Doctor-Who-Time-Heist bank exterior

Time Heist: “My Special Power, What’s Yours?”

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The episode begins with Clara trying to tell The Doctor she has plans with Danny (with whom she has agreed to go on a second date) and cannot leave with him for his fanciful adventures he’s planned; but the TARDIS phone begins to ring as she tries to leave. With very few people knowing The Doctor’s number, including “the woman in the shop” and Clara, The Doctor answers it despite Clara’s protests. We flash to the pair, and two others sitting in a sterile looking room, with memory worms. Incidentally the same looking memory worms we first saw during Clara’s first “full companion” episode, “The Snowmen” with Matt Smith. We see Clara (Jenna Louise Coleman), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Psi (Jonathon Bailey) an augmented human, and Saibra (Pippa Bennett-Warner) a mutant human, in the room. While each of the four are looking confused as to what they are doing there and why, a recording of each of them agreeing to have their memories wiped is played, and it has been agreed to by all four prior to being transported to the table. At the table they find out they have been enlisted to rob the highest security bank in the universe, the bank of Karabraxos by the Architect who gives an overview of the security of the bank. The Architect has left a briefcase full of data, and Psi uploads it into his consciousness. As the message finishes playing, bank security finds them in the room and they escape from a side door. We flash to Ms. Delphox (Keeley Hawes), the bank manager, who is alerted to the team’s presence by security confused from touching the memory worms. The woman, Mrs. Delphox, looks like a strange cross of Ms. Foster from “Partner’s in Crime,” Madame Kovarian from the River era, and an off version of our newest mystery woman, Missy. She taps on a glass and awakens “The Teller” to help find the unwanted guests; while the four: Clara, The Doctor, Psi, and Saibra, start running down the hall, The Doctor calls for them to stop, being out of breath, which is ironic as he is usually the one pushing a full on sprint. As The Doctor begins to assess Psi and Saibra, both ask why he is in charge, to which The Doctor responds, “Basically, it’s the eyebrows.” He learns that Psi is an augmented human who has computer powers and a criminal background, and Saibra can replicate anyone who she touches exactly down to breath. When asked why they need to accomplish the task they don’t recall agreeing to, The Doctor declares, I don’t think we have a choice, we’ve already agreed.

They use Saibra’s DNA replication to enter the bank, and then enter an open air room. The Doctor and Clara realize they are unsure as to where the TARDIS has gone, and to rob the high security bank it would be easier to use it. But as always, The Doctor is sure it will turn up, and they stand aside as “The Teller” is in chains and walking down past all of the people in the large room, presumably the bank lobby. The bank manager/head of security (Keeley Hawes) explains the Teller will scan your brain for any ill thoughts, prior to acting on them. The Doctor elaborates that the Teller is telepathic and “hunts guilt.” The bank manager sees the Teller focus in on a gentleman, and has his mind melted into “soup”, wiping his mind, but also collapsing the skull into what looks like a backwards Spoonhead from “The Bells of Saint John.” Terrified and appalled, they watch the process and the Teller pronounces to his victim “account and mind deleted.” Clara wants to help, but The Doctor explains the deed has been done, and they are simply seeing the end effects. Delphox states that the man’s next to kin will be notified and incinerated. While the Teller didn’t notice the four, the bank manager realizes that the Teller has not found the correct guilty party, and muses out loud that they will be incinerated by the bank Director.

They find a brief case and believe it’s a bomb, but not sure what it’s purpose is. The Doctor sets it off and finds it is a “dimensional shift bomb” that The Doctor uses to blow a hole through the floor, and covers it back up using the dimensional shift bomb once more as the guards are closing in. They land safely a floor down, and they learn that “The Architect” has left briefcases at each juncture which begs the question why the Architect had not just accomplished this mission while breaking in to leave them the clues and help through the briefcases. Psi keeps glitching and proclaims it is stress, but The Doctor points out that as a half computer/half man he can delete his own memories, which makes Psi the best candidate of the group to hide his guilt since he can delete it. The Doctor also realizes that they needed their memories voluntarily wiped, because the less they knew about the mission, the less guilt they would project. Since Psi can perform a manual delete with his computer side, he opens the briefcase to prevent the others from knowing too much but does not recognize the contents and shows it to the others. The case contained six vials of something. While The Doctor and Saibra go off to further the mission; Psi and Clara are left behind to try to clear the security protocols as an alarm rings. Psi begins to work while he explains to Clara that while deleting memories can be a good thing, he’s also deleted all memories of his life, including his family and friends during an interrogation, and it’s double edged sword.

