Six Smart Women Discussing Doctor Who

VerityEpisode57Welcome to a squeeful episode of Verity! We loved this episode, and we’re not afraid to show it! Join Deb, Erika, Liz, and Tansy as we pick this one apart–in a(n almost entirely) good way! Liz manages to come up with some complaints, but they’re almost all laughably minor. Mostly we spend time talking about Clara and the Doctor. And what could be better, really?

What did you think of “Flatline”? Let us know in the comments!


Also covered:

Bonus links:
Splendid Chaps (podcast)
The Pumpkin Spice Phenomenon (John Oliver)
Situation Vacant (Big Finish)
Verity! on Pinterest

Download or listen now (runtime 1:28:36) 

Comments on: "Verity! Episode 57 – Flatline of Credit" (36)

  1. JaimeD said:

    Sigh…I really hate to be the first response and have it be negative, but here we go. I love the podcast and I honestly agree with much of what I hear from you lovely ladies. But can we just get off of the Clara bandwagon already? She’s a terrible person. All that I see from her is self-importance, self-absorption, and just a general sense of her really just being a horrible person. I don’t like the fact that she is supposed to represent us in the companion spot since she can’t seem to be honest with anyone, much less the two men in her life that she considers to be the most important. I am sooooo ready to see her go away and not come back.

    PS—I am totally on team Pumpkin Agenda. 🙂

    • Deborah Stanish said:

      Thanks for the comment (and being on Team pumpkin! *high five*)

      As for Clara, she may be (acting) terrible, but she’s fascinating which is why we can’t stop talking about her! There is a constant hue and cry for “strong female characters” in film and this is exactly what we’re getting. Strong doesn’t always mean Ninja moves and 2.3 second take downs, it’ means a character who has agency, has a story, a point of view all her own. She doesn’t need to be likable but she has to be three dimensional. (And not a lamp. See also:

      Scarlett O’Hara was, without a doubt, a strong female character. And a terrible person. While Clara may not, ultimately, be someone I like, I’m really enjoying having this dimension in the show.

      Fellow Verities?

      • JaimeDt said:

        I wouldn’t say that my comment was a reflection of gender bias (despite the androgeny of my name I can assure you I Am a woman 🙂 ). And I believe that a character can be interesting and 3 dimensional, not a sexy lamp, and still have some integrity. It just doesn’t make sense that they have basically completely changed her personality this series.

      • Deborah Stanish said:

        I didn’t think it was a case of gender bias, sorry if that’s how it came across. I just think that sometimes that male characters can be “complicated” or “morally dubious” and still be appreciated while female characters have to be “nice”. I do agree that her personality has changed and the how and why of that is why we keep coming back to her in our conversation. We’re just as confused as you are! I’m looking forward to the resolution of Clara’s story where *fingers crossed* we’ll get some sort of resolution to her really complex arc.

      • laurissy said:

        I’ve got to agree with Jamie dt, I don’t like Clara but I do find her interesting. I don’t think she’ll ever be my favourite companion but the question I think of when I think of Clara is not what’s going to happen to her next but how is her story going to end and that’s not the mindset I want to have when talking about the companion.

  2. […] Verity! Episode 57 – Flatline of Credit WHOOGLE shared this story from Welcome to a squeeful episode of Verity! We loved this episode, and we’re not afraid to show it! Join Deb, Erika, Liz, and Tansy as we pick this one apart–in a(n almost entirely) good way! Liz manages to come up with some complaints,… […]

  3. Great discussion again! You seem to be jumping to higher levels of greatness along with the episodes. 🙂

    I assumed Clara answered the phone because of the guilt she felt after all her lying and the pressure she was under plus the life threatening situation she was in made it impossible for her to ignore him.
    She goes right back to ignoring him later when she is talking to the Doctor and feeling elated having been such a good ‘Doctor.’

  4. BeckyB said:

    Thanks for the laugh Verities. You had me really going at the end. You guys are my favorite podcast because you are talking about the things that I’m interested in. I’m not sure if it’s because of my gender or age, or both, but I seem to be watching Doctor Who with the same glasses as you ladies do. I loved the Clara talk, about her journey this season; it’s a whole subtext that other podcasts (cough *male*) seem to not notice, ignore, or are confused by.

    On the music front this week, interesting to note that Clara’s theme was not played at all in this episode, however, they did play Twelve’s theme several times when Clara was doing doctor-y things.

  5. sostorm said:

    Great episode, both for Doctor Who and for the podcast. Always so enjoyable to hear you ladies talk about these things.

