Doctor Who Season 35 – 05

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“Time Heist”

I’ll be the first to admit I went into “Time Heist” with pretty modest expectations.  The writer, Steve Thompson, has contributed two middling Who episodes – decent but not great.  The overall standard of writing this season has been indifferent, and the premise seemed a bit of a stretch for Doctor Who – Oceans Eleven goes Gallifreyan.

On balance, then, it would be fair to say my expectations were more than met.  This was a good, solid episode that was superficially at least free of any “big bad” entanglements (which is a rarity under Moffat).   It was certainly better than “Robot of Sherwood” in every way.  The supporting cast was likeable, the premise interesting enough – and best of all, there were no Mary Sue heroics from Clara, who for the first time this season was slotted into a supporting role rather than elbowing her way into the lead.

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Just as Clara is preparing to meet Danny, the Doctor shows up (that’s becoming a trend) and the phone on the TARDIS rings.  Next thing you know they’re sitting at a table with two strangers and some very strange “memory worms”.  The strangers are Psi (Jonathan Bailey), a bank robber who’s augmented his brain in a very particular way, and Saibra (Pippa Bennett-Warner) who has a genetic abnormality which allows her to transform into anyone she’s touched.  They’re shown a voice-disguised message from “The Architect” which tells them they’re to rob the most secure bank in the universe – but given as everyone’s memories are wiped, no one knows why.  Also making an appearance is Keeley Hawes (who’s apparently quite a big deal in Britain) as the bank’s security chief Ms. Delphox, and another character we’ll meet later).

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It’s a pretty convoluted plot when push comes to shove, but it does come together in the end rather nicely – and it’s good to see the Doctor involved in a caper that’s designed to serve two purposes, doing a good deed and having a good time.  It’s nice to see the series lighten up a bit and it’s nice to see the Doctor acting like the guy in charge, and the guy who should be.  I do find it a little disturbing, though, that even galactic banks who uses mind-pulping telepathic aliens who look like a cross between Admiral Ackbar and a rhinoceros for security still practice racial profiling.

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2 comments

  1. G

    I haven't really liked this new Doctor/series. Especially episode's 3 and 4 were weak. He is a pretty unlikable Doctor. Then this episode rolls around and I really enjoyed it. Maybe Peter is finally getting to jell in the role and finding his place. I just hope the stories are good as well.

  2. J

    I think it should be noted that those two episodes (3 & 4) seem to be the apex of Clara & her intruding into the spotlight.

    So it may be that Capaldi as the Doctor as the supporting character in his own eponymous show was less than appealing, but Capaldi as the Doctor as a lead is better. It gave him a chance to fulfill his potential and assert leadership.

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