Stars: Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman
Writer: Steven Moffat & Steve Thompson
Director: Douglas Mckinnon
Original Telecast: September 20, 2014
Network: BBC America
I’ll admit that I was surprised to see the negative press rolling out of the UK about this latest episode of DOCTOR WHO, before it aired over here. “Time Heist” isn’t the strongest episode of this new series, but it was enjoyable and I’m really not sure where all of the anger is coming from.
Basically the setup involves The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) and Clara (Jenna Coleman) trying to break into the most heavily secured bank in the known universe. Neither have any memory of how they got where they are thanks to some mind wiping space worms, and they are joined on this heist by Psi (Johnathan Bailey) and augmented human and Saibra (Pippa Bennett-Warner) a shape shifting mutant human.
The big twist of the episode, involving the identity of “the architect” was something that was relatively easy to figure out, but it still made an enjoyable journey watching the characters slowing putting pieces of the puzzle together for themselves.
Psi and Saibra are interesting new types of companions for The Doctor, and I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing them again. Jonathan Bailey has now starred with two Doctors, David Tennant on BROADCHURCH and Peter Capaldi in this episode of WHO. I love how British TV has actors that inevitably cross all over working with other actors from the same shows.
The dreaded critter of the episode is The Teller, a rather snail out of a shell looking biped that feeds off of people’s guilt and their brains. It’s an oogie way to die, with a dented in skull, but not one of the worst as far as deaths on this show go. The Teller of course is being held against its will and forced to comply and kill people at Ms. Delphox (Keeley Hawes) the bank manager’s behest. Where the Teller’s story ends up is a nice redemption for both that critter, and the whole reason the bank robbery was taking place at all.
“Moffat Loops” are a device that has been used quite a bit in Steven Moffat’s tenure as showrunner on DOCTOR WHO, and this episode once again uses the wibbly wobbely of time to move the story forward and backward to accomplish its goals. The “loops” don’t really bother me the way they do other people. I realize that classic WHO and even DOCTOR WHO under Russell T. Davies didn’t employ things like this as a regular plot device (unless it was a Moffat written episode of the new series). Maybe it is time to retire them. Fans are getting techy about them, and using them too many times in the past has made things really tangled and convoluted for some of the plotlines.
Still getting to know the 12th Doctor, this episode shows his now characteristic intensity, but also large amounts of his compassion and humility. This Doctor feels just as deeply as any other incarnation, but he’s a bit gruff around the edges and doesn’t show his softer side of Sears quite as willingly.
Looks like trouble ahead for Clara next week as The Doctor finally decides to investigate her love life and goes undercover at her school. I wonder if there will be any children that get eaten like the last time The Doctor was working in a school.
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Article: TV Review: DOCTOR WHO Series 8 – “Time Heist”