Doctor Who "The Bells of Saint John" Review: The Most Outsourced Technical Support

Doctor Who S07E06: "The Bells of Saint John"

Doctor Who often presents the viewer with villains in the form of lizard people, soulless robots, creepy toy-like creatures, or hideous monsters. It's can be somewhat childlike or horror movie-ish, sure, but it's part of the fun of Doctor Who. But in this first episode of the second half of Series 7, showrunner Steven Moffat instead evoked a different kind of horror: the fear of what we're giving up by being online all the time. It was a good, disturbing idea for an episode because it taps into our current, adult fears, and not just our childlike ones.

You see, there's something in the Wi-Fi.

You know how when you're in a public space and check to see what Wi-Fi networks are available, you just pick the one that doesn't have a lock on it? Well, this episode warned that whatever you do, don't ever try to connect to a network whose name is just gibberish symbols. Once you've clicked it, they're in your computer and can see you. And if they can see you, they might choose you. And if they choose you, you're dead.

Okay, maybe not actually dead—it seemed that, instead of being killed, the hacked Wi-Fi users were rendered comatose, and their souls/minds/personalities were uploaded to the Cloud. And there was no getting out of the Cloud. The Cloud, with the aid of some sinister henchmen whose personalities were controlled by their even more sinister boss, Miss Kizlet, was being loaded with personalities that functioned as emotional food for "the Client." And we wouldn't know who the Client was until later in the episode.


We were re-re-introduced to our new companion, Clara, on the phone at the home of the family she nannies for in 2013, as she struggled to access the internet. A woman at a shop gaver her a number to call, with the promise that it was "the best helpline in the universe." Where did that number ring? You guessed it: the Doctor's TARDIS. Or, more specifically, the St. John Ambulance sticker on the side of the TARDIS that's been there forever. It turned out to be an emergency phone, and Clara's call reached the Doctor there, even in Cumbria in 1207, where he was hiding out as a monk, tortured by the loss of his twice-dead would-be companion, the aforementioned Clara. This led to an amusing little exchange about tech support always being overseas. When Clara used a mnemonic device that sounded incredibly familiar to the Doctor, he realized who she actually was and rushed to her, banging on her door.

Clara was, understandably, a bit confused. She didn't remember the Doctor in the slightest, and certainly didn't know this weird monk who was acting all familiar. The Doctor went off to change back into his regular Doctor clothes… and now, I will pause for a slightly cynical comment, which you may skip if you so choose.

I am starting to become less entranced with this Doctor's affinity for bowties and fezzes. In the beginning of a series, the Christmas special, the first episode after a series break—I feel like the dapper accoutrements are a bit of a shortcut to having the Doctor charm us. They're supposed to seem inside and adorable, but because they're so expected at this point, I just felt a bit like Moffat and crew were going through the motions here.


But I digress. Clara was almost completely taken by the Cloud, via a Wi-Fi mainstation that looked like a person but with a creepy, swiveling half-head. The Doctor stopped it just in time and sent it a message, which was relayed back to the shadowy Client, who'd been expecting the Doctor to show up all along.

Some flirty scenes between the Doctor and Clara were interrupted when we realized the bad guys (I know it's a clumsy, childish term, but it's all we've got right now) had access, via Wi-Fi, to a large percent of the population, and could bend their will. You'd think that'd be the goal in itself, but it's not—the goal was to provide a steady diet of human minds to the Client. Does it seem inhumane? Not to the staff harvesting the minds. "The abattoir is not a contradiction—no one loves cattle like Burger King."

Clara, with the help of newly uploaded computer genius, ended up figuring out where the bad guys were by hacking into their webcams and then searching Facebook for their pictures—turning the tables and using the same "always connected" qualities that allowed humans to be harvested against the harvesters themselves. They were in the Shard (a massive, 95-story glass skyscraper in London, FYI). Before they could get to the Shard, Clara was taken by the bad guys, in the form of the Doctor as a Wi-Fi mainstation, and uploaded to the Cloud. The only way to save her was to reunite everyone in the Cloud with their bodies. And the Doctor had to make that happen, which he did by uploading Miss Kizlet to the Cloud and then manipulating her henchmen to send the trapped personalities back to their corresponding bodies.


UNIT showed up to shut down the bad guys, but not before Miss Kizlet had one more conversation with the Client, none other than Dr. Simeon (Richard E. Grant) of Great Intelligence, from "The Snowmen" (and beyond). "Don't worry," he assured her—he'd feasted on many minds and grown. She didn't know who she'd be when Dr. Simeon left her side. Sadly, she ended up returning to herself with a small child's mind, wondering where her mom and dad were.

We were treated to a couple more scenes of Clara and the Doctor's flirtation—he asked her to come away with him to see all of time and space, and she called him out on what I agree is getting to be a pretty tired line for a time/space playboy to pick up on a pretty companion. She wants to travel and she clearly likes the Doctor, but she's not that easy. She asked him to come back the next day, and he agreed. Smart girl. If he really likes you, he'll wait.

I really liked this episode when I first finished watching it, but after giving it some time to ricochet around in my head, it started to fall apart a bit for me as a fully executed story. At the beginning, I was literally rubbing my hands together at the idea of a monster living in Wi-Fi and feasting on people's minds, but the plot didn't play out as inventively as it could have, or as darkly. This episode was clearly just setting up larger battles over humanity with Great Intelligence, but I would have liked a bit more teeth in my resolution.