    I absolutely adored this episode. I really like Clara’s arch and how she’s changing into something she thinks she needs to be as she takes after the Doctor, and how reluctant he is about this as this shows him what she thinks of him (lying, sacrificing people etc). Those are two very complex character developments resonating with each other and enhancing each other, very well played. I just hope it doesn’t end in a catastrophe. Her realising that she needs to quit completely would be one of the not-so-horrible ways to resolve this.

    I can totally see why she lies after she’s painted herself into that corner of ‘I’m totally going to quit’. She doesn’t strike me as someone who’s good at admitting failure.

    I also really liked the parallel between the fact that not all monsters have a nice side to them, just as not all the ones you save are good.

    So many funny things as well. I adored the whole ‘Doctor of lies’ exchange. Both Capaldi and Coleman was outstanding in this one.

  6. Once again, thanks for a lovely podcast!

    I LOVED Flatline. One of the best episodes this year, and that is saying something. 🙂

    And please, never apologise for saying nice things about Doctor Who! This may come as a shock, but not all of your listeners want to hear you ripping the programme a new one. I lived through the dark years when everyone seemed to hate the show, so the last thing I want to hear is FANS hating the show. There are many areas of “fandom” where I can hear relentless negativity about Who, and that’s why I avoid them! Part of the reason I like your podcast is because you actually seem to LIKE the thing you talk about every week. By all means, criticise and dissect when there’s a dodgy episode, but when it’s as good as this one, I am happy to hear you bask in the joy. 🙂

  7. Richard S. said:

    I have a pumpkin, a Moulinex blender and a jar of chipotle paste. It’s a recipe for success just waiting to happen. Literally nothing can go wrong with this scenario.

    Might have lost internet connection when I posted a lengthy comment a while ago, grrr, stupid mobile wifi, so I’ll be relatively brief with this one:

    I guessed that the aliens this week would be 2 dimensional, a side effect of having been spoilered twice in succession by the Google Results Page. One spoiler about the cast of this season (which has yet to be borne out, might just be the web jumping to conclusions) and an earlier non-DW spoiler involving the classic novel Flatland about life in a 2D world.

    I dumped those two spoilers in a mental drawer marked Avoid Google, then the darn thing popped open when I saw graffiti coming to life on the trailer for this week’s ep.

    So, I thought the ep was bound to be predictable, but instead it was one great huge rollercoaster of squeee and eeek and woohoo! Conclusive proof that Jamie Mathieson is the type of author who can write his way out of plot dilemmas using stuff he’s already created within the rules of a fictional scenario, rather than Random Dalek Central Control Board at far corner of gloomy prison cell, for hypothetical example.

    The name Boneless did seem very nondescript, although DW Extra revealed Jamie had thought as far ahead as concept art for all his story-pitches to Moffat. They could’ve been called the Brainless, which might have insulted certain sections of the web, but there you go.

    My one big picky-pick for this ep was the explanation of how Clara could lift the TARDIS. It’s been carted around enough by horse & cart in previous eps incl Deep Breath, for the writers not to really need a handwave for it. The interior is in another dimension, and maybe the Doctor should’ve said mass not weight.

    When the TARDIS couldn’t detect the 2D lifeforms… I’d have thought it could have, as it’s supposed to be an interdimensional craft, and current real-life M-theory suggests the cosmos has 11 dimensions, but I guess the Time Lords just needed Time and that mysterious Relative Dimension in Space for their science to work.

    Rigsy was an excellent character, superbly acted, and much praise to casting dept for all the young actors this year, notwithstanding the acid test in next week’s ep. I wonder if an extra female character in the work crew might have unbalanced the role of Clara as the one caring (read: Female Archetype) person in Rigsy’s life.

    Brilliant dialogue. I’m pretty much giving up on all new telefantasy that doesn’t reach the standard of DW scripts.

    Love that the show can remain globally popular whilst setting stories in perhaps lesser-known or less-frequently-referenced cities of the UK. Interesting that this week’s Extra showed Moffat using the word “Addiction” in relation to Clara’s arc.

    And, yes, Mr DW Extra Narrator, I promise I won’t let the Boneless put me off Works of Art, if you promise never again to show clips of the Scribble of Embarrassing Death. Or scary gorillas. I swear mine was the exact same gorilla in the same kids’ nature book that Toby Whithouse used in The God Complex. No more scary gorillas, please!

