1. This week’s episode was such an amazingly fun ghost story.
Clearly a standout of the season, this week’s episode combined the perfect amount of ’70s swag and wibbly-wobbly time paradoxes to create a genuinely fun ghost story. It was fast and tense and, more importantly, kept us on our toes, shifting through potential big bads as quickly as you like. It was fun in a way that we haven’t seen yet this season — and felt like an episode that could easily belong in Season 5, arguably the most entertaining season of New Who. This was definitely a turning point for the better, and hopefully the rest of the season will rise to the challenge.
2. Every story is a love story.
And speaking of big bads, a nice twist to this ghost story was that it was actually a love story. And sure, the writers may have laid it on a little thick at the end, with Hila being a relative proving both the strength of Emma and Alec’s love and strengthening Emma’s physic link — but overall the sentiment that we could all be considered monsters and that fact doesn’t mean we don’t deserve love works on so many wonderful levels in the episode. The soldier scientist returning from war, struggling with PTSD and ghost hunting to try to thank the men and women who died for him. The empath who suffers though other people’s demons but can’t find any clarity in her own life. Two monsters separated by time paradoxes and pocket universes. And most important of all, an ancient alien who’s seen and caused more death than he knows what to do with — and loses those little pieces of happiness that he sometimes finds along the way. It’s a great return to what Doctor Who does best, the triumph of romance and intellect over cynicism and brute force.
3. The TARDIS and Clara make the best frenemies.
The TARDIS is like a cat…a sexy cat? The Doctor’s analogies don’t always work, but both Clara and Sexy like him anyway. And that’s all they really needed to have in common to launch an epic rescue mission that ends in a very Jack Harkness–like escape. But it is very clear that the TARDIS, she herself a strong, brave, 12-dimensional being, has a grudging respect for Clara by the end of this episode. All it took was that chipper squishy flesh sack to call her a cow and act thoroughly unimpressed. Here’s hoping it’s the beginning of beautifully snarky friendship.
4. Clara is a certified perfectly normal human being.
At least according to Emma. The Doctor didn’t bring Clara here to hunt a ghost — he brought her to see if an empath would have more luck sussing out the paradox that she is. And Emma’s response, that Clara is a pretty, smart, brave girl who’s more afraid than she lets on, doesn’t help the Doctor at all.
The only low point of this episode, in my opinion, was how cold the Doctor sounded when he told Clara, “You are the only mystery worth solving.” Perhaps it’s because they’ve only been on a few adventures together, on top of the fact that the Doctor seems to be holding back with Clara. There’s a distance there because he’s keeping information, pieces of a puzzle she doesn’t even know exists yet, from her. And his response was a distinct reminder that he and Clara aren’t quite friends yet. I have no issues with watching their friendship grow and change, but I am wary that Clara is a rebound companion for Moffat and, much like Martha, won’t ever really get a chance at a strong, healthy, equal friendship with the Doctor.
Bonus! HE KEPT THE SUIT FROM The Satan Pit ETERNAL CREYS FOREVER TILL THE END OF TIME AND SPACE.