TV Review: Doctor Who – 706 – “The Bells of Saint John”

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Doctor Who made its triumphant returned last night with the first episode of the second half of season 7. In “The Bells of Saint John,” the Doctor and new companion Clara faced a mysterious group abducting people using the internet. It was a good episode. Better than a lot of last year’s offerings even. But there’s something more important to discuss…(Warning: This post gets a little SPOILy-woily…)

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I am in love with Clara. It was hard saying goodbye to the Ponds but Jenna-Louise Coleman has appeared in three episodes so far and I am already smitten. Clara Oswin Oswald is shaping up to be a great companion. She’s witty, charming and not that bad on the eyes, either. Coleman’s chemistry with Smith is undeniable and the mystery surrounding her character is very compelling.

After a couple of seasons with Amy and Rory, I think the show is going to benefit from going back to having a single companion. I’m anxious to see how the dynamic with River changes now that the Doctor has Clara with him instead of River’s parents. The romantic chemistry between Clara and the Doctor in “The Snowmen” (and hinted at in this latest episode) will hopefully play a key role in however the time lord’s betrothed acts around new company.

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As for the episode, I liked it a lot. The first five episodes of the season last year felt like they were missing something. I think part of my disappointment was knowing that the episodes were counting down to the end of the Ponds and that affected my judgment. I haven’t watched the episodes since September, so I can’t say for sure that I dislike them. But I can say that “Asylum of the Daleks” was my favorite episode of the batch and I think the fact that it was Clara’s introductory episode says a lot. Overall, “The Bells of Saint John” feels like a fresh start. It’s like a jump start halfway through a season still hurting from character departures.

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I have a feeling that the “Great Intelligence” overarching plot seen in this episode (and the Christmas Special) is going to play out over the rest of the season. After that, whatever Moffat has planned for the 50th Anniversary festivities later this year will pick up the “Doctor Who?” mystery seen throughout the first part of season 7. That’s my guess, at least. I’ve been deprived of the Doctor since Christmas so I’m understandably a little foggy on the details. I’m just ecstatic that the show is back.

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That does it for my brief thoughts on the return of the Doctor and Clara. What did you think of the episode? How do you feel about Jenna-Louise Coleman as the new companion? Leave me a comment and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter: @ObsessiveViewer for live-tweets about movies and shows I’m watching and keep up with the blog on Facebook for all the latest posts and blog news.

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