  8. Singlestick said:

    I am really enjoying this season of Doctor Who and enjoying your podcast and the depth and liveliness of the discussion. Previously, your discussions made me aware of how much Moffat and his team are playing with the idea of addiction. But it also seems pretty clear is that even though there is not a lot of obvious flirtation, Moffat and company are depicting the Doctor and Clara as a couple having an affair.

    You saw parts of this in the soap opera-ish Caretaker, where Clara talks about not being able to do this anymore, followed by the 30s elegance and sophisticated romance of The Mummy on the Orient Express, where both the Doctor and Clara speak of a last hurrah, but then can’t sleep and knock on each other’s sleeping car door (not to mention that shot of Clara in her pyjamas restlessly tossing on her bed) and ending with the little bit of Clara in this episode talking about keeping spare clothes and a toothbrush in the Tardis, and that ridiculous little bit of Danny asking what those strange background noises were.

    I have no idea how all this is going to turn out, but it is clear that Moffat is having some fun with the fans, even as he has so much fun in this almost cartoony but exciting episode. It was not only fun, but it made perfect sense in the context of the story to see Clara be the Doctor and get pulled more deeply into being in the Tardis and part of the Doctor’s adventures. I also see Moffat winking to fans and saying, “yep, a woman Doctor is perfectly reasonable. This is how you could do it” while respecting the larger story.

    I can even see Moffat winking at the fans and saying “You want monsters who are just unreasonable monsters? Here you go.” But he is also intent on doing things his way, and so we have that coda that now suggests that there has always been a connection between Missy and Clara. Because Moffat loves his arc of many connections. Who knows where all this will lead, and what might be revealed about Clara.

    Lastly, can I just say that I expected Peter Capaldi to be great as the Doctor, but it is also exciting to see Clara interacting with him so well. I can’t believe we have just a few episodes to go. And just a few more episode review podcasts.

  9. I so loved this episode! So many funny moments! I have been trying to write my own blog post about it, but there were so many perfect parts, I am overwhelmed. I LOVE that you all couldn’t stop talking about the funny moments at the end of the cast. I wanted to post a comment as soon as I was done watching it-all the best parts of Doctor Who were there: wittiness, physical humor, cheesiness, pathos, mystery, a companion that kicks ass, and a true Time Lord moment. Yea!

    I am wondering if perhaps there is something more to Clara. Has all her exposure to timey-wimeyness changed her?

    Also, I got the moment at have been waiting for all season-the “I am the doctor and this world (plane) is protected” moment. I get chills every time the Doctor does it. He went there reluctantly this time round, though.

    I really look forward to hearing from you all each week-definitely successful at creating that “fan-girling with your friends” vibe.

    BTW- I’m on both the Flatliners and Pumpkin Spice teams.

  10. ‘The Boneless’ made a little more sense as a name for Jamie Mathieson’s original idea for the creatures, as seen on his blog, but I agree that it doesn’t really work here…

  11. Oh, and I agreed with Tansy’s daughter – I assumed from his dialogue in Kill the Moon that the Doctor had gone off to do research but didn’t want to tell Clara, Courtney and Lundvik that because (as we learn in the next story) sometimes there are only bad choices and this might have been the case there.

  12. Team pumpkin…unite! I was planning on carving mu pumpkins into polyhedra like these
    But after hearing Deb, I sooooo want a Dalek pumpkin! Maybe we’ll procure a few extra this year.

    You guys make me laugh so much! I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this episode. Keep up the great work!

  13. Bill Woodrow said:

    For all those who want one there is a four port USB hub mini TARDIS. I also have the mini TARDIS from the 30ieth Anniversary Corgi collection although it didn’t get that small in Flatline and the larger size one from the ABC shop.

    I’m amazed you didn’t mention Logopolis the other shrunken TARDIS episode. Almost every episode this season has had a hark-back to classic Who which is pretty cool.

    Tansy I am in Canberra and I feel we would be left behind as well if Australia where ever to be a Beast Below style spaceship and for those that want to get up at the crack of dawn the ABC are also simulcasting the episodes normally at around 6.30am.

    Great ep team and Flatline wasn’t bad either 🙂

    On a final point – so is Clara going to end up being new Whos’ Turlough?


    • If it makes you feel any better, Bill, I think I can confidently suggest that Clara will never end up as a tiresome, ginger, alien-in-hiding school-boy who fails when coerced into becoming an assassin.

