In this week’s episode of [Doctor Who](series:200668) we get to see more of Clara on her own better known as Doctor Lite. But it was quite more than that. We just came off an episode that explained that the Doctor and Clara have an addiction problem; that traveling through time and space is something that neither of them can give up. We also saw Clara lie to Danny and, then, to the Doctor. But, the Doctor knew. He was listening in and he proved that he didn’t care. I wondered why that was. Was it merely because he would put with anything to keep her traveling with him? Or was it something more?
The challenge in the episode called 'Flatline' was a unique one that the Doctor, at the end of the episode, tagged 'the Boneless'. There was a disturbance in the dimensional realm as our 3D world was being invaded by 2 dimensional beings. Their intent seemed possibly benign at first. A lot of the Doctor's encounters tend to be misunderstandings and the monsters are sometimes revealed to not be monsters after all. But in the case of the 'Boneless' this is not the case. Their invasion was nothing but a malevolent overthrow that would destroy anything in its path. The Doctor soon found himself trapped in a shrunken T.A.R.D.I.S. With no other recourse but to send Clara to investigate. This lead to a few startling revelations.
First of all, Clara made a damned good Doctor. I mean, she should. She's been interconnected with more Doctors than any companion ever. She's inter-meshed with his time stream and is still his 'impossible girl' although Moffat seems to want to sweep that all under the table and make like she's just a normal girl. She has been a good study of who the Doctor is, what he does and why and how he does it. She's almost the Doctors apprentice. I'm sure here waving the sonic screwdriver around and flashing the psychic id and calling herself the Doctor angered many a hardcore fan and, especially, those who seem to hate Clara.
But it's more than her learning to be a good 'Doctor'. This whole season has been about introspection for the Doctor. From the very beginning, the Capaldi Doctor has been uncomfortable in his own skin, but it's not because Capaldi doesn't know what he's doing. Oh, far from it! His uneasiness is a side effect of the awkward regeneration given to him by the Time Lords at the end of Smith's tenure. It seems to have kicked him off his own pedestal. Although it's done nothing to curb his arrogance at all. He's been looking in the mirror from the very beginning and he doesn't like what he sees.
From Deep Breath, he's had a hate affair with mirrors. Starting with that verbal rampage he went through in the bedroom where he warned the others to not “ look in that mirror, it’s absolutely furious.” So, why is he so 'furious' at himself? What about him makes the Doctor self loathe so much? This episode (Flatline) gives us a bit more insight. And, of course, it involves Clara.
Clara, as stated before, is forced to venture out in her own, sonic screwdriver in hand, and investigate an invasion. Once again, she is thrust into harms way thanks to traveling with the Doctor. Of course, we Whovians know what most of his companions do not: Rule #2-nothing is ever simple when being in the vicinity of the Doctor. But, also, as stated before, Clara should know this seeing as she has interacted with every Doctor both past (and assumed) future. But Moffat is writing this season like that never happened. He doesn't allude to it or mention it. Almost like he wants a clean slate. And I don't blame him. That's a lot of baggage.
But we learn something new about the Doctor every episode. And that's strange seeing as he's been around for over 50 years (on television that is). He has been in constant upheaval from the very beginning and I believe it has to do with this new forced reboot of regenerations. But more about that later today. The fact is that he has been struggling with exactly who he is. For a decade, he's come across as the new age Jesus. He's always there to save the day. He's always right (for the most part) and he's always good. But, now, he's not sure. He's uncomfortable with the face in the mirror. Where has he seen it before? Why that face? Why is it so old? Why are his eyebrows so angry? All questions the Doctor had in the first episode.
Then he asked Clara if he was a 'good man'. What he found out was that he was a 'good Dalek' and Clara gave him kudos for trying. With Robin Hood, he found his legend a bit tarnished but necessary, His main struggle there was the legend as Clara saw it; how all those who came into contact with him saw it. It is ultimately about how WE see him. Listen taught us that the Doctor had fears just like us (which I'm not sure were not totally unfounded) and that those fears formed who he was. In Time Heist, he exclaims that he 'hates the Architect' which is immediately revealed to be the Doctor himself. He gleefully adds some unflattering things about himself; some shocking self revelations.
In The Caretaker, we saw the Doctor reflected through the eyes of Danny Pink. Suddenly, he's aristocracy. He's an officer. He's the one that gives the orders and those around him are the ones who truly risk their lives for his insane pursuits. The damning thing about that is that he was right as we saw in the following episodes. Kill The Moon made the point clear: Traveling with the Doctor is a danger. He will always land in the wrong place at the wrong time and save the day at risk of life and limb. That is who he is. And, almost always, he will ask his companions to risk everything. This pushed Clara to the quitting point only to bounce back on Mummy on the Orient Express. There we learned that the Doctor may be a clinical, unemotional lot, but he gets the job done and doesn't mind putting himself in danger to meet an end. Then, Flatline, he looks in the mirror again and, as is the norm this season, he doesn't like what he sees.
For, in Flatline, the Doctor sees himself in the mirror of Clara herself. She becomes him. She jokes about it, at first, but, as the episode moves on, it becomes reality. He gets to see himself through her. The lying. The putting others in danger. It is seen as all a part of the job. And Clara does it well.
That's the other problem. He sees Clara not only immulate him, but she becomes something new. Clara evolves. His effect on her is seen in her willingness to deceive those around her and lose that normal, human reaction to things like death. She becomes a clinical beast and (here's the clincher) she's enjoying it. The Doctor not only sees himself in her and hates it, but he watches her gleeful become something different, something darker.
All of this is punctuated by the declaration of Missy (so glad to see her back again) of 'MY CLARA'. That phrase more than any other will go to explain the gist of this season. How is Clara 'hers'? So many mysteries and they're about to be revealed. Not the least of them is how exactly Missy 'chose' Clara and what she has chosen her for. My theory is that it has to do with what Clara is doing to the Doctor. She's fueling his addiction and she's becoming him. He sees in her all of the things he both loves and hates about himself. It seems to be destroying him and I think that's something that Missy is all for. Whoever Missy is, she's been done wrong by the Doctor and she wants him to pay. Can't wait to see the payoff!
Clara: Just say it! Why can't you just say it.
Why can't you just say I did good?
The Doctor: Talk to soldier boy.
Clara: Not him. C'mon. Why can't you just say it?
I was The Doctor and I was quite good.
The Doctor: You were an exceptional Doctor, Clara.
Clara: Thank you.
The Doctor: Goodness had nothing to do with it.
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