Features

REVIEW: Doctor Who 8×09 “Flatline”

Written by Fred McNamara

Clara does a great impression of the Doctor in last night’s Doctor Who adventure “Flatline” when two-dimensional creatures conceal the Doctor to being trapped within a shrunken TARDIS. On an ill-fated attempt to get Clara back home to see Danny, the Doctor stumbles upon a council estate in Bristol where people are disappearing without leaving a trace – except for their memorials, painted on the walls…

Written by last week’s scribe Jamie Mathieson, “Flatline” displays similar themes to “Mummy on the Orient Express” – that of individuals being picked off one by one by a near-untouchable adversary. “Flatline” remains a deadlier episode than “Mummy on the Orient Express” however, as its adversary is far simpler than a mummy. Heck, how simpler can you get from 3D to 2D?

Clara steps away from the Doctor’s constant cold shoulder and take the spotlight when she leads a motley crew of community service workers against the ‘killer graffiti’. However, her role as team leader feels somewhat like a missed opportunity, in that we don’t really see any addition to Clara’s character. We know off by heart how she acts as a companion, so one would think we’d like to see a change of pace once she gains some higher ground.

That we do not see, if anything all we see is Clara being Clara – just without the Doctor by her side, instead remaining stuffed away in her bag. Even so, Clara’s role as the Doctor does bring a surprising home truth to light.

Ever since “The Caretaker”, Danny has appeared nonchalant to the fact that his girlfriend leaves him every so often to indulge in comic adventures that put her life in jeopardy. He’s always seemed perfectly okay with this. We now learn that this is because Danny is blissfully unaware that Clara is still with the Doctor.

Another point we mentioned a while back was that Clara is also blissfully unaware of her own problems. She seems happy to gallivant across the universe and not think of the consequences it will have on her. Now, those consequences appear to have been brought to light, and it can only go downhill from here for Clara and Danny.

“Flatline” remains an enjoyable episode in its own right, but what drags it down is perhaps a lack of focus. The revelation of Clara lying to Danny and the creatures themselves remain the high points of this episode, yet they’re rather scarce. The revelation doesn’t have any immediate dramatic impact, and we never know what these creatures are, what they were ultimately up to, or how they arrived on Earth.

Oh, and Missy pops up again, but that’s all she ever does nowadays – pop up.

Overall grade: C

Pros

+The moment in the flat where the sofa is, well, eaten, by the ‘killer graffiti’ is an insane piece of work.

+Clara and Danny’s relationship must surely take a turn for the worse in future episodes.

-We never did find out much about the ‘killer graffiti’, did we?

-It’s a shame the Doctor had to stay shut away in the TARDIS for most of the episode.

What did you make of “Flatline”? Let us know in the comments or send us your thoughts on Twitter!

About the author

Fred McNamara