Doctor Who: “Time Heist” and a Legacy of Healing


S08xE05 “Time Heist”

In the fifth episode with Twelve, we finally get a glimpse of the man we know the Doctor to be–the man who risks it all to help others. While last week’s episode explored the mytharc of the Doctor in an abstract and thoughtful way, in “Time Heist” we see Twelve chose a familiar path, and, although he has been acting very different than Eleven, we are reminded that the Doctor made a personal commitment to help the universe, and he will continue to see that oath through, regardless of the cost.

Spoilers ahead, sweetie!

The Doctor’s Hippocratic Oath

The tenets of a physician’s oath are simple; she must keep her patients secrets, heal to the best of her ability, teach her craft to those who come after her and use her knowledge in a godly manner. For our favorite Timelord to take on the name of “the Doctor”, means he takes upon himself these same tenets, vowing to help those that he encounters and leave a legacy of healing in his wake. Now, while his enemies may disagree with the broad assumption that the Doctor has helped the universe more than he has hurt it, his motives have always been clear–avoid war and assist those individuals who need him. While Twelve seemed rather unforgiving to the soldier in “Deep Breath”, we remember that her values don’t line up with the traditional values of the Doctor, at least not initially, although he doesn’t take the time to find out. While the Doctor may need to work on his assumptions about soldiers (especially if/when he meets Danny Pink), we know, while he can tolerate bank robbers and psychopaths, he simply will not deal with those who value war above all else.

In “Time Heist”, we see the Doctor working together with marginalized criminals on a bank job gone bad, although neither the Doctor, his team, nor the audience know what they are looking for or why they are there. While I’ve read many reviews comparing this episode to Ocean’s Eleven in a bank heist-y sort of way, it feels more like one of the more simple and classic Doctor Who episodes so far this series. The Doctor is always up for an adventure, but he is also a kind, helpful man whose entire purpose since the Time War (and even before, I would argue) is to do right by the universe. While we may think he too-easily gives up members of his team, in reality, he has already planned for this contingency and is beaming them up to a ship above the planet’s surface. What is rule #1? The Doctor lies. Do we really think he saw the “disintegrators” and didn’t immediately know what they really were? Twelve began working out who the Architect was the moment he regained consciousness in that room with the worms, Clara, Psi and Saibra. While Twelve may seem like a grumpy old man, I am starting to think that he just needs to get out into the time vortex and get back to pressing the flesh and meeting new people, if only to remind himself of the good that’s out there. Remember, he spent the last one hundred years before his regeneration fighting on Trenzalore. That would turn anyone into a grump.

The Legacy

It is refreshing to see Twelve coming into his own as the Doctor, and working toward helping people, especially when we find out that the reason the Doctor agreed to this bizarre time and bank heist is to save the Teller and his female companion, who have been kept against their will by Ms. Delphox. The timey-wimey-ness of Ms. Delphox contacting the Doctor in the future because he himself gave her the phone number to his TARDIS, well, that was icing on the cake. I love when the Doctor messes with his own timeline, because we all know how precarious that can be. I also appreciated the mention of Clara calling the Doctor on the TARDIS back in “The Bells of St. John” and the woman in the shop. Do we think that woman might be Missy from “The Promised Land“? That’s right, I haven’t forgotten the mysterious storyline that hasn’t been mentioned in a few episodes–I hope you haven’t either. I have a feeling we are going to come back to these questions (YES! He IS going to use that as a tagline, isn’t he?) in the next episode, in which we get to see Clara and Danny and the Doctor interacting at the school house.

Sidenote: I really loved Psi and Saibra. Can we get a woman of color in the TARDIS again, guys? And an adorable male companion wouldn’t be bad, either. Just saying!

Your friendly neighborhood Wholigan

The Collectiva Diva