Ok new guy, let me introduce you to the team you’ll be working with. This is Paul E, or Cookie – been in the business for years and an old hand at jobs like this. This is Paul B, tech expert and a good man in a fix. This here is Matthew, only been here a week – we call him the King. I’m Big Matt, and I put this little gang together for one reason… We’re gonna break into Doctor Who.
Spoilers from here on – don’t read on until you’ve seen the latest episode, Time Heist.
After a slower and more thoughtful episode last week, this time The Companion Piece is looking at a much faster paced affair, with the Doctor and Clara hired to rob a hyper-secure space-bank, but unable to remember why. It’s Hustle in space, right down to the slow-motion strutting through entrance-halls. Which begs the question why on Earth it’s taken the show so long to do an Ocean’s Eleven type caper? I’ve been trying to think if they’ve done one in the past, but I can’t think of anything like this in the new series.
Nope think it’s a first, also don’t ever get that many episodes set in the future or on another world.
Even for the classic series, I believe this is a very welcome first.
I think it’s a very unique situation – they have to come up with a plausible reason for the Doctor to do such a thing.
The Doctor uses more co-operation. Breaking in kind of implies an automatic non-co-operation.
You’d think “The Doctor and a group of others need to break into something for some reason” would have come up sooner, though.
We have seen him gather a team of experts together in the past, in things like A Good Man Goes to War and Dinosaurs on a Spaceship, so this kind of heist episode almost seems inevitable!
Now that the series has actually gone there, what did we make of this episode’s ragtag team?
Well the cyber-augmented guy had a cool background, loved the makeup.
Really liked Psi, thought he made a nice addition to the team.
They all seemed to have something to contribute to the team, which was a nice change.
I sort of agree, but thinking about it I don’t remember anyone’s names, so maybe the characters were a little weak.
It amused me that they used the word “mutant” entirely in its X-Men meaning. “What’s your power?”
To be fair, I don’t remember a lot of names in the series – but I do remember faces. I thought there were no weak links – possibly because it was only a team of four.
Though I could see the teleporters coming a mile away. Kinda saw the doctor being the Architect as well.
Was unsure of what they were, yet I didn’t think it was to kill them…
Those teleporters have to be foreshadowing the Missy plotline, right? It’s too much of a coincidence for them to appear in the same series as the other people who “die” but actually reappear somewhere else…
Quite possibly the same tech is being used to transport them to the promised land.
The real lady of the clones was an interesting one, arguing with herself.
Obviously not a very nice person (pretty much the same deal with the Skins from a few series ago).
Ah yeah, I’d forgotten about them.
She sure had some issues.
There was a slight element of social commentary in there too, with unchecked greed and reckless bankers. It got a bit lost in the mix, but it was still nice to see!
Her story does make me wonder though – when they ring the Doctor, how does the TARDIS know at what time to put the call through…?
Telepathic links possibly checking the time lines?
Same exact time just so many years ahead and vice versa?
“Hello, you have reached the TARDIS switchboard. For William Hartnell, please dial 1. For Patrick Troughton, please dial 2…“
It’s the TARDIS! It’s kind of a “get out of jail free card” in the Doctor Who universe…
…except for Calories.
It’s not a miracle worker!
That is how it seems to be going, though.
Well it seems to know how to cook a Christmas Turkey!
Nice to see an episode where the Doctor is parted from the TARDIS, I thought. And he didn’t use the screwdriver all that much either.
Nice to see that he’s still in control even without his toys.
I think it’s good that he has toys, but it lets us know that he’s intelligent without them as well.
Definitely felt a little more old-school in that way.
Did he ever rely on his sonic screwdriver in the old series?
I think that’s Matt Hurd’s obligatory “Old Who” question for this episode…
He had it but not every Doctor used it, and very rarely. In fact it got destroyed in one of the fifth Doctor episodes and didn’t reappear I believe until the new series or the Doctor Who movie.
That’s a long time between screwdrivers!
So we’ve done the obligatory Classic Question – I think it’s time for the obligatory Crazy Theory…
The eyes were back this episode! The monster used its eyes to kill people; there were close-ups on cyborg-guy’s eyes; close-ups on Clara’s eyes; computer terminals that looked like eyes; and everyone kept talking about looking into their own eyes!
Very true. And the Doctor referred to the eyebrows.
This eye theme does seem to be becoming a regular thing.
Thinking back, the first episode had a reverse-cyborg with an exposed eyeball, last episode had the Doctor’s eye (maybe) opening at the end, the intro to the new series shows Capaldi’s eyes, and Robin Hood kept shooting his arrows at bulls-eyes.
…ok that last one’s a stretch.
Maybe this all ties into why the Doctor chose that face? Maybe? I really hope I’m not just going crazy.
Eye think you might be…
(going crazy that is).
You might be on to something.
A bit of a return for Clara trying to avoid the monster too. Trying not to think was like not breathing in the first episode of this series.
Very true. Once again, she didn’t quite make it either.
And I guess saving the last two of a species seems to be a thing with the Doctor. Happened this last episode and in that manor with whatever those things were last series.
Ah yes the ghost story from the last series, quite enjoyed that one as well.
