Doctor Who is finally back at the end of this very month, so it’s time to get ready for some scifi crazy coolness with the Doctor and his wildly mysterious new companion, Clara. BBC America has released high-res images and promo posters for the first four eps, along with plot descriptions. Let’s dissect them!
The Bells of Saint John
The first episode to mark the Doctor’s return as well as the proper introduction (um, kind of) of his new companion Clara Oswald, “The Bells of Saint John” is written by showrunner and overall Doctor Who mastermind Steven Moffat. The plot has something to do with some sort of villainy lurking in London’s WiFi — which is heavily emphasized in the promo poster above — but the real intrigue is all about Clara Oswin Oswald, played by actress Jenna-Louise Coleman. She’s already proven to be a perfect counterpoint for the Doctor, and it seems clear that the rest of this season is going to focus on this mysterious new character.
Our two prior glimpses of this genius “Souffle Girl” were in disparate time periods, and depicted her living — and dying — two different lives under the same name and same personality, but with no apparent knowledge or memory of the other versions of herself. Building a mystery into the Doctor’s latest companion was a genius move on Moffat’s part, and will no doubt change the show’s entire dynamic. And what a whopper of a mystery!
So who is Clara Oswald? How many more of her have recurred throughout history? Is she a clone? Is she a Dalek? Or is she something new, something the Doctor has never, ever encountered before? This is the underlying mystery that will drive the serialized side of Doctor Who‘s storytelling for at least the immediate future. If Amy Pond was “The Girl Who Waited,” then Clara Oswald is “The Impossible Girl.”
I can’t wait!!
Here’s the official plot description:
The Doctor’s search for Clara Oswald brings him to modern day London, where WiFi is everywhere. Humanity lives in a WiFi soup. But something dangerous is lurking in the signals, picking off minds and imprisoning them. As Clara becomes the target of this insidious menace, the Doctor races to save her and the world from an ancient enemy.
Written by Steven Moffat, directed by Colm McCarthy (Ripper Street, The Tudors), and produced by Denise Paul (Taggart).
The whole WiFi thing seems like something the Silence would do, don’t you think? Steven Moffat describes this episode as “the closest the Doctor will ever get to being Bond or Bourne,” so there’s bound to be some fun super-spy stuff in it. Some character portraits to go with the new episode (and this second half of Season 7):
And finally, some stills from the episode:
The Rings of Akhaten
I’m getting an Indiana Jones vibe from this poster, particularly with the cel-shaded outlines around the characters. And is it just me, or does this poster make Clara look remarkably like Amy Pond? Did the poster people forget who the companion was for this one? And what’s she holding? A leaf? Looks like we’ve got ourselves a new enemy, and note that glass box behind the Doctor and Clara — you’ll see it again in a minute. Here’s BBC’s plot description:
Clara wants to see something awesome, so the Doctor whisks her off to the inhabited rings of the planet Akhaten, where the Festival of Offerings is in full swing. Clara meets the young Queen of Years as the pilgrims and natives ready for the ceremony. But something is stirring in the pyramid, and a sacrifice will be demanded.
Written by Neil Cross (Mama, Luther), directed by Farren Blackburn (Luther, The Fades) and produced by Denise Paul.
There’s a major Red October vibe going on with this poster, but with a scary alien twist. “Doctor Who on a submarine” sounds like a classic-in-the-making. This is the much-discussed episode that sees the return of the Ice Warriors, in their first appearance on modern Who. Based on the poster above and the portrait of the Ice Warrior below, it doesn’t look as though their appearance has been upgraded much from the old days.
The Doctor and Clara land on a damaged Russian Submarine in 1983 as it spirals out of control into the ocean depths. An alien creature is loose on board, having escaped from a block of Arctic ice. With tempers flaring and a cargo of nuclear weapons on board, it’s not just the crew but the whole of humanity at stake!
Written by Mark Gatiss (Sherlock) and directed by Douglas Mackinnon (Silent Witness).
Here’s a closer look at that Ice Warrior. (Sounds like there’s just the one in this episode.)
And some stills:
Doctor Who does creepy really, really well, and this one looks like a straight-up ghost story. Or, as close to “straight-up” as anything on this show ever is. We all know it’ll probably end up being some kind of alien or entity that just looks like a ghost. But hey, whatever. I’m still in.
Clara and the Doctor arrive at Caliburn House, a haunted mansion sat alone on a desolate moor. Within its walls, a ghost hunting Professor and a gifted psychic are searching for the Witch of the Well. Her apparition appears throughout the history of the building, but is she really a ghost? And what is chasing her?
Written by Neil Cross and directed by Jamie Payne (The Hour, Call the Midwife).
Some suitably spooky stills:
And that’s it. There are four more episodes to come in Season 7, but BBC isn’t ready to dish on them quite yet. We do know that one of them will be the second episode written by Neil Gaiman, but that’s about it. And of course, beyond the season finale, sometime this Fall, we’ll be treated to the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special. Given the size of Moffat’s imagination, just about anything is possible for that.