Doctor Who S07 E07: The Bells of Saint John

doc1The Doctor returns for the second half of the seventh season of the new series. Companionless, this time he is actively seeking a companion, a young lady who has shown up in his life twice before, as two different people… or did she? Add in a threat from the wireless internet to all mankind, and we’ve got a great start to the rest of the season. Check out my review of “The Bells of Saint John,” right after the jump.

doc2The Mad Monk

It is curious that The Doctor calls himself The Monk while sulking, contemplating ‘the woman twice dead,’ in 13th century Cumbria. In the series history, The Monk, also known as The Time Meddler, is the first Time Lord (other than The Doctor and granddaughter Susan, of course). Whereas it has been theorized that The Monk was an earlier incarnation of The Master, as well as his own character in the mythos, could showrunner Steven Moffat be hinting that The Eleventh Doctor might have been The Monk instead?

I love that the title, “The Bells of Saint John,” actually references the phone ringing on his TARDIS disguised as a police box, John (Smith), being an alias The Doctor has used fairly often over the years. The TARDIS has been hidden away for some time. When the phone rings, and our Monk answers, it’s Clara on the other end, from the 21st century.

The New/Old Companion

Written by Moffat, “The Bells of Saint John” officially introduces Jenna-Louise Coleman as The Doctor’s companion, Clara Oswald. We’ve seen her twice before, as Oswin Oswald in “Asylum of the Daleks” and again as Clara Oswin Oswald in “The Snowmen,” playing completely different, yet eerily similar characters. Even The Doctor was hip to it, and now he wants to find her, and find out why. Luckily she finds him.

And then there’s this prequel to the episode… shades of Amy Pond! This Seventh Doctor likes to audition his companions as little girls, I guess…

Our latest Clara is a child caretaker, just as her previous incarnation in “The Snowmen” was. One might even go so far as to say she performed a similar, if twisted, function for the mad Daleks on the asylum planet. She talks in the key phrases that her past selves did. I smell Bad Wolf. Anyway, while she’s seeking IT help from the 13th century, she connects to an alien wifi source, and goes bye-bye. So yeah, it’s The Doctor to the rescue.

Don’t Click It

Like a friend who has been hacked and is sending you spam emails with a weird link in them, there is a mystery wifi host showing up around the world. Whatever you do, don’t click it. I like this. This sort of interactive viewer participation vibe is what made the Weeping Angels so cool. All day, the Doctor Who Official Twitter has been Retweeting similar messages from our warning character here, bringing the warning to a new level of experience. Yeah, I’m digging a “Doctor Who” for our age, making use of the tech edge.

Those that click on this wifi source with the weird alien letters, seemingly die within twenty-four hours, and their souls are uploaded into the internet. From this nether region, they cry out for help. Yeah, we’ve reached a whole new level of creepy here, and I love it. That’s where Clara goes.

doc4Those absorbed by the weird wifi are called spoonheads because, well, their heads look like spoons. The Doctor, no spoilers, saves Clara from this fate, more than once. The first actual conversation between The Doctor and Clara is quite endearing. Looks like The Seventh Doctor has got his mojo back.

What’s in a Name?

There’s a nice bit where Matt Smith says he likes hearing the words “Doctor Who?” out loud. An interesting paradox to the days when I first starting watching the show when it was never said. He was always The Doctor, despite the show’s title. I think perhaps the First Doctor may have been one of the few to acknowledge it. The new series however has done it quite often.

doc5Villains Revealed

When we finally get a peek at our baddies, they appear to be disappointingly human. Miss Kyzlet seems a cold blooded collector of souls for the data cloud. Scarily, and again more tech edge, she can control her underlings’ emotions with her tablet if they don’t obey to her satisfaction. Nasty.

Of course, she’s not the big bad. She has a client, you guessed it, The Great Intelligence. You might remember them/it/him from “The Snowmen.” It may be safe to assume this will be the ongoing threat for the second half of season seven. I’m hooked (as if I wouldn’t be watching anyway). So until next time, hold on to your quadricycles, The Doctor will be back in just one short week…

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About Glenn Walker

I'm a professional writer and a reviewer of popular culture in all its forms. I've done stints in radio, journalism and video retail. Ask me anything about movies, television, music or especially comics and you’ll be hard pressed to shut me up.

Posted on March 30, 2013, in 2013, Doctor Who, Glenn Walker, television and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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