That being said, I think the chemistry between the Doctor and Clara is fantastic. I like the idea of a companion whom the Doctor is clearly smitten with, and any scene with the two of them crackles with electricity. I found myself less interested in the main storyline and more interested in their burgeoning, weird, timey-wimey relationship. Moffat, who isn't always my favorite storyteller, is amazing at writing witty, biting dialogue. 

What will happen in future episodes? Will we find out why Great Intelligence needs all those minds for cattle? What does he get out of them? What's the master plan? Will the Doctor and Clara make out? I'm looking for complex, creepy episodes that see their initial ideas all the way to the end, and I'm looking for more flirtation between the Doctor and Clara.

How about you?



NOTES

– The opening scene was a clear reference to "Blink," and a ballsy reference at that, given that it's one of the best standalone episodes in Doctor Who history. This episode didn't satisfy as a standalone for me, but could be a great foundation for the rest of the series. 

– It seems Great Intelligence should have hired a company that would have known to name its Wi-Fi networks something more innocuous, like "Brad's Wi-Fi!" 

– Did you check out who wrote the book Summer Falls

– I kinda wish that this Clara had been good at computers on her own, without having the skills downloaded into her head, Matrix-style (I know Kung Fu!). It added absolutely nothing to the plot to have her suddenly gain all that knowledge—yes, she used it, but she could have used it just the same if she'd been technically apt all on her own, thank you very much. It didn't tell us anything about Great Intelligence's plan, or reveal that she'd been taken into the Wi-Fi, or anything. Also, I thought her Twitter joke was very clever.

– Things we learned about Clara in this episode:

1. She's clever but not great at computers (until now, that is)

2. She really wanted to travel but ended up nannying after she felt the need to help out when a family lost their mom. 

3. Her dad is very anti-government

– I'm glad some Sherlocky "typing on screen" made its way to Doctor Who!

– I still love the running gag of the Doctor doing a million things while he's waiting around for humans on Earth. The Doctor invented the quadracycle!

– "Do we need another Londonwide activation? We can't keep passing them off as a riot." Very sly, Moffat!

– Favorite line from the episode: "I'm the Doctor, I am an alien from outer space, I'm 1,000 years old, I have two hearts, and I can't fly a plane. Can you?"

Comments (198)
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I thought the people died after they were uploaded not just in a coma.. so most of those people who were freed were not just dead...The episode was good. I am not excited about haveing to go the whole season to then get to final episode that will explain how Clara died in the past and future and is now in 2013. Anyways next epi looks good. I am soooo excited to see 50 years episode (but in 3D? How many people have 3D glasses sitting at home?) I cannot wait to see David Tennant as 10.1 and Rose as his wife.. I hope a jealous River shows up as wife number 2(in this series).
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ahahahha Im rewatching the prequel again and I just realized the doctor did exactly what the little girl told him to do (go into a quiet place and have a good think about it. )
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The real question is "who was this unnamed shop girl who gave Clara the Doctor's number?"
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I really enjoyed this episode. The chemistry between Clara and The Doctor is spot on. It is nice to see a companion go toe to toe with him instead of being in awe. I think the woman in the shop was either River Song or Sally Sparrow (Blink). Rather than nitpicking the plot and The Doctor's wardrobe, I am going to enjoy watching the relationship with the new companion unfold throughout the season.
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I was wondering if the woman was River or Amy. Speaking of River, where is she? Have we moved past their relationship? The flirting between Oswin and the Doctor feels awkward to me since things have not been resolved between the Doctor and River. Is he cheating on his wife? We know where their relationship started and where it ends, but all the crisscrossing of time streams in the middle is very open ended.
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I don't think it was Amy since she and Rory were sent to an earlier time. But perhaps River. But thank you for mentioning the awkward flirting. It's been bugging me... in my head I keep thinking what about River?
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I thought maybe a very old Amy, but you're right. We saw her grave so she must be dead of old age in the present.
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I still maintain that Victorian Oswin's "stories" she told the children were true. That she invented fish because she wanted someone to swim with and such.

That those were perhaps memories buried in her subconscious, perhaps as some ancient galactic avatar or something. That she's "been around" for a while (perhaps since the beginning) and just ressurects or something.
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Well according to the BBC:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-21980892

David Tennant and Billie Piper will appear in the 50th anniversary special of Doctor Who! So YAY! This is probably the story about the alternate timeline when the "human" Doctor gets to "grow old" with Rose!!! Can't wait!

Anyway this ep... some clever jokes and excellent chemistry between Smith & Coleman. The joke about twitter is I am afraid a bit more like The Moff taking a jab. I guess he is still sore about what happened that made him close his twitter account...

I liked the episode but felt that for a Moffat episode, it was not quite there... On the other hand I found Matt Smith very endearing this time round...
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The show cam back with a whimper and not the Bang we were all waiting for! hmph!
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Well it was just a mid-season premiere. Sure, it was supposed to be quite big since it was the official intro of Oswin the companion... but even that was almost like a slow-burn since this was actually her 3rd intro episode.
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I think we all just need to acknowledge that we loved the companion(s) we had, and are willing to accept the new companions because we trust the writers to make them memorable.
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I enjoyed this episode and I already like the Doctor and Clara together. I have a crush for Jenna-Louise Coleman now.
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What happened to the depth and maturity of David Tennant's Doctor Who? This show seems so...eh. Its like a twinkie, satisfying in the moment but shortly after it is done you wonder why you ate it and crave something more substantial. Its fluff, childish fluff, and I miss the beginning of the reboot when it was all emotionally twisty and evocative.
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I'm glad we already met Clara a few times, since I usually resent new companions just because they're replacing the ones I've grown to love. Haven't gotten there with Clara yet though, just don't resent her as much as most new companions.
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I keep thinking Clara is not a natural occurrence in any lifetime, and maybe someone made her... Also, I would like to know who the woman at the shop was. :)
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PS - anybody else feel like Clara just barely dodged becoming the Kenny McCormick of Doctor Who by finally surviving an episode?
:-P
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Nah, Rory filled the "Kenny" quota quite well. I mean, how many times did he "die" on camera?
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I can only think of once, when he was shot and erased from time. I don't think we saw him die of old age in his final outing on-camera, although we knew he died of old age in the episode.
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Nope. The actor had to portray dying one-way-or-another a bunch of times on the show. Granted, MOST of them were hallucinations or dream-worlds but there were some legit deaths in there.

