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Dept. of Who Review

"Time Heist"

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 ([personal profile] owlboy  and [personal profile] 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.
This entry was originally posted at http://kaffyr.dreamwidth.org/322714.html?mode=reply, where there are currently comment count unavailable comments. You can comment there or here; I watch both.

Comments

( 31 comments — Leave a comment )
dr_whuh
Sep. 21st, 2014 12:42 am (UTC)
And he wore a different shirt again in this episode!
kaffyr
Sep. 21st, 2014 12:47 am (UTC)
By golly, he did! He's just a ball of sartorial fire, is our Twelve!
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liadtbunny
Sep. 21st, 2014 01:51 pm (UTC)
I kept thinking Si short for Simon! It was nice they were after stuff that wasn't hollow like treasure and gold. Felt sorry for Siabra all she needed was to tell someone to keep their eyes shut or a myopic narcissist, like me(!). I don't think I'd hate my clone(s), but I'm not a baddie, so it gave me something to think about. I couldn't get rid of my clone and not myself. She obv had issues (self esteem?) which she eventually worked out and turned into regret re; the telephone call.

I liked the bit where the Dr says something like forget about it they're dead to Psi and Psi says something like how can you say that but the Dr doesn't mean that because he's doing it so we can all throw up in a bucket at happy aliens at the end:) (That's probably because I re-watched an episode of 'Callan' the other day where he was quite nasty to Liz the secretary about the death of a colleague, telling her to forget him and spends the rest of the episode proving he hasn't forgotten. Not half as heart warming though).

Yeah, I liked the jealousy thing too.

The catchphrase was naff though!
kaffyr
Sep. 21st, 2014 03:05 pm (UTC)
Ooh, I'd never heard of Callan before. Just Googled it; sounds very angsty.

Not half as heart warming though).

Which wasn't as heart-warming, the Doctor, or Callan? Heh.

Karabraxos redeemed herself in the end, but oh my lord, she was, as I said before, just a monster. Gah. And issues were probably a big part of that.

(no subject) - liadtbunny - Sep. 22nd, 2014 03:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kaffyr - Sep. 22nd, 2014 06:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
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a_phoenixdragon
Sep. 21st, 2014 06:52 pm (UTC)
I knew he was always jealous...just little glimpses here and there...he's very SHERLOCK that way, lol!!

This episode was Perfect. I loved Psi and Saibra (they were real with real motives and good hearts). I loved that the Doctor is still kind and a champion of love and equality, even if it doesn't seem that way. (Why be the ultimate champion of love that WILL HAPPEN NO MATTER WHAT - so much better to champion and ensure something that is less concrete and has obstacles to bring it about...s'what Doctors are for after all). And I love that the bad guys can be redeemed.

I likely didn't make much sense there.

But...wonderful episode. And there are so many things that make sense now (as I knew they would). He is scared, defensive, unsure and jealous...so his behavior here of late is understandable (if childish, but...he's the DOCTOR, yeah?)

*HUGS YOU*

Edited at 2014-09-21 06:58 pm (UTC)
kaffyr
Sep. 21st, 2014 10:08 pm (UTC)
Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner, to share the squee! Just a truly fine episode, all around, and I am enjoying this season more and more.

Don't worry, I think you made excellent sense!

*hugs you back*
elisi
Sep. 21st, 2014 07:11 pm (UTC)
Lovely post. I have zero thoughts myself yet (well not zero, but they're fuzzy and undefined and I have been busy all day rearranging the bedroom and am so tired), so it was lovely reading someone else's. :)
kaffyr
Sep. 21st, 2014 10:09 pm (UTC)
After reading your meta on "Listen" I am more than happy to let your fuzzy and undefined thoughts simmer and mature. It will all be worth it in the end. In the meantime, rest up! And I'm glad you got some enjoyment out of my rather uncritical squeeing. Heh.
(no subject) - elisi - Sep. 22nd, 2014 06:54 am (UTC) - Expand
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radiolaires
Sep. 22nd, 2014 07:38 pm (UTC)
Really nice thoughts all around! You pointed out everything I enjoyed as well, except I actually liked that the character of Karabraxos was not too much detailed. It was just enough. Because she is an archetype, the banker as you said. I thought it served her role: in the end, a lot of gloss and façade that could eventually be cracked open. She's disconnected from reality and it is what makes her monstrous; the ends always justify the means for her. The cracks in her clone's personality were there though. Room to work for the Doctor.
I really read the Doctor's last remark as one of a father who is thinking: 'Come on, mate. You have to work a little harder than that.' Not much to add. Ah yes, I found Clara a little "tag along" especially in a team where each has a specific role assigned. I think the Doctor could have added something along the lines of "tiny person to slip into tunnels". Well, he would have made that comment. Anyway, it was really entertaining.
kaffyr
Sep. 23rd, 2014 03:59 pm (UTC)
I actually liked that the character of Karabraxos was not too much detailed. It was just enough. Because she is an archetype,

OK, that's a valid point.

