20th Sep2014

‘Doctor Who: 8×05 – Time Heist’ Review

by Paul Metcalf


There always has to be those throw away episodes in a television show, where the episode has no real importance to the overall continuity but just works as a filler.  Time Heist arguably signposted that it would be one of these episodes and to be fair has done little to dissuade me from changing my mind.  The worrying thing about the teasers for the episode were that they raised the simple question, can Doctor Who characters really do a heist episode?

When The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) and Clara (Jenna Coleman) wake up in a strange room with a shape-shifter and cyber-augmented gamer their situation soon becomes even more confused by a message from the mysterious Architect.  With a challenge to break into the most dangerous and secure bank in the Universe, can they refuse (or do they even have that choice)?

Last week I picked up on something that Doctor Who has done a lot lately (and often many times in the reign of Moffat).  The writers don’t care about making sense through the actual episode as long as they fix everything in the big finale.  This worked with Listen, but this week it felt like it was taken to stupid levels with The Doctor making decisions that are not only against his character but against what the character stands for, he would never let people die or knowingly put his companions in danger in such a trivial manner.  I know, that may sound confusing but I’d rather not spoil what actually happens, I’m sure you’ll understand what I mean when you see it.

Time Heist is interesting and to some point it is entertaining, but how many times must we be pulled through what appear to be silly decisions before everything is fixed in the end? I know after watching the episode it is easy enough to say “well they fixed that with [plot device]” but this tends to get old.  I will admit that I do like the ending, it made my heart feel all warm fluffy, but it just needed a little more of the Doctor Who feel to it.

In terms of the characters Capaldi once again nails his performance and yes, I think it is fair to say that he has finally found his version of the character, though there is a certain level of immaturity that I’d like him to lose (but I may have to live with).  Keeley Hawes as Ms Delphox head of bank security is a nice addition for this episode, it’s a shame we won’t see more of her character.  I do guess if they wanted to stretch her out to another one there is an opening to have her return but you’ll have to wait and see how the episode ends as to see why this may be possible.

I am a fan of Capaldi’s Doctor and I do believe that Clara is a good companion, but one thing that isn’t working for me (just yet) is the romantic interest side story.  We don’t need to know every episode that she is getting ready for a date and the Doctor is getting in the way, just get on with it and let us get back to the important stuff.  This is a bad sign for me as the preview for next week looks to be a “school” episode but I’ll have to live with that.  On a final note where did the evil Mary Poppins and her heavenly home go off to, have they forgot about her? I miss her little segments.

***½  3.5/5

Time Heist is a fun episode but it is also filler. Showing the weaknesses in the Moffat era Doctor Who it may be one of those episodes that is easily forgotten, though that is a shame as Keeley Hawes is excellent in it. Maybe we’ll see her again in the future? I get the feeling her character is one that could return in time (hopefully).

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

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