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Best of Matt Smith: The Bells of Saint John

best-of-matt-smith-bells

Across the next couple of months Doctor Who TV is running a series of polls to celebrate Matt Smith’s era. We want you to cast your votes on every story and at the end we’ll be comprising a list to find the top scoring.

We continue Series 7 with The Bells of Saint John. All you have to do is rate the story with your score out of 10, so get voting and join us again tomorrow for the next episode.

Step back in time...

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123 comments
TheCyberDoctor is Undead
TheCyberDoctor is Undead

10/10 - I loved this episode. It felt like a completely new series, with the tone seemingly changed, and the direction was superb. The introduction of Clara was brilliant, and the scene where she first met the Doctor was quite funny. Matt Smith was, again, on top form. And the Doctor seemed to have matured a bit since losing the Ponds. One problem, however, was that the spoonheads were not menacing and are probably Moffat's worst creation.


Series 7 so far: TDTWATW - 7/10; AOTD - 10/10; DOAS - 8/10; ATCM - 7/10; TPOT - 7.5/10 (8); TATM - 9/10; TS - 10/10 

shots1
shots1

One of my all time favourites and the music was fabulous the best piece for me A Turbulant Ride Pity Ms Kizlet only lasted on episode.

DW_girl
DW_girl

8/10. Nice pacing, I liked how they made something very real seem frightening with how they surround it with fictional elements, ie the wifi and spoonheads, Miss Kizlet was a strong villain, and the whole thing was very epic. Didn't think Clara did much though, which is particularly annoying.

stargazer0118
stargazer0118

Fun episode, good visuals, cool action, but I didn't really like Clara much here. 8/10.

Tardis Stowaway
Tardis Stowaway

9/10


Two of my favourite things - Doctor Who and London - in one, it was always destined to be a high-mark episode for me! The general look of this episode, with the fantastic locations and shots of London (particularly the café scene and Westminster Bridge), was phenomenal. The acting in this episode was brilliant, with Matt Smith and Jenna Coleman on top form as usual (are they ever anything less?) and the script was superbly written with a concept that's eerily relatable, a trademark feature of a Moffat script, and was fast enough to keep the action going but direct enough to avoid losing the viewer in any of the aspects. The characters were all written brilliantly and given terrific lines - I would quote them all but I might be here for a quite a while if I did, so I'll skip that bit. A special mention to Murray Gold, for yet another fantastic score, 'Up The Shard', 'Monking About' and 'Clara?' are some of my favourite pieces from Series 7, and, of course, Bah Bah Biker - need I say any more? The ending was satisfying, a twist I wasn't really expecting, and I really liked Clara being a bit bossier than normal and telling the Doctor to come back again the next day - I'm sure that's a first? Certainly in New-Who anyway, most (except Donna) are happy to fly away immediately. So, all-in-all, a highlight of Series 7 AND Matt Smith's era.

Amy is Hannibal
Amy is Hannibal

9/10 - Third 9 in a row. It's hard to explain, but the "flavor" of this episode really appeals to me. It's a sleek, slick, shiny, polished, self-contained adventure, and I really enjoy that about it. Matt/the Doctor are their usual selves (amazing - "I invented the quadracycle...", "I'm a Time Lord from outer space with two hearts and... twenty seven brains!", "I didn't. I'm still in the cafe.", "You don't run out on the people you care about. Wish I was more like that."), and Modern!Clara, my favorite of the three, is good in this as well. I really like that she doesn't abandon her responsibilities or think that they're somehow less important than traveling with the Doctor. She's smart about the idea.

Miss Kizlet was a great villain; very cold and chilling and business-like. (Though not totally unfair - "I'm ever so fond of Alexi, but my conscience says we should probably kill him." "I'll inform HR." "Actually, he's about to go on holiday. Kill him when he gets back. Let's not be unreasonable.") :P And the twist about her having been influenced since she was a child was quite dark. And speaking of, we only catch a glimpse of the GI in this one, but I still enjoyed its cameo appearance. I love Grant's version of the Intelligence, although "The Name of the Doctor" is easily where he shines.

This episode also has a lot of clever little moments, like "the bells of Saint John are ringing," "because it's a surprisingly accurate description," using strategic time travel by skipping ahead to the next morning so that your enemies will have searched all night, using the Spoonhead as a stand-in for yourself (a bit of a call back to the Teselecta), and showing us the genesis of Clara's hacking skills, the "Oswin" nickname, and her other selves' dying words.

