Despite the Doctor’s own plans for the evening, Clara has another date with Danny Pink and has every intention of heading out the door when the TARDIS phone rings. The Doctor answers, and suddenly both he and Clara are seated at a table with two new folks, wondering how they all got there. By the recordings left for each person, it would appear that they’ve all agreed to have their memories of the last several hours wiped.
Also on the table is a message from The Architect. They’re currently in the most secure bank in existence, and the only way for them to get out is to rob the place. Good luck!
Now it’s time to meet our compatriots. Psi is an augmented human with rather fantastic hacking skills, while Saibra is a mutant with the ability to shape shift into anyone she touches. The Architect has left them a DNA sample that will allow Saibra to shift into someone who can get them safely into the main part of the bank.
We get a peek at the stakes once the team reaches the bank lobby. They aren’t the only ones in the bank with criminal intent today. Ms. Delphox, the bank security manager, singles out a customer who planned to give the bank counterfeit notes. She brings out the bank’s main line of defense – The Teller, a telepathic alien who can sense wrongdoing and consume the brain of the prospective criminal. Obviously we’ll be seeing him later on in the episode.
The team finds their way into the safe deposit box of the man that Saibra is imitating. Inside is a bomb that allows them into the bowels of the bank before sealing the hole after them. Nice touch. In the corridor below is another briefcase from the Architect containing a handful of devices that the Doctor refers to as “an exit strategy.” The strategy becomes clear when they stumble onto the room where the Teller is kept. The Teller locks onto Saibre as they attempt to escape. Rather than have her brain sucked from her body, she uses one of the devices, disintegrating herself on the spot.
The next briefcase gives Psi what he needs to be able to break into the main bank vault. It also includes a small card with the locations of everything they’re in the vault to obtain. Psi is able to unlock all but the final seal on the vault before the Teller catches up with them. He sacrifices himself to save Clara, using one of the disintegrators himself.
The final lock is still in place, but an alarmingly convenient solar storm sweeps through the bank, disrupting the system and opening the vault. The convenient timing alerts the Doctor that in order for the Architect to have planned each step so thoroughly, the team must have come back in time. It also explains the absence of the TARDIS, as the solar storm would have interfered with her systems, as well.
Amongst many other things, the vault contains a neophyte circuit that would have restored Psi’s memories and a gene suppressant that would have allowed Saibra to finally touch another person without taking on their appearance. The prize for the Doctor and Clara, however, is located in the Private Vault. They’re found by the Teller before they make it over there. Oddly, the Teller forgoes eating their brains and opts to bring them to Ms. Delphox, instead.
Delphox has plans to make examples of the Doctor and Clara, so she leaves them in the temporary care of two guards. Once she’s left, the guards reveal themselves to be Psi and Saibra. The disintegrators were actually teleports to a ship in orbit (which happens to also contain the TARDIS, in case you were wondering).
The team heads down to the Private Vault. Inside, they find the bank owner, Ms. Calabraxos, hiding with all her treasures. She looks startlingly familiar. As it turns out, the only person that she trusts is herself, so she uses her own clones as security staff. She only has a few minutes left to enjoy her possessions, though, as the solar storm is going to wipe out the entire bank.
Meanwhile, the Doctor has figured out the identity of the Architect – it’s him! He tells Calabraxos that he’s a time traveller and tells her to call him one day, as he knows she’s going to need him. Once she flees the scene, he gives himself over to the Teller in order to regain his own memories of planning out the heist. The memories reveal that the heist was never going to be a robbery. It was a rescue mission. Many years in the future, on her deathbed, Calabraxos called the Doctor to help her remedy one of her many regrets. In addition to keeping the Teller as her own personal weapon, she kept his mate imprisoned within the Private Vault as a safeguard against his good behavior. The Doctor is able to free the Teller’s mate and take them both to a planet where they’ll find peace.
With the Teller and his mate finally free, the Doctor drops off Psi and Saibra with their own prizes, then takes Clara home in time for her date.
Okay, so after the enjoyment of the last two episodes, I have to say that this one was a pretty major letdown. It felt more like the outline of what could have been a really fun bank heist movie. All in all, there was just too much going on for the time that it was compressed into. Part of the fun of a good mystery is figuring it out along with the characters. With everything going on, we were never given that chance. I never cared about Psi or Saibra the way I’m sure I was supposed to, and too many plot points went unanswered.
I’m sorry, guys. This one definitely goes on my list of episodes to watch once and pretend they never happened. Hopefully we’ll have better next week.
Doctor Who 8.05 Episode Recap and Review: Time Heist
Psi: “Still don’t understand why you’re in charge.”
The Doctor: “Basically, it’s the eyebrows.”
Things to Ponder:
- So many questions about this episode that I’m not even going to start listing them here.
- Is the Doctor still trying to flirt with Clara? He seems pretty uninterested in her romantically, but he’s definitely jealous of her burgeoning relationship with Danny Pink. What gives?