Note: Do not read on if you have not yet seen Season 7, Episode 9 of BBC America's "Doctor Who," titled "Hide."
As much as I hate to admit it, the second half of "Doctor Who" Season 7 isn't going as well as I hoped it would, and the latest episode -- which at first struck me as a mix of "Scooby-Doo" and "Ghost Hunters" -- was about to go into the pile of disappointing episodes if it wasn't for a few significant scenes involving Clara. But before I get into that, here's your recap:
The Doctor and Clara arrived at Caliburn House in 1974 where retired spy/war hero Professor Alec Palmer tried to make contact with the ghost of the Witch of the Well that was haunting his house. He used his assistant, empathic psychic Emma Grayling, to reach out to the ghost and release her. He and Emma also happened to be in love, but Prof. Palmer didn't admit his feelings because he felt guilty about stuff that happened during the war and he was haunted by those memories. Once the Doctor and Clara did some preliminary investigating, they hopped on the TARDIS and traveled from the beginning of time on Earth to the Earth's destruction, and continued to encounter the ghost during all the time periods. The Doctor concluded that the ghost was actually a space explorer named Hila Tacorian who had become trapped in a pocket universe that was collapsing. Using some blue crystal thingie, the Doctor had Emma channel her psychic energy and create a wormhole and the Doctor flew through it to rescue Hila. He landed in a foggy forest and found Hila, but they also encountered the monster that was making all of the horrible knocking noises in the house. The Doctor was able to get Hila back through the wormhole, but it was taking too much of Emma's psychic energy to keep it open. She and the wormhole collapsed, leaving the Doctor trapped in the pocket universe. Clara begged Emma to open the wormhole again, and she flew in the TARDIS to rescue the Doctor.
Clara managed to save the Doctor before the monster ate him and they returned to Caliburn House. During his explanation, the Doctor revealed that Hila is Emma and Prof. Palmer's great-granddaughter to the nth degree, thus revealing that they did end up together. The Doctor also explained that the reason he visited them is because he wanted Emma to sense whom Clara really was. Emma said that Clara is a "perfectly ordinary girl," leaving the Doctor to continue to speculate about her. And right before the episode ends, we find out that the monster chasing the Doctor was actually just trying to get back to another monster that's trapped in the house, so the Doctor reunited them. Ergo, our scary story was actually a love story.
Going back to the significant scenes I mentioned earlier, the episode was clear about love not ending. With Clara being the product of two people that loved each other very much (I mean, they had a special leaf and everything), is she able to live multiple times because of the special combination of love and memories that made her? Part of me is resigned to the fact that Clara's great reveal will use some of the typical timey-wimey stuff that lets the show get away with improbable explanations, but I also know that the writers are giving us dots to connect. I'm just not getting a clear picture here.
I laughed when the TARDIS appeared to Clara as Clara because it was taking on the image of someone she esteems. As much as I like Clara, she is annoyingly perfect: cute, smart, witty, brave, etc. Maybe the problem with the season is that Clara's too perfect and instead of seeing her character mature, she's already a full-grown companion. We're glued to our TV screens because we want to know about her, but not necessarily get to know her. I definitely don't blame Jenna-Louise Coleman for her portrayal, since she's done an excellent job with Clara. But once the Clara mystery is revealed, what are they going to come up with for the character?
Hey there, Dougray Scott as Prof. Palmer! I enjoyed hearing you say "ghast" instead of "ghost" this episode.
If whiskey is only the 11th most disgusting thing ever invented, what are the first 10? Any guesses?
I Googled the "Ignorance is Carlisle" joke, because I didn't get it and there's nothing more irritating than knowing you're missing out on a joke. The best answer the Internet has to offer comes via Yahoo! Answers in Malaysia which says that "Carlisle" is a reference to Thomas Carlyle, the Scottish philosopher from the Victorian era who often wrote about "ignorance" in his works. So there you go; I saved you the trouble of looking it up yourself.
The show is obviously aware that people are wondering whether there will be a romantic relationship between Clara and the Doctor, so instead of flirty-flirty this episode, we got deny-deny, which leaves me pining for the days of subtle-subtle. Dear writers: please stop writing explicit dialogue and let the actors act out whatever it is you want for the Doctor/Clara relationship.
For the record, everyone from last week (who commented) hates the idea of Clara and the Doctor together.
Do you have any other observations about Clara, maybe something I overlooked? Let us know in the comments below!
"Doctor Who" airs Saturdays, 8 p.m. ET on BBC America.