Amy's Choice - Turned into dust in the dream world (faked death)

Cold Blood - Shot-to-death and consumed by the light ( legit death)

The Pandorica Opens - It was stated that "The Centurion" perished in the fire saving the Pandorica. But we find out he survived. Amy still cried over it though. (bad information)

Day of the Moon - shot and fake-killed by Canton. Was put in a body bag. (pretending to be dead)

Curse of the Black Spot - Drowned. Brought back via CPR. (legit death)

The Doctor's Wife - Aged to death (hallucination)

The Angels Take Manhatten - His eventual death of old age, living a normal life with Amy (end of story death)
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My point was that Clara was becoming the show's Kenny because she actually died in each episode she was in until now. Rory only actually died once for a real episode where he came back later. I don't think you can count The Black Spot, they had planned to resuscitate him that way, it worked as they expected it to (albeit with the extra beat of thinking he was dead because that's how TV goes).
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Point of contention, the St. John's badge on the TARDIS has only been there since the introduction of the 11th Doctor, before that it was only in the non-canon films.

Emily, your criticism of the Doctor's quirky attire is bang-on, you've nailed what's going on succinctly. That is very good example of Moffat's run on the show, all shortcuts and cheats rather than building substance.

The premise here was a mess, they steal your brains (not clear enough on what the GI was getting), then they somehow control other people's brains (not clear on how), and they send out robots that look like people but with spoon heads that are wifi base stations (um... what?), all with the intent on being controlled by a corporate master acting on behalf of its client, the Great Intelligence who we just saw in the previous episode doing more clever things. As a quick premise this was convoluted and not scary enough or interesting enough. As a deeper, thoughtful premise this was riddled with holes. But for me, the worst was that it just wasn't compelling enough of a concept - the taking over of the plane was the closest it got, and threatening the Doctor using the shop people seemed threatening until they didn't actually do anything and they used the tv news lady - that was just stupid, how did a one-on-one conversation between the news lady and the doctor being broadcast all over the UK not get immediately noticed by everyone else?

I liked the premise of the bells of St. John being the TARDIS' phone, but this seemed too quickly abandoned, I wanted to spend more time exploring that idea and that setting, as well as the aftermath of how this all connected.

Clara got a third introduction, and at this point it's become frustrating as she's so painfully the perfect pre-fabbed companion and nothing else. She's interested in travel, she's a bit quirky, she's bright and inquisitive, she's got a big mysterious thing about her, she's flirty, she's vexing. I find that grating, like they're writing her to be a cliche companion, a hollywood shortcut of a character instead of having a real personality. Where Rose Tyler had a lot of buildup to her mysteries, and Donna Noble had a buildup to her quirks and values, and Martha built feelings up for the Doctor, and Amy had a specific personality and history to fit, Clara feels like a character that jumps directly into all of her traits right out the box, and each time no less since we've been introduced thrice.

Moffat has disappointed me as showrunner from the beginning, and this "let's make a hollywood blockbuster out of each episode" has created shallow, dull things that have lots of explosions and violence but very little inventive Doctor material. The motorcycle up the side of the building was fun in a way but also very stupid, something you could imagine Tom Cruise doing in yet another sci-fi action movie. The Doctor used a clever ruse but ultimately left the solution up to button-presses and an assumption that once in the wifi fully one couldn't be extracted without extracting everybody - that's just dumb, the Doctor extracted over half of Clara's brain, and the characters seemed to remain individuals in the cloud, none of it rang true to how we understand cloud computing so it was a conceit.

I didn't want this to be a laundry list of my complaints, but I'll add another one, not only do I dislike the new TARDIS interior, but this episode had the TARDIS behaving in ways that were somewhat inconsistent - jumping forward in precise little time jumps, perfectly and instantly hitting a small moving target - those things felt less like the TARDIS and more like easy hollywood-style answers to interesting problems.

And how many times does the phrase "doctor who" have to be uttered in this series before the whole thing is ruined? I am now officially sick of hearing it, it's got to go, stinks of the non-canon movies from the '60s which weren't very good Doctor Who material.

This was a 5/10 episode for me, not horrible but could be way better. It was watchable as a thing on the screen to munch popcorn by, but didn't deliver much in the way of a story or real characters (or any characters beyond Clara and the Doctor).
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It seems there were a couple classes of "things" the Shard was using.

A) The people they downloaded, supposedly the GI wanted to eat their souls / minds / whatever.

B) Anyone exposed to WiFi long enough (like sitting at Starbucks) is able to be remote-controlled. As stated by the big-bad when talking to the doctor remotely. Hence the people at the cafe.

C) The people working at the Shard. The might be similar to B... exposed then fully remote-controlled and hacked.

