Brace yourselves, friends, because as our favorite Sontaran warned, we are going....to the North! And let me tell you, Victorian Yorkshire seems like one hell of a creepy place to reside. Written by the brilliant Mark Gatiss, "The Crimson Horror" brings us a sinister villain, a few cringe-inducing moments, and the return everyone's favorite crime fighting trio.
I have to say, I found this episode a lot creepier than "Hide" (Crooked Man and all). Let's start with the premise: An old woman, Winifred Gillyflower (fiendishly played by Dame Diana Rigg), seeks to rid the world of imperfection and, utilizing a primordial ooze, freezes those she deems "perfect". They shall remain in suspended animation until her plans to cleanse the Earth are complete, and then the residents of Sweetville will repopulate the Earth according to her design. But not even the "best of the best" are so lucky....some do not survive the freezing process. They end up suffering from, as the mortician calls it, "The Crimson 'Orror!"
|THIS is what happens when you read spoilers for the 50th Special.|
|This...this freaked the HELL out of me as a kid.|
|Before You Die...You Regenerate|
|Moments later he would don a top hat and sing "Ragtime Gal" |
(10 points if you get the reference)
|By Jove, I think it's all three!|
And, may I say, I've never seen anyone elicit such a passionate reaction from the Doctor as Jenny. The giant snog after she freed him from the Crimson Horror, his "sonic excitement" when she reveals her skintight bodysuit, and when she kicks some supermodel tail; it was all so unlike the Eleventh Doctor, who has ever only been seen being slightly flirty with River Song. It was a surprising departure from his character, but one that I thought added a really interesting new layer to his persona. I definitely wouldn't mind going a few rounds with the Victorian housekeeper...if only I was her type...and gender...and species.
|"Uh, please don't tell my wife."|
I also really liked Matt Smith's Northern accent, not seen since "The Rebel Flesh". It was also a great throwback to Christopher Eccleston's Ninth Doctor, who was called out by Rose for his accent, to which he replied "Lots of planets have a North!" And I love how Clara took charge, smashing the chair into Mrs. Gillyflower's organ in order to stop the launch of the missile. It was nice to see the sonic not be the only way to solve a problem. And the interplay between Gillyflower, the Doctor, Clara, and Ada at the end was just classic Who.
Now, lest we forget, this is the first time the Paternoster Gang has seen Clara (or any version of her) since she died in "The Snowmen". They are all rightly confused, and the Doctor isn't giving them (or us) any answers. I actually really liked that we didn't learn anything new about Clara. Especially after "Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS", it was nice not to focus on great mystery of Series 7B. And to so casually dismiss it in the very time we first (er, secondly) met Clara was an obviously playful jab at the fans.
Ultimately, the TARDIS takes Clara back home, where she discovers that her little charges have found pictures of her online (...not that kind), detailing all of her adventures through time. Clara tries to deny that it's her, but when she sees a picture of her in Victorian London, not Yorkshire, she unwittingly spills the beans. The kids threaten to tell their father unless they can come with her on the next trip. And so we head into the eagerly awaited "Nightmare in Silver"!
All in all, "The Crimson 'Orror" might just be one of the best episodes of the entire Series 7. Creepy, exciting, funny, and with tons for Whovians to fan-gasm about, I wouldn't mind being frozen watching this until Judgement Day.
Til next Time (and Space!)