Doctor Who Season 8 Episode 9 Review: Flatline

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There is a lot to talk about. Each week there are undercurrents on Doctor Who that are meant to send our minds racing, and they're working.

The theme of Clara was a Doctor was explored again in Doctor Who Season 8 Episode 9 and it can mean more than one thing, especially with the new reveal at the end.

Let's take a look, shall we?

Anyone who didn't enjoy the whole tiny TARDIS thing is missing out on some fun. While the big ole face bit looks a little cheesy because you could tell it was a screened image, the bits The Doctor's hand coming out of the TARDIS were brilliant, especially when he ran it across the train tracks with his fingertips.

Let me know how many of you are looking for big Doctors inside your decorative TARDIS figures!

The creature this week was quite frightening. Anything that can go through surfaces and take people inside walls, floors and the like scares the heck out of me. One thing of note, however. That room where the police woman was taken was hella cool! It was like my ultimate 70s dream room.

That funky wallpaper (I love the Brits and their undying commitment to the stuff), the color and the swinging chair (which came in handy) should be shipped to my home right now. 

As soon as Clara started discovering Bristol and the tunnel, in particular, I knew the people on the walls were related to the mystery. Nobody is going to paint their loved ones from behind, and the creatures didn't know enough about us (or they just didn't care enough) to get it right. 

When they started their way to three dimensions, they took on a whole new kind of freaky. The way they moved and the way they were put together -- almost like movie film used to create a three dimensional body -- was super creepy. I kind of hoped there would be a way to get the people back, but I guess you can't go from two dimensional back to three and survive.

So that leaves us with the meat of the story. With The Doctor indisposed (or stuck), that left Clara to do the heavy lifting with the people on the ground. She had to save the day.

Clara: I'll tell you who I am. I am the one chance you have of staying alive. That's who I am.
The Doctor: Well done.

The amount of time Clara has been in control on Doctor Who Season 8 remains intriguing to me. I had thought that perhaps we might be treated to an old switcharoo this Christmas when, instead of leaving the show, Clara becomes The Doctor.

I am still not ruling that out and I'll tell you why, as well as a new theory I have that will support the rumors of Jenna Coleman leaving the series.

Throughout the hour, Clara relied on her ability to think and act like The Doctor to move forward. When she lost contact with him, she reminded herself what he would do by recalling the rules of being a Doctor and then finally realized she can only count on herself.

Clara took control of the situation without any fear whatsoever. There was a time when situations could get to her. Now she merely sees the challenge in them and was even able to carry on a conversation with Danny Pink while actively trying to get her and Rigsy out of the 70s room without missing a beat.

That's pretty impressive. She did go on to save the day, but she didn't get any true kudos for a job well done.

Clara: Just say it! Why can't you just say it. Why can't you just say I did good?
The Doctor: Talk to soldier boy.
Clara: Not him. C'mon. Why can't you just say it? I was The Doctor and I was quite good.
The Doctor: You were an exceptional Doctor, Clara.
Clara: Thank you.
The Doctor: Goodness had nothing to do with it.

The Doctor realized that Clara, his impossible girl, was changing into someone other than the girl she once was. We don't know why this is happening, but it's not difficult to see the metamorphosis. Throughout the season she has become more and more strong and independent. While she still relies on The Doctor, she doesn't need him.

Part of that was a plan on the part of The Doctor, I think. He wanted her to be able to take care of herself when the inevitably part ways. But it's losing her goodness that concerns him. The Doctor has been the guy who does unpleasant things to save the world to keep others from having to make those (sometimes dire) decisions.

That changed when he left her on the moon in Doctor Who Season 8 Episode 7. Clara had no choice but to think for herself without The Doctor's input. Even though she made a decision that could have gone either way, it was hers to make. She's confident her decisions will be the right ones.

Life support failing. 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.

The Doctor

People did die while trying to escape the two dimensional creatures, but I didn't see anything Clara did as being bad, even if it wasn't done with "goodness" in mind. My line of thinking regarding Clara leaving the series is that he will start to push her away for her own sake, so she doesn't completely turn into a Doctor, willing to make the grave choices even if it encroaches on her goodness. Doing a good job and being good are two completely different things, aren't they?

But then we have that pesky Missy.

Clara. My Clara. I have chosen well.


I still don't understand exactly who she is or how she relates to The Doctor. From what we've seen, she takes those who die because of The Doctor's actions and accepts them into heaven. Did she choose Clara to replace The Doctor? Did she choose well because Clara's not worried about the casualty count as long as the greater good is served?

Heaven's gatekeeper would want business to be steady, after all, even if she's only in charge of a tiny portion of it. Does Missy want The Doctor to finally find her in heaven? I really have no idea, but it's going to play into what happens during Christmas. Do you agree?

So, perhaps Clara will be forced out of the limelight by The Doctor because she does the job too well and is losing a part of herself, or she could remain and become the new Doctor with Danny as her companion (he's not doing much overall now). 

Of course, any other number of scenarios are also possible. The sheer number of possibilities and the thoughts this hour provoke are mind boggling. What are you thinking and did this installment change your thoughts? If you need further evidence, watch Doctor Who online via TV Fanatic. Hit the comments now!

Flatline Review

Editor Rating: 4.7 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (79 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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Doctor Who Season 8 Episode 9 Quotes

The Doctor: Stop laughing. This is serious.
Clara: Well I can't help it, can I, you and your big ole face.

Could you just not let me enjoy this moment of not knowing something? I mean, it happens so rarely.

The Doctor