Time Heist

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    DrBen @drben

    AAA!  Moffat, you sneaky boy!

    I just watched the “DW Extra” video posted upthread by @wolfweed.  Right around the 10-minute mark, the actors playing Psi and Saibra are asked what they think their characters are up to now.  The actress playing Saibra says something like, “And I think we see the Doctor and Clara from time to time.”  And they cut to shots of each of them shaking hands with the Doctor in what looks like a café.  I suppose it could be a deleted scene from this episode, but then why show it?  The juxtaposition is just too coincidental – they are returning!

    [I don’t think this is a spoiler, but I apologize if I’m wrong.  I thought I remembered from the “Listen” thread that stuff from the Extra video is fair game.]

    Anonymous @

    @bluesqueakpip and @thommck

    I am finally getting closer to explaining the phone call.  Here is my best attempt.

    Yes I agree the Doctor gave the number to Karabraxos in the vault. But who called 12 to go to the vault in the first place? It could not be old Karabraxos because she didn’t have the number until he goes to the vault.  That is a definite paradox. Time Loop might explain it? But not very well for me.

     I can’t explain it with 2 time lines, either. I thought maybe “fired clone” made the call.  The Doctor could have given “fired clone” the Tardis number while he was placing the brief cases (that explains why she is “fired clone” too? 🙂 ).  But in that case, why was 12 placing brief cases, before being called by “fired clone”?

     So I think someone besides Karabraxos must have made the very first call (before the one in Clara’s apartment), to tell the Doctor to place the brief cases. In that case, then everything else we saw happen can be explained by the “fired clone” 2 time lines.

     To me, Psi is the perfect candidate to make that very first phone call. Psi was a bank robber and I think he had the Doctor’s phone number. It also explains why the Doctor does the call me sign to Psi at the end. We never see 12 give Psi the number, maybe because Psi already had it?!

     WitS could also have been the first phone call, instead of Psi? But in that case Karabraxos can’t be WitS.

     Re: tFoP connections. What a great Roman connection you found @thommck (or @wolfweed found?) The Leonardo de Vinci angle could be another renaissance painter connection for Sibyl Missy Theory and the Papal Mainframe Theory.  😀


    Mudlark @mudlark


    ….. he’s also dealing with the mega overload of information from the universe, that he needs to be able to select the relevant bits from to make the right pattern. (Much like dealing with the internet being wired straight into your head I’d imagine!)

    I should really have made reference to this in my musings on the nature and size of the Doctor’s memory: mea culpa. I am not sure that the analogy works though, unless there is something in the canon which suggests that Timelords have a direct mindlink to all the information in the universe – other than perhaps through the medium of a Tardis.   What your ‘internet wired into the head’ simile suggests to me is more like an artificially augmented brain with its own inbuilt wi-fi, as postulated in many an SF novel.  As I see it, the Doctor has a vast store of accumulated knowledge and an ever-increasing burden of memory (sometimes doubled memory when the time lines have looped or been tangled), but it is limited to what can be contained in the wetware.  It was too much for Donna’s human brain to encompass for long, but at what point would it exceed the limits of a Timelord’s brain?  Several writers of SF have explored the implications of a greatly extended human lifespan, assuming that a means could be found of halting the ageing process, and the consensus seems to be that some means would need to be found of editing, pruning, dumping or even downloading memories to an external medium.  Within even a normal human lifespan there comes a time when it is less easy to retain new knowledge and the retrieval system becomes sluggish (you know you know the answer, but it may take several minutes, or hours, or even days for that answer to surface).  So could Timelords edit or prune their memories as a conscious process, or might memories simply be lost or overwritten to accommodate new ones?  And might they reach a stage where they welcomed a partial amnesia however caused?

    Changing the subject:  The Doctor hates the Architect, and he still hates him when it dawns on him who the Architect is, prompted by Karabraxos’s hatred of her clones and by Saibra’s words earlier.  Several people have linked this to the Doctor’s self loathing in general, and @juniperfish in particular links it to the self hatred of Doctor’s 9,10 & 11, but I see it slightly differently.  Starting with Saibra’s  observation about trusting a person who looked like you; she was talking about the reaction of other people to her when she mirrors their appearance, which is understandable.  But identical twins do not normally dislike or distrust one another, often it is quite the reverse, and while we may not always like what the mirror shows us or be happy in the knowledge of our own shortcomings, self hatred is not a healthy state of mind.  The post time war incarnations of the Doctor who lived with the knowledge of having destroyed Galifrey and his entire species developed various strategies for coping with the guilt, and the resultant self hatred was projected at least in part onto the incarnation who actually did the deed and who forfeited the right to the name of The Doctor.  But this Doctor knows that Galifrey still exists in its bubble universe, so that particular source of guilt and self hatred is gone, and whilst he regrets the mistakes he has made and whatever harm he has caused in the course of his long life and travels, he has expressed a determination to put such things right.  So no, I don’t think that he hates himself entirely; just those aspects of himself which he recognises in the Architect.  @arbutus referred to the tendency of each incarnation to dislike some of the others, but I have always taken this to be something like the cringing feeling we might experience if brought fact to face with our younger selves in one of our more embarrassing phases.

    @handles  You took the Architect to be the person who designed the bank building itself, which is possible I suppose, although it requires a really mind bending temporal loop in which the Doctor, following Karabraxos’s request, goes back to design the bank in which she will later incarcerate the Teller and its mate, so that he can then break into it to rescue the said Teller and mate.  I took it that he adopted the title Architect to disguise his identity from his amnesiac self, and that it simply signified the designer or ‘architect’ of the elaborate bank heist scheme.



    Arbutus @arbutus

    Having watched again, I have so many more thoughts!