      Funny, but I don’t see Clara as a bad person (maybe Bill isn’t suggesting that, but in response to others higher up on the thread). I see Clara as a real person who is going through a time of personal crisis. Even the best of us can make unfortunate choices when the pressure is on. I’ve told lies to friends and family when under pressure. We are usually judged most by how we deal with the aftermath of those sorts of experiences. What I mean is, don’t judge Clara because she lies to Danny or the Doctor. We can’t truly judge Clara until we see how she handles it when one of them figures out he has been lied to.

      • Bill Woodrow said:

        I was hinting that maybe Clara would possibly end up going bad, through manipulation? Maybe an opposite to Turloughs’ arc then.

        Missy could be the new Black Guardian?? Danny Pink the White, I guess Danny White would have been misconstrued as racist or just too obvious I suppose.

        After the Adric years I found Turlough quite refreshing.

      • Personally, I think that line from Missy is a deliberate red herring. I don’t remember the precise wording, but something like “I chose well” could very well mean that Missy had chosen one of the Doctor’s companions to observe, and learns that the choice appears at that point to be serving her goals. That’s how I took it, after a few moments thought, anyway. Time will tell, but Moffat seems to love putting that sort of thing into the stories.

        For myself, I’ve never been fond of Vislor Turlough. I grant he is used well as a character in a few stories, including Mawdryn Undead, but in many others, not so much. I find him to be a little too narrowly drawn, by the writers as well as the actor.

        As to Adric, despite the predominant fan reaction, I’ve always sort of liked him—I think in part because Matt Waterhouse and I are close to the same age. My most dedicated viewing of Doctor Who as a youth was during Tom with Sarah Jane, Leela, and then Mary Tamm. A year or two later, I was watching the Doctor choose a companion rather like me (at the time I was dark, smart, moody, and awkward, though I’m not from a parallel universe, and my star was for art and not for maths).

    • Aha! Another Canberran! Seeing as I also lived in Tasmania a for a long time, yup, both would be left behind I suspect.

  14. AntonB said:

    Regarding the Boneless as a name. The Doctor was performing a magical banishing. Remember the waving of the sonic like a wand? Giving the ‘monsters’ a pathetic name would reduce their power. So from a magical perspective the banishing was correct. They were lucky he didn’t name them the 2dis.

    Also ‘no-bones’ was a common term in medieval Britain to describe changelings – faerie children swapped at birth for kidnapped human babies. Travelling players would perform contortionist tricks at fairs claiming to be ‘no-bones’. So the Doctor’s naming has further magical resonance and situates the Boneless as being from the land of faerie.

    As to Clara’s lying. She’s been playing a duplicitous double role since her double introduction in Asylum of the Daleks and The Snowmen. I mentioned lying as the theme of last week’s episode and that Clara is not only lying to Danny and the Doctor but to herself. It’s clearly part of the series arc. I really can’t see any other continuing theme except the robots and soldiers thing which is an obvious Moffat bluff. Missy’s teaser line at the end of Flatline “Clara, my Clara, I did choose well” seems to confirm a connection between Clara’s behaviour and whatever the finale’s mcguffin will be.

    “Why don’t you call me Clara?”

    “I prefer Miss(y)”

  15. James C said:

    Another great discussion. As you were all struggling to remember the title of the next episode, I give you ‘The Tyger’ by William Blake…

    Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
    In the forests of the night;
    What immortal hand or eye,
    Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

    In what distant deeps or skies.
    Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
    On what wings dare he aspire?
    What the hand, dare seize the fire?

    And what shoulder, & what art,
    Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
    And when thy heart began to beat,
    What dread hand? & what dread feet?

    What the hammer? what the chain,
    In what furnace was thy brain?
    What the anvil? what dread grasp,
    Dare its deadly terrors clasp!

    When the stars threw down their spears
    And water’d heaven with their tears:
    Did he smile his work to see?
    Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

    Tyger Tyger burning bright,
    In the forests of the night:
    What immortal hand or eye,
    Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

  16. Of course, the damsel-in-distress-on-train-tracks reference! If one can see it, it is there.

  17. I really am struggling to get an emotional connection to the show in the second half. Intellectually, I agree with a lot of what everyone said on the podcast and I’m fascinated by the development of Clara, yet I’m also still quite uncomfortable with it. It’s a really bizarre feeling for someone who nearly almost always responds on an emotional level to media. I’m still looking forward to the show every week, but it’s a new way of experiencing it.

    Maybe I need to stop watching it as soon as I wake up on Sunday mornings, because I laughed like hell listening to the podcast at the end but didn’t actually laugh when things were on screen.

