Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters!
Conspiracy theorists rejoice! If you thought there was a Clara-Rose/Bad Wolf connection before, this episode is chalk full of homages to Rose Tyler!
Trip to the end of the world? Check.
Ghostbusters reference? Check.
Couple separated across dimensions? …It’s the oldest story in the universe, and the Doctor’s lived it!
There’s a woman trapped in a pocket universe, presenting as a ghost to Major Alec Palmer and psychic Emma Grayling. To determine just what is causing the ghostly presence, the Doctor and Clara visit the entire life cycle of Earth, from birth to death, taking snapshots of the same spot over and over again.
It’s a harrowing experience for Clara, who realizes that, to the Doctor, she must just be a small speck in the span of time–a ghost dead and gone, and simultaneously not yet born. She’s not, he claims; rather, she’s “the only mystery worth solving.” It’s little consolation to Clara, and Emma gives her an ominous warning about the Doctor: “Don’t trust him; he has a sliver of ice in his heart.”
With Emma’s help, the Doctor travels to the pocket universe to rescue Hila Tacorien, a time traveler being chased by a hideous creature trapped there as well. Hila escapes, but Emma can’t maintain the connection, and the Doctor is lost to them. Clara urges Emma to reopen the portal, but Alec argues against it–it’s taxing, and he isn’t willing to lose Emma, with whom he’s secretly in love.
Clara demands entry to the TARDIS, but the ship isn’t warming up to her. They argue via an interface–the TARDIS projects an image of Clara, snarkily saying that she esteems herself more than anyone else–before finally giving in and flying into the pocket universe to rescue the Doctor.
As they prepare to leave the house, the Doctor asks Emma about Clara, only to find out that the psychic thinks she’s just an ordinary girl. The Doctor then explains that the strength of Emma and Hila’s psychic connection was due to genetics; Hila is Emma and Alec’s descendant.
It’s a love story, not a ghost story, and Emma and Alec’s love isn’t the only one at stake. As the Doctor says, “Every lonely monster needs a companion,” and, indeed, the monster in the pocket world is separated from its mate in our universe. It’s back to the parallel universe…and this time, the Doctor’s bringing the monster back home!
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