‘Doctor Who’ Recap: Clara’s First Adventure

Doctor Who bells of saint john review

Oh, the Doctor: When he sets his mind and heart(s) on something, it’s impossible to change it. It’s about as impossible as it was for Amy Pond to be nice to Rory unless he was in mortal danger. So of course, after we left him with the Clara conundrum this Christmas, we knew we’d come back to a man/Time Lord torturing himself over this seemingly unsolvable riddle. Who, where, and when was this “impossible girl?” He was soon to find out!

But before we get to that, let’s chat about the horrifying (for us Internet dweebs) monster of the week: THE INTERNET! The episode began with some poor Average Joe stuck in cyberspace with countless others, all proclaiming that they were lost, and that they didn’t know where they were. There was a reason for this — an evil Wi-Fi that was free everywhere and therefore unavoidable for those of us who cannot ever NOT be plugged in, was locking into their brains and stealing their souls — uploading them into the Internet. Their bodies would die, but their brains would live on forever, fueling an evil Internet monster and his henchwoman, a lady in a fancy suit.

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At first I was all, “these people are all stupid and that’s the shadiest, most satanic-looking Wi-Fi network ever and why would they click that?” But then I remembered being in Vancouver for a day on the set of a show that isn’t on BBC so I won’t say it’s name, and I had no Wi-Fi for like 13 hours and it was unbearable, and I might have sold my soul to the Interwebz to check Twitter. So I get it. The episode’s message — ‘YOU ARE TOO TUNED IN AND ARE THEREFORE LOSING YOUR SOUL’ — is trite, but this is Doctor Who and it’s all about having fun (most of the time), so who cares? “The Bells of Saint John” was fun, so it succeeded. There is still plenty of time for Moffat, Coleman and Smith to break our hears later this series, so let’s enjoy a rollicking adventure, yes?

Okay, so on to Clara: Ms. Oswald is, again, a nanny to a couple of brats in modern times, and the poor girl just doesn’t know very much about the Internet. So she called a “help line” that connected her right to… the TARDIS! Any guesses on who that mysterious person was who gave her the TARDIS’ number? I just like to think everything, ever, is Strax. He’s like the Doctor’s chubby, angry little guardian angel.

Anyway, the Doctor was living in medieval Cumbria (which I now know is in England, because I Googled it) as a monk for s**ts and giggles, and his monk friends alerted him to the fact that “The Bells of Saint John” were ringing. In medieval Cumbria, that meant that the Doctor was getting a phone call. There was no real reason for the Doctor to be living as the “mad monk” — he spent all of his time “reflecting” on Clara and her “run you clever boy and remember” final words, so I highly suspect that Moffat and co. just put him there for the great comedy that was the Doctor entering Clara’s modern world dressed as a monk. “Monks are not cool!”

So, backing up, the Doctor chatted with a frustrated Clara — who was way sweeter than I am when I’m on the phone with Time Warner Cable. When he (with adorable frustration) couldn’t help her log on to normal Wi-Fi, she clicked on the one with the mysterious, demonic looking letters that had YOU WILL DIE written all over it. The Doctor then realized that the password to the Wi-Fi she SHOULD have clicked on — RYCBAR123 — stood for “run you clever boy and remember” (do you think the 123 signifies her three different lives?) and he hightailed it back to the future to reunite with his new favorite pet. Unfortunately, the Internet already had her.

But who cares because GOD when these two are together they make magic. Jenna Louise-Coleman is just so clever and pretty and perfect with Smith, and I just about died when he made her say “Doctor Who?” three times. It’s too soon for me to be Rose Tyler levels of in love, so I won’t say her hair probably smells like strawberries, but I wish she was around next month to come to my birthday party because wouldn’t she be the coolest best friend ever? She could bring her boyfriend Robb Stark and the two of us gals would just gab and gab and gab over books and Sci-Fi and general nerd-ery over a glass or five of champagne, while Stark looked handsome and brooded over in the corner. That’s what he’s good for, right? Matt Smith could come too, but only if he promised to explain last season’s mystery to me in detail because I still don’t really get it.

