Here we go! Finally, the Doctor being The Doctor! With this light hearted, feel-good romp, the Doctor’s intelligence and leadership are finally coming into play. The Doctor IS The Architect, both in the episode and in his character development. As I wrote in my previous blog, I am waiting for that most definitive Doctor Who moment when The Doctor tells off the bad guys, explaining that he has this planet covered and, with all due respect, they can bug off. Although I am still waiting, Time Heist came a heck of a lot closer, with a smart, witty, Doctor who sees more and takes charge. In addition, my theory that one of this season’s central story arcs is an episode by episode deconstruction (and concurrent construction) of the personality of the Doctor. What made this week such a winner for me is that Moffat (and for this episode Steve Thompson) has gotten around to exploring two of the aspects of The Doctor’s character that I most love, his intelligence and leadership; The Doctor as Architect. This episode also touched on another aspect of The Doctor’s story that I find terribly compelling, his loneliness. As Team Not Dead was getting ready to balk at the task before them, The Doctor reminds them that they have all chosen to be here. That there is something in this bank that is worth risking everything. For The Doctor, saving the last two survivors of a species is enough to gamble both his life and Clara’s (though she didn’t get anything out of the deal). His loneliness and his profound desire to rescue Gallifrey from it’s banishment is palpable, though never addressed directly. This ties, in a sneaky, clever, Moffat way, with Gallifrey. If you revisit The Doctor’s final lines in Day of the Doctor, he makes it clear that his agenda is to get home. (All that Trenzalore business must have just been a side-trip.) Matt Smith delivered those lines with such hopefulness and sense of purpose. So, what happened to getting Gallifrey out of the pocket universe and soothing The Doctor’s loneliness? I tend to agree with the ladies at Verity! and all that alone time with chalk and blackboard is about Gallifrey. Anyway, only time (and Moffat) will tell… Clara fills a purely supportive role this time around, which makes sense if The Doctor is going to be The Architect. As glad as I am to see him getting too big for his britches again, I am really happy about the turn Clara’s character took this season. Her brains, assertiveness, vulnerability and courage are making for a powerful companion. Her greater strength and depth of character place Clara in the rather novel role of being The Doctor’s caretaker and, in many ways, his equal. I think this shift was essential in order to allow exploration of specific character traits of the Doctor. This episode saw her return to a much more traditional role, clearing the way for The Doctor to take the reins. As an aside, have you notice that Missy only takes the people who sacrifice themselves for The Doctor? Many have died already this season, but only The Clockwork Man and Gretchen end up with Missy in “Paradise.” Neither Journey Blue’s brother, nor the Sheriff of Nottingham get snatched by Missy, even though they both die. Not only do they both die, but both were in episodes with Missy/Paradise connections. I think this indicates that the Clockwork Man chooses to jump and is not pushed. I found it very interesting that we had two “fake-out” sacrifices this week when Saibra and Psi appear to end their lives rather than have their brains turned into soup by The Teller, but are actually teleported to an escape ship. No other insight about Missy.
Completely Superfluous Question(s) to Create The Appearance That This Blog Has Real Value: Excluding your children and your spouse, what do you long for so deeply that you could be induced to rob the scariest bank in the galaxy? Discuss.