Doctor Who Review: “The Bells Of Saint John” (Series 7, Episode 7)


Doctor Who Review: "The Bells Of Saint John" (Series 7, Episode 7)

A crazy new monster, a brand new companion, a dapper new costume–isn’t it good to finally have Doctor Who back? I say brand new, yet we’ve seen her before, twice. Who exactly is Clara Oswin Oswald though? That’s the question we all want the answer to, and while we obviously couldn’t find it in this episode, there were many hints and clues instead that pointed towards one.

The pre-credits scenes set up the ‘monster’ for the episode pretty nicely and in true Steven Moffat fashion, as we were warned by a guy in a very static-y video to not let our souls be stored in the WiFi. Crazy, yet so very Doctor Who. The new title sequence was slightly tweaked from the version that was shown in “The Snowmen,” and unfortunately, it did not sound as good. It just felt a bit off. Maybe it’s just me and I haven’t gotten used to it yet. The directing style of the episode almost reminded me of Sherlock, Moffat’s other show. Not coincidental I suppose considering Colm McCarthy, the director, is also directing an episode of Sherlock later this year.

Anyways, we’re introduced to modern-Clara as a ‘nanny’ of sorts, looking after some children in a home, similar to her governess role from “The Snowmen.” The Doctor rightly points this out later on in the episode. All three versions of Clara have been pretty much amused by the Doctor, rather than shocked. She’s still a bit of a flirt, but a bit toned down compared to the Victorian version.

Hats off to Jenna-Louise Coleman for making me fall in love with her again. She may be the best companion of the new series yet as she seems to play Clara effortlessly with the right amount of confidence and wit to act opposite Matt Smith.

Speaking of Matt Smith, the Doctor was on full form this episode, as usual. Watching him ride up the Shard building on a motorcycle may be the most badass thing we have ever seen from him, or any Doctor for that matter. I have to praise the visual effects team for pulling that off. Initially, I was worried at how cheap it might look but they made the scene look completely believable.

The Spoonheads were great new monsters to have as well. Having not seen any clips or most of the trailers beforehand, I had no idea exactly what they would like. So it was a pleasant surprise to me that they actually did look like spoon heads and that there was a somewhat logical reason behind it. Celia Imrie as the villainous Miss Kizlet was a joy too. I especially loved the scenes where Miss Kizlet would speak from different bodies as it brought some extra tension. It was very well done and I felt the Wi-Fi monster concept overall was a hit.

The reveal of the man behind the whole thing was a complete surprise to me: The Great Intelligence. Even though it was a returning villain from the Classic series, I had completely expected it to be a one-time return for the Christmas special. Never did I seriously think that it would have a larger role beyond that. I’m glad they still used Richard E. Grant’s face and voice to represent the monster. I must admit that I was slightly disappointed at the thought of The Great Intelligence being the big bad behind everything. But after giving it some thought, I am inclined to believe that there’s more to it than just that. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Silence were still involved in all of this.

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