Doctor Who – “Time Heist”

Doctor Who does a crime caper.

Cast and Crew Information

Peter Capaldi as The Doctor
Jenna Louise Coleman as Clara Oswald
Jonathan Bailey as Psi
Pippa Bennett-Warner as Saibra
Keeley Hawes as Ms. Delphox

Written by Steve Thompson and Steven Moffat
Directed by Douglas MacKinnon


The Doctor, Clara and two strangers have been brought together to rob the most secure bank in the galaxy, and they don’t know why.

High Point

I strongly suspect I’m going to have a new favorite Doctor by the time this season/series ends.

Low Point

Why did it take so long to identify the Architect?

The Review

This is an original episode. I can’t think of another time in any of the Doctor Who episodes I’ve seen with this type of plot. (I have seen most of them, but not all of them.) With this much history, that’s hard. I give it 6 out of 6.

The effects were effective, if minimal. Makeup and mild distortions seem to take care of everything. I give it 5 out of 6.

The story is tightly plotted. Any time we are dealing with a heist, structure is a huge concern. Add in the clues to the identity of the architect and the stories of the assistants, and it’s a nicely packaged whole. Of particular concern is the motivations revealed for everyone, helping keep everything in character and sympathetic. I give it 5 out of 6.

The acting is well done. Peter Capaldi’s Doctor is growing on me very rapidly. He’s got the right mix of classic cantankerousness and new series energy. Coleman is also doing quite well, particularly with the new material available. I give it 5 out of 6.

The production is solid. Again, the heist format demands precise editing, and that’s all here. I give it 6 out of 6.

The emotional response is great. It’s a tightly paced story that moves everything along smoothly, casting character doubts but still keeping everything in established parameters. I fault it only because the Doctor didn’t figure out the identity of the Architect until well after I did, and that’s not the Doctor. Had he revealed it, saying he figured it out a while ago, I’d have been fine with it. I give it 5 out of 6.

Overall, it’s one of the strongest episodes in a good season. I give it 5 out of 6.

In total, Time Heist receives 37 out of 42.

6 replies on “Doctor Who – “Time Heist””

  1. I think this is the best so far this season, with obvious themes of identity running through the storyline, and decent suspense.

    I missed about one minute near the start, so maybe I missed an explanation for why the biggest bank in the galaxy doesn’t have, you know, a basic security camera system as back-up to their psychic defenses.

  2. I dunno. Didn’t like this one so much. Mostly because it was pretty much 100% predictable. I was not in the least surprised even one time.

  3. I should have seen some of the details of this episode coming. They’re not without precendent. Notably, the shredder things. See “Bad Wolf” (2005) for a similar gimmick.

  4. At first I was like, why in the world would the Doctor agree to a bank robbery…

    I figured out who the Architect was the second time the Doctor said he hated the Architect.
    Anyone else?

    • It was part-way between the first and second when I realized it. He was strangely adamant about that first declaration, which seemed off to me (in a very in-character way), and the scene itself seemed almost tacked on as a clue by the writers. Took a little while before I was positive, but the second declaration made it official. :-)

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