Doctor Who, Season 7: Let’s catch up.
This has been an interesting season so far to say the least. The first half of season 7 Saw the introduction of a new companion, and the exit of the last. It also exercised, in a fashion, some classic Doctor Who “deus ex machina” that will allow the series to flourish without the enormous weight of the last 50 years. Not that Doctor Who ever worried much about gleefully explaining away shifts in continuity; they do have years of experience. I couldn’t possibly recap these shifts here, nor would I want to. To attempt this would be to attempt to unravel the painstakingly tangled ball of wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff. Nevertheless, to sum up, the Daleks now have no memory of the Doctor. The Doctor has been attempting to remove or conceal himself from history, and the Ponds were able to live happily ever after in the past (where they can send literary easter eggs through time in the form of books). Also, River Song has been pardoned because the person she murdered suddenly has no record of ever existing. Up to speed? Don’t worry, none of us really are, that is the fun part.
Now enter Clara, or Oswin, or Clara Oswin Oswald. We first met her as a Dalek in the first episode of season 7. If you don’t remember that one, go back and watch it, if you can. She resurfaced in the X-mass episode (with the bitey snowmen). This episode, unlike most of the X-mass specials set up the second half of the season. To recap this one, we had Gandalf as the spooky snow entity, and a villain that ended up as a disembodied consciousness (What harm can a disembodied consciousness cause?). The episode is wrapped up when Clara dies (again), and the doctor finally learns her full name, Clara Oswin Oswald, (In case you forgot she only said her name was Oswin in the Dalek Asylum) and so naturally, the doctor now connects the dots and confirms for the audience what we all suspected. So on to episode 6 The Bells of St. John.
The Doctor, now determined to find Clara and figure out what she is, and how she can be, weaves a net full of timey wimey threads to find this impossible person. (Yes, this makes another impossible person/companion, and an unexplained wibbly wobbly progression of cause to effect, which I’m confident, will be wrapped up in a fun package.) Now anyone familiar with Steven Moffat will know that he laces everything with seeds of continuity. Reach back to The Dalek Asylum, the last thing Oswin tells the doctor is to “run you clever boy and remember”, these were also the last words of Clara from The Snowmen. Now jump forward, Clara calls technical support because her Wi-Fi is not working, and reaches none other than The Doctor, who has taken residence in a monastery in Cumbria in the year 1207. (Don’t worry; keeping track of this is a big part of why this show is fun). Naturally, the doctor does not recognize Clara’s voice, and her name is not mentioned, but her Wi-Fi password is RYCBAR123, which she recites back as “run you clever boy and remember”, and the doctor homes in and knocks on her door. Now we can progress to the plot. The Doctor has his new companion, and she is now captured (it’s what the companions do) by the sentient Wi-Fi that is feeding off unsuspecting victims of the planet.
Yes, you read that right. The threat to earth today is Wi-Fi. This particular Wi-Fi network, controlled by “The Great Intelligence” (a disembodied consciousness), will download an individual consciousness and feed off that energy. As if unknown Wi-Fi networks were not dangerous enough. The episode itself is fun, and serves as a fantastic introduction to our new companion, and allows her the opportunity to be properly introduced and offered passage on the T.A.R.D.I.S. The episode itself needs little to no rehashing; it was fairly light on substance, full of enjoyable easter eggs, and some classically ridiculous moments. It’s very much worth re-watching, but fails to have any real stand out moments that will be quoted by fans for years.
Finally, we arrive at the true start of the second half of the season, and Cara’s adventures, with episode 7 “The Rings of Akhaten”, which aired 6 April , and will be followed by Episode 8 “Cold War”, airing 13 April. Both of which I will address in the next post.