Who Review – The Crimson Horror
Hello Evil Geeks and welcome to this week’s Who Review: The Brotherhood of Evil Geeks weekly wrap-up of TARDIS happenings! Last week we got to see a darker side of the Doctor as he tried desperately to save Clara from certain death in the depths of the TARDIS, but this weeks sees the Doctor and Clara returning to Victorian Era England to meet up with the Doctor’s old “Gang” Madame Vastra, Jenny, and Strax. Are they there to find out more about Victorian Clara? Are they there just to hang out with the Doctor’s buddies, or are they just there to get some really good fish and chips? Read on and find out!
It turns out they were there to get captured, but more on that later. The episode starts off with Madame Vastra, Jenny, and Strax investigating a series of bodies that have turned up with what appears to be the worst cases of sunburn ever. Something is killing people and the bodies they leave behind a bright red in hue. Using a technique that let’s them see the last image seen by the deceased, Vastra and Jenny discover that the last image in the eye of the latest corpse is that of the Doctor.
Upon futher investigation, the Trio discover that the corpses appear to be coming from a private community know as Sweetville, which is run by a woman named Mrs. Gillyflower (played by Diana Rigg, who seems to be participating in the Doctor Who/Game of Thrones actor exchange program that is apparently in full swing this season. Over on GoT, she plays Lady Olenna Tyrell). The community only accepts the brightest and most attractive people available, so Madame Vastra sends Jenny undercover to investigate. While snooping around the compund, she discovers that the Doctor is being held captive there and that he in a near catatonic state as he has been infected by the same thing that causes the corpses to turn red. Jenny recovers the Sonic Screwdriver though and after a quick Superman-style duck into a closet, the Doctor emerges fully restored courtesy of the healing power of his trusty Sonic. The Doctor tells Jenny that Clara has been captured, eliciting a confused response since the only Clara she knows died the last time the Doctor was in town. The Doctor manages to sidestep an explanation, and he and Jenny rendezvous with Vastra and the ever-battle ready Strax to save Clara, who has also been preserved by the same process that creates the red corpses. The red hue of the bodies, known as the “Crimson Horror”, happens when a body rejects the preservation process. It’s up to the group to stop Mrs. Gillyflower, uncover the true threat pulling the strings behind the scene and preventing the extinction of humanity. In other words it’s pretty much your standard Doctor Who episode.
That’s pretty much all it is though, just a cookie-cutter, almost instantly forgettable, standard episode. It’s a story that seems to be self-contained in the episode and not connected to the larger overall story. It wasn’t a bad episode by any means, just off. I did love having the trio of Vastra, Jenny, and Strax back on the show. They are always a welcome addition to any episode and quite frankly, I think there’s great spin-off potential in a weekly series featuring the three of them fighting crime and aliens in Victorian England. That would certainly make the wait between Doctor Who series go much quicker. There seemed to be less humor in this appearance by the trio than when they’ve shown up in the past (although Strax manages to get some great lines in as always). I really loved seeing the interactions between the hyper-intelligent Doctor and Strax who is of average intelligence, but constantly seeing every situation as one to be solved using military tactics. Those interactions were always funny to watch (“Get the memory worm!”) and that element of fun seemed to be missing this time around. Also, maybe this is just me being really nit-picky, but was it me or was the alien menace behind the whole affair a little bit too phallic looking to be anything but laughable when it was revealed? It looked like a cross between a dildo and Quatto from the Arnold Schwarzenegger version of “Total Recall”.
Unless this story connects to the story later in the season, to me this seemed like a filler episode, just killing time until the end of the season. Don’t get me wrong, I’d still rather watch an OK episode of “Doctor Who” than the best episode of like 95% of anything else on TV, but yeah…this episode clearly wasn’t one of my favorites. It had potential, but overall it just felt kind of hollow to me. There was one element of the episode that does seem to play into the larger story of the season and that is the very end when Clara returns to the house where she lives in modern-day and the children to whom she is governess. It seems the kids are pretty internet savy and have been doing some research which has turned up pictures of Clara from different places throughout time. Clara tries to play it off as coincidence, but accidentally validates their claims when a picture of her from Victorian London causes her to say that she hadn’t been to London when she traveled to the Victorian Era. This revelation also blows up the Doctor’s spot and reveals that he was really up to something else when he decided to bring Clara back to that time era. He’d wanted to go to London, but they’d gotten sidetracked with the Sweetville fiasco and were never able to go to their original destination. The kids then blackmail Clara into taking them on an adventure with her the next time she travels or they’ll tell their father about the photos that they’ve found.
Clearly the Doctor is still investigating Clara, but he’s doing it without letting her know that what he’s doing. We’ve been teased long enough already, let’s start unraveling that mystery! After seeing the picture of her that actually wasn’t her, Clara now knows that something isn’t right, so that situation has got to be coming to a head really soon. I don’t know if that will be next week though as that episode, “Nightmare In Silver” will feature the Doctor, Clara and the two kids she watches, squaring off against the Cybermen in the second episode of “Doctor Who” to be written by Neil Gaiman. It look’s like it’ll be incredible, but I don’t think we’ll be getting to the bottom of the Clara mystery just yet. Check in with us the morning after though for another all new Who Review!
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Posted on May 5, 2013, in Reviews, TV, Who Review and tagged bbc, BBC America, Clara Oswald, diana rigg, Doctor Who, fish and chips, Sci-Fi, sonic screwdriver, Tardis, The Doctor, vastra. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.