Doctor Who "The Crimson Horror" Review: How Sweet It Is

Doctor Who S07E11: "The Crimson Horror"

After a few weeks of deadly serious Doctor Who episodes, "The Crimson Horror" was a nice return to mysterious, immersive, clever storytelling—these are the kinds of episodes that usually end up sticking with me long after they end. It's Doctor-lite! It was no surprise to me that this episode was written by Mark Gatiss; he's not always my favorite Who writer, but he's a genius at Sherlock, and this episode felt more Sherlock-y than most (and that's a huge compliment). It was directed by Saul Metzstein, who did a lovely job with pacing and showing off Victorian England, making it look gently steampunky and gorgeous. 

Part of the joy of "The Crimson Horror," for me, was how long it took The Doctor and Clara to show up in it. We knew they were going to come along and fix things, but I liked how unanchored I felt watching the episode, with no Doctor to helpfully guide me through what was happening. These days, that's a rarity in Doctor Who. Luckily I did have Madam Vastra, Jenny, and Strax—my favorite recurring side characters—as guides. (These three deserve their own spinoff!) The trio was investigating the case of several bodies that had turned up in the Yorkshire canal, dyed bright red and petrified. They called the situation the Crimson Horror.

Meanwhile, and certainly not related, there was a hot new guru running around Yorkshire, preaching about moral decay and the coming apocalypse. Her name? Mrs. Winnifred Gillyflower, wonderfully played by Diana Rigg. After terrifying the town with talk of judgment raining down upon them, she offered a solution: Sweetville, a.k.a. salvation, the "shining city on the hill." Sweetville, run by Mrs. Gillyflower and her silent partner Mr. Sweet, only accepted the best and brightest, so Jenny volunteered to audition in order to infiltrate it.

Mrs. Gillyflower's daughter Ada, tragically blinded and disfigured, was busy being used in her mother's lectures as a parlor trick, but in her spare time, she had adopted an unseen monster and was feeding it. Jenny ran into this monster while she explored Sweetville, and when she freed it, that's when we saw The Doctor for the first time. He was bright red, in non-Doctor-y clothing, and stiff as Frankenstein's monster. It was a pretty shocking image, and one that I didn't even slightly see coming. 

Jenny unchained The Doctor and got him his sonic screwdriver; with it, he was able to reset himself and get his regular clothes back on. First item on the agenda: Kiss Jenny for rescuing him. Of course, she's a married woman, so she slapped him, which I loved—Jenny and The Doctor have always had a fun, flirty relationship. All he wanted to do from there was stop Gillyflower and find Clara, but Jenny wanted to know how he'd gotten into the predicament in the first place. 

The scene that followed, with The Doctor explaining how he ended up dyed red, was shot in an old-timey looking style with lots of negative stains and pops, and it really worked for me. It was a creative way to break up the episode and add some freshness to the format while still conveying information and keeping us in a specific time and place: Victorian England. In the flashback, we saw The Doctor and Clara auditioning for Sweetville themselves. During their tour they found a family propped up in a home, encased in glass, and the next thing you know both The Doctor and Clara were strung up and dipped into a viscous red liquid. It turned out that accepted Sweetville applicants were made catatonic and then "arranged" in homes, and rejected applicants were dyed red, petrified, and killed by the process. Luckily for The Doctor, he's not human, so he didn't die—he was just taken in as Ada's pet. (Although the question of why he was rejected is a good one. Because he's not human?)

After he found Clara and revived her, it was time to stop Gillyflower. The Crimson Horror was actually a 65 million year old parasite that secreted a fatal poison, and Gillyflower diluted it in order to petrify people and preserve them. But who was Mr. Sweet, and what was her master plan? The Doctor shushed Clara as he started one of his patented manic thinks, but he shushed too soon—it was actually Clara who understood the full scope of the plan. The Crimson Horror would be shot up into the sky to infiltrate everyone at once.


They rushed to find Gillyflower and, in a rare misstep for the episode, we were introduced to Mr. Sweet, who was… an ancient parasitic worm that lived on Mrs. Gillyflower's chest. After so much build-up for this silent partner, the last thing I expected was a tiny puppet worm as the main bad guy. I was thinking more along the lines of Great Intelligence being behind the scheme, or even a slightly more sinister monster—perhaps one that had creepily joined itself with Mrs. Gillyflower permanently. The worm was a sad-looking little guy, and I kinda felt sorry for him.