D) The Spoon-Heads / Servers. Robots with camouflage that can teleport around and download people's minds.
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Ok, but why don't they just control people B into clicking the mind-sucking wifi to become people A?

And why did the news lady end up controlled, and why didn't anybody else watching the news notice?
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they have made it clear before, the police box is just an illusion, one of the Doctor's favorites. it is an entryway to the TARDIS. and since the Doctor loves humanity, and post world war two Britain, the innocuous police box that existed all over the London he so clearly likes means the TARDIS looks like a polis box. So having a police phone in that box when he is getting a call to the TARDIS might look like it manifests to a phonebox under a sticker.
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The police box is not an illusion, the exterior physically resembles a police box because when the Doctor first landed in 1960s London and used the chameleon circuit to disguise the TARDIS, it stuck. During the 10th Doctor's run, the interior of the TARDIS had the corresponding phone behind that panel showing on the inside of the door, it is not illusion.
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I tried to reply to your last one, it said I flagged it. I didnt and have sent a letter to a moderator to see if can be undone.

My reply was going to be that the entrance to the TARDIS is not the size and shape of a police box, it was just the image the Doctor chose. An example of this is the platform and spiral staircase the Doctor was using to get to the police boxed entrance in the latest Christmas episode., it takes up more space than just the box, but it also seems that size because the entrance is itself an point in time and relative dimension is space. It is not the hull of a 9x4x4 ship.
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It is the chameleon circuit, and it is broken, the TARDIS isn't shaped like, the same size as, or look anything like a police box, that is the definition of an illusion.
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The outside IS shaped like a police box, that is not an illusion, it is physically a police box from the outside. When the 10th Doctor regenerated he blew out the windows on the TARDIS' exterior, they physically exploded.
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Nope, the sticker was there for the first few years of the show, before disappearing under a layer of fresh paint in the mid 60s.
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Ah, yes, you are correct. I forgot because I'm not a fan of the first doctor so I haven't seen much of that, it's Troughton that really kicked it off for me.

By the by, the phone isn't even behind the St. John's badge panel, it's next to it in the omnipresent plaque about how to use the phone behind that panel to call for help.
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I was immediately intrigued by the missing years of her "travel book". I am also curious if they are going to play more on the leaf at the beginning of the book. How she says "That wasn't a leaf, that was page one". He spent so much time smelling and licking it and then he brings it up out of nowhere... it must have some relevance. There were also some other things poking out of her book. It makes me wonder if the whole thing is going to be a major influence in the current companion saga.
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Years? I thought those were locations by number.
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Did we see her with a leaf either when she visited Victorian-Oswin's grave at the end of Snowmen? Maybe "Page 1" was visiting her old grave or something.

I deleted the Snowmen Christmas Special a couple of weeks ago so I can't go back and see that final scene again.
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I just rewatched that scene. She does not pick up anything. She stops just past her grave site, but does not look at it. She just tells her frightened friend (a girl her age) that she is not afraid of ghosts.
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The chemistry between Clara and the Doctor was just great, it made you forget about some of the weaknesses of the plot and execution. Looking forward to the rest of the season.
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My favourite line was "I can't tell the future, I just live there"
All in all I think this was an excellent episode, maybe because I am more afraid of the Internet than I am of bug-eyed monsters, And partly because the short story "I have no mouth and I must scream"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Have_No_Mouth,_and_I_Must_Scream has haunted my dreams for years and this reminded me of it. Truly a fate worse than death. The girl is so far boring.
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I beleive that was from Star Trek when Kirk one time said "I am not from Outer Space I just work there" Or not but it seemed similar enough to me.
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Unless her "he'll wait" bit was kind of an instruction... she'll keep an eye on the TARDIS to see if it stays there (indicating he's waiting + dedicated) for disappears (showing impatience).

Sure, he could do any number of fancy things to not wait a day... time dilation and such. But I could see him actually waiting.
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I couldn't...he's still got a childish side where he would be too impatient to wait. I could totally see her checking to see if he leaves, though.
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Totally loved the call out to the Ponds! I thought that was a clever way to memorialize them:)
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sorry what was said? I did not catch that
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Clara worked out that the bad guys were in the Shard when the Doctor was in the Cafe - by the time he out out of the cafe, Clara was unconcious. How did he know where to find the bad guys? Did I miss something or was that a giant plot hole?
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I think you will find he simply looked at her computer
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question:

the garage must also have a portal to the outside... other wise it is impossible for him to ride a bike in them tight spaces...

:P
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I don't know what you mean about referencing "Blink". Someone please explain.
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Honestly? The whole dont click on the weird looking WiFi, click on it and you're dead warning didn't seem familiar to you?
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Right. Another way to look at it is that "Blink" had messages to a camera warning someone of the dangers around them (in that case it was The Doctor himself).
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I guess it has just been a while since I've seen "Blink."
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There was a big plot hole (I think) in how people who were uploaded supposedly became unconscious, yet all the uploaded people in the cafe were just acting like themselves when they weren't controlled by Miss Kizlet. You can't have it both ways (or have I missed something).
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The bad-guy said in the cafe... anyone exposed to the WiFi signals long enough could be remote controlled. Meaning that all of that time sitting at Starbucks or work blanketed by the WiFi could make you into a potential robot.

