This isn’t really a review as it is a long comment. Which makes sense because this isn’t really an episode of Doctor Who. I will be honest with you and say that I have done my best to ignore any sort of media hype surrounding the show’s return. A major reason for my dissatisfaction with the previous run of episodes was a bit of Who burn out. It was all over the place and I tried to consume as much of it as I could – which can be very much like absorbing the time vortex.
When the BBC first released its prequel to the upcoming episode, The Bells of Saint John, I ignored it. I wanted to come into the new half-season fresh, with no expectations. Then I got to thinking that this isn’t really just a piece of publicity. This is part of the story. Not a significant part maybe, but still part. So I watched it…
…and really liked it. It was a little bit like bumping into an old friend. I hadn’t seen the Doctor Since Christmas after all. From the very start I was drawn into it by Matt Smith’s quiet performance as a lonely old man sitting on a swing. It’s the little things about his performance, like making sure his feet don’t touch the ground, that make me love his Doctor so much. He looks so old and so much like a child at the same time. It’s truly compelling.
The scene is The Doctor and a little girl on the swings talking about lost things and how to find them. It is a very sweet scene. I loved how it was just a quiet conversation between two people. The entire time I knew Moffat would throw a twist in there, (and it wasn’t hard to guess what it was) but that didn’t take me out of the scene at all. I really hope there is more of this in the next run of episodes. When you get to sit and let a scene breathe like this you get a much better understanding of who the character is. And you notice how truly brilliant Matt Smith is. It makes me sad that the rumors of him leaving after the 50th anniversary may be true.