Doctor Who – “The Crimson Horror”

“You do seem to keep turning up like a bad penny, young man.”

I don’t review Doctor Who but today I thought I’d make an exception. I’ve been seeing a bit of hate for the most recent episode (although reviews have been glowingly positive) but I really loved it. So let’s dive right in to the Crimson ‘orror.

If I hadn’t seen the “Next Time on Doctor Who” segment last week may have been led into thinking that The Doctor was not making an appearance in “The Crimson Horror”. The episode opened with someone mysteriously meeting a rather sticky end, and we were introduced to the evil Mrs Gilliflower, played by Diana Rigg. She was playing a much different role to her recent one as Lady Olenna Tyrell on Game of Thrones. She was brilliant though as the evil, menacing boss of Sweetville. The first part of the episode follows everyone’s favourite Victorian lesbian crime fighting duo Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint, aided by the trusty Strax. I’ve never been sure how I feel about these characters. I never liked them like some fans. But they rocked in this episode, actually, Jenny rocked. She was badass. One scene had her pulling off her coat revealing steampunk-esque leather armour. Very cool indeed.

Madame Vastra took a back seat to Jenny in this episode, which is a good thing. Strax was his usual lovable, insane self with quotes like (on a full assault on Sweetville) “Casualties can be kept to as little as 80%.” There was another strong character in the form of Ada Gillyflower, Mrs Gillyflower’s daughter (played by Diana Rigg’s real life daughter; Rachael Stirling) She was almost as creepy as her mother and grew a strange attachment to The Doctor.

The Doctor did pop up though, nearly a third of the way into the episode. When asked by Jenny how long he’s been there the episode launches into its strongest moment, a an old-timey, sepia segment which was really quite amazing. It summed up how The Doctor and Clara had ended up where they had. The final confrontation was brilliant as well thanks to great special effects. I realise that many fans will be split on the villain of Mr Sweet. One part creepy, the other part adorable. I thought he was great. And him being crushed to death by Ada, combined with The Doctor’s gobsmacked reaction was hilarious. On the subject of comedy, this episode was very funny. The biggest laugh from me was probably The Doctor’s attempt at a Northern accent. I should have been offended, in reality I was in hysterics. The comedy in this episode was not hit and miss, for me it was hit after hit.

The one negative for this episode was the last 2 minutes in which Clara was discovered by the two kids she was looking after. I mean seriously, how did 2 kids find that out?! I’ll reserve judgement however, and see how this is handled next week.

Overall this was my favourite episode of the second half of season 7. Ir season 7b. Or whatever. People will either agree or disagree with me on this one, and I don’t expect any of my friends will like it as much as I. Mark Gatiss has written a polarizing episode for sure, but it was also macabre, darkly hilarious and one of the most enjoyable 45-ish minutes I’ve had in a while.

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