Saibra and The Doctor go forward. Saibra being a shape shifter is likely to go unnoticed, but she mentions that it is tiresome to be a shape shifter, pointing out that people find it hard to trust her. It is hard to trust someone who can look back at you through your own eyes she points out. She and The Doctor both recognize the contents of the briefcase, and call it a “back up exit plan.” Clara and Psi meet up with the other two as another alarm goes off. We see the original soup headed guilty man tied up, though why he’s being kept alive is hard to tell as they pass and they escape, accidentally walking into the Teller’s casing. The Teller is cocooned but is able to lock onto Clara and she cannot “keep her mind blank” as instructed (just as in “The Snowmen” Christmas episode where Clara must clear her mind of thinking of the snowmen), and The Doctor reiterates “Don’t think Clara.” (Just one more thing we aren’t allowed to do, no blinking around the Weeping Angels, no breathing from “Deep Breath”, no looking at the thing under the bed in “Listen”, don’t be lasagna from “Into the Dalek” and more – the list is getting long.) While The Doctor, Clara, and Psi are able to escape, Saibra is left alone with the Teller closing in on her. She asks if The Doctor can get her out, and he explains he is unsure how once the Teller is locked on. The Doctor throws something to Saibra from the briefcase, and she knowingly nods. The Doctor gets Clara and Psi to run away with him while Saibra is beginning to turn to a soup head, via the Teller reading her mind. Saibra calls The Doctor a “good man” answering this Doctor’s primary question this series. She takes the vial thrown to her from the briefcase and she seems to have died, under her own terms, and to avoid the others being caught. The three run out and find a vault door. Clara asks The Doctor if he is okay about Saibra’s death, and he says that they’re alive and that’s the most important thing. Psi, infuriated calls The Doctor out asking “is that why you call yourself The Doctor? Professional detachment?” The Doctor tells him that he can mourn later, but right now Psi needs The Doctor. Psi notes to Clara that she must have been with The Doctor a long time, when she inquires why he assumed so, he responds with “you’re very quick with the excuses.” Meanwhile Delphox has the Teller released into tunnels.

They continue on and find the big lock protecting the vaults with another briefcase. Clara grabs the card from it, and they realize it is a bunch of data to download, which Psi can and does accomplish. The three split up, trying to split the guilt to confuse the Teller, and split the power of their thoughts. Psi brings a suicide pill with him to use the data he has downloaded to open the door, so he can choose to die under his own terms. Clara tells Psi not to, as the Teller continues to wonder the halls. Psi calculates 26 codes quickly and runs. Meanwhile Clara has been found by the Teller, and she is reminded by The Doctor to clear her mind and keep it blank and clear. As Clara is about to have her mind melted, the Teller is distracted by a mechanical/computer noise. It gives Clara enough time to break the connection and begin to turn away. Psi projects a screen that shows the universe’s most notorious “burglars” including, Kahler Jex from “A Town Called Mercy”, Slitheen, ice warriors, as well as other known characters from the Who-verse. Psi approaches both and tells Clara that she has a reason to go on, and people she remembers and reasons to live, while he has nothing, and gets the Teller to focus on him rather than Clara taking the suicide pill prior to having his mind melted, and Clara and The Doctor run towards the vault. It turns out only 25 of the 26 protocols were unlocked, there was a mistake in the final unlock. Clara tells The Doctor she is sorry Psi had died for nothing. Meanwhile a solar storm brewing gets worse and begins to interfere with the systems of the bank. The Doctor realizes even the TARDIS would have had trouble navigating in the solar storm and would not be able to land, which is likely why he left it behind. Clara wonders how the Architect could have known when the storm would hit. Capaldi continues to conjecture out loud, “what is the logic?” and realizes that it isn’t a bank heist, it’s a time travel heist, hating the Architect all the more, but explaining they’ve been sent back in time to when the bank is most vulnerable.

The vault is unlocked due to the solar storm and the two enter the vaults. On the card Clara grabbed was “Tech 251 and Org 339″ and they contain a neophyte circuit for Psi which can reboot any system and replace any lost data, and in another box, gene suppressant for Saibra. Both boxes do not require a key or code to open, presumably because to get that far, security would be escorting the guests. Before they can go to the P.V which is further down, and stands for Private Vault according to the Doctor, and must contain their reward, they are caught by Delphox. She thanks them for helping remind everyone that bank security must be absolute and they will be disposed of. Delphox warns that if they are thinking of ways to escape, the Teller will know before they can even make an attempt. She explains that the Teller is the last of his kind, The Doctor saying it must be painful to hear so much chatter, and asks why the Teller would even agree to work for Karabraxos. The manager responds with “everything has a price tag, I think you’ll find.” And she says she must dispose of them, because she personally knows Karabraxos, and how angry he/she will be at her for not catching the guilty party. The Doctor asks Delphox why she would keep working for an employer she despises and she says she “has the right face.” As she leaves the two guards to dispose of their “guests,” the guards push them against a wall. While The Doctor tells the guards he is having a bad day, the guards reveal that they are actually Psi and Saibra, confusing The Doctor as to how they are not dead. The pair explain the suicide pills weren’t suicide pills at all, rather a transmat that lead them to a safe escape ship in orbit containing a blue box (helping The Doctor and audience understand where the TARDIS had gone). The Doctor provides Psi and Saibra with their prizes as promised and they continue to help The Doctor and Clara despite having collected their rewards. They sneak down towards the private vault, and Psi states that there is water and air, to sustain life based off the bank schematics. They enter the main room of the private vault, where outside is precious art, including statutes and a Sarcophagus (almost like the one Tom Baker’s Doctor encountered).

