Sunday, March 31, 2013

Review: The Bells of St. John (Doctor Who)

Last night was the premiere of the second half of season seven of "Doctor Who".

Here there be spoilers (highlight to view).
After the events of the last Xmas special, the Doctor has gone from being a world-saving hero to being a weird, uber-stalker as he searches for another incarnation of Clara "Oswin" Oswald, met previously in the Xmas special and a Dalek episode.

Meanwhile, people are getting forcibly-uploaded into "the wifi" as part of some sort of Matrix-cloud-thing by a bunch of people in suits in a dark room using disguised robots called "Spoonheads".

Don't think about the plot too much. It's silly, even for a kid's show.

The Doctor has been connected to Clara because "a woman in a shop" gave him a way to call him to fix her Internet access.

You see, Clara in the 21st century is a technologically-illiterate nanny. Her telephone call somehow connects to the phone in the TARDIS and hilarity ensues.

By "hilarity" I mean "contrived and ridiculously nonsense" but whatever.

The Doctor, in full stalker mode, crosses time to freak out Clara (who really ought to have called the cops... nobody seems to think about that).

And then she gets sucked into the wifi Matrix cloud thing. You see, she clicked a wifi link and got the attention of the bad people and they felt a need to eat her brain.

The Doctor rescues her and tells the suit people to fuck off. Clara comes back with some uploaded computer skills, via the suit people, for reasons that make no sense whatsoever.

All the suit people are essentially hacked by iPads and controlled by a woman who works for a mysterious "client" who wants these uploaded minds.

The suit people try to drop a plane on the Doctor and Clara. The Doctor saves the plane then he and Clara go to a cafe and have breakfast. There, the suit people hack a bunch of random folks (everyone gets brain-controlled by the suit people, I guess) while Clara mysteriously manages to hack back into the suit people's place and find out where they are.

The suit people zap Clara with a Spoonhead. The Doctor, using an "antigrav motorbike" rides to the rescue... only it's a reprogrammed Spoonhead who zaps the leader of the suit people. The suit people download everyone out of the Matrix cloud thing and it's revealed that the "client" is the Great Intelligence (wave if you know who that is). The GI's scheme of wifi control apparently works on everyone but UNIT for reasons that make no sense whatsoever.

The GI reboots every one of the suit people, revealing that the leader of the suit people got grabbed as a very young child (which was a genuinely-creepy scene, I'll grant that).

The Doctor remains stalkery and tries to get Clara to fly off in the TARDIS with him. She plays weird flirting games and the episode ends.

My reactions: I'd like to thank Steven Moffatt for turning the Doctor into an utter tool. I really need one of my favorite shows to become ridiculous crap. That's great.

Moff, you did great stuff with "Blink" and the Library episodes. I thought Russell T. Davies was doing ridiculous crap with his melodramatic, over-the-top stuff, but you've taken the Doctor to whole new lows. Bravo.

By which I mean, fuck the hell off.

The story was nonsensical and ridiculous. Having the Great Intelligence as the ultimate bad guy was solid, but the delivery was poor and the story felt clearly-incomplete.

The sloppy writing is really getting to me.

Grade: C- (and I feel I'm being generous)

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