“Hide” was a little new for Doctor Who, written by newbie Neil Cross. At its surface, it’s the Doctor (#11, Smith) and Clara dropped into a genre story–a ghost story. Underneath, it’s still a genre story, but it’s a love story. Finding themselves in a (beautifully designed and shot) haunted house, the Doctor and Clara meet ghost hunter Alec Palmer and psychic Emma Grayling, sufferers of not just a haunting but unspoken affection for each other. Just like with Charles Dickens in season 1, the ghost turns out not to be a ghost but something the Doctor can explain–a woman named Hila poking through a pocket universe. But this time traveler isn’t the only thing that comes through the pocket universe. (It’s always the case, isn’t it?) There is also an alien creature–definitely the scariest-looking, most non-rubber-masky Doctor Who monster ever. It’s like something out of Pan’s Labyrinth, but don’t worry: remember, this is a love story, and so scary monster really just wants to reunite with its mate who is on the other side of the pocket universe portal. This is one of the only good episodes of season 7.
Time Heist 8.5
“Time Heist” had the formula for a good episode–good writers, good director, and guest star Keeley Hawes, who I’ve been eagerly waiting to see in this season. At its surface, it’s the Doctor (#12, Capaldi) and Clara dropped into a genre story–a heist flick. Underneath, it’s still a genre story, but it’s a love story. Finding themselves with their memories wiped in a bank they’ve got no business being in, the Doctor, Clara, and two strangers with special skills are forced into a bank heist for their own survival. Trolling the halls is the Teller, the last of his kind (familiar parallel?), psychically seeking out guilt and turning criminals’ brains to soup. Thinking they are the pawns of some Saw-like madman calling himself the Architect, they break into the vault to find Karabraxos (Hawes). As is the conclusion in all these timey-wimey stories, it’s the Doctor who instigated this heist and wiped his own memory. That doesn’t stop Karabraxos from calling on the Teller to soup their brains, but don’t worry: remember, this is a love story, and so scary monster really just wants to reunite with its mate who is locked in the bank vault. This is one of the worst episodes of season 8.