Monday, December 16, 2013

Doctor Who - Goodbye Matt: The Bells of Saint John

Doctor Who: 
The Bells of Saint John 
By Steven Moffat

Right then, Clara Oswald. Time to find out who you are.”

So here we are in 2013 and the return of Doctor Who after a little break and now we can look forward to new stories for the next eight weeks during this Anniversary year.  The Bells of Saint John is the first one that starts off all the excitement and after all the previews and interviews we now have had a chance to see the episode with high hopes that it will be great.  So did the Bells of Saint John get the ball rolling and get our excitement meter on high and greatly fuel our anticipation for the next seven stories or was it a gutter ball and have all the fans doing a collective face palm giving us that dreaded feeling of dismay that the next seven might not be up to snuff. 

I really liked The Bells of Saint John.  At first after reading the synopsis and watching the trailer with the villain being called Spoon heads I did have my doubts.  With Steven Moffat’s track record lately you could see where I would be hesitant about The Bells of Saint John but after watching the episode it seemed my fears were unwarranted. 

The Bells of Saint John starts off with a warning about the WIFI. A warning that something is in the WIFI and if you click on the alien looking service you could be picked and then have your soul downloaded into the computer.  I found this aspect of the story to be really creepy and a tad spooky as it is something we use in everyday life more and more.   We us WIFI for laptops, phone, tablets and game consoles so it is everywhere and to have a way of getting to you through the WIFI and capturing your essence was really freaky and cool at the same time.  I just loved that aspect especially when you see all the faces on the screens on the wall which was just chilling to see.

What was really good to see is how well Matt Smith and Jenna Coleman are together.  They have a great chemistry that was hinted at back at Christmas but you can really tell how well they gel in The Bells of Saint John.  It sort of reminds me of how well The Doctor and Donna, The Doctor and Sarah Jane and The Doctor and Jamie got along as you knew by watching them that there was a good bond and that the chemistry is just right and that is the impression I get from The Doctor and Clara so far in the early stages of the relationship.  

I did like the Spoonheads as they are called.  Those were pretty freaky also as they look like people but once they turn their heads around they zap you into the computer or I should say upload you.   At first when I heard their names I just rolled my eyes and thought how stupid is this going to be.  Well they were all right and not as stupid as I thought.  They did have a creepy aspect to them and I can see kids cowering when they watched them in action especially when they came after Clara as the little girl from the book.

The part of the story I thought was kind of stupid was The Doctor being a monk.  If he was so busy trying to find Clara why did he waste his time in solitude with a bunch of monks.   Plus when he was at Clara’s why did he not change out of the Monk costume instead of looking like a lunatic and why didn’t Clara call the cops on him. That’s what a normal person would have done.   But that is nick picking and these things did not ruin the story for me nor did leaving the TARDIS open when he took the motor bike out of the TARDIS and then see it magically closed in the next scene.

I did like the way the story ended.  It wasn’t all reset buttons or sonic screwdriver solution either. It was The Doctor using his head and coming up with a solution.  I liked how he used The Doctor Spoonhead against Miss Kizlet who is the main protagonist of the story or so we thought.  It was pretty clever of The Doctor to use the Spoonhead version of himself and have it fly up the side of the building in its anti grav bike.  It was good to see their technology used against them and being hacked into releasing all the captured souls.  I was pretty satisfied with this and didn’t feel cheated at all about it.  The Bells of Saint John has a very satisfying conclusion to a pretty good story.

The Bells of Saint John did not have much in it I did not like.  I enjoyed how The Doctor save the neighborhood from the crashing plane and also enjoyed how that was handled as I thought that was pretty cool.  Plus I loved how it was explained that it could happen and not just thrown into the story as a cool element that made no sense.  Plus I also liked who is controlling Miss Kizlet and it was indeed a nice surprise to see this thing return and one wonders if there is indeed an Intelligent theme going through the series after all.  

So in all The Bells of Saint John, or the TARDIS phone as it turned out to be, gets the continuation of the series started on the right foot with a freaky but good story to enjoy on repeated viewings.

Grade B+

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