ON MY WAY HOME today my dad informed me that the newest episode of Doctor Who, entitled ‘Time Heist’, received quite a poor rating in the Radio Times. “Oh no!” I thought, “Why do I always end up reviewing the crap episodes?!” Well luckily for me, ‘Time Heist’ was not a crap episode. While it was not as good as last week’s ‘Listen’, it served up an interesting and enjoyable plot.
In the episode, we see The Doctor and Clara forced to take part in a robbery of the most impregnable bank in the Galaxy. With them are shape-shifter Saibra and cyber hacker Psi. As they attempt the break in, they come across the monstrous and intriguing Teller, a creature with the ability to wipe minds and destroy the brain. Controlling this creature is Miss Delphox (played by the wonderful Keeley Hawes) and her mysterious boss who will stop at nothing to protect the bank’s contents.
Firstly, let me just say how great all the characters in this episode were. Saibra and Psi are two of the best companions the Doctor has had so far in this series. While faulted, they both are loveable characters and the audience feels a connection with them. Keeley Hawes is great as Miss Delphox, but doesn’t quite come across as the antagonist you feel like she should. Her haughty stare is enough to send a chill down your spine though. The real antagonist is The Teller. Like all good Doctor Who monsters, The Teller is an animatronic; no CGI here. While his ability to consume the memories of his victims may seem a little farfetched, its design is excellent. As the episode unravels, we begin to learn more about this strange creature, and find out there is more to it than meets the eye.
Now: for the story. It wouldn’t be the first time we’ve been plonked into a situation in Doctor Who without any prior warning as to when/where we’re going. It’s the first time in this series the audience has been thrust into the very fabric of the action and it feels great. The scenes involving The Teller are genuinely quite exciting, and the effect of his abilities rather disturbing, even if they do seem a little silly. When bad things happen to the characters, it’s sad, because they’re actually likable characters. While all the running around may grow a little tiresome, it’s all for the greater good as the story wraps up nicely and everything comes full circle. I won’t reveal what happens in this review, there are some good twists at the end, even if one could have been guessed.
I’m trying to think of something negative about this episode. Really there isn’t anything explicitly bad about it, but it isn’t fantastic. It’s not ground breaking; it’s just a solid, good episode. If I had one complaint (and this goes for the series in general, not just this episode), it would be that I’m tired of hearing something is X in the Universe. The end of the universe. The largest bank in the universe. The thing you want most in the universe, and so on. While it has the ‘awe-factor’ it does wear rather thin after a while.
So overall ‘Time Heist’ was a decent Doctor Who episode. While it didn’t blow me away like ‘Listen’ did, it certainly didn’t make me hate life like ‘Robot of Sherwood’ did. In a way, ‘Time Heist’ sets the average standard for how Doctor Who episodes should be. If every other episode in the series was as good as this I’d be happy.
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