Posts Tagged ‘Time Heist’

Well, much in the manner of Time Heist itself, let’s not muck about, and cut straight to the chase: I didn’t hate this episode, but neither did I especially like it either. At the moment I am having to remind myself that Doctor Who is in many ways like a supertanker – once you turn the wheel, it takes a very long time for any course change to become manifest. Thus Matt Smith’s first season is the one most strongly resembling any of David Tennant’s, even as Graham Williams’ first year as producer contains a couple of stories which could conceivably have made it into one overseen by Philip Hinchcliffe.

So in light of this, it’s not really surprising that some of this year’s stories resemble those from recent seasons: any of the more glitzy and lavish futuristic ones, to be honest – I’m thinking of Rings of Akhaten, Gridlock, you know the sort of thing. Nor that the story unfurled at the sort of headlong, manic pace that we were promised the series would be moving away with the new Doctor.

(The problem with my optimistic analysis concerning why this some of this season is less different than advertised is that it’s predicated on the idea that the regime of the show has in fact changed, when arguably it hasn’t: just changing Doctor doesn’t necessarily mean anything in terms of the general style of the series – you only have to look at the Eccleston and Tennant series, which develop pretty seamlessly, to see that.)

Anyway, there was a lot of running around and spectacle in Time Heist, and to be perfectly honest neither I nor any of the people I’ve spoken to have managed to find any flaws in the plot, but then again I haven’t really found myself inclined to dig too deeply into it. Not surprisingly, there was a definite Sherlock flavour to the plotting this time around, although I do think it suffered a bit from being crammed into a 50-minute timeslot. There was a lot to follow and perhaps not quite enough reasons given as to why we should make the effort.

Still, the episode was not without moments of interest for the more thoughtful onlooker. The roll-call of famous villains rapidly scanned through at one point in the story promises a veritable feast of Easter Eggs – I think I spotted the Gunslinger from A Town Called Mercy at one point, but much more interesting was a fleeting appearance by Abslom Daak, Dalek-Killer. It would be fun to speculate as to the degree to which this now makes Daak and his various escapades canonical – not very much, I strongly suspect – but if nothing else it’s a nice tribute to the late Steve Moore. Just as long as this doesn’t provoke the Slaves of Kane to re-release their dreadful Daak-themed disco record.


The closing twist concerning two monsters being in love with each other did not do a lot for me, not least because the show already played exactly the same card last year at the end of Hide. One friend of mine has already been rather scornful as to the prospects of Mr and Mrs Teller, given there are only two of them left to rebuild their entire population, but given SF has a long history of this very same trope – to say nothing of the way Doctor Who has indulged in it in the past, too – I’ll let it pass happily. I’m less inclined to overlook the way Mr Teller effectively murdered numerous people for the bank and was completely let off this, but that’s just me: I’m just a bit of a puritan about these things (don’t get me started on Willow from Buffy being given a pass for a horrible, brutal, cold-blooded murder).

And, finally, when the dust settles and people start to give reasoned verdicts on the Moffat era of Doctor Who, I think one of its more unexpected additions to the mythology is its idea of a Doctor who seriously doesn’t like himself. This first really showed up in Amy’s Choice, with the Doctor’s self-hatred made manifest as the Dream Lord – but it’s recurred since then, not least in Time Heist‘s revelation that the Architect whom the Doctor hates so much is really… well, anyway. It’s not quite in the same league as previous episodes built around the Doctor’s various foibles and character flaws, but even so. It would be great to get an episode which didn’t seem to feel the need to qualify his heroism or put him down somehow. Normally I would have said that Gareth Roberts could be relied upon for something like that, but at this point in the year, all bets are off.


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