The Ninjabot

Doctor Who Review: Season 7 Episode 6 – “The Bells of Saint John” [SPOILERS]

Posted on March 30, 2013 at 10:00 pm by Amanda Andonian

doctor who the bells of saint john

The Doctor is back in fine form this week as the seventh season of Doctor Who returns with “The Bells of Saint John.” After months of waiting, we’re finally on our way to figuring out who the heck Clara Oswald is! Written by Steven Moffat, the spring premiere was fun, silly, and hinted at a greater conflict between the Doctor and a mysterious entity feeding on the minds of humanity. Tonight’s episode had me excited once again to write a Doctor Who review, and I think that the second half of the season is off to a good start.

doctor who the bells of saint johnFirst of all, I loved all the clever little things that Moffat wrote into the script, starting with the title. The episode starts off with a monk in Cumbria 1207 raising the alarm that, “The bells of Saint John are ringing.” Of course, the monks then go and rouse the Doctor, who’s apparently been meditating on the mystery of “Oswin” and her enigmatic last words, “Run you clever boy and remember.” When he gets the message from the monks, they hurry into the woods where the Tardis is hidden, its phone ringing as the camera pans over the seal that reads “St. John Ambulance.” Get it??? I don’t know about you, but I thought that was clever.

Second of all, yeah, the WiFi/computer hacking stuff was pretty ridiculous, but believable plots have never really been a staple of Doctor Who. The plot certainly does take advantage of the plugged-in nature of humanity in this point in time, and I imagine some (soft-headed) people will be staring suspiciously at the WiFi icons on their computer. On the plus side, I thought the special effects were great, and the “servants” who were “hoovering up people” were creepy and weird. I did find Clara’s struggling with the WiFi password hilarious in a terrible way, and her subsequent hacking into the Shard’s mainframe was equally amusing. I’m curious whether her new-found computer knowledge will carry over to the rest of the season, but I mostly hope not. Watching people type furiously on computers is as entertaining as, well, watching people type furiously on computers.

doctor who the bells of saint johnCelia Imrie was delightful as the antagonist of the episode, and I felt that she was even channeling a bit of Dame Judy Dench, in an awesome way of course. She’s cold, collected, and not taking shit from anyone, which was perfect for the character of Miss Kizlet—a domineering overseer who’s answering to some unknown “client” that wants to feed off the minds of human beings. As much as I love Matt Smith and Jenna-Louise Coleman together on screen, I really think that Imrie stole the episode with her complete lack of conscience and cavalier disregard for the lives she’s stealing. Miss Kizlet isn’t just bad—she LOVES being bad.

So who is this shadowy client? None other than the Great Intelligence, returning once again to thwart the Doctor. It threw me off a bit since Sir Ian McKellen is no longer providing his voice for the character, but then I realized that they’re instead bringing back Richard E. Grant, who played Dr. Simeon in “The Snowmen” Christmas special. Since he’s back once again, I’m betting that the Great Intelligence is going to be the big baddie of this season, and he probably even has something to do with Clara and her strange ability to come back from the dead and reappear through time and space.

doctor who the bells of saint johnMost of all, I just loved seeing Matt Smith being the Doctor again. Finally recovered from Rory and Amy’s disappearance, he found that old fire, and he can’t help himself when it comes to figuring out just who Clara Oswald is. The addition of Coleman has seriously breathed new life into the show, and she and Smith have an amazing on-screen chemistry. I can’t wait for next week, and I’m looking forward to the 50th Anniversary special more than ever, especially given the announcement that David Tennant will be back for it!

Favorite Line of the Episode: “Monks are not cool!”

You can follow Amanda on Twitter at @reiko516.

    • Jennifer

      I LOVED IT!!! The Hubs and I were discussing the relationship between Clara and The Doctor. We decided that he is so interested in her partly bc he wants to figure out how she travels through time and space but we also think it's bc she's so off putting. She didn't just hop on board. He's having to persue her. It's kind of a "challenge accepted" attitude he has towards her and I LOVE IT!

    • Sold.

      "It's not a snog box!" – The Doctor

      • Jennifer

        Does that mean you're going to start watching it again?

        • Yeah, I'm already a fan of Clara Oswald. The biggest hurdle for me and Doctor Who has always been companions. I'm picking up what she's putting down.

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