Doctor Who: The Bells of Saint John

Posted on April 01, 2013

While it’s always fun to have the Doctor come roaring back into our lives, this episode gnawed a little at the edges of our brain and we couldn’t quite figure out why until the end of the episode and a sense of deja vu settled over us. The Dclara doctor 2octor has a new mystery on his hands and he’s excited to find out more about it – who is this new girl on the TARDIS and why is she impossible? That sounds great and all, but … River Song and Amy Pond.

We JUST GOT DONE with a several-years-long story about two mysterious women who should not exist and how the Doctor is simply compelled to deal with them until he knows all their answers. This doesn’t feel like new ground to us at all. In fact, the entire episode, once you view it through the lens of repetition, is a testament to the idea that showrunner Steven Moffatt just might be creatively tapped out.

There’s the mysterious, impossible girl on the TARDIS (River, Amy, Clara), with a flirtatious catchphrase (“Hello, sweetie.” “Run, you clever boy.”) who should not exist (Amy, Clara) and who the doctor first met just as she died (River), but she has a tendency to die a lot (Rory, Captain Jack). There’s the sneering, evil, middle-aged woman in a business suit (Madame Kovarian). There’s the everyday, nonthreatening item or thing that is rendered sinister and dangerous (Half of modern Who episodes). There’s the converting of human beings to digital or electronic beings (Dalek Clara) and the use of a (very “Silence in the Library”-style) robot to impersonate the Doctor (The Tesselecta). Not to mention the person staring back at us from a screen, imploring us not to BLINK click on the wrong wi-fi. Sure, a show like Who is clara doctorgoing to re-use and return to concepts over and over again, but when a showrunner keeps returning to his own concepts, then it smacks of burnout to us.

Was this episode fun? Well, sure. It’s Matt Smith riding up the side of skyscraper in a motorcycle and rescuing a crashing airplane. That’s the definition of fun. And Clara seems like she’d make a good companion, even if her chirpiness sometimes grates on our nerves. Plus: the return of the fez.

But a story was set up in this episode and we can’t say we’re dying to find out what happens next because it feels like they’re setting up a story they just got finished telling.

Still, we’re wondering who the woman in the shop was that gave Clara the Doctor’s number. River seems like the obvious choice, but it’s kind of hard not to think of Rose Tyler or Sally Sparrow when you hear “shop girl” in the context of Doctor Who.

So yes; fun, but it felt like we were watching an entertaining clip show of previous episodes.

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  • Frank_821

    Yes it would be lovely if it was Sally Sparrow who guided Clara to the Doctor. It would be lovelier if Cary Mulligan secretly shot a cameo

    In hindsight yes we are retreading too much ground-although i enjoyed the episode very much on it’s own terms. I hope the Clara resolution is somethign fresh and cool. I don’t like another flirtatious companion/love interest. that got old by the time Martha came along. Actually Moffat of course was doing this time traveler’s wife thing all the way back with the Girl in the Fireplace. It was wonderful then. It was great in Silence in the Library. It’s getting very stale now.

    I’ve gotten use to the year end+ story arcs since Russell T Davies was doing it but it really isn’t necessary to do them every year. Just resolve this BEFORE the 50th anniversary special

    I loved the line “No one loves cattle more than Burger King”

    • gabbilevy

      I would love if Sally Sparrow came back, but since Billie Piper (along with David Tennant) has been confirmed to return for the 50th anniversary, I’m putting my money on Rose.

      • quitasarah

        Avoiding for a moment that ANYTHING can happen on Doctor Who, when we last left Rose wasn’t she trapped in another dimension with the not-doctor? While Sally Sparrow would be nice, I wouldn’t count on it. Similarly, it could be River, but my money’s on a good old Doctor Who mistake/coincidence. Just a couple of transposed or mis-dialed numbers and the wifi helpline becomes the Doctor’s line…

        • gabbilevy

          Well they’re somehow getting Rose and the 10th doctor back… same universe, different universe… guess we’ll find out.

          • Qitkat

            And then if they could just run into Donna on the street, or somewhere. An encounter could be curious and puzzling, and yes, awkward, but the fans would love it, especially if Catherine got to use her considerable comedic talents.

