Doctor Who: Time Heist

Season 8 of Doctor Who continues to showcase the potential for story
diversity, as The Doctor and Clara pull a bank job in Time Heist.

This episode was just spot on for me. It really highlights the way Doctor
Who can remain solidly rooted in science fiction, whilst at the same time
playing off other genres and tropes. This episode uses the classic heist movie
formula in the tradition of Ocean’s 11Sneakers or
the Australian classic Malcolm.

Things start off quickly, with The Doctor and Clara (and us of course)
thrown in the deep end along with a pair of specialists. The memory wipe is a
great way of bypassing the discovery phase and getting straight into the
action. Sadly I think it went some way to telegraphing the identity of The
Architect for me. Not that it really mattered all that much.

On that note, I understand they were setting up The Doctor figuring out who
The Architect is, but it just seemed out of place to hear him come out with “I
hate him,’ with no real motivation behind it. The Architect hadn’t done
anything specific to harm The Doctor or anyone else. They all heard themselves
willingly submit to the memory wipe. It was just out of place.
The entire caper was very enjoyable, and played out with perfect pacing. The
only element to the plan that seemed a bit strange was the “exit
strategy”. I’m unclear how Psi and Saibra managed to return to the planet
and insinuate themselves into the guard staff when the place was in lockdown. The
thing is, the quality of the rest of the episode allowed me to suspend
disbelief at that point.

The Teller was a nicely creepy monster, very alien and clearly threatening.
The whole “soup” thing was really cool, and looked creepy enough. I’m
not sure detecting random guilt is particularly fool-proof when the punishment
is encephalous liquification. There’s no real room for appeal after that. The
flaw in that method was already highlighted nicely in the Red Dwarf episode Justice. That
said, it’s their bank, and they can police it as harshly as they want, I
suppose.

The budding Clara / Danny relationship took up very little of the episode,
but disappointingly, despite all his apparent confusion at Clara’s primping at
the start, The Doctor ends the episode with the very jealous sounding line of
“Beat that for a date.” We are confusing the situation again here. If
the sentiment is “Why would you go on a date when you can do this?”
then I get it, but this phrasing makes it sound like, “I’m better than
him, so you should love me.”

All up, this was my favorite episode of the season. Solid, entertaining,
and oh so cool-looking. I think we have our first perfect score for the new
Doctor.

Score: 10/10

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