Saturday, 27 September 2014

A Dead Crab

Wow, this review is coming in late, huh? I'd apologize if I thought anybody actually cared. Or was even reading this. Still, one must press on.

When reviewing an episode of of Doctor Who one of the most important things is in deciding what angle to take in ones assessment. I find it helpful to have some sort of hook from which to start. And I admit I was a little stumped at first with how to tackle Time Heist. It's a good episode, sure. But more solid than standout remarkable. But when I finally managed to rewatch it I finally realized what it was about that episode that made it particularly enjoyable to me, and would give me my starting point when talking about it.

Did you know that 9 out of 10 housewives can't tell the difference between Time Heist and an adventure module for a Cyberpunk RPG?

Really, the parallels are quite extraordinary. Obviously you have your Decker character, looking like he's stepped straight out of a sourcebook and mercifully only saying the word download the absolute minimum number of times.

This is not a drinking game. This is a DEATH SENTENCE.

But then we also have the shapeshifter who's dressed in a distinctly 80's style. Hell, a lot of the background extras are as well, alternating as they do between sharp suits and those silly visor hats. And if there's one thing that you absolutely NEED to understand about Cyberpunk as a genre it's that the whole thing is 80's AS FUCK.

Whilst we're talking about costumes, does anyone else find it a little disturbing that Clara is heading out to her date dressed as Turlough?

No, his OTHER costume.

Either this is some bizarre attempt at payback for Romana in City Of Death, or Mr Pink REALLY shouldn't be working with children.

Or indeed be called Mr Pink. In those circumstances it's really not helpful.

Still, attempting to stay on point for a moment, then we have the overall structure of the story. Mysterious shadowy client, slick clean corporate environments contrasting with the grubby working of the building, sneaking and high tech gadgetry along with double crossing and the termination of employees. And the big twist being that the mission isn't actually a robbery, but an extraction mission. Hell, according to statistics I just made up corporate extractions are a plot point of something like 62.78% of all Shadowrun novels ever written. Hell, it even has the part where some unexpected outside influence set up by the client provides the necessary distraction to get the runners in.

Not that I'm suggesting the Doctor blew up a sun to rob a bank, but you know what I mean. Obviously he'd never do something like that.

He'd get someone else to do it for him.

I mean hell, throw in the armoured troopers and the monster and what we have here is a sneaky test to see if making a Shadowrun TV series is actually viable. Only they're doing it in space.

We have some good direction, with nice transitions between scenes and good lighting. We've got good characters, both in terms of fun allies and beautifully despicable bad guys. We have a decent monster that's well realized and effectively used. Hell, we have an Abslom Daak reference. ABSLOM FUCKING DAAK.

Dude, this totally happened on prime time BBC one. 

Although I must admit that reading Absolm Daak comics doesn't make ME feel particularly guilty. Not quite sure how that was supposed to work. Maybe he was originally meant to lure the teller away with some creepy tentacular eyemouth porn or something.

Meanwhile, in Japan...

That and the part where the Teller randomly switches from being locked onto Clara to Saibra seemingly because one of them deliberately ran in the wrong direction are the only parts that are really a bit off. Otherwise it's definitely one of the better episodes so far this series. Although there is that bit when the Doctor get's back memories he'd had wiped by having a monster eat his memories...

I think somebody may need to look up what deleting actually means.

Anyway, other than one or two niggles a good, solid and enjoyable episode. Hopefully this is a sign that things are starting to properly come together and the overall quality is going back up. It's also nice to see the Doctor getting to do more Doctory stuff with Mr Capaldi showing off both his playful and serious sides. As long as he get's more good quality stories like this one I think we could be in for a treat as the series progresses.