7.237 "The Crimson Horror" - SPOILERS

summary from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Crimson_Horror

In 1893, Silurian Madame Vastra, her human wife Jenny, and their Sontaran butler Strax investigate “The Crimson Horror”, a mysterious cause of death in which victims are found with red skin. Superstition states that the retina retains the image last seen by the person (an “optogram”), and they are shocked to find that the latest victim had seen the Doctor. They travel to Yorkshire, where Jenny infiltrates Sweetville, a community led by Mrs Gillyflower and Mr Sweet, who is not seen. Mrs Gillyflower preaches about the coming apocalypse to encourage people to come. She has a daughter, Ada, who is blind because she had been beaten by her late father, according to Mrs Gillyflower.

Jenny discovers the Doctor, who is chained up and exhibits red skin and a stiff stature. The Doctor enters a chamber to reverse the process, and explains to Jenny that he and Clara had arrived and discovered the mystery of “The Crimson Horror”. They had joined Sweetville to investigate, but learned that they were to be preserved to survive the apocalypse. The process did not work on the Doctor because he was not human, and was saved from being destroyed by Ada, who affectionately calls him “my monster”. The Doctor finds Clara and reverses the process on her. Meanwhile, Vastra recognises that Sweetville is using the venom of a prehistoric red leech. The Doctor and Clara confront Mrs Gillyflower, who reveals that she plans to launch a rocket to spread the poison all over the skies. “Mr Sweet” is also revealed to be a red leech that has formed a symbiotic relationship with Mrs Gillyflower. The Doctor berates Mrs Gillyflower for experimenting on Ada to get the preservation formula right. Ada, overhearing this, angrily advances toward her mother, but Mrs Gillyflower holds a gun to Ada’s head and heads into the rocket silo, which has been disguised as a chimney.

Mrs Gillyflower launches the rocket, but Vastra and Jenny reveal themselves with the vat of poison that they have removed from it. Mrs Gillyflower turns on the Doctor, but Strax appears at the top of the chimney and shoots at her, causing her to tumble over the staircase. As she dies, Mr Sweet abandons her. In rage, Ada strikes the leech with her cane. The Doctor and Clara say goodbye; Ada says that she is looking forward to finding new opportunities in life. Vastra and Jenny ask about Clara, as they had previously met a Victorian version of her in “The Snowmen”, in which she died. The Doctor does not wish to explain, however.

The Doctor drops off Clara in modern-day London. When she returns home, she finds the two children that she babysits for, Angie and Artie, have discovered photos of her on the Internet from the past, including one that she does not recognize of herself in Victoria London (“The Snowmen”). They assert she must be a time traveler and threaten to tell their father if she does not take them on a trip.


I thought it was a good stand alone episode. A lot of humor from Strax, poor guy, but he saved the day! Mr. Sweet was creepy. I wonder who is going to do their research first and confront the Doctor, Modern Day Clara regarding Victorian Clara or Madame Vastra and Jenny regarding Modern Day Clara and who she is… Hm…

I am undecided on this episode. Felt like a classic Doctor Who episode. Well paced, slightly ridiculous and peppered with good moments. What this episode doesn’t have is enough new information on Clara. I feel that once we resolve the whole Clara mystery I can come back to this episode and properly watch it. It isn’t the episode’s fault, but it walks with the weight of this mystery and ultimately since it doesn’t contribute to it I find it a let down without giving proper credit to the story itself.

I am actually kind of shocked how much they shoehorned into this episode. Vastra, Jenny, Strax, Mrs. Gillyflower, daughter, Mr. Sweet. They slipped into a Game of Thrones problem, they had so many people no one got their proper time. High points of the episode:
[li]The episode goes to Strax for his dialogue. I could have watched him commanding his horse for the entire episode. Amazing.[/li][li]Mrs. Gillyflower over the top crazy while keeping it believable[/li][li]The daughter was compelling and real[/li][li]The transition to tell us the backstory was a stroke of genius. Perfect way of informing us in an interesting stylized way[/li][li]The image of the preserved ‘perfect’ people was pretty creepy. They bent over backwards to not make this an analogy to Nazi Germany, but it is hard to not make that comparison.[/li][/ul]One nit, one question and one terror.

