First, if you haven't already, catch up here with DEEP BREATH
Catch up the 2nd episode of the series here with INTO THE DALEK
Catch up the 3rd episode of the series here with ROBOT OF SHERWOOD
Catch up the 4th episode of the series here with LISTEN
Given the synopsis for the story, it had a lot to get done. Rob a bank, introduce the plot, solve the plot, beat the villain and since this episode was co-written by Steven Moffat, it had to catch us off-guard at some point with a little timey-wimey. Check. Check. Check. Check and check!
I continue to enjoy Capaldi's performance as the 12th Doctor and this week was no different. Him without his memory is so much more entertaining than him with it. The identity of the Architect was pretty easy to deduce from the first scene he was in (ominous voice and hood COME ON!), but what wasn't expected was that instead of the traditional past-Doctor falling into a scheme set up by a future-Doctor, this week it was reversed with the past-Doctor setting thing up in advance. Unexpected and fresh twist that was most welcome. However, there did turn out to be a stable time loop with the Doctor being hired by a future Ms Karabraxos.
The supporting cast felt a little unnecessary though. I felt empathy for Psi when he explained deleting his friends and family because he "loved them", implying that they might've been in danger if their connection to him was ever discovered. Saibra on the other hand I didn't find as blessed with suck. Yeah, never touching anyone without being turned into them isn't cool, but the lack of time she had made it difficult to pity her. Psi didn't have that much either, but still enough.
The plot itself is average, but well executed. Half of it involved robbing the bank while other half resolves around trying to figure out who sent the Doctor and company to rob the bank. The question we (the audience) and the characters seem to keep asking is why they have to infiltrate it again after the Architect has already managed to do so immediately before them.
The Hide-esque reveal that the Teller was working under duress didn't feel out of place to me. Instead, it felt more like they were making it into something other than just a lumbering alien creature. I am thankful that we didn't get the Hide equivalent to Romeo and Juliet here. This felt more real. After all, just what would do you to keep your family safe?
Did you notice?
Time Heist is essentially less like Ocean's Eleven and more like the Farscape episode Liars, Guns and Money given that the Doctor and Clara ally themselves with some weird new allies and have to rob a corrupt high-security alien bank with a wildly ruthless female boss. The memory gambit that the Doctor pulls off is very reminiscent of the Big Finish story The Magic Mousetrap. How about the Teller working at a bank (get it?), but also being able to "tell" what people are thinking. Double entendre much? Or we could go with: One type of employee who works at a bank is called a 'teller'. The Teller has such a meaningful name now eh?
Rating this episode: 8/10. A solid, standard Doctor Who that manages to tick all the right boxes after the behemoth that was Listen last week.