Doctor Who, Time Heist, review: Keeley Hawes is marvellous but the Doctor proves the real villain

Clara and the Time Lord embarked on some uncharacteristic criminal activity in this fast-paced caper

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

If last week was far too frightening then this episode was a welcome change as viewers embarked on a mysterious adventure where the tables kept turning.

It wasn't until the end that all the pieces fell into place and it was a lot less underhand than we first suspected; saving a species from extinction gave a heart-warming twist to this caper.

Keeley Hawes was marvellous as both Ms Delphox and Director Karabraxos. From the steely head of bank security to the sinister young director to the old, dying business woman full of regrets, Hawes was a treat as the villain.

If anything, it was the Doctor who came across as the true villain. He was equally as dastardly as Director Karabraxos, willing to "sacrifice" his companions to complete the bank robbery. He barely blinked as augmented human hacker Psi and shape-shifting mutant Saibra were "shredded".


It was down to Clara to make up excuses for his behaviour. Things are going to come to a head at some point if the Doctor continues to live in such precarious manner.

But it was the two extra companions, played by Jonathan Bailey and Pippa Bennett-Warner, who really stole the show. They gave compelling performances and there was an instant connection to their characters.

It's been a while since the Doctor has had some otherworldly assistants but perhaps now is the time? It would make a genuinely refreshing change to have a human mutant or cyborg travelling with the Time Lord instead a young woman gazing, wide-eyed at the stars.

The only question was why on earth was Clara dressed for her date like a Reservoir Dogs extra? Yes, it was probably a homage to Tarantino’s diamond heist cult classic or a nod to the original 1960 Ocean's 11, starring members of the Rat Pack, but it did look a tad odd.

‘Time Heist’ was light-hearted fun compared to ‘Listen’ and its more abstract exploration of fear. While last week was wonderful in its own way, ‘Time Heist’ was simply a great romp that kept the audience on its toes throughout.

Click the image above to launch the interactive graphic

Next week on Doctor Who, the two men in Clara's life finally meet when the Time Lord takes up the role of the caretaker at Coal Hill School. It can only result in chaos, especially if that scary-looking robot has anything to do with it.