Nearly halfway through the series already! One more week before the halfway point. How is the latest episode?
Honestly, like the rest of the series, it’s great. But unlike the rest of the series, I don’t really have much to say. It’s really good, but while episodes like Listen and Robot of Sherwood had things to discuss in terms of a multi-layered script, this can just be discussed in terms of how well it’s made and how fun it is.
The episode basically has the Doctor and Clara go bank robber along with a cyborg and shapeshifter (think Rogue and Mystique from X-Men combined). What is intriguing about this is that they have had their memory wiped, so they don’t know why they have to rob the bank. This adds an ongoing mystery to the episode as to what they need to do and who the Architect, the hooded person giving them instructions, is. Throw in a monster which can detect guilt and turn people’s brains into soup and you have a great story.
What I like about this is how it isn’t too complex or confusing. It would have been so easy for it to have been a time travel, timey wimey story which confuses the audience, but for the most part it’s a straight-forward plot with great direction and pacing (seriously, the pacing in the last few episodes have been perfect). Another thing is the fact that the characters are likeable. While the Doctor isn’t as moody as he is in Into the Dalek or Listen, he’s still a huge contrast to his predecessor. But while it took five episodes for Matt Smith to “be” the Doctor, Capaldi became the Doctor three episodes in for me. It wasn’t until the spoon fight where I said “That’s the Doctor”. Though “She cares so I don’t have to” and “Hello rusty old robots from the dawn of time” were close.
The Teller is one of the best monsters in recent Doctor Who, easily the best alien design since the Silence. The scene where it pursued Clara reminded me of the God Complex (which is a very, very, very good thing), and it provided genuine tension. And with the Teller and the upcoming Skovox Blitzer, spider creatures and the Mummy, things seem great from the creature department.
The side characters are also interesting. Psi, the cyborg, is interesting because he wiped the memory of his family and doesn’t know what happened, while Saibra, the shapeshifter, is interesting because of her inability to touch people. Both are likeable and very well written, as they didn’t feel tacked on to the plot.
If the is one thing I would have like to see expanded though, it’s the Teller’s guilt detection. The Doctor has tons of guilt, not just from the Time War but through all his lives. I would have loved to see the Doctor confront his guilt. The final third of the episode is also weird. While the first two thirds were easy to follow, the episode really confused me in the final part. What was the main plan? Was it to redeem Karabraxos? To unite the Teller with its mate? (also we’re doing the “love” thing from Hide again? Urgh, of all the episodes to take inspiration from…) Was it to gain the Doctor’s reward, whatever it was? I would have loved to see just a heist episode, where it turned out the Architect was someone else (Missy or one of her goons? Or maybe it could have been an ongoing mystery). I like the idea of the Doctor setting everything up though and wiping his memory. It felt like Now You See Me, a movie with a similar revelation.
Overall, this episode was yet another great one. While it may have been confusing at the end, it still is a fun and exciting story which gets an 8/10. Can this series get any better? Well, Kill the Moon is coming up, but first we have…