With the help of Vastra, Jenny, and Strax, The Doctor managed to stop Gillyflower's plot, and it was Ada, the daughter who was actually disfigured by her own mother's experimentation and then rejected from her "golden dawn" for being disfigured, who wound up taking care of Gillyflower by pushing her to her death. After killing her mom, she destroyed tiny sad Mr. Sweet in a fit of rage. The Doctor, who is normally prone to want to save all unique life, didn't seem that upset. 

There was one bit of business left: Vastra, Jenny, and Strax remembered Clara from their last meeting (in "The Snowmen"), and they remembered her dying. Throughout the episode they kept asking The Doctor to explain, but he couldn't explain. He basically just shrugged, which is a long way off from the epic freak-outs he'd previously been having when confronted with Clara's impossibleness. So they were off, and Clara returned home to her nannying job only to find that the kids were onto her. They'd found pictures of her, sprinkled throughout time, on the internet. Uh-oh...

This episode didn't really further any larger storylines, save for my suspicion that The Doctor and Clara are in love, but it was a fully fleshed-out story in a fully formed, imaginative world that didn't feel rushed or too-easily solved in the last five minutes. And that, to me, makes a great standalone Doctor Who episode. Perhaps the follow-up to "The Crimson Horror" will be the Vastra, Jenny, and Strax investigating Clara, since The Doctor seems content with her story as-is; he's no longer obsessed with "figuring her out." Perhaps they'll get to the bottom of it even though The Doctor could not. Only time will tell.

 

What did you think of "The Crimson Horror"? 



NOTES


– Nice running gag with the brother of one of the victims continually fainting throughout the episode. 

– I love Diana Rigg as Lady Olenna "The Queen of Thorns" Tyrell in Game of Thrones, and I love her here. 

– Fun fact: Mrs. Gillyflower's blind daughter, Ada, was played by actress Rigg's real-life daughter Rachel Stirling. Mark Gatiss wrote the parts specifically for them, because they'd never acted together before. 

– I really liked Abigail, the young woman standing behind Jenny in line for Sweetville, who said, "I hope my teeth don't let me down," and then fainted spectacularly in order to cover for Jenny. In general, this episode had so many wonderful bit parts. 

– I don't know how much crossover there is, so this may not resonate, but holy shit did this episode evoke Bioshock: Infinite to anyone else? The recap scene? The perfect city that's not quite what it seems? (I don't think either property copied from the other, I just thought it was kinda cool.) 

– Nice Northern accent on The Doctor! 

– Clara's expression when The Doctor put his arm around her while they toured Sweetville, her gentle poking of his face after she was revived, and the reference to "your boyfriend" by her nanny charges—are you telling me they are not setting them up for some sort of romance? 

– Jenny's fight scene was fantastic, and The Doctor's comment about their assailants—"It's attack of the supermodels"—was also fantastic. 

– Best line of the episode is a tie between Mrs. Gillyflower screaming, "Die, you freaks! Die die die!" and Strax, about to shoot his horse for getting him lost, grumbling, "It's the fourth one this week, and I'm not even hungry."

– Next week we have Cybermen? The kids that Clara babysits? WARWICK DAVIS?! Cannot wait!

Comments (93)
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"After a few weeks of deadly serious Doctor Who episodes."
I hope to God he's not counting 'The Rings of Akhaten.'
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Am I the only one old enough, or possibly sad enough, to recognise the resemblance of Jenny's fighting catsuit to the one worn on occasion by Emma Peel?

A tribute, I think, to fond memories of Diana Rigg shared by many boys of about my age when we were all somewhat younger.
Mike Gatiss is, I believe, only a few years younger than I.
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One of the best episodes of the season so far (seriously though, Gatiss' imagination is so fucked up, I love it), and I can't wait for the conseqences of Clara finding that photo of Not!Her in Victorian London. The Doctor has some explaining to do.
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IMO their was better chemistry between the DR and Jenny, than the DR and Clara!!
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Good review! I agree with all your last commentaries, and thanks for the information about Diana Rigg's daughter, they look alike. And she is really great as the Queen of torns.
Cant wait for Cybermen, and these episodes are getting better and better, even more considering she is a new companion...or new love?
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I have to say that this was one of the most classically Who episodes we've had in a long time. Funny, thrilling, a bit creepy, and with an amazing supporting cast.

