Along with Peter Capaldi, Douglas Mackinnon is quickly starting to become a reason to watch Doctor Who. Between last week’s “Listen” and this week’s “Time Heist,” it’s getting very hard not to notice his tremendous talents. Visually, “Time Heist” retains all the feeling of Doctor Who‘s classic campy sci-fi aesthetic—but still has enough visual cues to feel like a classic heist movie.
The episode begins in Clara’s bedroom, again, where the Doctor (remember: not her boyfriend!) is trying to persuade her to come along for more grand adventures. She refuses because she has a date, as evidenced by her notably uncharacteristic outfit: a stylish casual pantsuit. Bit of an odd choice, isn’t it? Seems like something she’d wear when robbing a bank.
The TARDIS’s phone rings as Clara is about to leave, stopping both her and the Doctor in their tracks. Very, very few people have that number. The Doctor picks it up despite Clara’s protest, because “nothing happens when you answer a phone.”
And then the Doctor and Clara wake up, clutching grotesque worms with two strangers in a completely unknown place. All four have had their memories wiped by the worms. They listen to audio recordings in which they consent to the procedure. To be fair, they’ve been in much worse situations. A mysterious figure called the Architect informs them (in a rare American accent) that they are about to rob the most secure bank in the universe—the bank of Karabraxos—and any slip-up will result in their incineration. Oh, and the guards are already on top of them, beating down the door so that they can incinerate our plucky heroes. Now it’s bad.
The Doctor and Clara hastily meet the two strangers: Psi, a cyborg hacker who has a computerized brain, and Saibra, a woman who shapeshifts into whatever DNA she’s in contact with. The four enter the bank’s compound in a shot pulled right out of Ocean’s Eleven (good thing Clara brought the appropriate attire), where they see their most dangerous threat in action. The head of security, Ms. Delphox, is in charge of a last-of-its-kind species known as the Teller, who feeds on the brains of guilty people—as we find out in the show’s most graphically uncomfortable visual effect in a long while. Nobody feels more guilt than someone who knows they’re about to rob a bank, which is why the four consented to wiping their memories in the first place.
NEXT: Heisting on the fly