Doctor Who S8E5 - "Time Heist" Recap

The Doctor is making suggestions to Clara over things they can do but Clara already has plans to go on a date with Danny. But just as she's about to head out, the Tardis starts ringing. Very few people have that number. But just as the Doctor answers the phone, he and Clara wake up at a table with two other people, Psi and Saibra, and some memory worms on the table. They then hear recorded messages of each of them identifying themselves and agreeing to the memory wipe of their own free will.

Psi is a hacker with an augmented brain and memories wiped following a conviction. Saibra is a shapeshifting humanoid that can take on the form of anyone she comes into contact with. A briefcase on the table opens and a recording plays of plans orchestrated by "The Architect," to rob the Bank of Karabraxos. The bank is the most impenetrable in the entire universe, with the highest level of security. But the group takes the tools provided to them and run out when guards come chasing after them.

The group is able to get into the back when Saibra takes on the form of one of the bank's legitimate customers. A different customer is accused by Mr. Delphox, the bank manager, of stealing from the bank. This customer has his brain scanned by a Teller, an alien with powerful psychic powers and the last of its kind. The Teller turns the customer's brain to soup.

The group follows the Architect's plan in order to get to the main vaults. They collect some devices and the Doctor claims to not know what they are, though Saibra believes the Doctor is lying about that. Clara learns that Psi lost so many of his memories that he doesn't even recall his loved ones, from family to friends. The group then has to pass through the container where the Teller is forcibly hibernated. The Doctor warns Clara to keep her mind blank, or the Teller will turn her brain to soup, having locked onto her brain waves. The Doctor is able to get Clara free and the group is about to escape the room but then the Teller traps Saibra in its scan. The Doctor gives Saibra one of the devices, confessing that it's an atomic disintegrator. He tells her it's a more humane way to die than the scan. She activates it and disappears in a flash.

The Doctor, Clara, and Psi carry on towards the vault. Mr. Delphox releases the Teller to chase down the intruders in her bank. When the Doctor realises that the Teller is coming after them, he says they need to split up to minimise the amount of brain signals. Psi asks for one of the devices in case he is found, the Doctor gives him one, though Clara orders Psi not to use it. The Teller locks onto Clara's brain waves but Psi lures it away. He shouts out his goodbye to Clara before activating the device and disappearing just as the Teller gets to him.

The Doctor and Clara run up to the main vaults and it's still locked. But it's just then that a solar storm hits the surface of the planet which leads the Doctor to realise this is a time heist. The storm causes the main vault to automatically open.

Inside, they find two safe boxes indicated by the Architect. Inside is a device that can restore Psi's memories and a formula that can act as a gene suppressant and allow Saibra to live a normal life. They're about to find the final safe box in the Private Vault, when they are caught by the Teller that leads them to Mr. Delphox. She leaves them to be killed by the guards, who reveal themselves to be Saibra and Psi. As it turns out, those disintegrators were actually tele-porters. Don't forget, folks, this is a children's show. The Doctor gives Psi and Saibra the recovered devices from the vault but they still need to get to the Private Vault.

Psi leads them into it and when the Doctor and Clara get inside, they find the real Ms. Karabraxos. The one they had been meeting was just a clone. The real Ms. Karabraxos sends her clone to be incinerated. The Doctor begins to put things together so he writes down the number to the TARDIS phone and gives it to Karabraxos. He tells her he's a time traveller and she escapes with many of her treasures as the storm rages outside, but not before the Doctor tells her to call if she ever has any regrets.

The Teller arrives and the Doctor has it begin scanning his mind to help unblock the memories of how he came to go on this journey. He then recalls an elderly, dying Ms. Karabraxos calling him on the TARDIS phone. She shares her regret and the Doctor then put all the elements together to send the group on the heist. He was the Architect. The purpose wasn't to steal some objects but to bring the Teller, who was telepathically linked to Karabraxos, to the Private Vault so after she left, the combination safe could be opened. Inside was another alien of the same species of the Teller, chained up but now free. It wasn't a heist at all, but a rescue mission of an entire species.

The group uses the teleportation devices to escape the bank before it is destroyed. The Doctor drops the aliens off to a planet on which they can live comfortably, before returning Psi and Saibra to their home worlds. Finally, the Doctor returns Clara to her flat right after they left so she is still able to make her date with Danny.

Though this episode is not quite as strong as last week's, it still proved to be a fun adventure for viewers to be brought on. Keeley Hawes delivered a strong performance as Karabraxos, who is shown to be particularly villainous in her exploitation of another species for her own greed. The takeaway of this is an important one, promoting compassion over the relentless pursuit of materialistic wealth. The supporting characters of Psi and Saibra were fun, albeit a tad underused. It would be nice to see these characters brought back in a future episode(s).

Doctor Who airs on Sundays on BBC One at 9PM.


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