The Doctor sees a chair turned away from them and says, “Director Karabraxos, excuse us, but we’ve come to rob you, so if you want put your hands above your head, or…..” and the chair spins around with what looks Mrs. Delphox. They discover that this is actually the real bank director, Karabraxos, and she has clones such as Mrs. Delphox to oversee her many institutions. Mdme. Karabraxos contacts Delphox and lets her know that they have intruders, requesting the Teller be sent down to find out how they broke in. She then states Delphox should turn her credentials in and will be terminated. Karabraxos explains that she puts her clones into an incinerator when they let her down, and they do not even protest. While the others wonder why she would do this, The Doctor explains, she hates her own clones. As everyone silently listens to him, he tells them all to shut up multiple times. The Doctor recalls Saibra’s proclamation that you cannot trust someone who can look back at you with your own eyes and asks her to repeat it in front of everyone. The Doctor goes on a tangent about how much he hates the Architect and why. While Karabraxos inquires what is happening, The Doctor writes something down, and tells Ms. Karabraxos that it is his phone number, outside having written, “I am a time traveler” telling her she might want to call him sometime. The storm worsens, and he tells her to get out quickly since her bank will burn from the storm anyway. He says to leave them, not to worry about them, and lets her leave unharmed but tells her that she may be old and full of regret in the future. The team knows that they can use the “shredders” which are actually transmats, but the most important thing about them is that there were six despite there only being four team members. He is unsure as to what he understands, but knows he is understanding it. He realizes to understand what is happening he must “become soup” and allows the Teller to read his mind and feast on the memories (once again similar to “The Rings of Akhaten” where The Doctor knows his mind is powerful enough that the false God could not possibly digest all of his memories.) As the Teller begins he makes several comments about his appearance referring back to the Tom Baker scarf and Troughton/Smith bowtie. He requests the Teller to share how they all got to the bank in the first place while going through his memories.

The Teller brings The Doctor and the audience back to the beginning of the episode where the phone is ringing. When he answers it, it is Madame Karabraxos, saying that she is dying, once being the richest person in the universe. She says that she has many regrets, but has one major one that he may be able to help with, which leads to the launching of the mission. The Doctor pushes Clara onto the TARDIS despite her protests, and tells her that they need to rob a bank and that he needs the memory worms. We see him putting the team together, and recording the messages that would, in the future, be from the Architect, using a voice modifier. He goes into the bank with the TARDIS to drop off the suitcases and instructions.

The Teller unlocks the link, and The Doctor asks the Teller if he saw what happened. That he needed to hide the information not only from the Teller, but also Karabraxos as they were mentally linked. As the solar storm is getting worse and worse, Ms. Karabraxos officially flees, and The Doctor states that she is gone now and has no power over the Teller anymore, so it is free to do what it wants, what it has always wanted to do. The door begins to open through the telepathic brain waves of the Teller, and we see another “Teller” in the cell chained up. The Doctor realizes that the Teller was not the last of his species, but rather one of the last two (again bringing in a parallel between the monsters from “Hide.”) Ultimately, the mission was neither a bank nor a time heist, it was species saving. The Doctor transports both Teller creatures back to a safe planet using the TARDIS before the entire planet is incinerated by the solar storm. He brings the rest of his team home as they are all joking on the TARDIS, eating Chinese food, and Psi and Saibra say their good byes, both offering to help The Doctor should he ever need it again.

Clara, the last one to be dropped off realizes she has just eaten and is supposed to go to dinner with Danny. While she is leaving she tells The Doctor not to rob anymore banks, at least without her and he responds with “course not boss” in a way acknowledging she is a more central character than past companions. Clara exits and we see The Doctor roaming his TARDIS repeating “robbing a bank, robbing a bank, beat that for a date” almost as if he feels he is in competition with Clara’s suitor.

Over all, this was a good episode and one of the few that can stand alone without worrying about understanding the fifty one year history of the show. While there are many references and parallels through out to previous episodes, one can watch this one and not need any of the back story to understand what is happening. Even better, those that are familiar with the show’s history will find many parallels and enjoyable throwbacks as they watch. The Doctor is developed more firmly, and Clara seems to be realizing exactly how hard it is to get to know Danny and still travel with The Doctor. By introducing auxiliary companions we have more in depth view of our usual characters with new characters, while fighting a new monster. It also parallels the modern day banking crisis while establishing firmly that greed will lead to demise. While perhaps not as deep as some of the earlier episodes in the series, it certainly entertained and provided a brilliant way to introduce new Whooligans to Capaldi’s Doctor.

 

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