Doctor Who, series 7.10: “Hide” by Neil Cross

dw-hide-posterHide” seemed as though it would be a call-back to “The Unquiet Dead” from the Eccleston/Davies era, and it certainly has some of those elements, but overall we have a nice ghost story that isn’t a ghost story with a little more development for Clara.

Clara and the Doctor arrive at Caliburn House, a haunted mansion sat alone on a desolate moor. Within its walls, a ghost-hunting professor and a gifted psychic are searching for the Witch of the Well. Her apparition appears throughout the history of the building, but is she really a ghost? And what is chasing her? [Via TARDIS Wiki]

Smith and Coleman are absolutely delightful to watch together. There, I’ve said it. Ding dong the Pond is gone–though I wasn’t an Amy hater, like others I know, but seriously, Clara is a breath of fresh air to this season. She’s got a wondrous sense of adventure and a mischievous glint in her eye when she’s about to do something spectacular, like fly the TARDIS through the Time Vortex, into a pocket universe, multiple times. I’m pretty sure that no other companion, save River Song (who isn’t really a companion), has done that.

DW Hide DuoThe Doctor and Clara completely outshone the two supporting characters, who were merely backdrops (despite some great acting on the part of Jessica Raine). The entire adventure was a red herring for the Doctor’s further pursuit of the truth about Clara, but it also showcased the way that Clara has now truly integrated herself into the Doctor, his TARDIS, and our hearts. She’s even making sure that the TARDIS is on her side–which is especially important since we know that the TARDIS is truly the Doctor’s long-term companion and she can be rather jealous at times.

My only criticism is that, once again in this half of the series–with the exception of last week’s “Cold War“–we have an episode that is light on plot but heavy on character development. Don’t get me wrong: we should never sacrifice character development. It’s what I look for most in a show, film, or novel. However, I need something a bit stronger in terms of the plot so that it doesn’t seem unbalanced. The creepy factor was high in this episode, which I really enjoyed, and I just would have liked more substance to the overall story.

A few things: I’m crazy excited for the next episode “Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS,” as well as the finale, “The Name of the Doctor.” Also, we have more references to the classic series–they’re happening in ascending order of the Doctors: in “The Rings of Akhetan” the Doctor referenced his granddaughter (1st Doctor), and in “Cold War” we have the Ice Warrior return (2nd Doctor), and now the Doctor refers to Metebelis III (3rd Doctor). The next episode will hopefully incorporate a whole slew of references as they explore the TARDIS’ interior. Seriously cool.


2 thoughts on “Doctor Who, series 7.10: “Hide” by Neil Cross

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed this episode! Far better than “Cold War.” Turning the typical ghost story on its head was a brilliant piece of writing, and made me enjoy the episode more than if it had been the standard variety. I need to go back and watch it a second time (and perhaps a third), but the subtext between Clara and the Doctor, and all their multi-layered dialogue (without hitting you over the head), was one of the strengths of the episode. I’m definitely happier with Matt Smith’s performance these days.

    Loved Clara’s “fight” with the TARDIS. Can’t wait to find out what this all means. Still loving her character, not to mention the million and one questions she brings up. Her thorough humanity helps remind us that he’s alien. Was there a Rose reference this episode? I didn’t spot it on first go.

    I liked Alec and Emma in general and that they weren’t idiots being saved by the Doctor. They needed him, but they weren’t nothing without him. I also liked that Emma seems to see through the Doctor. She reminds me of Madame de Pompadour in that a non-companion character sees him more clearly than the companion, and makes revealing statements that alter our perspective on him. I can’t decide if that cold sliver she sees inside him is supposed to suggest what is alien about him, or if it’s formed from his many losses, or something else. What do you think?

    I’m going to disagree and say that Scott’s performance as Alec was every bit as good as Raine’s. (Full confession: I’m a Dougray Scott fan in general.) We get a backstory for Alec that nicely echoes the Doctor’s own struggles with being a survivor and having lost loved ones, yet stands on its own due to the strength of Scott’s performance – it didn’t feel like a convenient construct to get to a point. Raine was brilliant in portraying the pain that comes with her gift without overselling it.

    What did you think about the graphics of the wormhole into the pocket universe? I need to go back and look, but weren’t they the same as the new credits? If so, is that supposed to tell us something?

    Can’t wait to see what kind of nod we’ll get to the fourth doctor! A scarf, perhaps?

  2. These episodes are leaving me completely and totally satisfied. I thought this was a perfect balance of plot and character, in fact, I would say that Series 7 Part 2 has shown a marked improvement in the writing department:-)

    In general, I feel like Jenna Louise Coleman is a much stronger actress than Amy Pond and as such, is elevating everyone’s game including Matt Smith!

    There were no direct Rose references although Clara did drive the Tardis by herself which certainly reminded me of Rose. We also had Clara with a bright red umbrella and red purse playing into the “Little Red Riding Hood/Big BAD WOLF” theory going around the interwebs.

    I thought the writing was masterful in that we got two sets of characters (Dougray and Raine, The Crooked Man and The Crooked Woman?) that subtlety commented on the Doctor without being bloody obvious about it. BTW, I too am a Dougray Scott fan and spotted him immediately in the preview for this episode last week.

    Finally, I’m getting into some Doctor Who episodes I can re-watch!!!!

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