        • True, but it could also just be someone we haven’t met yet or never will. I mean, the Doctor is 1000 years old, he’s met plenty of people. It coulda been anyone. I’d LOVE Sally Sparrow to come back, she is still to this day one of my favorite Who sidekicks. But yeah, I bet it was Rose or no one at all. I don’t think even Moffat would make it River … AGAIN.
          Though he didn’t waste any time bringing the Ponds back into the picture with that ridiculous book.

    • THis is why Donna is my favorite companion. She never had the hots for the Doc.

    • VanessaDK

      I did enjoy it and was relieved that the WiFi plot was not lame and naive. Though if I were going to insert an alien network to tempt users I’d call it “linksys” or “free public WiFi”.

  • VanessaDK

    And there is more repetition–

    sneering, evil, middle-aged woman in a business suit (Nanny in the Adipose episode; Miss Hartigan in teh Next Doctor (Victorian version of the business suit)….

    Don’t forget Idiot’s Lantern “Feed me!” eating souls and sticking them on TV screens.

    And the conversion to digital beings in lieu of death or on the way to dying and speaking to us through others is one of the most often used tropes in NuWho–too many to list

    • Yes! I think what grated on me the most about this ep was the fact that most of it was lifted wholesale from ‘The Idiot’s Lantern.’

    • Corsetmaker

      Celia Imrie was fab this week though.

    • None of those episodes were Moffat’s though.

    • I’m glad I’m not the only one who thought both Idiot’s Lantern *and* Adipose. This episode was a pick-and-mix of past episodes, it was really rather sad.

  • TritoneTelephone

    What ever happened to “the question” and “silence will fall”? Now he likes hearing that question? I’m so confused.

    • gabbilevy

      I suspect it will be back. And the “Doctor who?” joke precedes the Silence.

    • Frank_821

      Actually that question will likely deal with the 50th anniversray story. Some hardcore fans suspect Moffat plans to resurrect the “Cartmel Master Plan”. It was something they were plotting during the final seasons of the original show revealing that the Doctor was not some typical Time Lord. he was actually someone far more and someone very, very important to Timelord history. Becuase the show got cancelled, they never got to follow through on it. Details of that are posted on wikipedia

      • Eclectic Mayhem

        Ooooh – is this how they’re planning to get out of the finite-number-of-regenerations thing?

      • j_anson

        “revealing that the Doctor was not some typical Time Lord. he was actually someone far more and someone very, very important to Timelord history”? Wow, I’m feeling really good about my decision to abandon the show half-way through last season.

      • Oh, so maybe he’s really Rassilon, his own beginning and end and all that?

        • Frank_821

          the plan was that he’s someone else besides Rassilion or Omega but just as relevant

    • quitasarah

      Yes! Really want to get back to that story line, The Silence are so scary in the best Whovian way! But I don’t think “the question” was ever supposed to be “Doctor Who?” that’s the running joke of the whole series…

    • That question was actually only asked 7 episodes ago!

  • gabbilevy

    These criticisms are pretty much what I saw elsewhere, but at what point is it new stories told within an existing universe versus just a rehash? I think it’s the former. Amy — by the way — was not an impossible girl. Her life didn’t make sense (why was she living alone in this crack-in-the-wall house with an alien) and River seems even less similar. If anything, Clara seems more comparable to Donna (who kept popping up in the doctor’s life).

    I think it makes more sense to compare this episode to other companion introduction episodes (most follow a pretty specific formula).

    I love JLC and I’m intrigued by the possibility that Clara isn’t strictly human, or perhaps part of a larger conspiracy.

    • “I love JLC and I’m intrigued by the possibility that Clara isn’t strictly human, or perhaps part of a larger conspiracy.”

      Which, ironically, describes River Song to a T.

      We’re afraid we don’t find the differences between these three female companions to be as distinct as you do. They were all some variation on “the impossible girl.”

      • gabbilevy

        The whole series is a riff on “that’s not possible.”

        Maybe it’s that I found the conspiracy around Amy/River to be convoluted, and don’t miss Amy as much as many do, that I wouldn’t mind Moffatt giving it another shot.

        • Missy Covington

          This is the thing for me; even if it’s repetitive, I’ll take repetition in order to make something maybe *that much* more interesting. Amy/River was kinda meh. Convoluted and at the same time, kind of easy to explain away and then brush away.

          I actually WANT to figure out how Clara keeps coming back as a different-yet-same girl through space and time.

      • VanessaDK

        Agreed. I think Amy’s most frequent saying was “that’s not possible. How is that possible?”

