The episode begins with a visit by the Doctor to Clara’s apartment while he tries to talk her in to travelling with him instead of going on her second official date with Danny.
Doctor: “I got a whole day worked out.”
Clara: “Sorry, as you can see, I got plans.” As she gets her outfit together (which is Impossibly cute btw)
Doctor: “Have you?”
Clara: “Look at me.”
Doctor: “Yeah ok.”
Clara: “No no no- no- (Whips hair around) look at me.”
Doctor” Yeah, I’m looking…”
Doctor: “Why is your face all colored in?” (Alluding to her makeup.)
I love this bit of banter they do back and forth where the Doctor pretends to NOT be in love with Clara.
He then comments on her being taller to which she points out she’s wearing heels, he quips, “Do you have to reach a high shelf?”
The TARDIS phone rings.
Clara: “There you go, you’ve got another playmate”
Doctor: “No one in the universe knows that number…”
Clara: “Don’t; because if you answer it something will happen.”
Clara: “A thing.”
Doctor: “It’s just a phone Clara, nothing happens when you answer a phone…”
Jump to the Doctor, Clara and two others sitting at a table holding memory worms… It is here we are introduced to two new characters:
Psy- an augmented human with USB ports on his head and Saibra- a mutant human (like Rogue and Mystique from the X-Men) who takes on cellular structure simply by touch.
“It’s a memory worm” (I love the memory worm) A recorded message from “The Architect” plays instructions that they will rob the Bank of Karabraxos, the most heavily guarded bank in the universe, a bank for the super rich. This is an impregnable institution with heavy security, DNA checkpoints, and intruders are incinerated.
Once the team escapes the locked room they are in, they emerge on to the street where they are detected as unwelcome guests. As Saibra turns herself in to a regular bank client to avoid detection, they then witness a man being punished for his crimes.
Emerge “The Teller” a shackled and chained servant (the only one in existence who has a contract with the bank) feeds on the thoughts of others, particularly guilt (which is why they all wiped their memories so the Teller wouldn’t pick up on them), turning their brains “in to soup” He provides a security for the bank to protect against crime. He feeds off the man in the street sucking out all his guilt and criminal intent leaving him with a caved in skull, seemingly lobotomized.
They realize the true power of the Teller understanding how detrimental their thoughts can be should the Teller tune in to them.
This is a dangerous mission (of course) and we begin to wonder why they all seemingly agreed to this heist.
The woman in charge we learn is Miss Delphox who we discover is a mere clone of the Bank’s director, Madam Karabraxos and she realizes they did not get the intended target. The search is on for the team.
They manage to escape through blowing a hole through the floor with a dimensional shift bomb, it is here where the Doctor tells a skeptical Psy that there was a reason they all agreed to do this, just picture the thing you want most in the world.
They all have their reasons for agreeing to the Heist, but what are they? These are hidden in a secret vault; they must get to the vault without being detected by the bank security and most importantly, the Teller; following only the instructions of the Architect.
They come across a case with 6 viles in it, the Doctor claims to not know what they are, although Saibra comments that he is lying. The alarms sound indicating an intruder alert. The team splits up to avoid being detected. We learn here that the Doctor knows the viles are an exit strategy of some sort.
As the team meets up, they come across the man in the street that was fed to the Teller; there he sits, unaware, shackled and alone. Psy begs the Doctor to not let him wind up like that.
They wind up coming face to face with the Teller in his cocoon- which is like forced hibernation. The Doctor tells them all to keep their minds blank, but Clara is having trouble with this and wakes the beast. They get out, but Saibra gets trapped behind as the Teller feeds on her, the Doctor throws her “an exit strategy” vile which he assures her is painless and instant. She uses it and is gone in an instant.
The group struggles to cope with the loss of Saibra, particularly Psy.
Miss Delphox realizes the group is still on the loose and that her job is in danger, so she releases the Teller in to the tunnels of the bank to find the remaining team members.
Psy stays back to try and override the systems and unlock the vaults, the Doctor determines they must split up to minimize the brain signals, he offers Psy an “exit strategy vile” while he and Clara set out and separate.
We have an intense moment while Clara desperately tries to block out her mind and keep it clear, but she is unable and the Teller locks on to her, Psy saves her by interrupting the brain signals with his own guilt. He sacrifices himself to save her.
