In his continuing quest to find out just what makes Clara tick, the Doctor has brought her to a haunted English estate in 1974 to meet a psychic. (Not that he actually tells her this.) The psychic is named Emma and she and Professor Alec Palmer have taken up residence at the estate to find out why a ghostly woman in white seems to be trapped there. Emma, who has empathic abilities, hopes to reach out to the woman with Alec's help. The Doctor and Clara bluff their way into the middle of things and notice that this "ghost" seems frozen in the same pose at every one of her appearances. This leads the Doctor to think that they're not dealing with a ghost at all, but someone trapped in a pocket universe where time is moving differently. He and Clara jet off in the TARDIS to do a little time-lapse photography over the course of billions of years. The images show the woman in white running from something and looking utterly terrified.
The Doctor and Clara return to 1974 to reveal that the ghost is actually a pioneering time-traveler named Hila Tacorian. She has indeed become trapped as the Doctor surmised. With some help from the Doctor's tech, Emma opens a portal to the pocket universe. The Doctor manages to find Hila inside and bring her back out, but winds up trapped himself when Emma's psychic abilities hit the wall. The Doctor soon realizes he's not alone when a hunched, gray creature begins to stalk him. It's here that the episode finally starts to pick up the pace, and the creature design is wonderfully creepy. Alas, this portion of the story doesn't last long. Clara pleads with the TARDIS (which doesn't like her for some reason) to save the Doctor, even though going into the pocket universe will put our favorite blue box into grave danger.
Of course the TARDIS and Clara manage to save the Doctor and bring him back to 1974. It's then that the Doctor reveals that Hila is the very distant descendant of Emma and Alex, who at this point have only barely begun to admit their feelings for each other. This all makes the Doctor realize that the gray creature wasn't actually stalking him to kill him, but because it wanted a ride to the main universe, where its long-lost love is waiting for it. So this second creature has been stalking around Earth for billions of years, or what? It's all very confusing and sudden and feels more than a little tacked on.
In the end, Emma assures the Doctor that Clara is a perfectly ordinary girl. There are also some nice moments along the way, but overall the episode felt badly paced and disjointed. It's a ghost story! No, it's a time travel story! No, wait – it's a monster story! No, actually, it's really a love story! Stay tuned for the full weecap and try to recover from the whiplash.
The wind howls and thunder rumbles as we swoop in on a lovely old manor house. Inside, a young woman approaches Dougray Scott as he fiddles with some rather bulky recording equipment near the entrance hall. "How are we looking?" she asks. "Quite ready, I think," he says. Their shy nervousness instantly communicates an unspoken attraction. He loops a camera around his neck and asks, "Are you sure you want to go through with this, Emma?" He starts to give her an out and she cuts him off: "But she's so lonely." He dons a pair of headphones and leans into a microphone. "Caliburn House. November 25, 1974. 11:04 PM." He nods to Emma, who proceeds into a darkened doorway. "I'm speaking to the spirit that inhabits this house," she calls into the shadows. Something bangs somewhere in the house. The recording equipment perks up. "Let me show you the way home," Emma says. A white specter, its right arm raised, rushes from the shadows and through Emma. "She's so... dead!" Emma cries. An ominous knocking comes at the door. There's much suspense as Emma and her colleague open it, but of course it's just the Doctor and Clara.
"I'm the Doctor," he says, flashing his psychic paper, "and this is Clara." Without waiting for an invite, the Doctor dashes inside and has nerdgasms all over the 1970s tech. He also info-dumps for us. "You," he says, pointing to Mr. Scott, "are Major Alec Palmer, member of the Baker Street Irregulars, the Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare, specializing in espionage, sabotage and reconnaissance behind enemy lines!" We'll just call him Alec. The Doctor continues his fanboyish gushing for a while, eventually revealing that Alec is also a ghost hunter of some renown. "You're wrong," Emma says. "Professor Palmer spent most of the war as a POW." Judging by his age, I would have guessed he spent most of the war as a schoolboy, but whatever. The Doctor corrects Emma, as if any of these are his secrets to tell. "But you know all that," he says to her, "because you're Emma Grayling!" He takes the long way round to revealing that she's Alec's assistant and a psychic. I have to give props to Matt Smith for flawlessly delivering these long, rambling, high-speed streams of consciousness, even if they are a pain to recap. Emma looks a bit panicked. Alec tells her to relax, explaining that the Doctor is from Military Intelligence, meaning, I suppose, that there's no use in trying to continue the charade in front of him.