Clara gets to play Doctor this week and we get a lot of fun visual gags and effects. Everyone’s a winner! Except poor number 22.
When the TARDIS suffers an unscheduled – and unprecedented – change in its external dimensions, it starts to shrink on the outside. The Doctor is trapped inside, while Clara is stuck on the outside.
People are disappearing in the area of Bristol where the TARDIS has landed. Further investigations reveal that they’re being killed and researched-on by beings from a two-dimensional universe. They attempt to communicate with the alien creatures but fail.
Clara and the humans with her end up in underground train tunnels being chased by the 2D beings who are rapidly developing the skills to become 3D. They drain the energy from the TARDIS, so Clara must come up with a way to power it up and free the Doctor so he can vanquish the 2D creatures.
She tricks the aliens into using their own energy on a section of wall containing the tiny TARDIS, giving the Doctor the energy he needs to make the TARDIS full-size again and get out. He sends the 2D aliens back to where they came from.
We get our first glimpse of Missy again in several weeks, where she makes it clear that she’s ‘chosen’ Clara for something. Something sinister, I’m sure!
What Was Fully 3D
Clara serving the function of the Doctor in the story was a fun story convention. The aliens were a unique idea, but it probably would have been a lot less interesting tale if not for this aspect. Clara was an exceptional Doctor, with her talents including: (a) snide comments, (b) taking charge, (c) not keeping everyone alive, and (d) improvising a brilliant solution.
The effects were generally good and a lot of fun. The slithering, melting 2D effects were particularly well-done, as were the 3D alien people lumbering along in digital static. And I laughed out loud at the Doctor’s giant hand crawling the TARDIS away from the train.
What Was Flat 2D
I find it hard to believe that Danny isn’t smart enough to pick up on what’s going on, especially after Clara’s bizarre phone call shenanigans. I actually do like Danny, so I don’t like that he looks a bit easily-fooled in this episode.
It’s hugely unclear exactly how the Doctor finally vanquished the aliens. And although that’s not exactly uncommon with Doctor Who, it needed to be explained a little better given that Clara had the sonic screwdriver all along. What was it that the Doctor did that she couldn’t have done? Was it tied to the TARDIS’ energy somehow? Presumably, it was, but it was left too unclear not to be seen as a plot hole.
The Final Tally
The 2D aliens were a nice new Doctor Who monster, mostly due to great use of effects on a TV budget. Once again, Jenna Coleman does a good job bringing Clara to life and proving to be such a good Companion that she might be able out-Doctor the Doctor. The guest characters provided a nice backdrop and there was real tension in their flight from the creatures. This week provides a unique take on that age-old Doctor Who cliche of separating the Companion from the Doctor – and it works really well.
And of course, the Quote of the Week:
“These readings are very … ishy.”