Season 7 Episode 6- The Bells of Saint John

A New Era Of Doctor Who Starts Here!

Series 33 Episode 6 / Season 7 Episode 6

Every Dr Who episode has a lot to live up to. There aren’t many other TV series whose fan base can match the time-(wink)-tested level of fervor that Whovians are capable of. But a season premiere (okay, HALF season premiere) that is the first regular episode appearance (kinda) of a new regular companion? That carries some extra expectations. Did “The Bells of St John” live up to ‘em? Maybe not, but who cares?

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I enjoyed this episode. It felt like a throwback to the one-off adventures from the David Tennant/Russel T Davies era like “Fear Her” or “The Idiot’s Lantern.”  It also made me think of other new companion debuts, like Donna Noble’s “Partners in Crime” or Martha Jones’s “Smith & Jones.” Dr Who stories can be divided into 2 categories: stand-alone adventures like these, and episodes that are part of the larger mythos and involve a lot of continuity. If you feel like “The Bells of St John” didn’t have enough of the numerous plot threads that we had to juggle through most of the Amy & Rory Pond era, I say that we were due for some relief. This episode cleaned the palate. Besides, before long we’ll be hip deep in Moffat-style brain twisters as the Doctor begins to unravel Clara’s origins.

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Matt Smith was in reliable form – we got to see him be clever and a bit fierce, which he is so good at, even tho’ the fierce bit was courtesy of his doppleganger.  The appearance of someone that was a hold-over from the Christmas Special (other than Clara) was a neat surprise and something the show doesn’t often do, so I thought that was refreshing and I look forward to seeing more of him, it? As to the quantum-charged-chronological-matrix-paradox in the room, the question of whether or not Jenna Louise Coleman works as the Doctor’s companion? The question of whether or not she’ll stand up to the long list of beloved companions in the show’s history? Well, there are a lot of traits to tick off on the Good Companion checklist, and she meets a lot of them. She’s not annoying (I’m gonna allow for a little extra coyness in the getting-to-know-you episode). She’s not useless or TOO smart. It’s tricky, cause making her too much like Amy would be a mistake, but too far from the Amy mold might wreck Matt Smith’s performance. A good job was done, walking a tightrope between those two missteps. In a few years, we might look back and say that Clara was to Amy as Martha or Donna was to Rose. But what I expect is that the Mystery of Clara will lessen that comparison and much of how we feel about Clara will lie in her secret.

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What was your favorite moment, if you had one? Mine was the ceremony that was given to the new bow tie. That was wonderful. The fact that the Doctor didn’t have to share that moment with anyone else on screen was a smart move. It was just for him and us. Although, I wanted some reasoning given onscreen as to why the change in wardrobe. I was hoping it would be used to inform us a little more about his attitude since the Ponds’ departure. Least favorite mo’? Asking Clara to repeat, “Doctor who?” A little too cutesy and too beat into the ground. We’ve seen that word-play before and it worked then, but it already feels dated, as if it’s from another era in the Doctor’s life.  But these minor nit-picks are the most I could find to complain about while I’m already chomping at the bit for another new episode this week and Whovians don’t always get to say that!

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Turn-ons: Comic books, action figures, Dr Who, dogs, and long walks on the beach with all of the above. Advocate for vegan living and animal rights. Sometimes I blog about toys & food at PlayWithMyFood.com

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