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The Crimson Horror Review: Doctor Who: Series 7

Doctor Who returns for another adventure which finally after what I feel has been a dip in quality in the series during the last few episodes is back in style with the ‘Crimson Horror’, a wonderful episode which I’ve been looking forward to reviewing. I will be mentioning spoilers like all of my other reviews so it is best to watch the episode first before reading this. I’ll be discussing the episode as if we were watching it from start to finish and the comments I make are written from a fans point of view where I only offer my own opinion. So lets begin!

The Crimson Horror Doctor Who Poster

(C) BBC – Photographer: Ray Burmiston/Adrian Rogers

The opening shot of the episode reveals that we’re in North East England in Yorkshire set in 1893 where we are introduced to one of the main characters in the episode, Mrs Gillyflower played by the wonderful Diana Rigg who is known for many appearances such as her role in the 1960’s ‘The Avengers’ TV series and in the 1969 James Bond film called ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ portraying Bond’s wife. The first scene featuring her in ‘The Crimson Horror’ reveals that she is cold, clinical and evil while she talks down to a young lady, telling her what happened to her husband, Edmund as he disappears through a door which we’re given a glimpse of, a red steamed up round door window which has something mysteriously behind it. The young lady screams which sets up the initial mystery. The costume design is evidently excellent from the start of this episode which continues throughout where it works well in conveying the Victorian time period. Also it’s worth noting that the plot of this episode follows what we have already seen in a previous Doctor Who Episode called ‘The Snowmen’ which takes place in the year 1892, a year earlier but in Victorian London, not Yorkshire so you should definitely check that out if you haven’t already to maintain continuity.

We’re shown a short scene which provides a ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ like atmosphere as a strange quirky man called Amos played by Graham Turner is examining Edmund’s dead body which is coloured in Crimson looking very much like a Zombie. We’re also introduced to a side character called Mr Thursday who has travelled North to pay respect to Edmund who is his brother who has fallen victim to the Crimson Horror. He is portrayed as being a timid detective who doesn’t have much of a part in the episode always finding himself way behind everyone else on the trail of discovering the truth surrounding the mystery however he does provide light entertainment as he faints on screen every time he experiences something unusual such as the Tardis disappearing and his first look at Madame Vasta and Strax who make a sterling return in the next scene. The faint gag although can sometimes be too cheesy worked well in this episode nicely as a small gag which I liked seeing which featured just the right number of times throughout the episode, three times I believe from memory.

Many of my favourite characters return which include the trio made up of Silurian Madame Vastra played by Neve McIntosh, the Sontaran Strax played by Dan Starkey and Lesbian partner of Vastra, the lovely Jenny played by Catrin Stewart. I’m so happy to see these characters return after first experiencing them in ‘A Good Man Goes to War’ where I felt they would make a great set of characters to the series where I’ve now gladly seen them return twice in ‘The Snowmen’ and now ‘The Crimson Horror’. Their characters work so incredibly well especially as a trio where the acting talents of all three are top notch. Once more, all three of the trio are funny adding alot of humour into this episode and any other they’re featured in. Even when the Doctor and Clara are introduced into the mix as well as before when Amy and Rory were a part of the gang back in series 6, everyone works so well together. Madame Vastra has such a powerful yet warm presence on screen who comes across as the leader of the trio being the most wisest with Jenny as her strong willed and loyal partner. Jenny is much younger but despite her youthful age, she has demonstrated on previous occasions in the past that she is more than capable of looking after herself. This episode is particularly interesting for her character as she plays a much bigger role and effectively saves the Doctor’s life in this episode. There’s scenes seen throughout that feature either part of the trio or one trio character at a time and all three of the cast nail every single one of those scenes perfectly, they really boost the overall quality of this episode.

