This isn’t so much a review as a stream of consciousness, with very occasional moments of discussion and/or rants. (Well, there’ s a sort of review at the end, but don’t expect anything too deep.) If you haven’t seen ‘Hide’, this probably won’t make much sense.
We open in a Gothic manor on a rainy night, with a man (Professor Palmer) who clearly fancies his co-worker Emma, even I can tell that and I am notoriously bad at deciphering social signals. They handily establish what year this is by recording all this for posterity, as it is revealed that the lady is a ghost whisperer and is trying to speaking to the lost soul in this house as she walks into an extremely shadowy corridor. Rather her than me.
It appears that she gets an answer, as all the equipment I won’t even pretend to know the names of goes haywire and her companion has to take off his headphones because of the high pitched noise. Something starts screaming – oh that can’t be good – the camera is flying along corridors, the man manages to get the camera up in time to take picture of a shrieking shape, and Emma nearly falls over. Palmer and Emma get rather close, up until there is a knock upon the door.
I wonder who that could be.
Oh Doctor, you horrible person, you made me jump too!
Eh…not really sure how I feel about the whole ‘Ghostbusters’ joke. Personally I think they should have just gone straight to the credits after ‘I’m looking for a ghost.’
Titles, and then yet another thunder crashing sound. (Incidentally, does thunder actually make this sound in the real world? I’ve never, ever heard a thunder clap sound like that in my life.) Hee hee, ‘Doctor What?’ ‘If you like.’
Oh, Palmer. If looks could maim, I think the Doctor would have to be carried out in a basket. Doctor, stop spilling his secrets, he’s going to hit you! Stop it!
Oh, so Palmer sort of knows about the Doctor as well, through the Ministry. Has he gotten involved with UNIT before?
Ah, I do actually have a name for some of the equipment now, ACR 99821, thank you subtitles! Hee hee hee, toggle switches. Doctor, you hypocrite, Clara hadn’t even touched anything.
Once again the sonic screwdriver is a scanner. Scanning for what, I have no clue.
Why do they have a lit candelabra? There’s already plenty of light in that room! Then again, the electricity might go out, they are in the middle of a storm, they have some candles already lit just in case, so I’ve just answered my own question in a fairly sensible manner. Go me.
Yep, Palmer’s definitely gotten on the wrong side of the government before. Look at all that resentment! Clara actually brings up some very good points; how did he manage to convince the bank to let him buy the house? Or take out a loan to buy the house, or however he got the money from them? Again, in stead of ‘That’s incredibly brave’, I’d have gone with ‘Brave man’ or ‘Rather you than me’ or some such thing.
Another reason for having the candelabra; this great shot with Palmer and the Doctor and the flames in between them.
We know it’s raining outside. We knew there’s a storm going on. You don’t need to keep showing us the outside of the building.
Emma is, apparently, empathic, sensing feelings. She’s like a more bearable version of Deanna Troi. (I’m sorry if you like Troi, but she just always irritated me.) Doctor, will you stop spilling intimate facts about these people you’re encroaching on, you are going to get smacked.
We are introduced to our Monster of the Week, ‘the Caliburn Ghast’. I do like all this mythology behind the ghost, I love folktales and histories of hauntings.
Tins of spam, and notes saying ‘For the love of God, stop screaming.’ Ack.
The ‘ghost’ is always in the same position in every photo. Palmer’s trying to detect her with Emma’s help. and the ghost can sense her and is saying ‘Help me,’ complete with echoes. Hopefully this is a benevolent spirit, not one who wants to make children swallow lye or jump out of windows.
Wide shot of the group as something passes by camera, which only Clara seems to hear. Convenient.
‘Witch of the Well. Where’s the well?’ I was wondering that. The Doctor and Clara decide to sneak off to find the ghost – bit rude, they encroach on Palmer and Emma space and then go off just like that. Oh, but the Doctor and Clara are just too cute, I can’t stay mad at them for long!
‘Ignorance is Carlisle.’ Bwa ha ha.
AAAAAAAAAA SOMETHING IN THE SHADOWS FOLLOWING THEM ON ALL FOURS.
All their ducking around and tip toeing is just too perfect.
Back in…wherever they left Palmer and Emma, the Doctor’s influence is beginning to wear off and the two discuss their uninvited guests. Neither of them appear to have had great experiences with the Ministry.
You love her. You are so in love with her, Palmer. So in love.
The Doctor and Clara feel like they’re being watched. Also, why aren’t there dust cloths over all of the items in this room? Palmer and Emma aren’t using it, why would they have uncovered all the things and then not covered them up again? Creaks and squeaks and misty breath galore.
