Doctor Who: The Crimson Horror – Review (9/10)

It’s grim up North…

If anything, this episode of Doctor Who has left me with a slight feeling of sadness. Sadness that we might never get to see a spin off series of Penny Dreadful like adventures with Strax, Vastra and Jenny who absolutely made this episode and were the reason I had been looking forward to it for so long.

Of course, there’s something about Doctor Who that just works with the Victorian era. Talons, Tooth and Claw and The Snowmen all became instant favorites of mine. That the writer Mark Gatiss has a penchant for the macabre only added to the atmosphere.

The episode was stuffed with absurd moments, from an old woman letting a prehistoric leech suckle from her chest (That put me reet off me pie) to The Doctor as a wax zombie and his sonic screwdriver getting some kind of reaction to the sight of a leather clad Jenny. (Rightly so, I suppose).

But the good news is, it never descended into complete ridiculousness, by Who’s standards, anyway. For as much as it could, everything stayed grounded and real. Again, The Doctor’s newfound protective streak was on show for Clara and it was just as adorable as ever.

Ultimately, it was the small moments that made this episode the fun, throwaway slice of Saturday night entertainment it was meant to be. The sepia tinged flashback sequences, the (fantastic) reference to classic Who girl Tegan, the origins of the Tom Tom (genius) and above all, the potato dwarf who has a fondness for sherbert.

If this series has proved anything, it’s that Who is at it’s best when it isn’t trying too hard to be a blockbuster every week. At least for me, it’s always been at it’s best as a small scale, unassuming drama about a mad man in a box,


3 responses

  1. I do not think Vastra and Jenny are particularly well-written, and Strax is cartoon character that completely undermines a classic Doctor Who villain by making him one big joke. I’m curious as to what it is you like about this trio. It might make a good blog post all its own if you can come up with a solid answer.

    1. I do agree that I’ve never been entirely unhappy with the way The Sontarans are now a joke thanks to Strax, but I’m also not sure that in this day and age The Sontarans could be scary anymore (Poison Sky/Sontaran Stratagem never really did it for me). Of course hopefully I can be proven wrong in the future as I love the little fellas. That’s not a bad idea for a post anyway, cheers!

      1. It’s been too long since I saw those episodes, though it would be nice to have a proper Sontaran threat again, but there are higher priorities that need to be address moving forward.

        If you do decide to write that post, I’d look forward to reading it.

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