(all spoilers! don’t read till you’ve seen the episode… or unless you don’t care if it’s spoiled for you. this is a love fest only — all complaints and bitching must come from a place of love / previous: “Cold War”)
(get my downloadable discussion guide to “Hide” for teachers, librarians, and everyone else who needs to keep kids amused, engaged, and educated at DoctorWhoTeachersGuides.co.uk)
There’s a ton of stuff here that kinda doesn’t make sense. Alec and Emma hadn’t previously noticed a monster in the house? The TARDIS can fly itself — twice! — into a dying pocket universe that will almost instantly kill it in order to rescue the Doctor? Isn’t Alec way too young to have done anything in “the war”? (Unless he lied about his age and had all those amazing escapades with sabotage and carrier pigeons when he was 15 in the final months of the war. Then he might just be able to be in his 40s in 1974 and be a highly decorated veteran of World War II. Or is this all happening in another pocket univere where time runs funny? Or a parallel universe where WWII didn’t end until 1967?)
But I kinda liked “Hide” anyway. It reminded me of the Gothic era of Tom Baker’s tenure as the Doctor, which might be the single most consistently fun stretch of the show ever. (Is that why it’s set on November 25, 1974? That’s just a month before the debut of Tom Baker’s first episode.) Certainly, it has atmosphere to spare:
And certainly it features one of my pet things: a scientific explanation for a seemingly paranormal phenomenon. (I remember Tom Baker’s Doctor saying at some point that “there is nothing inexplicable, only unexplained.” I always liked that.)
But the thing that struck me on my second viewing (and was not dismissed by my third) is the feeling that there are huge clues to the mystery of Clara here. No, not the mystery of why Clara would go with the Doctor to a haunted house if she didn’t want to hunt down the ghost. The whole twice-dead-girl thing. All that stuff about great-great-great-granddaughters and blood calling to blood… is Clara going to turn out to be a relative of the Doctor’s? Is that why he keeps running into various incarnations of her? Could she be a descendant of Susan, the Doctor’s granddaughter?
There are some problems with that. The Doctor did leave Susan on Earth… but in the 22nd century. So souffle Clara could be a descendant of Susan, but not governess Clara or this Clara. Unless Susan was able to time travel after she left the Doctor. Unless there is only one Clara and she’s somehow splintered through spacetime.
Is that why the Doctor is always so squicked out when he realizes that Clara is flirting with him, because he has some unconscious realization that they are related in ways that make that inappropriate? (Granted, I would be happy for any reason for the Doctor’s behavior in this regard to be anything other than Steven Moffat wants 12-year-old boys and no one else to identify with the Doctor.)
There was also the offhand reference the Doctor made to his granddaughter in “The Rings of Akhaten” — which appears to have a lot of fans who aren’t familiar with the old show wondering just who his granddaughter is. You know, softening them up for the revelation that the Doctor has — or at least had — family.
Yet there’s the matter of empathic Emma declaring that Clara is “a perfectly ordinary girl.” Unless Emma’s not telling the truth. (She either can’t tell that the Doctor is not a perfectly ordinary man, or she’s keeping that to herself.)
Then again, it does seem now that the TARDIS does indeed know that something is off about Clara. Or maybe there’s something too right about her? Could Clara herself have flown the TARDIS into the pocket universe?
Random thoughts on “Hide”:
• Mmm, classic 20th-century technology!
Also: Dougray Scott has never been cuter than he is in this episode.
• Remember this face:
You will see Jessica Raine again… as original Doctor Who producer Verity Lambert in the upcoming making-of docudrama An Adventure in Space and Time.
• “Ignorance is Carlisle”? Is that slur on the (I’m sure) fine British city of Carlisle?
• All I can think of when I see this:
is: “Looks like we’re gonna have to put in a bit of overtime on this one!”
• One of the more poignant portraits of the Doctor of late:
• Wait. So, the Doctor came to 1974 only to get Emma’s opinion on Clara, and accidentally discovered a time traveler stranded in a pocket universe who needed rescuing in a way that only he could pull off? Coincidences like this annoy me because there’s no reason for them. A couple of quick lines of dialogue are all that’s needed for this not to be a coincidence… such as the Doctor noting that he’s always been meaning to pop in and check out the Caliburn Ghost, always been some strange readings from around there, now’s the perfect time. And when Clara asks why it’s the perfect time, he just shrugs her off with an odd look. Or you know, something.
Unless this coincidence is but another clue…
• Great quotes:
“I’m the Doctor.” –the Doctor
“Doctor what?” –Alec
“If you like.” –the Doctor
“I do love a toggle switch.” –the Doctor
“The TARDIS is like a cat. A bit slow to trust, but you’ll get there in the end.” –the Doctor
“Time travel’s not possible. The paradoxes–” –Alec
“Resolve themselves, by and large.” –the Doctor
“Have we just watched the entire lifecycle of Earth, birth to death?” –Clara
“Yes.” –the Doctor
“And you’re okay with that?” –Clara
“Yes.” –the Doctor
“How can you be?” –Clara
“To you I haven’t be born yet, and to you I’ve been dead a hundred billion years.” –Clara, to the Doctor