Sunday, April 21, 2013

My Review of Doctor Who's 7x10: "Hide"

Written by Neil Cross
Directed by Jamie Payne

Clara: “So I am a ghost. To you, I’m a ghost. We’re all ghosts to you. We must be nothing.”
The Doctor: “No, no, you’re not that.”
Clara: “Then what are we? What can we possibly be?”
The Doctor: “You are the only mystery worth solving.”

I love a good old ghost story and I love one that managed to turn things on it’s head and be a tiny bit unexpected as well too, which is where this episode managed to succeed in spades. Caliburn House might be a haunted property but not quite in the way that our TARDIS and ghost busting duos were expecting though.

In terms of guest players, this episode had something of a small cast compared to last week’s more claustrophobic themed adventure but it made the whole thing delightfully more intimate and character driven and while a favoured trope of this show’s run got used yet again, it still managed to work reasonably good within the narrative itself.

I liked the combination of empathic psychic Emma Grayling, played by Call The Midwife’s Jessica Raine, although she’s soon to be Verity Lambert in An Adventure In Space And Time and former military man (amongst his other credits), Alec Palmer, also nicely played by Dougray Scott and their various interactions with the Doctor and Clara throughout this episode also worked a treat.

Now let’s talk about those interactions, shall we? I liked that we saw the Doctor coaxing Alec into opening up about his past without judging him and I also enjoyed their pointed discussions on the women in their lives as they both tried to figure out Emma and Clara without making it too obvious.

Then there was Emma and Clara themselves. Clara sussed out pretty quickly that Emma and Alec had a thing for each other and encouraged the former to go after the latter romantically while Emma warned Clara not to trust the Doctor. While I don’t entirely blame Emma for doing that, perhaps she could’ve said more to Clara about why the woman twice dead shouldn’t trust her new friend other than the cryptic “sliver of ice” bit.

More to the point though, I think this episode really should’ve had the Doctor and Clara confront each other as well on those little elephants in the room regarding their friendship. The Doctor is still wary of who Clara really is and seemed unsatisfied when Emma assured him that she was just human and Clara herself still hasn’t cottoned onto the fact that he has an ulterior motive for travelling with her.

Of course the best dynamic in this episode was the one between Clara and the TARDIS herself. If I were the TARDIS, I don’t think I’d be too thrilled with someone calling me a grumpy cow but at the same time, it did seem to be going out of it’s way to annoy Clara before eventually letting her in as part of saving the day.

But it does beg the question though – if Clara really is just an ordinary girl like Emma told the Doctor, then why doesn’t the TARDIS seem to like her? While I do believe Clara is actually human, not evil or related to any past characters or willing working for any past or current enemies of the Doctor, we’re still not really sure of what’s really going on with her. Judging however by the trailer of next week, perhaps some much needed answers on Clara’s mystery will come in our direction.

As for the ghost/Witch Of The Well aspect of the story, which I really like – there wasn’t one. Instead we got a future relative of Emma and Alec (did you not expect them to get together?) called Hila trapped in a pocket universe before being rescued by the Doctor and the monster of the week itself was not only a strange looking mash up of Lazarus, a Silent and a tree but also was in love with his playmate currently trapped at Caliburn House.

My only real complaint about this episode was that the ending where the Doctor reunited the loved up monsters felt a little too rushed and it’s one of a few episodes this series (the other ones being Amy and Rory’s last two episodes) that would’ve benefitted from being about five minutes longer or ten at a push.

Also in “Hide”

This is the first one word title we’ve since “Midnight” in Series 4. Have I mentioned that I love one word titles?

The Doctor: “Boo. Hello, I’m looking for a ghost.”
Alec: “And you are?”
Clara: “Ghostbusters.”

Alec mentioned that he was a member of the Baker Street Irregulars in this and that Caliburn House was over 500 years and that he owned it.

Emma (re Witch Of The Well): “She knows I’m here. I can feel her calling out to me.”
Clara: “What’s she saying?”
Emma: “Help me.”

Alec (to Emma, re the Doctor): “He’s a liar but you know that’s often the way that it is. When someone's seen a thing or two. Experience makes liars of us all. We lie about who we are and what we've done.”

Clara ranked whiskey the 11th most disgusting thing in the universe, the TARDIS used her image to communicate with her and her upcoming action figure is based on her look from this episode. She also made a chin reference too.

Clara: “There’s no need to actually hold my hand.”
The Doctor: “Clara?”
Clara: “Yeah?”
The Doctor: “I’m not holding your hand.”

Emma (to Clara, re the Doctor): “Don’t trust him. There’s a sliver of ice in his heart.”

Clara freaked out when the Doctor was showing her the specific spots of Caliburn House throughout history and his words didn’t seem to reassure her in the same way they’ve done with other companions.

Emma: “What did you see?”
Clara: “That everything ends.”
Emma: “No, not everything, not love, not always.”

Emma: “Tell me what I’m thinking.”
Alec: “I can’t. I don’t have your gift.”
Emma: “You don’t need it. Just look at me and tell me.”

Getting into the pocket universe, the Doctor relied on a blue crystal from Metebelis 3 (have fun pronouncing it), a subset of the Eye Of Harmony and a lot of wires and we got the Cloister bell as well.

The Doctor (to the Crooked Man): “I am the Doctor and I am afraid.”

The Doctor (to Clara): “This isn’t a ghost story, it’s a love story.”

Chronology: November 25th, 1974, 11.04pm. Quite specific this was on the exact time, eh?

Aside from the abrupt ending, it’s nice to see that “Hide” has managed to redeem Neil Cross with certain viewers (though the reaction to his previous episode was ridiculously OTT) as it’s a deservedly a nice and spooky enough story with some solid character beats and great twists.

Rating: 9 out of 10

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