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“Flatline” – Doctor Who Review

Posted on October 19, 2014 at 1:52 pm by Darth Shiva

Welcome to another week of Doctor Who!  Tonight’s episode was called “Flatline” and if you haven’t seen it yet, you should!  Also, here is the obligatory spoiler alert. 🙂

This week’s episode had a lot of interesting developments and deviations from the type of Doctor Who show we are accustomed to.  When the Doctor is returning Clara home, she is packing up everything, citing that Danny is jealous of her leaving her things Doctor Who Series 8 (episode 9)anywhere but his or her place.  Upon leaving the TARDIS, they notice that the door is much smaller than it normally is, but once outside, Clara discovers that she is over 100 miles from home, which annoys her.  At the same time, the Doctor discovers that not only the door from inside of the TARDIS is smaller, but the whole exterior has been shrunken (well more than normal, as the inside is always bigger than the outside, it’s just more so).  He becomes excited at the prospect of solving the mystery of the shrinking TARDIS, as it is rare for him to not know something once it happens.  He tells Clara that he believes that it’s probably safe, but just to ensure it, he asks her to stay outside while he squeezes back in to try and figure it out.

She goes out locally to investigate and finds a mural of people who have disappeared recently and a graffiti artist, Rigsy, who is in the area doing community service, tells Clara that he lost his aunt and she is one of the people painted on the mural.  When Clara comes back to where she left the Doctor, she finds that it has been further shrunk and is now pocket sized.  The Doctor hands her Doctor Who Series 8 (episode 9)his sonic screwdriver and psychic paper to help her in her investigation and an earpiece that allows her to stay in communication with him while she looks around.  Rigsy takes her to the flat (apartment for us non-Brits) of the first known missing person and with the psychic paper, Clara pretends to be “Doctor Oswald” and gets a local police officer to assist her in investigating the flat.  Soon PC Forrest is taken by the mysterious creatures and while searching the room she was last in, the Doctor sees the mural on the wall and realizes it’s the nervous system of a human, most likely PC Forrest.  When he looks through the pictures of the other room, he realizes that the murals on the wall are parts of the victims, just flattened out.  The creatures are 2 dimensional and attack the room Clara and Rigsy are in, which of course is an excellent time for Danny to call Clara about the lunch they were supposed to be meeting for.  At this point, Clara is forced to lie to Danny about what she is doing and the Doctor realizes that she has been lying to him about Danny being okay with their continued travels.

Doctor Who Series 8 (episode 9)Clara and Rigsy return to the tunnel with the mural and discover the rest of the community service team about to paint over them, until the 2d creatures, who are masquerading as the paintings begin to attack.  Clara flees with the community service team and they take shelter in a warehouse.  The Doctor theorizes that they may be trying to communicate and not understand that they are killing the people they take, and builds a machine within the TARDIS to communicate with them.  They understand and answer back using the numbers on the jackets of the community service workers that they have taken, followed by the number of one they target and then kill.  Clara and the rest of the team escape into a tunnel, where the Doctor shares that he has a way to defeat the creatures, but not enough power to do so.  After a brief skirmish with one of the workers, Clara accidentally drops the TARDIS down a shaft, which ends up on the tracks of an oncoming train.  The Doctor must put the TARDIS into siege mode, but since it has no power to come out of it, Clara is truly on her own to figure out how to defeat the 2d monsters.

flatline 1This plays on a number of interesting themes.  First, the idea that creatures from another dimension are attacking our dimension and the fact that their attack has caused the Doctor to become essentially helpless binds him to humanity in a way that we haven’t quite seen from this incarnation quite yet.  He has spent so much of his time looking down on humanity and in this case he has to rely entirely on Clara in order to get out of this situation alive makes him connect to how the people he saves each time are feeling during their time with him.  Also, since Clara has been effectively lying to him since she told him that Danny was okay with their travels, he realizes that he does not know everything about his companion as he assumes and that she behaves in unpredictable ways.  I think the idea that he doesn’t know everything about her and that she has lied to him without him finding out for all this time makes him respect her a little more.  On the flip side, since Clara chose to be The Doctor for this situation, she has realized a few things about him.  She started it off as a bit of a joke, talking about saying she’s a doctor to sound smarter, but comes to realize that it’s a lot more than dancing around the subject of what you’re a doctor of and then barking orders about.

She realizes that sometimes being the Doctor means lying to all the people around you in order to give them hope, even when she Doctor-Who-Flatline-Clara-600x337doesn’t have any.  She must look at everything around her for clues, and use whatever information she can get.  She also finds out that in a room full of scared people, a leader will be chosen, and if it’s not the right one, things can go terribly wrong.  But convincing a scared group of people that they should listen to you means that you must sound as though you know exactly what to do, even if you’re just winging it.  She also realizes that in order to succeed, she must use the enemy’s strength as their weakness to bring them down.  The hardest lesson is that she might make a fantastic Doctor; however, that doesn’t mean she’s good.

“Flatline” dealt with a lot of morality issues and put the companion in the driver’s seat while almost benching the Doctor.   I found a helpless Twelve very interesting and I enjoyed seeing Clara growing in her role as “Doctor Oswald”.  This gets an A- from me.  Thoughts?

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