Doctor Who 08:05

 

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Well, this is something we haven’t seen in a while; a proper heist story. And as much as I liked “Time Heist,” and like last week’s episode it inspired a second viewing because the time-looping set up an impossible situation that needed to be resolved, this week’s episode felt a little leaden by comparison. It’s not that this was a bad episode per se, it’s just that like most episodes of the Moffat era the premise doesn’t hold up under scrutiny.

This seems to be a problem with co-writer Steve Thompson’s scripts; both ” “The Curse Of The Black Spot” and “Journey To The Centre Of The TARDIS” have nigh-on irresistible premises at their heart (pirates! the private parts of the TARDIS!). But like those earlier episodes, the central premise gets muddled when swallowed up by the main plot of the overarching themes of the season. In the case of “Time Heist,” this Doctor’s self-loathing comes through yet again (when he protests how much he hates The Architect, it’s a clear sign of who the mysterious puppet-master is). This self-loathing is revealed in the reveal of Director Karabraxos and her relationship to Ms. Delphox, which also plays into the theme of an old person dealing with their sense of regret. And yet again this episode plays into Moffat’s use of child-like themes rendered in adult tones (in addition to “Don’t Blink” and “Don’t Breathe” we now have “Don’t Think”).

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While the limitations of these genre-heavy episodes cut into character development, it helps that this episode has decent actors to fill in the blanks. As the unplanned bank robbers Psi and Saibra, Jonathan Bailey and Pippa Bennett-Warner are excellent and had a great rapport with Capaldi and Coleman. But the episode belongs to Keeley Hawes who manages to make Karabraxos and Delphox subtly different from one another, yet it’s easy to see that the apple (or in this case, clone) doesn’t fall far from the tree.

While the episode was fun, it was a nice little palate cleanser for…

NEXT WEEK: Coal Hill School, alma mater of one Susan Foreman, and current place of employment for one Clara Oswald and Danny Pink.  And a very strange caretaker…

Photo & Video Credit: BBC

Originally Published on 22 September 2014 as part of “The Idiot Box,” my television column for l’étoile.

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