Doctor Who First Impressions Review & Spoilers: Season 8 – Episode 5 – “Time Heist”

Doctor Who, Season 8, Episode 5

Time Heist

Written by Stephen Thompson & Steven Moffat
Directed by Douglas Mackinnon

Peter Capaldi – The Doctor
Jenna Coleman – Clara Oswald
Keeley Hawes – Ms Delphox
Jonathan Bailey – Psi
Pippa Bennett-Warner – Saibra
Ross Mullan – The Teller

Warning! This review contains quite a few spoilers!

Quick Summary: The Doctor and Clara have agreed to help rob the most dangerous bank in the universe. But in order to help them get past the bank’s defenses they have had their memories wiped of vital information like “what are they here to steal?” But they seem to have a mysterious insider helping them on the task. Who is the Architect and why would the Doctor agree to such an insane plan?

First Impressions:

  • After the last episode, Time Heist was a bit of a let down. But, it still was a pretty solid episode. I thought the pacing worked real well, and I really enjoyed the supporting cast. Psi and Saibra seemed like cool characters, and I hope we get to see more of them in the future. One of my biggest gripes about Doctor Who has always been that so many of the “one time” characters are characters I want to see much more often.
  • Keeley Hawes made an awesome villain for this episode. Ms Delphox just seemed like the perfect cog in the machine that was Karabraxos Bank. I also liked the revelation about who she really was and how she was connected to the bank. It just made Lady Karabraxos come off as a total heartless badass.
  • The Teller was a real cool monster of the week.  What better guard can you have for a bank than a creature that can sense guilt and lock on to the mind of any target.  I also thought it was a clever name considering he was in a bank and able to sense guilt.  Nice little double meaning there.
  • The images of the flattened heads it sucked the brains out of were just incredibly disturbing. I especially loved that the bank “kept the heads around to improve morale of the staff.” Yeah, that was just one messed up operation being run by Karabraxos…

  • The pacing on this episode was damn near perfect. It hit on all the necessary points to tell a heist story. Lay out the team, lay out the dangers, some suspenseful moments throughout (team member falls, monster arrives, team is arrested, vault doesn’t unlock when it’s supposed to), and some pretty clever resolutions. I also loved what the final “prize” was, and how the Architect rewarded the various members of the team by fixing their own problems.
  • This season has had a VERY low body count for Doctor Who. Other than Into the Dalek, things have gone relatively smoothly this season. Not a lot of innocent bystanders slaughtered, and the Doctor hasn’t seen a lot of his one time allies die either. I will admit, I was really expecting Psi and/or Saibra to not make it out alive, and I was pleasantly surprised that we got a completely happy ending on this one.

  • Was I the only one who thought that Psi looked a lot like Colton Haynes (Roy Harper from Arrow).
  • I did think that some of this episode was a little predictable. How Psi and Saibra escaped death seemed kind of obvious, for example. And I figured out the identity of the Architect as soon as they stumbled across the first “support” case that someone had left for them inside the bank. Normally, I don’t mind predictable, it often means the story was laid out coherently enough for the viewer to be able to solve the mysteries on their own. BUT, I did think this one was a little too obvious at points. A good heist movie keeps the viewer guessing until the end, and I just thought a lot of this episode was way too telegraphed to have the desired impact.
  • I also thought that there was some strange plot contrivances here. IF the Architect was able to plant all of these things throughout the bank to assist the team, why couldn’t he just hop in the private vault himself and take what he wanted for himself? BUT, if you just go with the flow of the episode, it is a very enjoyable one.
  • I don’t want to spoiler it by explaining why, but I was reminded of the episode “Hide” from last season. Not really a compliment or a criticism, just an observation.
  • As I have said a few times in my reviews of this season, so much of this season has been about “what kind of man the Doctor is” and this episode showed some of the small ways he helps people through the universe, which I thought was a nice touch. It may not have been as deep a look into the Doctor’s psyche as we’ve gotten in the other episodes of this season, but I still thought it was real well done. And I hope it pays off by bringing Psi and Saibra back at some point. As you can tell, I really liked both of those characters.

  • I was also glad that Clara took on a little bit smaller role this episode. I actually like Clara a lot, but I know a lot of fans seem to have disgust as how important she is to the Doctor’s life and how much of the series has focused on her. So if nothing else, maybe this will get the fans to stop complaining about her.
  • Next week’s episode The Caretaker: Looks like Clara’s two lives are on a collision course next episode. I have been looking forward to the Doctor meeting Danny Pink all season. Especially since it was clear at the end of Time Heist that the Doctor is quite jealous of Clara’s mysterious other man. I suspect it won’t happen, but I really hope that we get to see Williams Russel playing Ian Chesterton (my wife’s all time favorite companion), since it was teased in the 50th anniversary that he is the chair of the Coal Hill School now.

    Final Score: 8.0/10: A well paced episode with a great supporting cast. Sort of a let down after “Listen,” but that definitely was a tough act to follow.

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