    Bits I loved:  The poor teachers trying to steal an intimate moment.    The Doctor’s puzzlement at makeup and high heels.     “Please stand away from the door!    We do not wish to hurt you before incineration!”    The return of the memory worm!    The lovely little lift of “the eyebrows” when Saibra changes into Clara.    The Doctor’s answer to why he should be in charge:  “Basically, it’s the eyebrows.”    This exchange: “She wanted to be normal.” “Everyone has a weakness.”

    Bigger things I loved:
    The sudden propelling into the middle of the adventure, which is confusing for only a moment, until it becomes clear that they have had their memories wiped, and we realize that there is stuff we have missed – a nice conceit because it a) allows us to skip right to the heart of the action, and b) allows us to experience the actual adventure from the perspective of the adventurers: we don’t know what they don’t know.

    The whole scene in the bank lobby. The use of slowmo when the teller comes in, and the atmospheric music (I wish I could think what this music reminds me of, but it’s not typical of Who). And then the horror of the mind sucking, which was really pretty awful. I thought this whole scene worked really well.

    The scene with Clara hiding from the teller was very well done, use of sound effects and red lighting very suspenseful, and when she broke and ran it was very believable.

    I really love how Capaldi plays the relief at Saibra and Psi’s survival– his utter shock, followed by stammering, the “Nononono wait wait sorry sorry … you…” followed by “You’re alive.. No, not dead.  Alive.” And as he absorbs it: “This is good. I suppose.” And then… “You’ll be able to resume the mission.” And with that, Twelve is back, triumphantly giving them their hearts’ desires, taking charge again, being the Doctor. Maybe the biggest break in his defenses since the first episode.

    More thoughts will be coming later, after some work has been done. (There is still work to be done. Non DW analysis work.)

    DrBen @drben

    @barnable – Excellent Bonkers stuff, but I think that this sort of paradox (the storyline only happens because someone at the end of the storyline goes back in time to make it happen) is a Moffat staple — see the entire episode of “Blink”, and the creation/existence of The Crack.  So I don’t think they have any problem whatsoever with the explanation that the Doctor received a call from Karabraxos, prompting him to go back in time, rob the bank, and give his number to Karabraxos.  Timey wimey, etc.

    It’s a bit like the Bill & Ted’s joke about “when we get out of here, I’m going to go back in time, steal my dad’s keys, and put them right there!”

    thommck @thommck

    @phileasf – I thought that was a ridiculous theory at first “Everybody Lives!” but the more I read what you said the more possible it could be. Especially as the whole Time Heist episode was basically the Doctor getting his past self to do something

    @juniperfish, Listen didn’t prove there was a family link, it just implied that perhaps, Clara and Orson where related, maybe.

    @handles I also realised that the actor who played Psi is in a CBBC program where he plays a young Da Vinci himself so it may have just been a nod to that (Boo! far too rational). I think you are barking up the wrong tree with the phone call. Old Karabraxos called the Doctor as we saw on screen. They then travelled to see Old K and worked out a good plan, planted the cases, then travelled to the past to use the memory worms and put the plan into action. Do you follow?


    Arbutus @arbutus

    @mudlark      So no, I don’t think that he hates himself entirely; just those aspects of himself which he recognises in the Architect.

    I think this is exactly right. And I believe that this is also true of the Doctor’s dislike of himself in general. The particular list of qualities that he lists off, which he dislikes in the Architect, are presumably things that he dislikes in himself (overbearing, manipulative, thinks he’s very clever). I don’t think he dislikes everything about himself, but he seems to dislike those things.

    But those qualities haven’t always been to the forefront of the various incarnations (except perhaps for the belief in his own cleverness!), although they apply quite well to some. Maybe they are traits that he is beginning to be aware of in his current self, as part of his post regeneration adjustment.

    I also like your thoughts about what a Time Lord might do with extraneous memories. This could be a whole other area for speculation! There was something back in the AG days about Time Lord’s memories going into the Matrix on Gallifrey after they died. Maybe they also did this uploading from time to time prior to death, like a cleanse? Except that the Doctor can’t get at the Matrix now, so that could be a fairly big problem for him after several hundred years.

    Mudlark @mudlark

    @purofilion  I was very interested to read your observations on the difference the presence or absence of the music made to the overall dramatic impact.  As accompanying music has become more obtrusive and ubiquitous in television drama I seem to have developed a faculty for tuning it out, so that I am no longer consciously aware of it unless it is overwhelmingly loud, but no doubt it still registers at a subconscious level.  In this episode the only music I noticed immediately and in particular was the Mozart in the Private Vault, and this was presumably meant to draw our attention.

    @arbutus  I share your liking for the way we were propelled straight into the scene of the heist without explanation.  Some here found the opening scenes pedestrian, but it is just the kind of introduction I like and it grabbed my attention immediately.  How did they get there, who engineered it, and why?  And I couldn’t wait to find out.

    I liked the use of slow motion as well – and the slow mo shot of the Doctor and accomplices entering the banking hall was pure Hustle!



    Anonymous @

    @drben someone at the end of the storyline goes back in time to make it happen

    Thanks for the compliment.  Wouldn’t what you said be the exact same bonkers stuff?  Psi made the call? Or Saiber? Point being someone else made the first call to make it happen.

    @thommck – Real nice catch on the Psi/Da Vinci connection.  But I agree… Argh!  Who wants a boring old Off-screen reason. Boo!  🙂

    Old Karabraxos called the Doctor as we saw on screen.

    I totally agree Old K made the call we saw. 

    But she must have got the number from someplace else (besides the Doctor in the vault).  Then yes that is very likely right.

    I just realized, the Doctor didn’t have his memories back yet (when he gave Old K the number in the vault), so he just didn’t remember the call we saw?    That explains why he gave Karabraxos his number again, even though she called him first.  🙂

    I still like the Psi theory, because it could explain the Doctor’s call me sign.