More on my thoughts here: http://iamthemissinglinc.blogspot.com/2013/05/doctor-who-review-crimson-horror.html
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Strax is delightful. I want him in every episode. I still giggle when I think of the line from the Christmas Special:
"Sir, emergency! I think I've been run over by a cab!" haha... oh, Strax.
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"This episode didn't really further any larger storylines, save for my suspicion that The Doctor and Clara are in love"

Laughed out loud when I read this bit, definitely what I was thinking,
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it was a good ep. but "Jenny's fight scene was fantastic" is not really true. it was like 2 seconds long. she took out 3 people, then ran. it would have been much better if she kept fighting. also i liked the the doctor checked out her butt after she stripped down to her fighting cat suit.

Also, I think the doctor will continually try to figure clara out as the season goes on, he has just realized it's gonna take more time than an episode or two to understand what is up. he knows he'll figure it out eventually & is just enjoying his time with clara
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I actually didn't like that there was so little Clara.
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"I don't know how much crossover there is, so this may not resonate, but holy shit did this episode evoke Bioshock: Infinite to anyone else?"

Oh yes :D
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It seems like Vastra/Jenny/Strax episodes come with a literary tie-in. In the Christmas Special it was Sherlock Holmes, and in this one it was Poe- Crimson Horror/Masque of the Red Death and towards the end Gillyflower offers the Doctor some Amontillado, as in the Cask of Amontillado. I didn’t notice any other, however, which means they left a LOT out there. Maybe I missed some?
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Sorry - this episode was fairly worthless except to possibly establish another spin-off. This one of those episodes where I like nearly everything about it individually but the combination was just kind of.......there. The best part of the episode was the preview for next week's Cybermen episode (heyt, they must have gotten a software upgrade - they no longer need a great big "C" on their chests to remind themselves what & who they are!).
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Yes, I agree. It was not a great whole for me either.

I also am not entirely sure this reviewer watches the episodes in their entirety, or with full attention based on the review. Actually, the problem was VERY easily solved, once again, and they not KEEP asking the Doctor about Clara... I think they asked two or three and did not persist (I actually thought they put little focus on the obvious curiosity of why she is alive).

The interesting bit was Clara see a picture of herself in Victorian London, when this version of her wasn't there. However, talk about understated - I think a bigger reaction and an immediate phone call to the Doctor would have been more likely.

I feel, as with the other episodes, that they are aiming at kids. With the last writer it was more intense, more engaging and something special. This sometimes just feels like a Doctor Who spin-off.
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the cybermen's chest reminded me of the arc reactor in iron man!
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I thought the exact same thing. Maybe the cybermen are really the next step of the Iron Man suit ^^
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"...are you telling me they are not setting them up for some sort of romance?" *shakes head*
No, no they're not.
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Yeah I can't believe that you didn't mention the TomTom joke in the episode. It was hilarious :)
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Yeh, that scene definitely made me laugh out LOUD. They heard me in the next room.

As soon as he started giving directions I was waiting for the punchline. Would it be Garry Minnin (most call me Garmin for short)? Would it be Garry Peter Styleson (most call me GPS for short)? Would it be Lou Gal Naps?

I'd completely forgotten about Tom Tom until he said it. That definitely worked out the best.
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I almost fell of my couch laughing when watching this episode. First there was the moment where Mrs. Gillyflower called them Doctor and Mrs. Smith and then there was that scene where a young boy told Strax how to get to his destination.
The boys name? Thomas Thomas.
The guys at TomTom (http://www.tomtom.com/en_gb/) should be so proud :-)
Also the guy that fainted 3 times after seeing something alien.
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I'm really glad we got a fun break from the last rather disappointing episodes.love strax and jenny&vastra are sorta fun too. This was all about fun time with the doctor and being allowed to laugh hysterically about really obvious or weird jokes,such as the tom tom gps and the misguided horse or the fact that 'chairs really are usefull'. Did anyone catch the part about how the doctor loves Pond cakes.. I'm sensing a reference to amy here, even though it might as well be my imagination that is running wild after all that crimson overkill. Seriously though- what other series gets away with making a lesbian lizard lady who is married to a human badass secret agent style chic and working with a grumpy potato head in victorian yorkshire so perfectly normal in our eyes,that we're consider the fainting guy to be the weird one (as in why is he such a girl). I still can't see the greater picture and am unforgiving about the last episodes. I agree to the critics about the change in character of the doctor and very much dislike the disloyalty towards river and the writers apparent ignorance of that. But nevertheless this has been an enjoyable change with a bunch of fun scenes (i.e. How the doctor explains vastra to clara- 'she's a lizard'), so for now thanks for that.
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Only problem i have with this whole "boyfriend/girlfriend" thing is the simple fact that The Doctor is married to River Song, or do the writers just expect us to forget that?
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Yes and no. The Doctor endulged in his many many dates with River already. As shown during the recent pre-season mini's.

