Doctor Who: “Flatline”, Flat Episode


S08xE09 “Flatline”

We are only 3 episodes away from the series 8 finale of Doctor Who, so I feel it’s time to admit it. I am completely bored with this season. The only interesting part of the series so far has been Missy and The Promised Land plot line, and we get so little of that in between the grumpy kermuffin Doctor and romantically torn Clara, it is taking all my strength to watch and write each week WITHOUT complaining.

I’m complaining now.

Spoiler-y rant ahead, sweetie!

I have been unimpressed by, not necessarily Peter Capaldi in the role of the Doctor, but by his lack of character arc and meaningful interactions with others outside of Clara. The Moffat-y mystery–Missy and her origins–has only been touched on sporadically throughout the series, weakening my interest and resolve to actually find out who/what this person is to the Doctor. Her appearances remind me of how we were introduced to Madame Kovarian in series 6, which was great THE FIRST TIME but come on, Moff. I’ve been on your side the entire time and here you are, letting me down with the refurbished, recycled plot developments that I have seen before. Is this something that will be dragged across a finale and series 9? Chuck help us.

While I do appreciate the character growth of Clara in series 8 so far, I don’t get the hype. Yes, she is turning into a darker version of herself, but do we really think she has the capability of going against the Doctor at any point? Him going against her, I can see but, if Missy “chose” Clara to be placed with the Doctor, does that negate all the companion did with the former regeneration? She went into his timeline and saved him at so many different points in history and, if Missy is somehow in “control” of Clara, it seems strange to have a sinister entity only utilizing the companion now.

“Flatline” gives audiences a chance to see Clara in action as she takes on the role of the Doctor, and she is right; she plays a very “good” Doctor. She is a master liar, manipulator and knows how to run away from a fight when necessary. The thing is, with Clara, there has been so much juping around, so much missing time, I feel almost uninvested in what happens to her, anyway. I enjoy seeing her at the school and with Danny and even hypothesizing around her future, but I don’t really care what goes on with her and the Doctor. The chemistry isn’t there, the emotions just aren’t there. This episode didn’t even have that good “MotW” feel to it, as “Orient” did, last week. I was just plain bored. Besides the tiny TARDIS and a brief glimpse of Missy at the end, I was so bored out of my mind, I spent most of the episode waiting for Danny to catch on to Clara’s lies and hoping to see him get a bit more on-screen time with Clara and the Doctor, if only to bring some much needed tension to a BORING story.

There’s my rant. I am waiting on baited breath to see if the last 3 episodes actually keep me interested. Sorry for the grump-fest. Here! Have a Doctor Who Crack!Vid as compensation for getting to the end of this post.

xoxo Your Friendly Neighborhood Wholigan

The Collectiva Diva


  1. Bec Graham

    I actually wholeheartedly agree with you. I was talking about this the other day with a fellow Whovian. Whatever happened to those tiny little tidbits that tied each season together? Bad Wolf, Torchwood, The DoctorDonna, Saxon, who is River Song?, Why Amy?, The Silence, the question. What happened to those? They were my favourite parts! And were even better on the rematch.
    BUT the show’s been going downhill since “Let’s Kill Hitler”.

    No, don’t get me wrong, I LOVED the first half of season 7. But why? Because it was like a series of fun adventures after the huge problems the Ponds faced in the previous seasons. But there was no story that tied those few episodes together. And then Clara showed up and there was a half-assed attempt at a “who is Clara?” storyline that didn’t hold anyone’s interest.

    God, I hated Clara when she turned up as a companion. I loved her as the nanny and as Oswin, but afterwards? Could she have been anymore boring? And then Twelve shows up and she gets totally ripped apart by Vastra for being so shallow with regards to the Doctor’s new appearance. So Clara grows a backbone. Finally. But…why? The Doctor’s relationship with her, while heartwarming and frustrating at times, is very closed off. He doesn’t interact with anyone else. We could have had a whole Ten-Mickey-Rose situation a few times, only with a grumpy “grandpa” Doctor, but no.

    And don’t even get me started on the Danny-Clara thing. I don’t buy it. Like really, she loves him? Moffatt is going to have to try a little harder to make me buy that after the epic love story that was The Ponds. And she said “I love you” to Danny so quickly! They never see each other, on screen, and then all of a sudden they love each other? I did not get that.

    Missy is the only interesting thing and, you’re right, they’ve totally mishandled it. I was so intrigued ta the beginning and now it’s the only thing keeping me watching.

    (Though, I have to admit, I loved the mini TARDIS in “Flatlineeven if I never really understood why it was necessary to the plot.)

    Rant Over.

  2. slivarth

    Missy @ Mme Kovarian – exact same vibes here! Might be another Moffat’s ‘rinse and repeat’ method or… a red herring. Time will tell.

    My emotional response to the three main protagonists (for the lack of a better word) of the series is rather diverse – this very Doctor is zigzagging constantly on my reaction diagram, Clara goes steadily up, but I have some criticism of her actions, here and there, and Danny went full-Felix-Baumgartner-downhill during the “Caretaker” episode. Strangely, Rose-Mickey-10th trio has never done that.

    “Flatline” reminded me of “Love & Monsters” due to its apparent lack of Doctor being ‘present’ in the plot. Of course the reason might have been my recent rewatching of the whole Tennant era.

    Something is rotten in the state of Who, because, right now, instead of waiting impatiently for the next ‘dose’, I’m pining for a spin-off that would show the adventures of a rogue pair of characters from “Time Heist”: namely Psi and Saibra. If they were accompanied by Captain Jack Harkness himself, I’d be more than happy. You know, Sci-Fi, “Firefly”-style, outlaws in space show.

    Sorry for spilling my rant here, in the comments, but you matched my mood completely.

    1. The Collective Blog

      I’m glad I’m not the only one pining for a DW spin off with those two! Seems like the pervasive attitude regarding DW series 8 is “who the hell cares?” at this point, i just need something to make me love the doctor again…

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