NEW DR WHO REVIEW : “Flatline” – S8 – E9/13 – (Spoilers!)

Who did a ‘Banksy’ (graffiti artist) – style Earth invasion tale. Set in Banksy’s spiritual home; Bristol, this week. With a role-reversal for Clara and the Doctor.

The central premise, of an alien lifeform killing people in the “Fourth dimension”; was cleverly conceived. Especially with the Banksy style murals of the dead people, ending up in the walls. However, the rest of the story failed to fly and this was due in part to the role-reversal between Clara and the Doctor.

They have done this before, to great affect with Donna in Turn Left. However, in Clara’s case, the character has become so horribly contrived and complicated. Leaving one minute, staying the next. The one-off Danny Plank thing is fast becoming annoying and there is little chemistry evident with Capaldi.

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"Hey! These murals aren't half good. Just like the real thing!"

…and a whole episode set around Clara, is problematic for me – as I am sick to the back teeth of her character!!

True to form, I was bored after about 10 minutes of “Doctor Clara”. This episode reminded me of Matt Smith’s Night Terrors – all opening grand promise with a hint of originality but the buildup was slow and the ultimate pay-off – weak.

When the ‘invasion’ got going, they were just another zombie army lurching down a train tunnel. Even quality character actor Christopher Fairbank; (Moxey from Auf Pet) wasn’t given enough good material to make his participation worthwhile.

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Seriously Who - come on! Stop with these ridiculous moments.....!

We nearly had another “Flea Destroys The Moon” credibility moment, when the Doctor walked the mini-Tardis on his hand away from an oncoming train. Why they keep including these moments, confuses me greatly.

The shrinking Tardis, seemed to homage the cliffhanger from Tom Baker’s Logopolis but unlike Logopolis. Tom Baker didn’t feel the need to walk the Tardis on his hand like Flatline.

Kudos for the fourth dimension thing and Doctor/Companion role reversal thing; but unfortunately it didn’t work. Clara has become something of a smug and unlikable foil in her ‘anchoring the role’ turn in season 8.

It would work with a more straight-forward and likable companion, such as Rose but not whiney Clara. Please hope this is her last season – let’s get a boy/man in the Tardis next, for a different dynamic. (Ooh err!)

Nu Who needs to look at it’s well-written American cousins, (such as Walking Dead) which show that if the characters are strong (and interesting) enough – some weeks they can carry an episode without major action needing to going down. Nu Who needs to try this, as the Earth being invaded every week – has got rather boring.

“Flatline” was an apt title, as this was on the operating table before it even got out of the blocks. I suppose we are now in the usual Who filler hell – following mid-season, before the remaining story act gets going. However, they really need to think outside of the blue box on this. As poor fillers have always been Nu Who’s problem.

2/5

BBC1 – 8:35pm- Saturdays

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