    What if Psi gave Old K the Tardis phone number?  Then everything fits!  😆

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @handles – nobody needs to make it happen. The Doctor has a time machine that knows a call from the future might need to be routed through to the past. The call came through the TARDIS.

    So, the way it works. Old Karabraxos calls the Doctor. The TARDIS realises this call is about an event that happened in the past, when Clara was travelling with the Doctor. She routes the call to that particular past time when Clara is travelling with the Doctor. Just to be certain, she routes it to a space/time when the Doctor and TARDIS are actually in Clara’s flat.

    Events proceed as per script; near the end the Doctor gives Young Karabraxos his phone number, with a note that he time travels (he’s worked it out). She then travels forward through time by the slow route, realises when dying that she really wishes she hadn’t let the Teller’s race die out, and phones the Doctor.

    The call reaches the TARDIS, who realises that this is to an event that happened in the past…

    …I could do a diagram. 😉

    DrBen @drben

    @bluesqueakpip – I LOVE the solution of the TARDIS rerouting the call to the most advantageous time/place.  A very elegant solution.  My working hypothesis had been that the actual heist happened 40 years ago or so (long enough ago for Karabraxos to have gotten old in the meantime) and the Doctor & Clara went back in time to prepare for the heist.  But I like your explanation better.

    The diagram, like so many of Moffat’s stories, would be a perfect circle. 🙂

    BadWulf @badwulf


    The diagram, like so many of Moffat’s stories, would be a perfect circle.

    Aww – but wibbley wobbley circles are so much more fun than perfect ones!

    @bluesqueakpip – Actually, I really like the TARDIS solution to the Ouraboros plot (doesn’t Karabraxos sound a bit like Ouraboros – same rhythm of syllables) – after all, we know that Sexy can be reconfigured into a Paradox Machine!

    Anonymous @

    Juniperfish the ‘fall’ ? I like that idea -on many different levels regarding the Dr saving people (possibly upstream ) as per @phileasf.

    Now, to  score -of course a score shouldn’t be nicked off the episode and yes @scaryb I get the point that an episode is supposed to be viewed holistically or whatever bull hat new age nutters use (not you! Not you either!); but, it was an interesting experiment. I’ve done it before -weird stereo system; old fashioned mixed with new -anyway, it is interesting and I (personally/ IMHO) felt that the episode lacked something -a lot when you take out the score.

    Not the music -sorry  @Mudlark I didn’t explain myself well at all. The only piece of recognisable ‘music’  performance that they had to pay for was the ‘classical’ portion.

    Anyway, oops, I’ve offended people, yesterday and probably now @rob it’s so flippin hot (more offense) that in Oz an iced coffee is superb. Forget, milk, cream etc…It’s just a long long and longer black poured over a dozen ice  cubes (you can add sugar but you gotta mix that with a little biddy bit of hot water to dissolve it!).

    I prefer the ‘real’ thing but on a humid day it makes me perversely hot (and cranky); well, that’s obvious.

    Righto -off to watch episode for second time (sort of -there’s a whole lot of banging from road worx)

    Cheers to you, puro



    Anonymous @

    @bluesqueakpip – If I understand correctly, your Tardis routing phone calls makes sense.  Because the Tardis knows all of the events of time, like they are all the same time, so she made it happen.  I really never thought of that.  I am going to think about that more. 

    Sorry about my complicated theory before, but now with the help of @thommck, I have a pretty simple explanation (for me at least).   

    We know Psi is a bank robber with a computer brain, and he has the Doctor’s phone number.  If Psi got caught robbing Karabraxos’s bank (He had prison tat), she could have got the number when she scanned his brain.

    1. Old K gets number from Psi
    2. Old K calls Doctor at Clara’s
    3. Doctor/Clara meet with Old K and Psi to make plan
    4. Doctor/Clara/Psi travel back in time (picking up Saiebra)
    5. everything just as in the script follows (1 time line)

    Your diagram might melt my brain… seriously!!!  😯


    Anonymous @

    @mudlark  I just went back and re-read your post. Oh I love the ‘wetware’. That needs a TM!  I agree with you regarding the info that a human brain would need to ‘data dump’. Was that one mine, or yours? 🙂 Anyway, imagine if Donna could have been spirited away and given an ‘uber brain’ -how wonderful. As it was, she did get a lottery ticket.

    @arbutus  (& mudlark)  did you mention Heist?  Ooh, I used to love that show. So original and so many wonderful mins spent trying to work out how it was all done before the big reveal. Yes, we were ‘propelled’ straight into this heist -and I loved the Bank. I said yesterday that it reminded me of the Library- gave me the impression, mind, I know it wasn’t the same -CGI or not.

    Kindest, puro.

    Anonymous @

    did others notice the female clients in the Bank wearing bright red tights like Gudrun  in Lawrence’s Women in Love?

    I also love those shoes -heels with multi colours -I do have a shoe fetish. I love heels -not for long, but I do love ’em (they don’t love me!)

    Arbutus @arbutus

    @purofilion  @mudlark   After a second viewing, I had some further thoughts on the music. The one place that I was aware of not liking the music was during Saibra’s “death scene”, where it felt overbearing and loud, and negated the poignancy of an otherwise great scene. It didn’t seem quite as out of place to me in Psi’s case, because his death scene was a little more “shouty”. But most of the music felt like a callout to the stylish sixties (I think it was @scaryb who said something similar about the episode?), and in some places dropped right away, allowing extra intensity to certain moments (like Clara hiding from the Teller).

    By the way, my take on the “phone me” signal– he wasn’t saying “call me”, he was saying “I’ll call you.” Psi offered help in future heists and Clara replied that it was not really his area, while behind her back, the Doctor said, “I’ll be in touch.”

