I doubt I’m the only one welcoming Jamie Mathieson back to the DW writer’s room this series. His episodes last year stood head and shoulders above everybody else’s and he’s showing no signs of slacking here either. Thankfully The Girl Who Died is a lot better than last week’s trailer would have had you believe and has the Doctor at his best (i.e. doing something clever and making everything alright – or, if you’re a Cabin Pressure fan, finding his inner Douglas Richardson*).
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[Spoilers all the way down this week]
Now that was more like it… Flatline was proper scary Doctor Who, the kind of Who that gives its youngest viewers nightmares and leaves older viewers thrilled and delighted.
You could say the basic premise is that two-dimensional creatures are wreaking havoc on Earth by experimenting with the three dimensions they are now encountering. But, you could equally say that the basic premise of Flatline was to make Clara walk in the Doctor’s shoes for an episode…
Either way, Jamie Mathieson has done an excellent job (even better than last week’s Mummy on the Orient Express). As have the lighting crews, SFX and CGI teams, and director – Flatline looks amazing, in particular the creepy scenes in the houses and the subway murals coming to life.
I’ll be honest with you, my heart sank at the sight of Clara stepping out of the Tardis. I was hoping the Doctor was doing what some people do when relationships break up, and had found a new companion who just really looked like his ex-companion – but no, like a wet weekend, there was Ms Oswald. Still, at least she spent a large part of the episode locked in a remote carriage, for which some of us will be thanking writer Jamie Mathieson wholeheartedly.
He’s done a great job on the rest of the story too, with the added plus that the Doctor isn’t being given Eleven’s dialogue here (though I adored the clever use of “Are you my mummy?” – who’d have thought you could get two separate jokes out of one originally chilling line?).
The episode looks absolutely gorgeous too – the train and passengers are a feast for the eyes and the mummy is suitably grotesque.
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