“Flatlined” in Fear by “Listen”

November 1st, 2014
Warning! This article and its comments may contain spoilers...

So far this series, I must say I have been rather impressed and surprised at the much darker and down-right nasty at times portrayal of the 12th Doctor, as played by the brilliant Peter Capaldi. While I must admit I have been less than thrilled with the seemingly growing importance of Clara Oswald (played by the lovely Jenna Coleman) and her mounting influence on almost all aspects of the Doctor’s many lives, I have thoroughly enjoyed viewing the Doctor as an angry, disgruntled, and highly disapproving older gentleman. If not for Capaldi’s amazing performance each week, I dare say I might not be tuning in for each new episode. I have been quite open about my displeasure toward the show’s writers’ decision to feature focus Clara nearly every episode. I simply feel that a show named Doctor Who should be focusing more on just that: The Doctor and who he is and who he has now become. But I transgress.

For me, the scariest episodes thus far in series 8 have been “Listen” and the more recent “Flatline.” I found the mystery behind whether or not there was a real monster under the blanket on the bed of young Rupert (Danny) to continue to cause me chills and to wonder if we shall see a return to that in the future. The ongoing nightmare of young and old alike of something or someone hiding under our beds or being with us when we think we are alone, inevitably feeling the hairs on the backs of our necks raise as we sense another presence among us, is absolutely terrifying in a frighteningly amazing way (in my humble opinion). I was watching the television screen through my hands with barely opened fingers, breath held, as the Doctor, Clara, and young Danny stood facing the window in Danny’s bedroom as some creature or being or maybe just some fellow child under a blanket slowly approached from the bed, getting ever so closer to the three. I could feel the hairs on my arms and neck begin to prickle and stand protruding from my skin. Deliciously frightening!! And again I felt myself pulled to the edge of my couch as the Doctor, being the ever so stubborn Time Lord that he always is and has been, decides he must see, he must know what is out there in the distant future, against the protests of Clara and Orson Pink (a distant relative of Danny’s from the future). Overall, I felt that “Listen” was a delightfully scary adventure with a rather hum-drum ending featuring, once again, the great Clara Oswald (I say this with the slightest sprinkle of sarcasm).

Moving on to the more recent episode “Flatline”, I found the Boneless, 2D creatures to be absolutely magnificently terrifying. I thoroughly enjoyed the special effects involved with this episode in creating these two-dimensional creatures. In this adventure, the TARDIS suddenly experiences a severe loss of energy, resulting in a shrinking of the TARDIS (literally Clara holds it with the Doctor still inside in the palm of her hand!). With the Doctor trapped inside of the miniature TARDIS, Clara must play Doctor for the day in order to investigate this mysterious sweetie, we shrank the TARDIS vibe. Clara soon befriends a talented graffiti artist by the name of Rigsy, and the two set off to investigate a string of mysterious disappearances around Bristol. The ever so creepy “Boneless” as the Doctor refers to them, are two-dimensional beings that are snatching people up in an effort to understand and comprehend three-dimensionality. In one scene, the Doctor, looking out through the TARDIS stowed away in Clara’s bag pointed out a mural of a human’s nervous system on the wall of a victim’s home. Remarkable and eerie!! I found the Boneless to be inventive and enticing; I always love an introduction to a seemingly new “monster” or “villain” in DoctorWho.

One scene of “Flatline” in particular that caused me quite a fright was when the female police officer accompanied Clara and Rigsy to the home of the latest victim of mysterious disappearance. Unfortunately, this officer quickly became a victim herself screaming all the way to her demise; I was mortified! As Clara and Rigsy jumped into the circular clear hanging chair, grasping at each other for dear life as we saw the boneless creatures weaving and waving throughout the carpet and walls I admittedly turned to my fiancé exclaiming my fears of ever finding myself in a similar situation (both doubtful and unfortunate). The most terrifying scene of “Flatline” for me, making the episode one of the two most scary thus far in series 8, was when Clara, Rigsy, and the other community service workers were running from the hideous beings in the train tunnel. As the big, ginormous gross hand reached up from behind and under snatching away one of the workers, I screamed in pure terror. How exhilarating!

As series 8 approaches its final episodes, I truly believe that Whovians can expect even more terrifying and exhilarating moments, especially with the near reveal (finally!) of mystical Missy’s “true” (almost nothing in Doctor Who is ever true; identities, concepts, ideas are always changing and hidden—part of why I adore this show!!) identity. I am glowing in anticipation of what is still yet to come in these final few episodes. Doctor Who is a rarity in that its episodes can evoke emotions and feelings from one end of the continuum to the other, all experienced within an hour! One can nearly consistently expect surprise, confusion, adventure, and sometimes even pure terror from this gem forever in pop culture history. I look forward to those moments of terror, fright, and horror, especially this time of the year! And so my fellow Whovians, I hope you all had a safe and SCARY Halloween (if you chose to celebrate this holiday), and if you need to feel afraid re-watch “Listen” and “Flatline” for a few good frights!

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