Um... I thought this was going to be a ghost story! And it sort of was; well, a ghast story. But there was so, so much more going on! All over the place! Um...
So, the Doctor and Clara turn up in the 1970s at a house where a war-haunted scientist/ghost hunter and a cute empath are about to attempt to contact the spirit of the Witch of the Well, a seemingly ever-present (and ever-afraid) lost soul who has called out for help. There's a bit of spooky wandering about and bumping noises, some horror-staple creepiness and some lovely jumpy bits. And then the episode took a side-step into a territory nobody really expected it to go.
You see, the ghast is actually the echo of a time traveler from the future who has crash landed in a collapsing pocket universe that is running at a very different speed - one second in that universe lasts about 100,000 years in ours. This has resulted in the image of a frightened woman imprinting itself across history in the same area, inflicting the same second of terror and distress on unsuspecting house-guests for generations. And she's being chased by a hideous creature that seems to want passage to our realm!
It sounds bonkers and it was, but it was very, very good! 'Hide' managed to cram an effective ghost story, a quiet romance, some arc-plot, some great sci-fi action and a big, silly ending into a 45 minute period that should have felt too busy but didn't. Lost Time Traveler Hilla turned out to be the great-great-granddaughter of the awkward couple-to-be guest stars, Dougray Scott (wonderfully underplaying a man who's seen far too much in his time) and Jessica Raine (companion material, if you ask me!) And despite looking a bit silly up-close, that Crooked Man was as freaky as they come!
The story of the week was wonderful - a close contender for the best we've had all series. But it was one scene in particular that stood out as something special in my eyes; There's something very unnerving about seeing the TARDIS being bitchy and mean to the companion. She doesn't like Clara one bit, does she? I can't wait to find out why! There is nothing about this episode that didn't grab my imagination and drag it through the streets, hitting it with a stick. There wasn't a second of the last two acts of this episode that I expected. This was billed as a ghost story and wasn't. A surprise for us all, I think.
If Bells was a modern tech thriller, Ring was a space opera and Cold War was a classic homage then Hide was... like nothing we've really seen before. Genuinely original, genuinely odd and very, very good fun. We're half way through 7b and I'm loving it all!
Next week we Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS - which is kind of a big deal!