    And a few more random bits:

    Someone mentioned the Doctor giving his “soup” to the Teller as a callout to Rings of Akhaten, but I thought that Psi offering his guilt reminded me of it even more.

    The sudden appearance of the Teller just before the Doctor could go in search of his own “reward” startled me even the second time through, I thought it was nicely done.

    Interesting that the Teller’s victims in their display cases are all hiding their faces, except for the one that we’ve already seen.

    I wish the shut uppity up and de-shut up commands worked as well for me, that’s a special power I could occasionally make use of! This scene where the doctor is “working it out” in semi-hysterical fashion reminds me a bit of Matt Smith (the arm waving) and also the doctor as he was right after regeneration (which I guess was also channeling Eleven). Interesting moment of “I am he and he is me”.

    People have been speculating about the red vs. blue scenes, but what did the greeny-yellow scenes mean?  🙂

    Melville @melville

    Hey guys! Love that I’ve found a place to hang out with fellow Whovians 🙂

    I know this episode got a very mixed response but I for one loved it.  It was exactly what we needed right after Deep Breath and I think some of the premises of this episode are just so great. I always like to know what’s going on in my favorite characters minds, that’s why I love things like the Mirrod of Erised from HP or even the (Captain!) Jack Sparrow’s compass that doesn’t point north. It leads to such great insigh into what the characters desire – although we usally never get to find out. Same as with the Doctor. We never get to see what the vault would have provided for him as his great desire.  I’ve come up with some theories of my own though and would love to get your insight: https://www.hubub.com/199971/214239


    soundworld @soundworld

    Hello everyone,

    Well, I’ve had fun catching up on all episodes of this series in the last week 🙂  I’ve enjoyed them all, they are all very different, and the depth of layers and possible meanings seems to be multiplying faster than – well, I’m stuck for a metaphor.  Mirrors, reflections, possible virtual worlds, blue/pink shift…

    Even Robot of Sherwood, I am sure, will turn out to have some critical arc insight which turns around to bite us in the backside.  Metaphorically.

    I love CapaldiDoc’s witticism and dialogue (especially in Deep Breath here in Scotland when it was broadcast just before the referendum – independent state of eyebrows indeed!).  And Shutuppity up up up!

    I need (time) to rewatch but he had a bit of dialogue about human’s brains being so limited – reminded me of Marvin in the original radio series of HHGTTG – from memory it goes something like:

    Arthur: You mean, you can see into my mind!?
    Marvin: Yes…
    Arthur: And???
    Marvin: It amazes me you can live in something so small.

    Anyway, back to this episode.  I really enjoyed it, thought it was very well done stylistically and great fun.  I’d come to the same conclusion as Bluesqueakpip above, gthat the Tardis would reroute a phone call back through time – after all, she did so at the start of Bells of St John, and worked out who the Architect (of the scheme) was about half way through, but I don’t think that was being hidden too hard from us.  Other than that, a few echoes of The God Complex (lonely Minotaurish monster with super-psychic abilities).

    I’m puzzled why a solar storm was going to destroy the place, though …?
    Hopefully, I’ll be able to keep up with the thread now!  having taken a few days to work through it all so far for this series, you prolific lot.

    Arbutus @arbutus

    @handles    I really don’t see why you think someone other than the Doctor needs to have given Karabraxos the number? I have no problem with this… We saw the him give her the number, we saw her leave, we assume she survives and gets old, and we saw her, dying, call the Doctor saying, “You gave me this number…” So why does anyone else have to give her the number as well?

    And as for Psi, I’m not sure why you say he has the number, as I don’t see when he would have gotten it. And there is no reason to think that Psi has ever been in the bank before, and anyway, he said that when he was in prison, he wiped his own memories to avoid betraying his friends and family. So I’m not sure how it follows that he would have been in a position to give Karabraxos the number.

    I just see a time loop of the kind that I know we have seen before in Doctor Who  on any number of occasions, way less complicated than the Day of the Doctor or a lot of Eleven’s time line- now, that’s a guy with a complicated order of events!

    Anonymous @

    @arbutus and @bluesqueakpip yes I agree with you both -a simpler situation than the trilogy (The Day of..The Time of..) regards the time travelling Heist and Karabraxos. It would make sense that only The Dr would have been the person Miss K would call? Psi wouldn’t need to know/shouldn’t know and of course, as you said, had wiped his brain space/had a brain dump.

    I seem to have missed the bit where Clara is smiling inappropriately? It was mentioned up thread with a mins count so I need to go delving to find that bit of  ‘in -continuity’.

    @soundworld  welcome back!  Good to see you on the bonkerising chair again, my friend.

    Kindest, puro

    Anonymous @

    OOh Gudrun – red tights -blue/red theme -Gudrun- Gretchen——-?

    Anonymous @

    @mudlark – TY for explaining the architect name. I am gradually wrapping my mind around this episode now. IDK how long that would have taken without this forum. 😀

     I completely agree that mental degradation could be possible for TLs. It depends on what the writers decide. If the writers make the wrong decision, they can always change it. Mostly I like that the Doctor has special abilities, primarily his intelligence. So it would be scary to me, if the Doctor started losing some of that ability. But I am not a good producer, on what makes a good TV show, so I will just trust the writers’ judgments on that. I do think they should always try new things. It’s Doctor Who as long as the Tardis stays blue, IMO. 😉

    I agree with you that the Doctor doesn’t hate himself, especially after DotD like you said. It could have been a one time thing.

    My Theory is that wiping the Doctor’s memory of all his guilt is what made him hate the architect/real Doctor. Clean memory Doctor was basically judging the real Doctor without walking in his shoes. He just had a feeling that he hated the Architect.

