Doctor Who Series 7 Episode 6 “The Bells of Saint John” – TV Review

I review the latest Doctor Who episode, “The Bells of Saint John”, which sees a welcome return for Matt Smith and a great introduction for a promising new star, Jenna Louise Coleman. 

S7x06 “The Bells of Saint John

The Bells of St. John

Wow. What an episode. It’s always good to have Doctor Who back and The Bells of Saint John was certainly a welcome return to form for the series after the awful The Angels Take Manhattan, and it’s good to see that The Snowmen wasn’t just a one off. Whilst it may be another story designed to introduce a new companion, Moffat still manages to create an entertaining touch to the series.

This episode is built around the question – what if something got into the WiFi? It’s a very interesting concept, particularly because most of us use the internet every day, and whilst we’re on the move, we check for other people’s wifi not thinking of the consequences. This episode taps into our brains and thinks what the consequences be – in typical Who fashion. However, whilst this episode may have some very Doctor Who moments to it, it’s very, very different to the usual Doctor Who adventure. There are tones of Sherlock in the way that the episode was directed, particularly with the text scrolling across the screen, the fast music (although this is nothing that we’ve seen before in Doctor Who), which is no surprise really as Moffat plays a key role in both.

Clara is a very interesting character to look when it comes to the story concerning her background, for as one would come to expect from a Moffat episode, he’s given a layer of complexity to the character and of course we’re not going to find out who she is in the first episode. If Moffat gave that reveal away right at the start I would be disappointed.  This is a pretty jam-packed episode regardless, and we get lot of plot crammed into an episode that is head-and-shoulders above the last opener to the second Part of the series, Let’s Kill Hitler, with a very entertaining episode and some awesome sequences.

The chemistry between the lead actors in a show like this has to be good and Jenna Louise Coleman and Matt Smith do not disappoint. It’ll be interesting to see what new dynamic Coleman brings to the show and how she will react to the past/future episodes that look set to come in next week’s episode. The Bells of Saint John, I think – was a great starting point to the return of Doctor Who, with some very good set-piece moments, particularly the motorcycle scene and the plane scene being some interesting ones that were seemingly made for trailers. If I ever get a decent video editing material they’ll be in there for sure – for I’ve been meaning to create a trailer for a long time but am struggling to do it on Windows Movie Maker.

But regardless, let’s get back on topic. Doctor Who. The Great Intelligence is back in this episode, played by Richard E. Grant, and that was a very welcome surprise to this episode even if the “Spoonheads” themselves were a bit underwhelming. It becomes clear now that we’ll be seeing more of the Great Intelligence and It’ll be interesting what role he’ll have to play in the run-up to the 50th Anniversary, which sees the return of David Tennant and Billie Piper.

In conclusion, The Bells of Saint John was a very strong episode that felt like a mix of Blink and Sherlock, but nowhere near as scary as Blink was. Clara is a strong companion and Matt Smith is as great as ever. I’m looking ahead to the rest of the series with optimism, and can’t wait to see where we go from here.

VERDICT: 4.5/5

DOCTOR WHO SERIES 7 EPISODE GUIDE – Part 1:  S7x01: Asylum of the DaleksS7x02: Dinosaurs on a SpaceshipS7x03: A Town Called MercyS7x04: The Power of ThreeS7x05: The Angels Take Manhattan CHRISTMAS SPECIAL: The Snowmen PART 2: S7x06: The Bells of Saint John, S7x07: The Rings of Akhaten, S7x08: Cold War, S7x09: Hide, S7x10: Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS, S7x11: The Crimson Horror, S7x12: Nightmare In Silver S7x13: TBA (To Be Announced)

*EDIT 1: Amended Paragraph 3 to clarify my comment with more information about what I meant by “Clara is a very interesting character to look at,” in terms of her backstory.

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2 comments on “Doctor Who Series 7 Episode 6 “The Bells of Saint John” – TV Review

  1. No, sorry but this episode, like so many since Moffat took over was rubbish, and while Clara might be a “a very interesting character to look at” she lacked depth like so many of Moffat’s women.

    • Fair enough, everyone’s got their own opinions I guess. I know she isn’t the strongest Moffat-created female character (that In my book goes to River in her initial outing in Series 4), she certainly has some great potential – and I thought she had some strong chemistry with Smith in both this episode and The Snowmen.

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