More Ghostbusters references than we’ve seen since Season 2 on this week’s episode of Doctor Who!
Ghost hunter Alec Palmer and his assistant Emma Grayling are checking out the paranormal phenomena at Caliban House, circa 1974. They’ve been capturing pretty consistent evidence of what the locals call the Witch of the Well, but if the ghost were the only crazy thing showing up on this particular dark and stormy night, we’d be calling the show something else. Of course, the Doctor appears with Clara in tow, masquerading as a member of British Intelligence to check out Palmer’s findings.
As it turns out, the ghost predates the house. Every image ever captured of her is in the exact same position, but objective devices can’t record her unless there’s a powerful psychic present. This, of course, is why Professor Palmer has brought Emma, an empathic psychic, along. That and the copious amounts of UST. Things start going a little haywire when Clara steps through a cold spot in the middle of The Doctor’s own investigation. The temperature of the entire house drops, “help me” appears on the walls, and we can see not only the ghost, but the image of a forest behind her.
The Doctor decides to hone in on the fact that the ghost’s pose never seems to change. He takes Clara and the TARDIS back to the very beginning of the Earth in that exact location and snaps a couple of pictures. He does the same thing periodically throughout the entire history of the Earth, presumably right up until the arrival of Platform One and Earth Death. When the pictures are developed, the investigators can see that the ghost is moving, just incredibly slowly. And she’s not a ghost at all. Her name is Hila, a pioneer time traveller stuck in a pocket universe and calling out for help.
The Doctor hooks Emma up to a blue crystal from Metebelis III and a sliver of the Eye of Harmony (classic references!) in order to open a wormhole to Hila’s crumbling universe. The Doctor dives right in and finds Hila being chased by some sort of monster in the mist. He manages to get Hila back out, but is trapped alone when Emma’s strength gives out and the wormhole closes. There’s a brilliant exchange between Clara and the TARDIS (who has taken Clara’s own image as “the person [Clara] most esteems.” She manages to talk the TARDIS into taking her into the pocket universe, despite the fact that being there will kill the TARDIS in 10 seconds. The two of them together manage to save the Doctor from The Crooked Man and get back to the right universe before everything goes to hell.
All of the humans and Time Lords are safe in the regular universe, but the Doctor suddenly realizes that the episode still has a few minutes left to fill. The Crooked Man and Hila weren’t the only ones haunting Caliban House. The Crooked Man’s mate has been in our universe the whole time, possibly leaving mascara stains on stark white walls and thinking up plans for a Dimension Cannon that will only work when the stars start to go out. Wait, that sounds like someone else… Regardless, with Emma holding the wormhole open one more time, the Doctor pilots the TARDIS to the pocket universe to bring the Crooked Man back to reunite with his loved one. They’re together again, Palmer and Emma are finally together, the Doctor and Clara… still working on the dynamic, really. Happy Endings all around!
Yeah, I’m a sucker for a haunted house episode and I was totally behind the couch until they figured out who Hila was. Don’t judge me.
Loved this one with much of my loves. I really enjoyed the parallels drawn between Alec and the Doctor. They gave this episode a few really fantastic moments, in mine own humble opinion. Admittedly, Alec seemed to be channeling the Ninth Doctor far more than Matt Smith’s incarnation, all post-war angst and having seen too much. There were similarities in the companion relationships, as well, but it seemed to hearken back to Rose more than Clara.
As much as I love Clara, and I do, I’m still waiting for her character to gel. Clara seemed all over the place this episode, like there were some defining character moments between this episode and the last that we missed out on. I really, truly hope that the TARDIS’s dislike of her gets explored more later on in the show. I think that could be a clue as to what or who Clara really is.
See you all next week for “Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS.” It’s on my birthday, so it has to be awesome!
The Doctor: “I’m the Doctor.”
Professor Palmer: “Doctor what?”
The Doctor: “…if you like.”
The Doctor: “You are the only mystery worth solving.” (Best. Chat-up line. EVER.)
Things to Ponder:
- So according to one of the most powerful psychics of her time, Clara is a perfectly ordinary girl. Still no solid clues as to who she really is!
- So Jack Harkness has to be crazy careful in his knowledge of the future, and you’re just going to chuck all that responsibility to preserving timelines onto a young woman who didn’t successfully complete her first time-jump? Harsh.
- Now that both Crooked People are in our world, where are they going to go? Maybe the pocket universe was their natural habitat. Ever think of THAT, Doctor?