      • lovelyivy

        They have minor differences, but the core traits of Clara, River and Amy are the same: snarky, sexually challenging and not impressed by the Doctor. If you close your eyes and listen to the banter it would be extremely easy to get them mixed up, since they’re fundamentally very similar. None of them achieved anything close to the layers and personality interest we got in Donna, Martha or even Rose (who I try to remember fondly from S1 rather than all the times I found her insufferable in S2). I think Matt Smith’s Doctor is a stronger character than DT’s Doctor, but it’s come at the expense of his companions.

    • mightbewrong

      Isn’t Amy’s life not making sense the very definition of an ‘impossible girl’?

    • Eclectic Mayhem

      Much as I’m a confirmed Whovian I don’t actually frequent any Who sites online (I’ll stick with TLo for my Who Commentary) so this has simply been idle speculation on my part until you just confirmed that others suspect a conspiracy of some kind. I do think that Clara is a plant… something to do with the Great Intelligence. I don’t think she knows she’s a plant but this arc is going to take us right up to the 50th Anniversary shindig.

  • MilaXX

    I quite enjoyed this, but I can’t disagree with anything you said. I also think the shop girl will end up being Rose because it feel like this season is going to lead up to the 50th anniversary celebration and I can’t see Carey Mulligan returning to Who even though I would prefer her over Rose. That said, a part of me thinks the shop girl should be River because who else would know a little thing like the number to the outside phone on the TARDIS. I just don’t want to get burnt out on Moffs love of timey whimy things like I did Davies love of Rose Tyler and the Ten/Rose ‘ship.

    • formerlyAnon

      Agree with your reasoning about Rose.

  • ScarlettHarlot

    You know, you have described exactly my reaction. I liked the new companion, and I liked the pacing and energy of this story, but I would really prefer a season that DOESN’T focus on a flirtation with the doctor or larger mystery involving the companions. Then I thought about it, and really, most of the companions have had something like:

    Rose – romance w/Doctor, Bad Wolf, heart of the TARDIS

    Martha – unrequited romance with the Doctor

    River & Amy – you’ve covered this

    They need another Donna. Or even a Wilfred!

    And I don’t think it would hurt to have a season that doesn’t have an overarching mystery such as the cracks in the universe, (especially since the payoffs are often convoluted or underwhelming) and features more one-off stories that have cool villains but aren’t part of the season arc, like the Family of Blood two-parter.

    Just as the best seasons of any of the Star Trek series are a balance between narrative and alien-of-the-week stories, I think that’s what Doctor Who needs.

    • yes, please! another donna! i LOVED her character. it was her perfect “best friend”-iness that made her so appealing to me.

    • Missy Covington

      Oh man. The Family of Blood set was *awesome*. Also: “The Empty Child”. I miss *really* great two-episode-arcs like that.

      I would love another Donna. Only a bit less shrill at the onset. I loved Martha up until they decided to throw the Doctor-love component in there (which wasn’t there at first). She was just so highly competent on her own. I miss that from his companions.

      • editrixie

        I loved it when Martha showed up on Torchwood. It was like “Oh, there’s Martha again, the awesome, competent girl we fell in love with.”

    • j_anson

      I wish they’d return to the older model of having multiple companions for a while. I’m all for female companions, but if you’re only going to have one primary companion (I loved Rory but he was always basically an Amy-adjunct) and it’s ALWAYS a girl then you’re going to end up playing the same scenario out over and over again.

      • Exactly what I said as soon as Clara was cast in the role. If I have to see one more plucky early-20’s London girl from the current year, I am going to scream.
        Classic Who had all sorts of companions. They had men and women, they had all ages, they had aliens, androids, Amazonians … it was awesome. The biggest ‘variation’ we’ve gotten since the reboot is that Martha is black and Donna was 40. Wow, such range.
        And like you said with Rory, he was just Amy+guest. River was only in a few episodes here and there and was, again, a guest of Amy. Maybe you could make an argument that Jack (the 40 year old, pansexual, alien-born human from the 31st century) was a departure, but, again, he was never really a *true* companion.

        It’s really quite sad.

    • Kimmu

      The romantic companion thing is entirely a Nu Who thing, and I don’t like it at all. I tolerated it with Rose, but blegh. Please give us awesome companions like Doctors 1 through 7 had. Donna is the only modern era companion I genuinely like and she’s essentially a Classic Who companion.