I liked the editing transitions in the opening sequence which are repeated later on where we hear the sound of and visually see an old fashioned camera flash which conveys the time period we’re in again similar to the use of costumes creating the feeling that we’re really in Victorian Yorkshire. The pace of the opening sequence is good too, moving along fairly quickly without being too slow not to mention being a complex yet digestible episode to understand which I feel is the result of good pacing. Just short of the main titles, Vastra and Strax discover the image of the Doctor as he appears in a photograph they’ve developed after being assigned by Mr Thursday to investigate the mystery of the ‘Crimson Horror’ which I felt was a clever introduction to where the Doctor might fit in with the plot. Cue main titles.

Crimson Horror Poster

© BBC – Image used for editorial purposes.

Once the titles have passed by, we’re still following the narrative through the trio’s point of view, something I really liked in this episode. We’ve yet to see the Doctor and Clara in person which works really well because for the first time we’re given some breathing space to try and figure out the puzzle ourselves at the same time as the trio gang rather than through the Doctor’s confusing scientific dialogue. The episode tells the story through this narrative structure for the first part of the episode which is a welcome change creatively from what we’re used to. Strax has some very humorous dialogue while the gang are travelling inside a Victorian coach where he speaks of using powerful weapons as a means of solving the mystery, Strax always wanting to use combat as a solution being a Sontaran where combat is in their DNA. There’s a funny moment when Madame Vastra mentions that to infiltrate Mrs Gillyflower’s mystery ‘Sweetville’ factory, they must send in the best looking person as Mrs Gillyflower would only accept the best to enter Sweetville. Strax believes that person is him which is comical as he’s a potato shaped Sontaran. Naturally Jenny takes on the task of discovering what’s going on inside the factory as she’s the most youthful and best looking of the three. The music here is excellent, featuring a number of light hearted themes which accompany all of the scenes featuring the trio giving the episode an uplifting feel.

Sweetville Complex

© BBC – Image used for editorial purposes.

The next scene shows Mrs Gillyflower played by Diana Rigg performing a speech sermon to the local towns folk which shows off Rigg’s acting abilities. I liked her portrayal of a Yorkshire accent and the scene further sets up Rigg as a character who commands a great deal of power within the Victorian community although we are not told to what extent until later on. She introduces her daughter called Aida played by Diana Rigg’s actual daughter and actress, Rachael Stirling where the two perform together side by side for the first time which managed to generate some hype before the episode was aired. Aida is first shown to us as she twirls around after having been hidden by a shower like curtain which reveals her death like eyes and scarred face, looking like a Zombie. Mrs Gillyflower announces that the Crimson disease had caused great pain to her daughter but that she offered a solution to others who wanted to prevent the same symptoms happening to them by offering them an alternative called ‘Sweetville’, an idylic haven for people safe out of harms way. There’s a nice reveal of Sweetville as we see a full sized landscape painting of the Victorian holiday camp complex which we see for real later on in the episode which worked well here to make the location stand out in our minds. It was also nice to see a quick shot of Siobhan Finneran from Downton Abbey appearing in the crowd scenes here. Interestingly I suspect the editors decided to show her face because they know that she’s a well known character from Television and her appearance could help further convey the Victorian period which the Dr Who production design team also put alot of effort into for this episode. Jenny volunteers herself to Mrs Gillyflower by signing her name which she manages to do without detection because she looks very much a lady where she’s then accepted, allowing her to gain access inside Sweetville.

Mrs Gillyflower

© BBC – Image used for editorial purposes.

I liked the concept of Sweetville as a whole where people would be safe where it felt like a metaphor for heaven. The script writers obviously needed a good location to base the majority of the plot and Sweetville provided the answer. Our first glance of the Sweetville location for real is where Jenny infiltrates it’s factory searching for clues. I liked following the plot through Jenny’s eyes and it was excellent to see her character be given a much bigger part than ever before. The lighting is also a strong point in this episode making good use of shadows and special effect smoke for the scenes of the Factory interior. The set design of Sweetville is well thought out too where a full sized sign for the location was constructed by the production design team enhancing the visual accuracy of this piece. There’s a short scene where Aida places food under a cat flap style door and hatch which hides something behind it, a monster presumably. What’s interesting here is that Aida seems to care for what or whoever is inside and we’re unsure as an audience whether Aida is good or bad because we know that she is the daughter of Mrs Gillyflower who we already know is a nasty piece of work.

