Doctor Who: “Flatline” Review
Written by: Native Gamer
Flatline was the 9th episode of the 8th season since the revival of the internationally loved show ‘Doctor Who’ and this episode continues to carry the legacy of the show forward with a very creepy and atmospheric episode. The acting was superb, the writing and direction was exactly on the spot, it will end up being one of, if not the best episode of the entire season.
In this episode we see the companion Clara, struggle to keep herself and others alive as the Doctor is trapped inside a shrinking T.A.R.D.I.S. This type of story is sometimes known as a “Doctor-Lite” episode, due to the fact that the Doctor is more to the side as the companion takes center stage. Unlike most ‘Doctor-Lite’ episodes Capaldi does have a fair amount of screen time and is there to help, but he is regulated to a helping voice throughout most of the episode, which allows us to see Clara step up and save the day as ‘Doctor’ Clara Oswald.
This episode is one that is going to split the already divided fandom between the people who like Clara, and the people that despise her. I fall on the line of liking her, and for me this episode makes me like her more. We get to see her character grow, and we see the depth that some people have been asking for from her. She is forced into a situation where she is used to the Doctor solving, only without him there to solve it, and it is up to her to not only survive, but help the people that are in danger around her. She must convince these people that she is someone that they can put their faith in, and she must convince them and the audience that she can do so. In doing so she takes on the role of the Doctor and even in one funny scene, calls herself Doctor Oswald.
Whereas the Doctor is stuck in the TARDIS, whose exterior has shrunk so much that he is stuck inside. This creates an interesting dynamic of the Doctor talking his companion through what she should do, giving her advice, telling her she needs to take charge and be a leader. Throughout this he is still the cranky and grumpy Doctor that Capaldi has played oh so well. At one point in the episode the Doctor and Clara are truly cut off from one another, and although only the Doctor and the audience knows it, his life is in the hands of Clara and if she can find a way to get him out. It was during this moment that the Doctor admits, Clara is a good Doctor, but more on this in a minute.
Now, the ‘monster’ of this episode is truly fascinating. A monster that lives in a different dimension, one that lives only in 2D that wants to live in the 3rd dimension. One that can literally be anywhere and all around you, and that is what makes them truly creepy. The setting of the episode only helps to increase the unease, with a portion of the episode taking place underground in an abandoned subway tunnel.
Now when the people Clara is protecting start dying we see something interesting, something that some might have missed, instead of stopping, instead of acknowledging their deaths and being the conscious of the Doctor as seen in previous episodes, she moves on she acts as the Doctor would. When it comes to the end, she keeps pushing the Doctor to admit she had done well “We saved the world right?” was what Clara asked the Doctor when he played her. He said that people died, and she was happy to be alive, and some people have criticized the Doctor for scolding her, but he was sad, he saw his compassionate companion becoming like him and he doesn’t like himself. Why would he want her to be like him? He said it himself “You were an exceptional ‘Doctor’ Clara, but goodness had nothing to do with it.”