Finally, we meet Clara proper!
- ‘The Bells of St. John’ by Stephen Moffat
- ‘The Rings of Akhaten’ by Neil Cross
The bells refer to the Doctor’s phone-box phone. Prior to this point it has rung only once, when the Ninth Doctor took a call from the Empty Child. Eleven seems just as baffled. Clara got the number from a woman in a shop (presumably Missy) who told her it was the ‘best help-line.’ She then makes a mnemonic of her famous catch-phrase, and the Doctor is off.
This episode is okay. The opening setup with people trapped in the wi-fi is great. The post-climax scene of Miss Kizlet asking for her parents is heart-wrenching. The motorbike is cool, if pointless, and the Doctor’s turning his enemy’s weapon against them is classic. Mostly the details seem to hang together decently and make a certain amount of sense. The monastary scenes have some cringy moments, and the chaos on the plane feels overdone, but otherwise the episode works.
It’s not very exciting, but it works.
I still love the music of ‘The Rings of Akhaten.’ I have problems with the Doctor stalking Clara’s early life – is there anything not-creepy about the way he kneels down to talk to her after the soccer-ball incident? If I were her parents I’d be keeping a sharp eye out for him thereafter. I also wish he’d tell her the truth in the end, but that would blow Moffat’s whole (lame) season arc. The stuff in the middle I like, even if it’s a bit difficult to follow. I love the Doctor’s big speeches; I love his conversation with Merry about ‘star-stuff;’ I love Clara’s backstory, even if it doesn’t stick, even if her dad is way too young in that cemetery scene.
Once again I forgot that there’s a ‘prequel.’ The Doctor meets a girl in a playground and has a touching moment. He doesn’t realize it’s Clara. And once again, parents fail to be concerned about a grown man hanging around a playground. Some fans place Rose and Mickey in the scene – Clara’s mother is talking to a blonde woman, and there’s a blonde girl and a black boy playing among the children. However, since Rose and Mickey would be roughly five years older than Clara – assuming continuity has any value in this universe – it doesn’t seem likely. Nice idea, though.
It’s actually a very sweet scene. And that’s Amy Pond music playing in the background…