The Doctor and Clara arrive at an old manor house in 1974 where Alec Palmer and Emma Grayling are investigating the existence of a ghost. Alec is a former army Major, now a psychologist, ...
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The Doctor and Clara arrive at an old manor house in 1974 where Alec Palmer and Emma Grayling are investigating the existence of a ghost. Alec is a former army Major, now a psychologist, whilst Emma is an empathic psychic who can not only sense the presence of paranormal beings, but can sense their feelings as well. Palmer explains the house has been haunted for hundreds of years, and the ghost - a woman - is likely much older. Emma senses the ghost is very lonely, but the Doctor realises she's not a ghost at all, but a creature trapped in a zone where time moves much faster there than it does here. The good Doctor gets to play Cupid. Written by
Impressive First Half That Degenerates In To A Messy Second Half
The Tardis lands at an English country house in 1974 where Professor Alec Palmer and his assistant Emma Grayling are using experiments to trace ghosts
After last week's episode that lacked a little something that stopped it becoming an instant classic this week saw another potential classic that didn't entirely hit the spot . Hide may very well be the best story of season seven of NuWho but sometimes you feel it should be the best story from the entire Smith/Moffat era rather than merely the best story of the season . Indeed whatever story may be considered the best story of DOCTOR WHO 2012-13 will win that accolade by default rather than being good in its own right
The positives happen in the first half of Neil Cross's script where Alec and Emma are investigating ghostly activities . Truth be told there's something highly derivative about all this since it borrows elements from other fictional stories such as THE HAUNTING , THE STONE TAPE and THE LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE . There's also something inconsistent with the casting of Dougray Scott in the role of Alec in that he explains his military service during the war . Alec can't be older than his mid 40s and it's stated in the dialogue that the year is 1974 which means Alexc would have been a schoolboy during the second world war and yet Alec mentions U-Boats in the Atlantic and the frontlines of Europe where millions didn't return
That said Scott does give a very good understated performance as Alec . Lowly regarded as an actor who only became relatively famous because of his good looks there is a fear that he's only going to give a I'm slumming it in a kids TV show performance but to be fair to Scott he treats the role with the greatest of respect and gives a very understated , subtle and convincing performance with his co-star Jessica Raine and one can feel the unrequited love emanating from the two characters
The problem with the episode is that through necessity Clara and The Doctor become the focus of the episode and the more it concentrates on them instead of Alec and Emma the more you become aware how convincing they were and how unconvincing Clara and The Doctor are . Clara especially is becoming more annoying the more the audience see of her . She's supposed to be mysterious , an enigma but to see her continually state things she would have no knowledge of is very distracting and makes you aware that she's merely a character from a TV show that might or might not be building up to some sort of Moffat masterplan . Certainly like Amy she never comes across as a real character that Rose , Marth and Donna were during the RTD period of the show . Likewise despite not being written by Moffat the second half of the story does have the dark fairytale ethos that the whole series has suffered from since Moffat became showrunner . Same old same old that gives deja vu a bad name
In short this still remains one of the better episodes of the eleventh Doctor which sadly isn't saying a lot . It's an episode of two distinctive halves . One half that is good its build up and characterisation and its pace and a second half that feels the need to be be plot driven with lots of shouting , running around and incident . One wonders if after being in charge of the show Moffat can ever produce an episode that will truly satisfy the audience for a non stop 45 minutes ?
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