She's disconnected from reality and it is what makes her monstrous

I really like this - disconnection from reality does make one monstrous. If you pay attention only to the ledger, or to financial trends, or to capital spending plans, and you forget the people behind them, then you can do horrible things. Because everything has become a number to you - and numbers can't bleed. And if you do make someone bleed, it finally just looks like red ink to you. Because you have disconnected yourself from humanity. Yes, I like that very well!

I think the Doctor could have added something along the lines of "tiny person to slip into tunnels".

Oh, that would have been excellent.

Good to hear from you!

robling_t
Sep. 22nd, 2014 09:23 pm (UTC)
I was thinking it was "Cy", as in cyborg. I hate what BBCA does with the credits...
kaffyr
Sep. 23rd, 2014 03:56 pm (UTC)
Luckily, I don't watch BBCA - what do they do with the credits?

And you're right, it probably was "Cy" for Cyborg. I just spent many, many, many years reporting in Skokie, Lincolnwood and Wilmette. Heh.
(no subject) - robling_t - Sep. 23rd, 2014 08:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
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eaweek
Sep. 23rd, 2014 05:07 pm (UTC)
I loved this episode, too! I'm actually enjoying this whole season so far--I don't think we've had even one clunker yet.

Capaldi is wonderful. I've liked him from the get-go, but this is the episode where I really loved him.

Fantastic work. The story, the characters, the small details--all of it fit together. The reveal of the second Teller at the end was perfect. It's not the first "Misunderstood Monster Who Actually Needs to be Rescued" that Who has done, but this story, I think, got the execution right in a way that some of the others have not.

I'm not usually crazy about Steve Thompson stories, and I wonder just how much co-writing Moffat did. Thompson may have penned the actual script, but the overall structure was very Moff-like.
kaffyr
Sep. 24th, 2014 03:27 pm (UTC)
It's not the first "Misunderstood Monster Who Actually Needs to be Rescued" that Who has done, but this story, I think, got the execution right in a way that some of the others have not.

Thus far, I recall three in Nu Who - the Krafayis, the rather scary one in "Hide" and tonight's. I've liked them all (I cry more at the Krafayis' death than I cry in the rest of that wonderful episode). If you include the minotaur creature in "The God Complex" I will join you in saying that it was done badly - but then, I loathed that entire episode with a great loathing.

Still, I love the theme of misinterpretation/mistake/distorted mirrors that show us ourselves, hidden in something that looks nothing like us, that these stories tell.

Thompson wrote one that I was meh-to-dislike (Curse of the Black Spot) and one that I have mixed-to-positive feelings about, and actually want to watch again (Journey to the Center of the TARDIS), but I definitely saw more of Moffat here, which I think is what made it.
mack_the_spoon
Sep. 25th, 2014 04:51 am (UTC)
Well, this wasn't an episode that was forgiving of my tendency to miss dialogue because of the accent and fast speech, but other than that I quite enjoyed it.

I guessed as soon as we saw that the Teller was imprisoned that the Doctor would probably free it, too. Yay, Doctor!
kaffyr
Sep. 25th, 2014 04:58 am (UTC)
The older I get, the harder it is for me to hear fast speech with any accent, at least the first time around. The second time, I generally catch it - but it does seem as if the last two or three seasons on DW have been a little vocally frenetic. Heh.

Yay, Doctor!

Indeed!
flowsoffire
Sep. 28th, 2014 08:11 pm (UTC)
Great you enjoyed! ^_^ Psi and Saibra were great. And Twelve! ♥♥♥ And go you for making the right deductions about the Teller!

Good the ending line worked well for you! I think it's quite interesting too, seeing it in a non-romantic POV but as a display of Twelve's kind of possessiveness over Clara, and the different but powerful connection they have. That Doctor might be so very dismissive at times but I really enjoy his dynamic with Clara for the most part.
kaffyr
Sep. 29th, 2014 03:13 pm (UTC)
seeing it in a non-romantic POV but as a display of Twelve's kind of possessiveness over Clara, and the different but powerful connection they have.

Exactly. He may not understand romance the way his previous incarnations did, (or at least he may not be interested in trying to understand it, as Eleven clearly was, even if he got it wrong sometimes), but he very much needs connection.
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(no subject) - kaffyr - Oct. 3rd, 2014 07:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
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( 31 comments — Leave a comment )

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