The Crimson Horror
4 May 2013
Neve McIntosh (Madame Vastra), Dame Diana Rigg (Winifred Gillyflower), Dan Starkey (Strax), Catrin Stewart (Jenny Flint), Rachael Stirling (Ada Gillyflower), Eve De Leon Allen (Angie Maitland), Kassius Carey Johnson (Artie Maitland), Brendan Patricks (Edmund & Thursday), Graham Turner (Amos), Olivia Vinall (Effie), Michelle Tate (Abigail), Jack Oliver Hudson (Urchin Boy).
|Written by||Mark Gattis|
|Directed by||Saul Metzstein|
|Produced by||Denise Paul & Marcus Wilson|
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!
Madame Vastra and her partners, Jenny and Strax, investigate “the Crimson Horror” — a mysterious condition leaving victims with red skin and preserved like statues — after discovering that one victim has the image of the Eleventh Doctor visible in one of his eyes.
Investigations lead them to Sweetville, an idyllic community run by Mrs Winifred Gillyflower and her never-seen “silent partner”, Mr Sweet, apparently as a home for the chosen few to help them survive “the coming apocalypse”. Jenny goes undercover as a convert and infiltrates Sweetville, where she discovers The Doctor, chained up in a cell, but only partially preserved; the process didn’t work because he was not human. Gillyflower tends to dispose of such “rejects”, but he has been saved by her blind daughter, Ada Gillyflower, who has become infatuated with him and describes him as “my monster”.
Jenny helps The Doctor out and they walk to a strange rinsing cabinet of some kind. The Doctor takes his clothes and sonic screwdriver into the cabinet, activating it with his sonic. A few moments later he bursts out in a maniac joy, thanking Jenny for saving him. He tells her they need to find companion Clara Oswald, who has also been preserved. This confuses Jenny, as she saw Clara killed by the ice woman months earlier.
The Doctor tells Jenny that he and Clara were actually aiming to visit London in 1893, but they instead arrived in Yorkshire. Clara mocks The Doctor for perpetually getting them lost. The Doctor takes it in stride, telling her that it used to be a lot worse; “I once spent a hell of a long time trying to get a gobby Australian to Heathrow Airport.” They immediately got involved in the investigation of Sweetville and the red bodies piling up in the sewers. The Doctor and Clara, posing as a married couple, joined the Sweetville community to investigate, but Mrs Gillyflower imprisoned and preserved them. The process worked on Clara, but not The Doctor due to not being human; Ada locked him away, keeping him as her “special monster”.
The preservation process on Clara is successfully reversed, and Madame Vastra says the substance used to create the “Crimson Horror” effect is the poison of the red leech, a parasite the Silurians considered a major threat 65 million years ago. The Doctor and Clara confront Mrs Gillyflower, who explains her plan and reveals that Mr Sweet is, in fact, a red leech who has attached himself to her chest. Their plan is to launch a rocket into the skies over England and spread the leech’s poison over the planet. Ada, listening in, learns of her mother’s plans and confronts her; meanwhile, Clara disables the rocket launch controls.
Holding a gun to her daughter’s head, Gillyflower retreats into the rocket silo to activate a secondary launch control; she launches the rocket, but learns moments later that Vastra and Jenny have removed the poison payload. She fires at The Doctor but misses. Strax shoots at Mrs Gillyflower, causing her to tumble and die.
As the old woman lays dying, Mr Sweet abandons his host. Ada shares final words with her mother before brutally killing the parasite with her cane, causing his innards to spurt out. The Doctor grimaces, having originally intended to take the leech back to the Jurassic era so it couldn’t do anymore harm. The next day, Ada decides to make the most of her life, while the Paternoster Gang decide to lock the leech venom in their vault. Vastra asks The Doctor how Clara can be back, but he cannot give her an answer.
Later, The Doctor returns Clara to her 21st century home, where she discovers that the two children she helps care for, Angie and Artie Maitland, have found images of her and the Doctor in different points of time — including a nuclear submarine in 1983 and a manor house in 1974. They have found an image Clara does not recognise; it was taken in Victorian London — but she’s only been to Victorian Yorkshire. The children threaten to inform their father that their nanny is a time traveller unless she takes them on a trip in her time machine.