Well Neil Cross. That was absolutely mental. I mean stark raving bonkers INSANE and I LOVED every second. Hide had me from the start with its great haunted house promo poster. I am partial to a bit of a housebound thriller/Hammer Horror approach. This episode did not disappoint. There were flaming candles, ethereal voices, a woman in white, banging doors and windows and of course, pouring rain and atmospheric thunder and lightning. What’s not to love? Chuck in Clara and The Doctor bantering in a style that reminded me of Ace/Seven (I think it may have been Clara’s red umbrella), some insightful character moments and Clara flying the TARDIS; not to mention two love stories, a wormhole, a rescue attempt and a psychic and this episode truly did have the kitchen sink thrown at it. An yet somehow in spite of this, or indeed because of it, this episode has been my favorite of the Clara/Doctor dynamic duo.
So what’s the main story? The Doctor and Clara turn up at Caliburn Mansion 1974 for some fun. Instead they find The Ghost in the Well. But is she a ghost and why has she haunted the mansion for so long? This time The Doctor and Clara are joined by Jessica Raine (Call The Midwives) and Dougray Scott to help solve the mystery. Professor Alec Palmer and Emma Grayling make a nice counterpoint to The Doctor and Clara- their blossoming romance a nice story that also helps The Doctor to solve the final mystery of the pocket universe at the episode’s end (a plot twist that I could perhaps have done without. It was a step too far for this viewer but still, I appreciated the sentiment.)
I felt like this episode really checked a lot of boxes for me- there was humour (Ghostbusters!), mystery (the mystery of the woman lost in time and out of place mirrored the mystery of Clara and the mystery of The Doctor), pathos (Clara in the TARDIS asking The Doctor if he was OK with time passing in a blink, if he was OK with seeing humans as nothing, The Doctor claiming that every monster needs a companion), plots thickening (Clara able to fly the TARDIS, Clara speaking with a TARDIS interface of herself, The Doctor coming to Caliburn to ask Emma about Clara and getting the reply of “She’s a girl. A perfectly ordinary girl,” and some wonderful action (The Doctor diving into the wormhole, running from an unseen monster, stuck in a parallel Mansion).
I really liked Matt in this episode. Yet again I was struck by how well he plays at being an old man in a young body. I never got the same impression from Chris or David. This was also the first episode where I really bought modern Clara and The Doctor as companions. Something about their performances in Cold War was just a bit off. This week was perfect. I loved the similar manic reactions, the banter, and the acknowledgement of individual fears. I wish Who could be like this every week. If Cross keeps writing guest episodes like Hide he has my permission to become new head writer.
Hide: 9/10 inky stars
Next week: Downside. Steve Thompson. Upside. JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE TARDIS. YES PLEASE.
Maureen is addicted to all things speculative fiction, including Doctor Who. She guest blogs for MrsTribble but you can find her at her speculative fiction blog InkAshlings or on Twitter. She also reviews sci fi and fantasy books on Goodreads if you like that kind of thing.