Saturday, 20 April 2013

Doctor Who 'The Bells of Saint John' Review


‘The Bells of Saint John’ is the first episode of the second half of series seven of Doctor Who.  Following on from the 2012 Christmas special ‘The Snowmen’ we continue with the mystery of Clara Oswald, who is she and why does she keep appearing throughout time?  

The episode begins with a man on a computer screen warning people about some strange threat inside the Wi-Fi, that will drain the minds from those who become exposed to it.

We then find ourselves in 1207, where the Doctor has retreated to a monastery to contemplate the mystery of Clara.  The Doctor is disturbed from his contemplation when one of the monks informs him that ‘the bells of saint john are ringing’.  Travelling to a cavern where he has hidden the Tardis we discover that the ‘bells of saint john’ refers to the telephone within the Tardis, which bears the Saint Johns Ambulance logo.

The Doctor answers the phone and enters into a conversation with Clara, whom he does not initially recognise, who is having problems with her internet connection.  The Doctor is about to hang up the phone when Clara says the phrase ‘run you clever boy and remember’ as a mnemonic for her password.  Realising who he is talking to the Doctor sets out to find her.

Beware the Wi-Fi.
The Doctor arrives at Clara’s home in time to find her being attacked ‘uploaded’ to the mysterious Wi-Fi signal by a robotic mobile server.  Preventing the upload the Doctor manages to save Clara this time, the pervious two versions of her he had previously came across having died. 

Clara learns the truth about the Doctor being a time travelling alien and agrees to help him to stop the threat from the Wi-Fi, though little do them know that there are much greater forces at work in the shadows.

Clara and the Doctor race to save the day.

‘The Bells of Saint John’ is by no means the most exciting episode on which to start the second half of series seven, but it’s still a competently engaging episode with a number of over the top set pieces and gorgeous visuals.

The reintroduction of Clara into the Doctors life feels a little more chance than anything else, though her comment about being given his number by ‘the woman in the shop’ who tells her it’s the ‘best helpline in the universe’ has me believing that their was a definite hand played in getting these two together again.  River song jump to mind for anyone else?

Clara and the Doctor play off each other wonderfully, the quickness of banter between the two of them feels fresh and exciting, and lets face it introducing new companions is all about making the show special again. 

Miss Kizlet and the Doctor come face to face.
The threat of the Wi-Fi and the ‘Spoonheads’ could have been something silly and dull, but the fact that the people behind it are able to use something that is almost everywhere in modern life to track the Doctor and toy with him gives the bad guys some added power.

A good episode that sets up a great new dynamic between the Doctor and Clara and even hints at some long term set up for baddie The Great Intelligence ‘The Bells of Saint John’ is a neat little reintroduction to the show and will hopefully draw in a number of new fans.  7/10


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