Review: Doctor Who: Series 8 Episode 5: Time Heist (spoiler-free)

Time HeistAfter answering the phone on the front of the TARDIS, the Doctor and Clara find themselves apparently willing participants in a bank heist…

There’s no question about the amount of style that we’ve been treated to in this eighth series of Doctor Who – there’s been a panache to the visual elements which has made Peter Capaldi’s time in the TARDIS stand out from his predecessors’. That continues in Time Heist, with director Douglas Mackinnon paying tribute to some of the classic heist movies as the Doctor, Clara and their new allies Psi (an augmented human) and Saibra (a mutated human) try to break into the Bank of Karabraxos, a bank so safe you can even keep your own star system inside it apparently.

As with those caper movies, it’s a great ride while it’s going along – Stephen Thompson and Steven Moffat’s script has elements of Mission: Impossible (although no Clara being lowered into a vault unfortunately), as the team use their skills to penetrate the system. We see that colder side to the Doctor that we witnessed in Into the Dalek come to the fore once again, and there are plenty of twists to keep you watching. It’s not as complicated as Thompson’s interview in the new DWM might have you believe, but it’s certainly not as linear as some episodes have been, and chances are you will work out the twists ahead of time.

Keeley Hawes has a couple of good moments, but you’ll probably come away wishing her part had been a bit stronger, and after some excellent development for Clara in recent weeks, she’s less in the foreground than you might expect. The Teller is an intriguing addition to the list of monsters and well-realised. And of course – as seen in the throwforward last week – there’s an interesting visual roll call of villains at one point…

Verdict: A triumph of style over substance – some great visuals and moments for the Doctor but not the strongest outing for the show. 6/10

Paul Simpson


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