They are really trying to pile on the mystery within the stories of Doctor Who Season 7 and "Hide" was no exception. It was a really fun ride if you're a fan of ghost stories, and I admit they've always been a favorite of mine.
At first it appeared as if they just swung the TARDIS by the 1970s so we could enjoy the groovy decor and ponder why a hot professor would have purchased a lonely mansion on the moors, while being attended to by an assistant whose charms seemed to be lost on him. Tsk tsk tsk. We should all know better than that by now!
The setup to discover just what the ghost was and seeing cold rooms and The Doctor and Clara have frightened moments was just pure entertainment. It was also a lot more heart pounding, since I am actually afraid of things that go bump in the night, than the attempt they made with Skaldak to scare me in "Cold War" last week. Give me a haunted manor vs a claustrophobic submarine and the former wins every time.
I loved Clara's reaction to witnessing the birth and the death of earth before eyes within the TARDIS. It was a really interesting sideline to the ghost story of the Woman in the Well. It wasn't that they were there to just solve a story and move on, but to give Clara an even larger impression of being a part of The Doctor's world. It was beyond her capacity to understand. She couldn't grasp that The Doctor could see in the flash of an eye anyone and everyone....Always. She realized that everyone was, at some point, dead to him. They were all ghosts. She even said, "To you, we're all ghosts." To which he replied, "No, you're the only mystery worth solving."
Again the question of Clara being a mystery to The Doctor, which seems to be the running theme throughout the second half of Series 7 and heading into the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who. Last week during "Cold War" commenters wondered if Clara singing "Hungry Like the Wolf" was another link to her and Rose. It's certain that The Doctor thinks Clara is liked to something or someone, but whether it's Rose remains to be seen.
Once the mystery of the Woman in the Well was solved as a person lost in a parallel dimension and The Doctor had to fight his way past some ugly tree branch looking crawfish like creature to get back to their dimension, it seemed everything was complete. The survivor couldn't go back to her own time because it would break some space timey wimey rule, but The Doctor had sussed it out that she was actually the great (many greats) granddaughter of the Professor and Emma, and that's why the connection was so strong between she and Emma.
Thematically, love as all through the episode and it wasn't just the professor and Emma at play. The Doctor had his arm around Clara as he realized that the creature he encountered in the other dimension wasn't trying to hurt him, but to hitch a ride to back to his love:
The Doctor: Since then they've been yearning for each other across time and space, across dimensions. This isn't a ghost story. This is a love story. Sorry. | permalink
Which brought up the theory that The Doctor believes he and Clara have a special connection with which he is being just too damned cautious with us, his loving audience. You see, he didn't take the case at the Caliburn House to look into the ghost at all, but to get a chance for Emma to meet Clara so she could "read" her for him. Unless Emma was being coy and covering up a story she wished for him to find on his own, I don't believe she found anything out of the ordinary with Clara at all. After all she went through to finally get through to her own love, she would probably have told him, if only to keep Clara from getting hurt.
So to the naked eye of a powerful psychic, there is nothing undue about Clara Oswald. She's a little more scared than she lets on. But The Doctor seems so sure she is someone that he has been searching for through many dimensions. Something tells me she predates Rose, River Song and anyone we have ever known about. Perhaps a piece of her has been within all of these souls, but is culminating in Clara, across space and time just in time for the 50th anniversary.
Wouldn't that be a hoot?
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.