Sorry if you read this already without seeing the episode. I forgot to put the
****SPOILER ALERT**** ****SPOILER ALERT****
It starts like many a good ghost story on a stormy night in a big eerie house on the moors, Caliburn house. Inside, two people, one man one woman, are setting up for ghostly studies. You can already sense the sexual tension. He records the date as the 4th night of the study, November 25, 1974, 11:04pm. Again we have elevens, like Clara's mention of chapter 11 in the book in "The Bells of Saint John". Another one is coming. Also only a couple of days off of the anniversary date, which was the birth date (not year) of Clara from "The Snowmen". Okay, so they call out to the spirits, or she does. He wears big 70's headphones. The equipment goes wild and the spirit approaches in flashes, passing through the woman, who declares the spirit to be dead. There is sudden knock at the door. The Doctor is there and says he is looking for a ghost, and the man asks who he is and Clara pops around and says "ghostbusters".
This seems as good a time as any to bring up something minor, but it drives me crazy. In the theme of 'The Snowmen", there is an additional electronic noise in the music. It begins right about the time the TARDIS disappears and goes on through into the vortex and title. Ever since then we only get a tiny bit right after the logo disappears and the new vortex begins. I love it and wish they had kept it. This happened last series. In the credits for "A Good Man Goes To War", when the Doctor Who logo comes up you can clearly hear the TARDIS even as the TARDIS on screen flies off in the vortex. That was the only episode that series it happened. I think he does this shit just to fuck with us.
The Doctor knows who the two are already. He uses the psychic paper to establish an identity with the ministry of intelligence, health and safety division. (he likes that cover, "Partners in Crime") He calls the man Major Alec Palmer, and recalls his triumphs in espionage and for the ministry of ungentlemanly warfare. The Doctor's resume for him also include being a talented watercolorist, professor of psychology and a ghost hunter. The woman is his assistant, Emma Grayling, a psychic. The Doctor oohs and aahs over the equipment and asks to be shown the ghost. I love the candelabra So far it has a really good ghost feel with creaks and bangs echoing. Clara is spooked by the noises and calls Alec brave for buying the house.
The Doctor is taking selfies and once again helping himself to any food and drink present. Alec shows him pictures of the Caliburn ghost. Good shots of what you'd expect a ghost to look like, white, wide eyed, open mouthed. It has been there longer than the house and present in many legends and poetry. She is called the witch of the well but there is no well on the property, and her sighting is usually accompanied by a knocking. Clara notices the ghost is always in the same position, no matter the angle of the picture. Emma hears her calling for help. Something passes behind them in the doorway. Still carrying a good spooky vibe.
An adorable exchange between Clara and The Doctor as he tries to get her to come find the ghost. Emma tells them the music room is the heart of the house. Scary candlelit journey and wood creaking behind them. Somethings is also in the shadows. Elsewhere, Emma tries to express her feelings to Alec, but he backs away. In the music room, The Doctor finds a cold spot and draws a chalk circle around that space on the floor. As they leave the room Clara runs through it. Downstairs the equipment starts to react. There is a knocking sound. It gets colder and Emma says, "She is coming".
They did the old I'm not holding your hand bit, but it was effective and we saw more of a glimpse of the creature behind them in the shadows when lightning flashed. The chalk circle starts to vaporize into the air. I'm just going to tell you right now I don't understand the circle and it didn't get explained. Downstairs a large spinning black disc appears floating. The other way the ghost appears, and is clearly standing in a forest. The Doctor is snapping pics of both. As both disappear a ghostly "Help Me" is scrawled on the wall a few seconds before vanishing.
Here is the other eleven reference. Clara and Emma have some whiskey, but Emma says she'd prefer tea. Clara agrees, claiming whiskey is the 11th most disgusting thing ever invented. WTF is going on with the elevens? Anyway, in the darkroom, The Doctor and Alec are developing pictures and discussing Alec's missions. We can see a similarity to The Doctor in living after seeing so much death. The selfie The Doctor took has a ghost over his shoulder. He says she isn't what he thought she'd be. He thought she'd be fun. Now he didn't come for the ghost, so I wonder if that's what he was really talking about. The Doctor borrows Alec's camera. Emma and Clara discuss romance and Clara assures her the feeling is mutual with Alec, she can tell. But when Emma asks if there's something between Clara and The Doctor, she is relieved when Clara tells her no. She says not to trust him, he has a sliver of ice in his heart. Strange stuff.
Clara tells The Doctor she doesn't think the TARDIS likes her. He says she's like a cat, and is slow to trust. Why doesn't Clara have a key yet? The Doctor has to let her in. I love the mention of needing a coat rack and The Doctor trying to remember if he had one at some time or if he was going mad. Doctor Who is the reason I got a coat rack years ago. Cute when Clara whispers "sorry" to the TARDIS after shaking out her wet umbrella inside. The Doctor brings out the orange spacesuit again and tells Clara they are not going anywhere but they are staying in the same spot, but going always. As the TARDIS dematerializes, Emma and Alec look out the window. When the lightning flashes there's an eerie reminder of a ghost story as we see a ghost off to their side. Great jump out of your skin moment.