So, he technically only has a few more meetings until she's dead.

Plus, when you're an immortal time traveller 'married' to another time traveller, and spend loads of existence apart... I imagine the term 'open marriage' isn't unheard of.
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I should ALSO add, that prior to fighting the Silence in Cape Canaveral... the Doctor also showed they he'd caught up quite a bit to River's dates and adventures. As he lived for a few hundred years since the previous episode.
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pre-season mini's? Cool, gotta go check those out...
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My favorite line was Strax addressing the horse as "horse." "Horse! You have failed in your mission!"

Really good episode. So much that I did like that's probably just reiterating what we saw, I guess it's easier to point out the few things that did not work for me. Great pacing for about 50 minutes, and then just like the last few episodes, the ending feels very rushed somehow. Almost like the dialog and scenes aren't getting the full scope they deserve. The first 2.5 Moffatt/Smith seasons did not have this problem, but Hide, Journey To The Center of the TARDIS, and now this one have all felt like the very ends of them were crammed in to fit a time limit they couldn't accommodate with the regular pacing of the rest of the episode. I also thought it was out of character for the doctor to be so "Meh, whatever" about Ada killing the parasite. None of the Doctors including Eleven on the new show have ever been blase about killing and death....unless they're Daleks.

It may have been a stand alone episode, but it definitely expounded on one of Moffat's major themes, which is that the Doctor IS the monster. Season 5 introduced it a little, but s6 really ran with it, and s7 appears to be going somewhere with it. Since the last time I had checked, the final episode which was previously TBD has since been named "The Name of the Doctor." River really stressed in A Good Man Goes To War about the doctor becoming a monster as far as how some civilizations view him, and of course Russell Davies and Ten pioneered the theme of the Doctor as a God-figure, and I think Moffat just decided to expand on that with his own spin. But Ada calling the Doctor her "monster" really caught my attention. It was just her silly name for her friend, and the episode may well have little to do with the over-arcing story line, but the doctor as the monster is definitely thematic.

I'm beginning to realize that some of my dislike for Clara and the Doctor together (though I continue to really enjoy each of them individually) is that the Doctor seems to be different since the departure of Amy and Rory. I've been under the assumption that the writing hasn't been in keeping with the character, but since it was so abrupt I'm now wondering if this isn't intentional. Not the writing at all, but perhaps that Clara represents something that is "throwing the Doctor off" so to speak. There has never been a Doctor I can think of in the old or new show who changed or seemed any different when he switched out companions. For example, Five was just Five whether he was with Tegan, Nyssa and Adric, or Turlough, or Perry. Seven was just Seven, no matter if it was with Mel or Ace. Four.....that guy had a ton of companions (it feels like, anyway) but he was always just Four. And of course Ten was Ten whether with Rose, Martha, or Donna. Why is Eleven suddenly so different? Or is it just me? Considering that I've found eggs hidden in Eleven's first season that I'm now beginning to realize were not just just random things but are actually still in play for the long story, nothing Moffat does seems random to me. If Eleven really is acting differently, might there be a reason? Hmm....
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Yay. Kids.
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I quite liked this episode, it was fun and bouncy with a real message it didn't cram at the screen all at once, so it had time to breath and live in the moments. Diana Rigg was excellent here, playing a crone with a superiority complex that got to do big stuff at the end was great, appreciating her daughter not forgiving her was icing on that cake. And her daughter was an interesting character as well, playing off The Doctor as her own Frankenstein's monster. The Doctor and Clara got to affect an accent which was excellent, and they weren't too clever with each other, nor was Clara especially clever without justification. This reminded me of an original Doctor Who episode and for once could have gone on longer like those did, spread out the threats and dangers and character interactions across 2 episodes.

The final reveal of the sad-faced tiny leech-puppet worked for me, as did Ada killing the hell out of it. It reminded me of the interaction of the Great Intelligence during the Snowman episode, except not as overboard. Honestly, I'm glad they didn't overplay the leech, didn't have him talk or communicate obviously, leaving us to wonder if Diana Rigg's character was the real villain in her quest to find perfection and destroy the rest of the world.


