doctor come across quite badly, which he has done a few times in series eight really. I’m guessing this is deliberate, but I have to wonder if it’s all heading somewhere.
The reason the Doctor is undercover is he is tracking the Skovox Blitzer, an alien robot. The Blitzer reminded me a bit of Sir Kill-A-Lot from Robot Wars. But the Blitzer is kind of a MacGuffin really. It’s there to have a reason for the Doctor to be working undercover and as the Monster Of The Week, but it’s not what the episode is really about. It’s mainly advancing the arc of the series. Danny sees the Blitzer, along with the Doctor and Clara, and they can’t convince him what he has just seen is normal, so they decide to come clean that they are time travelers. Later on, the Blitzer returns, and Danny comes in at the last minute to help them shut it down, which helps the Doctor seems to warm to Danny a little by the end.
Danny and the Doctor clash early on, with Danny seeing the Doctor as like a commanding officer. Danny says to Clara “I’m the one who carries you out of the fire, he’s the one who lights it”. By the end we get the impression the dynamic with Clara and this incarnation of the Doctor is a bit like a father/daughter one. The Doctor seems like an overprotective dad, but from his point of view he only wants Clara to be with someone who is good enough for her.
We get another visitor to the TARDIS, a pupil from the school named Courtney Woods who the teachers see as a bad influence in the school. She is suspicious of the TARDIS, and the Doctor takes her to see outer space. This proves too much for her to handle though, as she throws up.
There is a bit of an unexpected ending, when a policeman killed early on by the Blitzer turns up being interviewed in “Heaven”, though Missy is seen it is not her doing the interview, but a man named Seb. So we know that whatever Missy’s agenda is, she isn’t working alone.
This episode is probably my least favourite from series eight so far. It’s not an unimportant episode, it advances the arc along in a lot of ways, but as an individual episode in it’s own right it’s not all that interesting. But as a final note, I quite liked the Doctor making a reference to living with otters for a month after having an argument with River Song. I would love for River to make an appearance with Capaldi’s Doctor, I think they would work quite well together. There is also the fact that previous episodes have implied she has seen several incarnations of the Doctor, and at present time we have only seen her interact with Matt Smith and David Tennant’s Doctors onscreen.