I also love how a lot of the in-universe text is displayed separately on-screen. I always enjoyed that aspect of Sherlock and welcome it in this episode. +10 style points

However... it eats at me a bit that the missing numbers in Clara's book never turned out to have any significance. Can someone in the prop/continuity departments just not count? Although, curiously, on the other hand, the identity of the woman in the shop doesn't even strike me as something that needs to be addressed; it actually baffles me a bit as far as why it's considered a mystery/loose end/"plot hole" (oh boy, every time...). The Doctor has met tons of people throughout the universe. That some tech support girl would have his number doesn't surprise me at all. If this episode were written by anyone else, most people would probably just glance over that part without questioning it. :P


Snowmen: 9/10 | Bells: 9/10








DawnTime
DawnTime

9 - A great little episode for the simply chemistry again between the Matt and Jenna bits. Love the Doctor in the coffee shop being delighted about the cakes (I am the same)

Oncoming_Badger
Oncoming_Badger

4/10, rubbish episode. It was just messy, the spoon heads were rubbish and the whole concept surroundings dangerous wi-fi was poorly explained and showed Moffats poor understanding of the internet.

Nightmarish
Nightmarish

It's a good episode, but I came away from it vaguely disappointed.

trenzalew
trenzalew

At the time, 9/10, but it's down to 7 now.

NineTenElevenTwelve
NineTenElevenTwelve

I really like this episode. It was a fitting follow-up to "The Snowmen", had a good introduction for modern Clara, and I loved how the Doctor defeated Miss Kizlet. It's not as fantastic as it could have been but it was still a damn good start to Series 7B IMO. It gets an 8/10 from me.

JailBanksters
JailBanksters

A bit creepy as it's first time the Doc is a stalker !


PrisonerZero
PrisonerZero

This episode has a really unique feel to it.  I don't know if it's how modern it feels compared to other "modern day" episodes or just the amazing use of London.

EdWhovian
EdWhovian

10. well probably 9.5 but I couldn't bring myself to round down. After a somewhat disappointing mid season finale for me, this (and the snowmen) proved that Moffat still had it.

grumpyoldcow
grumpyoldcow

"The Bells of Saint John." Oh, the weeks of speculation that went into what that title meant. Then its as simple as what's hidden in plain sight. I had such a good laugh to find out it was the TARDIS phone instead of one of the really way out there theories. Doctor, do patch that phone back through the console unit. I have a feeling its going to be very important one day.

A really fun adventure. Great dialog. Great cast. Great story. Loved it all. :)

My favorite parts are the timey, wimey bit of Clara reaching the Doctor in 1207, and almost immediately he is at her door in comtemporary London, and the whole "Doctor Who? Say that again, and his delighted little dance as he purrs, oh say that again, I never realized just how much I enjoyed hearing that said aloud" scene.and he's totally freaking her out because he is still in his monk robes. Hahaha! So funny! Was this Moffat making fun of all the critics who always bad-mouth the Doctor Who? bit? I wonder.

Have to mention the prequel that really did set up the Doctor retiring to a quite place to think about this girl twice dead. So impossible, but she IS!

And as it is with Moffat, the story just zips along. We get the beginning of the leaf arc - the page one of Clara, then we're zipping about with something in the Wi-Fi, then it's Ms. Kizlet and her spoonheads, and and so much more.

In no particular order, how brill . . . uh, great, are these bits:

RYCBAR123, "Summer Falls", by Amelia Williams and the cute bit about chapter 11, the reveal that the Great Intelligence is behind all the uploading, downloading ?? of all these people that "don't know where I am", the Doctor outsmarting Ms. Kizlet by hacking his own spoonhead, the Man Eating Chips who has wormed his way into fandom's heart forever more, oh, and the Doctor's new coat. Lastly, Clara is a different sort of companion, not one to run off on a whim with a mad mad with a box, and I for one love it, and esp.how it confuses the Doctor.

Done, but Doctor do tend to that phone!

sontaran17
sontaran17

I remember the weeks leading up to the premiere, the questions I had, the goosbumps were growing and the anticipation was too much to handle! I remember trying to tell myself not to have too high expectations, as I didnt want to get disapointed... and then the prequel came out... and I screamed in joy.. and then the time came... and well.... I WAS NOT DISSAPOINTED! Bells is a fun, adventurous and Epic Urban Thriller, and brilliant opener and perfect introduction to Clara Oswald, who was soon to secure herself as one of, if not the best, companion to me of all time. Great Dialog, Great tone, Exceptional Villain - I can't flaw it. Starts of Possibly the best consecutive 10 episodes in WHO HISTORY!! 10/10  Bring on another flawless powerful and stunning episode tomorrow in Rings!!




Planet of the Deaf
Planet of the Deaf

8/10 a decent start to 7B and introduction to modern Clara, it was good to have a slightly reluctant companion who wasn't prepared to drop everything for the Doctor. Some great dialogue, and cute moments between the Doctor and Clara too :-)







Deus_Ex_Machina
Deus_Ex_Machina

Am I the only one who doesn't care about who the woman in the shop is? I mean, if Moffat has a plan then go for it, but I don't care if we never know. It's just a tiny thing and it's fun just to speculate among each other.