I dunno about "Doctor lite", although IGN also used that term, the guy is only out for 15 minutes and then the rest is him and his pals. I dunno about Sherlock-y either, aside from an overly-clever graphic and the silliness of the flashback movie, there was no mystery solved, no quiet moments, no big turnabouts.

IGN also suggested Madame Vastra and her gang get their own spinoff show, I disagree thoroughly. This was yet again another example of Madame Vastra not doing anything, not solving anything, just sitting and listening to anecdotal evidence and then sending in her cronies. Strax and Jenny were more entertaining than usual, even if Strax's material was rote, and Vastra was more expressive and involved as a character, but still not smart or deep or terribly wise.

Shrugging off Team Vastra's question about Clara worked for me, he has no answers and is sick of explaining, but I don't think he's stopped looking at all, he even was taking her right to the "scene of the crime" as it were, London 1893 where her "other" version had just died.

The stuff with Clara's nanny work felt forced, no setup at all, just jump into the concept.

Nothing The Doctor has done is suggesting love with Clara, and she seems to have no attachment to anybody really, she just seems to enjoy flirting.

Ugh, no, not the Cybermen, they're so boring! At least there's some real assimilation going on, for once.
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PS - why did Clara's nanny kids have a Transformers Generation 1 Galvatron figure in their house? That thing is 27 years old at least. She walks in and fiddles with it, bows it while saying something about being the boss, and all I can think is "it'd be worth so much more in the box".
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The toy looks like a Cyberman, there is a Dalek Clara and Daleks are the bosses of the Cybermen.
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So I am really hoping as Clara begins to investigate the old timey photo and the Doctor does a an awful job distracting her that she asks the TARDIS so we can get some more passive agressiveness when they interact.
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Good ep. Love when Clara teases the Doctor.
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I absolutely loved this episode, reminding me that I fell in love with the Doctor because he was fun. The Doctor being the "monster" was great & again "teases" at the fact that he often considers himself a monster. The old timey flashback to see what happened with Doctor & Clara was really cool, & Vastra, Jenny & Strax brilliant as always.

I am surprised no one mentioned the "Casualities can be as little as 80%" line which I laughed so hard at I was snorting and when Vastra asked Strax why he was overexcited & if he'd been eating those sweets which can't remember how they were called.

I think the Doctor kept avoiding the who is Clara question from the trio cause he doesn't know himself & he doesn't like admitting he doesn't know, not that he cares less for the mystery. I think he was trying to get Clara to Victorian London to see if she can go, & it is suspicious that the TARDIS wouldn't take them to a place another Clara has been.

You forgot to mention that Clara's "kids" found a picture of her in Victorian London (the other Clara) when she was just in Victorian Yorkshire. I think that will have Clara asking questions & also remembering the "lost day" from the previous episode & the Doctor's name.

I still believe she is the one who will tell us his name in the finale
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this episode sucked hard - silly plot which made no sense.

Next time is a Neil Gaiman episode, brace for it :D
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It did make sense. Kill everyone then Gillyflower and the Adam and Eve's repopulate.
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It made sense from a plot perspective but the way it moved around from one point to the next was terrible. I found the humor to be pretty lackluster as well. Things like explaining how the Doctor would be found, the death scene of Mrs. Gillyflower, the survival of the caging of the Doctor as "monster", were all imo cringeworthy.

I don't mind Doctor Who lite, but make it coherent please.
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Another wonderful funny bit was how strax found the little GPS boy when he was lost "when possible, make a u-turn. Then proceed a quarter mile until arriving on your left." I thought that was great :-)
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I do not see Clara being the Doctor at all. I see the "question in front of us the whole time" being Clara. There is a reason Clara has been with us all season and the question of WHO she is. The Name of the Doctor is about her. Who is the Doctor? you might ask. WHO is Clara (not a question but an answer). She is an iteration of the Doctor and is the next one. The TARDIS can see the past, present, and future and knows that Clara is the Doctor and only wants a male doctor because she is female, established in Doctor's Wife. Something to think about for the next two weeks.
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I"m surprised to hear that you liked it, I more certainly didn't. Aside from the fact that I don't like Vastra, Jenny and Strax, I thought this was geared towards children and had trouble enjoying it. The villain was too 2dimentional, and I actually cringed when she went on about how close she and Mr. Sweet were. Then there was the line about the wrong hands that was ridiculous. It's unfortunate because I don't like Cybermen so I don't have much hope for next weeks episode either.
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I agree with ya. Other things I thought were really bad was the actual death of Mrs. Gillyflowers, and the end where the kids threaten to tell their Dad they have a time travelling nanny and it's somehow believed that is an actual threat of some sort.

