The Seventh Doctor has a bit of a bad reputation in some of his last few serials as he seems to take it upon himself to “help” Ace in ways that come across as psychologically abusive. Ace does have some problems involving her somewhat traumatic past, but that’s really no excuse to do stuff to her without at least, you know, talking to her about it first.
“Ghost Light” is one of those serials.
And there’s only two after that one…there’s a good chance I’ll be getting some of the newer series’s material going live before 2021 at this rate.
The TARDIS materializes in an old Victorian mansion, one that Ace says reminds her of one she visited as a small girl that she swore was haunted. And by “visited,” I mean she broke into an abandoned house. Why come here? The Doctor says it’s a surprise.
As it is, the house is full of eccentrics. There’s a couple maids, a hunter/explorer type that seems to think he’s two different people, a woman in black who seems to think roughing people up a bit isn’t a bad thing, the sunglass-wearing master of the house, a young girl Ace’s age who is the sunglasses guy’s ward, a visiting reverend who doesn’t approve at all of evolution, and a butler named Nimrod who is apparently a Neanderthal. Into all this steps the Doctor and Ace. Ace, however, is soon berated by the reverend for inappropriate attire since she’s wearing something with exposed shoulders, but when she comes back in something more era-appropriate, it’s men’s attire.
But there’s something else going on involving a very bright light going after the explorer guy, and Nimrod has access to a secret room in the basement that looks like a spaceship’s control center as opposed to what I would have in my basement if I had a basement. I don’t currently have a basement, and it might not even be the house’s basement, but it is a room that doesn’t look like it should fit in with the rest of the house. Especially once the curtains go up.
But here we are on a dark and stormy night. Weird lights are coming out of places. Ace is wearing a man’s suit. The Doctor is curious as to what is going on. And then Ace realizes she’s in the same house she visited as a child, and by “visited” I still mean broke in but will also add “burned down”.
This sure does seem rather traumatic for the poor girl, and the Doctor isn’t being overly sympathetic, but this is one of those times we remember the Doctor isn’t human despite appearances. Ace, distraught, runs off and finds…that weird control room.
And then the monster men in fine suits with odd heads come out of hiding.