Episode Reviews

Doctor Who – The Bells of Saint John – Review

doctorwho-7x6-The Bells of Saint John The Doctor returns to the second half of series 7 with an episode full of misdirection that sets up the rest of the series. For the most part, “The Bells of Saint John” was far from a great episode of Doctor Who, but rather, it was an episode that helped viewers get reacclimatized to the series and reintroduce the newest companion, Clara Oswald. For those that may have forgotten, the Doctor has been searching and trying to find the meaning behind Clara, whom for some reason, has lived multiple incarnations though out history, the latest (to the Doctor) was a victorian governess in the last Christmas special. Today, Clara is once again a nanny in the modern era, helping out a family she was staying with when the previous matron died and until they find a new nanny.

The episode as a whole was merely a launching point for the full on companionship of Clara, with a loosely conceived villainous plot that we’ve heard before; a seemingly innocuous thing that has taken over all of society is really a gateway to stealing human energy to feed another greater alien power. In this case, our insatiable need for broadly available wifi is really a trojan to hack human minds and steal their consciousness as if they were cattle to be supplied as meals for the Great Intelligence. (The villain revised for the Christmas Special after being missing for decades.)

From the standpoint of a Clara and Doctor episode, though, it works well to fully introduce the character and personality of Clara, a free spirited young lady who sees though all of the Doctor’s subtle advances that even he doesn’t realize he makes. Viewers of the Matt Smith era of doctor have long seen him as a total flirt when it came to companions, and Clara is a manifestation of all the things we thought about when he used his various one liners.

There were plenty of heavy handed references to the previous episodes with Clara, though, including full on flash backs. It’s not really a motif I’m fond of, as in the past it was far more subtle. For a newer viewer, it would feel confusing, and for a long time fan, it would feel condescending. Even the bedroom window scene was so cheesy with Shakespearian nods it was almost unwatchable. Hopefully as we move into the rest of the series with Clara we don’t get beat down with additional reminders that Clara has woven herself into the universe much more deeply.

Other Observations

  • Do you just crook your finger and people just jump into your snog box and fly away?
  • Who was the “lady in the shop”? It was “probably” Amy Pond.
  • It was never clear what friend of Clara died. Was it the mother or the previous nanny?
  • Clara was clever, but no computer skills. They spliced in her super hacker computer skills during their attempt to capture her mind. At the same time she comes up with the name “Oswin.” Is this Clara the same super hacker Clara we see in the far future whose mind was in the Darlek collective?
  • “My conscious says we should kill him.” “I’ll call HR.” “No, he’s about to go on holiday. Kill him when he gets back. Let’s not be unreasonable.”
  • The TARDIS is a mobile phone.
  • Summer Falls by Amelia Williams. (aka Amy Pond?)
  • The Doctor still loves his fez.
  • They haven’t shown off the new TARDIS that much.
  • UNIT is still running around cleaning up after the Doctor.
  • The Doctor goes super creepy stalker in Clara’s room.
  • The Bells of Saint John is merely another name for the TARDIS.
  • What the heck kind of password is “rycbar123”?
  • “Imagine human souls trapped like flies in the world wide web. Stuck forever, crying out for help.” “Isn’t that basically Twitter?”
  • Snogbox is a great new name for the TARDIS

By Kien Tran

Based in Dallas, Texas, Kien Tran is an avid television enthusiast. After spending hundreds of hours wasting away on a couch, he decided to actually do something creative with his hobby and created this very blog.

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