Sunday, November 17, 2013

Doctor Who-The Crimson Horror

                         Madame Vastra,Jenny and Strax are in 1893 Yorkshire investigating an unusual plague of bright red skinned corpses that seem to surround the private planned community of Sweetville, run by the reformist Mrs. Gillyflower and are referred to as The Crimson Horror. Disguising herself as a guest of one her Gillyflower's "sermons", Jenny manages to bribe another member of her congregation into creating a distraction to sneak into the back room to investigate-only to find herself in a strange industrial factory surrounded by vials of bright red liquid the same color as the corpses. Madame Vastra reunites with Jenny to find that she recognizes the liquid. Vastra has also noticed the face of the doctor in the eyes of one of the photographs taken of the corpses. Meanwhile Gillyflower's daughter Ada,blind and deformed,is caring for a friend of hers named she refers to as the monster. As it turns out,the monster is really the doctor who,after Jenny rescues him reveals he and Clara accidently arrived in Yorkshire in this town,where they came to the same conclusions about the mysterious Sweetville: the no one who goes in comes out. He and Clara are than selected as part of Gillyflower's plan: to emurce human beings in this red liquid which Vastra reveals as being the secretion of a Selurian era parasite that poisoned their drinking water 65 million years ago. 

                 While the doctor has revived himself using his sonic screwdriver, he is searching for Clara. Believing Clara to have died during their previous encounter,Jenny is surprised when the doctor finds her and is successful in reviving her.  It is not long after,however that the doctor reveals himself to Ada and Gillyflower discovers what he and Clara are trying to do. By than the doctor learns the truth about Ada. While being led to believe her injuries were bought on by an abusive alcoholic husband,Gillyflower had actually been experimenting on Ada in her plans to construct a rocket that would launch this parasitic liquid that woul,if functional would kill all humanity-leaving only the ones in Sweetville alive. The doctor,Clara and Ada than learn just who the mysterious owner of the community Mr.Swet is: one of the parasites that has attached itself to Gillyflower. After Clara disables the rocket launcher with a chair, Gillyflower goes to the launch by to attempt a manual launch. When she does,the finds Vastra has removed the liquid. And Strax kills her with his Silurian weapon-after which an enraged Ada clubs the parasitic lifeform to death before the doctor and Clara depart. After arriving home,Clara returns to a strange sight: the children she is caring for have noticed pictures of her and the doctor from across time on the internet. Realizing she is a time traveler,they make it clear they want in.

                   Framed in an extremely dark comedy atmosphere of a Victorian planned community,there are a number of interesting threads throughout this story. For one theirs the return of the team of Vastra,Jenny and Strax: characters who all seem to be there for the purpose of a potential future spin off series. Vastra and Jenny are the most helpful tot he doctor of course as they are able to provide the framework for the entire mystery. The real victim in the rather contemptible Mrs.Gillyflower's plans is not any merely just any number of those who succumbed to the poison her her "crimson horror". But rather her daughter Ada who she deforms,lies about and than turns her weakness for her supposedly heroic cause of Eugenics against her. As with a lot of the modern day Doctor Who stories, there's a mild return to the Gothic/Victorian horror with a sociopolitical twist of the Tom Baker era of the show. Of course the real twist is in the end. In particular the completely shocked expression on Clara's face when she returns to the time she left-only to find that her adventures across time with the doctor have resulted in her face being smeared across the internet. And knowledge of her being a time traveler now could be publicly known.

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