Doctor Who continues with yet another creepy yet fun story with "Flatline."
Thankfully, that mishap with "Kill the Moon" is just that, a mishap in what is shaping up to be a strong final few episodes of Doctor Who.
After yet another adventure, the Doctor and Clara return to earth, somehow ending up in Bristol, except the TARDIS appears to be shrinking. Now Clara and the Doctor must discover what is causing the disturbance. Thankfully, Clara and the Doctor seem to have made up completely after the blow up in "Kill the Moon," and are now back to being a brilliantly bickering dynamic duo. Coleman and Capaldi's chemistry is better than ever, and their interaction is a highlight of the episode.
In "Flatline," Clara gets to play the Doctor of sorts when the outside of the TARDIS is so small that the Doctor cannot leave. Making the TARDIS so small is both a brilliantly hilarious way for Clara to literally carry the Doctor around as she tries to investigate, as well as a smart business move since those tiny TARDIS that you can buy are now cannon! Plus, Clara's quip about it being "Adorable" is positively hilarious, because is exactly how some of my Whovian fangirl friends would react. My only small issue with the episode is general is that the special effects for the Doctor in the tiny TARDIS is a bit dodgy. Sometimes it looked okay, but a lot of the time it looked incredibly flat. Despite this, the tiny TARDIS managed to deliver great laughs, while still maintaining a sense of danger with the alien threat.
Thematically, a lot of the episode follows the theme at the end of "Mummy on the Orient Express" about whether or not the Doctor is a good man, and how he must balance the lives that are saved with the ones that die. Aside from Clara hilariously calling herself the "Doctor" as the Doctor protests, which creates a hilarious discussion about lying, Clara playing the role of the Doctor allows her to relate to the difficult choices the Doctor makes, and thus alleviating the conflict between them, hopefully for good. At the end of the episode, Clara being proud that she saved the planet, as well as most of the people, introduced an interesting idea of Clara understanding the moral balance the Doctor must weigh to make his difficult choices. After criticizing him the previous few episodes, Clara finally understands the decision he must make. However, when the Doctor says something to the effect of "you were an exceptional Doctor; goodness had nothing to do it" the question about is the Doctor a good man is almost answered by the Doctor himself. Interesting ideas, and hopefully it will come full circle by the end of the season.
Speaking of the threat, the creatures from the second dimension are easily the best monsters from Capaldi's run (the "Listen" does not count), and the most eerie since the Silence. Making the creatures attempting to decipher what exactly humanity is by transforming them into the second dimension is an intriguing concept, since the creatures do not understand the meaning of three dimensions, which is vaguely similar to what happens in an episode of Space Dandy. For example, the police officer's nervous system on the wall is both eerie and clever. Everything about the 2D monsters is well thought out, including their transition to the the third dimension. Seeing the wonderfully rendered, zombie like beings lumbering towards Clara and the others created legitimate suspense and tension. Also, the special effects direction should be given special praise for creating a monster that fits the capabilities and budget that the effects department can deliver, rather than trying something overly ambitious.
On a side note, Jacob's theory is the monsters from Listen might be coming back due to the amount of times the word "listen" is said during the episode, although he admits that he might just be paranoid. Overall, Jamie Mathieson's script is able to create a legitimate threat with the 2D monsters, yet not forgetting about the thematic elements or the witty dialogue exchanges between the Doctor and Clara. Fortunately, even the scene with Missy is the most bearable one yet.
Overall: 9.2/10- With a menacing new monster, "Flatline" is everything that a Doctor Who episode should be, clever, funny, meaningful, and creepy.
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