Doctor Who was good tonight. No, scratch that. It was brilliant.
Flatline writer Jamie Mathieson took many essential ingredients for a great Doctor Who story, spiced them up and cooked up a near perfect episode Mathieson gives every day and familiar graffiti a sinister Doctor Who twist.
The world comes under threat from two dimensional creatures from another plane manifesting as graffiti. The world never looking at wall squiggles in the same way again.
The script cleverly strands the Doctor (Peter Capaldi) inside a shrunken TARDIS, requiring Clara (Jenna Coleman) to become his eyes and ears in the story. After the ructions between the two in the last couple of stories this is a clever plot device to get them understanding each other’s point of view better.
Capaldi’s Doctor is far less abrasive in this story, too, since he really needs Clara to help him. He can do it. It makes me wonder whether the Doctor is playing up his rough edges in an attempt to put Clara off him and wean her off their adventures so that she can leave the TARDIS and settle down with Danny Pink. After all the Doctor showed immense compassion to the dinosaur in the first episode of the series, Deep Breath.
The 12th Doctor impresses with a stonking monologue, perhaps the best since Matt Smith bowled us over with Neil Cross’s speech in Series 7’s sublime Rings of Akhaten.
“I tried to talk. I want you to remember that. I tried to reach out, I tried to understand you but I think that you understand us perfectly. And I think you just don’t care. And I don’t know whether you are here to invade, infiltrate or just replace us. I don’t suppose it really matters now. You are monsters. That is the role you seem determined to play. So it seems I must play mine. The man that stops the monsters. I’m sending you back to your own dimension. Who knows? Some of you may even survive the trip. And if you do, remember this – you are not welcome here. This plane is protected. I am the Doctor. And I name you The Boneless.”
It’s more matter of fact than Cross’s elegantly crafted prose, but Capaldi delivers it with a frightening conviction and it had me hollering and cheering from my sofa.
I was dreading this episode a little, since I was so underwhelmed with last week’s offering from Mathieson, but now I want to shake his hand.
It’s hard to believe Capaldi’s first series is almost over, and I am more convinced that it will be Coleman’s last.