Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Doctor's Seven... I mean Four – Time Heist

Doctor Who does Ocean's Eleven. It's one of those concepts that just sounds like it was designed exactly for me. But the execution seemed off. The Doctor allows himself to be mind wiped and is following another person's instructions. It just doesn't work. Especially for this new Doctor.

But things belt along quickly enough that you don't really have to worry too much about it either. Before you question just what someone could offer the Doctor to do this, armed guards are battering on the door all while we're still being introduced to the other two bank robbers, both human, which could seem lazy for Who, but then one's cybernetic and the other is a mutant, which more than makes up for it.

Things carry on down the route of a sci-fi bank heist, and it's all great as we slowly learn just who the thieves are – the cyborg deleted his own memory, and the mutant shapeshifts into anyone she touches, so she's Mystique and Rogue all in one package. We also learn a bit more about the bank that is the only building on the entire planet because the atmosphere is so intolerable. That's a rather genius move on the side of the designer, if you want to make something impenetrable, put it on a planet no one can survive on. A telepathic bank teller is pretty handy too. Also Keeley Hawes as the bad guy. More Keeley Hawes is always welcome around here and she did a damn good job here.

Clara's the only one that doesn't seem to fit. While every episode this year has had me saying “It's all about Clara” we finally have one where she isn't central. In fact she's almost surplus to requirements. She adds nothing to the 'crew', except maybe to get the two thieves to listen to the Doctor a bit more, with him completely in superior Capaldi mode. Which was fantastic.

Except, as she goes to leave the TARDIS the truth is revealed. The Doctor was one upping the date she's meant to be going on. Seems for all of his talk about not being 'her boyfriend' anymore he can't quite shake those old regeneration feelings, and I think it's a bit lesser for it. Unless we're going down the route of he just feels like he needs her as a companion and is worried about losing her to a new love. It wouldn't be the first time. Though judging by the 'Next Week' bit I caught that doesn't seem to be the case.

But that was one line, and we can't take anything away from how the Time Heist actually ended. Which wound up being the perfect way of ending a heist story, with everything that happened during the episode quickly being revealed as completely pre-planned. The mind wipe at the beginning is just so they don't have memory of what they're doing in preparation of the 'Teller', who is one very cool looking monster. Even the unavoidable 'deaths' of the two thieves, and the exact timing of the caper, making it a job you could only pull in something like Doctor Who, and not just any old sci-fi.

The revelation about the architect perfectly fitting in how the Doctor would pull this off. I want to say that his role of the Architect has Twelve almost going to manipulation levels of Seven in his prime, but then I remember it's just to throw off the mind reading, so that they're more confused then guilty as they walk into the building.

More importantly. it's brilliant because it all ends up about saving people. The two criminals he hired to help him break-in are those that are only in this life because there's no other way, and within the bank walls holds the means to give them back their lives, and the entire point of the heist is to rescue the last two members of an alien species. It turned what I thought wasn't that much of a Doctor Who concept, into something exactly what the Doctor would do. We're four for five on good episodes this season. Moffat is pulling out all the stops here.
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