“It’s ghost time.”
This week Whovians found the Doctor in 1974, solving the mystery of a house haunted by the supernatural. We met a ghost hunting professor, saw the development of Clara’s relationship with the TARDIS (is this a thing now?), and were even brought back to an earlier time with strategically placed references. “Hide” is truly chilling, satisfyingly complex considering its time constraints, and is everything fans have come to expect from Doctor Who.
The Doctor and Clara go on a ghostbusting mission as they meet up with ex-war hero Professor Alec Palmer and his psychic assistant Emma Grayling in Caliburn House, an old mansion haunted by what they assume is the Witch of the Well. The relationship of the professor and his assistant provides a nice side story, which eludes to the romantic themes later in the episode (am I sensing a pattern, here?). It turns out that the spirit haunting the house is actually a time traveller trapped in another dimension, being chased by a rather terrifying creature.
With the assistance of Emma, the Doctor makes out to save the time traveller via wormhole, and finds himself in an eerie alternate universe, a deserted forest on the verge of collapse. Unfortunately, things end up going wrong, and Clara is determined to save the day–if she can get the TARDIS to cooperate. At this point we see a rather touching moment as the two put aside their differences to save the Time Lord they mutually care for. They are, of course, successful, and it turns out that the creature in the deserted forest is in fact not evil at all, but only separated from the one he loves. Aww.
The atmosphere of this episode was both captivating and petrifying, and while it was the best we have seen in a while, it was not without its flaws. The story of the time traveller I felt could have been fleshed out a bit more. I mean, we really have no idea who this chick is. There seems to be a pattern in recent episodes of introducing characters without providing much context or backstory (anyone remember this?). It makes me wonder if there is some underlying connection between all of them, perhaps something to do with Clara, but this doesn’t seem likely the way the series is going.
The recurring theme of love and sacrifice (mother/daughter, grandfather/granddaughter, father/daughter, professor/assistant) seems to be hinting at something between the Doctor and Clara that remains unbeknownst to our time-traveling pair. We discover that the Doctor’s true motive for visiting Caliburn House was to get information from Emma about Clara, but alas, there seems to be nothing out of the ordinary or special about the “impossible girl,” and the mystery of Clara endures. Overall, “Hide” is one of the better episodes we’ve seen this year, and one can only hope that this trend will continue.
It looks like we’re in for a fast-paced episode next week as we see more of the TARDIS than ever before in “Journey to the Centre of the Tardis,” set to air next Saturday, April 27.