Who you said…? S08E09 ”Flatline”

Could not sleep, early blogpost... Enjoy.

And we are back in sort of scary episode mode, and to be honest it was a very good episode. Perhaps not as chilling as some of the others but the lack of jump scares alone made it worth it and there was a fresh spin on things. Heck even Clara was likeable this time around. It was also fun to see the Doctor taking a backseat and having to rely on others, a welcome development in his case.

So the story as we know it: The episode opens with a man losing a dimension. Rather jarring I would say. With that mystery afoot we cut to the Doctor and Clara who is still… Well… cheating on Danny as much as one can do in a platonic relationship with a Time-Lord.  That is to say she is lying about going on adventures through time and space by getting back to the very moment she disappeared so that Danny does not notice that she is gone. The Doctor being an unwitting pawn driven by his desire to have a relationship with Clara, no matter the kind.  Any way they set down a bit rough and find them self with a kiddy sized TARDIS. 
Now that would be a awesome playhouse

Something is leeching the dimensional energy in the area. The Doctor sends Clara out to do some recon while he researches what in a small blue box could have gone wrong as this is not one of the TARDIS usual hijinks. Clara comes back to a pocket sized TARDIS with the Doctor trapped inside and have to pick up the mantle of the Doctor. So with the Doctor in her bag she sets out to find out what is wrong, the Doctor following everything from a small bug in her head. Now in good order she soon picks up a companion in the form of a graffiti artist doing community service. Turns out a lot of people have disappeared and the only thing left behind are some weird art. So after some confusion and psychic paper the trio have figured out that they are dealing with two-dimensional beings and before you know it Clara is leading a band of penal workers trying to solve the mystery without getting killed at the same time. The TARDIS get pushed down a shaft and end up on the train tracks, even after some hands-on solution form the Doctor he has to activate something called the “siege mode” in order to survive, turning the TARDIS in the cube form Hellraiser and making it impervious to harm but also shutting the Doctor in with no way out. Left to her own Clara figures out a way to re-power the TARDIS that had been drained by the 2-D creatures as they upgraded them self to 3-D and in one last desperate attempt to give the Doctor a chance to live she tricks the beings to pump their dimension altering powers in to a fake door and by extension the TARDIS. Once free the Doctor says one last prayer for both his own soul and the beings outside before he banish them back to their own dimension and potentially kill them in the process. The episode ends with Clara demanding that the Doctor admit she was a good doctor, his answer is a rather chilling one…. You where an exceptional doctor… Goodness had nothing to do with it. 

Is that a Doctor in your pocket or are you just happy to see me.

So as I said this episode is very much a suspense episode, not an outright horror episode but rather one playing with a low frequency tension  that keep you on the edge of your seat, even if you know that things will in fact work out to the best. It was also nice to see Clara take a more pro-active role and actually doing things rather than being a pawn of the universe that she so often ends up as. The insight on to what it is to be the Doctor also seems to be a bit sobering for her even if her success quickly goes to her head and I am sure that there will be no end of her bringing this fact up. The Doctor as I said was for the most part relegated to the sofa, following the action from afar so to speak until he had to activate the latest in silly TARDIS gimmicks, after that it was pretty much just a slow death for him.

Poor Danny on the other hand was just being cheated on and had no relevance outside that fact but I sense a fairly big conflict coming up there. Or at least I hope there is because in all honesty I usually call the Doctor an arse but in this specific case Clara is a as big if not bigger arse and stunningly selfish. I´d say that the Doctor being a lot less of an arse was refreshing as his behavior as of late is gruff and quirky-hostile far beyond what is needed or motivated.
It is indeed adorable
So if I am going to look at a theme for this episode I’d say it is very much perspective, both in the very literal way and the switching of roles between the Doctor and Clara. Both having to reevaluate what they know about each other and what their respective roles means. Again we see some nice character development in Clara during the episode only to have it wiped out in the last couple of minutes bringing us back to status quo for the next episode. I hope it will have some relevance beyond another thing for Clara to be smug over. The Doctor showing remorse in the face of an enemy is nice to see as he have  come off a lot like a man with almost Cyberman like detachment to the planet he has taken upon himself to protect.  

Now it is worth noting again that this season have been literally submerged in small nods to earlier seasons, I think I brought it up in my E01 review but it is worth mentioning again as it is a fun read to try and find them all.

This is it for this time, take care and be safe.