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IGN Review of Bells of St John Warning Spoilers

Hi, All, I have added the IGN review of the most recent Who Episode, " The Bells of Saint John." A good read in the meantime until our next meetup. Cheers.


Like all the great inventions – the wheel, electricity, cat memes – it's now hard to imagine living in a world without the internet.
Let's put it this way: if we had to choose between an apocalypse brought about by zombies or wi-fi, we know which we'd have a better shot of surviving (ready availability of baseball bats willing).

So while The Bells of St John didn't quite deliver on the full-scale meltdown of an internetalypse, it had more than enough energy, character and spectacle to prove a rollocking kickstart to the concluding part of Season 7.

Plot-wise, we picked up where we left off at the end of last year's Christmas special 'The Snowmen'. Clara had been killed. Again. But with her dying words she managed one last tug on the Doctor's brain-yarn (innuendo ahoy), catalysing a spiralling series of questions, and a brand new mission - who, what and how is Clara Oswald?!

The Bells of St John… nailed the typical Whovian trope of taking something so familiar and commonplace, and twisting it into a nightmarish threat."

We picked up with the Doctor's self-imposed 'quiet time' being interrupted by an impossible incoming TARDIS call from a now 21st century-bound Clara. One space-time happenstance/snafu later, and the pair were reunited, only to be beset by a mysterious Big Bad with the power to download people's minds, and feed off their consciousnesses by hijacking the wi-fi.

And you thought roaming data charges were bad.

Equal parts The Ring and Black Mirror, and with just a pinch of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Bells of St John boasted a strong concept, and nailed the typical Whovian trope of taking something so familiar and commonplace, and twisting it into a nightmarish threat.

Sure, the monsters of the week were as terrifying and imposing as their name suggested (we can't see 'The Spoonheads' heading up their own horror franchise, anytime soon), but the hook of an omnipresent enemy proved sizeable enough, and tied nicely into the real Big Bad behind it all – Richard E. Grant's The Great Intelligence, who it appears is going to be lurking behind numerous machinations to come.

Did you not hear the word 'anti-grav'?
The Bells of St Johns Bell continued Season 7's aim of delivering a blockbuster a week, but Moffat's pre-promoted pitch of the episode having a Bourne Identity vibe fell short. While the action may have failed to hit any true 'punch the air' moments, the plummeting plane and anti-grav motorbike win points for sheer chutzpah, and the pacing was springy enough to entertain throughout.

In fact, it was the episode's stylings that impressed the most – with Sherlock-esque visual markers, London-encompassing sweeping camerawork, and a soulless data-hub evoking the episode's snazzy, energetic and ominous moods respectively.
Yet again though, this was Clara and the Doctor's show, with both Coleman and Smith showcasing even more of the comedic and romantic chemistry that's guaranteed to entertain week in and week out. It may have been a hearty seven months since we first saw Clara, but this felt like the first episode where she received an impactful, lasting introduction – not least because she didn't die for once.

Her modern incarnation is still very much an equal to the Doctor – if not for the smarts (technotardation aside), banter, fearlessness and bamboozling flirtation, than for the mystery at the heart of her. It's a partnership that has them both as interested in figuring out the other, and Moffat succeeded in dangling enough clues to stoke the speculative fires (who was the woman in the shop that gave Clara the Doctor's number? Why did her diary not have any reference to her being 23? Is her middle name really FTW-related?!).


While The Bells of St John wasn't quite a classic, it had enough comedy, chemistry and grandiose setpieces to kickstart Season 7B in style.

Table of Contents

Page title Most recent update Last edited by
Sorry for a lack of Meet Ups March 23, 2015 1:50 AM Ed/EdDW
What if: Doctor Who was an American TV show February 21, 2014 8:59 AM Moises D.
Matt Smith surprises terminally ill young fan February 21, 2014 8:53 AM Moises D.
IGN Review of Bells of St John Warning Spoilers April 4, 2013 11:20 AM Moises D.
About The Philadelphia Doctor Who Meetup Group November 2, 2007 11:28 PM Ed/EdDW

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