Last week on Doctor Who, Clara and The Doctor worked their way through a mysterious occurrence on the spacebound version of the Orient Express. Mummies were vanquished, the train blew up, everyone was saved. This week, we see the return of the “Doctor Lite” format, which we really haven't seen since Season 4's “Turn Left.” And what better way to bring back the traditional episode where The Doctor appears the least than to make an episode where the companion becomes the Doctor?
”Doctor, what would you do now? No... what would I do now?
Clara is on her own, thanks to a particularly flattening menace that seems to be sucking out the dimensions from everything. All of this is, naturally, perfect timing, considering she's supposed to be seeing Danny for lunch and yet The Doctor took her a hundred and some-odd miles out of the way. (But at the right time!) One thing people seem to forget is that the TARDIS doesn't always take you where you want to go, but it takes you where you need to go. Where The Doctor and Clara are needed is the town of Bristol, where a nefarious presence known as The Boneless is flattening three dimensional objects into two dimensional constructs.
One touch, and it's flat zone for the victim, with death included in the package. The only problem is the TARDIS is shrinking, due to The Boneless, who don't care that they're flattening people. Contrary to the benefit of the doubt they're given early on in the episode, they're not trying to understand us, they're all really just kinda dicks and they've left The Doctor to fight for his life in his magnificent flying machine. Which means that Clara has the Sonic and the attitude that go with her newly adopted title.
”I don't know if you'll ever hear this, Clara. I don't even know if you're still alive out there. But you were good! And you made a mighty fine Doctor.”
Making the Companion do all the work is not a new concept to Doctor Who, but a companion pretending to flat out be The Doctor is something that's new to the game. Clara's as good a choice as any to play this role, and for a little while we're kind of reminded of The Doctor's Eleventh incarnation, as he's the one that she's learned from. She uses her wit, she tries to save everyone, and she's not as battle fatigued as the Twelfth Doctor may seem. Of course, it helps that her unofficial companion, Rigsy, is pretty astute and full of the “local knowledge” that The Doctor always has use for.
While Clara came more into her own this week, The Doctor surprisingly came back into form with a truly heroic speech. With his tolerance pushed to the brink, Peter Capaldi finally had a triumphantly Doctor worthy speech against his enemies, and he crushed it. Of course, major marks go to Jenna Coleman, who continues to be an increasingly progressive companion. One who was supposedly selected by Missy herself, if the end of the episode is anything to go by. “Flatline” is another solid entry into the Doctor Who canon that does not disappoint, but at the same time fits snugly into the mold of what we've seen.
Fingers crossed next week's adventure changes that, as it looks like London has been turned into a set from A Sound Of Thunder, and not only are school children involved, but so's Danny! Next week, we'll be back to recap “In The Forest Of The Night!” Geez, even the title promises excitement! Speaking of excitement, page 2 has some interesting points for this week's Doctor's Notes!