“There’s something very odd about Mrs Gillyflower’s Sweetville mill, with its perfectly clean streets and beautiful people.
There’s something even stranger about the bodies washing up in the river, all bright red and waxy. When the Doctor and Clara go missing, it’s up to Vastra, Jenny and Strax to rescue them before they too fall victim to the Crimson Horror!“
I wasn’t a fan of Mark Gatiss’s work on Night Terrors and Cold War, but I really enjoyed The Crimson Horror. Come to think of it, this is the first Gatiss-written episode of Doctor Who that I enjoyed since The Idiot’s Lantern from Series 2.
But that’s not to say the episode was perfect. I do have a gripe on how we shift main characters mid-way from Victorian Jenny, who carried most of the first half of the episode, to the Doctor without so much as a passing of a baton. Once we see the Doctor again, he immediately takes helm of the whole thing and we seem to forget that there are other characters who we might want to follow as well.
That gripe aside, I thought the episode was–and I’m borrowing from the Ninth Doctor here, fantastic. It’s was a fun mix of comedy and action, with a story that stood alone, and yet moved the plot forward. Sort of.
Which brings me back to the mystery of Clara.
I really thought we would get some traction into the mystery by this episode. After all, Madame Vastra, Jenny and Strax all knew the Victorian Clara, and they reacted as I thought they would when they realized that the Doctor was running around with a different Clara. Alas, Gatiss doesn’t delve deeper into it, nor does he even allow the Doctor to talk to the Victorian gang about what’s going on. It’s complicated.
And then, the Doctor takes Clara back to her time. As promised. It’s a similar arrangement, I’m guessing, to the one he had with the Ponds. Influenced, I dare say, by the time he spent with the Ponds. These companions need to be able to live their lives out while they are with him. What happened with Rose cannot happen again. What happened with the Ponds cannot happen again.
I must say, I like this development in the Doctor.
And seeing as Clara lives with children, who both seem to be savvy netizens. Well, let’s just say next week’s episode will be very interesting.
I just hope the tease about Clara’s mystery will lead to answers soon. We do only have two episodes left.