Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Bells of Saint John Review

May contain spoilers. Read ahead at your own risk if you haven't watched the episode yet.

Amazing. Just amazing. Not quite the urban thriller we were told about, but otherwise lived up to my expectations.

Not quite sure how we didn't all get the part about the bells of St. John before. It should have been rather obvious. I mean, the St. John's Ambulance logo has been there for two and a half seasons now. Come to think of it, I think someone did mention it, but only briefly. It really should have been picked up on more, I mean, it's staring us in the face.

I was actually surprised to learn that Oswin was not Clara's middle name. I thought all three of them were named Clara Oswin Oswald. Raises the question of whether Clara is any part of Oswin's name. So maybe they're not all that similar in that respect.

Also, in Asylum of the Daleks, the Doctor asks Oswin why she's such a good hacker, and she says that it's a bit of a long story. It's like she remembered the whole thing about the Wi-Fi, but forgot that the Doctor was there. Maybe they're all derivative works of the same girl, only with their memories of the Doctor edited out. That still doesn't answer the bit about dying twice, though.

We very quickly learn that "run you clever boy and remember" is more than just something she says when she dies. In this episode, it's something that could very easily have been made up by this family (the Mayfields) and may not originate with Clara at all. This just heightens the question of "where did this phrase come from?" and makes it all the more mysterious.

As for the bit about the woman in the shop, I'm rather hesitant to speculate. It could be River, it could be Rose (seeing as we now know she's going to be back, she could already be in the Doctor's universe), I doubt it's Martha (she's not very likely to be working in a shop), could even be Rani from the Sarah Jane Adventures, or someone from the classic series. There's too many women with the Doctor's phone number, I'm not really going to guess. Hell, it could even be someone we haven't met yet (Doctor #12 anyone?).

There were of course, the numerous similarities between what the Great Intelligence was doing in this episode, and what it was up to in the past (which you can read about here). I do like how the Great Intelligence referenced the Doctor and UNIT being old friends. This is especially awesome seeing as UNIT and the Brig are introduced in the Great Intelligence's second appearance, the 1968 episode, The Web of Fear.

Steven Moffat promised us an urban thriller, and while it was very urban, it wasn't really what I would call a thriller. A thriller should be fast paced throughout. This didn't really get going all that fast until the part where the Doctor discovers Clara in the cafe with her mind drained. The bit about the motorbike was very good, but not quite enough to qualify it as a thriller.

One littler thing that kinda bothered me was that in the scene where the Doctor and Clara got on the motorbike, two things happened A) the perception filter didn't work and B) the TARDIS doors closed on their own. Maybe the Doctor just deactivated the perception filter so he could get money for breakfast, but it could also be a malfunction in the TARDIS that is foreshadowing larger failures later on. As for the doors, either the Doctor snapped he fingers when I wasn't looking, or Sexy is smarter than she looks and closed the doors on her own.

Also are they preparing us for WhoLock? I mean, those special effects are very Sherlock and there was the Sherlock theme music in The Snowmen. I mean if the director for this episode was someone who had worked on Sherlock, I could understand, but as far as I can tell, Colm McCarthy has never directed an episode of Sherlock. Maybe Moffat is just merging the shows, maybe we'll get orange glowy stuff in Season 3.

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