S33 (7) 7 – The Bells of Saint John

Home Forums Episodes The Eleventh Doctor S33 (7) 7 – The Bells of Saint John

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    ScaryB @scaryb


    Great summing up, thanks. I missed the word-play solution of DELSA (N-velope) being SLADEN (doh! slaps forehead). Hmm, so we have Clara (Lis’s middle name), this and the transition in the trailer of Sarah Jane into Clara (possibly via Susan)  (And I love your meta-textual Clara numerology – that was a work of genius to unravel 🙂 So… Clara will ultimately be revealed as a 40-something Scotsman…? 😈 )

    And you said I’m –

    responsible for a pun even worse than one of @wolfweed‘s

    You have made my day <does Yeti bounce/twirl of happiness> Ohmygiddyaunt  😀


    why did the childrens’ mother die the week that Clara came to stay? It is implied that her death was not connected to Clara’s visit but was unexpected.

    Unfortunate things do seem to happen to kids’ mothers when Clara’s around don’t they?  It could just be to emphasise her Mary Poppins-like right place right time nanny skills.



    right place right time

    There’s another Who character that does that, too.

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    I was originally resistant to the idea of it being Rose as the woman in the shop, but given her presence in the 50th, I do like the idea that maybe it is, and she is prompted by a future version of Clara herself to initiate their meeting. I think it may have been the companions thread where we talked about certain similarities with the shape of Clara’s storyline with Rose, and maybe that was the point?

    After singing the praises of Matt Smith on the Faces strand, I’ll just divert to talk about guest stars. It’s fantastic the calibre of people Who is attracting, but do you sometimes find yourself watching one and thinking “Gah – not much returning potential in that one. Bugger!” Celie Imrie here, and I felt the same way about Jason Watkins in the Nightmare in Silver episode. Great to see them, but it would have been marvellous to see them again. Still this is Who, and anything is possible. Jason could be the first Ginger Doctor!

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    Not only a cold opening, but a little joke by BBC continuity. They bring up the GI Wifi symbols before the episode starts.

    The dangers of wifi – and our habit of trying to piggyback on any available signal.

    Okay, souls. In Series 5 we had Rory’s heart and soul being loaded into an Auton; so much so that the Auton was Rory. In Series 6 we had Amy’s ‘soul’ being relayed to a ganger version of herself; and the Doctor sees her as having ‘really’ been travelling in the TARDIS with them. In Series 7 there’s River’s ghost – who is really River, the various Claricles, and Clara-from-Blackpool. Whose ‘soul’ gets uploaded and downloaded in this episode like it’s got some kind of celestial travelcard.

    What is established in this episode is that bodies cannot live without a soul. The Doctor may have had loads – but all his bodies have the same ‘soul’. And if you make a copy of a soul – to him, that’s the same person. That’s how he reacts to GangerDoctor, that’s how he reacts to GhostRiver. Bodies are boring; what matters is the soul.

    But if the soul is removed from the body, the body will die. The soul can survive – but without a virtual reality, it will be lost and unhappy. Trapped in a kind of limbo: “I don’t know where I am.”

    The structure is very similar to The Angels of Manhattan; in each case we have a ‘cold opening’, and then we have a time jump. Cumbria, 1207.

    I confess that I have no idea what’s so important about Clara and Cumbria. She’s from Blackpool – which is in Lancashire. This monastery isn’t likely to be anywhere near Blackpool. There are bits of Lancashire which are now in Cumbria, but Blackpool isn’t one of them. So is it something about the Doctor and Cumbria? He’s the one who keeps going there/mentioning it.

    Establishing that Clara is astonishingly computer-illiterate for the Facebook generation. Almost Victorian, in fact. Is she an English graduate? There’s a lot of books in that house.

    I do like the joke with the phone cord. Presumably the TARDIS rerouted the call, created an external phone, and extends the cord as needed.

    Rycbar123 – again, there’s a hint of a loop about all this. It sounds like Clara’s phrase is simply the password acronym – but was the acronym created from her statement at Trenzalore? And 123 – this is the third Clara that the Doctor has met (assuming little Clara on the swing was the same one).

    I note that the Doctor seems to have had a shower since 1207 – his hair’s a lot fluffier and he looks about nineteen.

    Finally our first sight of the villains. Or the apparent villains. “my conscience says we should probably kill him” – such a lovely line. And the first hints that not all is as it seems. Employees being hacked, ‘our client’.

    The Doctor’s first meeting with Clara isn’t going at all well. Clara’s a bit like Rory in a lot of ways and one of the ways is that she’s reacting sanely to this total lunatic. That must be why the spoonhead got in from upstairs, btw, because the front door was being used to have a shouting match with mad monks.

    Mirroring, again. The spoonheads mirror conversation in the same way that the snow mirrored Walter.

    You can see Matt Smith using different fingers on his Sonic, as if he’s changing setting to uncloak the Spoonhead. He can’t type, though 😉 And The Client knows The Doctor.

    There is something odd about that leaf. You can see it in the Doctor’s reaction.

    Another little loop; the Doctor invents the quadrocycle from his future knowledge of the quadrocycle.

    Clara’s grey pullover – vaguely reminiscent of a starfield seen from the viewpoint of someone travelling through it (I’m thinking of the ‘warp factor’ screensavers that were popular at one point).