Aida in the Crimson Horror

© BBC – Image used for editorial purposes.

We then cut back to Mr Thursday calling on Vastra where Strax opens the door and provides some more light entertainment as Mr Thursday faints a second time upon seeing the potato head Sontaran. It’s nice to hear the comical soundtrack kicking in here again by Murray Gold who has composed for the series since the reboot of Doctor Who in 2005. The scene operates as a way of informing us about what Vastra and Strax are doing while Jenny is exploring the Crimson Factory and the scene also shows us that Vastra has a close relationship with Jenny as she wonders how much progress she’s making.

Jenny Flint

© BBC – Image used for editorial purposes.

We then cut back to Jenny as she’s joined a cue along with other towns folk who have signed up hoping to be accepted into Sweetville. There’s a freaky moment when a lady says that she hopes her teeth won’t let her down where we see a shot of her rotting teeth! I liked the idea of Jenny befriended this lady after she spoke to her, then asked for help by suggesting she fainted. Although reluctant to carry out her wishes because she was scared, Jenny offers her one Guinea and the lady carries out the fake faint allowing Jenny to infiltrate the factory. I liked Jenny’s tools that she uses to open a side door which consists of many sharp instruments that she uses to lock pick the door, tools which are nice to have in addition to the Doctor’s classic sonic screwdriver. What follows is the use of a very clever idea. The whole time we presume we’re in a factory because of the noise we’re hearing but the sound is actually coming from multiple large Gramophones which are projecting out factory engine noises. I was taken by surprise by this when I watched the episode for the first time and thought it was a neat trick. I can’t mention enough how well the pace of this episode is where it seems to flow well which I really appreciate.

Graham Turner gets another chance to shine as Amos as Madame Vastra is on the hunt for discovering objects associated with the Crimson Horror. With a great level of creepiness, Amos pulls out a bottle which contains an unusual red liquid which seems to shock Vastra. I felt the design of Vastra’s costume was put to good use where there’s a fantastic shot where she lifts her vail up and we get to see how surprised she is, looking upon the bottle of liquid before she turns to Amos and says that she last saw something like that 65 million years ago!

Crimson Horror Dinner

© BBC – Image used for editorial purposes.

Diana Rigg gets another chance to shine in a scene where she and Aida are having their dinner. There’s an odd moment where Mrs Gillyflower spills a rather large dish of salt where she pretends she had clumsily knocked it over and says that she wanted to keep the devil away. Seconds later, a very perculiar thing happens indeed, she picks up some of the salt with her fingers and pours it down her neck in front of her which leaves us feeling a little confused and opens up another mystery in addition to everything else happening here within the episode. Jenny is still searching around the factory and I liked how scary the programme makers made the scene where she is exploring. We get this eerie feeling as she creeps around and climbs some spiral stairs where the music also features a creepy slow theme where you feel like we’re about to be given a fright. However this doesn’t happen, Jenny arrives at the door we saw much earlier in the episode which features the cat flap door containing something inside. Jenny lifts this door hatch and we get an almighty fright as a hand and arm pop out and grab Jenny’s hand. I jumped for sheer life knowing something was about to happen but taken by surprise when it actually happened. Jenny’s brave though and attempts to make conversation with whatever is on the other side of the door. Amazingly she is successful and we discover that what ever is behind that door is a creature of some kind. I enjoyed watching this interaction here where Jenny asks the creature some questions where it replies by clanking the door multiple times. Jenny manages to open the door using her lock pick tools again and we get the biggest surprise of the episode so far.

Matt Smith Crimson

© BBC – Image used for editorial purposes.

