THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS, INCLUDING A FULL PLOT SUMMARY OF THE EPISODE. IF YOU HAVE NOT YET SEEN THE EPISODE AND DO NOT WISH TO HAVE IT SPOILED FOR YOU, DO NOT READ THIS REVIEW UNTIL YOU HAVE SEEN THE EPISODE. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
A NOTE ABOUT REVIEWS: Each review will be broken into 3 parts. Part 1 is the Plot. This will contain a full plot summary of the episode. Part 2 is My Take, where I will give my personal thoughts and observations on the episode. Finally, Part 3 will be the Score, where I will rate the episode on a scale of 1 to 5.
Figures and More Television Episode Review
Show: Doctor Who
Series: 7, Part 2
Episode #: 9
Credits: The Doctor Matt Smith
- Clara Jenna-Louise Coleman
- Alec Palmer Dougray Scott
- Emma Grayling Jessica Raine
- Hila Kemi-Bo Jacobs
- The Crooked Man Aidan Cook
- Director Jamie Payne
- Producer Marcus Wilson
- Writer Neil Cross
In 1974, Professor Alec Palmer and his assistant Emma Grayling collect photographic evidence of a ghost, known as the Witch of the Well, in the Caliburn mansion; Alec uses Emma’s strong psychic powers to create an emotional connection that appears to summon the ghost. They are surprised by the arrival of the Doctor and Clara, claiming to be from military intelligence. The Doctor shows interest in the investigation after Clara points out that the ghost appears in the same position within each photograph. As they investigate, Clara finds that Emma has feelings for Alec and attempts to assure her that they are reciprocated; at the same time, Emma warns Clara about sensing “a sliver of ice” within the Doctor’s heart.
The Doctor and Clara find a location in the mansion which is noticeably colder than the rest of the house, and the group feels as if they are being watched. Suddenly, the house grows cold, and Clara feels something holding her hand; the two race back to where Alec and Emma are waiting to see Alec’s equipment activating on its own accord. A thin black disc materializes in front of them, and Emma senses something crying “help me” through her psychic abilities before the disc vanishes and the house returns to normal.
The Doctor takes Clara in the TARDIS to examine the specific spot at several points during the Earth’s history. Clara is somewhat dismayed by the Doctor’s lack of compassion at witnessing the whole of humanity’s history during these trips. From his studies, the Doctor comes to the conclusion that there is a gateway to a pocket dimension there that is collapsing rapidly, and that someone—the person behind the ghost—is trapped within it. The Doctor asserts he cannot use the TARDIS as its energy would be drained as soon as it materialised, and instead helps to prepare a device to stimulate Emma’s psychic abilities to open the gateway. He further constructs a tethered vest and means to pull him back across once he crosses over.
When the Doctor crosses over, he finds himself in a forested area, a small bit of land floating in a void. He meets Hila Tukurian, a time traveler and the woman stuck in the pocket dimension, who warns him that something else is there, following them. They race to the gateway, seeing a physical manifestation of the Caliburn house appear in the pocket dimension, an echo from the psychic link, and try to barricade themselves within it from the creature to give them time to return. The Doctor insists Hila go first, and though she is successfully saved, the gateway closes due to Emma’s exhaustion; the house manifestation suddenly disappears, leaving the Doctor trapped in the forest with the agile creature.
Drawn by the sound of the TARDIS’ cloister bell, Clara races to the TARDIS, finding it locked. She pleads with the device via its holographic “voice interface”—which has taken Clara’s form—to let them save the Doctor, and the TARDIS lets her in. The TARDIS briefly appears in the pocket universe, flying close to the ground to allow the Doctor to jump and hang onto it before the creature can grab him. The Doctor and the TARDIS safely reappear in the normal world.
As the Doctor and Clara prepare to leave, the Doctor tells Emma the real reason he stopped at this point was to ask Emma if she could sense anything unusual about Clara, but Emma reveals that there is nothing strange, but does reveal that Clara is, “more scared than she lets on”. The Doctor offers Hila a lift to any other place in history, but as he discusses the matter with her he reveals that she is the future descendant of Emma and Alec, and this blood connection helped them open the gateway to rescue her. Contemplating the bonds that love can create, the Doctor then realises that there is another entity within the Caliburn house, and rationalises the reason the other creature wanted to follow him back. He implores Emma’s help one last time to rescue the creature from the pocket dimension and reunite it with its mate.
This was a proper ghost story. It was one of the most thrilling, and scary episodes yet. I loved the fact that you couldn’t clearly see the monster until the very end. I also love the twist at the end, with the Doctor discovering the true motives of the monster. The locations for this episode were very spooky, and had a great atmosphere. The house was plenty unsettling and the forest was downright creepy. I also love this week’s 50th Anniversary nod, with the blue crystal from Metebelis III. (For those who don’t know, that blue crystal was stolen from the spiders of Metebelis III by the Third Doctor. He gave it to his assistant, Jo Grant, when she left. Later on, however, the spiders found a way to return, and the Doctor had to ask Jo to return the crystal. The Doctor took the crystal back to Metebelis III, and, in the process of stopping the plans of the Great One, he absorbs a fatal dose of radiation. He returns to Earth and regenerates into the Fourth Doctor after a touching final word with Sarah Jane. – Ed.) This was a great nod to the Classic Series. Jessica Raine and Dougray Scott give great guest star performances as Emma Grayling and Alec Palmer. The empathic psychic and the Professor who’s hiding his feelings for her. They are ghost hunters and they are set up with a rather large tech rig for the 1970’s. Again, this episode, the music shines. Murray Gold has written an incredibly atmospheric score for this episode, which swells and falls at just the right moments. Matt and Jenna deliver strong performances again this time, with the interplay between them becoming a bit more natural. The Doctor is still looking for answers concerning Clara, but he just can’t resist getting caught in the ghost hunt. I love the scenes of he and Clara walking around with candelabras. I’m also pleased to see them continuing the thread of the relationship between Clara and the TARDIS. And, it was nice to see the Doctor rescued by Clara. It’s also interesting to see Clara angry with the Doctor for his cavalier attitude regarding the passage of time. I also love the reply that the Doctor gives Clara when she asks what she is: “The only mystery worth solving.” I also love the resolution of the “ghost.” I thought it was a brilliant bit of unconventional and unexpected writing. And, ONLY Doctor Who could change a ghost story into a love story. I also love how the script was scary, but also had some great light moments, the “toggle switch” scene, and the daring Clara to go find the ghost with him: “no takesy backsies.” Also, the scene in the TARDIS where Clara is looking for an umbrella stand. Also, “Ignorance is carlisle” is one of my favorite lines from the show ever. There is NO justice in the world if that doesn’t end up on a t-shirt. In the end, the Doctor doesn’t get any answers about Clara, but it wouldn’t be much fun if he did. No, Moffat intends to string us on a little longer. Neil Cross has done a terrific job writing this episode, this is proper, spooky Doctor Who at it’s very best.
Hide is a perfect example of what happens when a “new to Who” writer sets out to impress and hits it out of the park. Neil Cross has proved himself very adept at tapping into everything that makes Doctor Who great. His script has the prefect mix of humor and wit to balance the scary moments. This is one of the most well-rounded episodes I have ever seen. Welcome to the fold Mr. Cross. We expect great things of you in the future. This is the best episode of Series 7, part 2 so far. A 5 out of 5.
JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE TARDIS! Need I say more? Here’s the “Next Time” Trailer.