Doctor Who (Matt Smith) – The Bells of Saint John, and The Rings of Akhaten

The Doctor (Smith) encounters the Great Intelligence (Richard E. Grant) again as he continues his search for the Impossible Girl, Clara Oswin Oswald (Jenna- Louise Coleman). Written by Steven Moffat, the episode first debuted on 30 March, 2013.

Things are strange from the off, when Clara is given the TARDIS’ phone number by an unknown woman in a shop. Answering the call in 1207 while he is on retreat in a monastery to contemplate the mystery of Clara, the Doctor finds her and they find themselves in a troubling techno-adventure.

It seems the Great Intelligence with help from Miss Kizlet (Celia Imrie) is developing a plan to use wi-fi to upload people’s minds to a data cloud, facilitated by robots known as Servers.

There’s some really fun things in this episode, a passing reveal that Amy (Karen Gillan) wrote at least one book, Summer Falls, when she and Rory (Arthur Darvill) left the TARDIS, the spooky spoonheads or servers, and the idea that people, once uploaded to the cloud can have their emotions and intelligence spliced and manipulated.

This episode is a bit of a relaunch for the series following the departure of the Ponds, so the Doctor gets a whole new wardrobe, and introduces some of the usual series tropes anew – allowing for new viewers to jump in fairly easily.

Playing partly as a cyber-thriller, the episode establishes a great chemistry between the Doctor and Clara, and it is a true delight seeing the Time Lord and his new companion foil the plans of the Great Intelligence.

More adventures await!

bellsofstjohn

The Rings of Akhaten was penned by Neil Cross and first aired on 6 April, 2013. Following on the heels of the previous episode this one isn’t quite as solid or strong as previous stories.

The episode does give Clara some backstory, but the adventure itself is a little muddled. In fact Clara’s character history plays out quite nicely as the Doctor watches over it all, to see if he can figure her out.

The adventure sees Clara and the Doctor on a far distant collection of worlds, getting caught up in a strange little tale as they tell stories and confront a strange being that feeds off memories, stories and song. At the tales centre is a young girl named Merry (Emilia Jones), who finds a connection with Clara even as the young woman marvels at the alien life around her.

In fact the marketplace sequences are pretty impressive as we get glimpses of aliens both familiar and not in a sequence that could rival any featured in a Star Wars film.

Sadly, the story just isn’t up to snuff, which is too bad because Cross’ other script this season, which was filmed prior to this one, is outstanding.

Still, seeds are planted for the series arc, we get to see Clara and the Doctor’s interaction, and as both of them have such exuberance, and a wealth of emotion, you can’t help but be involved with them.

Next week the pair enter the Cold War.

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