    Again, the scene downstairs is reminiscent of Clara’s ‘only sane woman’ approach. Something weird has happened and she’s happy to accept that this strange man saved her (that might well be because she does, at some level, remember who brought her back from being uploaded). But she is not willing to get inside a box with a strange bloke. And why does he bring a box?

    There’s such a thing as being too keen.

    Dalek pathweb – a bit telepathic. The GI’s wifi web – also telepathic. If people are exposed to enough wifi the GI can control them.

    As well as introducing Clara, this is a quick re-introduction to the Doctor. Alien, thousand years old, flies a TARDIS, can’t fly jet planes. Clara, meanwhile, has a firm grasp of essentials. Hang on to your cup of tea – you may need it.

    Part Two to follow.

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    Part Two. The Doctor and Clara on a motorbike. They start at the South Bank, just down from the London Eye. Go over Westminster Bridge (fine). Past Parliament, past Horseguards. Through Admiralty Arch into Trafalgar Square, and then end up near St Paul’s. As routes go, it’s not insane, but it’s very strange. On the whole, I’d prefer to think this is a bit of GI influence, taking the Doctor past the maximum number of tourist cameras.

    Yes, the tyre screech. It comes just as the Doctor stands up to go into the cafe and just before everything goes haywire inside the cafe. Given that the cafe antics are clearly aimed at keeping the Doctor inside, while the Spoonhead gets to Clara, was the tyre screech supposed to be the Spoonhead arriving?

    That said, there’s also an awful lot of police sirens. I know this is central London, but the sound effects would be entirely compatible with some kind of ‘incident’ going on in the street below.

    Okay, another strange route. From St Paul’s to the Shard is via London Bridge or Southwark Bridge. The Doctor’s crossing Waterloo Bridge, which would have him travelling quite a long way in the opposite direction.

    Deus Ex Machina – The Doctor (the Lonely God) is relaying through the Spoonhead (a machine). This, audience, is what a real Deus Ex Machina looks like as the bike reveals a previously unseen attribute which can be used to save the day. The God is arriving in a machine (and also on a machine).

    Tables turned. The Doctor is superb at hacking machinery – always has been. He has, after all, centuries of experience. Incidentally, the CGI image of people being downloaded across the world suggests secondary stations in Madrid and Marseilles.

    UNIT, linking back to the GI. And we discover Miss Kizlet was another child used by the GI; in fact, all the ’employees’ were re-programmed.

    I think I quite like the twirling circles rather than the rotor moving up and down – but I also think the point is that the TARDIS has now got its very own set of loops. Three circles, moving in different directions. The end will always be the beginning, they will always repeat. There is no end to this loop.

    Clara’s leaf is page one. But she made it blow into her Dad’s face. The end and the beginning; time and again, they’re the same thing.

    ScaryB @scaryb

    Great posts as ever @bluesqueakpip  I like your observation about the TARDIS now having circles rather than linear engines

    @phaseshift – Celia Imrie may not have had much screen time but she really made it count.  The scene of her being left devastated when the GI left her could easily be cheesy, but she makes it a tragic moment.   There’s a kind of telescoping in your understanding of her, in realising that the GI has been manipulating her for most of her life, how unhappy she was when it first encountered her, and how much regret she’s going to have for a life missed.  40/50 years of her life devoted to one “employer” and then she’s chucked into the (metaphorical) street without a pension.  It’s one of the scenes that really stick in my mind about this episode.

    @janetteb mentioned @htpbdet‘s post so I went to reread – interesting –

    …Clara and her “run you clever boy and remember” motif – it occurs to me that prior to Asylum of the Daleks, the Doctor may have heard that phrase before.
    When he stole the TARDIS and ran away from Gallifrey with Susan?

    Perhaps his mother said it to him? Could Moffat be proposing a re-imagining of the start of the Dr’s travels? Some catastrophe that sees the Dr’s family destroyed and his mother getting him to run to safety ( in the TARDIS ) but to remember her and his family?

    So is Clara the Doctor’s mother – somehow scattered through time and without her memory?  Would explain a lot…

    There’s a little skip via the Dr’s mother and the reason for leaving (jury’s still out on that one) but it’s v close to what we saw in NotD



    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    @scaryb – Celia Imrie’s final scene is deeply haunting. For one thing, it’s the whole ‘Mummy and Daddy said they wouldn’t be long’ thing – did they ever come back for her? Or are we left to imagine that they’re two casualties of one of the many, many invasions of Earth that we’ve seen in Doctor Who.

    Yes, @htpbdet was pretty close in his ideas about Clara. He thought any ‘specialness’ was largely due to being somehow scattered through time. He was, I think, desperately hoping that she not be part of the (incredibly convoluted) Pond family, but had a suspicion that she might turn out to be related to the Doctor.

    Anonymous @

    @craig – as per this post we’re due to re-watch and discuss The Name of the Doctor today.  What is on the cards for the next BG Who retrospective?

    Can I vote for The Mind Robber?



    ^^^^^^ Something in this thread does not belong ^^^^^^^


    Craig @craig

    @pedant Cheers – spammer (or strangely confused person) duly removed.

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