In Clara’s (Jenna Coleman) flat, as she is preparing for a date, the Doctor (Peter Capaldi) answers the TARDIS phone. They are suddenly in a room with two people—Psi (Jonathan Bailey) who is a hacker with an augmented brain, and Saibra (Pippa Bennett-Warner), who is a mutant shapeshifter. They hear recordings of their own voices agreeing to a short-term memory wipe and getting instruction from a mysterious Architect on breaking into the Bank of Karabraxos to steal three items from its vault.
Ms. Delphox (Keeley Hawes), the Head of Bank Security, uses a telepathic alien called the Teller (Ross Mullan) to detect criminal intent and destroy the would-be thief’s brain. The memory wipes were to defeat this defence. Inside the bank, they find six devices left by the Architect that seem to be atomic shredders that will kill them quickly and painlessly if they are caught. Saibra and Psi fall victim to these and the Doctor and Clara reach the door of the vault.
The door seems impossible to open at first, but a solar storm strikes the planet just in time, triggering an automatic unlocking sequence. It is a Time Travel Heist. They recover a serum to stabilise Saibra’s DNA and a circuit to restore Psi’s long-term memories. The Doctor and Clara are captured and brought to Delphox’s office. The guards seem to be Saibra and Psi. The shredders turn out to be just short-range teleports. The storm seems about to destroy the bank, but the Doctor wants the third item.
They meet the bank director Madame Karabraxos (also Keeley Hawes) in her private vault. Karabraxos orders the Teller brought in, and then has Delphox incinerated. The Doctor gives Karabraxos the phone-number of the TARDIS in case she has regrets someday. The Doctor lets the Teller restore his short-term memory. The call to the TARDIS is from a future, dying Karabraxos, regretting that she left something in the vault. The Doctor is the Architect of the heist. Karabraxos wants the Doctor to rescue the Teller’s mate, seized to force the Teller’s cooperation. The couple are transported to an unpopulated planet to live in peace where no-one fears their powers.
A heist movie is something different for Doctor Who. Reviews were generally positive, though the episode was not considered important. One of the mugshots is of James Marsters playing John Hart, a time agent on Torchwood. He was Spike on Buffy and Angel. Psi was influenced by Johnny Mnemonic, played by Keanu Reeves, who can store data in his head. Saibra was influenced by Mystique and Rogue in the X-Men comics. Originally, Ms. Delphox was supposed to be played by Michelle Gomez (Missy). This episode was not only pretty good Doctor Who, it was a pretty good heist movie. A lot of people don’t care for Peter Capaldi—I know a five-year-old who burst into tears when Matt Smith was regenerated—but I warmed to him fairly quickly. Episodes like this are a good reason why.