Who’s really in charge? It’s a given that in any Doctor Who episdoe, the Doctor is always going to be leading the charge into whatever adventure he happens to have found himself in. But when you;ve got an episode where the Doctor is being played around like a puppet on time-strings, you get an interesting scenario. Spoilers ahead…
Doctor Who has touched on plenty of genres in the last 50 years, but a classic caper may be a new entry for the series. Mysteriously transported to the most secure bank in the universe, The Doctor, Clara and their new allies Saibra and Psi find themselves questing for their hearts desire with a slight memory gap that happens to be in the way.
Which is well and good, because the most secure bank in the cosmos happens to have a security measure far more effective and illogical than extra guards or security cameras. They have a guilt sniffer, a telepathic alien creature who can read guilt off of a suspected bank robber and feast on the memories of the unlucky accused, leaving him or her with an empty head and some leftover soup in the cranial cavity.
The Teller is another one of those once-off creations from the Whoniverse, like the Abzorbaloff or the Minotaur, but it’s a hell of a design that helps set up the real twist of the story. Because as usual, looks can be deceiving, and the Teller is as much a victim of the banking institute as he is its unofficial monster mascot. It’s also easily rendered useless by not thinking, which for once allows me to breathe easy as that’s a monster from the “Don’t” ranks that I can finally outwit.
Helping the Doctor and Clara out in this episode, is the shape-shifter Sabra and the hacktivist augmented human Psi. They’re a nice pair, and when given a chance in the spotlight, shine quite well. Mark my words, when Peter Capaldi steps down and Doctor Who decides to go with a younger Doctor again, they’re going to look at Psi’s actor, Jonathan Bailey.
He arguably gets one of the best and most heroic scenes in this episode,and Bailey does a damn good job portraying him. And seeing as how Doc Who has a habit of using previously seen actors for bigger roles, he has my vote to get more of that spotlight in the future.
In terms of true villains, Ms Karabraxos carries on that fine tradition of the business boss lady archetype, last seen in Miss Kizlet from “Bells of St. John”, or Miss Delphox. The idea of staffing her bank with disposable clones is a nice touch, and her unforgiving attitude and Thatcherism makes her scary in a way. Of course, she helps tie the plot together, when the Doctor implants the idea of her calling him in her head, thus creating another loop of time travel and whatnot, when the Doctor reveals himself to be the Architect who put the gang together for the Time Heist.
But the main theme of Time Heist, is identity. Everyone is searching for something that they can reclaim. Saibra’s shape-shifting powers maker a normal life with human contact impossible for her. Psi yearns to recover memories that he was forced to delete in order to protect his loved ones. Even Miss Karabraxos wants a second chance at doing something right for once.
And the Doctor is still uncertain of whether he is a good man or not, with the fate of Gallifrey hanging in the balance. Time Heist isn’t an exceptional episode, but it’s a fun one with Peter Capaldi once again making the most of the material that he’s been given. But despite the fact that he happens to be questioning his identity lately, this is a Doctor who still controls any situation that he happens to be put in.
Bonus Note: Abslom Daak is now canon. This makes me too happy, and I’m hoping that the Dalek-killer he makes an appearance in true Who.
Last Updated: September 22, 2014