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TV REVIEWS: FTN Reviews Doctor Who Series 8 Episode 5: Time Heist

September 21st, 2014 by Todd Black Comments

Timing, as they say, is everything. And timing is what I truly believe is hurting this season of Doctor Who.

Why? Because it seems as though we have an episode that hits all the high notes we want from this series (Enter the Dalek, Listen), we get a low or mediocre point that makes us wonder what the point of it all is. The best examples being Robot of Sherwood, and now, Time Heist.


For the record, there’s nothing truly bad about Time Heist. But on the other side of the coin…there’s very few things extraordinary about it either.

A curious phone call leads to the Doctor and Clara being conscripted into robbing a bank. Not just any bank though, the most secure bank in the galaxy. To help them, an “architect” gives them a human with a computer brain, and a shapeshifter to collect the items of interest.

If you’re thinking, “wow, it’s Doctor’s Eleven!….or Twelve…or Thirteen…on second thought, forget about Twelve. Just go first and the last one…” you would be right! Especially about the movies. The twist here though is that none of them remember why they agreed to rob the bank, but they all consented to doing so.

What started out as a great premise and heist movie feel (complete with perfect heist movie music) turned into a confusing romp that left me (and probably others) in a state of…so what?

On the plus side, there were some very intense moments. Including the unveiling of “The Teller”, and its unique skill set, complete with somewhat a horrifying look at what happens to someone who sees his very particular set of skills. In the words of the Doctor: “Soup”.

Also, some apparent deaths were also nice, and showed some depth to the characters. I’ll say this for Sly (human computer) and Zabra (shapeshifter, sorry if I misspelled), they were deep for only having a certain amount of scenes. Their “deaths” would’ve been meaningless without them.

The problems though was just about everything else. The deaths were shown to be fake, thus ruining the emotional feel to it. True, both of them got their “thing they wanted most”, but it just didn’t feel earned I guess. Second, the reveal that the Doctor was the Architect was somewhat of a letdown. Especially when he mentioned halfway through that this was a “time travel heist”. Cause this meant that either the Doctor was involved in the planning, or did the planning himself.

Finally, what really tipped this over as somewhat superfluous was the fact that it was the Doctor who inspired the owner of the bank to contact him to rob the bank when she got older. You get all that?

Now, why is this a bad thing? Well, mainly because of…timing. We just had a MAJOR time traveling episode in Listen, where past, present, and future collided. Ending with a very similar scene to what we had here. To have that same ending basically twice in a row is…well redundant. It lacks the punch because we’ve already seen it.

Speaking of “already seen it”, the “reward” for the Doctor and Clara was saving “The Teller” who was the last of his species…or so we thought. Turns out he wasn’t alone, and that the Director wanted the Doctor to save them. This would be heartwarming, expect we’ve seen this numerous times before. Most recently in Matt Smith’s run with “The Beast Below” and “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship”. True, this is what the Doctor does…but do we keep having to do this particular thing?

One thing I do want to note before ending the review is the ending scenes. First off, the Doctor, Clara, Sly, and Sabra all enjoying each others company on the Tardis was a very nice touch. It didn’t need to be in there, but it felt right after everything they had just gotten through. And it’s very much open for those two to possibly come back.

Secondly, I liked that line Capaldi said, “Robbing a bank, a whole bank, beat that for a date!” Classic Doctor.

In the end, Time Heist was another episode that had an interesting theme, but didn’t deliver on it. With curious cuts, what felt like little advancement, and very underwhelming reveals, it just wasn’t on par with what we had in Listen. We’re almost halfway through the season and we still don’t know exactly where they is all heading. That’s kind of scary. Let’s hope it changes soon.

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Todd Black is reader of comics, a watch of TV (a LOT of TV), and a writer of many different mediums. He's written teleplays, fan-fictions, and currently writes a comic book called Guardians ( He dreams of working at Nintendo, writing a SHAZAM! TV series, and working on Guardians for a very long time!