This week marks episode 11 of 13 in the latest series.

Cast and Crew Information

Matt Smith as The Doctor
Jenna-Louise Coleman as Clara
Neve McIntosh as Madame Vastra
Catrin Stewart as Jenny Flint
Dan Starkey as Strax
Diana Rigg as Winifred Gillyflower
Rachael Stirling as Ada Gillyflower
Jack Oliver Hudson as Thomas Thomas

Written by Mark Gatiss
Directed by Saul Metzstein

Availability Information

This is currently available via iTunes (US, CAN) and will be available on DVD (US, CAN) and Blu-Ray (US, CAN) on May 28.

Premise

The Doctor and Clara visit Victorian England and encounter old friends and new enemies.

High Point

“Hold on, hold on, I have a sonic screwdriver.”
“Yeah? I have a chair.”

Low Point

The chimney scene. Spoilerly particulars: There’s no way a rocket made with Victorian technology could launch in a chimney that narrow and not fry every single character in the scene. End spoilers.

The Review

This feels original for the first third, in which the Doctor is nowhere to be seen. The latter part has a new villain, but still seems somehow derivative of other episodes. Still, this episode’s goal seems to have little to do with the monster and much more to do with Clara, just as we had last week, which means we have a few minutes at the end that are decidedly different from any episode I’ve seen to date. I give it 4 out of 6.

The effects were well done, including a combination of CGI, puppetry and makeup. Sadly, the puppet was unquestionably a puppet. Douglas Adams and Terry Nation would have killed for this much financial support in their stories. I give it 5 out of 6.

The story is well constructed, with only the low point reducing my enjoyment in any significant way. I give it 5 out of 6.

The acting is great, demonstrating range for the supporting cast, particularly Jenny. The villain and her daughter also fill their roles nicely. I give it 5 out of 6.

The production is solid, as it is week after week. The Russell T. Davies era was good enough to make Doctor Who appointment television for me, but Stephen Moffat is doing a better job. Since he took over as showrunner, we’ve not only had some great arcs, but the production quality has visibly improved as well. I can’t say whether that’s because Moffat is more particular in this area, or whether his storytelling and cast have brought in more viewers leading to correspondingly larger budgets, but either way the audience wins. I give it 6 out of 6.

The emotional response is good, but not great. The monster of the week didn’t grab me at all, but the pieces about the Clara mystery and the unusual first act still pulled me in. I give it 5 out of 6.

Overall, it’s an enjoyable episode, but it feels like another piece of a bigger puzzle than like a standalone episode. I give it 4 out of 6.

In total, The Crimson Horror receives 34 out of 42.