And now he has some chalk in his pockets! You were a liar back in ‘The Rings of Akhaten’, sir, a bare faced liar!
‘I’m not happy.’ Again, could have gone for something better, like ‘Something is definitely in here’. Also the Doctor is the new Michelangelo given how he’s managed to draw a perfect circle on the floor.
The equipment starts up. Mist rises up out of the chalk circle, okay, I will admit that this was scary. Something starts thudding with a distinct metal vibe, and the candles are blown out, though thankfully the corridor appears to be just as well lit without them. Everything’s getting colder, the windows are freezing over – ‘She’s coming’.
Ah, here comes the hand clip. The Doctor’s not holding Clara’s hand, so what is?
No, really, what is? We see a shadow on a curtain or something, but not a hint of what actually had a hold of her. They scream and run, and get back to wherever Palmer and Emma are just in time to witness a big…black…shiny…disc thing come into being, which starts cracking as the Doctor desperately takes photos. Emma, pointing the other way for some reason, has a vision of a forest with a white glowing figure in the midst of it, reaching out for something and shouting.
Everyone else can see it as well, which I wasn’t expecting, the vision ends with a ‘Help me!’ and Emma falls over into Palmer’s embrace – that’s going to happen a lot this episode, isn’t it? – and ‘Help me’ also shines on the walls before disappearing.
Yes, Clara shares my opinion about alcohol!
The Doctor gives us more info about Palmer’s career what I’m assuming is WWII, even though Palmer really wishes he wouldn’t. Ah, survivor’s guilt and comparisons to be found with the Doctor.
Clara tries to find out more about Emma and Palmer. Emma’s problems when it comes to relationships! Clara can tell how Palmer feels, everyone can tell how he feels about you, even me! ‘A big chin’? Do you realize what you’re saying? Because the Doctor’s got a big chin and oh god don’t start fancying him Clara, please don’t.
You honestly thought a ghost who screamed a lot and was saying ‘Help me’ all the time would be fun??? Although that was probably an attitude you had before you got there…
Thank goodness, Clara’s shooting down notions of romance!…oh dear, Emma, what a choice of words.
Wait a moment. The TARDIS is parked outside the the house, so they must have had to come through the pouring rain to get to the house. How is it that neither they nor the umbrella were the slightest bit wet or even damp when they arrived at the door at the start???
Clara thinks the TARDIS is watching her, which might not be far off, has to knock to come in since it still doesn’t seem to like her, and wants an umbrella stand. Well, maybe if you don’t want to have health and safety nightmares, maybe the TARDIS shouldn’t have slippy metal floors and walk ways over uncertain drops.
Thus begins a journey through time, with the Doctor taking pictures. How hard is it to stay in the same place while time moves? Everything else seems to manage it, so why is it so difficult for a super duper time machine to do it? Although I suppose you do have to account for all the things that might me occupying the exact spot that you’re in over the years.
Palmer and Emma actually comment on the leaving of the TARDIS and the strange noise it makes and GOOD GOD WHAT THE HECK IS THAT IN THE WINDOW BEHIND THEM AAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRG.
We skip a lot of the travel montage and cut through two visits to the spot right to when the Earth’s dying. May I just point out:
See, see, they most definitely do have a camera/screen to let them see outside of the TARDIS, so there is no excuse whatsoever for them to not know what’s outside and come out onto a submarine thinking it’s Las Vegas, wearing a cocktail dress that promptly gets soaked.
Clara has a deep philosophical moment with the Doctor after this experience, which boils down to ‘We’re all ghosts to you, aren’t we?’ to which he replies ‘You are the only mystery worth solving,’ which at first I took to refer to all sentient life, but then after a moment I thought it only applied to the human race, which is rather insulting to all the life spread out across the universe, and then after another moment of thought I realised he meant Clara herself, which is really insulting to everything out there. What, there’s nothing left in the universe that’s more interesting than Clara? No offense to her character, I’ve really grown to like her, but that is a bit much.
I only hope he was just saying it to comfort her after this existential crisis.
Here comes the alien revelation; the ‘ghast’ is trapped in a pocket universe where time runs much more slowly, and all the pictures of her are merely her running for a split second. As shifting of genres goes, I’ve heard worse. Meet Hila Tacorian. Presumably the Doctor learned about her from the screwdriver, and it’s a wiki on top of everything else – or maybe he just knows about her naturally, what with her being a time traveler and explorer from the future.
Explaining things with balloons is fun. The screwdriver can also change slides on a projector, god forbid the Doctor actually touch the machine, and we get an image of what Hila’s been running from.
