It’s a dark and stormy night over Caliburn house, but that won’t stop Alec Palmer and his companion, Emma Grayling from their mission; There’s a ghost haunting the mansion and it’s time for the spirit to move on. There’s a knock at the door. Normal at first but growing harder. More insistent and demanding with every knock. A nervous Palmer approaches. Pulls the door open. There’s nobody there.
“Ghostbusters!” Clara, who seems to have gotten into the swing of things, chips in. Sliding into place beside her Timelord friend.
The Doctor wastes no time in taking over the situation. Stunning Alec and Emma with his encyclopedic knowledge of their lives and capturing an image of the ghost before rushing around the house to find the source of the “Witch of the Well,” there’s just one small problem; there isn’t a well... This gives the Doctor an idea...
The ghost isn’t a malevolent spirit, it’s not even a spirit for that matter, it’s a future time-traveller. A time traveller who’s crash landed and found herself trapped in a pocket universe - the short timespan in which the pocket universe exists spread across billions of Earth years - and only Emma and the Doctor can get her out.
While the Doctor is whizzing around the house making preparations Clara speaks with Emma. Emma, an empath able to read people’s emotions, is besotted with her male companion but daren’t tell him in case she’s misreading the signals. Clara tells her to go for it but Emma has some advice of her own; don’t trust the Doctor. There’s a shard of ice in his soul.
It’s safe to say that Clara seems to be bringing out the Doctor’s funny side. He’s a lot more cheerful than he has been of late, making silly jokes and genuinely seeming to enjoy having a new human about the place - even if Sexy doesn’t approve! - even in the face of terror.
One if the most incredible things in this episode is something that crops up quite often in Moffett’s era of Doctor Who; there’s no villain. No physical alien threat. No Daleks hell-bent on destroying the universe or explaining humanity. The only apparent danger is science or time itself. These villain-free stories make a refreshing change from the typical stories of monsters and demons to fight.
There’s still the question of why the TARDIS doesn’t like her. Does Sexy know something the Doctor doesn’t? It wouldn’t be the first time that she’s been cagey with one of the Doctors buddies. Remember when she fled to the end of the universe to run away from the immortal Jack Harkness? It can’t just be a coincidence that neither one of them is possible in the universe?
The fact that Clara was, in the face of time laid bare before her, questioning her place in the universe and how the Doctor sees her only makes her story more intriguing. She’s slipped so neatly into her role it’s often hard to forget she’s still fairly new to this, so it was nice to have a little freak out. The Doctor’s response was equally heartwarming and enthralling; You’re the only mystery worth solving. So... hurry up! Get cracking!