It does what it says on the tin.
Time Heist, written by Steve Thompson and Steven Moffat, sees the Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman) break into the most impregnable bank in the galaxy.
It’s like Oceans’s 11 and 12 . . . but better because there’s time travel and aliens.
Joining them in the heist is two characters with special abilities. Psi, played by Jonathan Bailey, has a computer enhanced brain like Lando’s aide Lobot from The Empire Strikes Back, and Saibra, played by Pippa Bennett-Warner, can shape shift like Odo from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
The mystery is who has hired the four of them and wiped their memories to ensure the robbery goes as planned? The drama is whether they can get past the alien mind reading Teller who is press-ganged into service by the bank to sniff out criminal intent before robberies can take place. (So there’s an idea from the Spielberg movie Minority Report).
It’s full of what the 10th Doctor would have called wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey stuff which means cause doesn’t always equal effect.
New Doctor actor Capaldi is clearly getting more comfortable in the role as he gets his booted feet under the TARDIS console. Or is it that the audience is getting used to his austere take on the character previously inhabited by the wonderful wide eyes innocence of Matt Smith? I’m not sure but, whatever it is that’s happening in front of my eyes in this one, it’s wonderful.
Clara has become a much more interesting character in this episode too. She’s not been quite so interesting since the end of Series 7 when she jumped into the Doctor’s time stream to save every version of him. Jenna Coleman obviously deserves some kudos for her portrayal.
Time Heist is a fun romp with a neat twist at the end which would be very at home in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. This might just be the best episode of Series 8 so far.
The promises of next week’s episode The Caretaker, in which the Doctor resumes his John Smith persona to get a job at Coal Hill School as a caretaker to keep an eye on Clara holds so much promise. I don’t want to peak ahead, since it aired in the UK on Saturday night, but fingers crossed William Russell gets to reprise his role as Ian Chesterton. He is, after all, chairman of the Coal Hill board.