Looks like a mix of human and crab.
Emma will have to save Hila – she’s the lantern guiding her home. Time to get some sturdy rope, a blue crystal from Metebelis Three, and – ugh, Kendal Mint Cake? Really? That stuff’s vile!
While the Doctor and Clara rush off to get the things – yet another shot of them running to the TARDIS; just park it closer to the house! – Palmer argues with Emma not to risk her life. Umm, why? We don’t know what this procedure is going to entail, as of yet, so it might not be dangerous. (Yes, this is Doctor Who, we know it’s going to be dangerous, but they don’t know that yet.) Admittedly Emma’s been gasping and falling over a lot while she’s been on this job, but it doesn’t seem to have done her any lasting harm. This is really just another way to show that Palmer loves Emma. Complete with intense looks and flickering shadows from the fire. Bless.
Clara asks what I’m sure some viewers already have; why don’t they just take the TARDIS to get Hila? Well, they might get trapped there and be stuck as the pocket universe collapses. Okay, fair point, even Clara thinks so.
One long blue cable later, Emma gets to put on what looks very much like the Heart of the Ocean on a tiara, many clocks are wired up, pooper scoopers enhance your natural abilities and the Doctor’s about to take a leap into the unknown. What was that about them just being along for the ride, again? And yes, this procedure is going to be dangerous, it seems. Where’d the fun be if it was easy?
Emma starts up her empathy, the black disc appears again, shatters, and forms a doorway that is a well that is a wormhole. Got all that? The Doctor clicks his neck, says his wacky little catch phrase and leaps…
…and lands in a forest, and immediately gets rid of his harness. Umm, why? There seems to be a lot of cable left. Keep hold of the rope in case something goes wrong!!! Yep, the universe is definitely collapsing, a bit breaks off even as we watch.
‘Hila Tacorian!’ How many Hilas do you think are on this rapidly crumbling island, Doctor?
I love how the clicking sound effects of…whatever it is, moving, are subtitled as ‘scampering’.
Lots of following and scared gasps, and heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere’s Hila! ‘Wait, there’s something in the mist!’ Do as your doctor recommends, Hila, and run!
Just as an aside; that seems to be to be a very impractical outfit to go time travelling in. She looks like she’s wearing a white dressing gown. Although, if it’s good enough for Arthur Dent…
See, see, I told you that you should have kept hold of the rope!
I wonder how many shots they took of Emma’s actress shouting and reaching out, and how few they eventually used? It’s very hard to tell.
The Doctor and Hila get into the psychic house, lock the door with…whatever that is, and make for the exit. Emma’s not strong enough to hold the way back open, so guess who gets left behind as he’s using his bow tie to lock the door?
Well, I sort of gave it away there, didn’t I?
So now the Doctor’s trapped on a vanishing world with a thing in the woods chasing him and NO BOW TIE SOB SOB.
But all is not lost, for Clara runs to the TARDIS yet again!
The TARDIS will not let her in.
Palmer gives Emma a pep talk so that she can open the gateway again, while holding her face in his hands and embracing her. By the way, have I mentioned that he loves her? I have? Well, I’ll mention it again; he completely and utterly loves her. The three of them -counting Hila, although she has yet to say anything to the people who rescued her – join hands.
Clara has alerted the TARDIS Voice Visual Interface…for some reason, and it’s taken the appearance of Clara herself as the person she seems to most esteem out of several billion images in the databanks. Okay, hold on, what? Clara holds herself in most esteem? When have we ever seen signs of Clara being excessively self-interested, or showing a lack of esteem for others, in any of her appearances? She clearly cares about her father, about the family she lives with, about the children she cared for back in ‘The Snowmen’, about the Doctor; she’s shown support and solidarity for Merry two episodes ago and Emma just this episode! Unless, of course, this is the TARDIS being snarky, which would not surprise me in the slightest, but still!
And, a question: WHY DOESN’T THE DOCTOR USE THIS INTERFACE TO TALK TO THE TARDIS MORE OFTEN, INSTEAD OF HER JUST MAKING RUMBLING NOISES? Surely, after ‘The Doctor’s Wife’, he’d want more chances to talk to her and instigate conversations and have discussions about maybe giving him a little warning next time she drops him off some place he didn’t expect?
Anyway, the TARDIS doesn’t want to go to the pocket universe because she’d die, and Clara resumes banging on the doors. Emma opens the gateway/well/wormhole, and…oh, it appears the TARDIS has changed her mind, opens her doors and let’s Clara in. Well, that was fairly easy.
