For the first time in series 8 I wish there were still two part episodes. Flatline has some interesting ideas, but due to a time limit of a little over 40 minutes there just isn’t enough room for anything to properly develop, and in the end I was left with an empty feeling.

THERE ARE SPOILERS IN THE IMMINENT FUTURE

While I like Clara, this isn't "Clara Who," let's get the Doctor back in the title

While I like Clara, this isn’t “Clara Who,” let’s get the Doctor back in the title

As has been the case so far, Clara needs to get back to Danny, so the Doctor is all set to drop her off, but of course it doesn’t go according to plan. They still end up on Earth and not overly far from where they are supposed to go, but far enough to get caught up in some tricky business. The TARDIS is shrinking from the outside but remains the same on the inside. Basically, this is done to set up another Clara centered episode, as the Doctor remains inside to try and figure out what is going on outside. Using some fancy tech to talk to Clara and see through her eyes, the Doctor is able to keep track of the outside as Clara does some investigation of her own. Soon enough she stumbles upon some people having

to do community service due to being arrested for graffiti and other such crimes. They have a miserable old guy as their supervisor, and throughout the story he remains equally miserable, never seeming to be affected by the impending doom coming towards him. I’m not really sure what the point of him is since he’s not a bad guy and is just kind of annoying. Maybe it’s so Clara, who introduces herself as the Doctor to one of the guys cleaning graffiti off the wall (spoiler, he ends up making some nice artwork to trick the evil bad guys at the end and save the Doctor).

So, the evil bad guys previously mentioned are some sort of beings living on a two dimensional plane of existence and they are sucking up three dimensional humans into the walls to try and learn their biology. This is all done in an evil scheme to become three dimensional and take over the world, because, you know, why not? Really, it makes no sense. We never learn what they are or where they come from. The Doctor gives them some goofy name at the end in a moment of divine intervention when the TARDIS is accidentally resurrected by the evil guys. It’s all big and flashy but never feels right, mainly because the episode never knew what it wanted to be.

Most of the time it was a Clara being the Doctor story, where she ultimately learned what it meant to make the decisions the Doctor has to make when peoples’ lives are at risk. Except we just had that in Kill the Moon, so I’m not sure why we had it again so soon. Then we get the Doctor popping up

Small TARDIS...

Small TARDIS…

once in a while to give Clara some tech and run around his little but still big TARDIS and deliver the finishing blow on the bad guys.

The second half of the episode finds Clara, the graffiti guy, and the supervisor in a train tunnel, whereupon Clara decides it’s best to ram the bad guys with a train. So while they figure out how to do it the graffiti guy decides it’s best to just go in the train and drive it into the bad guys. Clara was just going to lock the accelerator so the train would go solo, and when she tried to take the guy off the train he was hesitant. I thought this may have meant he had some connection with the bad guys, but again, nothing, he was just being stubborn for no apparent reason.

I also want to point out I’m not being a fool by not referring to these side characters by their names, I literally cannot recall them, that’s how memorable they are, especially the supervisor and his superiority complex.

Also, Danny showed up for maybe a minute to call Clara. Nothing much happened and the episode moved on without him.

...Smaller TARDIS

…Smaller TARDIS

I like the concept of Flatline: a species living solely on a two dimensional plane trying to contact a three dimensional plane. That sounds pretty cool. Except it never evolved past evil bad guys trying to take over the world. We don’t know where they came from or really anything interesting about them. An underdeveloped alien species mixed with forgettable and generic characters makes for a boring 40 odd minutes. If the point of the episode was to let Clara see what it’s like to be the Doctor then great, we get it, she’s done it enough already. Did they forget she literally observed every single Doctor? This shouldn’t be new to her. I didn’t like series 7 that much but it’s still part of the show, so follow the continuity. I don’t have much to say about the Doctor, he was there but had such a small role that he may as well not have been there.

Almost forgot, Missy makes the most annoying appearance ever in the show. Why? She shows up at the end and is spying on the Doctor and Clara. No big deal. Except she’s using a legitimate Apple iPad! What the, I can’t, I just can’t. Every other character in the show has used a sci-fi, futuristic touch pad made for the show, keeping the viewer immersed in the world. Except now we get some mystery woman who is collecting dead people and using an iPad. It just felt cheap, like something a low budget, perhaps a web-series would have to due just to be able to help fund their show. Not here, this is a flagship show for the BBC and they sold out by putting an iPad in. Do note, the angle she is looking at Clara through the iPad is close to how the Doctor was looking at her, so is Missy looking through is eyes? Also note, Clara, yet again, is the most important girl in the whole universe. How many times can someone be the most important person ever? Rant over, I’ll wait and see where the story goes, no use getting worked up before it all tries to come together.

I’m not quite sure what to think of next week’s episode, In the Forest of the Night. From the trailer I can’t tell if the Doctor will be the focus or if Clara and Danny will. Ideally they can all work together, but if that doesn’t happen have Clara and Danny pop up once in a while and give the show back to the Doctor. Though, I must say, this series has been pretty great so far minus a couple bumpy episodes, I didn’t even realize next week’s episode is the last one before the two part finale (I still would like a two part normal story, but it’s a step in the right direction).

 

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