      • j_anson

        I’m with you. And I really liked Rose! But at this point it’s just the same thing over and over again. It’s one thing to say, this is New Who, we’re going throw the potential of a little romance into the mix. It’s another thing to reach the point where the extent to which the Doctor is ONLY willing to travel with young women (usually hot) is frankly getting a little creepy.

  • Jangle57

    Perhaps my take is different than yours for the very reason that since I really disliked the whole Rory/Amy/River Song era, I pretty much gave up on the Doctor during that time and bided my time, knowing that things would change. So for that reason alone, I was happy with the sort of debut of Clara (even if it is the third time around); I quite liked the repartee between her and the Doctor. I am hopeful that thinks will improve and will give it a chance. I am an old hand at giving change in Doctor Who a chance; usually it does work out though sometimes not (Colin Baker as the Doctor, Sylvester McCoy as the Doctor, Martha Jones, and as noted, Rory/Amy/River Song, just to name a few). But I will agree, the storylines are getting a little stale; if I see one more ‘go back and visit someone famous in Earth’s history’ episode or another Weeping Angels episode (and I loved Blink) ; I will scream.

    • Eclectic Mayhem

      I am with you on Colin Baker (lovely man, dreadful Doctor!) but Sylvester McCoy wasn’t that bad. That whole period of Original Who was hamstrung by crappy budgets and a DG who hated the show. Once Ace replaced Mel things got pretty interesting.

    • Corsetmaker

      I liked Colin Baker. He just didn’t have a chance to develop the character and the writing wasn’t good at the time. Plus they gave him a terrible costume. But then I didn’t really like Peter Davison,

    • editrixie

      Ugh, I hate the way they have pretty much gutted the weeping angels by overusing them. They should have left them at Blink, instead, they’ve taken away the mystery and what makes them terrifying.

      • I remember when Moffat said he wouldn’t be using the Cybermen or Daleks as much as Davies did because he felt using baddies too often made them less menacing … Then what did he do? He used the Angels every chance he got. They got a two-part episode with Amy and River where they TALKED and MOVED?! No, thank you. Then they were in that stupid moving hotel. Then they were there to ‘kill’ Amy and Rory. Yawn.

  • i completely agree with what you pointed out. after watching it, i sort of just sat there unaffected and unimpressed by the episode.

    i immediately thought rose when clara said “shop girl” (especially with billie piper’s recent confirmation for the 50th anniversary special) – it would be nice if that played out but i don’t want another love story between doctor/companion.

    it was fun to see a phone come out of the TARDIS for once because it is, after all, a call box and we’ve only ever seen calls being taken inside.

    i DID like that the book the kid was reading and where the girl’s image came from was written by AMELIA WILLIAMS. i did a little rewind to make sure i wasn’t making it up.

    i’m looking forward to the rest of this series but not as anxiously as usual.

    • Frank_821

      that book will actually be published this week. I saw a BBC news bit on it.

      I would like the shop girl to be Sally and that reveal to take place before this season ends this spring. I don’t want anything related to Clara to be connected to the 50th anniversary story.

      • I completely agree. I think to have Clara’s story arc woven into the 50th would be horrendous. The 50th should be a stand-alone event. No mere companion should get their own arc. It’s about The Doctor.

    • MilaXX

      yes and the bit where Clara asks what chapter the kid is on and she replies “Eleven’s the best, you’ll cry your eyes out.”

  • formerlyAnon

    So far I’m along for the ride. My enthusiasm for ANY Doctor, Companion or story arc of Who has always had flaws running through it – I’ve never achieved the unadulterated love many do for a specific character or “era.” To me that’s a strength when it happens because a character is frustrating or annoying (because it makes them more like a real person over time) and a weakness when it’s because the story arc seems annoyingly arbitrary or gimmicky and the fanbase is full of convoluted theories stretching back through years of plot trying to make the story hang together.

  • Jessi03

    I definitely kept noticing the similarities to this and The Idiot’s Lantern. Clara felt a little River Song-y to me, too. Glad I wasn’t the only one. However, I’m really thrilled that Who is back and I enjoyed the episode anyway, even if it was a little…familiar.

  • j_anson

    My lord, yes, if only they would bring Sally Sparrow back. Then we could have TWO manic pixie dream girls at once!

    • Sally Sparrow wasn’t a manic pixie dream girl in the least.

