Dr.Who Episode 5 - "Time Heist"
The one where the Doctor goes all Ocean’s Eleven and leads a small team to rob the most secure bank in the universe. Only, with less laughs..
Those of us of a certain age will be familiar with a phenomenon in television storytelling known as the Star Trek:TNG effect (Not a legit phenomenon, but if you’ve ever watched an episode of TNG, you know where this is going..)
The TNG effect is this: Stories had good introductions, with the plot, or major hooks, being laid out in the brief intro before the opening titles. Stories were developed, and more often than not had very strong second acts, occasionally overlapping into the third act. This often meant that third act resolutions were frequently a little rushed.
Even when they branched out into the two part season finalés they still suffered from pacing issues. Best of Both Worlds Part I, for example, was exceptional, culminating in the transformation of Picard into Locutus of Borg; and keeping the fanbase guessing as to what would happen in the next episode. Part II, when it came, was somewhat of an anticlimax.
I bring this up because, despite 20 years of industry growth in the art of episodic story telling in genre television, it would seem that Doctor Who has begun to exhibit this phenomenon. The latest episode, “Time Heist”, suffered again from Bill and Ted-esque Timey-Wimey-Bullshit and a rushed ending that undermined what had been a pretty good story up until that point.
Leaving the ending aside, this episode had some strong moments. The acting was once again top notch, as it has been throughout the series to date, and Keeley Hawes has rightfully been receiving plaudits for the understated way in which she played the villain of the peace. It could have been so easy to camp it up, but she played it down and it worked better for it.
Capaldi seems to be settling into his role of the Doctor a little more, and we see a return to his darker side. His “Shut up, shut up, shut up” shtick is becoming his thing, and I’m ok with this.
The revelation that it was a time traveller that had set the whole heist up piqued my interest considerably, and it would have been great to see the seeds planted for a return of the Master; or even a new character with their own intentions towards the Doctor. The reveal that it was the Doctor himself who had set it all up just felt rushed.
Up until that moment though it was engaging and entertaining, and it’s for that reason alone that it is getting the grade it has from me. Let’s see what episode 6 brings.