Louise Pendrake (Lulu): This life is not only wicked and sinful. It isn’t even any fun.
Jack Crab: No, I reckon I reckon not, Mrs Pendrake.
Louise Pendrake: (Lulu): Yet, if I was married and could come here once or twice a week, well it might be fun. But every night, it’s just boring!
Little Big Man 1970
Some of the best Doctor Who episodes of the Russell P Davies era were written by Stephen Moffat. Blink, Silence of the Library all Steven Moffat so when he took over the reigns of the series with Matt Smith I expected great things.
Unfortunately while Matt Smith is a first-rate Doctor Moffat has rightly gotten a reputation as a one trick pony. It’s time paradox, time paradox, time paradox. One Sally Sparrow story is fine now and again and lot of the Moffat stories would stand very well alone. However if every story seems to be a temporal paradox as Louise Pendrake put it, it’s just boring.
That’s why I was so pleased with The Bells of St. John.
Yes it’s highly likely this entire season is going to be, once again a giant temporal paradox all over again, everything we’ve seen of Clara suggests this kind of thing, but for now, this one episode we have what appears to be a linear story.
That’s why I’m willing to overlook the book written by Amy Pond, the “best help line in the universe.” (almost certainly it will be the Doctor who arranges to give her the number) because of what comes along with it; a nice linear semi plausible story.
We have the Doctor determined to keep Clara alive. We see the moral outrage of the Doctor as he realizes what his happening to people, we see the first-rate effects of the landing on the airplane and we see people reacting to the landing of the TARDIS and the Doctor playing it up as an act. (Shades of Big Finish 4th doctor adventure Energy of the Daleks) and the riding up the Shard really works.
But most of all we have a story with a clear and distinct, beginning, middle and end. A clear villain and threat and an actual resolution.
The best test of a cook is to see how they do something basic. This episode contained the basics of the storytelling craft and Moffat and an excellent cast pulls it off.
I suspect the next 7-8 episodes will not contain a lot of linear stories, certainly not ones written by Moffat so I might as well enjoy it. You should enjoy it too.
In under 5 hours we will fail to make payroll for the 3rd straight week
But if just four of you kick in $21 that result can be avoided