Doctor Who Season 7 “Hide” Review

After the recent onslaught of blockbuster inspired Doctor Who episodes, it was somewhat refreshing to take things a little slower in this week’s episode. “Hide” retained that very cinematic approach to the episode, but this relatively straightforward ghost hunt turned monster romance, didn’t seem to be in the same kind of rush to get all the details in.

The slower pacing lent itself well to the suspense-building necessary for a spooky, supernatural story. Ghosts and hauntings in Doctor Who stories are more often than not, rooted in science fiction or dimensional anomalies, than rooted in the idea of departed souls lurking around the living. I was waiting for The Doctor to give us one of his timey-wimey explanations for what was going on in this “haunted house.” Before The Doctor figured out that this “ghost” was actually a time traveler trapped in a pocket universe, it actually seemed like this might be a rare case of a demonic alien haunting or something like it.

The audio and visuals leading up to The Doctor’s ultimate jump into the pocket universe were completely creepy and it almost seemed more plausible that this was a haunting instead of being a typical glitch in the Universe. Even the cheesy, stereotypical psychic ghost hunting moments – the writing on the wall, black spinning sphere, the screaming girl, and the Doctor finding a cold spot – effectively made the Caliburn House a scary setting where all sorts of creepy crawlies could potentially lurk.

In fact, there really was a creepy crawly lurking in the dark with The Doctor, Clara, Major Alec Palmer, and Emma Grayling. Before the truth came out about the monster’s real intentions, those out-of-the-corner-of-my-eye peeks at the creature crawling in the darkness gave me the chills. Catching little glimmers of its presence throughout the episode really helped to up the fear factor.

Once again, I enjoyed Clara’s very normal behavior during this adventure. It was refreshing to see her reluctance in tracking down a very scary ghost and going on a terrifying walk through a creaking house during a thunderstorm. Still, when it came down to it, Clara was able to summon all her courage and strength to bully the T.A.R.D.I.S. into following The Doctor into the pocket universe to rescue him. Emma’s description about Clara being ordinary, clever, and a little scared was pretty spot on, but Clara has definitely had her moments of bravery and fearlessness.

I also enjoyed the little bits of The Doctor’s alone time on the T.A.R.D.I.S. with Clara which showed her struggling to understand how The Doctor could possibly be so unaffected by the reality of entire worlds and civilizations coming to an end before his eyes. The Doctor countered Clara’s feeling of human worthlessness and helplessness in the eyes of a Time Lord by responding, “you are the only mystery worth solving.” I’m not sure if he was simply referring to his fascination with humanity overall, or if he was also telling Clara that she – as an individual – had become the only mystery worth solving in the light of all his recent losses.

I really appreciated that “Hide” gave us some recovery time after the big rescue to enjoy our happy ending and let the suspenseful events settle. Even with that one last romantic monster twist that took all the scare out of the mysterious monster by showing it in a tender light, those few minutes of casual conversation in the daylight, wrapped things up with Alec, Emma, Hilla, Clara, and The Doctor. The pacing for this week’s time-travelling horror story was spot on from start to finish and I was left feeling completely satisfied. Compared to recent Doctor Who episodes, where so much information is crammed into 40 minutes, leaving a little extra room for that happy recovery time helped to make the episode feel like it had come to a proper close.