- The plotting was good. There’s a basic use of questions to get the viewer involved — Why is the Doctor robbing this bank? Who are these other characters? Who is the straightjacket alien? — and I think it holds up the episode well enough.
- I liked the alien, the Teller, although I can’t figure out why it’s in the straightjacket since it doesn’t need its arms to hurt you. For a while I thought it just didn’t have arms, which I thought was an interesting character design, but it does.
- I liked the two supporting characters, Psi the hacker and Saibra the shapeshifter. I thought their roles played into the themes of the episode quite well, and of course I like that we got to have a female character presented in an entirely unsexual way! At first I thought they were underdeveloped and weren’t delivering on their mysterious promise, but actually it turns out their mysteries are something of a smokescreen. Their arcs are quite short, but reasonably satisfying.
- I hate that we have the same damn female villain AGAIN. Moffat basically only has one, and it’s “Sexy Umbridge.” Those two words should never be in close proximity to each other, but I have no choice. It’s Madame Kovarian, it’s Missy, it’s Irene Adler, it’s Miss Kizlet, it’s the Mother Superious, it’s River damn Song. Moffat giveth with one hand (Saibra) and taketh away with the other. I’m really upset about this. (You can tell because I said “damn.”)
Other than those things, this was a pretty standard episode. It touches on pre-existing elements like Danny’s existence and the Doctor’s “coldness” in regard to character deaths. I continue to be entirely on his side in this. What would people say if he totally fell apart when some random person died? He’s clearly upset, but asking him to be an emotional wreck when it happens is just not reasonable or desirable. Somebody’s got to get the job done, and I don’t understand why it shouldn’t be the Doctor. I don’t understand why Clara defending him is a bad sign, because she’s right. He is hurt, but not falling apart is kind of a good quality in a hero.
For some different perspectives, here are six other people doing good Who reviews this season, all often with different opinions of the same events. (Links mostly go to “Listen” reviews since those are already up.)
- Part Time Monster
- Sci-Fi Jubilee
- In My Not So Humble Opinion
- The Brotherhood of Evil Geeks
If you’re reviewing the season, feel free to link yourself in the comments!