Sorry, tangent over. While the Doctor and Clara continued down the path of their extended meet-cute (See: Clara asking why the Doctor pointed to the TARDIS when he referred to his mobile phone, him responding: “Because it’s a surprisingly accurate description!”), the mean lady running the evil Wi-Fi (she sort of reminded me of the host from The Weakest Link) sent out a “spoon head” to collect Clara’s soul. She slumped to the ground “dead,” and AHHH! Not again! Luckily the Doctor — who had just changed back into his modern-day suit and bow tie combo, was able to pull her out of the spoon head’s head with his sonic screwdriver. She had not yet been “fully uploaded.”

Mean suit lady wasn’t happy about this — she had to talk to “the client.” The Doctor sent her a signed message saying Clara was under his protection, and apparently, “the client” had been waiting for the Doctor for quite some time. Sigh. Aren’t we all? While Clara slept and recovered, he ran around acting adorable — doing all of her chores, taking her messages in painstaking detail, and even inventing the quadricycle! Still, the Wi-Fi folks were locked into both of them, so time was not on their side.

Doctor Who Bells of Saint John RecapLuckily, the Doctor realized this when Clara made a (MEAN!) joke about Twitt-ah. (Apparently, my fellow Tweet-a-holics, we’re nothing but a bunch of lost souls crying for help. Wah.) Old Clara of approximately 3 hours ago didn’t know how to use Wi-Fi, let alone the super complicated TWITT-AH. Twitt-ah is for the pros. So he whisked Clara away for her first adventure through time and space — exciting! Huge moment! And they went to…

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… the next morning. For breakfast. Thrilling. But first they got to rescue a crashing plane filled with knocked out Wi-Fi consumers, so. A plus. With the evil Wi-Fi’ers hot on their trail, the pair enjoyed a lovely ride through London on a motorbike, breakfast, and tantalizing slash A BIT FLIRTATIOUS?! conversation. The Doctor for some crazy reason left Clara — with her newly acquired genius computer skills —  alone to hack into the evil league of evil, and he was promptly assaulted by a group of “spoon heads” in a coffee shop. We had a major “Central Mystery” moment when Clara came up with her new Wi-Fi password, Oswin — because she’s an Oswald and she’s winning so, Os-Win! I’d expect many more moments like this as the series goes on…

But anyway. In another instance of clever writing, Clara figured out the evil lair’s location because literally EVERYONE who worked there had checked in on Facebook. Haha. It was the Shard, a major building in London that I again had to Google, because obviously I need to travel more. The Doctor’s image was made into a spoon head and it nabbed Clara, but since he’s the Doctor and he’s special, it was no big. He just used his anti-gravity motorbike to ride up to the top of the Shard, which just made me think of how much the special effects budget has increased on this show.

Eventually it was revealed that the version of the Doctor that had taken over the Shard was the spoon head version, so he used his powers of soul-sucking to steal the mean lady in the suit. He then used her control-people-o-meter to convince one of her employees to download everyone back, so, case closed. World saved — again! Except some people’s bodies had probably been decomposing for awhile, so they were screwed, right? Meh, who cares. The “Intelligence” that had been controlling all of the “evil” Wi-Fi stealing employees gave them their souls back too, so it was happy endings all around for planet Earth.

And for the Doctor and Clara, who are soon to embark on their first (second? third? fourth?) adventure, though Clara was hesitant because she thought the TARDIS was a giant “snog box.” She told the Doctor to come back tomorrow for her answer. Presumably, it will be yes.

So, what did you think of “The Bells of Saint John?” Still loving Clara as the new companion? Let us know in the comments, or on Twitt-ah!

Follow Shaunna on Twitter @HWShaunna

[Photo Credit: BBC Worldwide (2)]

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