7.232 "The Bells of Saint John" - SPOILERS

Synopsis from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bells_of_Saint_John

Following recent events, the Doctor has been contemplating the mystery surrounding Clara Oswin Oswald at a Cumbrian monastery in 1207. The monks bring him news that the “Bells of Saint John” are ringing. The Doctor returns to his TARDIS (on which is the emblem of St John Ambulance) and realises the external phone is ringing, which it should not do. He answers and finds that on the other end is a young woman from 2013 in Ealing, London, who believes she has been put through to a helpline, the “best one in the universe”. The Doctor recognises her as Clara when she uses the phrase “run you clever boy and remember”, which she previously uttered in “Asylum of the Daleks” and “The Snowmen”, as a mnemonic for her Wi-Fi password.

Unbeknown to him, Clara has connected to a different Wi-Fi network labelled by alien-like symbols. The connection alerts a technician working under Miss Kizlet (Celia Imrie), who instructs him to send a “mobile server” to her address - a humanoid robot that can take the appearance of anyone taken from a person’s memories. These are nicknamed ‘spoonheads’ by the technicians because of a spoon-like antenna dish on the back of their head that they use to upload their victims to Kizlet’s cloud storage. By the time the Doctor arrives, the spoonhead has gained access to her house and begun downloading Clara’s consciousness. The Doctor interrupts the operation and restores Clara, but his interference is noted by Miss Kizlet. He sends her a message and, after informing her ‘client’, she orders her agents to track down the Doctor and Clara.

When Clara recovers, the Doctor explains that someone is using the Wi-Fi networks to download and use human consciousnesses all over London for some unknown purpose; he also proves this by demonstrating that Clara has gained new-found computer skills due to her encounter. When Miss Kizlet’s agents discover the pair, she orders the Wi-Fi network to be activated, causing the crew of a passenger jet to fall asleep and the lights of London to be put out. The plane descends towards the pair on a collision course and the Doctor drags Clara to the TARDIS. He transports the TARDIS to the rear of the aircraft, stops the plane from crashing and then blocks the Wi-Fi as the crew awakens, before departing.

Much of the episode takes place around The Shard, inside which Miss Kizlet’s organization is stated to be working.The Doctor and Clara land the next morning and take a motorbike to a a café adjacent to St Paul’s Cathedral. The Doctor is unable to find the base of operations for the Wi-Fi network from Clara’s computer, but she offers to use her new skills to do so. The Doctor enters the café to get coffee when Miss Kizlet, using the various patrons in the café, taunts the Doctor and shows her abilities to control the London population. Meanwhile, Clara hacks the webcams used by the technicians and, using social media, discovers that the technicians work in an office inside The Shard. Before the Doctor returns to her however, she is once again downloaded, this time by a spoonhead impersonating him.

The Doctor, not wishing to lose her again, rides to the Shard on his motorbike, and uses its anti-gravity feature to scale the Shard, crashing into Miss Kizlet’s office. She calmly explains she is doing the work of her client who needs the human consciousness for ‘its’ purposes and refuses to release the stored consciousnesses. The Doctor reveals that he is still in the café and that he sent her the spoonhead in his guise after hacking it. The spoonhead downloads Miss Kizlet into the array of other consciousnesses, and then alters the obedience of her second-in-command to release all of them. Clara is restored to normal.

As UNIT forces rush in to secure the facility, Miss Kizlet explains to her client, the Great Intelligence, that she has failed him, and proceeds to do a “system reset”; she and all the other technicians are reverted to a mental state before they were part of the Great Intelligence’s plan. In her case, this means a return to her childhood.

The Doctor introduces himself properly to Clara in the TARDIS and offers to take her with him to any place in space or time. She rebuffs his request but tells him to come back the next day as she may change her mind. He gladly agrees, and as she leaves, he decides the time has come to unravel the mystery behind her.


Here’s my take on this series and this particular episode that I sent to Keir last night:

The Doctor is not the least smitten by Clara Oswin Oswald. Rather, remember when she says “Everyone has a plan” on the Cafe rooftop? The Doctor does indeed has a plan. He knows something is seriously not right with Oswin and he is keeping her close to him to find out exactly what. In fact I do not think his time in the monastery was to pine after her. I think he was meditating about all the possibilities and to think things through. Is she a threat? Is she a friend? Does she need help? Will he have to kill her? These sorts of questions. I think The Doctor does indeed have a plan on how to handle Clara Oswin Oswald. And I don’t think it is what any of us suspect right now.

To be fair Keir responded by staing that even though he had some issues with what I laid out that this would be a good return to The Doctor’s strength - falling for HUMANITY, not just a single human.

~Shooter Out

Great points Shooter. I can’t help but think though that Clara is not your average human. There’s something not quite right about her- why has she shown up multiples times to the Doctor? Why doesn’t she remember any of it? In the short BBC clip that was online, Clara as a young child met the Doctor on a playground- why doesn’t she remember meeting him then? So many questions! But I like the way the first episode set us up for even more questions to be answered. I am looking forward to this season very much.

I think Clara is going to be a paradox. Human, but not human. Repeating through time with a purpose. As the Doctor has said she is the only mystery worth solving. I am excited and intrigued at the prospect of this being explored.

As for the episode itself I felt like it fell a little flat. It is hard to live up to expectations, but I frankly felt like I had seen this before in other Doctor Who episodes. I don’t have an encyclopedic knowledge of Who, but the whole episode felt familiar in terms of everyone being taken over by some sinister other and using people as puppets. The only thing that felt fresh in the ep was the anti-grav motorcycle which ultimately turned into a one time (probably) plot device that did nothing to advance the plot save for one very cool shot.

Love new shiny Doctor content, but I need to be honest, this left me a little meh. Still excited, just slightly underwhelmed.

She called it a “snog box.”