‘Doctor Who’ Season 7.5 Premiere Review – New Companion & WiFi Threat

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doctor who season 7 bells st john clara doctor Doctor Who Season 7.5 Premiere Review   New Companion & WiFi Threat

After three months, Doctor Who has now returned for its Season 7.5 premiere, where new companion Clara is “officially” introduced. And to help kick off a new era, Steven Moffat brings “The Bells of Saint John”, a sci-fi take on the world of WiFi.

After hiding away in solitary, the Doctor is called back into action by a familiar voice (Clara) asking for help with her computer. As the Doctor begins to celebrate his new find, the threat living in the signal attempts to collect Clara for their own, forcing the Doctor to make quick decisions to save her life. With the threat still chasing after Clara, the only way the Doctor can save the day is by using his enemy’s powers against them.

Much like Moffat’s most beloved episodes “Blink” and “Silence in the Library”, “The Bells of Saint John” attempts to take an over-looked element from society and make it a threat by putting a sci-fi twist on it. Largely successful in its execution, Moffat’s take on humanity’s connectivity does introduce some new and truly compelling – though not actually terrifying – story elements worthy of a revisiting. However, much like the season 7 premiere, “Asylum of the Daleks”, it appears the want to create big spectacle, this time for its official introduction of the new companion (and part 2 premiere), has once again eclipsed its compelling plot – though in this case that’s not entirely a bad thing.

doctor who season 7 bell st john doctor Doctor Who Season 7.5 Premiere Review   New Companion & WiFi Threat

Although this is the third time that audiences have been introduced to some iteration of Clara (or Oswin), viewers have yet to see the Doctor spend quality time with the version of the person he’ll be traveling with. And that, essentially, is what the season 7.5 premiere does, albeit forcefully. For the majority of the episode, it’s enjoyable to watch the Doctor flex his powers, show his strength and seduce the girl he’s been searching for with his little snog box. That is, of course, until the plot of the story gets in the way everything.

As if the whole WiFi tale was but an annoyance to these two star-crossed travelers, the actual plot of the story is largely glossed over, instead used as “the other thing” the Doctor is doing, rather than spending time with Clara. In fact, when it comes down to defeating this episode’s threat, the Doctor chose to make use of the underutilized “Spoonheads” to remotely make waste of his foe. A brilliantly ingenious triumph for the Doctor, sure – but the ending, like much of the story, makes minimal use of the actual plot.

Still, watching the Doctor spend time with Clara was enjoyable and, if anything, it helps ease Doctor Who through the dreaded companion transition (where longtime fans of the series need time to warm up to the new addition). That being said, the previous two “Clara” episodes had already helped introduce audiences to Clara’s enthusiastic and adventurous demeanor – which may have some questioning why so much time was spent on the Doctor and Clara together in this episode. After all, watching a new companion experience life with the Doctor (and all the real dangers that comes with it) is what helps endear them to the fans in the first place.

doctor who season 7 bells st john review Doctor Who Season 7.5 Premiere Review   New Companion & WiFi Threat

For all intents and purposes, the Doctor Who season 7.5 premiere is an enjoyable return for one of television’s greatest, now with new companion in tow. Although the episode never truly makes use of its imaginative plot, the time spent with Clara and the Doctor is enjoyable enough to see the potential of some wonderful adventures (and interactions) with these two together.

With Moffat now focused on the new companion, it’s only a matter a time before Clara’s mystery takes center stage, allowing fans to truly see what her character is about. And even though it does feel like the series needs to wind itself up again for its return, there’s really no doubt that some wonderfully crafted stories will be on their way. Of course, like most things, we’ll will have to wait and see.

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Doctor Who returns next Saturday with “The Rings of Akhaten” @8pm on BBC America

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33 Comments

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  1. Damn!

    I bought a season pass on iTunes for DW season 7 part 2, but it’s not available yet.

    I don’t get BBC America……..

    • It wasn’t ground-breaking, meaning it’s got limited replay value IMO, but it was a good opening. I hope you get your fix soon.

      • I finally gpt it.

        It was good. Not the best episode I’ve seen, but a very fine opening for the next half of season 7.

  2. I had watched the series online and dreaded the commercial breaks. My fears were justified. Way too many long commercials. I would have liked it better that just “good” if there were no breaks.

  3. Thought it was a good episode. hopefully there is more to the arc than just clara.

  4. I like Oswin. I hope they don’t make us wait all season to reveal Oswin’s secret. That would be kinda dumb. I mean, if I’m the Doctor, that’s like the first question I’m going to ask her.

    • He asked her if she remembers him. She said that doesn’t, so whatever her secret is, she either doesn’t know herself, or doesn’t want to tell him (my money’s on the former–she seemed sincere when she said that she doesn’t remember him.

      • Good point about her failing to remember the Doctor. In that case, I wonder what will trigger the reveal. Since the show was resurrected with Eccleston, I’ve tried hard to predict events, and more often than not, I’ve gravitated toward the obvious (and wrong) conclusion (prime example: River Song and Melody Pond).

  5. it was a intriquing ep and wonder if the iterations of clara will all be combined in her somehow.

  6. anyone notice that the book Clara loves in the beginning of the episode was written by Amy Williams (aka. Amy Pond Williams)

    and my brother mentioned something about 23. Its been recurring on the show lately. In this episode the book with the leaf as a list of numbers but excludes 23. any thoughts.