Deus_Ex_Machina
Deus_Ex_Machina

Not that memorable of an episode, but it was fun and had it's moments. The creature in the wi-fi was an interesting concept and was well executed in my opinion. 6/10.



At least the show had gotten over the hole that was series 7A.




Anthony Retondo
Anthony Retondo

A good episode. These next few are the poorest in Smith's run imo, but I did like this one a lot. 

Wastemaster24
Wastemaster24

9/10 really good ep fantastic epic moments pushed a long by fantastic work from murey gold

Moves Like Jagaroth
Moves Like Jagaroth

For me The Snowman, Bells and Rings form an unholy trinity of disappointment where the storytelling, character development and pacing all vanished into a black hole of pure despair

DasManiac
DasManiac

9/10. Could have been longer but still a terrific episode. Easily Moffat's best in several years and best of Series 7 (including the specials).

Chronos the Fannibal
Chronos the Fannibal

8/10 I liked the concept of a alien in the wifi and miss Kizlet as a villain, plus seeing moments like 11 get a plate of Jammie Dogers for Clara


grumpyoldcow
grumpyoldcow

Wonderful review as always, Amy. I read somewhere that the missing pages coincide with important dates in real world Who, but sorry to be so vague, I don't remember the facts. But it's at least a start if you want to look it up.

Amy is Hannibal
Amy is Hannibal

Oh, and how could I forget? "Summer Falls" by Amelia Williams. What an amazing subtle call back!

And I love the purple outfit, new TARDIS interior, and new title sequence (the latter two of which technically debuted in "The Snowmen", but I didn't review that one and its version of the theme music was a bit different from what was used for the rest of Series 7 anyway).



Jono81
Jono81

@sontaran17  I truly wish I felt the same. I felt that same sense of excitement, but Bells ended up a fairly average episode to me and the following few episodes were my least favorites of Matt's entire run. Ah well. Glad to hear some people enjoyed it so much :)

grumpyoldcow
grumpyoldcow

It's fun to speculate as always, but I couldn't care less if we ever know. Sometimes keeping things a mystery is fine. For example, I was disappointed with the reveal of what was in room 11 in the God Complex. I preferred the mystery of not knowing.

sontaran17
sontaran17

@Anthony Retondo  I disagree full heartedly, Season 7 is flawless to me, Very Powerful Episodes every week! You have a stunning Dalek episode, a fun yet dark Dinosaur thriller, A Wild Wild West Adventure, A Companion based Urban Thriller, an Epic Swan Song Weeping Angles episode, A festive Gem, Another fun and great Urban Thriller, A Powerful Emotional story, chucked full of Aliens, T Ghost Story thats actually a love story, More TARDIS than ever before married together with a timey wimey plot, A Fun Paternoster Adventure, Cybermen Upgraded! a Phenomnal Game changing finale followed by 2 of the Greatest specials known to Who!

Jono81
Jono81

@Anthony Retondo  Agreed. 7B started to pick a bit towards the end, but the first few episodes after Bells were really disappointing.

Amy is Hannibal
Amy is Hannibal

@grumpyoldcow  Thanks. :) And thank you also for that; I'll look into it. I know that Clara already has a few show-relevant dates attached to her; Clara Oswin Oswald was born on 23 November, and Clara's mother died on the same day that the Ninth Doctor confronted the Nestene Consciousness in 2005. So that could be likely; if so, I am curious to know what those missing numbers mean.

grumpyoldcow
grumpyoldcow

Yes, it does:). However I can be grumpy, but as far as I know not an "oldcow".

Thank you.

Deus_Ex_Machina
Deus_Ex_Machina

I completely agree. And the resolution to that one was a bit of a let down to. A crack, really? If they had to show us, it couldn't have been something better?

Deus_Ex_Machina
Deus_Ex_Machina

At least I know the angry potato people are on my side.


grumpyoldcow
grumpyoldcow

heh heh heh :) So. Not deaf.

Well gotta go to work and then dig out my armor for the battle ahead over "Rings".

Laters, PotD.

Deus_Ex_Machina
Deus_Ex_Machina

I feel like the Doctor, assembling his army before the Battle of Demons Run. Anyone got a wife and new born baby that have been abducted by an insane religious group that need rescuing? I'll go get my coat.

sontaran17
sontaran17

@PrisonerZero @sontaran17 @Anthony Retondo  Ah yes how dare I forget the resurrection of THE ICE WARRIORS! Probably the weakest of Season 7, but it served its purpose as a re- introduction really well, and Clara was brilliant, so 8/10