Doctor Who – Flatline

doctorwhoflatlineSeries Eight, Episode Nine


The Doctor and Clara see that the door inside the TARDIS has shrunk, looking rather like a small door in Alice In Wonderland.

They can still just about fit through the door, and when they get outside they see that the TARDIS’ exterior is smaller than normal . The shrinking has been caused by something draining energy from the TARDIS, but the Doctor doesn’t know what it is. He goes back in while Clara explores the area, which is a council estate.

She comes and finds the TARDIS has shrunk even further, and is now tiny. The Doctor is trapped inside. Clara has to pick up the TARDIS and carry it with her, and the Doctor hands her the sonic screwdriver, the psychic paper and an earpiece so he can talk to her. She is in a way taking on the Doctor’s role, and introduces herself as “the Doctor”. When asked what she is a doctor of, she makes a funny quip about the Doctor; “I’m usually very vague about that, I think I picked the title because it makes me sound important”.

Clara even gets a companion of her own, Rigsy, a graffiti artist who is having to do community service to clean off his graffiti from walls. He tells Clara that there have been a lot of disappearances on the estate lately, and even stranger paintings of the missing people have been appearing on a mural painted in a tunnel. They go to the house of the latest missing person, and the only unusual thing is a mural on the wall. A policewoman helps Clara and Rigsy investigate another flat, but she ends up getting sucked into the floor, and a strange painting then appears on the wall. The Doctor states that what is responsible for all this, the TARDIS being drained of energy, the missing people, the murals, are unknown creatures which exist in only two dimensions, and they are trying to get into our three dimensional universe. The murals on the walls of both flats are what is left of the victims, the first one being the skin of the first victim and the second one the police woman’s nervous system. The creatures are killing and dissecting the people they are taking.

These creatures are later named as “The Boneless” by the Doctor. I’m not sure that’s a particularly good name, but they are one of the best new monsters in the show for a while. They take several forms, sometimes looking like a mass of translucent snakes, and later wear their dead victims like camouflage. In this form they move a bit like zombies, but they look a bit like jumbled up digital video images or TV static. From what they hear of them, their voices are a robotic squawk. It also seems like they are only interested in invading and conquering.

Clara and Rigsy and the other community service workers try to run away, with two of the workers getting killed by the Boneless.  They end up in a train yard, and the miniaturised TARDIS ends up lost on the tracks of an oncoming train. The TARDIS has by this point had too much energy drained and so can’t teleport out of the way. The Doctor thinks all is lost, but Clara suggests that as the Doctor can still fit his hand through the doors, he could use his hand to pull the TARDIS out of the way of the train, like Thing from The Addams Family, which he does.

The train is empty, and the tunnel is blocked by the Boneless, so it is decided that they should ram the train into the tunnel. Rigsy is going to sacrifice himself to do it, but Clara stops him, telling him it would be pointless for him to die just for that, when she can use one of her headbands to hold the lever in place to keep the train moving, saying “Every time I look at [the headband] I’ll remember the hero who died to save it”.  So obviously they use the headband, though Clara shrugs that it’s kind of a shame to lose it because she liked it.

It seems like they can’t defeat the Boneless for a while, but they do by using their own tricks against them. The Boneless can turn 3D objects into 2D ones, and they can also turn the flattened 2D objects back into 3D ones, so Clara gets Rigsy to paint a realistic picture of a door on a poster. This fools the Boneless into thinking it’s a flattened door, but it was always just a drawing, never a 3 dimensional object, so them trying to restore it doesn’t work because it never existed in 3 dimensions in the first place. Instead all their energy goes behind the poster, which they have placed the TARDIS. The TARDIS then is restored to it’s former size, and the Doctor comes out, sending the Boneless back to their own dimension.

This was an excellent episode in many ways. They had a lot of fun with the TARDIS shrinking, and the Boneless are a great new monster. It was a brilliant episode for Clara, with her taking on the Doctor’s role. Rigsy made a very good companion too. I expected to see Missy to appear at the end of this episode, simply because she hasn’t appeared for a couple of episodes, but what we find out here is that it isn’t just the Doctor she has plans for, but Clara too, with Missy saying of her “I have chosen well”. I am interested to see where this is all leading up to.

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