As opposed to being downloaded and such.
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Then why do they need people to click on the wifi?
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I don't believe it's an automatic thing where everybody who clicks on the wi-fi is uploaded. Rather, it merely allows them to make the choice of whether to upload them or not.
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I think those people were just hacked, like the workers in the shard, not uploaded.
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That makes total sense, thanks.
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Another problem with this scene, and you knew it was coming when the TV News was in shot, was that by using the newsreader to broadcast the voice, purely to show off to the Doctor, the entire plot was simultaneously being announced to anyone else watching at the time - rather counterproductive.
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I really liked this episode and Season 7 has a good chance to be my favourite season yet. The lack of bite in the resoluation of the episode didn't bother me but I see the point. I thought it was strange casting Richard E. Grant in the christmas episode when he seemed too big for the role but it makes much more sense now that he's the face of The Great Intelligence.
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I'm not sure how ballsy it was for Moffat to reference his own story, "Blink." I also disagree with the sentiment of Moffat not being amongst your favorite story-tellers. I lived for his episodes in Russell Davies' tenure as showrunner, and so must have most of the fans, as Moffat's episodes routinely are voted the best of Davies' era.

I like Clara so far, but I'm reeeeally missing Amy and Rory. For the first time since K-9 (or possibly Adric) the Doctor had companions who were interested in stuff other than swooning over his brilliance. And they loved each other, so he was free to be an eccentric Third Wheel, which I think Matt Smith did a stellar job portraying. Now I guess we'll see how he does at doing what all the other actors playing the Doctor had to do....function as the center of his companion's attention.

And if he's REALLY flirting with Clara, what does that mean for River Song? We've seen the end of her and the Doctor, but according to all the story we already know about them, the Doctor has yet to experience most of his time with River.
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"I also disagree with the sentiment of Moffat not being amongst your favorite story-tellers.¨
That sounds weird! How can you "disagree" with somebody's tastes as in "I disagree that you like apples" ??? Did you mean something like "I disagree, I think Moffat is one of the best story tellers" or something like that?
Anyway I like Moffat, his stories are usually clever and his dialogue very funny, but let me tell you something: without Davis the show wouldn't be what is now...
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I also agree about Davies, the show wouldn't be back if it weren't for him. There was a lot to like about what he did, but Moffat was still by far my favorite writer in his tenure. Having been a fan since early childhood of the original show (unlike so many Americans, who mainly just know about the revitalized show), there were some things Davies did that weren't in keeping with the original. But, I got over it, and enjoyed it for what it was. Seems like Moffat is kinda moving in that direction too. Oh well. I absolutely loved Moffat as a writer. I really like him as the showrunner as well, but I think he's at his absolute best when he could just write and not worry about all the details of the entire season. I loveloveloved Matt Smith's first season, it's absolutely my favorite season ever (and I'm hard-wired to not elevate anything beyond the 5th and 7th Doctors....childhood paradigms die hard, what can I say), but although I've really enjoyed the subsequent season and a half, I can't say that I liked last season and this one as much as Smith/Moffat's first season. I kinda wonder if Moffat didn't peak really quickly as the showrunner.
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Yes, that.
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Well you have an interesting point about Series 5.
The 1st time I watched an episode of Doctor Who I was at my grandma's. I remember only watching maybe 5-10 minutes and hearing the score. The score for some reason scared me so much I got up (no remotes at the time) and turned to another channel. I was 5 years old.
But my 1st Doctor was the 4th doctor: Tom Baker (since we had to wait for the BBC programmes to be translated we got them in my country with something like a 5 years delay, after they had aired in the UK). I heard the score and remembered how scared I had been and started to watch: I was in my early teens. But since unfortunately local TV didn't continue importing Doctor Who I sort of forgot about it. And then rediscovered it with Series 5!
Again I sort of bumped into the show by accident and in the middle of that Series. I was so impressed with Matt Smith I decided to go back and watch S1-4!!! And of course the inevitable happened: Tennant blew my mind!
What was the 1st ep I watched from Series 5? The Time of Angels! I didn't know about Blink then. But the Weeping Angels scared me the way I got scared when I was a 5 year old child!!!
And I totally agree with you: so far Series 5 is my favourite with Smith...
But let's see what happens now with the new companion. I think they have amazing chemistry!
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I loved Tenant as the 10th Doctor, I just didn't always care for the way those episodes (more particularly, certain scenes of those episodes) were handled. It's hard to describe, but while I almost always loved the themes and story arcs of Tenant's seasons, sometimes the delivery (in the form of the writing and the directing) just seemed....."over the top" is the best way I know to describe it. Which is to say, I loved the overall story that was being told, and I loved the actors who portrayed it, I just didn't always like when the themes felt like they were being hammered on to me. I tend to prefer the more understated tone of the show now. My biggest complaint about Moffat as showrunner is I feel like he's slowly leaving behind something the old show was built on and something that Davies also did very well, and that is a simple Story Of The Week. In the old show, that's almost all there was. That was TV back then. When the show was updated to modern times, I think TV had progressed and so had the viewers, and it was good to have a larger, over-arcing story line. But Davies left space for the show to breathe.....episodes where the Doctor could just save some village somewhere without it tying into some big grand story. I feel like the show is currently very focused on the Big Picture and it doesn't leave a lot of room for smaller stories to just work by themselves. It seems the entire universe is always about to blow up, or cease to exist, or all of time and space is about to collapse on itself, and all the episodes are vaguely centering on what is BIG this season. Maybe it's just me. Just feels like it would be kind of nice to have a few stand-alone episodes here and there that weren't reinforcing an ongoing theme or an ongoing story line.
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"I also disagree with the sentiment of Moffat not being amongst your favorite story-tellers."
You disagree that Moffat isn't one of Emily's favorites? That's an odd thing to disagree with. ;-)
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I disagree with her sentiment. Isn't that what I said? Her sentiment is that Moffat isn't always that great of a story-teller. I disagree with that sentiment. I didn't say I disagreed that she HAD a sentiment.
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No, you left the subject as Emily, what you said was "I disagree that Moffat isn't amongst your (subject: article author, Emily) favorite storytellers". Her statement was that he's not among HER favorite storytellers.
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Actually that's not what I said. If you read it again, I said "I also disagree with the sentiment of Moffat not being amongst your favorite story-tellers." The sentiment is the subject of my disagreement. Perhaps there's a better way to word it, but even the grammar police have to admit that the sentiment is what I'm disagreeing with.
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Actually, he's had at least MOST of his time with River: both in the episodes, and a special mini-episode treat.