As Jenny opens the door, she enters the room and we’re given a shot of her standing in complete shock before the camera shot changes to reveal the Doctor standing paralysed like a Zombie and coloured crimson red like many others we’ve seen already. I thought it was fantastic that the scriptwriter Mark Gatiss managed to fool me where I had no idea that the Doctor was behind the door. Immediately following the discovery of the Doctor, we see Jenny attempting to escort him out of the factory walking through the corridors. It’s very funny to watch as Matt Smith walks like a Zombie and can’t talk as his body is stiff. The suspense builds here as we fear Jenny and the Doctor might be discovered. Moments later, Aida enters nearby from an old fashioned elevator but she’s blind so she isn’t able to raise the alarm or aware at this point that the Doctor has escaped. Instead we see her trying to find her way to the room where the Doctor is kept where we see her using her blind stick which adds to the general oddness of the episode up until this point. As they’re moving around the factory, Jenny and the Doctor peek into a window and observe what can only be described as a giant vat of red crimson which in actual fact is red gunge. Human beings are being dropped into the vat from above held restrained. We presume from what we’re seeing that the Doctor must have been dunked in the vat which caused him to be paralysed.

Aida’s character is developed in an interesting way in the next short scene where she is seen discovering that the Doctor has broken free. She reveals that she has emotions for the Doctor feeling sad that he’s left where my opinion of Aida completely changed at this point. It seemed that she may have kept the Doctor alive because she cared and not because she wanted to hurt him. The next scene involves the Doctor and Jenny arriving at an area where there are grey lockers which the Doctor seems keen to get inside. Inside is his suit and sonic screwdriver which he uses on himself which transforms himself back to normal. With a triumphant burst of excitement from the Doctor as he runs around the corridor with joy as he’s set free, there’s a funny moment when he grabs Jenny and kisses her before receiving a massive slap which continues a running gag seen in the series since the fantastic River Song arrived back on the screen in the ‘Impossible Astronaut’.

The episode then takes an original twist not seen before where we go back in time to when the Doctor and Clara first arrive in Victorian Yorkshire, set just before the events we’ve seen in the episode so far. The montage features a serpia coloured video effect with an uptempo comical and scratchy soundtrack conveying the timeliness of the period which made me chuckle. Again the old fashioned camera flash visuals and sound make a return here as the scenes transition. Mark Gatiss pours more comedy into the episode by including a line of dialogue where the Doctor tells Clara of a time once when he had to escort a gobby Australian to Heathrow Airport which from what I’ve researched online is a reference to a classic Doctor Who episode seen in the past, which although I haven’t seen is nice to have included in the script where I will probably see it at some point in the future. The short montage sequence cleverly takes us through the Doctor and Clara’s journey learning about Sweetville where we gain a glimpse of their findings which include observing a body being discovered under a bridge, an excellent sequence where the Doctor is in a science lab complete with test tubes where we learn that they’ve met Amos learning about the crimson liquid. The purpose of the scene is to fill in the missing links within the episode covering the science bits without slowing down the pace of the episode which works really well. Mrs Gillyflower is seen in this montage escorting the Doctor and Clara through Sweetville as they’ve been accepted as a couple. Matt Smith and Jenna Louise Coleman both perform a very good portrayal of a Yorkshire accent here which where both funny to hear but also believable not being too over the top.

Mrs Gillyflower played by Diana Rigg

© BBC – Image used for editorial purposes.

Mrs Gillyflower speaks of her husband, Mr Sweet who we haven’t seen yet. He’s this mysterious character who we know little about except that he prefers to keep to himself, raising the question of who Mr Sweet is? The Doctor and Clara are escorted into a room which features large glass containers full of lifeless people which take them by surprise before they are taken captive. The Doctor and Clara appear to have been separated where we are shown that the Doctor had indeed been dropped into the vat of crimson while Clara taken away with the other young ladies who were captured inside Sweetville. We learn that Aida was indeed looking after the Doctor after he was rejected after the crimson process where she saved him from being put to waste. It was nice to see a relationship develop between the two characters where the reactions from the Doctor were excellent as he stands completely frozen unable to speak like we had seen earlier in the episode. There’s a pretty scary moment when Edmund flies into the room containing the Doctor screaming and is covered in crimson as he falls to his death which probably freaked out alot of children watching this. This brings the montage right up to where the story takes place in current time where Jenny has just rescued the Doctor. I felt this was very clever storytelling and it was very interesting to see a different structure used from anything we’ve seen in the past run of episodes though Who often has fun mixing time and space.

