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13 April 2013

DWO’s spoiler-free preview of episode 7.9 Hide:

Legends exist throughout time about the ‘Ghast of Caliburn House’ - a spectral figure caught in a moment of abject fear and terror stalking the halls of the house. The house has stood for 400 years, but the ghost is far older than that. She’s held many names over the centuries, and now the Doctor has arrived to solve her mystery. 

For the first half of its running time, Hide is part Ghost Stories for Christmas and part Most Haunted, as the Doctor and Clara team up with Professor Alec Palmer (Dougray Scott) and Empathic Psychic Emma Grayling (Jessica Raine) for a night in the house in November 1974. Palmer and Grayling, along with the Doctor and Clara, carry the weight of much of the episode, while the four of them hunt the ghost through the halls of the house. 

It’s in this part of the story that the episode really sings, building up a nice amount of traditional ghost story terror, and providing plenty of opportunities to make you jump. It also gives us another great chance to see Matt Smith and Jenna-Louise Coleman sharing the screen. The pair of them continue to work well together - it’s telling that while this was the first episode shot with the current version of Clara, the two feel like they’ve been travelling for a while. 

Clara’s continuing to find her feet throughout this episode: she’s not as sure about time travel as some of the Doctor’s other companions have been. Hide plays with the slightly interesting idea that the Doctor and Clara don’t really trust each other, but that they just get on with the adventure - having an empath around certainly allows each of them to be given a few clues about the other. 

Once the story has moved on from the early ghost story feeling and starts to reach outside the confines of the house it somewhat loses its atmosphere, and risks becoming A. N. Other Doctor Who adventure. Though the series has often gone out of its way to find a more scientific explanation for supernatural phenomena, the interesting idea behind this ghost seems to get a bit lost during translation to the screen, leaving the latter half of the episode less interesting than the set-up.

There’s plenty to love throughout the tale, though, including some fantastic direction from series newcomer Jamie Payne throughout, whose style is a perfect fit for a ghost story. This, coupled with the iconic ‘haunted house’ look of Hide really is one of the highlights.

Five things to look out for...

1) “It’s 1974 - you’re the assistant

2) Ignorance is Carlisle.

3) A blue crystal from Metebilis III plays a vital role.

4) Whiskey is the 11th most disgusting thing ever invented. 

5) “Birds do it, bees do it, even educated fleas do it!”

[Sources: DWOWill Brooks]

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