‘Doctor Who’ Recap: “Time Heist”

By September 22, 2014

What could turn the last Time Lord of Gallifrey into a bank robber?

Even the Doctor doesn’t have an answer for that.

The day starts out like any ordinary one. The Doctor has planned a whole day for him and Clara, but she has a date! (That’s what happens when you make it clear that you’re not her boyfriend, Doctor.) Just as Clara’s on her way out the door, the TARDIS phone rings. Clara begs him not to answer it, but he does, and then…

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And then, who knows what happens, because Clara and the Doctor are sitting in a room with Psi, a computer enhanced hacker, and Saibra, a mutant with the power to become anything she touches…and they all have memory worms. They’ve all agreed to participate in a bank heist, planned by a mysterious man known only as “The Architect.”

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Unfortunately, the bank of Karabraxos is the most watertight in the universe, and the Teller is a telepath who reads guilt and then sucks the content out of its victims minds, turning their brains to soup. Will our bank robbing team avoid him long enough to complete their missions and get out alive?

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The architect’s left them a kit, including six ‘shredders’–the final solution to use in case the Teller catches them. It’s not long before they come face to face with the creature, who wears an orange straight jacket and looks like something out of Star Wars.

“Don’t think,” the Doctor commands–and what other bodily function will Steven Moffat think of to suspend, now that blinking, breathing, and thinking have been covered?

Unfortunately, Saibra gets caught in his telepathic funnel. The Doctor tosses her the shredder, and she vanishes. There isn’t time to grieve, the Doctor tells Psi pointedly, and they continue onto the next phase of the mission: breaking into the vault.

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To avoid the Teller, they split up, but he catches Clara. Psi comes to the rescue, downloading the personas of every major bad guy in history (and is that John Hart’s picture flashing on the screen?), and luring the Teller to him. He, too, vanishes with a scream, annihilated by the shredder.

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The vault still won’t open, until the power’s knocked out by a solar storm. The Doctor realizes that whoever sent them on this mission knew that the storm would compromise the bank…and thus they must be from the future.

Inside the vault, the Doctor and Clara find Psi’s reward–a device to restore lost memories of the people he loved, and Saibra’s–a genetic suppressant to cure her of her mutation. But the Doctor’s reward is still hidden in the private vault.

Before they can reach it, however, they are caught and brought to Ms. Delphox, the bank manager. She orders their execution…but their executioners are Psi and Saibra in disguise! The shredder wasn’t a tool for suicide; it was a teleport.

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In the private vault, they find Madame Karabraxos…who, incidentally, is the spitting image of Ms. Delphox. The bank manager is one of her many clones, who, upon screwing up, get sent to the incinerator. Suddenly, the Doctor realizes who the architect is–there’s only one person he could hate so much. Himself.

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He gives Madame Karabraxos his phone number, and tells her to call him when she’s an old woman with regrets. She flees before the solar storm can destroy the bank, and the Teller comes in. He latches onto the Doctor’s guilt, and restores the Doctor’s memory.

It was Karabraxos herself who sent them on this mission, and the Doctor who engineered it. They came to rescue the Teller’s female counterpart, who had been kept hostage in the private vault in order to force the Teller to do his job.

The team celebrates their victory with Chinese takeout, and they drop the two aliens off on a private planet, where they can enjoy some peace of mind. Clara finally gets to go on her date, and the Doctor, despite his proclamations of wanting only a platonic relationship with her, seems weirdly competitive with Danny Pink. “Robbing a whole bank,” he says, once he’s alone. “Beat that for a date.”

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