Strax the Sontaran

© BBC – Image used for editorial purposes.

Strax returns in another scene which was one of my favourites in the episode where he is the driver of the Victorian coach that introduced the trio gang earlier in the episode. He has got himself lost and blames his situation on the horse itself, talking to it and moments before shooting it with his laser gun, a young Yorkshire kid speaks aloud from the side of the street, giving directions to Strax with great accuracy in a very formal mathematical way which impresses Strax. He asks the little boy to join him at the front of the coach next to the driver’s seat and asks his name. ‘Thomas Sir’.. ‘Nice to meet you… Thomas Thomas.’ This was a lovely moment in the episode and I liked how Strax got to become more involved much like Vastra and Jenny had so far.

As the scene then cuts back to Jenny and the Doctor, they’re walking like before along the streets of Sweetville searching for Clara and discover her inside a house found within a glass container which the Doctor breaks with the use of a chair which begins a gag used a further time when the Doctor later says that ‘Chairs are useful’ paying homage to the piece of furniture, something Doctor Who likes to do similar to a cup of tea. Building on the main story arc of the entire series so far, the Doctor mentions rescuing Clara which confuses Jenny as Clara had died during ‘The Snowmen’ episode, a mystery even the Doctor hasn’t yet managed to solve where from Jenny’s point of view is still dead, unaware of her multiple existences. There’s some nice dialogue between the Doctor and Jenny as she’s attempting to get some answers from him only for the Doctor to get flustered and tells her as little as possible which only intrigues Jenny further.

Aida Crying

© BBC – Image used for editorial purposes.

Transitioning back to Aida crying over the disappearance of the Doctor from his room. Mrs Gillyflower enters with great presence and criticises Aida for allowing the Doctor to escape when she learns of his existence after Aida explains that she developed an attachment to the Doctor, having sheltered him from death. Mrs Gillyflower shows her nasty personality and reveals how cold hearted and desperate she is to continue with her plan which isn’t revealed to us until much later into the episode. She tells Aida that she isn’t perfect and that perfection is all that is good enough which destroys Aida’s hope of feeling safe.

The Doctor and Jenny are now back in the steam locker room where they’ve placed Clara inside hoping to revive her. Meanwhile a large gathering of ‘super model’ henchmen enter the scene from a corridor who pull out baseball bats to attack Jenny and the Doctor. The Doctor has a funny line of dialogue where he says ‘Oh great, great! Attack of the super models’ which made me laugh. Just when we presume the Doctor is going to have to save the day, it’s actually Jenny who does as her Victorian clothes drop to the ground revealing that she’s wearing a cat suit like suit underneath which is a very sexy moment. I noticed a little joke here too as the Doctor’s sonic points upwards where the Doctor embarrassed, corrects quickly. Seconds later, the super models attack and Jenny performs some fast paced action as she lifts men into the air and throws them with ease. The editing here increases speed as she throws them which makes Jenny seem like a super hero which I really liked as a new character trait not seen previously. The remainder of the trio enter the scene now as Strax enters firing his laser gun followed closely by Vastra in a heroic moment which includes the soundtrack. I laughed when I heard the dialogue where Vastra asks if Strax had been eating some of Jenny’s sherbet fancies again before telling him to wait at the coach where Strax mumbles that he’s going to play with his grenades which adds a touch of light humour to the climax of the action sequence.

Clara and the Tardis

© BBC – Image used for editorial purposes.

When Clara is rescued, there’s a lovely moment between the two where the Doctor is happy to see her alive and well. I liked when Clara looks wide eyed at the Matt Smith and touches his nose saying ‘Doctor’ in a child like way which was funny before she looks over his shoulder and notices Vastra and Jenny, asking what’s going on where the Doctor speaks in a Yorkshire accent again and points saying ‘She’s a Lizard’. Neve McIntosh has some powerful dialogue as she tells the Doctor about what she knows about the red liquid which the Doctor finds fascinating. There’s a moment here when the Doctor ignores Clara for a second, thinking that she’s behind where the characters are on the trail of discovery but manages to figure out a riddle for where to locate Mrs Gillyflower by suggesting that something that could rise into the atmosphere and fall could begin in a building without a smoking chimney. The Doctor is impressed with Clara and there’s a good piece of dialogue where Clara says ‘Miss me?!’

