Doctor Who Recap: Flatline

While I wasn’t able to recap last week’s episode of Doctor Who because I was at GeekGirlCon (but you can check out this recap on The Mary Sue), be sure to check out my recap of “Kill the Moon,” “The Caretaker,” and “Time Heist“. And if you aren’t caught up on Doctor Who, this is your official spoiler alert.


This week was the week of Clara Oswald! Ever since Clara was able to move past the “Impossible Girl” story line, evolving into an actual person rather than an anomaly on the Doctor’s timeline, I have become such a huge fan of her. This episode in particular has been one of my favorite Clara episodes.

This episode had the Doctor and Clara separated for most of the episode, the Doctor trapped inside the TARDIS, and Clara running the show from the outside. Clara has to figure out what is causing a string of disappearances in Bristol, and ultimately has to fight an inter-dimensional battle with a creature that can hide and attack from the floors and the walls.

Also, we finally got the context of those tiny TARDIS pictures released by the Daily Mail over the summer.


After months of speculation, we finally learn that the tiny TARDIS happens because the creature in this episode latches onto the TARDIS and scavanges bits of its technology, causing the TARDIS to be quite a bit bigger on the inside than we’re used to, ultimately shrinking it to a size where Clara is able to stow the TARDIS (with the Doctor trapped inside) in her purse.


While an earpiece let the Doctor communicate with Clara while the Doctor was trapped in the TARDIS, Clara was basically on her own to wield the sonic and try to keep those around her–and the world in general–safe.

doctor clara

I loved getting to watch Clara run the show. After several episodes of Twelve’s roughness, his lack of empathy, and his frequent rudeness, it was great to see Clara take up the role of “Doctor” to infuse some of that loveableness (is that even a word?) back into the role. Clara made tough calls, she wasn’t perfect as she was not always honest with the people in her care, but she was ultimately able to make the people around her feel safe. While Twelve can make you feel protected in a moment of crisis, Clara was able bring a bit of softness that we haven’t seen in the Doctor since the regeneration.

Ever since Clara blew up at the Doctor in “Kill the Moon“–regardless of what the Doctor says–I think he has been mulling over his actions and examining how he treats the humans in his care. So watching Clara act like the Doctor in his stead maybe showed him ways that he’s falling short.

exceptional doctor

Of course, maybe not. After all, the Doctor did say that Clara’s “goodness” had nothing to do with how good of a Doctor she was. So it stands to reason that he sees a reason and importance to having less “goodness” than Eleven.

But, honestly, the Doctor was really a supporting character this week. It was really all about Clara.

(C) BBC - Photographer: Adrian Rogers
(C) BBC – Photographer: Adrian Rogers

For the past several episodes Clara has been juggling her life with the Doctor, her life with Danny, and trying to work out how she felt about the Doctor’s questionable tactics on the moon. While her relationship with Danny and the Doctor was mentioned, the focus of the episode was Clara. In this episode, we got to see how Clara faced a crisis on her own (mostly on her own, anyway). My favorite moment of the episode was when Clara stopped asking “what would the Doctor do”, and starting asking how she felt it best to handle the situation. I’m really loving how this season is showing us Clara and the Doctor’s relationship evolve from Clara fully revolving around the Doctor–her very existence being only to save the Doctor–to Clara having a life outside of the TARDIS, and making choices without the Doctor beside her to call the shots.

Also, and I’m just gonna say this once, I think watching Clara wield the sonic showed us how a female Doctor could actually be pretty awesome, despite objections from naysayers.

Ultimately, Clara is getting a chance to blossom into an extremely interesting character. I love that they allow Clara to be feminine and show her emotions, as well as show her being fully capable to do what needs to be done in a crisis. So often in television and movies we see female characters portrayed as either feminine and emotional OR capable in a crisis. I love that Clara is a bit of both.

As a side note, I’m interested to see what will happen with Clara and Danny. Danny has made it very clear how important honesty is to him, and Clara has been lying straight to his face about her relationship with the Doctor. Danny’s presence is in the trailer for next week’s episode “In the Forest of the Night” has only made me more curious.

What did you think of the episode? Let me know in the comments, and check out the trailer for “Forest of the Night” below!

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