      Wow the comments this time are hurting my brain. (salsas out)

  • I hope they don’t just drop the whole “silence will fall when the question is asked” mysteries from the previous seasons. Or was that already resolved in a way so anticlimactic that I completely missed it?

    • agreed! Plus, there’s a LOT of questions left unanswered about Amy.

    • “Resolved” in The Wedding of River Song in a way so anticlimactic that it actually made me angry.

    • Brienne Calmer

      Oh, no, the Question hasn’t been asked yet. Not on the field of whatever at the fall of the eleventh when no one can lie or blahdeblah. Why the Doctor gets such pleasure out of forcing Clara to ask it over and over and over, I don’t know. That part really grated on me, and that in an episode where nothing quite sat right with me anyway.

  • marilyn

    I have not looked at Doctor Who in over 30 years. The authoritarian DW of the 70’s put me off. I saw DW this weekend on BBCAmerica, and found it charming. Yes, it is kind of cheesy, and yes, the Doctor is a little like a less funny Willy Wonka, and yes, the British idea of sci-fi is quirky. Statues that come alive, evil angel statues that do evil things when the lights are out, computers that take over the mind to feed an evil intelligence. How do they come up with this stuff, weekly for 50 years? But it is charming. The Doctor is quirky and flambuoyant. He is very intelligent but not quiteable to operate alone, so he has a Companion. I like the way that they work the most modern technology into their episodes, so each episode is a time capsule of what was new and cutting edge at the time the episode was made. At the same time, they have low budget aliens, cheesy ‘special’ effects and ‘classic’ space ships. It is fun. They always present a dire world problem and solve it in 48 minutes. Very British, very efficient. I am going to become a regular with this show.

  • It feels increasingly like Moffat has a concept of a visual that will look amazing (Statue of Liberty, Doctor on a Motorcycle) or a vague outline of a plot (dangerous WiFI!) and sketches a story around that, whether it works or not. And I love a good wink and a nod to the audience, but the fan service is getting ridiculously out of hand. Nothing ever resolves in a way that either sticks or makes sense – minus elaborate handwaving/retcon – and it’s disappointing.

  • I’d say that he’s been showing signs of burnout for a little while now. You know you’re in trouble when you’re so tapped that have to resort to borrowing from C.S. Lewis and Dickens for the Christmas specials. And now we have what? A Whovian mash up of The Ring and Pulse?

  • Dr. Who these days is fan fiction written by the staff. They only give their audience what they want, and what the audience wants is pretty boring repetition these days.

    • Brienne Calmer

      I’m going to disagree with you there; I think it’s been fan fiction written for the writers’ eight-year-old selves.

      • Not for their eight-year-old selves, for their actual eight-year-olds. Moffat said in an interview once he gets *most* of his ideas from his young son. Amy Pond’s ‘crack in the wall’ was directly stolen from a crack in his son’s wall that he said weirded him out. He said every time he makes an episode, he thinks “Will this scare my son?” … What about the rest of us, Moff? Do you even give a shit if we like it? No. Apparently not.

  • therealkuri

    It’s Matt Smith riding up the side of skyscraper in a motorcycle and rescuing a crashing airplane.

    Not just “a motorcycle”, a Triumph Scrambler. Probably the most stylish motorcycle in the world.

  • marilyn

    I don’t think people should take this show so seriously. It is a little bit fo sci-fi fluff. A witty and unworldly bit of unreality. Enjoy, don’t think.

  • As a lady, I get nervous whenever Moffat introduces a new female character. So far I’m enjoying Clara a hell of a lot more than River or Amy, so I do have some hope, but she does fit into that box.

    I wish Moffat would step down as showrunner and just write an episode or 2 a season, because that is really his strength. I want more standalone stories that don’t connect to a larger narrative. I do like a season long plot arch, but not to the detriment of the individual episodes.

    The references in this episode didn’t bug me because I felt like they were so overt that they could be alluding to something.

    • lovelyivy

      Agreed with all of this (especially your concerns about his female characters). I love Moffat, and I think he has done a pretty good job overall with the show- the direction and quality of the writing are overall much better. That said, he lacks many of RTD’s main strengths and the places where he isn’t as strong are really noticeable, in particular Moffat’s work rarely resonates with me emotionally, and the resolution for his arcs is generally weak. He puts a bunch of ideas in a bag, shakes, and whatever comes out is your season finale. I wish he and RTD could have partnered- with Moffat handling the showrunner duties for standalones and RTD handling the arcs. It would have been the best of both worlds.

