Villordsutch reviews Doctor Who series 8 episode 9 – ‘Flatline’…
The Doctor – “Could you just not let me enjoy this moment of not knowing something? I mean, it happens so rarely.”
A role-reversal episode this week in Doctor Who in which Clara becomes the Doctor, though not in a Freaky Friday-esque fashion but more of the Doctor being stuck in a rapidly reducing in size (externally anyway) TARDIS and Clara being stuck on the outside. The writing duties falling to Jamie Mathieson who you will remember wrote the rather great episode Mummy on the Orient Express last week, and he serves us this week a few scares and also a handful of laughs too.
Our episode begins with the Doctor and Clara arriving city of Bristol (home of Banksy) and it’s here when Clara notices the main TARDIS door has shrunk along with, they soon discover, the rest of the TARDIS. With the Doctor rather excited over this mystery he sends Clara off to find any clues which may allude to this situation and she discovers, via the mouths of some Community Service Workers and a local graffiti artist called Rigsy, that people have been vanishing from a local housing estate. Returning to a now much smalerl TARDIS – about six inches high – the Doctor hands her (as that’s now all he can do from the TARDIS) the psychic paper, the sonic-screwdriver and an audio/visual implant so he can hear and see everything she does; Clara also seizes the opportunity to take the title of the Doctor and the role of the Time Lord.
Gruesome scenes occur throughout the episode like a police officer being absorbed by into the floor by an invisible being and her nervous system being splayed across the wall, but these are balanced off with comedy moments like a Cousin Itt TARDIS scene as the Doctor attempts to escape a tube-train. It appears Two-Dimensional beings have arrived on Earth and their intentions at first are unknown, then slowly it becomes apparent their wants are malevolent and they begin to understand the third dimension, using the bodies of those absorbed earlier to hunt Clara and company through the train tunnels below Bristol.Another tiny TARDIS in Logopolis
A couple of interesting things for a Who fan occurred in this episode and I’m not just talking the Missy moment – I’m highlighting the shrinking TARDIS which was extremely similar to the previous antics of the Master’s work in the story Logopolis, which is rather famously known for being Tom Bakers last story. We also witnessed the TARDIS go into “Siege Mode” which looked rather like the Pandorica from The Pandorica Opens, not exactly the same on the outside and especially not the same on the in, but still an interesting coincidence.
The episode as a whole for me wasn’t as good as last week’s. I found myself on occasion slightly drifting off as the story failed to keep me enthralled with little to no mystery of what was going on around them. The 2D creatures had the feel of the Vashta Nerada at one point and I felt slightly let down by what I was being given, though the 3D version of the beings chasing them through the tunnels was unnerving. This being said watching my children they enjoyed it more and they were scared at the terror and laughing at the comedy so I’m guessing for the children this week it did it’s job while for us adults we have to accept that it was just okay.
Next week’s Doctor Who sees London enveloped in a what seems a rather dense forest in “In the Forest of the Night”.
Villordsutch likes his sci-fi and looks like a tubby Viking according to his children. Visit his website and follow him on Twitter.