With Clara rescued, the episode moves towards it’s thrilling climax where the Doctor, Clara, Vastra and Jenny seek out Mrs Gillyflower to confront her. We’re introduced to the main climax set piece which is a giant rocket set for being launched into the atmosphere where it will explode, dropping large quantities of the red liquid onto the whole population. We see the poison which in a kind of comical way is inside a balloon like container inside a basket located next to the rocket. There’s a nice set design shot where Mrs Gillyflower is sitting on an organ where she pushes a few buttons which rotate the organ around to reveal a control panel for the rocket. The music creates a sense of climax as we see the organ rotate.

Jenny Flint Fights

© BBC – Image used for editorial purposes.

As our heroes are on the search for the location of the control panel, they come across Aida who is still upset having lost her secret monster and being unaccepted by her mother. There’s another lovely moment, this time between the Doctor and Aida as he comforts her, holding her hand telling her that she’s a better person than her mother and says that what her mother says about her isn’t true. The Doctor attempts to gain information from Aida desperate to save lives but Aida replies with honesty saying that she cannot betray her mother, even now. As a sign of compassion, the Doctor respects her and instead decides to find and confront Mrs Gillyflower herself but takes Aida with him to overhear what she’s like. We gain an incredibly creepy feeling as we still don’t know who Mr Sweet is which is making us think of many characters and if there’s a link between past episodes and this one. We just don’t know at this point. Meanwhile Jenny and Vastra are attempting to take possession of the red liquid where there’s an excellent shot of the two characters peering around a corner which is a nice classic Doctor Who shot to see.

Upon finding Mrs Gillyflower, Diana Rigg really shows some great acting again as she taunts the Doctor while Matt Smith equally has some superb lines now having his full strength of power back replying to Mrs Gillyflower’s every remark with a clever comeback for each line she speaks. Clara brings up the question of who Mr Sweet is and if they’ll get to meet him. Suddenly we are given an even bigger surprise than we did with the Doctor’s introduction. Mrs Gillyflower turns around and reveals Mr Sweet, a small red crab looking creature attached to her breast, a horrific yet barmy moment on screen which I loved. I never saw that coming! The reveal answers the mystery earlier about why she poured salt down her top as now she’s seen feeding the creature which has ugly black eyes staring. As the craziness of what we’ve just witnessed may seem over the top, we believe it though as Diana Rigg performs a believable performance in addition to the humour from Matt Smith which makes the scene work perfectly where it could have been laughable but it’s not. The Doctor points out to Mrs Gillyflower what damage she could do if the poison fell into the wrong hands before we’ve given a brilliant moment where Rigg says ‘Do you know what these are? The wrong hands!’

Crimson Horror Investigation

© BBC – Image used for editorial purposes.

Mrs Gillyflower reveals her plan in full and we see Clara attempt to stand up for everyone innocent in the world yet Mrs Gillyflower pays no attention to her which the Doctor fears. She’s deranged and won’t stop at nothing to achieve her evil plan. Matt Smith has another moment of glory as he performs his slow clap before asking about Aida which catches Mrs Gillyflower off guard while Aida listens outside the room. Mrs Gillyflower reveals that she has no emotion over Aida and that she is of no consequence. She confesses to having experimented on her to save her own skin which Aida overhears. The Doctor is excellent here as he becomes angry after Mrs Gillyflower says that it was necessary and that ‘sacrifices had to be made’. Meanwhile Clara stands in horror. Then suddenly Aida enters asking if it were true which Mrs Gillyflower denies at first which sends Aida into a rage as she walks up to her calling her names while walking blind before whacking her mother with her walking stick. It’s a powerful and dramatic part of the episode and we feel our heroes are gaining the upper hand. The script still has a few funny moments to give as Clara lifts up a chair and jams it into the control panel where the Doctor’s sonic screwdriver has suddenly became redundant.

