Don't worry, it's all going to be put under the cut, but first I must say that, for me, this was absolutely top-drawer. The writing was good, the heart was there, the impulse was kindness, the flaws were noticeable from not fatal, and it left me with a far better understanding of this Doctor. Which is wonderful, given that I've been learning a little more about him every week.
I really, really liked this episode. All the way through, and afterwards.
I liked each of the characters on Team Heist; Jonathan Bailey's and Pippa Bennett-Warner's characters might have seemed like small parts on the page, but they made Psi (whose name I keep mentally turning into Sy, a lovely old name for a young man) and Saibra into characters who I instinctively liked and rooted for - despite lacking almost any information about them. That's good acting and good writing.
Keeley Hawes' characters were less well defined than I thought they might or should be, but not vague enough to ruin the story. Of course I wonder what went on in the rest of Karabraxos' life that raised her from the level of complete dirt to that of at least nominal human-with-conscience. Because the things that she did as the director of her own bank make it clear she was absolutely monstrous; the kind of human being who'd open a bank for the super rich, just so that she could make herself richer than all her customers, with enough power to toy with everyone inside the walls of the bank, in fact, someone who enjoyed hurting people, just to scare other people - well, you know. Like bankers.
(Yes, there was a lot of anti-corporatism in this, but I didn't mind in the least. The very openness of it somehow made it just right. Because it wasn't heavy-handed while trying to pretend not to be. It just flat-out said "when you want Everything, and do too much to try to get it, you risk your soul.")
I am, as I said, liking the Doctor more and more each week. He's finally living up to the warnings and hints that Moffat and Capaldi issued in pre-season interviews. He really is darker, more scary and rather more uncomfortable than the last few iterations - and yet, he is the Doctor, whose kindness is there, working hand in hand with his brilliance. (I mean, what else can you say when, at the very end of the heist, he realizes how he can save so many people, and decides that the whole thing is worth it because of that. All those pudding brains to save! He'll never be done with us. Heh.)
Just a moment, while I do a little tiny dance here ... I was right about The Teller! Back a few days ago, I was in a conversation with folks (owlboy and masakochan , I think, where they were correctly noting that The Teller was really creepy. And I said the pictures of it just made me sad, because it was enslaved. So to know that Karabraxos had two of them imprisoned, enslaved, and that the Doctor was able to save both of them, and get them home, or at least to a place of safety ... YESSSSS!
The circular plot felt right for this episode's story, in a way it didn't completely feel (for me) in "Listen." A heist story has to be clever; it's the conceit at the heart of a good heist story, and this one was very clever.
And people lived! And the teller and her mate got to escape! And Karabraxos may, just may, have redeemed a bit of herself! These things were all good for yours truly.
One other thing that I liked, and it was really quite shallow of me. The little crack the Doctor made at the end about how Clara's day with him had anything she'd planned with Danny beat all hollow ("How's that for a date?" or whatever the exact quote was), is just the right bit of unacknowledged jealousy. And, no, I'm not shipping. I see it more as a bridge between his current and past selves, an acknowledgement that we become just as afraid that our friends will leave us as we become afraid that lovers will leave us ... it made the Doctor's occasionally nasty comments to Clara more understandable to me.
So. Yes. Not much of an organized review, but this one was, for me, good all the way up and down, all the way around.
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