It’s 1893 and we’re in Yorkshire. Home to terriers, puddings, tea and... well, me actually! A pair of lovers are saying a passionate farewell. The man saying that “someone has to get to the bottom of this dark and queer business,” and, if he’s not back in an hour, that his love must call the police. Then he’s gone through a door that’s oddly out of place, what with the glowing red light behind it.
Two men are examining a corpse like nothing you’d normally see; eyes and mouth wide and the skin... Scarlet. “The crimson horror,” one man informs the other before extracting some money from him. Payment in advance...
Then we see a familiar, and rather scaly, face! Madame Vastra and her girlfriend, Jenny. The paying man, who it turns out is the dead man’s brother, has sought her out. She’s the investigator to see if there are “strange going’s on,”
Vastra is well aware of the Crimson Horror. The conversation turns instead to an old superstition; the Optogram. The belief that the eyes retain an image of the last thing it sees.
While setting off Stax suggests a heavy artillery. He’s got his head on straight - they are heading “to the North” after all!
The odd woman are back. The eldest of them speaking a nasty tirade against Bradford. Showing them her daughter, blinded by her husband in a fit of rage. The assembled audience gasp in horror.
The woman is offering people, perfect people I should say, the chance to move to Sweetville and avoid the apocalyptic portents that will soon be reigning down upon them.
Jenny, being perfect of course, manages to gain access into Sweetville and slips off to look for the Doctor. And finds him open mouthed, wide eyed and scarlet. However it’s not long before our two-hearted Timelord is back to his old self. Sweeping Jenny into his arms and giving her a massive kiss of gratitude - earning him a massive slap in the face in return!
So off our team go! Investigating the Scarlet horror and doing what they can to find out exactly what Apocalypse is coming, and how to stop it.
As always it’s wonderful to see old faces again and the trio; Madame Vastra, Jenny and Stax are among my favorites. I do just have one question; are you a lesbian if your girlfriend’s a lizard? Moving on...
What I said last week about contained episodes and small casts... I take it back! This episode was bursting with locations and people it was almost hard to keep track - not that I’m complaining! Just as the smaller episodes were a welcome change to the packed out stories of the first half of the season, now this cornucopia of faces, voices and places was just as welcome.
Matt Smith and Jenna Louise-Coleman pull of some fantastic performances (and accents!) this episode even though the story is somewhat light on their appearances. That said, it was probably the first time I’ve actually enjoyed a Mark Gatiss story on Doctor Who - about time!
The end of the episode is absolutely hilarious - a time-traveling nanny! Is there anyone else out who’d kill to have one of those? Plus Clara has seen a photo of Clara... The dead one. The second dead one. So this should make things interesting.
If the previews of the next episode are anything to go by - we’ve got another fast-paced and face-packed story but please, please let this be a two-parter! I’m really starting to miss them!