I really liked that twist in the end. I for one imagined that he might be breaking in for some clue to Gallifrey. Yet that topic seems to have gone on the back burner to be fair.
Same. Though the actual reason was fairly suitable as well. It’s almost becoming a theme – saving the last of a species.
At least we know it will be Peter Capaldi’s Doctor that will find Gallifrey – eventually.
Would be nice to have Gallifrey actually be visited properly.
You say that, but I’m not so sure we’re returning to that plot. The Doctor vowed to find Gallifrey in the Anniversary… and then he did find it at Christmas. It’s not rescued, but it’s safe and he knows where it is. Maybe that was the whole arc, done and dusted?
If we bring back the Timelords, I feel like the Doctor becomes less special and loses a lot of his motivation. I’m not sure the programme could survive that.
Not necessarily. He could still be hated by the Timelords. And what happens if some weird thing happens when he has to undo the “timewar”?
There’s definitely places they could go with it – it’s way too much of a good story to pass up.
They were never lost in the classic series, and it still managed to thrive. Some of the best classic stories were on Gallifrey!
He was still special as well, the only one of his kind willing to meddle to save the day. He was a renegade, frowned upon, and it would be interesting to see how he copes with them being back.
Speaking of coming back, did you notice the music playing for the clip to next week’s episode?
Don’t think I did. What was it?
Well, I thought it was Amy and Rory’s theme, but I could be wrong.
I’m really hoping you’re right, but I’m not sure they’d want to do that…
Last week’s preview reused Matt Smith’s theme too, I’m afraid, so I think these might just be temp-tracks.
It’d be cool if there’s some callback, though!
So, next week. Another school episode and the return of John Smith but this times he’s… The Janitor!
Shame. He’d be an amazing science teacher.
Quick question – what does Clara teach? Do we actually know?
The Doctor possibly has no teaching qualifications though…
Ah, I had no idea it was English. Not sure if that’s my fault or the writers’.
One last thing I wanted to talk about was the Doctor’s attitude towards death in this episode. There were echoes of his Into the Dalek persona here, which I know you all hated, so I wondered what everyone thought?
I actually liked this episode. I think the whole death thing could work – but it’s got to be a definite “can’t help” rather than a simple sacrifice.
I thought he was a little more subtle in this episode, he did try to save her but couldn’t so gave her, what he though was a more compassionate death.
Maybe it was the fact that he gave her the option rather than simply pretty much killing her. I think it’s a definite difference.
Maybe now that we’ve seen more of Capaldi it comes out better?
There was a moment just after she dies, when Psi is calling him out for just shrugging it off, where you could really see the pain beneath Capaldi’s face as he walks away. He still cares, he just knows when to move past it and try to save the rest.
Which is exactly how I read the Dalek episode, actually.
I could see that this episode, but the Dalek one seemed a little more aggressive.
It came across a hell of a lot better this time, but I think the script was also stronger this episode.
The script was a little clunky for me – but there were a crazy number of elements to introduce in a short space of time, so I can’t really hold it against it.
The dialogue was fairly okay. Maybe not as snappy as other episodes, but I felt this had something the earlier episodes missed.
Yeah, overall the dialogue again was very good. I agree with it not being as snappy, but yeah the whole episode seemed a lot more structured – which made it enjoyable.
Was it me, or was there some slight flirting…?
I caught the end bit where the Doctor mentioned beating robbing a bank as a date, which I found a little odd.
There was definitely some flirting with Psi. That “call me” gesture made my week!
I think the idea is that he’s jealous of Danny, but not in a romantic way. But it’s structurally identical to a romance so (again) making a point of mentioning it in the first episode really just makes it stand out.
Reminds me slightly of the Rose/Mickey relationship(ish).
I don’t mind a bit of cheeky flirting every now and then, though. It helps the character.
Things like that help not all be so onward with the task.
It does help retain that human edge.
Overall, I feel like the episodes are getting better. It’s actually quite nice to actually look forward to new episodes again. Hopefully the series will get better and better.
Yeah, a good number of things. It was interesting to see the Doctor acting with no idea and working with complete strangers, and good to see a another future-set episode.
I agree, although not as strong as last week’s. The heist twist was an enjoyable element to throw into the mix. The series seems to be going from strength to strength. It was also nice to have two more additions to the TARDIS crew, even if it was just for the week. Capaldi is really growing on me, he’s beginning to get the stronger scripts, which is really helping him shine in the role.
I’m usually one of the more positive members of the crew, but I feel less enthusiastic this week. I love the idea of the Doctor pulling off a bank robbery – I also love the memory wipe and the eventual reveal of why they were there – but Time Heist never really fulfilled its potential for me. The script felt forced in places, particularly with regards to the supporting characters, and there were some super-weird editing choices (something which also stuck out for me last week). I did enjoy the episode, but I didn’t enjoy it anywhere near as much as the bank heist plot seemed to promise.
What did you think of the Doctor’s brief criminal career? Are those teleporters important? And what’s with all the eyes? Let us know your thoughts and theories in the comments below, on Twitter, Facebook and Google+, or by calling the TARDIS switchboard and pressing “#”.
That’s it for now but, as always, The Companion Piece will be back next week to tackle the Doctor’s first day at school. Or, should we say, The Caretaker‘s.