Nit: Was the red goo that people were getting dipped in related to the red poison? If they explained this I missed it. Logically they must be related, but then why doesn’t dipping people in the venom kill them the same way if you put it in a rocket and spread it across the world?

Question: Um. A rocket? In Victorian England? How exactly does that work? (Decided to go ahead and research. Shocker. Apparently rocketry goes back way further then I would have imagined, check this out: history of rocketry. Best quote from the article, “Claude Ruggieri, an Italian living in Paris, apparently rocketed small animals into space as early as 1806.”

Terror: Two kids. Oh Gods. Oh Gods. I trust Neil Gaiman and SteMo, but I can’t help be terrified that the Cybermen episode is going to buckle under the collective weight of not one, but two children. Hold me.

If I remember correctly, the two are basically the same. The goo was just more refined.

My wife pointed out the in joke.
Stracx, after asking the boy for directions.
“What’s your name boy?”
“Thomas, Thomas Thomas”

The line he give at the end of his directions, “You have reached your destination” is made me go, “Wait, wha? … OH!”

Something that people may be missing by fast forwarding through the BBC America commercials, they give little snippets about Doctor Who production in general, episode specific information, or actor/actress commentary. This week Matt Smith spoke about his favorite scene this series (riding the motorcycle in The Bells Of St Johns) and Steven Moffat spoke about how he wanted to have an episode with Vastra, Jenny, and Strax this series but was having a difficult time writing it so he called up Mark Gatiss to write it for him. That might explain the shoe-horned in feeling the episode gave off of trying to incorporate Vastra, Jenny, and Strax without tying them in too much with the overall series story arc.

Another thing brought forth in the commerical insights was that Mrs Gillyflower and Ada were played by real-life mother and daughter Diana Rigg and Rachael Stirling. Allegedly they have never had the opportunity to act together before. Either way I think they pulled off their respective roles fantastically. Mrs Gillyflower was so into herself that she used her own daughter to experiment on and Ada never forgave her. Exceptional performances.

Did anyone notice the slightly themed Sherlock music in this episode? I definitely got a Sherlock vibe from the music.

Might I say that Jenny would make an EXCELLENT match for our dear friend Black Widow of The Avengers. Meow. That Jenny fight scene sure got my motor running.

Again, we have a reference to The Doctor being a monster. Poor Ada calls The Doctor several different variations of “Monster” throughout the episode. Plus, when The Doctor is afflicted by The Crimson Horror he definitely acts like a monster. Has The Doctor been referred to be a monster so much in a series before? This is definitely a series theme this time around.

I give this episode to Strax. His amazing dialog, his comic relief, his fierce loyalty (despite the debt he is atoning for), his cultural misunderstandings and muscle when needed where all amazingly written and performed. Well done there!

So what exactly did we learn about the Clara story? We know that The Doctor is still hiding her past two versions from the current Clara. I’m not exactly sure what he intended to gain by bringing her to the very same London we met the second Clara, but he obviously had something in mind. And he refused to talk about it to Jenny, who went out of her way to ask about Clara several times. At this point I have to question The Doctor’s relationship with his friends if he is keeping important information from them. That sort of arrogance is what gets the Whoverse in trouble and I get the feeling he is going to need all the help he can get. Perhaps most improtantly when it comes to Clara is the fact that she now knows about at least one other version of herself. I sense she would confront The Doctor about it but since 1) he has never told her about it when she can remember and thus she does not trust HIM enough to talk to him abotu it and 2) they have the kids to worry about now that it will not happen next week.

So that’s my 2 cents about this episode. Probably a lot more than the episode really deserved.

And Boxhead?

Funny stuff indeed!

~Shooter Out

Yes I can see where this seems very shoehorned in there. That said they did well getting around stuff. Not that the characters like being left out in the cold on this. Though someone should be able to talk to him about all this.??? (RS). We know Mum is gone but I want to see the Daughter a lil more. Maybe have the Doctor take her to the future and heal her. They do have a running comedy team with Vastra, Jenny and Strax. Never get tired of them. I don’t mind the mystery of Clara, what I do mind is now information since we got her. I’m afraid there my be a giant info dump coming in the end series finale on Trensalore. Give us some meat Moffat! :slight_smile: