Doctor Who Review: “The Crimson Horror” (Series 7, Episode 12)

the crimson horror doctor who

I really enjoyed seeing Jenny kick butt while the Doctor uttered the line, “Oh, it’s attack of the supermodels.” Soon Strax and Vastra shows up as backup and now everyone is together and it feels like a proper gang. Madame Vastra then explains that the red gooey stuff is actually poison created by the Red Leech, a species as old as the Silurians. Gotta agree with the Doctor on this one, ‘The Crimson Horror’ sounded better.

Thanks to Clara’s clever observation that the chimney doesn’t have smoke, they find out that Mrs. Gillyflower plans to poison the air with the red stuff using a rocket. The Doctor and Clara confront the lady and we find out that the Mr. Sweet she keeps yapping on about is a Red Leech that’s sucking on her upper chest. Not a great revelation, but that thing looked disgusting. Ada then comes in and finds out she was just used and experimented upon by her mother. Some mother-daughter drama ensues while Vastra and Jenny take this opportunity to take the red goo out of the rocket. The rocket launches and explodes but no red goo. Gillyflower falls to her death, while Ada kills the Red Leech out of spite. Day saved.

If you can’t tell, this episode was pretty bonkers, but in a good way. I wasn’t even sure what was happening but I loved it. It wasn’t even a Doctor/Clara-lite episode like I expected. I mean come on, they were only off-screen for about 15 minutes. Nothing like Blink or Midnight. But the episode was good fun and the absence of the Doctor and Clara in the beginning works really well with the story. The resolution to the plot wasn’t anything big or brilliant, but for this episode, it didn’t need to be. In fact, the main focus of this episode was that it was fun and weird in all the right ways. As I had mentioned earlier, Ada was really fun to watch and her relationship with the Doctor was a nice touch.

The music was great to listen to, but lately I feel as though Murray Gold is just randomly putting together different pieces of his past work. Still good, but I would like it to mesh together a bit better. And some new pieces of music would definitely help, although we’re privileged enough as it is with the great music that we already have.

On a side note, I really enjoyed the running gag of the guy fainting each time he sees something extraordinary, namely Madame Vastra, Strax, and the TARDIS disappearing.

It may have been a standalone episode, but the larger arc was still at play, specifically once Madame Vastra, Jenny and Strax met Clara. As you’d imagine, they’re just as confused as we are as to how Clara is alive and well when they saw her die in The Snowmen. Unfortunately, we get no closer to an answer, only teases.

Luckily, we do get one step closer in the end. Clara returns home for a break and finds that the children we met in The Bells of Saint John have been finding pictures of her online….from her adventures with the Doctor. Specifically from Cold War and Hide (who took that picture?). But then there’s that extra picture of Victorian Clara from The Snowmen. She barely has time to think about it when the kids realize she’s been time-traveling with the Doctor and starts blackmailing her into letting them in on the fun.

Of course, Clara learned that there were different versions of her in the last episode, but then time was reset and it didn’t really happen. I guess she didn’t remember anything after all. But I’m intrigued to see what she thinks from looking at the picture and whether we’ll get a follow up to that in the next episode.

The preview for Nightmare in Silver looked excellent, and seems to have the potential to be another classic episode as one would expect no less from Neil Gaiman. I’m specifically excited about seeing the kids join in on this adventure, the Eleventh Doctor is always great with kids. I like that each episode logically follows each other this Series and it’s not just stand alone episodes randomly put together. Of course, that’s how it’s been most of the time, but I was worried these episodes would feel disconnected.

Anyway, The Crimson Horror was a great, fun episode. It’s not something I’d add to my top 10 list, but it’s definitely nothing bad either. It was just a good old Doctor Who episode and coming from Mark Gatiss after his last few episodes, I was pleasantly surprised and happy for it. I can’t believe we only have two more weeks, but they’re going to be glorious…probably.

Let us know what you thought of this week’s Doctor Who episode in the comments below, as usual, and come back again next week for an adventure with upgraded Cybermen.