Cut to the Doctor still running through the forest, inter-cut with Emma calling for him and Clara flying about the TARDIS as the TARDIS flies through the time vortex. Is the TARDIS flying herself? I don’t think Clara knows how to do it yet. The psychic house appears again, just before we have a creepy little interlude with the Doctor being stalked by the thing in the woods. This scene is good, but I really think it should have come before the house appeared again – this way, it looks like the Doctor’s broken off his escape to monologue at his pursuer for a bit. The house is right there, Doctor, you were running towards it a few seconds ago!
The Doctor concludes that the thing needs to piggyback on him to get out of this pocket universe. He runs. He gets knocked over. Along comes the TARDIS, knocking the thing over in turn…I think. Wait, where did it go? Oh well; he leaps onto the TARDIS and they go through the gateway/well/wormhole and Emma screams in agony and the Doctor and Clara have time for a shaken high five, wheee.
It’s morning. The Professor and Hila are talking – wish we could hear what they were saying, I don’t believe Hila’s said one word since getting back that we could actually hear – and it turns out the Doctor wanted Emma to see what Clara actually is. ‘She’s a perfectly ordinary girl’, is the answer. Something of a running theme.
The Doctor joining in on a group hug, aww. Hila actually speaks! Where we can hear! And oh, so this is a fixed point in time as well. Why is Hila’s disappearance a fixed point when a possibly devastating event in the Cold War that could destroy the whole planet isn’t? Clara drags the Doctor out of this important moment between Emma and Hila, but he inserts himself back in to explain that Hila is Emma’s great great great great great-granddaughter. (As well as Palmer’s. Work it out.) This blood relation was able to help the psychic link and so on, magic masquerading as science, blah.
Palmer asks what they’re supposed to do now that they’re pretty much obliged to have descendants. The Doctor replies ‘Hold hands’ – which, in a flash of clarity, helps him to a new realisation about everything that’s happened this episode. Are you ready?
The monster in the woods isn’t a monster. The ghost that’s still in the house isn’t a ghost. They’re two lovers who got separated when one of them was dragged into the pocket universe, and they’ve been yearning for each other across time and space and across dimensions. ‘This isn’t a ghost story…it’s a love story!’ he says, before quickly taking his arm off Clara’s shoulder.
Fair enough. It doesn’t explain how they got separated, how long the alien in the mansion has been there – seeing as how time passes much, much slower in the pocket dimension and Hila was terrified of it for as long as she’d been in there – how the aforesaid one in the mansion managed to find a place where there was a gateway/well/wormhole between the two universes or whether they just happened to be in that spot when they got separated and has been hanging around ever since, what they’ve been living on, who they are, what they are, etc, etc, but it’s nearly the end of the episode, step on it.
Also, I think it’s a bit much to assume that they’re automatically one male, one female – but, whatever, we’ll go with it.
Also again, I saw what you did there with that ‘lonely monster needs a companion’ thing. I saw it.
Emma, tiny favor; can we put you through some excruciating agony just one more time?
The Doctor goes to pick up ‘Romeo’ – who has one hell of an overbite. Here come the TARDIS – ‘Get ready to jump.’
So, what did I think of ‘Hide’?
‘Hide’ was a fabulous thing to watch. It was creepy, funny, heartwarming, raised intriguing questions and had a twist in the end that, while a bit out of the blue, was still interesting and satisfying and didn’t feel shoved in. The parallels between the Doctor and companion and the people they met were interesting and relevant. The supporting cast was great – Dougray Scott (Palmer) and Jessica Raine (Emma) really sold me on their roles, and the love they felt for one another; a love which also didn’t feel shoved in but was integral to the story. I do wish Kemi-Bo Jacobs (Hila) had more to do and say, but what little I saw of her was wonderful.
And Matt Smith and Jenna-Louise Coleman? By now, I’m completely sold on them as well. They are adorable, adorable, ADORABLE.
The ‘Crooked Man’ as I believe they’re calling the Monster of the Week, was at first a bit jarring – the glimpses we got of it evoked memories of stop-motion – but the fleeting hints of it in the forest were oh so scary. I loved it.
In fact, I loved all of this episode. I really enjoy ghost stories and the like, so this was manna from heaven. When I hoped that ‘The Rings of Akhaten’ would be the first of many by Neil Cross, I didn’t expect the next one would be so soon – but I wasn’t complaining.
On the next episode of Dr Who: The TARDIS gets picked up for salvage! Clara is trapped inside! The Doctor makes a bargain with the salvage people to give them his ship if he can get Clara out first! All the things the TARDIS was holding secure are getting loose! (Ooo, does that mean the Carrionites are going to make an appearance?) Together, they all must Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS!