This isn’t so much a review as a stream of consciousness with very occasional moments of discussion and/or rants. If you haven’t seen ‘The Bells of St John’ – which I do recommend you do; despite the skepticism, I did like the episode – this probably won’t make much sense.
(First of all, a minor rant; I was deceived and disappointed by the title of this episode. Yes, I knew the episode was going to be about WiFi, but I was very much hoping that there were going to be some actual churchbells in the episode, rather like the ‘Oranges and Lemons say the bells of St Clements’ nursery rhyme. Maybe all the churches in London would come to life and ring out, or something!
Instead, we get a phone ringing in the Tardis, which happens to have a label saying ‘St John’s Ambulance’. That is not a bell. That is a ringing phone, that is cheating, that is false advertising and I want my money back.
Only I didn’t actually pay for this episode, unless you count the tv licence, but it’s the principle of the thing.
Now that I’ve got that joke rant out of the way, let’s get down to business.)
Ah, foreboding images of the world that’s engrossed by WiFi, and people trapped in little screens. Ominous.
So…the Doctor goes to a medieval monastery in order to think about…stuff. Why? I thought he’d been shaken out of his depression over the Christmas special and was trying to find Oswin, or Clara, or whatever the hell her name is. How’s he going to accomplish that by sitting in a monastery cellar? Presumably for quite a while, judging by the attitudes of the monks. And drawing pictures of her, okay, that’s not creepy at all.
(Okay, another rant here. Yeah, two rants and I’ve barely begun, but what can you do?
About the young monk who accompanies the Doctor to the Tardis; I know the episodes are already finished and ready to go, but seriously, can he be the new companion, please? Or at least join up alongside Clara/Oswin/whatever the hell her name is. It’d be a welcome change of pace from the companions we’ve had in the new series so far.
This isn’t to disparage any previous sharers of the main credits. I’ve enjoyed them all over the years, for all the different things that they’ve brought to the show. But, let’s face facts; apart from Captain Jack and River Song, just about every long running companion in the new series has come from 21st century England. (Yes, Amy’s Scottish, but she was living in England when the Doctor first found her, and still living there when he found her again.) I remember…well, no, tell a lie, I didn’t actually watch the original series of Doctor Who until I got hooked on the new series, so I can’t exactly be nostalgic about the old episodes. Especially since I haven’t had a chance to see a lot of them yet.
However, I have read about them, and I know that several companions were from centuries other than the one in which the series was made – like Jaime McCrimmon, a Scottish piper from the 18th century – and occasionally not even from Earth at all, like Leela and Romana.
After six and a half seasons of recruiting companions from 21st century England, I’d be fascinated to see how a medieval monk fares on a journey through time and space, how he reacts to things, how differently he might see things compared to a present day mindset, how he grows and changes through various adventures and experiences. Alas and alack, that is not what I’m going to get, and once again we’ve got a person from the modern day United Kingdom. Yes, she’s shown up in other times and locations, but for the moment she appears to be a modern day United Kingdom resident, so that’s what I’m going to see her as until it’s proven otherwise.
I know this sounds whiny, but I really liked that monk. He looked like he could have been fun to watch.)
Clara somehow manages to call the Doctor. In 1207. With a number she got from a woman in a shop. What’s the betting this will come up later?
And once again he realizes it’s her from the catch phrase. You think he’d have learned to recognize her voice by now, since he’s so focused on and obsessed by her by this point that he can paint a picture of her from memory.
Ummm…how did that…robot…thing get into the house? Can they teleport? Why does it look like a little girl?
Yay for the return of the much celebrated fez, but really? Did the bow tie really need to be in a box that was just there to be opened dramatically?
So he finds Clara on the floor and ah, here comes the ‘hacking’. I am admittedly not wise in the ways of hacking, but I know a few people who are at least aware of what hacking seems to consist of. Which is generally sitting around staring at a screen and thinking a good deal. Also pressing ‘enter’ a lot.
This is not hacking; this is typing rather fast. From now on, it shall be known as ‘typing’.
Also, something cannot ‘undownload’. I believe it generally just gets stuck at a certain point. But if that happened, Clara would wind up with a virtual lobotomy, so back into your skull you go!
Did he seriously just lick that leaf?!?!?!?!
I will admit, the Doctor is being wretchedly sweet with how hard he’s trying to please her, including inventing the quadrocycle. And he’s only being mildly creepy now; every little (less) bit helps! They are sort of adorable, and thankfully they don’t flirt too much.
Does Clara know nothing about the internet? If so, HOW. She’s twenty four, she’s practically grown up with it!…unless there’s something odd going on here, which of course there is.
Huh. There is a strange man watching you across the road. Maybe you should go inside the house. Or the box, since it is nearer.
Ah, all the lights are going on in the houses. Ominous. You should probably get inside the box and stop joking about it being a snogging booth.
Get in the booth, you eejits, don’t stand there staring!!!
GET IN THE BOOTH AND THEN EXPLAIN.
Oh, so now we get a ‘bigger on the inside’ statement.
Huh. They managed to find enough room on the plane to actually land in, and then pull it out of a nose dive without ripping the wings off or anything.
Kudos. Also, Clara, let go of the mug, the tea is not that important!!!
So, the Doctor does a collection for breakfast? Does he do this a lot? And if so, why haven’t the media caught on to him yet? Why hasn’t he become a meme or viral or newsworthy? A disappearing and reappearing police box could just as easily become the next Harlem Shake. I know UNIT probably controls that area of the media, but if the efforts of Anonymous are anything to go by, the internet is a very difficult thing to stop once it’s gotten itself into motion.
Possibly doing a ‘City of Death’, in showing off London. I am still disappointed about the bells.
Aaaaaand more ‘typing’. Way to work in the newest addition to London’s skyline.
I would be dubious about the ‘typing’ of the webcams, but for once I definitely know that you can do that, so that’s all right. How exactly she manages to turn those captures into a search for facebook galleries is once more beyond me, but she’s magic now so anything goes.
The Doctor copies Hagrid, with a flying motor bike! I’ll admit, this was brilliant.
Aaaaand the sonic screwdriver can do anything. Again.
Are you seriously telling me that every single once of these meat puppets, who are under the complete control of the Director, have put their super secret place of work on their facebook accounts???????
The Doctor ‘types’ the router. How he managed to ‘type’ the spoon head robot to such an amazing extent is still a mystery.
UNIT to the rescue!
Oh dear, is the Director’s boss going to kill all of them? Besides turning out to be Richard Gere, aka the villain whose name I can’t remember from the Christmas episode.
No, he isn’t. He’s going to do something much worse. That poor woman.
The Doctor asks Clara to come with him, she tells him to come back tomorrow, he’s going to, interesting next episode preview, END.
…not a brilliant episode, as evidenced by my skimming it majorly by the end, but not too bad.
(I still want to see that monk again.)