Recall that at the time of his "death" he their journals were all in sync. Meaning during those few hundred years he was doing stuff without Amy + Rory he was catching up at least somewhat with River. And it's implied to the headless blue guy that her nights in the cell belong to him after the whole "cheating death" thing.

In the mini episodes show him going on his dates with River. And a time hiccup let's us see a future version of The Doctor taking River on their "final" date.
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Also, in Angels Take Manhattan River tells the Doctor that she is a professor now and he gets this sad look on his face. Its because she was a professor when she went to the Library and that day is growing closer.
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I missed the mini ep, thanks for filling me in. Maybe I can catch it on youtube, a lot of times BBC uploads those specials there. You're also right about the Doctor's age. I forgot that in the last episode or two of last season he aged about 200 years. I guess he could've been off goofing around with River.
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Uhm, Donna never swooned over his brilliance. In fact, she didn't swoon over him and at all... And she would routinely make fun of his lack of brilliance when he couldn't solve a problem.

And that is why she was my favorite companion.
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She wasn't in love with him, and she never let it go to his head, but I gathered she was pretty impressed with him. She kinda had the whole temp inferiority complex he helped her out of (I think, been a while since I've seen that season). At any rate, my point was that it was only her, and so the doctor was the focus of her attention. With Amy and Rory, Rory's attention was definitely on Amy, and as much as Amy loved the Doctor and the adventures, her main focus was still Rory. It's not like that with nearly all other companions.
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"I'm the Doctor, I am an alien from outer space, I'm 1,000 years old, I have two hearts, and I can't fly a plane. Can you?" reminds me of a recent episode of the neighbors where the father comments that he can fly an intergalactic spaceship but he can't figure out how to drive a car.
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I not feeling Clara at all, I miss Rose and Amy, Rory
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Agreed. And Donna.
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oh, I like Clara (Jenna-Louise Coleman) she seems great. I like it when the Doctors companion is someone who is capable of telling him what to do.
Some one who challenges the Doctor and is funny too.

Clara is all that and well played by miss Jenna-Louise Coleman.

The preview of the next episode seems nice. I also like it if they sometimes leave the UK and go somewhere else (space or another country). In the stories its always something that threatens the world, but the Doctor hardly has to leave London to solve the problem.
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It was OK, but nothing as great as the Pond period... I miss The Ponds!
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I don't know why you keep acting like the Doctor having a romantic thing for his companion is a novelty. Nine and Ten were very much in love with Rose, and Eleven married River Song in an Alternate Universe. And then Martha and Amy had unrequited feelings for Ten and Eleven respectively, though they both got over it and found themselves other men. The modern Doctor is all about the romance. It would actually be a novelty if this time Clara *didn't* fall for the Doctor but he had an unrequited thing for her. That hasn't been done yet.
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He married River in an alternate universe that also is the real universe, though. If he hadn't, she wouldn't've known it wasn't him and wouldn't've killed him.

So they're still married.
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in amy and rory's last episode the doctor was reading from a book that amy had written..is that the tie in ..i did not read all the post,but i have not seen a post suggesting this or bringing that part of this up as a tie in??? was not mentioned in the review either.. there are fans out there much better at this stuff than i...what do you think?
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And the book you're thinking of from "Angels..." was written by River.
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The book they are referring to is the one written by Amelia Williams. It is seen in the beginning. And the first bot is a girl off the cover. The tie in to the Ponds is the shout out author. Amelia Pond-Rory Williams = Amelia Williams. Very cleverly done!
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I liked the episode, and thought it was a nice start to this part of the season. Between the end of the first half of the season and the Christmas episode, the Doctor was distraught over losing Amy and Rory, the mini-sode made that clear. His friends were trying to get him to come out of it in the Christmas episode before he met Clara. The mystery of Oswin re-appearing helped him jump out of his funk only to lose her again. He has seen characters who looked like other people he has met before, Gwen Cooper looked like her ancestor. But the same name and face plus the dying statement gave him a puzzle to solve, and he loves puzzles. So it wouldn't surprise me at all that she received the phone number fron one of his previous associates who was trying get him passionate about something again. River is the most obvious suspect, but I am not going to worry to much about who it was, i'm sure they'll spoon feed it to us before it becomes important. Making sure that one of Amy's books was there may have been a red herring.

I didn't get as big an impression of the doctor flirting with Oswin as I did of Oswin flirting with him. And calling the TARDIS a snogbox was very funny. I know that this Doctor is married to River, he has also seen her die, so he is a widower too. That has to give the guy a hall pass to at least flirt.