I don't mind lighthearted romps but this one was hard to watch.
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Yeh, Clara could just explain it away to their father as "Photoshop + Imagination"

But, kids are stupid. If that failed then they might just decide to tell the whole world via Facebook or something. And while most would not believe it, some would. Especially since there is probably hard evidence lying around.
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I don't have much hope because he's taking the 2 kids with him. That just screams "The Sarah Janes Adventures" to me.

Then again, the whole "Are you my mummy" bit from a while back was chuck full of kids and the episode was dark as heck. I guess time will tell.
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I think I might know where Mark Gatiss "borrowed" the idea of Sweetville from; Saltaire is a small purpose built Victorian town paided for by Sir Titus Salt. He had the strange idea that if his workers lived in decent houses with good facilities they'd do a better job working in the town's cotton mill, and most of the orginal streets were named for his children.
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Sweetville, I imagine is based on Bournville, the town (now absorbed by Birmingham) founded by the Cadbury family for much the same reasons as you mentioned Saltaire was built. As soon as the picture was unveiled I thought of Bournville as it even looked similar. Google old photo's of the Cadbury Bournville factory and you'll find them very similar
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Well Sweetville is an anti-model town\village and Sweet & Salt being opposite tastes. Also Sweetville only wanted the best so it can't possibly have anything to do with the Midlands :P
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Not to give our Victorian trio a series of their own is akin to burning a winning lottery ticket before it's cashed. The character combo of Vastra, Jenny, and our ever lovable insane potato dwarf Strax is too rich to ignore. But on to this episode. There was so many side references packed into this episode that I know that I had to have missed a number of them (which gives me a perfect excuse to go back and rewatch the episode to find more.) The running gag of the fainting brother was perfect, and could only been made better if the actor playing the role was someone more Pythonesque.
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Really like this episode, I think it was the strongest of 7B. Strax always cracks me up (Thomas Thomas!) and I was very happy he was there for comic relief. It was great to see Jenny and Vastra back again, I am still a little thrown with what they are doing with Clara. I like the mystery and so on (It took a back seat this week which I approve) but they are putting to much emphasis on it. Next week Neil Gaiman returns and he wrote one of my favorite, emotion pounding stories "The Doctor's Wife". I can not wait for his follow up.....plus Warwick Davis!!
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I think the scene of Strax just chastising the horse was funny. "You failed in your mission."
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Mrs. Gillyflower wasn't pushed to death by Ada! Strax shot her hand that was holding onto the railing and she lost her balance and fell. Ada was next to Clara about 2 flight of stairs below from where Mrs. Gillyflower was.
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I liked the Doctor reminiscing about the TARDIS problems getting 'the gobby Australian' back to Heathrow Airport. Nice to see the fifth Doctor and Tegan being referred to and gave me the excuse to watch 'The Visitation' episodes on YouTube. [Preview http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7g8XwvD0-54 ]
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and it also gave the doctor the line 'brave heart Clara' A direct reference to Peter Davison's doctor when he used to say 'brave heart Tegan'
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....Not only Cybermen, the kids, and Warwick Davis, but it is written by Neil Gaiman! Woop!!!
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I've seen a lot of people question The Doctor's lack of compassion over Mr. Sweet's death, but I think it was perfectly in-keeping with his development over recent years. He does feel less, and merely got back into adventuring in order to assess and get to the bottom of the Clara mystery. His curiousity was sparked back into life, but not truly his compassion. I quite like that. Besides, I guess he figured that he understands the need for vengeance all too well and that Ada deserved hers. Plus, his speechless reaction was hilarious.

