Saturday, March 23, 2013

A Quiet Room for the Doctor - Review of "The Bells of Saint John: A Prequel"

One week until new "Doctor Who"! And, as is quickly becoming tradition, we have a prequel/prologue/prelude/sample/thing to get ourselves psyched up!


Some thoughts -

- Some folks on Twitter and elsewhere were coming up a bit curmudgeonly about "Meh - I called it halfway through - not a surprise!"  While I did figure it out around the 1:26 mark, I found it very sweet.  Plus, it fits in with the Doctor not realizing at first that he's met Clara before and possibly cottoning on later (or not at all).  The universe simply isn't going to make it easy for him to find her (there's a moral in there somewhere...)

(I would have been very surprised if the die-hard Whovians didn't figure this out. Casual viewers might see this and be surprised at the ending, but we've trained ourselves to find little details and hints in Steven Moffat's stories. We almost spoil ourselves, if truth be told).

- I think this bookends quite nicely with the ending of "The Angels Take Manhattan" - the Doctor sitting alone, being contemplative (and a bit melancholy - let's be honest). Somehow, the companion interjects herself in the story - whether it's Amy narrating the epilogue of the "Melody Malone" book or it's little Clara showing up and talking to a stranger (which she is obviously not supposed to do).

- I also like this because it's a chance to see what the Doctor's been up to since Christmas.  Most of his time has been taken up by trying to figure out how he might bump into Clara again.  That seems like an internal, thinking-thinky-thoughts process - something that isn't easy to put on screen.  But who better than to help the Eleventh Doctor with his thought process than a young child asking him questions? An adult would just find it strange and either give unwanted advice (which wouldn't work anyway) or scoff at the idea or (worst case scenario) call the police.  One theme in the Moffat-era is the theme of trusting children and their imaginations to understand seemingly complex issues and I totally love that about Moffat's writing.  It's so simple and innocent and beautiful - something that I think gets pushed aside in fandom analysis because everything's supposed to be heady and gritty and complicated and dark because that's how adults think.  We've had the childlike simplicity beaten out of us until we can't recognize how wonderful it is anymore.  I think that's why I've glommed onto "Doctor Who" - most sci-fi prides itself on being edgy and dark and that's not my thing (not really). But "Doctor Who" isn't that at all (or it rarely is - and when it does go down that dark road, there's a reason for it, but it quickly comes back).  It's a show about the wonder of the universe and all the crazy stuff that can happen and all the fun you have running through corridors and being enchanted by all that there is to see out there.

Anyway - I loved this little glimpse into the upcoming new episodes and I can't wait to get started! (this post-Gally funk just won't leave me alone!)

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