They reach the vault but it won’t open Clara feels that Psy has died for nothing; the Doctor detects multiple locks, one last one holding on… they need a miracle now… Just in time, the solar storm gets worse and interferes with the banks’ systems. The storm ultimately unlocks the vault. The doctor then realizes this was all planned in the future.
“This isn’t just a bank heist; it’s a time travel heist. We’ve been sent back in time, to the exact moment of the storm to be in exactly the right place when it hits because that is the only time, the bank is vulnerable”
The Architect-, the one who has designed this heist, has carefully planned out all the events, the one who knows there will be a solar storm making the bank defenseless. Who is this architect?
The Doctor and Clara enter the vault looking for what they were promised for performing this heist. The first box reveals a Neophyte circuit that can replace any lost data; this was apparently Psy’s reward- his memories. The next box reveals a gene suppressant; Saibra’s wish was to simply be normal. But what did the Doctor and Clara come for? They find a card with a private vault number on it but before they can get there, they are caught by the Teller and Miss Delphox’s team of security guards. The Doctor asks her how they get the Teller to obey, she explains that everyone has a price, she leaves the Doctor and Clara with security to be killed and just when you think that’s it- the security guards reveal themselves as a disguised Saibra and a helmeted Psy. They Live!
We learn that the viles aren’t an exit strategy but rather teleport devices and the TARDIS is safely waiting for them. The Doctor then rewards Saibra and Psy with their prizes. They then make their way to that private vault which leads them to the Director of the bank, Madam Karabraxos, one of the wealthiest people in the universe, sitting amongst all her valuables alone. We learn she employs clones of herself to safely guard the bank; there is one in every facility; it is revealed that she has her clones incinerated when they fail to perform up to her expectations.
The Doctor ponders and thinks aloud, “She hates her own clones, she burns her own clones, frankly, you’re a career breaker for the right therapist. Shut up. Everybody, just shut up, shut up shut up Shut-ity up up up.” He is coming to a conclusion,
To Saibra, “What did you say about your own eyes? De-Shut up- say it again.”
Saibra:”How can you trust someone if they look back at you out of your own eyes?”
The Doctor is beginning to realize, he hates the architect- why?; “He’s overbearing, he’s manipulative and likes to think he’s very clever, I hate the Architect!”
“I’m getting sanity judgement from the self-burner” he quips when Director Karabraxos interrupts his “A-ha moment”. He writes down his number and gives it to the director, letting her know that he is a time traveler in case she ever has any regrets.
Doctor: “Gimme a call sometime.”
Karabraxos: “You’ll be dead”
Doctor: “Yeah, you’ll be old, we’ll get along famously, and you’ll be old and full of regret for the things that you can’t change.”
They realize there were 6 “shredders” or teleport devices and only 4 of them, so who are the other two for?
It is then that he realizes that the lone “Teller” creature that has been detained and forced to serve through shackles, has a price as well. He has a reward waiting for him when he finishes with his service, but what is it?
The Doctor comes face to face with the Teller in hopes of getting through to him,
“That’s it, so many memories in here, feast on them, tuck in, big scarf, bow tie- bit embarrassing…” He is hoping the Teller sees why he is here…
Cut back to the beginning where the TARDIS phone rings, a dying Madam Karabraxos has called the Doctor,
“I was once the wealthiest person in the universe, I need your assistance, I am dying with many many regrets, but one perhaps, you may be able to help me with…”
We then see the Doctor putting the plan in place to go back in time to rob the bank, he has selected his team and he himself attained the memory worms. He was the architect all along.
It’s a brilliant scene in slow mo going back to the beginning and how they got there.
Next we’re back at the bank while the Doctor gets through to the Teller, who is now co operating with him because the Teller has seen the real reason why he has come. The Teller’s prize- is another Teller, a female, his partner
“This was never a bank heist, it was a rescue mission, for a whole species, flesh and blood, the last currency, and it’s time to go home” states the Doctor. The Teller is visibly pleased, we watch the two creatures walk off in to a sunset of sorts together.
After the Doctor drops everyone back off to their homes it’s just he and Clara as he drops her back off in time for her date. We get a glimpse of his jealousy of Danny Pink
“Robbing a bank, robbing a whole bank, beat that for a date…” Clearly, although his face has changed, his hearts have not.
This was a great episode that I watched three times; it was brilliantly written by Steve Thompson and Steven Moffat.
Live Humbly, Be Charitable, Love the Doctor,