  • ScarlettHarlot

    Also, not technically episode-related, but it happened during the commercials – is there nowhere I can be safe from Chris Hardwick?! He annoys me to no end.

    His spots for The Talking Dead that air during The Walking Dead consistently break any dramatic tension that was there at at the end of the scene, and now he’s encroaching on my precious Doctor Who time!

  • Corsetmaker

    I’m not that keen on Moffat. I also preferred him in smaller doses. I agree he’s getting repetitive. Now of course some of that repetition is intentional – who knows what links are intended to come along. Perhaps there’s some connection between the Great Intelligence and the Library.
    So long as we’ve got a ‘young’ doctor, which I think we will have from now on, we’re going to have romantic possibilities with companions and that’s not a good thing.
    Also, all that glossy action stuff – motorbikes and planes! No! No! No! I’ve really not been enjoying the wannabe action movie theme to this series at all.

  • sockandaphone

    im just tired of moffat in general to be honest. after the stinker that was last season finale, and then this, im done with his repetitive woman trope and tired writing. Of course Im excited about new DW and i do find potential in Clara, but I really dont want a repeat of the Ponds or River. We already had those stories.

  • JauntyJohn

    First, thank you TLo for liking/loving Dr. Who and devoting precious time and space to writing about it.
    Now then:
    Also, the crash through the window to save the day (Amy & Rory and Prisoner Zero) — but I liked it as a motif, to be honest.
    Like the new coat and ensemble quite a bit. It moves with him — Mr. Smith truly owns the role now, doesn’t he?
    I think a fair case is made for burnout, but what if it’s more like his reach exceeding his grasp. We are sneaking up on the 50th Anniversary Spectacular Spectacular and perhaps it’s about seeding Great Big Payoffs which is what is translating into this burnout vibe. I will say that while he misses as often as he hits you can tell Moffat always has great payoffs in development. For example, in “Asylum of the Darleks” Clara is a computer genius, doing things to the Darlek computer hive mind (or whatever it was) that even the Doctor couldn’t — and here is where she got those abilities, one could conclude (or they will point out in some reveal).
    And now, I go out on a limb (way out): What if the relationship we’re going to explore between the two is Paternal (cookies by her bedside? Scolding? etc.) In fact, what if the twice dead girl is the Doctor’s daughter from “The Doctor’s Daughter!”
    (I told you, out on a limb). Something’s wonky with her regeneration (takes longer, as it did in that episode) so she is mistaken for dead. And also that’s why she has the same face (or some nonsense like that). Wild theory, but…

    Finally, I could watch Matt Smith as the Doctor read the telephone book and be entertained, most likely, so yes, I agree with absolutely everything you said, and wish for a bit fresher feeling to the start of the story, but I still enjoyed it a ton.

    • Brienne Calmer

      That’s the second time today I’ve heard that paternal theory. There’s a Pinterest pin going around showing Jenny and Clara/Oswin sitting in the same chair. I think it’s most likely just a bit of set recycling, but with the curveballs the Moff has been throwing, who the hell knows?

  • If it’s Sally, I’ll forgive an awful lot. In fact, for that inspired idea, I nominate you two to write for the show.

  • I miss the pacing of the classic Doctor Who series – if this had been from the Tom Baker era, just getting from the back of the plane to the front would have taken three episodes.

    • “just getting from the back of the plane to the front would have taken three episodes”

      Hahaha, I loved that comment. It’s so accurate. Can I just say that scene bothered me because of how obviously fake The Doctor and Clara’s ‘stumbling up the aisle’ was. It was like something you’d see in Austin Powers.

  • Repetition is kind of the point. It draws parallels and contrasts between characters and situations. It’s very deliberate.

    Moffat is a very literary writer. If you don’t view it through that lense I dont think you’ll enjoy it.

    • Well it’s a good thing we didn’t say the Doctor solves too many mysteries, then.

      But he is solving a mystery exactly like the one he just solved and that does not come off deliberate or “literary,”to us. It’s just plain old repetitive.

      • Amy wasn’t split up as various incarnations throughout time tho? Neither was River. The only thing similar is the fact that it’s a mystery.
        Rose, Donna and Martha were all bored/unsatisfied with their lives before the Doctor came & had family drama all the time, but they didn’t have the exact same stories.

