The Ninjabot

Doctor Who Goes Ghost Story – “Hide” Review [Spoilers]

Posted on April 20, 2013 at 9:47 pm by Amanda Andonian


This week, I have mixed feelings. More than any other episode of this season, “Hide” represents the most Americanized version of Doctor Who that I’ve seen thus far. While I love that Doctor Who is taking the States by storm because more success means more Who, I’m dismayed by the changes that are ostensibly being applied in order to make the show appeal to American audiences. In the effort to make Doctor Who more accessible  the show has only grown more convoluted and illogical.

doctor-who-hide3So what do I mean by all this? Going the route of ghost hunters, the Doctor and Clara show up in 1974 at the mysterious Caliburn House where a professor and a psychic are trying to commune with the spirit of the Witch of the Well. A semi-promising and creepy story quickly devolves into nonsensical chaos, eventually ending in a bizarre and saccharine twist. Surprisingly enough, this ghost story actually turns out to be a love story. Who knew!

While the atmosphere of the first half of the episode is delightfully creepy, it also borrows heavily from the “paranormal activity” well. By that, I don’t mean the “found footage” movies, but rather the ghost stories that have so gripped cinema, television, and our society in general. In fact, this episode was so clearly making reference to Ed and Lorraine Warren (of Amityville fame) with Professor Alec Palmer and the psychic, Emma Grayling. So much so that I couldn’t help but continually draw comparisons between this episode and trailers for the upcoming The Conjuring.

doctor-who-hide-2Just about the only thing that I did like about this episode that was new and interesting was the fact that the professor and Emma saw right through the Doctor. Actually, I liked the wallpaper. So, two things I liked about this episode. In any case, Alec and Emma accept the story that The Doctor’s psychic paper presents, but they also know almost immediately that he’s not who he seems. Emma even goes so far as to warn Clara, telling her that the Doctor has “a sliver of ice in his heart.” Clara apparently takes it to heart, confronting the Doctor later with his cavalier attitude towards travelling so effortlessly through time. When she demands that he tell her what exactly he sees when he looks at humanity, he tells her, “You are the only mystery worth solving.” Finally, a real and honest moment in this otherwise meaningless episode!

I won’t bother going into the details of what’s actually going on in this plot because it doesn’t particularly matter in the grand scheme of things. Suffice to say, love conquers all, even the creepy, scary monsters that lurk in the shadows. The “resolution” of the plot is completely ridiculous and undermines nearly everything else that happens in the episode. It really seems that the whole purpose of these 45 minutes is for the Doctor to consult with Emma about Clara and “what” she is. When Emma tells him that Clara is a completely normal girl, that seems to satisfy him on some level, but it sure was a long way to go for such a mundane answer.

doctor-who-hide4After last week, I was really hoping that Doctor Who was on an upward trend, but “Hide” just made me despair all over again. I’m more than willing to suspend my disbelief for a good story and character development, but we didn’t get much of the latter and got absolutely nothing of the former. Next week is “Journey to the Center of the Tardis,” which I’ve been looking forward to for months, so here’s hoping that it’s not another disappointment.

Doctor Who: Season 7 Episode 9, “Hide” aired April 20th, 2013 on BBC America.

You can follow Amanda on Twitter at @reiko516.

    • WhoDat

      I liked this episode. Yes, it got ridiculous and it didn't really make sense how the Doctor figured out the time traveler's name and how she came to be stuck in the pocket universe, but that's part of the fun with science fiction!

    • Pretty cool review indeed! I did not know much more about this episode but the allocation you did here makes me knowable about this ghost story. Its sound like really very admirable. Thanks

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