     But with his memories in tact, Real Doctor understands the impossible choices he has had to make. Deep down, he knows there was never a choice at all. So I think he just feels guilty that he hasn’t been able to fix the things yet.

    Anonymous @

    I hope this doesn’t sound like I’m trying to convince you of anything @arbutus, but I will try to answer your questions the best I can.

    I might have said it was impossible at one time up thread (for Young K to get the number from the Doctor before Old K), but @bluesqueakpip‘s Tardis explanation changed my mind on that.  It is possible the young K got the number from the Doctor first, but I just think Old K got it first instead.  I think that is just as possible.

    I think when the Doctor signs and mouths “Call me” to Psi at the end of the episode, proves Psi has his number.  I don’t know how or where or when he got the number, but I believe he got it at some point and it went from him to Old K. 

    Good point about Psi wiping his own memories.  I will count that as a possible strike against my theory.  But maybe he just wiped out his friends and family memories, not all of his memories.  Or Psi could have wiped his memory at some point and then learned the Doctor’s number afterward. We don’t know for sure when Psi got the number, so I can’t be sure.  But it seems good enough for a Bonkers Theory.

    Yes I agree that there always seems to be a time loop explanation.  At least many times.  But I consistantly try to avoid those explanations.  I just don’t like time loops or paradoxes. 

    I really hope I am not alone in my own little version of the Whoniverse.  But I like it, if anyone else wants to join me.

    Anonymous @

    @handles  “I just don’t like time loops or paradoxes”. Hmm. I might then suggest you watch The Midwives or Gallipoli (great Ozz film -got it all wrong, of course, but that’s Pete Weir for you) as paradoxes are kinda all over Who? 🙂

    I saw that smile up stream @arbutus. Looked at it and looked again – I think it’s a grimace? Or else, as a time traveller, she’s so caught up in the excitement that she can’t help but be thrilled about it?

    Poor excuse but then I don’t seem to be the type who sees multiple problems (as others might -not you I mean) and when they’re ‘sorted’ in my head I can then say “yup, there’s no problem, that’s not a strike against my theory or it’s a plausible explanation and therefore it’s a tick/gold star!”

    Sorry, I know it wasn’t you who first noticed the smile but @idiotsavon responded to it from…..eer. memory worm. Lost it!

    Kindest, puro

    Anonymous @

    I agree that paradoxes and time loops are not always avoidable.  The Big Bang is one episode that I even like better for being a paradox? or time loop? (I really don’t know which it is).  It is poetic justice  to me since the real Big Bang Theory is a paradox too.

    Just to cover everything, I have nothing against @Timeloop, and @paradoxes too. 🙂

    Anonymous @

    @phileasf  re-reading your excellent post – I’m thinking that The Dr saving his friends “pre-mort” is a clever idea. But how is it that in this episode he says pointedly, “You’re alive. You’re not dead. You’re here”.

    Is this an author voice creeping in? -similar to Deep Breath when the 5th Wall (God, I can’t recall whether it’s the 4th or 5th wall – I think it was @craig or @phaseshift who referred to it?) is evoked and Capaldi looks directly at us -a great device judiciously used – this was different naturally, but still, why would he protest so much unless it’s for Clara’s sake so she mustn’t know what’s happening to HFM and Gretchen?

    Could this whole plan have something to do with a sticky end for future Clara and the Dr is experimenting/trialling to ensure she survives?

    This fits into the Doctor’s idea that he needs to ‘fix’ mistakes. They could be future ones he’s seen or the Tardis telepathises (hoot, a new word). If Clara’s been into the Doctor’s timestream & the Tardis is connected to the Doctor then it follows that Clara is also connected to the Tardis & so the Dr may know of her ‘end’ -although in Listen that was possibly evident?

    Must he therefore be circumspect so she doesn’t smell a rat (or a worm)?

    @tennantlove9090 if you look at @bluesqueakpip & her explanation up thread – you’ll see she explains concisely how the episode worked with respect to phone calls and characters’ motivations.

    I agree that these episodes are demanding but as I watch nil TV except for political programmes in Oz, I really don’t know what’s out there.. But I have been told “it’s dreary and the producers assume we’re all dumb and everything is over-explained”.

    I think Doctor Who (and Sherlock) is one of the few series where the writers respect the audience’s need to be involved and scratch their heads .

    @whisht & @scaryb had wonderful analogies regarding crosswords: how we fit and fiddle with ideas & clues whereupon this engages our brain and creative energies. I personally think that crosswords, at which I’m s***,  are a stellar way of maximising brain abilities.

    About 10 years ago, Mr Ilion was involved in a study which tested IQ before and after a set of programmable chess games; crosswords/Scrabble. After several months, his went up!!

    Dr Who is a type of ‘crossword’ that I can handle but then I’m not so good at the bonkerising -I leave that to the beautiful minds on this site (Did anyone watch or like A Beautiful Mind with Russell Crowe? Just btw n’all!).

    I just look at the shoes (upthread) and notice red stockings usually worn by Gudren (Women in Love -one of my favourite novels).

    Peace..I’m trying a new word \**/

    Anonymous @

    @handles I think the Big Bang is one ‘odd’ paradox though generally many people would say that, ironically, whilst not necessarily proven, The Big Bang is ‘fact’ (a friend of mine -in physics – calls it a Big Fart) – as opposed to, say,  Intelligent Design: which is an oxymoron f’sure!

    @soundworld  I agree with you re minotaur -there’s a lot of Roman and Greek mythology in this series isn’t there?  I think it was @serahni who first mentioned the Minotaur connection -if it was someone else too, I apologise:

    Peace \**/

    Anonymous @

    😆 Thanks for the joke Puro.  Scientists are prickly when people throw around the word “theory” wrong.  Theories really are considered facts in the science world, until something better comes along to disprove it. 

    But I like Bonkers theories better, if they get disproved at least I didn’t spend a lifetime of research on it. 🙂

    Arbutus @arbutus

    @handles    I’m perfectly happy that you should try to convince me of something, nothing wrong with that. I can be convinced or not, equally okay. And if you like your theory, you should certainly defend it!

    And if you aren’t happy with “time loop” as an explanation, then going bonkers is what this forum is all about. For myself, I have no problem with it. Also, I am personally comfortable that Karabraxos got the number from the doctor, because she says so on the phone, while there is nothing to indicate or suggest that she got it anywhere else. So in a sense, that is the simple explanation, and I tend to go with those more often than not.   🙂

    And I think that perhaps a timeloop is a paradox for people who don’t believe in timeloops?   😀

    Arbutus @arbutus

    @purofilion    Yes, I remember the smile as well, but it didn’t jump out at me as it seems to have done for others, shouting “Inappropriate smile!”

    Yes, Gallipoli, great film. My son watched it in Grade 8 English along with some documentary info about the war in Turkey (it was to give them something to practise writing thesis statements about!). For quite some time, he was “Mr. Clever” about that bit of history (although he still knows next to nothing about the Canadian campaigns in WW1).

    And good on Mr. Ilion for raising his IQ through word games. I downloaded a scrabble app onto my iPad last winter and played it quite obsessively throughout the spring, maybe I should get tested? No, I think I’ll just assume it’s gone up, I’d hate to be disappointed.  🙂

    PhileasF @phileasf

    @purofilion – But how is it that in this episode he says pointedly, “You’re alive. You’re not dead. You’re here”

    The Doctor seems genuinely surprised that Saibre and Psi aren’t dead.

    He (as the architect) has engineered a situation where he (amnesiac bank robber) and his colleagues will genuinely believe anyone who escaped during the bank heist has died, in order to deceive the Teller when it reads their minds.

    Also, he knows they couldn’t be rescued in the TARDIS later, because the solar storm prevents it visiting the place and time they ‘died’. And even if he could somehow find a way to save them, he’d send them to Missy, so they wouldn’t be here. He’s not only surprised they’re not dead; he’s also surprised they’re ‘here’.

    I think the Doctor is probably trying to keep what he’s doing from Clara. He must think she’d disapprove of the risk he’s taking in repeatedly crossing his own timeline.

    So while Clara is keeping her private life secret from him, he also has a private life that he’s keeping from her.

    Anonymous @

    @arbutus Karabraxos got the number from the doctor, because she says so on the phone

    Argh!  That one hurts, but I’m not giving up.  🙂

    I have no chance of talking anyone into this, but I have to do it.   One time line is out, switching to two time lines.

    So now under two time lines:

    When Old K says the Doctor gave her the number (we saw at the end of the episode), that was the 2nd time she called.  That was young K who got the number in the vault from the Doctor, then left and she grew old (2nd time line).  (Now we both agree  young k did get number from Doctor, which is how this is suppose to work, so that’s a good sign).

    But I think the call at the beginning of the episode (that we did not see), that was Old K who got the number from Psi (1st time line).

    I will gladly explain my theories, but I try not to defend them.  I get to competitive if I try to defend for some reason.  But a good explanation can be a defense too, without making me sound like an arseholio!  😉

    As long as everyone can find a theory to like so they can still like the show, that’s all that really matters.  I just make it tough on myself, but it’s fun.

    janetteB @janetteb

    @phileasf I like you idea that it is the Doctor that is rescuing people on the point of death. It ties into the “why that face’ question. The Doctor is now wearing the face of someone he once saved from imminent death. It would be very like Moffat to derive inspiration from circumstance. If it is the case that he is saving people I doubt very much that he currently realises it though I also found his reaction when Psi and Saibra reveal themselves to be rather strange. I do think it will be an intervention from the future. Missy’s magical garden might be a kind of interdimensional holding place. They have “died” in one reality, and like the Doctor, cannot appear to live so they are removed to another dimension, a real place but “not of this world”.

    I feel that the Doctor is too focussed on the living to spare time for the dead. It is callous, in a way, but not uncaring. He is simply devoting to energy to those he can save.

    The architect reminded me a little of ‘The Curse of Fatal Death.” Moffat has reused those ideas many times. (I am not complaining. They were excellent ideas.)



    PhileasF @phileasf

    @purofilion – re whether the Doctor is keeping what he’s doing secret because he’ll have to rescue Clara in the same way.

    I think not necessarily. He’s just a nice man 🙂

    I think several things might have led him to start ‘rescuing’ people:

    a) He’s cheated death, by getting a new set of regenerations. So he might feel more than ever that it’s unfair that so many people give up their one short life on his behalf.

    b) Finding out about the Claricles, many of whom must have sacrificed themselves for him without him even noticing they existed, might make him feel a bit guilty.

    c) Having saved Gallifrey, it’s occurred to him that he could save lots of other people in the same way, without breaking any laws of time, if he’s really careful.

    d) On Trenzalore he must have had a lot of time to think, and perhaps reflected on his past life and all the times he could have saved someone if he’d really tried.

    Arbutus @arbutus

    @handles  You are nothing if not fluid in your approach! I use “defend” in the academic sense of the word, not that they are under attack, but that you are ensuring that they hold up when questioned (as any good theory has to do). “A good explanation” is basically what I meant. Just as I’m not trying to rip your theory, only saying why I don’t agree. Two time lines is harder to argue with, because the facts change from one time line to the next. I still don’t think that it’s what’s going on here, but it is certainly possible!

    PhileasF @phileasf

    @janetteb‘why that face?’ – I’d forgotten about that, but it ties in nicely.

    And re Stephen Moffat recycling ideas. You’ve reminded me of something I meant to mention in the Listen discussion: it resembles one of the best episodes of Moffat’s earlier series Press Gang: ‘Going Back to Jasper Street’.

    In that episode, Lynda sees a photo of a wooden figurine she owned as a child. She doesn’t know where it came from or where it went. As soon as the lights went out, this ‘wooden man’ would become a figure of terror. She hasn’t seen it in years, but it’s just been reported stolen from an elderly woman’s home. The episode blends Lynda’s present-day investigation with the childhood memories the investigation rekindles. The mystery is, I thought, ingeniously resolved.

    The episode foreshadows a lot of Moffat’s later work, with a non-linear narrative (with scenes in the present intercut with scenes from Lynda’s childhood) used to tell a story that couldn’t be told as well any other way.

    The episode is also notable for one character’s explanation for the mystery:

    Well, it’s obvious isn’t it? A freak worm hole has opened up in the fabric of the space-time continuum. This seemingly insignificant woodcarving has been sucked back in time ten years to the bedroom of the infant Lynda Day. But what awesome celestial forces are behind this strange phenomenon? And what, Lynda, is their evil purpose? We shall have to act quickly to save the entire Universe!

    Arbutus @arbutus

    @phileasf   I’m not sure how much I like the idea that the Doctor is methodically rescuing people, although @janetteb‘s inclusion of the “why that face” issue would support it. And certainly your list of motivating factors is quite believable. But it seems, somehow, well… boring. But it could well be the case, and in a way, it would explain Missy. If he were sending people to her Promised Land (in a pocket universe, like Gallifrey), then her conversation with the half-face man would make more sense.

    I really read his reaction to the return of Saibra and Psi as utter shock, because he hadn’t seen it coming (“I hate not knowing”) and relief that they hadn’t died on his watch, as it were, which he then covered up with a brusque “You can continue the mission.” That moment made him quite likeable, I thought.

    Randomly, I have been thinking about the Woman in the Shop. There are an awful lot of women running around with the Doctor’s number… The Woman in the Shop, Clara, Kate Stewart, possibly River Song, possibly Missy, and now Karabraxos. If we only find out one thing from this arc, please let it be who is the Woman in the stupid Shop.   🙄

    geoffers @geoffers

    @purofilion – “Anyway, imagine if Donna could have been spirited away and given an ‘uber brain’ -how wonderful. As it was, she did get a lottery ticket.”

    i can’t express how much i would love it if donna could be brought back for just one episode, so that the doctor could find a way to fix that particular mistake (if no other)! she will probably always be my favourite companion. though i’m sure many would groan and whine if moffat decided to undo the tragedy of her story, it would be less of a “retcon” than bringing gallifrey back from destruction…

    Anonymous @

    @arbutus I love it!  The WitS can now be introduced as:  “da dada duuuum”: The Woman in the Stupid Shop”  You know what? One day there’ll be an actual shop (possibly in some real but nightmare Disneyland -in Florida-it fits) called ‘The Woman in the Shop’. It works for retail, no?

    I think that @phileasf if the Doctor is deeply disturbed by those who died on his watch (so to speak), then yes, Clara might be coming to a sticky end (I can see a lolly shop, Arbutus, selling Clara Rock in Brighton or even Toronto) and also, as you said, the claricles, are a weight upon this “Big Grey Stick Insect’s” shoulders. Yep, now I have a whole mall going! It’s possible that he may be involved in saving them somewhere -whereas Missy’s ‘place’ is likened to purgatory?

    The old Catholic in me is coming to the foreground -as is, with malls, the capitalist (eek).

    Watching Gallipoli in Year 8 is very challenging but in speaking with Pa Ilion we’ve always admired (hell, no: resented the billy-oh out of) the Canadian education system. I think I’ll say more about this in the Pub, directly!

    Kindest and peace /**\  puro.

    janetteB @janetteb

    On the other hand it might be Missy who is doing the point of death teleporting unknown to the Doctor, and the Doctor’s use of Teleport devices to save Psi and Saibra is a huge Moffatish clue, rather like the tesselector in “Let’s Kill Hitler.” It maybe not necessarily be the same technology and certainly not the same motivation but the Doctor’s use of the device indicates that they are about. Maybe future Doctor gets hold of the teleporters from Missy as we have never seen him use them before or maybe he just popped into the “Teleporter shop” on Planet xxyz between receiving the memory wipe and setting up the briefcases in the vault.

    If Moffat does not finally solve the riddle of “the Woman in the Shop” I will never forgive him. Ever!



    Anonymous @

    @arbutus, I didn’t mean to move the goal posts so much this time, but I tried to go straight to the 2 time lines from the start as usual, but could not figure it out. I didn’t think you were ripping it, you put it to such a good test. TY

    @janetteb – there is another option for Missy Tech in this episode. The Dimensional Shift Bomb sends the particles to a different plane. But the particles come back, so maybe not? However, that could just be what setting you put it on?  😕

    Serahni @serahni

    @thommck  Oh don’t get me wrong, I like that Clara has a separate life!  I even like that it’s being fleshed out a bit more and being given substance.  I only meant that surely we don’t have to see every week what he goes through to convince her to join him THIS time.  Unless there’s a point to that.  Moffat makes me paranoid!

    @purofilion  I’m not entirely sure if I made that connection.  I think I remember mentioning Horns of Nimon at one point, or what I just remarking on someone else saying it?  I’ll take credit! *lol*  (Unless it really was someone else.)



    You’re alive. You’re not dead. You’re here

    At this stage he is far from certain that he is the architect, and the bit of him with suspicions had no way of knowing any plan had worked.

    thommck @thommck

    Not sure if this will help anyone but it helped me (a bit)

    I present my wibbly-wobbly-agram (the Year dates were made up just for illustrative purposes)

    [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="1439"]Time Heist Timeline Spot the paradox![/caption]

    So, was there a paradox and did the Doctor cross his own timeline?