    I’m wondering if I will feel different once the DVD box set comes out and I can watch the season as a whole.

    I am loving the secondary characters this year. It’s something I’ve always felt that Moffat has done well for the most part, be it introducing us to Captain Jack, Sally Sparrow, our favourite blue head or Vastra, Strax and Jenny. Even in episodes that he didn’t write in his ‘era’, somehow the secondary characters still manage to be great for the most part. I don’t know if they just have a really great casting director or what. In this episode Rigsy was great and I even loved the poor Constable.

    I was a Night Terrace backer too, Tansy, though I haven’t managed to listen to it yet (assignments, ugh!). I’m looking forward to it thought. Perhaps this weekend.

  18. Loved the show, loved the podcast. Enjoyed the imagery of the Doctor handing Clara his phallus — I mean, sonic screwdriver — and then her tossing it back. And the Addams Family hand – yesss! Absolutely fascinated by the line that “Goodness had nothing to do with it” and wrote a blog post with some of the possible meanings of that phrase. ( Lately, Doctor Who has been exploring good and evil like nobody’s business, and I like it.

    • James said:

      Was the Doctor reciprocating Clara’s Adams Family reference with a Mae West quote?

      Hat Check Girl: “Goodness, what beautiful diamonds!”

      Mae West: “‘Goodness had nothing to do with it.”

      • A Mae West quote — oh, that is lovely. Self-posessed, unapologetic woman who was also a champion of transgender rights. Appropriate for an episode in which Clara becomes a man.

  19. lbphilly said:

    Verities, you’ve done it again, with another insightful episode filled with depth, texture, insights, squee, and a side order of pumpkin. (Put me squarely on Team Pumpkin Baked Goods, and possibly other foods where pumpkin is a primary ingredient. But keep it out of my coffee, please….)

    I’ll buy Clara being addicted in the sense of becoming an adrenaline junkie. I don’t think she and the Doctor are drifting toward itemhood — co-dependency, maybe. I also think she’s getting a better sense of what this darker doctor is doing and why, which makes her a more rounded character, if one that is significantly more morally ambiguous. I’m okay with that. I’m also okay with her concealing the whole truth from both Danny and the Doctor until she sorts out what she wants. She needs to become a little less chirpy and arch when she’s lying, though — it’s a dead giveaway.

    I haven’t warmed much to Danny, either, and am deeply suspicious of his pure-souled, high minded concern for her safety, which looks remarkably like plain old jealousy in a fancy wrapper. But I imagine we’ll see him show his true colors (whatever they may be) in the Forest of the Night.

    The commentary about Missy is fascinating. I have no strong feelings about her identity — she can be old foe or new nemesis or some baddy’s minion — but I have a sinking feeling that Clara may very well sacrifice herself for the Doctor in the two-parter, ending up in Missy’s precious little tearoom while the Doctor is left devastated and wracked with guilt. Might his grief and guilt drive him to the Dark Side? (Was I perhaps better off never having watched The Trial of a Time Lord?)

  20. I’m with Erika on the tiny TARDIS – I have a TARDIS ice-bucket that is just the right size, and now I need a friend to cosplay Clara for me and carry it around in a bag.

  21. Along the lines of Clara and Amy becoming the Doctor – it’s not a Moffat thing, as whoever mentioned The Sarah Jane Adventures realizes. All of the modern companions have had their turn: Rose in ‘Turn Left,’ among others; Martha in ‘Last of the Time Lords/Sound of Drums,’ and everything she did afterward; Donna most literally in ‘Journey’s End.’ Mickey and Pete in ‘Age of Steel’ go on to save the world in a van, and Jack leaves the Doctor to run Torchwood. Many people who meet the Doctor become some version of him, or at least a braver version of themselves.

  22. Neil Ottenstein said:

    The Big Finish FB page ( is following Tansy’s lead and just promoted Night Terrace.

  23. […] Episode 57 – Flatline of Credit […]

  24. I have been filling in the gaps in your past episodes for the past few years. I tend to listen to the new ones that come out and then zip back and forth with the old ones. When I got to your discussion on Capaldi’s first series I thought I would actually re watch them all on BBC iplayer. So glad I did as I think I only watched them all the once on original airing and I am loving the re-watch! It makes it better to enjoy them and then see what you all thought about it! I had forgotten how good it was. Even the episodes I thought were supposed duds, I really enjoyed!

    Who-zah for Who!! Both old and new!


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