“I have the disadvantage of knowing Karabraxos, personally.”
– Ms. Delphox
This is the week I feel like the show finally settled into a groove.
Last week’s episode was so much fun, but it was Steven Moffat swinging for the fences. You can’t sustain a show by doing gimmicky episodes like that week after week. You need more down to earth, fun episodes like this one to sustain the show.
The moment when the Doctor told a room full of silent people to shut up was the moment I felt like Peter Capaldi truly found his footing. I couldn’t really get a sense of his take on the character in the first few episodes, but he quietly commanded the room in that scene and for the first time I could truly see who his version of the character was. He’s not as flashy or quirky as previous Doctors, but his quiet, detached, scholarly take on the character is actually rather fun.
As for the episode itself, it was a fun send up of the heist genre. Psi and Saibra appearing at the end to save the day felt very Ocean’s 11. And adding an element of time travel was a very Doctor Who twist on the formula.
Like last week, the entire episode once again revolves around a big ol’ temporal paradox. Team Not Dead only assembles to rob the bank because of the phone call from Karabraxos, but Karabraxos only makes that call because the Doctor gives her his number in her office.
It gets even fuzzier because the only way the Doctor knows to give her his number is by reverse engineering the situation and realizing that was the only way they could have gotten tipped off about the vault. So Karabraxos, on her death bed, regrets her life and wants to free the Teller and his misses, but the only way she can make that happen is by calling the Doctor. The problem is, she only has his number because she has already called him. It’s a chicken and egg situation where both things came first and neither thing came first. Try not to think about that for too long or it starts to hurt your brain.
Speaking of the phone call, the episode once again alluded to the woman who gave Clara the number to the TARDIS. But that was a red herring for this episode and nothing else was said about her.
Which is fine, except I feel like the show has a lot of balls in the air right now. In addition to the mystery surrounding this shopkeeper, there is also the whole Paradise subplot (which has been absent the past two weeks) and there’s Clara’s relationship with Danny Pink. I’m still keeping the faith that it will all come together by the end of the season, but right now it’s a lot to keep track of in the back of your mind.
Still, overall the show seems to have found it’s groove with Capaldi and I feel good about the direction it is headed in. I’m excited to see what happens next.
And another thing …
- A quick glance at the list of the remaining episodes reveals this is the last episode Moffat wrote before the final two of the season. So it looks like we are headed for a long stretch of one-off adventures with only cursory nods to the bigger picture.
- The Doctor sure leaves Clara to fend for herself a lot this season.
- I’m frankly surprised it has taken this long for Moffat to take a shot at Capaldi’s eyebrows.
- So, um, did everyone else get out of the bank before it was incinerated? I’m glad the Doctor saved the Tellers, but there were a lot of people floating around that lobby.
Written by Joel Murphy. If you enjoy his recaps, he also writes a weekly pop culture column called Murphy’s Law, which you can find here. Follow Joel on Twitter @FreeMisterClark or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.