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Doctor Who: The Bells of St. John

Written by Dr. Improbable on Sunday, March 31 2013 and posted in Features

Doctor Who: The Bells of St. John

Attention bell fans: No bells appear in this episode. Sorry.

Welcome, welcome, to BBC’s “Supernatural Saturdays,” which is a descriptor that appeals to me on so many levels. I hope you’re all ready for the return of our favourite Doctor! This year’s the 50th anniversary, so some shit’s gonna go down.

Hey, look! Internet! Looks like England’s made it to the 21st century! But there’s a bad network out there somewhere; log on and your soul will get trapped in the WiFi. I feel like this sort of the premise of Silence in the Library? Also, hopefully their WiFi isn’t as horrible as my parents’ Time Warner, because it can’t even handle loading .gifs, so I don’t assume human thought would go over well.

Trippy new intro, complete with Matt Smith’s disembodied face made of supernova!

A totally Game of Thrones-looking set has a man in monk’s outfit knocking on a door, saying the bells of St. John are ringing. They must go to “him.” Not surprising- him is The Doctor. He’s been monking around, taking vows of solitary confinement and painting pictures of Clara.

In present time, Clara/Oswin (I still prefer the ‘y’ spelling) is trying to Internet. Some kid (who, based on IMDB, might be named Artie) is reading a book written by one Amelia Williams. He’s on chapter ten, and Clara tells him eleven’s the best. DO YOU GET IT GUYS?! Anyway, the Internet is still not Internetting, but hey, look, someone at the BBC learned how to do some pretty neato “network” graphics.

Back in the past, The Doctor goes to his TARDIS, where the phone is ringing. Clara asks him where the Internet is, confusing a lot of people, as it’s 1207 when he is. He gets roped into helping her troubleshoot (missing a prime opportunity for “have you tried turning it off and on again?”), though keep in mind he doesn’t know who she is; at least until Clara says the magic phrase, “Run you clever boy, and remember.” Our Doctor freaks out and she gets stuck in the series of tubes, since she tried to connect to the sinister network.

Our monkish Doctor shows up to find Clara Oswin Oswald; she does not remember him, and he’s disappointed. She, on the other hand, is rather creeped out. Meanwhile, in the Matrix or whatever, some people discuss having trapped Clara. A man who looks like a tubbier knock-off Anthony Steward Head (Giles from Buffy, anyone?) is worried they’re snatching people up too quickly. Apparently they have the ability to change the personality levels on people. I expect this is what EA will do for the next SIMS release. A sinister woman named Miss Kizlet is in charge.

Clara speaks to the Doctor over a video chat in the front door (fancy!) and why are his lips so red? She hears something from upstairs. A little girl, who is all sorts of creepy, walks down. She just kind of mimics whatever Clara says- but she’s from the cover of the book Artie(?) was reading.

The Doctor changes back into his tweed and bowtie, only pausing momentarily to try on his fez. He returns to the house wearing “sensible clothes.” Right, my ass those are “sensible.” Clara is yelling through the speaker even though she’s unconscious- but she’s being projected through the back of the head of that weird girl. The Doctor sonicates her (which means something different when I do it to cells) and reveals a robot. He interrupts the download and also undownloads her (is that like re-uploading? I’m… I’m not great with computers, guys.) The IT Crowd over there is upset. Clara wakes up.

Kizlet talks to a screen and says the Doctor is here.

The Doctor fixes up Clara’s room with jammy dodgers and flowers (truly the way to a girl’s heart) and rifles through her stuff (maybe not so much.) Clara wakes and speaks to him out her window to find he’s done all her chores, plus invented the motorcycle. He tells her she’s safe and returns to guarding her. Sinister woman upgrades her Asian’s IQ to be able to get to Clara/The Doctor.

Meanwhile The Doctor explains to Clara that something is wrong with the WiFi. Not just that Time Warner is in charge and so it’s shitty as hell, but because something is living in it. The lights in the neighbourhood start turning on, and another weird robot thing is watching them. I guess the human disguise is for “camouflage,” since most people I know have concave screens in the back of their head. A plane descends upon them and they run into the TARDIS. Clara gets to freak out about its size. They land on the incoming plane (Clara’s got her tea in hand, because the British never stop being British), which has a bunch of unconscious people on it. The Doctor saves everypony. Also, apparently the IT crowd doesn’t understand the TARDIS.

With time machines, you never have to wait for breakfast. The Doctor collects tips in his fez and fetches his motorbike from the garage.

Meanwhile the IT crowd finds the TARDIS thanks to the Internet! The Doctor and Clara ride around London on the motorbike to avoid the TARDIS falling into the wrong hands, since I suppose leaving it by the Thames in front of a crowd of people who totally noticed it is safest. Also wow, London has great upload speeds.

Clara starts asking questions about the Doctor and his plans (which, of course, he hasn’t really got) and his response is, “I can’t tell the future, I just work there.” He then asks why she’s a nanny. She avoids answering and instead attempts to hack the Matrix. The Doctor buys some scones and cappuccinos, and the barista startles him by saying he won’t be able to save Clara. The Matrixy IT Crowd keeps hacking people to fuck with the Doctor’s head.

Kizlet talks through a waitress, then a child, then just like everyone. Clara continues hacking while Doctor gets all indignant and self-righteous about humans. Clara finds everyone on the facebooks and the myspaces (really?)- she finds that they all work at The Shard. That probably should have been company policy, not posting your work GPS info to the twitters.

Unfortunately, the Doctor has been roboto-fied and thus they manage to capture Clara.

The real Doctor finds her trapped in his robot-self. That’s got to be eerie. He tries to sonic her, but her download is complete so he cannot. He motorbikes his way to The Shard. Said motorbike, by the by, is equipped with anti-grav, which seems real convenient and also a wee bit Harry Potter-y. He demands the return of Clara into her body. Kizlet tries to be clever and points out he has no leverage, except it turns out he really sent the weird robot version of him. He downloads Kizlet into the Matrix, thereby “motivating” her into setting herself (and thus everyone else) free. Asian Man and Not Giles refuse to set them free initially, but RoboDoctor alters their personalities to make them change their minds. Oh eleven, you can be so manipulative when it suits you. Everyone wakes up, including Clara.

The IT Crowd has been infiltrated by UNIT. Oh, so we’re bringing that back now? Kizlet speaks to a face, who has apparently feasted on many minds, which sounds undelicious. She finds herself restoring everyone in the Shard to their factory settings. Everyone is real confused, and Kizlet has a child’s mind again, which is creepy as all hell.

Clara is back to living with her family friends as a nanny. She finds the TARDIS outside. The Doctor, of course, invites her to travel with him, but she tells him to come back tomorrow. She leaves, and he activates the revamped TARDIS, presumably to fast forward to tomorrow.

Well everyone, we have an exciting ride ahead of us for the upcoming season! More unravelling the mysteries of Clara Oswin Oswald, more Doctor, more new TARDIS, etc. Plus, with the incoming 50th anniversary, expect lots of random tie-ins to old stuff and even the return of previous incarnations of the Doctor! I am just like, so excited! See you all tomorrow for the return of Game of Thrones, which I am also excited about! SO MUCH EXCITEMENT!


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About the Author - Royal Nonesuch

As Senior Media Correspondent (which may be a made-up title), Royal Nonesuch tends to spearhead a lot of film and television content on The Outhouse. He's still a very active participant in the comic book section of the site, though. Nonesuch writes reviews of film, television, and comics, and conducts interviews for the site as well.  You can reach out to him on Twitter or with Email.


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