I liked the transition scene from the monk costume. Not only because it reminds me of the Christmas special scene from Tennant's first special which not only showed the costumes from previous incarnations. But he is a Timelord not a human, so when he wanted to be out in the world again, he would need to put on human clothes like they were a uniform or a costume. Each version has chosen a style that he felt comfortable in, wheter it matched that decades' fashion or not. Not a Galafreyan wardrobe. This Doctor likes bow ties and tweed. and yes a fez. So seeing him put in on wasn't just watching Matt Smith become a character, it was like the Doctor getting into character again as well. It didn't feel at all forced to me.
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Not only Amelia Williams (Pond) wrote the book, but the 11th chapter is the best and it makes Clara cry.
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I didn't catch that! Thanks
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No problem! :)
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Just to be a bit pedantic, the phone is behind the Police Telephone sign not the St. John's Ambulance badge. Additionally, until series five, the SJA logo had been missing from the TARDIS for more than 40 years.
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Oh my god, Emily! (couldn't resist)

I thought it was nice for her not to be tech savvy at first because it ties in with her previous Victorian incarnation.

My hope for Clara is that she can be smart and companionable without being smug. By the end, Amy had devolved into "I'm smart, you men are dumb, I'm in charge!" and it got really old.
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Is the flirting really bidirectional, and is it really flirting? As per the end of Snowmen, it seems more likely the Doctor's interest is in the mystery of Clara's reoccurrance rather than a romantic interest. From Clara's perspective, his overinterest would seem like a bizarre flirtation, so she would respond based on that assumption. But might the Doctor's attention simply be trying to make sure he's actually saved her this time round? He's failed twice before already! (11 does tend to go overboard when he "tries," doesn't he?)
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yes and yes and it's plain as day. no dude ever did that closet thing unless he was way into a girl and trying too hard. and every incarnation of her is a huge flirt. i know a lot of people were really sick of the doctor having romantic entanglements with companions, but to not see it now you have to be trying really hard. your best hope now is to hope familiarity causes them to lose interest in each other.
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Excellent review. I wrote up this one here, including speculations on Clara. We never did get an answer of who the woman was that handed Clara the "tech support" phone number that ended up calling the TARDIS phone:

http://bowjamesbow.ca/2013/03/31/ding-dong-docto.shtml
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Do you think when The Doctor answered that TARDIS phone he half expected some creepy kid to be on the other end asking "Are you my mommy?" I do hope that it was River who gave Clara the number, her way of making sure the Doctor had someone or getting him out of that room where he must have been living as a monk for years and obsessing over Clara.

It was nice to hear Richard E. Grant back as the Great Intelligence. He has one of those voices that is sort of menacing while still being refined. It made him the perfect Doctor in the Scream of the Shalka.

I do wonder how many other agents like Miss Kizlet the Great Intelligence has, how many other people has it been influencing since they were children. They could be everywhere, operating in secret in places of power like business and politics. Plus since the Great Intelligence does not seem to have a physical body, it could be really hard to stop.

Maybe the Great Intelligence has something to do with the mystery that is Clara. Her victorian self was present during the Great Intelligences attack with the Snowmen and now this adventure with her present self in this episode. When we first met Oswin in the asylum it was in a planet filled with a nano cloud. Could the Great Intelligence have somehow purposely crashed her starliner in order to gain access to the nano cloud technology so it could use it for its own purposes? Imagine, instead of needing to use Wi-Fi, the Great Intelligence could release the nano cloud on earth and gain control over anyone he wanted.
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River would be a good (though a bit obvious) choice.
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It would be cool if it turned out to be one of the Doctors old companions from the original series though, especially leading to the 50th anniversary. Maybe someone like Ace or Teagan whom Sarah Jane said were still out there. If they really wanted to surprise us, they could have it be Jenny.
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richard e grant wasn't the intelligence he was the puppet used by it.....ian mckellan? was the intelligence in the christmas special
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You're right, Gandalf the Great Intelligence. At the end though the voice changed to Grant. Either way it is still good to see Grant back.
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The Doctor didn't invent the quadracycle, he just built one likely from a couple bikes.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quadracycle
I'd like to have one though.

I would have thought that if he's able to fly the Tardis he could handle a plane, but he likely doesn't get much experience.

I think the fez showed up because Moffat needed a hat for a scene and a fez made for a good joke. But The Doctor also gave it away so it's not likely to show up again.
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You never know about the fez. It was destroyed once before by River and the Doctor just got another one, which he wore in the Christmas Carol. Heck, he may have a whole cache of them stored somewhere in the TARDIS for whenever he feels the situation calls for a fez.

I remember the 6th doctor hating the 5th doctors appearance and behavior. The the 3rd one was also not a fan of the 2nd one, Maybe the next Doctor will have some hatred for fez's and bowties and that will be the last we see of them.

If there are multiple doctors in the 50th anniversary, I could see the 11th Doctor wearing the fez for a bit only for the other incarnations to call him out on how stupid it looks. The 9th Doctor would most likely be the one to hate it since he was the most casual of the Doctors and the one with the lowest threshold for stupid things.
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Multiple doctors for the anniversary... that would be nice if it included all of the new ones.
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I have a feeling that if anyone, it would be Eccleston who would be the holdout. He has said that he was unhappy with how things were being run. However, he has said that he was proud of his run and since the production team has changed since then, maybe he would be willing to make a return for the special.

I would like to see 9 and 10 return for sure, celebrating the success of the new series. But I have always been a fan of 8 and he has had so little screen time it would be great to see him. If they could have 6 and 7, you would have a Six Doctors special.

