Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Review: The Bells of Saint John

So the Doctor has finally found Clara Oswald, after what appears to be (from his perspective in time) a very long search.  If you want a better review than this, I suggest going here.  I'll take a page from Jayne Gudkov's style and give you a breakdown of what I liked, what I disliked, and 'best' moments.


The banter and on-screen chemistry.  Jenna-Louise Coleman and Matt Smith work really well together.  It's great when actors have a genuinely good working relationship, and it shows on the screen.  It's like Coleman is River Song (played by Alex Kingston) with twenty-five years taken off.

The mystery of Clara Oswald.  Who is this woman?  Why does she keep popping up throughout time, same face, body, and voice, dying only to reappear somewhere else in time and space with apparently no memory of her previous existences?  Moffat, if you screw this one up, you deserve to be sacked from the BBC.  Don't use your usual throw-away, non-stick explanations.

The reintroduction of the Great Intelligence (and other old school foes).  As we head into this November's fiftieth anniversary episode, the writers are wisely bringing out enemies from the classic series — not rebooted or alternate dimension versions, but the actual enemies.  The Great Intelligence has resurfaced now in two episodes of the "new" series (which is now in its seventh season, so it's hardly new anymore), and I can tell right now that its presence is tied up in some way to Clara, though we won't know until the Big Revelation.


The Doctor (and Clara) riding a moped again, a nod to the 1996 television movie featuring Paul McGann.  Oh, and he used the moped's anti-grav feature to ride straight up the side of the London Shard skyscraper.  Brilliant!

The Spoonheads robots.  They looked like something straight out of a cheesy 1940s sci-fi serial.  Awesome!


Are you seriously telling me that police boxes are now so rare in Britain that almost no one remembers them?  There are still a few scattered throughout the country, such as the one at Earl's Court, a location that was referred to in the episode when the baddies were looking for the TARDIS's familiar police box form.  So why does no one refer to the exterior as a police box, and instead call it only a "blue box"?

The lack of originality.  Didn't we already see people being downloaded into a network of monitors in the Series Two episode "The Idiot's Lantern"?  It's already been done before.  No need to repeat that.


The Doctor keeps lying about his age.  During Sylvester McCoy's run as the Seventh Doctor, the Time Lord's age was established as being 953, give or take.  Then, when the series was revived in 2005, fifty-two of those years were shaved off — a writing error, no doubt, but one they felt compelled to stick with to maintain some continuity.  Besides, as he goes through his lives, the Doctor obviously feels much older than, say, a Time Lord might in his or her early lives, so it's understandable that he would want to lie to make himself younger than he really is.  But it's already been established in the episode "A Town Called Mercy" that he is now 1,200 at least.  And it's obviously been quite some time since he lost Amy and Rory.  So why, when he and Clara escape the Spoonheads and find themselves on a runaway airliner, does he give his age at 1,000?  Now he's shaving centuries off his age!  C'mon, really?  Dude...


The Doctor:  "Human souls trapped like flies in the world wide web, stuck forever, crying out for help."
Clara: "Isn’t that basically Twitter?"
Clara calling the TARDIS a "snog box".

(Thank you, Jayne!)

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