As always, DO NOT READ unless you're caught up on Series 8 of Doctor Who! As River would say: *spoilers*
|I would absolutely have this nervous system mural on my wall.|
This week's episode centered on a bizarre, new, 2D monster species (the Boneless) studying our world by dissecting us, layer by layer, in order to understand our three dimensional state of being. All that remains of those who are abducted are creepy 2D images on the walls. For the majority of the episode, The Doctor is stuck in an ever shrinking TARDIS, leaving Clara to run around as his eyes and ears playing "Doctor" with the Sonic Screwdriver, Psychic Paper, and her own companion, Rigsy (a talented graffiti artist serving Community Service for his illegal artwork). One of the best things about this episode was how adorable the TARDIS was as it shrank. How cool is it that the writers have finally figured out a way to give cosplayers an excuse to put their desktop TARDISes to official use?!
|It's a tiny TARDIS!! Squeeeee!|
As the story progresses, the Boneless enter into "Stage Three" of their study, three dimensions. Talking a 3D form, the super creepy Boneless continue chasing our heroes deep into some older train tunnels, and the tiny TARDIS gets knocked onto a set of tracks with a train headed straight for it. While The Doctor lists off all the ways he hasn't got enough power to move the TARDIS, Clara offers him some Addams Family inspired, out-of-the-box thinking (see what I did there?) that gives us one of the most amusing sight gags ever:
This episode also gave Capaldi the chance to deliver a classic "I'm The Doctor and this planet/plane/species is protected/defended" speech. Some of my friends rolled their eyes at this scene, while others loved it. I was relatively indifferent as part of me finds the speech a bit overused, but another part of me finds it fair to give each new Doctor his moment to shine. What I did find a bit annoying was that he essentially turned into Doctor Gandalf and vanquished the monsters in a flood of magical, green light without so much as a half-hearted explanation. Yes, I know that it was pretty much a supped-up version of the "2Dis" he gave Clara as a "deflattener," but not having the super quick, off-hand resolution explained felt off to me. That, to me, is a classic bit of Doctor Who writing, and I missed it.
What does feel right, however, is that Clara's terrible lies to both The Doctor and Danny are already crumbling. This gives me hope that this awful Doctor/Clara/Danny storyline will be either over or abandoned soon. I've been openly critical of the horrific relationship writing we've been subjected to this series, so the idea that whatever misguided story Moffat has been attempting to tell might be over is happy news indeed. That it's likely somehow tied to the Missy subplot is also fine, as I've been so unhappy with this series in general that I simply don't care about who she is or how she plays into all of this; I just want it to be over.
Overall, I really enjoyed 'Flatline'. It was the fun adventure I think 'Mummy on the Orient Express' could have been had it not been bogged down with the awkward mess between The Doctor and Clara. This episode was able to acknowledge the issues that have been thickly laid out over the series without taking away from the adventure at hand. With only a few more episodes left in Series 8, here's hoping we continue to get this kind of entertaining writing without so much over-the-top drama superfluously injected into it.