    • Some interesting observations, but sadly I do not pay that close attention to the show like that. I am more of a torchwood fan at heart which I which I do not know why I just wrote that lol.

    • I didn’t notice that, but you can bet I’m going to keep my eye out for both Clara and the number 23 moving forward.

    • “Tennant was the 10th Doctor and Piper played his on-screen companion Rose Tyler in the BBC One show. … disappointed” by the 3D show, due to air on 23 November.”

      This offers one explanation for the number 23.

    • November 23 was the original air-date of Doctor Who back in 1963 ..?

  7. what if, in one of their travels, the doctor and clara run into ANOTHER version of clara?

  8. Sounds like they’ll possibly meet the previous Doctor during the 50th anniversary. That would be really exciting for me.

    • @Royal I’m thinking that we’ll meet the Human Doctor & Rose in the parallel world.

      As for the number 23, I hadn’t noticed it being mentioned in the episodes. But I did think that was pretty cool about Clara’s favorite book being by Amy. I wonder if the Doctor will ever see that or if it was just for us.

      • I totally forgot about Doctor 0.5. That would be pretty interesting.

      • It would be funny and ironic if, after all the pondering and debating going on here all the possible variables about the number 23, we’d found out that 23 actual days had somehow slipped by us all and we missed the three most important and entertaining episodes of Dr. Who ever written, which totally explained the significance of 23, but were never to be repeated or written about again, never ever ever.
        Jusr curious, is that the correct usage of “ironic”, I’m never quite sure….

  9. I thought the plot could have been brilliant, but was sadly underdeveloped. Although I was glad that *spoilers!* the Great Intelligence was back, because when they announced the plot for the episode a while back I thought it would fit perfectly. But then people were talking about the Spoonheads, which I took to refer to the villains behind the plot, rather than just machines. So that was a nice touch, will be looking forward to what it does next (although I’m disappointed it isn’t still Ian McKellen voicing it).

    But yeah, the episode could’ve been much better. Just like Asylum of the Daleks, it promised a much more interesting setting than it delivered on. I was expecting the Wi-Fi threat to produce another creepy monster – like the Weeping Angels or the Silence, but the Spoonheads don’t quite hit that mark. Here’s to hoping Moffat’s got some real meaty episodes up his sleeve for the next few.

  10. the beginning of the episode (and actually most of the premise) made me think of Black Mirror.. I’m glad it turned out a lot different than that series in the end.
    I didn’t like the whole plane scene – sooo damn goofy! but I enjoyed this episode overall. The Doctor and Clara have such an amazing chemistry and I’m so looking forward to future stories :)

  11. The Doctor channels Ghost Rider!

    • That was my first thought in that scene too!

      How unfortunate, lol.

  12. the show was canceld in germany at season 2. with reason!
    Its so cheap….

    • Because, of course everyone loves German tv!

      Their cars perhaps, but I’m not aware of any German sci-Fi tv shows that are as global. Besides, it’s a kids show and they like it fine.

      • Correct, german shows suck too ^^ i only watch oversea tv/film.
        Still, DrWho is cheap produced and some kind of weird.

        • It’s not cheaply produced, it’s just that Sci-Fi dramas are very expensive to make. Plus DW is set in a different place each episode meaning sets have to be constantly built or re-used. Gotta cut it some slack, besides, the BBC doesn’t get it’s money from selling adverts so it has to use it’s budget wisely.

  13. I’m just glad that the plot wasn’t resolved throught the p.ower of love(tm)

  14. Loved it. It might not be perfect but it was great and enjoyable nonetheless. Other than the Ponds reference, I spy with my little eye Richard E. Grant! Always wanted him to play The Doctor ever since he played the Doctor for..10 seconds but as a villain is ok, I guess.

  15. Actually, it’s one of the very rare occassions that I find the Doctor/Companion time and monster-of-the-week time are very well balanced. I loved the episode – it was a-ok. We can’t expect to have a brilliant masterpiece every week, this one was just fine.

  16. Doesn’t anyone notice how the supernatural entity/alien/etc. is kind of like the Wire from the episode “The Idiot’s Lantern” in Season 2? It’s like practically the same concept. Not that it’s a bad thing. I actually enjoyed that it was similar; I just hope they call attention to it.

    Very good episode. I like Clara a lot more than Amy so far. Not that I didn’t like Amy, I was just ready for a new companion after 3 years.

  17. I hope that The Doctor tells Clara everything he knows about her soon, lest we get some horrid falling out for no reason other than, “We needed another episode.” Why is the universe seemingly bending over backwards to get The Doctor and Clara together? Who is it that keeps putting the various versions of Clara through to The Doctor?

    I’m very glad that The Doctor pointed out that any time was good for him – I get sick of time travel films where people say, “Quick! Hurry! We need to get in the time machine as fast as we can!” Time travel means you don’t *have* to rush…

  18. I am so loving these tribute episodes. Clara’s first ep was full of William Hartnell references including Clara’s clothes, and the second full of Troughton references from The Snowmen to the Top Hat. And this ep …. Pertwee’s motorbike and helmet, UNIT, Edwardian coat, action man Doctor, Saint John (Jon), etc, etc.

    The story was fun too

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