2nd Opinion: Hide

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John Hussey and Adam James Cuthbert each give their own verdict on Neil Cross’ episode.

John’s verdict

Neil Cross demonstrates his writing even further in his second instalment for Series 7, containing plenty of chills and pieces of nostalgia to get the 50th Anniversary boat rolling even further.

doctor-who-series-7-hide-promo-pics--(31)Clara had a few more character developments through this adventure, notably within her scenes in the TARDIS. The best scene was her confronting the Doctor about his awareness of time and how he can possibly be okay with it. It’s an interesting scene really in how she perceives his journey through time in order to take photographs of the ghost – in which one time zone she hasn’t been born yet while in the next she has been dead thousands of years. It’s something I’ve never thought of before and it certainly made an interesting point I found.

The other great part about the episode was Clara getting to know and understand the TARDIS better. We all know by now she isn’t just a machine, she is alive – which was well demonstrated in ‘The Doctor’s Wife’. Continuing the idea from ‘The Rings of Akhaten’ in which the TARDIS isn’t fond of Clara, something established within ‘Utopia’ with her disliking the anomaly behind Jack’s immortality, we get a new dynamic friendship development. It’s interesting to see really because we’ve never seen the companion having to prove themselves to the TARDIS before and it certainly adds a new spin to the show – along with of course furthering Clara’s unsolved mystery. Some would say Clara’s behaviour was a little off this week due to what she had seen prior to this, but I think ghosts are one of the most frightening things one can come across. The supernatural is an eerie area of the unknown and it’s only right that Clara showed a lot of fear throughout the story.

The Doctor continued his trait of being curious and being alien. His curiosity has always been his downfall. It’s always led him into trouble left, right and centre. In ‘Hide’ we witnessed him jumping at the chance to solve the mysterious supernatural goings-on in Caliburn mansion. The alien nature is shown briefly when he describes the lonely lifestyle a psychic endures in which he takes no consideration on what affect his words may have on Emma Grayling until Clara points it out. The Doctor is shown as a true alien during his travels in the TARDIS to gather photographs of the ghost throughout Earth’s history. As Clara pointed out, during the different trips through time he had actually been before she had even lived and then beyond her death which doesn’t bother him. This isn’t how he perceives his travels through time and space and demonstrates he is an alien and doesn’t always contain the humanity we have and express. Perhaps this truly signifies why he needs Human companions from time to time, to give him humanity and an understanding of how others think and feel. We also got a little return of his random out of place human greeting, i.e. an air kiss to both cheeks which was first seen in ‘The Lodger’. The most interesting piece of emotion demonstrated by the Doctor this week was his encounter with fear. The Doctor rarely ever gets scared and so it was a treat for him to stare it straight in the face. Matt’s acting skills were truly demonstrated in those scenes, and as always delivered a fine and truthful performance as the forever wondering Time Lord.

doctor-who-series-7-hide-promo-pics--(33)A lot of nostalgia was featured within ‘Hide’, some that even surprised me. Most of us knew that the Tenth Doctor’s spacesuit would make a reappearance but I didn’t expect a reference to Metebelis III, a planet the Third Doctor was fond of and visited in ‘The Green Death’ and ‘Planet of the Spiders’. Also we got a reference to the planets mystical blue crystals, the crystals that ultimately brought the downfall of the Third Doctor due to his curiosity. The final bit nostalgia was funnily enough the coat-stand. The coat-stand has been a massive part of the Console Room’ design for many, many years now and it had just occurred to the Doctor (and me) that it no longer stands by the door. The final bit of referencing was to the Eye of Harmony which is briefly mentioned by the Doctor during a conversation with Clara. These were all nice nods to the past and certainly shows the writers and Moffat are working hard to celebrate the shows long legacy by doing these little bits of referencing.

I think the story of ‘Hide’ had many good points but also contained a few bad ones. The dark and sinister nature to the story was very interesting and the ghost elements really brought out a new feel to the show I found. The tone of this series has really given me the idea of the show returning to its roots and retaining a lot of the fine elements of the Classic Series. ‘Hide’ continued this trait and delivered a spooky and chilling tale. Unfortunately, when it came to the revealing of the supernatural elements, the story started to lose its flow of chilling nature before perking back up again during the forest scenes.

I was hoping for the Woman of the Well to be something terrifying and sinister but instead we received a lost time traveller. This I let slide because it delivered some good elements to the story, especially in the surprise revealing that she, Hila, was in fact Professor Alec Palmer and Emma Grayling’s distant descendent. Also the idea of her being trapped in a pocket universe brought in a new idea of how perhaps the supernatural could work, maybe ghosts are like what we see here – people trapped or crossing different dimensions and being drawn for whatever reason (in this case a strong psychic presence) towards our world. Her side of the story I let slide due to the fact we still had a terrifying problem of the mysteries creature that lurked in the forest and chased Hila.

doctor-who-hide-the-crooked-man The creature possessed a great and chilling design, a creature design I’d expect to see in the ‘Silent Hill’ game franchise, especially with its unearthly and disturbing movement and body placement. This created a lot of tension and suspense during those later scenes and gave the Doctor something challenging to face in terms of fear. But sadly the revealing of the creatures being lovers who had been separated via the different dimensions took away all the scary nature the story had built upon. It’s almost like it was brushed aside like it meant nothing. That’s one way of looking at it. The other way is accepting this and finding it quite beautiful, knowing these strange creatures aren’t in fact evil and have feelings and emotions like us and have a strong love for each other. So the ending is what you make of it I suppose. Personally I think they could’ve left that out but at the end of the day I feel it finished ‘Hide’ off on a high. Love is a powerful thing and it shows here that even beyond the stars it still remains as strong.

Well that’s newcomer Neil Cross out of the way, and what a deliverance he gave us with his two scripts – both different and entertaining in their own right. ‘Hide’ was a great story filled with chills and spills and certainly gave us a cracking ghost story. I now look forward to the extravaganza adventure ‘Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS’ which should pose some interesting bits of nostalgia for both new and old fans alike as we journey deep into the core of Britain’s most loved landmark.

Adam’s verdict

Hide is a story strong on atmosphere but the storytelling becomes a cluttered mess. The dearth of clarification about its monsters and futuristic backstory are to its detriment. Another problem is the density of the script, as sundry ideas are raised but never substantially developed. The story fails to capitalise on its full potential to thoroughly invest in its protagonists, and their dynamic, leaving the secondary characters’ romance to occupy the void. Impressive CGI during the ‘life-cycle’ sequence and a stylistically-conceived ‘other-world’ can’t compensate for the script’s disappointments.

[You can read Adam’s full verdict here.]