    I think we can say that the Doctor didn’t cross his timeline, all he did was leave clues for a future version of himself

    The paradox is actually Karabraxos.

    She couldn’t have called the Doctor without getting his number but she couldn’t have got his number without calling him!

    Is that how others see this episode or am I bonking up the wrong tree?

    Mudlark @mudlark

    @purofilion   re the music:  I think your meaning was clear, so there was no need for the ‘sorry’.  If I gave you the impression that I had misunderstood, then it must have been my choice of words which was misleading, so if anyone should be apologising it is me.  What I meant to say was that, without any deliberate effort to do so, I ‘tune out’ most of the accompanying score – I am not conscious of hearing it, though it clearly registers at a subliminal level and affects my response.  I was simply interested in a) the fact that you had the means to disable the score and b) the difference that its absence made.  When the music is not part of the commissioned score and has particular meaning in terms of the plot or character, then I do notice it.  The choice of the Mozart piece which was playing in the Vault was I presume very deliberate, since the plot of the opera involves the attempted rescue,  by a man posing as an architect no less, of a lady and her maidservant who have been captured and immured in the harem of a Turkish Pasha.

    Mudlark @mudlark

    @purofilion  P S  ‘Wetware’ is not of my coinage, so I cannot lay claim to originality in this instance.  It is, so I understand, a term sometimes used by IT geeks and I borrowed it 🙂

    Anonymous @

    @mudlark  ‘Abduction from the Seraglio’ -one of my favourites from which we have the infamous phrase by the emperor to Mozart (allegedly) that there’s “too many notes” It was in the film, Amadeus (which I thought was hugely fun entertainment). The overseer is called Osmin! I had the little privilege to conduct a portion of the 3rd Act for post-Bachelor studies. A wonderful rolling and rousing tempo in parts. No, I was a bit cranky about the music/score: of course the music shouldn’t be removed -the overall complexity of any modern episode is stunning, isn’t it? The CGI (where the actors have to look at tennis balls on sticks and act terrified or hypnotised); the lighting and all the after- sounds: footsteps; the sonic and the Tardis’ marvellous bells and whooshing -even just her alone!

    @thommck a great diagram. I love  diagrams! @pedant I can see you mean that “you’re not dead. You are alive” is akin to “you’re not dead (shite it worked?) and you’re alive (it really worked!)? To survive all these 100s of years, he’d need to be  at least circumspect regarding any plan, and this Doctor seems a bit more cynical (or just as cynical) as The War Doctor.

    As to the dimensional shift bomb, I always wonder if the Flesh Doctor somehow survived -totally off-topic and a silly ‘hope’ but still… we can have them..

    Kindest, puro.

    soundworld @soundworld

    @handles I think the Big Bang is one ‘odd’ paradox though generally many people would say that, ironically, whilst not necessarily proven, The Big Bang is ‘fact’

    @purofilion I believe that rather than being a paradox as such, the Big Bang is a singularity, a point where everything known breaks down and nothing can be known.  Perhaps a point where anything can happen.

    Wasn’t there also some very Egyptian-looking stuff down there in the private vault?

    Re the discussion on music, I’m amazed at the knowledge of people here, the ability to pick out a piece of music and know its cultural references.  I have some classical music knowledge, just nothing like you guys!  I think that watching an episode without the music score is a brave and interesting thing to do.  As somebody who works with sound and has studied the psycho-acoustics of music and sound, its such an incredibly important part of the whole experience (and I found many of the RTD era soundtracks to be a tad overbearing for my taste!).  I should imagine though that listening without the soundtrack you would perhaps see a whole different set of things – your focus would be different.  One of my favourite books is Nada Brahma – The World is Sound, by a German jazz musician and theorist, and he talks about research into the more feminine aspect of listening vs the male aspect of a more visual culture and how this shapes our whole mental map (amongst many other things!).  The book is a fascinating study into consciousness and sound.

    puro – yes, I really enjoyed A Beautiful Mind.  I don’t watch much TV, but Dr Who and Sherlock are two shows I’ve become a fan of, simply because they are witty and intelligent and well-crafted, unlike a lot of what seems to pass for entertainment.  I grew up without TV, so I’m really fussy!

    I always wondered if the flesh doctor survived…

    So, back to the episode… I’m tending to agree with the idea upstream (@janetteB ) that Missy (whoever she is) is using a teleportation device, and this episode was giving us a clue to that.  But I don’t think she’s working with the Doctor.  I took ‘boyfriend’ in an ironic way meaning sparring-partner.

    Might we see another application of The Dimensional Shift Bomb?  What if it blew a hole to a different dimension (as in multiverse?)  instead of a hole in an ordinary 3D dimension  – could that be where Missy hides away?

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    The paradox is actually Karabraxos.
    She couldn’t have called the Doctor without getting his number but she couldn’t have got his number without calling him!

    Yup, that’s the paradox. It’s a self-consistency variation of Polchinski’s Paradox, which Moffat uses so often he must have Professor Polchinski on speed dial. 😉 Polchinski’s original paradox would have the Doctor not realising he’d given Young Karabraxos the phone number, so that the eternal loop breaks. The question then becomes: ‘how can she get the phone number?’

    The self-consistency paradox works (as was shown by two CalTech students) if the actions within the loop create the conditions to maintain the loop… the Doctor realises there’s a loop, and gives her his phone number, so that she can phone him, thus creating the loop … yeah, your head may explode. 😈

    But it’s the same problem as the Doctor’s escape in The Big Bang. Nobody lets him out ‘the first time’ so he can create the loop. He realises he’s in a loop and acts in a way that maintains the loop rather than breaking it.

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