Monday, September 22, 2014

My Review of Doctor Who's 8x05: "Time Heist"

Written by Steve Thompson And Steven Moffat
Directed by Douglas Mackinnon

Clara: “We’re actually gonna do this? Rob a bank?”
The Doctor: “I don’t think we have a choice. We’ve already agreed to it.”

And for this week only, here was an episode that probably had more in common with former BBC stable mate Hustle than either the original or modern version of Ocean’s Eleven. The Doctor, Clara and two new teammates robbing the most secure bank in the universe – or were they?

Playing around with a bit of timey wimey and of course, the memory worms from a previous adventure, this was never going to be a straightforward enough caper as trying to break into the banks of Karabraxos meant dealing with Ms Delphox, the Teller and the actual owner of the bank itself. Not to mention some death fake outs and trying to remember what originally set everything into motion in the first place.

However for an episode that seemingly could’ve been overly complicated, there was something actually breezy about the whole pacing. Clara had to put her date with Danny on hold as she joined in the adventure, the Doctor gave his number to a person who waited a while in their own timeline to use it and then of course, there was the new recruits with Psi and Saibra.

As guest characters, both Psi and Saibra were a delight to watch – the former an augmented human/walking computer and the latter a mutant human/shape shifter, both of whom had their abilities put to reasonably use within the episode itself and were charmingly brought to life by both Jonathan Bailey and Pippa Bennett-Warner. More to the point – they also fitted effortless in with the Doctor and Clara, which of course certainly helped matters.

It’s because of this that I almost forgive the episode for tricking viewers into thinking that both of them were initially dead when the Teller came after them and given the banter with the characters and the Doctor and Clara, it would be something of a missed opportunity for Moffat and Thompson not to at least bring the characters back for one more caper as well.

However while both Psi and Saibra worked extremely well as guest characters, it’s a shame to report that Keeley Hawes, despite some fun moments in this episode wasn’t as well utilised. Ms Delphox the clone and the original, Madame Karabraxos weren’t necessarily bad as such but at the same time, they did feel a little too much of a mash up of Miss Foster, Kovarian and Kizlet with not nearly enough to make the characters stand out on their own.

On the plus side, Hawes does extremely well with Peter Capaldi as the Doctor finally pieces everything together (who didn’t see the reveal about him being the Architect coming a mile off?) but Karabraxos’s sudden bout of guilt towards the end of her life didn’t exactly ring that true.

As for the Teller – well, this went the same way that Hide sort of did with the Crooked creature in a way. It looked bad, could detect guilt and reduce people to soup – it very nearly did with our gang at different points in the episode but ultimately it was working for Karabraxos under duress and once free from her clutches was able to go back to it’s own world and live with it’s mate.

Also in “Time Heist”

Danny’s appearance at the start of this episode was clearly added at the last minute. Samuel Anderson isn’t even credited for the episode.

Psi: “Ever try not thinking of something?”
Saibra: “You may have to.”

This is the second of three episodes that Steven Moffat has co-written this series. He also previously co-wrote with Thompson this year on Sherlock.

Ms Delphox: “We’ll be fired. Fired with pain.”

The Doctor (to Psi): “Picture the thing you want most in the universe and decide how badly you want it.”

Thanks to Psi we got to see images of characters such as John Hart, the Androvax and Abslom Daak for good measure.

Saibra: “When you meet the architect, promise me something – kill him!”
The Doctor: “I hate him but I can’t make that promise.”

Psi: “Clara, for what it’s worth and it might not worth much, when your life flashes in front of you; you see people you love and people missing you. I see no-one.”

Much as I don’t mind Clara not travelling full time with the Doctor, it does seem that sometimes she might not always be enthused when he calls for an adventure. I’m guessing this will lead to something as well.

Madame Karabraxos: “My clone and yet, she doesn’t even protest. Pale irritation really. I should sue.”

The Doctor: “Don’t go robbing any banks what?”
Clara: “Without me.”
The Doctor: “Course not, boss.”

Chronology: A few weeks after the events of “Listen”.

“Time Heist” is unlikely to go down as a future classic but considering Steve Thompson’s less than stellar history with episodes, this one was a step up for him. A fun caper that isn’t without it’s flaws but enjoyable no less.

Rating: 7 out of 10

No comments: