Well that certainly wasn't the image I expected to see in the optogram in the opening scene of "The Crimson Horror" - how about you? Even Madame Vastra said it was impossible. Yep! Vastra, Jenny Frist and Strax were back and on the case. It was really their hour, as they went to extraordinary measures to try to get The Doctor to come their way.
My first thought as Jenny infiltrated "Sweetville" was SOYLENT GREEN IS PEOPLE! When she finally got to the monster and it was, again, The Doctor, I was clueless. At least the next scene showed a bunch of people ready to be dumped into a pot of red goo. Perhaps Soylent Red was people? Nah...it was just a preservation process.
It was a really fast hour of viewing, that's for sure. Mrs. Gillyflower was played by the incredible talent, Diana Rigg, known best for her portrayal of Emma Peel in The Avengers. She and her silent partner, the cutest little creature sucking life from her, literally, by living on her chest, were trying to make perfection under glass domes before they poisoned the air for the rest of the world. The name Gillyflower was a good choice as she and her partner, Mr. Sweets, were sort of potting people in Sweetsville.
There wasn't a lot during the episode to discuss really, other than the tale itself and that it brought us back to the place where The Doctor first met, and lost, Clara. The Doctor never did tell his friends what he knew about Clara, and admitted it to Jenny.
I still don't know if he knows anything at all. Continually he says it's impossible and it can't be, so he either knows something and refuses to accept it or we're going to find out what he knows pretty darn quick.
Filler episode, for sure, but with the Scooby gang last seen in "The Snowmen," the one that got the entire ball rolling and shifted the seasonal arc from Amy and Rory to Clara, it was a good time. I loved Jenny's outfit when she was ready for a fight and everything Strax says was golden.
The Doctor was both funny (kissing his lock-picking Victorian chamber maid Jenny) and kind (saving Mrs. Gillyflower's daughter from a life of insecurity and sadness) and Matt Smith is always at his best when he's running about and doing a million things at once.
The ending, when Clara got home and her charges had found pictures of her from all over time on the Internet was an "about time" moment. Kids are pretty clever when it comes to the net these days and with the way she's always trotting off, it made perfect sense they'd see if they could find her.
While she was in most of the photos, the one she didn't recognize was when she first died in Victorian London nor Yorkshire, which is most likely why The Doctor didn't take her there. Landing the TARDIS wasn't a mistake; he knew if he took it London in her own time Clara could be recognized. Little did he know Madame Vastra and friends needed his help.
So, as we roll into the final two episodes of Doctor Who Series 7 and next week's highly anticipated episode "Nightmare in Silver" penned by Neil Gaiman and filled with Cybermen, Clara is getting a better picture of exactly why The Doctor is always being so shady about her.
Chat about this weeks episode and what's coming down the pike in the comments!
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.