Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Doctor Who Review: Timeheist

Time Heist is fast and furious and fun, but there is still a strange sense that this should have been a Matt Smith episode rather than a Peter Capaldi one. This has running through corridors in spades (some very good running through corridors) and  plenty of manically paced escapes and sudden revelations – all more Matt Smith style escapades rather than the slower pace of Capaldi.

However, Capaldi slots in just fine – in particular his abrasive relationship with his two new partners in crime (Pippa Bennett-Warner as Saibra the shape-shifting mutant, and Jonathan Bailey as Psi, the electronically implanted hacker) – dragging them along (because the eyebrows put him in charge) at first, but winning their respect and friendship as they go along. Like in “Into the Dalek”, the Doctor is accused of callous disregard when he helps Saibra apparently kill herself rather than be captured by the Teller; but these are really acts of mercy and compassion from someone who is still trying to understand the concepts.

The Doctor, Clara and his new friends have been brought together to break into the impenetrable Bank of Karabraxos, for reasons that are not immediately clear because they’ve all voluntarily wiped their memories. They’ve been brought together by a shadowy figure who calls himself The Architect and from the moment they meet, they are up against time, constantly having to figure out and escape from their situation.

The villain of the piece is the nasty Ms Delphox, Head of Security, played with style, wit and supremely snooty sauciness by Keeley Hawes (who might just tip Lena Heady out of the way as my choice for a female Doctor Who). She takes charge of “the Teller”, being the monster that can sense the guilt of any potential bank robbers and then suck their minds out.

Eventually, the gang (after supposed deaths and resurrections) make it to the private vault of Madame Karabraxos herself, who turns out to be the original that Ms Delphox (and all previous Heads of Security) had been cloned from.

It all turns out to be a bit timey-wimey paradox-y stuff as the Architect is actually the Doctor in the future, getting his past self to break into the bank in order to give Madame Karabraxos a piece of paper that will provoke her, in her old age, to call on the Doctor to get his past self to break into the bank…  which was all about realising that the Teller was not a monster, but a prisoner, pining for his locked-up mate. Teller and Mate are released and all is sorted – just like last season’s “Hide”.
It’s all fine enough, but I can’t help but feel the concept of the heist and Madame Karabraxos is not allowed to take flight. Keeley Hawes is superb but she really just gets to chew the scenery here – how about making her a serious villain? What if the Doctor and co were having to steal something with much greater consequences, beyond this episode? What if Madame Karabraxos had to go after them? What if the future Doctor carried on manipulating events – no wonder this Doctor seems a bit paranoid and with a sense of self-loathing? But no, it’s just about freeing some poor love-struck beastie – noble enough in itself, but I just think things could have been a little more epic.

And on with episode 5 of the flash-fic-fan fic (remember, each episode is exactly 100 words, and made up as we go along – no planning allowed..)

HungerTime – Part Five

The Dalek Scientist scanned for life forms and found none. It spotted the Tardis; , scanned as a source of time energy. The Dalek reached further, through the disruption caused by the Tardis’s vortex energy.

Behind a wall there were one life form, two beings shrouded in temporal charge and one being that defied all analysis.

One of the temporally charged beings jumped up with a weapon. The sonic screwdriver buzzed, reality shimmered around the Dalek and it found itself firing at a white-haired, older man accompanied by a human male with dark hair. The old man crumpled and fell.

If you want more Doctor Who reviews, go to http://reviewthewho.wordpress.com/ - my reviews of the Matt Smith/ 11th Doctor stories are under Series 5,6 and 7 - and a whole load of reviews covering all 50 years of the show are elsewhere. Go on, you know you want to.

Now go and buy my ebook The Royal Wedding from Hell

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