So, I’ve just seen Doctor Who: Time Heist.
1. I Stole A TARDIS And Ran Away. I’ve Been Running Ever Since…
The Doctor left Gallifrey as a thief, and has nicked a fair few things over the years, from parts of a Key To Time . Even his own TARDIS called him “my thief”. But a full blown bank heist is something more akin to River Song. The thief as the hero is a classic theme
2. Swish, From Scene To Scene, To Suit
The swishy scene changes, the horns, woodwind and wah-wah pedals, the slow mo sliding, this is the seventies, this is Reservoir Dog striding, Oceans 11 styling, the cool of the bank robber of popular culture, the glamourisation of crime… it’s just got that swing.
Oh yes, and lots and lots of ducts.
3. You Must Remember This, A Fish Is Still A Fish
We’ve had such memory games before – The Beast Below had the participants agreeing to their memory wipes, the Doctor wiped his memory and himself in Paul Cornell‘s Human Nature, Torchwood was full of Retcon, Oswin made the Daleks forget the Doctor, The Day Of The Doctor used them to disguise UNIT from the Doctor and for the Doctor to bring peace to UNIT and the Earth by exploiting classic risk philosophy. This however was an living organic solution rather than a technological solution, closer to a Babel Fish.
4. Ulterior Motifs
Let’s check them off again.
Breath – yes, as means of identification. Blackboard – not literally but we have the bank schematic as information projected onto a wall. One Lever Use to fly the TARDIS at the final scene.
And of course “A Good Man – I left it late to meet one of those.” That’s another vote for “good” in the Doctor Who referendum. I wonder what Dundee thinks.
6. A Very Grave Attitude To Life
Calling them “Team Not Dead” was just tempting fate. And we have the return of the Doctor turning companions as weapons, though here it’s a lot more deliberate. Is that what’s happening with the Doctor, doing the things he always did, but deliberately, on purpose, planned. The callousness of the Doctor is there again, to the soupified bank thief – but then to a time traveller, the man was always destined to die here. As he says “It’s gone already, it’s over.” This is a Doctor who can see time more than the others, to him everyone is already long dead.
7. Doctor X
She may be Saibre. But is she also Rogue? “Mutant gene. No one can touch me. If I do I transform…” Even wears the gloves.
But yes, you hate to look at your own eyes. Saibre and the effect she has on people. Why the director Karabraxos burns her own clones. And why the Doctor hates the Architect…
8. Think When You’re Spoken To
“You didn’t bring any weapons.” No guns, this is the Doctor. He brings all the weapons he needs, they are the people around him, the place he is in and the willingness to say the right thing at the right time. And move everyone into the places they need to be for his plan to work, like the chess player he continues to be. But doing that only with words… or the lack of them.
“Shut up shut up shut up shut up”
But the greatest weapon? Guilt. Guilt of what was once done for power, for money, for expediency, finally revisiting across the centuries….
9. An Ood Man Goes To War
The teller. A bank teller of course, but also a teller of guilt. And a teller of the guilt of those who had imprisoned such a creature, the last of their kind as the Doctor is, right from the beginning its in Orange Is The New Alien jumpsuit. And used as a Minotaur, just as the Nimon was – also trapped and mistreated. An Ood for the new Doctor… and a walking, stumbling, chained guilt complex. See, Hide…
10. Dateus Interruptus
The Doctor interrupted their first date by taking Clara into the middle of a conflict largely of his own imagination, to the end of the universe and back. The second saw him take her to a planetary bank heist. The Doctor is managing every aspect of their lives, whether he remembers it or not. Could he have written LISTEN on the blackboard and then removed his memory just so that he could further fuck with Clara and not have the guilt of remembering that’s why he did it?
Makes a change from Don’t Blink!
That was also the last of the leaked episodes…. no one knows what’s coming next. Although we are pleased to have competition from someone mentioned above…
I’ll be sharing my Ten Brilliant Things about tonight’s Who on Monday at @UKTor which isn’t Tor dot com, but the UK Tor site.
— Paul_Cornell (@Paul_Cornell) September 20, 2014