Doctor Who Reactions: "The Bells of Saint John" (Spoilers)

It is no great secret that I am not one of the Eleventh Doctor's biggest supporters but I am not very impressed with this episode on a few levels. That is kind of surprising given the premise.

An ethereal form is using a means of mass media to capture souls/minds to feed it and leaves the bodies behind as husks. I am surprised I didn't enjoy 'The Bells of Saint John' because I certainly had a good time watching it when David Tennant had the same problem in 'The Idiot's Lantern'. It was like Moffat phoned this one in (Maybe that will be the third part of the trilogy for the Twelfth Doctor?) and it seems that the whole point was to hammer in the salient points for the upcoming 1/2 season:

1) Doctor WHO?

2) The Great Intelligence is one of the classic baddies making a new name for itself in the 21st Century.

3) Clara WHO? Why does she keep dying and why does she keep coming back? (And fans want to know what this means for the return of Adric. No, they don't. They really don't)  ;)

I am sorry to seem like such a pessimist. I love Doctor Who. Really, I do but there are certain stories that make it hard to say that and I felt this was one of them. That said, it really wasn't all bad. The effects were really impressive. I enjoyed The Doctor doing his Ghost Rider impression and riding a anti-gravity motorcycle up the side of a building and the way they made a one shot from the interior of the TARDIS to the cabin of a jet seamless. The thing of it is, Doctor Who has never really been the special effects as far as I am concerned but the story has been the heart. Sorry to disappoint by posting such a downer review but if anyone else out there has a positive POV, please sing out!

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I'm not sure about this either. I can sort of see where they want to go but something is lacking.

Well, it's quite difficult to post a rejoineder without giving away SPOILERS.

I have finished said episode only moments ago, by coincidence, and I enjoyed it.  The music is a little altered. The costume is slightly altered, and the companion is a cypher.


Remember, the first episode of most of the seasons and the new doctors don't attempt too much...it's more about laying groundwork.

But, I thought the opening sequence was quite clever in it's own way.... (remember the various one note jokes of season 5?)

 

 

Inbetween posting this and now, my college aged daughter has run in and announced that there's a 2 1/2 minute PREQUEL to the episode "The Bells of St. John".  And as it's short and sweet and has no special effects, it might improve your opinion of this episode.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IROtC6cAT4

Interesting - I look forward to seeing it.

I did see the prequel last week. The Doctor Who page and Space page on Facebook both had links to it and I agree it was very well done and didn't have special effects cluttering things up and that was very impressive. If the episode had that level of quality, I would have been giving unrestrained glowing praise but as I mentioned, the episode had a re-used premise & the repitition gets to me.

I can also appreciate the need to lay the groundwork as you mentioned, Kirk but when you have as limited a season as DW does (5 episodes, a Christmas Special and then another 6 or 7 in the spring), you have to make the best use of your time, practically hit the ground running unlike a series which has 20 or 25 episodes a year & can spend the time pointing out the direction you want to go long term. If you are doing a series like this you can start with ep.1 and start with point a & then ep. 2 you refer to point a and add point b and build on these things throughout the season. Maybe it is just my take on things & I fully admit I could be looking at this all ass backwards.

In the “Be Careful What You Wish For” department, after finally coming to accept a Doctor who (she felt) didn’t care enough for his companions, Tracy is now put off by a Doctor who cares too much. Given the Doctor’s history as a whole, I must admit she has a point. To play devil’s advocate, however, this is a not-so-new-anymore but at least different Doctor. Judging from online comments, many other fans share Tracy’s dislike for the new companion (the funniest online comment being, “I hope she chokes on her own soufflé). What I think is cool is that the book written by Amelia Williams featured this episode is going to be released for purchase this week.

I think the main reason it was a bit off to me was that the fact that Clara didn't seem at all impressed with the Dr. She was only momentarily stunned by the TARDIS. Maybe that's because of who she is, but normally the companions are a little impressed and I didn't get that feeling.

Finally got to see this, just a few things that struck me:

 

1)"Monks are not cool." I can't believe they couldn't find a way to work the word "meddling" in there, somewhere.

 

2)"Isn't that basically Twiter?"  Yuk-yuk-yuk.  Actually, I've never been on Twitter. What's it like?

 

3)I like the new console room - it's the first one since the '96 movie that's looked "right" to me.

 

4)"I can't tell the future, I just work there."   You should know the future, you've spent enough time there.

 

5)"No one loves cattle more than Burger King." Alawyas liked Wendy's burgers best, of the fast-food joints.

 

Overall: An OK episode, but I agree with JM that it is somewhat reminiscent of "The Idiot's Lantern".

I watched this one today and liked it enough.

  • The pun of the title made me laugh at what the bells actually were.
  • The Doctor care about Clara so much because he can't explain her. She is a mystery to him. She may be a real Impossible Girl
  • I like that Clara believes that the Doctor has an "ulterior" motive for his attention to her.
  • For people rationalizing about their victims "becoming immortal", they certainly don't want to go through it.
  • Social media, it will get you in trouble every time!
  • Turning passer-byers into puppets is very creepy!
  • This was a more action-orientated Doctor and he was playing for keeps.
  • His interaction with Clara shows a man with a broken heart (hearts) beginning to heal.

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