Speaking of Ada, I thought both her and Miss Gillyflower were fantastic and amazingly portrayed by the mother and daughter duo. And Strax, Vastra and Jenny should definitely feature more often. Last week's episode would have been much better if they had been there instead of the annoying salvage team.
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Am I the only one who thought that this episode was terrible? I didn't really feel a sense of danger throughout the episode and I thought Mrs. Gillyflower was a boring villain who was all talk and no action. The flashback sequence also broke the flow of the episode for me. The only good scenes were the ones with Strax in it. Like the reviewer, I love Mark Gatiss' Sherlock episodes, but the Doctor Who episodes he has written this series have been the weakest. I hoped that after the last two eps, Dr. Who was on the rise. The quality of Dr. Who has gone down a lot this year so far, but I love Clara as the new companion - I hope this season goes out with a bang!
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I loved this episode. And I totally agree with you Stax, Jenny and Vastra should get their own spinoff. The Monster Doctor reminded me a lot of Hellboy lol.
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Great little episode, a nice nod as well to a previous companion with whom he travelled, the australian lass who he tried to return to Heathrow, Tegan.

This episode was great fun with actual fun one-liners. And the running gag of the man fainting all the time was well played.
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I forgot to mention did anyone else notice that Vastra's place has a blue door that is very strikingly similar to a certain police box.
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I thought it looked just like Amy and Rory's door
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Great episode. My favorite parts were the Thomas Thomas bit, the bit with Jenny and the Sonic Screwdriver, and all things Strax. Also, was it just me or was the monster bit with Ada had a Frankenstein twist to it?
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The best episode of season 7 and one of the best episodes ever. The characters, the pacing, everything was perfect. Didn't mind the "worm". If only they could all be this "fantastic" !!!
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Loved the epeisode, mostly because the terrific trio was back. I liked the preseason minisode a lot. But I disagree that they need a spin off of their own. At least not one that runs during the Doctor's season. or against Justified, Shameless or Game of aThrones. I already watch too much tv, and Torchwood was always a bit of a pain to find time for.
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My favorite gag was when Strax was about the kill the horse. Thomas Thomas gave him directions... a reference to the TOM TOM GPS system.... I LOVED IT!! Very clever!!!
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Thank you, I did *NOT* get that joke at all but felt like it was almost within my grasp. Plus, there was a Sir Thomas Thomas who would be around that age in that era as well, and this went for a much simpler, cuter joke.
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I have to say, I completely agree with you about the Clara-Doctor romance setup. 11 is unusally flirty, sure, but this is taking it to a whole new level. I'm actually beginning to wonder if they can get through a conversation without touching each other--they just don't seem to have a concept of personal space! Can't wait to see River's reaction...
Which, of course, begs the question: has the Doctor told Clara he has a wife? Does the Doctor even consider himself a married man? We know River sees herself as married, but is it reciprocated?
To quote Souffle Girl "Come by and see me sometime" and fight with me over whether Clara actually IS River at http://tyrannyofthepetticoat.wordpress.com/
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I'm not a big an of Doctor-lite episodes (though I wouldn't mind an episode focused on Clara.) and this episode was no exception. Although I love Strax and how his warrior background constantly clashes with being a "normal" member of society, Jenny and Madam Vastra are kind of boring on their own. The episode only got interesting when the Doctor made his (rather disturbing) grand entrance.

I'm also a bit disturbed that the Doctor made no protest whatsoever to Ada killing Mr. Sweets. New Who Doctors ALWAYS make a fuss over the villain being murdered in cold blood, no matter how evil they were. (Except the Shell-Shocked 9th Doctor, and even he gave his enemies a chance to abandon their plans, provided they weren't Daleks.) 11 made no protest whatsoever, and it makes him seem a bit uncaring. Yes, the monster did try to kill everyone, but without a host, he was harmless, and killing him seems pretty sad.

The Doctor seemed really kissy this episode, didn't he? He kissed Jenny, Clara, AND Ada. I'm pretty positive River is dead now, otherwise she'd probably put his head on a skewer.

Also, trying to take Clara to Victorian London seems like he's really in love with Victorian Clara more than the current version, and is just trying to live out his fantasies with Victorian Clara through Modern Clara. I might be wrong in this, but I know people who get together with lookalikes of their true loves, and the Doctor has the ULTIMATE lookalike of a woman he was obviously attracted to once he got out of his gloomy phase.

Anyone get the Teagan reference 11 made upon arrival? That was funny.

Oh please don't make the kids Clara babysits permanent companions like Rory. Let them have an adventure, and send them home. Keep it Clara and the Doctor! AND FOR GOD'S SAKE, KEEP CLARA AROUND FOR AT LEAST THE SAME AMOUNT OF TIME AS AMY! Jenna Louise Colman, I love you!

