Published on September 22nd, 2014 | by Brad


Doctor Who – Time Heist review

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As opening gambits go, having the Doctor and Clara in a room holding memory worms, with no idea how they got there, or who the other two people in the room with them are, and being instructed by a mysterious figure known only as the Architect that they must rob the bank they’re currently inside or they will die is a pretty damn good one. That’s the premise of Time Heist, this weekend’s episode of Doctor Who.

The reason they lack any memories of why they’re there, it transpires, is a creature known only as The Teller. The Teller is telepathic, and feeds off guilt. If he detects guilt in you, he will turn your brain to soup. The Teller is a fantastic creation, in an episode perhaps overstuffed with ideas. The creature operates at the behest of Madame Delphox (Keeley Hawes), the mysterious head of security at the bank.


The Doctor and Clara, along with their two confederates, a cyborg named Psi (yeah, I know, Psi the cyborg, just roll with it) and a shape-shifter named Sabira. They each have their own reasons for being in the bank, though they don’t know what it is either. As they move through the various levels of security, they find cases left for them to find by the mysterious Architect. How did he get them there? And if he’s capable of getting them there, why does he need our ragtag bunch to break the bank for him?

Time Heist is a very cineliterate episode of Doctor Who, with visual cues taken from just about any classic heist film you’d care to mention, and director Douglas McKinnon should take a lot of credit. The script, co-authored by Stephen Thompson (the third Sherlock writer no one ever mentions) and Steven Moffat suffers from having too many ideas and not enough time to explore them all. The ending in particular is very rushed.


Time Heist continues Doctor Who series 8’s Star Trek-esque pattern of the odd-numbered episodes being a bit mediocre and the even-numbered ones being excellent. There’s nothing about Time Heist to particularly dislike, but it’s inconsequential froth. On the broader themes front, breath is important again, this time to verify someone’s identity (and how it can be faked). Been no sign of Missy for a while, but don’t be surprised to see her pop up next week, in which the Doctor will meet Danny Pink, in The Caretaker.

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