The Doctor starts 6 billion years ago on a molten Earth taking pictures through time, all the way to what must be about the time The Doctor and Rose were on the observation platform in "The End of the World". Clara is greatly effected by seeing the entire life cycle of the planet. Probably picking up on his speech in "The Rings of Akhaten", she says they're all ghosts to him, they must be nothing. What can we possibly be she asks. The Doctor tells her, "The only mystery worth solving".
When they return, Emma sees Clara is shaken. Clara says she saw that everything dies. Emma says "Not everything, not love, not always" The Doctor says this later, but I feel it might be significant, since The Doctor told Clara they were going 'always' in the TARDIS. Here it turns from ghostly to sciency. The ghost is not a trapped spirit but a girl in a pocket universe where time runs 1 second for her and 100,000 years for us. She is a time traveler named Hilla something, i couldn't catch it and haven't found it printed yet. To Hilla, she crash landed 3 minutes ago and she is running from something. In a picture we see an odd dangerous looking creature not quite in focus. But Emma is a lantern drawing Hilla to this world and only Emma can save her.
In the plan, The Doctor uses a blue crystal from Metebelis 3, one was last used by the third Doctor, and pronounced differently. He also has a lit crystal thing he says is a subset of the eye of harmony. Alec asks Emma not to do it, fearing for her safety. we see her finally get through to him the feelings they share. Emma opens the doorway. The well is a reality well, a wormhole. The Doctor delivers a funny "Geronimo" and dives into the well attached to a harness.
Here we jump back to the creepy. The woods are foggy, creepy glimpses of the creature, the edge of this crumbling pocket universe was amazing looking. He finds Hilla, they get lost trying to find the harness. Emma calls out and projects an echo house from an echo universe to guide them. Inside they tie the door closed. The Doctor sends Hilla up in the harness. He hears the creature knock and realizes that is the knocking sound they've been hearing. With Hilla back, Alec takes the device off Emma's head and the well closes. Clara demands she reopen it. The floor under The Doctor disappears, replaced by forest floor. We hear the TARDIS cloister bells.
Clara tries to get into the TARDIS, who projects the voice visual interface in the form of Clara herself to argue that landing in the pocket universe would drain her. Clara won't listen, intent only on saving The Doctor. The TARDIS agrees and lets her in. Emma opens the doorway again. We see the TARDIS fly through the new vortex finally and I must say I approve. I'm still a great fan of the original (2005-2009) but this one is pretty damn good. In the woods The Doctor admits to being afraid. We get better glimpses of the creature and it's looking scarier each time. They way they shoot it as if in motion and standing still at the same time, just creepy. The Doctor knows the creature wants to piggy back over to the other world and begins to run. He's tackled by the creature and it's just even scarier this time with a good look. Here comes the TARDIS, flying by and not landing. One of those hilarious moments, like in Rat Race, when Rowan Atkinson was standing by the Amtrak tracks and when a train went by he just reached out and grabbed hold and ZIP was gone in a flash. That's how The Doctor did as the TARDIS whizzed by. The TARDIS makes it through Emma's doorway. The Doctor, who had been holding on outside the TARDIS, and Clara, who had been holding on for dear life inside, did a comical exhausted high five. It looks like it's over.... but it's not.
Remember I said The Doctor didn't come for the ghost? Emma figured it out. He came for her. He asks her what Clara is. She acts all innocent and passes her off as a perfectly ordinary girl, throwing out general descriptions like pretty and clever, a girl more scared than she lets on. But Emma doesn't trust The Doctor as we saw. She asks him isn't all of that enough? Goodbyes all around. The Doctor reveals the psychic link between Hilla and Emma was so strong because Hilla is Emma and Alecs great great great great great granddaughter. Here The Doctor says not everything ends, not love, not always. He remembers bits of conversation from the night and figures out the creature wasn't a threat, and not one creature. It's not a ghost story, it's a love story. These two got separated and trying to get back together. The Doctor asks Emma for a tiny favor.
The Doctor lands in the pocket universe and lets the creature know he understands and he can take the two of them somewhere safe. The creature comes and we get the best look. What a creation. Brilliant in that who would come up with that big hot mess? And a bit sad to think all this time it was a love struck boyfriend not a menacing killer. So misunderstood. The Doctor was sweet when he called him "you old Romeo, you" and as the TARDIS comes flying through the air The Doctor ends it by saying "Get ready to jump". Yes, the abrupt ending, but I think I can figure out on my own what happens and it is fun to leave things at an exciting (safe) moment.
The preview for "Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS" look great. That looks strongly like the pool through that doorway Clara is in front of. It looks massive and the roof looks like a starlit sky. And what's that about keeping lifeforms in the TARDIS? What are those claw marks? And why is The Doctor asking Clara "What are you, eh? A trick, a trap?"
4days 13hours 58minutes 22seconds until "Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS"