Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Sunburn from Hell - Review of "The Crimson Horror"

Spoilers for "The Crimson Horror" below the video of Darth Vader reading for TomTom (it makes sense in context) -

The last few weeks of new Doctor Who have been all over the place, both in terms of storytelling and fandom reaction.  And that doesn't even account for the mouth-frothing that's accompanied the news of No Classic Doctors in the 50th Anniversary Special (seriously, people - if it's really that important to you, go pre-order "The Light at the End" from Big Finish - they've got all the bases covered.  And here's the link to the special edition, if you're like me and inclined that way. I was upset about it, but there's been so much malcontent in the last few weeks, I'm just tired of it).  It's really been a full month-and-a-bit to say the least.

Which is why "The Crimson Horror" is so very welcome.  No returning monsters, no fanwank, no insanely high expectations - just a straightforward pseudo-historical mystery with sunburned zombies and a prehistoric red critter chewing on an old woman's clavicle while it poisons the entire world.  As Madame Vastra said: "Business as usual."

I honestly had nothing invested in this story going into it.  I'm not familiar with Diana Rigg (I, like Shaun of Traveling the Vortex, thought she was the same woman as the hemovore in "Smith and Jones").  I was looking forward to seeing Vastra, Jenny and Strax again (having met Neve McIntosh and Dan Starkey at Gallifrey One this past Feburary, so there was that whole "Squee! I've met them!" factor).  As far as I am concerned, "The Crimson Horror" was an inoffensive, fun little romp.  A little something to let us all stand back and catch our breath before going into the home stretch.

That's not saying I didn't like it.  I loved it!  There were so many fantastic little moments - not the least of which was Strax teaming up with Thomas Thomas to find Sweetville (it was cute, it was clever, it was funny).

Oh hell, I'm just going to list everything -

- Clara busting up the rocket launch with a chair instead of the Doctor using his sonic.
- By that same token - Ada killing the little red poison creature with her cane instead of the Doctor taking it back to the Jurassic period.  These ladies are just more direct in their approach.
- Jenny bribing the girl to cause a diversion while she sneaks around the factory (and the girl's teeth - that was funny).
- Anytime Strax said anything.
- The one guy passing out every time he saw/heard something alien.
- The Doctor waving off Jenny's questions about Clara - "It's complicated!"
- The reference to a "gobby Australian" whom it took the Doctor forever to get to Heathrow Airport (anything referencing the Fifth Doctor's era is pure joy in my book).

I do have to praise the way this story was structured.  Back in the days of two-parters, the first part of this story would have been spent with the Doctor and Clara sleuthing around after the Crimson Horror and the cliffhanger would have been them getting dipped in the vat of red candy coating.  Then, the second episode would have started with Team Vastra doing their own sleuthing around trying to find the Doctor.  But with that nifty old-timey-type flashback, we got all the pertinent information and exposition in half the time (which also created som fun tension and drama).  Everything was paced perfectly and done beautifully.

I kept waiting for some great big hammer to drop pertaining to Clara or some other whatchamawhozit, but it never really happened.  Not until she gets back home and the kids she nannies for show her the pictures they've found of her in history (it's a plot device, it might be a little contriver - I don't care. I'm going with it because it's cool).  There's a little hiccup in the exchange with the whole "I was in Victorian Yorkshire, not London," but it gets shelved aside when the kids figure out that Clara's a time traveler and they want a turn.


Cyberman on See-Saw photo 51zhio.gif

AVPM Totally Awesome photo tumblr_lazxgjFoAr1qbdk0e.gif

I have nothing more to add.  Other than I am a happy little Whovian and my "May the Fourth Be With You" has been pretty much fabulous. So, have another Star Wars-themed TomTom ad to round out the day. Just because I love you guys! :)


1 comment:

  1. I am also tired of hearing people complain about this series of Doctor Who. You know, I'm rewatching episodes from series 1-4 and, believe me, not every show was a gem. There were duds. More than a few.

    I feel like people have made up their mind up that they Moffat is horrible and they would have liked some of these episodes if it had been the Tenth Doctor in them.

    Although I did see one person howling online because one feature of the new TARDIS control room is different than in other "desktops"...if Doctor Who is ruined because the roundels are not to your liking, it's time to just move on and watch another show because you'll never be satisfied. It's a TV show and is meant to be entertaining.