The Bells of St. John

The Bells of St. John
was The Phantom of the Hex
Episode: 7.06
Earth--1207 & Present

Companion: Clara

Guests: Celia Imrie{119}

Writer: Steven Moffat {w56}
Director:  Colm McCarthy {d3}

Rating: ***

"The Bells of St. John are ringing," is how we are introduced to this mid-season opener episode of Doctor Who. As a Thirteenth Century monk enters a Cistercian Monastery where the Doctor has taken solace in trying to figure out how to find Clara, the twice dead girl. As the Doctor and a group of monks head out to "St. John", we expect them to be headed to a church. Instead in the woods of Cumbria they dismount their horses and we hear the ringing bells of a telephone as they stand outside what could be a graveyard mausoleum with a high entrance. once they walk in we see the TARDIS inside, the ringing emanating from it. Turns out there is a panel behind the "Police telephone" sign, to the left of the ST. JOHN AMBULANCE sticker.

The Doctor answers the phone, to discover a girl on the line that needs help with the internet. She knows so little about computers, other than what she needs to use them for. She doesn't even know how to connect to the internet, "shouldn't it just sorta be there?" In the midst of a back and forth exchange between the two [1][2], he discovers that the girl on the phone is Clara.
She is seen through her webcam on a wall filled with hundreds of TV screens, minds/souls that the corporation have uploaded to the cloud, the screen to the right of Clara's is Craig Owens. (Is this a clue and a connection to Clara's origins? Not to mention the upcoming Cybermen episode.) The Doctor then hops in his "mobile phone" and shows up at her door, in 2013.

While trying to convince Clara of who he is [3], the Doctor is shut out of the house and she is attacked by a robot, or walking wi-fi basestation, that looks like the girl on a book cover that was written by Amelia Williams, the married name of Amy Pond. She is uploaded into the cloud. Lots of references to the dangers of blindly using the internet follow in this episode.

The Doctor uses Clara's laptop to hack the data stream that is uploading her and manages to reverse the transfer, pissing of the corporate types in the process. He puts her to bed and sets out a plate of Jammie Dodgers. Discovers a book on her shelf 101 Places to See, with her age, 24, listed inside and a Maple Leaf on page one. Has she been to Canada or is this somewhere she wants to go?

When she wakes she discovers him out front of the house working on her laptop. When she greets him her bedroom window he fills her in on what she's missed while she was asleep, including the fact that he has assembled the quadracycle that he found in the garage. She comes down and sits with him and ask what happened to her.

In their conversation they discover that she now knows all about the internet and computers [4]Is this where Clara, of the Starliner Alaska, gets her computer genius skills? The Doctor discovers that the wi-fi is turning on people who are switching on house lights. Turning the whole neighbourhood into a target. The corporation is sending an airliner with wi-fi at them. The Doctor ushers her into the TARDIS, where he uses it to hop to the rear of the plane. He shuts down the wi-fi and stops the plane from crashing.

When they land [5] by the Themes and collect money for Breakfast in the Doctor's Fez, he pops back into the TARDIS and says he's going into the garage. At this point we see a corridor off the lower level of the main room of the TARDIS. Something we'll see more of in episode 11, Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS.

At breakfast [6] they argue about how to find the physical location of the corporation. He says they're security is too good, she says she can do it in five minutes. He goes to get coffees and is communicated be the corporate head via wi-fi and the people in the cafe. Clara hacks into the corporate webcams, getting images of the staff and starts to compare to people on Facebook and other social networks, to see where the people work. Then she gets downloaded, 100% into the cloud, by a walking basestation that looks like the Doctor. This sets the Doctor off in a mad hunt to retrieve her.

He smashes into their offices on his motorcycle. A confrontation between the Doctor and Miss Kislet [7]  reveals that the Doctor is still at the cafe, he sent the wi-fi basestation and uses it to trap Miss Kislet in the cloud. Was it just me or did the walking wi-fi basestations aka 'spoonheads' look a bit like the Nodes in Silence in the Library? Another clue to Clara and the first River Song episode?

