“The Bells of Saint John”
Doctor Who 7×07
It’s been a long wait since Christmas, but Doctor Who has finally returned to us with new episodes. I have to admit that my first viewing of “The Bells of Saint John” left me a bit cold. Perhaps it was because “The Snowmen” was SO GOOD? It was everything I love about Doctor Who…it had a sense of urgency and humor and magic and mischief and pure emotion. So my expectations were high for “Bells”…perhaps too high. Much of the episode felt like Steven Moffat was sitting at his computer going “Oh, the cleverness of me!”. I thought that while the episode DID have some cute character moments, the stakes were never high enough. There was no sense of urgency. And we JUST saw The Great Intelligence in the last episode. Clearly they are going to be the Big Bad (Wolf. I WILL NEVER LET ROSE TYLER GO. NEVER.) of the rest of this season, but where is the subtlety, Moff? And we’ve met Clara THREE TIMES now, did we really need another full episode establishing her rapport with The Doctor? Plus there were SO many similarities to both “The Idiot’s Lantern” and “Silence in the Library” and “Forest of the Dead” that the whole episode had a bit of a “been there” and “done that better” feel to it. It also probably didn’t help that this news dropped earlier in the day either. And don’t worry, I will be covering my feels on THAT later this week.
As we were unable to watch the premiere together, yesterday Sage and I made the trek to The Way Station where they were screening not only “Bells” but Clara’s other episodes “Asylum of the Daleks” and “The Snowmen”. We dressed in our nerdiest Eleventh Doctor T-Shirts (Sage went with “Words With Enemies” while I chose “Mad Man with a Box” ) and ordered up some Rose Tyler Cocktails (dangerously delish) and got seats on the front row (like you expect anything less from us). I also brought authentic Jammie Dodgers for us to snack on!
First, I must say a word about the crowd at The Way Station. It is a delightful mix of Whovians we want to hang out with, cosplayers (including a kick ass Melody Malone), and obnoxious know it all fanboys. One such obnoxious fanboy, while we were waiting outside for our screening, kept loudly proclaiming that Matt Smith and Jenna-Louise Coleman were clearly doing it. When Sage piped up saying “Um, she’s dating Robb Stark,” he blatantly ignored her, even though we were standing right next to him. He then proceeded to just talk very loudly about the fact that he had been to Comic Con. Basically, he just was one of those fanboys who liked the sound of his own voice (#theworst). Luckily, he was seated nowhere near us for the screening, because we WOULD have killed him. We ended up sitting next to an adorable couple (both in Whovian T-Shirts) that was clearly in the early stages of dating. Adorable. And by the way…you’re doing it right, buddy.
I will say that I enjoyed “Bells” much more after seeing it in context with the other Clara episodes. We were able to see threads that tied the three episodes together. We already saw how she mentioned liking souffles in both “Asylum” and “Snowmen”. And obviously, her catchphrase “Run you clever boy and remember” has been said in all three episodes. But there are other threads that tie the episodes together. For example in both “Asylum” and “Bells” Clara cries “Where am I??” when she is in peril (when she is captured by the Daleks and when she has been uploaded into the system, respectively). She also has been both in the Spaceship Alaska and at her current Nanny position for a year. WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN??
Perhaps I am giving Steven Moffat too much credit. Perhaps not. We shall see.
I DID love all the character moments between The Doctor and Clara. The scene where he is watching over her is beyond precious and I appreciate that Clara doesn’t immediately fall all over him. The Doctor basically has to woo her into joining him, which is where the episode leaves off. It’s nice seeing the Doctor have to convince someone, isn’t it? Matt and Jenna have a great chemistry, though I am now convinced that Matt, like Jeff Winger, just has chemistry with everyone.
– The woman in the shop that Clara got the number from is CLEARLY Sally Sparrow, right? RIGHT.
– Artie’s book is by AMELIA WILLIAMS.
– “Eleven’s the best.” MOFFAT YOU ARE SUCH A TROLL.
– “It’s a surprisingly accurate description.”
– The Doctor twirling about in his new outfit. Basically:
– “Under my protection.” –The Doctor
– The Doctor: Imagine that: Human souls trapped like flies in the World Wide Web, stuck forever, crying out for help.
Clara: Isn’t that basically Twitter?
– Clara’s book is missing ages 16 and 23. WHY WHY WHY WHY?
– “You and me in that box, now.” “I’m sorry?!” Um, Clara is a LADY, Doctor.
– Ten mentions competing in the AntiGrav Olympics in “Fear Her”. Continuity FTW!!!
– “Maybe tomorrow, I’ll say yes…” Again, Clara is making him work for it. I like it.
– “It’s a TIME MACHINE. Any time is good!”
– “Time to find out who you are!”
And that’s it for this week! Sage will be here to recap next week’s Indiana Jones looking episode “The Rings of Akhaten”…