With Mrs Gillyflower’s console broken, we assume her plan has failed and she whimpers in the corner, defenceless but as Aida and everyone else thinks she might be seeing sense, she pulls out a gun and points it at Aida’s head which prompts the Doctor to speak aloud with complete horror; ‘No Mrs Gillyflower’. Mrs Gillyflower escapes and the Doctor uses a chair again to break a window, providing an alternative way of leaving the room. I liked the close up reaction shots between Clara and the Doctor which work really well in creating excitement. There’s a great shot where Clara and the Doctor are running, something we like to see between the Doctor and companion as Mrs Gillyflower climbs some spiral staircases next to the missile rocket. We also hear Murray Gold’s battle theme which we heard from the episode, ‘The Rings of Akhaten’ which I think really boosts the pace and excitement of the scene. As Clara and the Doctor catch up with them, Mrs Gillyflower has found a secondary control switch which she uses as her bargaining chip. The Doctor pleads with her to let Aida go where she pushes her down the stairs before firing shots at the Doctor, missing him. There’s a good moment between Aida and her mother as Aida pours her heart out in defiance of her mother which added to the moment and it ends when Mrs Gillyflower pulls the trigger and the missile is launched into the air. Is this the end for everyone?

Doctor Investigates Crimson Horror

© BBC – Image used for editorial purposes.

No, not at all! Jenny and Vastra appear on screen having successfully taken possession of the red liquid which had not been placed within the rocket ship preventing Mrs Gillyflower from spraying the atmosphere. She attempts to kill them by firing more shots from her pistol but then from above at the top of the Chimney, Strax fires his laser gun which forces Mrs Gillyflower to fall to her death with a massive thud, silence falls.

As she’s drying, there’s a hilarious moment where we see the red crab creature leaving Mrs Gillyflower’s body seen crawling away from her body as she says ‘Stop, where are you going, don’t leave me Mr Sweet’. Aida comforts her mother and Mrs Gillyflower asks for forgiveness but she says she never will. There’s a moment of reflection as Jenny asks what is going to happen to the small creature where the Doctor says probably back to the Jurassic era but we’re interrupted by Aida who suddenly turns into a rage of violence and beats the creature to death which is a funny moment rather than horrible. The Doctor ends the scene by saying ‘On the other hand!’ The rocket explodes and everyone has saved the day, all in less than an hours worth of viewing.

I enjoyed the concluding scene of the episode where the Doctor and Clara discuss their next adventure where there’s a nice background sound of a steam engine which adds to the atmosphere.

Aida and the Doctor have a farewell moment together, now coming across as a lovely young lady devoid of her anger from the earlier scene. It’s nice to see when the Doctor tells Aida that she will go on to be splendid. The Doctor makes farewells to Strax, Jenny and Vastra but is questioned by Jenny about how Clara is alive to which the Doctor says that indeed he never said why. I liked this little touch at the end of the episode which keeps the main story arc of the series running into the next episode. Clara’s theme music returns which is always a treat to hear and we’re really looking forward to finding out the mystery about who she really is. Clara is seen in the final moments back in at the house of the family she is baby sitting for and when she enters the living area, she notices that a laptop is open. Clara investigates and discovers many photographs of herself on her adventures with the Doctor but notices one she hasn’t experienced yet where she travels to London with the Doctor, something that only happened to another version of Clara in a different time line. We’re left to assume that the script might develop from her discovery of the photograph but Clara has a bigger issue to face. The two children she’s been babysitting enter the scene and have somehow figured out that she’s a time travelling companion of the Doctor. Although slightly surprising to see this scene at the end of an entire episode set in 1893 it’s a nice scene to have included and sets up the following episode really well, ‘Nightmare in Silver’ which sees the return of the Cybermen. I’m exhausted having written this review but would rate this episode as one of the best episodes I’ve seen for this series, combining great acting, storytelling with interesting plot twists and believable special effects. I’m very impressed with this episode and will be watching it again at some point in the future.

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