        • We’ll have to agree to disagree, then, because we’re seeing very clear and obvious parallels between Amy/River and Clara beyond “it’s a mystery.”

          But P.S.: Amy actually was split up as various incarnations throughout time due to her kidnapping and ganger duplicate.

          • I guess, but it’s different – one was just a clone thingy with Amy’s brain and the others were due to living in different timelines that eventually got erased.

            Oswin/Clara/Clara all live in the same universe and are slightly different people – Oswin’s on a space ship, 1800s Clara is a nanny that adores children, and 2000’s Clara is a nanny only out of a sense of obligation who would rather be travelling.

            There is one other major parallel I can think of which is that Amy, River and Clara all have three “versions” – Amelia Pond, Amy Pond, Amy Williams; Melody Pond, Mels, River Song – Clara is like the literal version of the identity theme Moffat has been playing with there, physically split in time. -that- was foreshadowed by the woman in “the Angels Take Manhattan” who was living in the hotel as three different versions of herself, and aaallll of this seems like a reference to Greek mythology [the triple goddess] so I’m entirely convinced it’s deliberate.

            [I’m *entirely* aware that my English Major self takes this show too seriously :)]

          • Qitkat

            I like your *triple take* insight. The commenters on Who and MM always add so much to my understanding of these shows; it is a pleasure to see others’ viewpoints, especially for things I missed or interpreted differently.

    • Literary repetition has to have a point though. There has to be some recognition of the pattern, and a deliberate approach to it: A sort of “These things are the same and it’s important because of ‘reasons'”. Maybe it’s just to early to tell, but it doesn’t feel like that’s what’s happening. There’s a lack of acknowledgement about the patterns. To my mind, it speaks more to Moffat’s creative burnout (which, reading a couple of quotes/articles by him; it really does seem like he’s tired of the gig) than his literary intentions.

      That being said if it is deliberate literary repetition on Moffat’s part, then it’s my opinion that he’s executing it poorly.

      • It is deliberate tho. There are some facets of Clara that are similar to Amy while some are completely and totally opposite in such a way that it suggests to me Moffat is consciously invoking some tropes and subverting others. frex to Amy the Doctor was a fairy-tale hero that dropped out of the sky & had far too much influence on her early life. When Clara meets the Doctor as a child, she meets a sad dude sitting on a swing. She doesn’t even seem to remember him as an adult & she doesn’t hero worship him at all- she’s totally unimpressed by him, really.

        Whether or not he’s doing it well is subjective *shrug*

      • Think of it this way; Moffat is a former English teacher, and he treats the audience more like English students than an audience. He wants you to notice the repetitions and think about what they mean in contrast to each other. For some people, that’s boring & there’s nothing wrong with that. For some people, like me, it’s totally fascinating.

        • Actually, I think it’s fantastic and fascinating when a creator works a motif well, but I don’t think that’s what’s happening here at all.

  • fatveg

    Really guys? I know there are are 1000 fawners who will say ” ooh yes that’s exactly what I thought’ no matter what you say, but as someone who has been watching dr who for over 40 years – well, let me say if I complained the first time they recycled an idea I’d have given up over 40 years ago. Let me tell you what Americans don’t seem to get: dr who is firmly tongue in cheek. If you didn’t get that from the episode you weren’t really watching. It’s not a ‘game of thrones’ epic with long complex stories – it’s a bit of silly fun. Any intriguing stories and fascinating characters is gravy. And we have had plenty of those. Moffett has done more to reinvigorate this series than anyone except Davies. By all means, if you want something deeper, more consistent, or more original then look elsewhere. But tell me where you saw something this fun in the last week…

    • God save us from butthurt Doctor Who fans who deal with an opinion they don’t like by becoming obnoxious and condescending.

      • fatveg

        My apologies if that’s how I came across. I felt a little frustrated, but certainly didn’t mean to be condescending.

  • The portable wifi robots = Library information kiosks
    Meeting a little girl then meeting her again = Amy Pond
    Wifi waves sucking people into TVs and feeding on their energy = Idiot’s Lantern
    Uptight, business suit bitch = Adipose’s Miss Foster
    Clara’s spunky Brit-girl attitude = Amy Pond
    The Doctor’s wifi robot doppleganger going into battle for him = The Tessalecta and The Flesh

    Can we just all admit that Moffat is out of ideas?

  • Delaney Davis

    More Doctor please! 🙂