Clara (playing with a toy dinosaur): "I'm the boss." Priceless.
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I don't think "in cold blood" means what you think it means. This was a crime of passion, and as hot-blooded as it gets.
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well the leech monster had survived since the prehistoric era and was willing to kill all life on Earth, so maybe the Doctor felt that it had a good run, but enough was enough.
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It seems no one noticed that he said he would take it back to a prehistoric era THEN Ada killed it. Doctor not as heartless as everyone is going on about.
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he wasn't heartless, just not even a little outraged when Ada killed it. I think that is what most people mean. Me, I was glad he didn't et his knickers in a twist over it. It wasn't parasititic so much as symbiotic, so it shared some blame
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But the leech wasn't trying to kill everyone, Gillyflower was. He was just doing what parasites do, she was bat crap crazy and wanted to use him. At least that's the impression I got.
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Perhaps the "nectar" Mr. Sweet gave her is what made her bad crap crazy. I don't think this worm gets a pass. And this isn't the first time he'd tried this, as evidenced by Vastra's knowledge of her people's history.
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this review has no mention of tom thomas?!?!! that was friggen hilarious
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Or no mention of the Tegan reference in the review either.
"I once spent a hell of a long time getting a gobby Australian to Heathrow Airport." I love it when the show makes callbacks from the past shows that only true fans of the show will catch. No offience to the reviewer, it was a great review none the less.
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ok i will admit that im not familiar with that reference either, was it before this new version?
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Yeah, Tegan was with the end of the fouth doctor life, but mostly with the fifth doctor.
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i have yet to find all the original dr who stuff, from the very beginning to the current run
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Hm, I still dunno about a romance with Clara... they have chemistry sure, but there's always flirtation between the Doctor and his current companion. With Amy we weren't sure until halfway through season 5 if she would choose the Doctor or Rory. Plus, River Song is coming back for the final ep this season so that makes things complicated.
That being said, this ep was pretty good... the arch villain was a bit too Snidely Whiplash (die you freaks!) but I didn't know that Gillyflower and Ada were actually related, I guess that explains why she killed her so convincingly! ;) The Doctor all red and petrified did shock me, and the red lobster leech was the proper amount of gross, although I may also have enjoyed it with a bit of lemon and tarter sauce.
Again, the logistics of the plot weren't as well explained as I would like... why did the 'poisonous' solution only poison some and not others? If Mr Sweet is going to infect the world with it, wouldn't it also petrify some and kill some? Also... why? To 'purge' the earth yeah, ok, but why would sebastian from 65 million years ago care?
Anyway, the kids being all savvy and onto their nanny I enjoyed, plus next week does look fab with Warwick Davis and the Cybermen. Only 2 eps left! *sigh*
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There were 2 things going on here: Mrs. Gillyflower was using a diluted version of the leech's poison to preserve "perfect specimens" for her utopia; and her utopia was coming after she killed all the non-preserved life-forms on Earth with a regular dose of the poison. The people suffering the Crimson Horror were those who did not take the preservation process properly.
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I totally called it that the monster was the Doctor and I really appreciated the subtlety of Ada continuing to call him Monster (especially with how passive he was during the deaths). I didn't quite see the leech coming, nor did I really feel anything for him (except a little pity), so I agree that his part wasn't executed well. Otherwise, it was a decent stand-alone. Now gimme Gaiman.
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I always love when Jenny, Vastra, and Strax get involved in an adventure, they really are great characters and I think a spin-off would be pretty entertaining, kind of a victorian era mystery with comedy elements. The first part of the episode, being Doctor lite as episodes around this time in the season sometimes tend to be, really showed this off

Mrs. Gillyflower was really all over the place. She was obviously crazy from the start but seemed more like a religious zealot. At the end though she turned out to be a pistol packing, nutball with a red worm on her chest who scarred her daughter both physically and mentally to serve it. She got what was coming to her in the end though thanks to Strax. Its fitting that he saved the day by taking her out even if it was just by causing her to slip with his shot.

Mr. Sweets, being a red puppet, really reminded me of the effects from the original series. I do wonder if he was influencing the old woman or if he just was latched on for survival and she did everything on her own using his venom. It is fitting that Ada smacked that thing to death though after all that was done to her in his name, her way of also making up for what she did for her mother.

As for Ada, maybe she will join up with Vastra, Jenny and Strax. Heck, she is blind and seems to be into monsters, maybe she and Strax could hit it off.
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