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‘Doctor Who Series 7, Episode 7 (The Bells of Saint John)’ Review


bells-of-st-johns-doctor-who-poster-247x350At WonderCon this year, I had the pleasure of attending a screening of the latest Doctor Who episode, “The Bells of Saint John.”  Being able to see the episode on the big screen with a throng of fellow fans was quite an enjoyable experience.


The second half of this series begins with a message from a man pleading people to avoid his fate of being abducted by Wi-Fi and held in some sort of computer network. We are then taken to a monastery where the Doctor is struggling with the mystery surrounding the deaths and reappearances of Clara (in both “Asylum of the Daleks” and “The Snowmen”). He is informed by the monks that the bells of Saint John are ringing. They are of course referring to the exterior phone on the TARDIS, since the sign on the door reads, “St. John Ambulance.”

On the other end is Clara calling for tech support to connect to the Wi-Fi. She says that she got the phone number from some woman—which is either some inane way to move the plot along or, quite possibly, we will later learn that River Song has been meddling to reunite the two. When the Doctor realizes who he is talking to, he immediately travels to see her and is able to rescue her from being snatched in mid-download, which may have more consequences than we realize just yet.

Despite the rescue, Clara is not exactly as she once was. It appears that her temporary connection to the network has left her with an extensive knowledge of computers. The duo are able to locate the source of the abductions where they are able to return everyone who has been stolen and UNIT arrives to clean up the disaster. I was hoping that we would see a return of the Brigadier’s Daughter leading the agency, but, alas, she was not there. While they have saved the day, things are far from over. The shadowy mastermind behind the plot is revealed to be none other than the Great Intelligence (once again played by Richard E. Grant) who now appears to be some sort of sentient computer program.

After this year’s Christmas special, I had hoped we would see a return of the Great Intelligence, I just did not expect it so soon. With his reappearance, I am now especially hoping that Paul McGann returns for the 50th anniversary, so they can face off against each other and we can get a “Withnail & I” reunion. If you have not seen “Withnail & I,” please do yourself a favor and watch it, because it is great—seriously, go and watch it right now. I will wait . . .

See? Don’t you want to watch them together again? Now, let us get back to Doctor Who.

It is no secret that Amy was not my favorite companion, and I had been wanting a new companion for quite some time. We now finally have a new companion, and Clara has been a great addition. When Amy first appeared, there was the mystery behind her and the crack in the universe that made her a compelling character, but once that was solved, I quickly lost interest as she was only used to rehash the love triangle between her, Rory, and the Doctor. With Clara, we now have a new mystery of how she keeps returning from death, and, hopefully, we will see a change of pace from the formulaic companion having feelings for the Doctor. Not only is she a more likeable character than Amy, but, due to the semi-download, she is very intelligent. So far, her relationship with the Doctor seems to be more along the lines of his and Romana’s, where they were intellectual equals, which frequently caused them to butt heads. As an interesting side note, the observant viewer will notice that the book Clara is reading was written by Amelia Williams (Amy’s married name and the name she used as a writer).

At the end of the episode, we are left with the mystery surrounding Clara. I still have no idea how she came back after “The Snowmen,” but I may have an idea how she came back from “Asylum of the Daleks.” My guess is that due to her download, the Great Intelligence now has some sort of digital backup copy of her which was loaded into the dalek where we first saw Clara.



Drew Siragusa, Fanbase Press Senior Contributor


Favorite Movie: Metropolis Favorite Comic Book: The Ultimates Favorite Video Game: The Legend of Zelda


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