Sunday, 21 April 2013
Hide - Initial Musings
I don't like Clara.
Just can't trust her.
Because she's "impossible"? Because the TARDIS (a very good judge of character) doesn't like her? Because she might be some kind of trap for the Doctor?
No. Because she doesn't like whiskey. As a Scot, I find this an unpardonable sin.
Why the eleventh worst invention in the world? And why was the eleventh chapter of the Amelia Pond book best? Is the seeding of the number 11 through the series just because we are in the era of the 11th Doctor, or is there more to it?
And why has Cumbria been mentioned four times in the series so far? First the Doctor has settled there at the start of The Bells of Saint John. Then the Lake District is home to the finest scones. Then Carlisle equals ignorance. And there was also a reference to Kendal mint cake tonight. (Or maybe the Doctor meant to say Kembel mint cake...). I've pored over the Ordinance Survey maps and whilst Cumbria has lots of fields, there aren't any called Trenzalore...
Talking of old planets, it was nice to see Metebelis III mentioned. However, why no-one on the production picked up on the mispronunciation (twice) I don't know.
After all the trouble he had with the last one, what is the Doctor doing with one of its blue crystals? Is another regeneration being foreshadowed?
Last question (before I wear out my "?" key) what was the business with the bow-tie in the forest? A continuity gaffe, or something more significant?
I refer to the fact that the Doctor took off his bow-tie to secure the door when Hila went through the wormhole. He finds it on the ground when the house vanishes. He's still not wearing it in the "I am the Doctor and I am afraid..." scene. Cut back to Caliburn House then back to the Doctor and he is wearing the bow-tie. Cut away and back - and the bow-tie is off again.
The last time there was an apparent costume continuity error in a forest, it turned out to be of great significance - the on / off jacket in Flesh and Stone.
One other thing I would say wasn't quite right was the 1974 setting, as far as Dougray Scott's character is concerned. If the character is roughly the same age as the actor playing him (47) then he must have been 12 when the war started... No wonder he is haunted by his own personal ghosts when he was sending people to their deaths as a teenager.
As the year had absolutely no bearing on the plot, a date of 1954 would have been much more apposite.
On to the actual story itself. Did I like it? Yes, I did. I was reminded at times of a Sarah Jane Adventures story called The Eternity Trap - one of my favourites (and actually much scarier).
Scott and Jessica Raine were superb, as were Smith and Coleman. This was the first episode JLC actually filmed, so I was very impressed by her performance. Have we moved any further forward in working out who, or what, she is, I don't know. Her relationship with the TARDIS does seem to mean something (see my "Clara Conundrum" theory earlier in the week).
It was an odd ending. We don't get to find out who the Crooked Man is - other than that he is the partner of a similar creature trapped in the house. The Doctor is going to rescue him as well and reunite him with his other half. In a way that's as much as we need to know - but it is unusual that the story would just cut off mid-action.
A ghost story in Doctor Who (or should I say "ghast" story) is always going to have a scientific explanation, and pocket universes or alternative dimensions are a pretty obvious way of resolving things. Nothing wrong with that. It was also a very touching love story.
I know a lot of people had problems with his last story, but Neil Cross is a welcome addition to the Doctor Who writing stable as far as I'm concerned (though I would just like to point out that homeless people are not to be dismissed as "dossers". Best keep your prejudices to yourself before you write any more).