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14 November 2015 @ 02:28 pm
NuWho Rewatch: Hide  
I'm still considering my thoughts on this half season, but I think Hide will prove to be the strongest story. Unlike the first three which were solid episodes but which, to a large extent, were retreading well-explored paths, Hide feels like it is bringing something a bit new to the table.

Hide is framed as a ghost story, complete with a haunted house, a scientific ghost hunter and an empathic medium but in the tradition of Doctor Who it eventually turns this assumption on its head and veers off into a story about time travel gone wrong and pocket universes. Where it succeeds is in taking a genuinely new (for Doctor Who) look at the idea of a pocket universe and the possibility that time might run at a different speed there. It is also bolstered by undeniably strong performances from Dougray Scott and Jessica Raine as the ghost hunters and an approach to its historical setting which, like Cold War before it, aims to be true to the period without wallowing in sentimental nostalgia. If I had a quibble, I'd say I wasn't entirely convinced by the convenient way Emma and Alec were paired up at the end - Moffat is, perhaps, a little too fond of neat happy couples.

Knowing more about Clara now, you can also see the script trying to bring out some of her character traits that, I think, had been a bit surpressed up until this point: the moment when she asks the Doctor to dare her to come with him; the Tardis's suggestion that the person she most respects is herself; but this all comes out of nowhere since these aspects hadn't really been emphasised before. Moreover the Tardis's active dislike of Clara is another plot point that seemed, at the time, like it should be significant but ultimately goes nowhere.

At the end of this NLSS Child demanded to know why I had said this half-season was a bit disappointing (The Bells of St. John has, in retrospect, been upgraded to "a bit weak" in her estimation) and it is difficult to argue with her judgment so far. However, looking ahead, I'm not particularly excited about re-watching any of the remaining stories this season. This is, I think, as good as it gets.

This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/178195.html.
daniel_saunders: Leekleydaniel_saunders on November 14th, 2015 06:25 pm (UTC)
the Tardis's active dislike of Clara is another plot point that seemed, at the time, like it should be significant but ultimately goes nowhere.

Moffat has hinted that this will be addressed before Clara/Jenna leaves. It has been dropped in recent years, though, which makes one wonder how it will be reintroduced. I always assumed that the TARDIS picked up on her 'impossible girl' status and disliked her for it, similar to the Doctor not being able to stand Jack's immortality.
louisedennis: Doctor Wholouisedennis on November 16th, 2015 10:43 am (UTC)
That is the explanation NLSS Child and I settled upon, but, while plausible, I feel more should have been made of it.
Ms. CleverCleverIrish on November 14th, 2015 11:22 pm (UTC)
I have a theory about the TARDIS' dislike for Clara. The TARDIS sees time all jumbled up, and I think she saw that Clara would try to hijack her and force Twelve's hand in 'Dark Water', and resented her for it.
louisedennis: Doctor Wholouisedennis on November 16th, 2015 10:45 am (UTC)
That's certainly plausible, though as mentioned above, it would have been nice to have it confirmed. I have a suspicion, though, that Clara's post "Name of the Doctor" arc wasn't explicitly planned out at this point. Particularly, I do think, they had a fairly radical rethink about how she was being presented once Matt Smith left.
jesusandrewjesusandrew on November 17th, 2015 11:38 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure it was a case of a radical rethink - I think they were so invested in the idea of "companion as mystery" in that half-season that they forgot to put anything into the scripts to make her more than a cipher. That the character works at all in that period is entirely down to Jenna Coleman trying to create an inner life for the character in her performance.
louisedennis: Doctor Wholouisedennis on November 18th, 2015 12:51 pm (UTC)
She was definitely more plot device than character in this half-season (or at least, the plot device aspects were badly obscuring the character). I don't, to be honest, pay much attention to the back-stage information that comes out of Cardiff these days, so I've no idea whether the official line is "this is what we planned all along". Season 8 felt like a do-over and start-from-scratch character-wise to me, though I'm seeing similarities now but its difficult to say whether that is simply a result of jettisoning the plot device stuff or whether it was triggered more by a recognition she'd been poorly served and a need to delineate her more clearly.