Of course, it is being rumored that Moffat only got an hour for the special which is far too short for so many doctors to appear in any substantial way. So 9 and 10 may have to do. They have different enough personalities to 11 that it would be interesting to see how they conflict with one another.
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I just figured that the 5th doctor already had a place in The Five Doctors which was the 25th anniversary special, so the 50th should at least have 6-11.
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Why not 5 as well? Peter is actually younger than both of them (Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy).
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Oh humanity- you're being completely controlled by super intelligent techno mind hacky stuff, but you still find the time and autonomy to update your workplace on facebook.
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In their defense they seemed fairly autonomous. Except that they could be hacked and have various traits increased or decreased. So they probably had rekatively ordinary lives.
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And at the end, when they were de-hacked, they didn't know where they were or what they were doing.
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Not the best episode, but it was redeemed as "watchable" in my opinion by the interactions between Clara and The Doctor. Every line between them was gold. New wardrobe is good, makes him look less like a scarecrow impersonating a school teacher. Was anyone else bummed to see the bow tie was a clip on?
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If Clara had been a computer genius from the start then she wouldn't have had to call tech support, aka The Doctor, to figure out the wi-fi. I loved the Amy Pond reference as an author in the episode.
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The scene outside the house in the dark was shot in my street :) I managed to take a stalkeresque photo without them noticing... Seeing the Tardis parked down the road is one of the coolest dang things I ever did see! I really really like Clara so far. She has the potential to be the best companion for a while
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WOW
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Has no one mentioned the missing year in her 'Age 1-24' list at the start of Summer Falls? 22 is the last year before 24, 23 is missing completely. What could a missing year mean in the great Clara Oswald mystery?
I smiled at the little Chuck reference in the review (I now Kung Fu!)
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I noticed the missing years and I can't wait to see what they do with it. The Chuck reference was cool also. I like when the reference other shows! Especially when I've seen it and liked it:)
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The age-list wasn't at the start of Summer Falls, it was in the book "101 places to see" and age 16 is missing too.
15 was there, so it has nothing to do with the Lost Numbers ;-)
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Oh, thanks, missed that (those? :-P) Very curious to see how this one plays out...
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Good episode. Not the best but good. I really like Clara. Amy left some big shoes to fill being my favourite companion this far but Clara might actually best her. The chemistry between the Doctor and Clara is just great and the mystery about Clara is very intruiging. Can't wait to figure out what it is... I just hope it's really clever ;-)
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I enjoy the relationship between Clara & the Doctor but would hate to think "sweetie" has been forgotten. In a man more than 900 years old how many "flirtations" can he have? I don't want a romance I just want it to be fun like it seems to be. Not my fav ep but the potential for development in the series arc is there. What will the Great Intelligence do next.
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I was like, NO DOCTOR! NOT THE FEZ AGAIN! LOL.
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Now that was one fantastic episode! I loved Summer Falls by Amelia Williams. Amy and Rory were my favourite companions so far and I still miss them so I think it's great that they aren't simply forgotten.
The chemistry between Clara and the Doctor is great. I thought it was really sweet how excited he was about seeing Clara again even though she didn't remember him. And he put the half-eaten cookie back on the plate! And then he went and invented the quadracycle! Hahaha!
That said, we still don't know why Clara Oswald (for the win - Oswin :D) keeps coming back from the dead and why the Doctor keeps running into her. The lady at the shop just happened to have the Doctor's number? Coincidence? I don't think so.
And while I'm really happy with Clara as the new companion (I was afraid I'd hate her) I just HATE the new interior of the TARDIS. Amy's TARDIS was so beautiful that I wanted to live in it myself but the new one is just so dark and unfriendly and sterile. I don't think I will ever warm up to that design.
The on-the-screen-typing was indeed very Sherlocky. I liked it. Although it just made me miss Sherlock even more... Fall can't come soon enough.
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Have to agree on the TARDIS interior. I don't think they should have changed it until the next Doctor. But I guess that's more characterization for the 11th Doctor....apparently he's very brood-y and feels the need to redecorate to help him move on from his loss. But if he/the show had to change it, I wish they wouldn't have changed it to.....that. It was like a happy mad-scientists lab, which fit Smith's on-screen personality. This is just kind of cold and drab.
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Inspector Spacetime! but in all seriousness it's was nice
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1. Summer falls by Amelia Williams! that totally made my day.
2. I think the fact that her mind is kind of like a blank canvas where things are downloaded on to (matrix style) plays into the bigger picture.
3. I'm still a fan of the bow tie and the fez. No one can play silly excitement like Matt Smith. I loved that bit where he asked her to say "doctor who" multiple times. considering the doom and gloom of that question... its interesting no?
4. I think the fact that it was gibberish is kind of key to the story. People are sometimes so starved for wifi that they just look for the next unlocked thing even if it is gibberish. sly politcal statement there too.
5. Awesome title. Bells of st. john
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I agree I love the fez & bow tie gags "Bow ties ARE cool"
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I forgot a few
6. how the name oswin came to be
7. who is the lady from the shop? river? or if this isn't modern day and a few years back a reallly old amelia williams? ;)
8. "is it a demon?" "it's a woman" -terrified look from the monk- that totally was a lmao moment
9. even if was only for a few seconds Richard e grant is always a welcome presence. Look forward to seeing more of him.
10. What do you think the leaf means? She says its page one. What can page one be? hmmm

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This could be completely random and out of nowhere... but could the lady from the shop be the girl from the episode Blink, Sally Sparrow? That's the first person I thought of.
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Oh, I hope so. A much more interesting and less obvious choice than River Song.
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well another theory is that its rose because of billie piper's return for the50th. I like the sally sparrow idea though that would be really neat
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