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Doctor Who 7x07: The Bells of Saint John

Smarty Pants Julie is back to talk Doctor Who, in which we get some answers, more questions, and a gravity-defying motorcycle.

Doctor Who 7x07: The Bells of Saint John

Welcome back, dear readers, to the second half of season seven. Since the Christmas Special, the Doctor has been wandering around spacetime to try and find Clara Oswald. But is she closer than he realizes? Watch this cute prequel to find out. Also, see Matt Smith on a swing set.

I’ve decided to create a drinking game for the rest of this season—let me know if you have any additions!

Drinking Who
• Every time you hear the TARDIS noise.
• Every time someone makes the “Doctor who?” joke.
• Every time a companion flirts with the Doctor and/or the Doctor is awkward about sex.
• Every time someone who looks human is revealed not to be.
• Every time the Doctor says something is cool.
• Every time you see a Fez.
• Every time we’re introduced to a new kind of alien or planet.
• Every time someone sees the interior of the TARDIS for the first time (x2 if they are nonchalant about it).
• Every time someone uses the sonic screwdriver.
• Every time the doctor ends up a different place/time than he expected.
• Every time a Classic Who villain appears.
• Every time the sonic doesn’t work.
• Every time the Doctor makes a grand, scary speech to the villain—bonus points if you can chug for as long as he talks.
• Every time a companion dies/comes back.
• Every time a worldwide (or universe-wide) threat is reverted to status quo.

The Big Bad

I kind of love the premise of this episode, which puts a sinister spin on something we all take for granted: the internet. More specifically, wifi and cloud storage. We get a montage of people all over the world connecting to wireless signals while computer code scrawls over the screen in Sherlock-ian fashion. A funky free wifi signal starts popping up in some alien-looking language (I guess Totally Not A Virus, Kittensneeze, or Choose This One, Mom, were already taken).

Except that when these fools connect to the No Strings Attached wireless network, their soul gets downloaded and trapped in the internet ether. I think there’s a message here about the dangers of having your identity stolen if you’re not careful on public wifi, but hey, yolo. We all have to torrent Game of Thrones somehow.

It appears that the Great Intelligence is not done meddling about with people’s minds, and I’m putting my Gallifreyan pocketwatch on the GI being this season’s Big Bad. And I’m guessing they’re somehow tied to Clara’s odd existence? Or am I reading far too much into this? Regardless, we get shades of Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse as people’s souls/essence are made downloadable and controllable and the GI feasts on their minds.

After some fancy computer work by both the Doctor and Clara (the Doctor whizzes through his part one-handed, I might add), and turning the soul-sucking hotspots against the GI’s flunkies, all of the previously downloaded souls are returned to their bodies, safe and sound. U.N.I.T. swoops in to shut the operation down, but everyone’s minds have already been erased, including the leader, Miss Kislet, who’s been under GI control since she was a little girl.

The Companion

So. Clara Oswald. Did we meet the “original” Clara in this episode? Interestingly, she’s also a nanny now like she was in Victorian England. We also learn the origin of how Oswin was added to her name and how she got her super-hacking skills as witnessed in Asylum of the Daleks: after being partially uploaded, she gains the ability to…understand computers. I mean, whatever. I’m all for special skills and appreciate that she can hold her own, but do wish that her own interests drove her to be a superhacker prior to meeting the Doctor.

Also, what was with her 101 Places To Go book that had her ages crossed off, except for numbers 16 and 23? Do you think those 101 places will somehow be connected to the various versions of her the Doctor has met/will meet? I like that she doesn’t just jump into the TARDIS at the end, and I think Jenna-Louise Coleman is bringing a lot of depth to the character, but at this point she’s written a lot like Amy Pond 2.0.

Easter Eggs

It’s Easter! And this episode had Easter Eggs of sorts:
• A book by Amelia Williams
• Fez appearance
• Jammy dodgers
• Does the Sherlock-style script overlay count?
• Also, I swear I don’t have Sherlock on the brain, but does the cover of Summer Falls have a Hardy Boys version of Sherlock and John on there? Is this like the time the TARDIS popped up in The Hounds of Baskerville?


Also, who wants to read spoiler-y casting news about the show’s (Oprah voice) 50TH ANNIVERSARYYYYY SPECIALLLL? I don’t know about y’all, but I am seriously stoked for this.