SPOILER ALERT: Don't read ahead if you haven't watched Doctor Who series 8, episode 9: Flatline
I'll admit my love of graffiti and digital art makes me pretty biased towards this week's episode 'Flatline.' But all that aside, the show has been on a definite upswing with each subsequent episode better than the last. Last week I praised 'Mummy On The Orient Express' for shifting the narrative focus away from Clara and back to the Doctor, however this week the narrative thrust Clara directly into the role of the Doctor and revealed a few things about the season 8 mystery I didn't see coming.
In 'Flatline' Doctor and Clara are separated, with the Time Lord trapped inside the exteriorly shrinking Tardis. Clara starts investigating the area discovering series of unexplained disappearances. In search for answers Clara befriends Rigsy, a local street artist who has all the makings of a great companion.
With The Doctor stuck in the Tardis, Clara quite literally has to assume his role to save the world from an evil non-dimensional alien invasion as The Doctor assists her through an ear piece. This role reversal reveals how attuned Clara is to a lot of Doctor's strategic behavior, which helps her manipulate and subsequently lead those around her away from danger.
On the surface Clara's heroics are fantastic, but a final exchange between her and the Doctor reveal a troubling direction their relationship is heading in.
That exact moment really outlines the character arc we've been unwittingly following this entire season. Traveling with The Doctor has been shaping Clara into a very different person from when we first met her. She has become an excellent liar, a master manipulator and for all intents and purposes a time travel junkie. She has stepped up to every challenge The Doctor has thrown her way and been a very good soldier... which brings to mind Danny Pink's concerns in 'The Caretaker.'
In 'The Caretaker' Danny finally meets The Doctor and calls him our for being a manipulative general. In the final moments of the 'Flatline' as Clara gloats about her making "a very good Doctor" completely ignoring the fact that a lot of people could not be saved on this adventure. The Doctor sees Clara loosing the sight of the consequences of her actions and choices. That is when he comments on "Goodness," an idea he has been struggling with himself since his latest regeneration.
For all the fan complaints over how much screen time Jenna Coleman has been getting, I think we're in for a really shocking resolution. The writers are clearly trying to create a complex emotional bond between the audience and the companion. We're being given a lot of insight into Clara's psyche, which is a huge change from last few seasons, where the companions did all sorts of outlandish things just cause they were so enamored with The Doctor.
At the end of this week's episode we see Missy creeping on Clara saying that she has "chosen well." If the theory suggesting that Missy is the woman who first connected Clara with The Doctor is correct, maybe it's safe to speculate that Clara is actually a weapon Missy intends on using against The Doctor. Someone is clearly invested in keeping the two close to each other. That would also explain why we're spending so much time on developing Clara's story line and character.
I found it interesting that we saw Clara's face on Missy's iPad from nearly the same angle that we saw The Doctor looking at Clara. This episode showed us that it's fairly easy to hack someone's cerebral cortex and get access to their vision. This is an outlandish theory, but what if our Doctor has been hacked?
"Doctor Who" airs on Saturdays at 9:00 pm EDT on BBC America .