On the TV screen Miss Kislet orders her lackeys to download her, and after a bit more technology hacking by the Doctor, her minions do so. Releasing everyone, including Clara.

The final scenes have UNIT in the offices as part of a clean-up and Miss Kislet contacts her 'client' who turns out to be The Great Intelligence. The Great Intelligence, orders Miss Kislet to reset everyone and she is reduced to the memories of a child. Clara converses with the Doctor in the TARDIS. He tries to convince her to come away with him, and she spurns him. Until tomorrow, anytime after seven O'clock.

Doctor: Its 1207.
Clara: I have a half-past three. Am I phoning a different time zone?
Doctor: Yeah, you really sort of are.
Clara: Will it show up on the bill?
Doctor: Well don't you think.

Doctor: Listen, where'd you get this number?
Clara: Woman in the shop wrote it down. Its a help line, isn't it? She said its the best helpline out there, in the universe she said.
Doctor: What woman? Who was she?
Clara: I Don't know. Woman in the shop.

Who is the woman in the shop? Why did she give out the Doctor's number? How did she have it?

Clara: What's the password for the internet?
Angie Maitland: R U C B A R 1 2 3
Clara: Run You Clever Boy And Remember 1 2 3

Doctor: Clara Oswin Oswald!
Clara: Just Clara Oswald, what was that middle one?
Doctor: Do you remember me?
Clara: No. Should I? Who are you?
Doctor: The Doctor. No? The Doctor?
Clara: Doctor who?
Doctor: No, just the Doctor. Actually, sorry, could you just ask me that again?
Clara: Could I what?
Doctor: Could you just ask me that question again?
Clara: Doctor Who?
Doctor: Okay, just once more.
Clara: Doctor Who?
Doctor: Ooo, yeah. Ooo. Do you know, I never realized how much I enjoy hearing that said out loud. Thank you.
Clara slams the door in his face.

Doctor: There's something in the wi-fi.
Clara: Ok.
Doctor: This whole word is swimming in wi-fi. We're living in a wi-fi soup. Suppose something got inside it. Suppose there was something living in the wi-fi.  Harvesting human minds, extracting them. Image that. Human souls trap like flies in the world wide web. Stuck forever, crying out for help.
Clara: Isn't that basically Twitter
Doctor gives her a look
Clara: What was that face for?
Doctor: A computer can hack another computer. A living, sentient computer, maybe that could hack people. Edit them, re-write them.
Clara: Why would you say that?
Doctor: Because a few hours ago you knew nothing about the Internet, and you just made a joke about Twitter.

Clara: I ain't waiting for breakfast
Doctor: It's a time machine. You never have to wait for breakfast.

Clara: Are you an alien?
Doctor: I am, yes, ok with that?
Clara: Fine yeah. I think I'm fine.
Doctor: Oh good.
Clara: So, what happens if you do find them? What happens then?
Doctor: I don't know. I can't tell the future. I just work there.

Doctor: Download her, back into her body. Right now.
Miss Kislet: I can't.
Doctor: Yes you can!
Miss Kislet: She's a full integrated part of the data cloud now, she can't be separated.
Doctor: Then download the entire cloud. Everyone you've trapped in there.
Miss Kislet: You realize what would happen?
Doctor: Yes, those still with bodies to go home to, would be free!
Miss Kislet: A tiny number. Most would simply die.
Doctor: They'd be released from a living hell. Its the best you could do for them. So give the order.
Miss Kislet: And why would I do that?
Doctor: Because I'm going to motivate you. Any second now.
Miss Kislet: You ridiculous man, why'd you even come here? Whatever for?
Doctor: I didn't.
Miss Kislet: What?
Doctor: I'm still at the cafe. I'm finishing my coffee. Lovely spot.
Miss Kislet: What chew talkin about?
Doctor: You hack people. But me, I'm old fashioned, I hack technology. Here's your motivation.

Opening: 5
Setting: 6
Conflict: 7
Plot: 4 
Dialogue: 7
Aliens: 1
Costumes: 4

All images © BBC


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