This week’s adventure begins like others have; with the Doctor’s TARDIS phone ringing. He and Clara both question who has the number. The Doctor reminds her that SHE has it and some woman in a shop, who we still don’t know who ‘she’ is. The innocence of picking up the phone throws the two of them into an amnesiac bank robbery adventure. Only on Doctor Who, right? But what was this episode really about?
First of all, it is about putting the Doctor’s jealousy of Clara’s ‘other’ life under the microscope. Bookended from first to last, we see the Doctor continues acting a wee bit jealous of the possibility of Clara having a love interest or ANY interest outside of the Doctor and traveling around time and space in the TARDIS. He always seems to show up to whisk her away from any sense of normalcy to gallivant across the universe. He also tends to convince her by telling her he NEEDS her. This is true on so many levels. He’s gone from calling her a companion to his ‘care-er’ (who cares so he doesn’t have to) to his teacher to, this week, his BOSS (Yes, he called her that toward the end). Their relationship seems to change weekly as she pulls away more and more and he seems distanced from her. The question is, is it in a romantic way or more like a parent that finds their child having a life away from them? I would think more of the latter. He misses her. He seems to be having empty TARDIS syndrome. And I think this is warning us that a change in companion is coming due. Personally, if you ask me, either of the other two ‘bank robbers’ in this episode would do nicely, although the mutant shape-shifter gave up her powers. I would SO like to see a more alien companion.
So, once the adventure ends, he gloats that his ‘bank robbery’ was better than ANY date. The only question is how long will it be until Clara chose a normal life over a life with the Doctor? Is that possible with Clara who has always been called the “Impossible Girl,” and is forever entwined in the Doctor’s time-lines throughout his incarnations? I mean, a normal life? The other theme of the show aptly called TIME HEIST centers once again on the Doctor’s inner workings; the question of just who the Doctor is anyway. He continues to be his snappy, non-cuddly self throughout this episode and pushes to keep the group on task. The question of the episode is:
Is that why you call yourself the Doctor? Professional detachment?
The Doctor steps up to the young Psi and sets him straight:
Listen, when we’re all done here, by all means, you go and find yourself a shoulder to cry on. You’ll probably need that. Till then, what you need is me!
But the real fun begins whenever we see the Doctor react in discussions about the Architect. This enigmatic shadow that sent them on this fools errand is the focus of their hatred and his. When Saibra starts to apparently commit suicide via The Shredder, she asks the Doctor to kill the Architect for her. He tells her he hates him, but can’t promise to kill him. Then Saibra calls him a ‘good man.’ Here we are, back again at the question of the Doctor’s character. The problem, if you’ve seen it (too late if you haven’t/warned you), you know that this hatred for this unseen captor is just another metaphor for the Doctor’s self hatred.
So, it became apparent to me, toward the end that the Doctor had discovered who this Architect is and announced to the world that he hated him. In the opening episode, he said about looking in the mirror: “And don’t look in that mirror. It’s absolutely furious!” In Time Heist, Saibra said concerning taking other’s appearances, “Could you trust someone who looked back at you out of your own eyes?” The Doctor is apparently having problems looking at himself. Self evaluation leaves him stricken with fear. He simply doesn’t like what he sees. Is it because of his new, older form? OR is the form he chose an extension of his self loathing? He keeps muttering about how his ‘new’ form seems familiar and that it was like he was trying to tell himself something.
We’ve seen it in the wounded eyes of both Tennant and Smith’s Doctors. There’s something about who he is that has begun to eat at him. For 10 and 11, all this self loathing seemed to be focused on their stint as the WAR DOCTOR. But, now that we’re beyond that story, what’s the problem now? The Doctor looks in the mirror and sees a familiar, angry face that looks back in disapproval and downright judgment. Who better to judge the Doctor than the Doctor himself? Still reminds me of the Dream Master of the episode ‘Amy’s Choice,’ and I still expect to see him make a comeback.
In closing, I must say I’m missing Missy a bit. Her identity eats at me, and having Karabraxos in Time Heist didn’t help. You can’t tell me that you haven’t thought about how similar they are!? Oh well, till next time Whovians, be nice to that person in the mirror. You may not spend as many years as the Doctor with his mirror image, but you do have to live with yourself.
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