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Best of Matt Smith: The Crimson Horror

best-of-matt-smith-crimson

Across the next couple of months Doctor Who TV is running a series of polls to celebrate Matt Smith’s era. We want you to cast your votes on every story and at the end we’ll be comprising a list to find the top scoring.

We continue Series 7 with The Crimson Horror. All you have to do is rate the story with your score out of 10, so get voting and join us again tomorrow for the next episode.

Step back in time...

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129 comments
MeglosProductions
MeglosProductions

I know I'm in the minority, but this was awful. It is up there with Time and the Rani, The twin dilemma and The doctor's daughter as one of the worst episodes ever. It is unfunny, nonsensical, cobbled together and abysmally acted. 2/10

MaraBackman
MaraBackman

This episode gets a strong 9/10 from me, in part because I enjoy Gatiss' historicals and I found a period-appropriate steampunk-y villain to be a refreshing change from the usual enemies in stories set in the past. The episode also gets high points for managing to portray the Paternoster Gang in a way that not only didn't annoy me, but actually made the trio likeable.

ericbfg
ericbfg

Absolutely loved this episode. It was creepy and felt like an old hammer horror.

TheCyberDoctor is Shrinking
TheCyberDoctor is Shrinking

7.5/10 (8) - The return of Vastra, Jenny and Strax was certainly well deserved, with this episode showing how a spin-off could work. However, the fact that the Doctor and, specifically, Clara weren't featured massively wasn't the best idea. If Clara had been in a full series then this episode wouldn't have been a problem, but the lack of development over the previous stories was also why this episode should have featured her more. 

Anyways, onto the episode. I didn't find the episode to be that strong but I think the performances are what saves it. Mrs Gillyflower was a strong villain - played brilliantly by Diana Rigg. Rachael Stirling creates a wonderfully strong character in Ada, and the friendship she shares with the Doctor is fantastic. And Matt makes the best of his, slightly, reduced appearence. (also Mr Sweet was poorly designed, but was well thought out)


Series 7 so far: TDTWATW - 7/10; AOTD - 10/10; DOAS - 8/10; ATCM - 7/10; TPOT - 7.5/10 (8); TATM - 9/10; TS - 10/10; TBOSJ - 10/10; TROA - 8/10; CW - 9/10; H - 7/10; JTTCOTT - 7/10 




DW_girl
DW_girl

9/10. Never thought it'd be anything much, but I was pleasantly surprised. The plot may have been simple, but like 'A Town Called Mercy', it was the characters and the themes which gave this episode a little of something special. I liked the Doctor's friendship with Ada; it was dark and tragic. And Mrs Gillyflower was a very strong villain- utterly cruel and ruthless. The pacing was spot-on, and so was the Paternoster Gang (Vastra's wisdom, Strax's humour and Jenny's courage all worked well here). I didn't vote it a 10 because I thought that that Clara was under-used (again!), and Mr Sweet was a bit naff.

Starfishmama
Starfishmama

Ok I can't figure out how to reply to people personally, but Mowthefrontlawn, yes I was hoping someone would figure I was referring to the Forest of the Dead episode. I just love Matt Smith's hand gestures, funny faces, spontaneous kisses, clumsiness, and his flirting. Speaking of flirting, I was reading that River Song will probably not be back! I so so much loved her and I loved her and Matt Smith's relationship on screen! If she isn't coming back, do we get to see where she got her "new and improved" sonic screwdriver from?

Invictus12
Invictus12

I loved the part where the Paternoster Gang discovers Clara, but overall, this episode felt poorly made compared to others in the series. It had a cheesy steampunk quality with its set up, acting, and effects, yet it tried to take itself seriously as a sad story about a corrupted family. Maybe it's just Mark Gatiss's writing.

Pockydon
Pockydon

Let me just start by saying that I dislike the majority of Mark Gatiss's Doctor Who scripts. I can't quite put my finger on exactly what it is, but there just seems to be something lacking in all of them. So my expectations were pretty low for this episode, especially considering that it looked like the regular series filler. But my god, was I wrong! This episode is easily my favourite of series 7b, and is easily my favourite ever Gatiss script.


This episode works for one simple reason - it knows what it is. It understands exactly what it's purpose is and what it's trying to do, which allows it to play to it's strengths instead of trying to shoehorn in some kind of dark or meaningful message. This is why episodes like Dinosaurs on a Spaceship are so much more enjoyable for me, because they're not trying to be anything more than entertaining, which allows them to succeed in that and not get bogged down by other stuff. 

This episode is completely insane, an example being when Dame Diana Rigg reveals a red lobster thing leeching of her chest with the words "SYMBIOTIC, YE MIGHT SAY!", something that I don't think any of us expected going into this episode. I was taken completely off guard, and was laughing pretty much the whole way through. Also, the ending has Strax with a top hat on. My god, that scene was paused and rewinded more times than I can remember...

This is the episode I've always wanted to see - an insane romp through Victorian Yorkshire, complete with the Paternosters and a red lobster. Only the twisted mind of Mark Gatiss could come up with something like that, and it's obvious how much fun he had writing it. This is definitely one of my favourite episodes of the series. 

10/10

StephenAHayes
StephenAHayes

The more I watch this the more I like it, but still not the best in series 7

The Cult of Clom
The Cult of Clom

Thing is the average Dr Who episode is really good - so do you vote 5 or 8?

Moves Like Jagaroth
Moves Like Jagaroth

With the greatest of respect to everyone I can't help feeling that giving mainly 8 to 10 offers little critical differentiation between episodes and I can't believe everyone believes they were all of equal merit.  Or do they?

jellybabyeater
jellybabyeater

Best series 7 ep IMO . The villain was surprising and brilliant in his own bittersweet way and there was a gripping plot and jenny and vastra were epic

JailBanksters
JailBanksters

This was way way too creepy for me, not creepy good but creepy bad.


Starfishmama
Starfishmama

In every Matt Smith episode he gives us his youthful, fun, and exciting spirit. Yet I always think he can seem so old and wise when he chooses. Like River said to David Tennant, Matt Smith is (for me) my "finished" doctor.

Planet of the Deaf
Planet of the Deaf

10/10 I love it!


Where can I start? 

Great guest actors (mother and daughter Diana Rigg and Rachael Sterling who really spark against each other) with a brilliant villain and victim

A bonkers concept, the repulsive red leech

Matt's hilarious Yorkshire accent

A chance for the Paternosters to take centre stage for the start of the episode

Great use of the track "You're fired"

That super cute Doctor and Clara moment when she is brought back to life...

The superb sepia flashback scenes, and overall great direction by Saul Metzstein

Braveheart Clara!


Ninjauthor
Ninjauthor

while this episode can be a bit much I love it 8/10

bowtiesarecool100
bowtiesarecool100

On first watch I'd probably give it a 5/10 much like hide, but after watching it a few more times since I now feel confident in giving it a 9/10. I think the story was very unique, which was something we needed to fill the gaps in the Clara mystery. The music was superb as always, almost sounding quite sherlock-esque at times. The editing was splendid (one of the main things I look at in a doctor who episode as I am very fond at editing FA) and I really loved the old sepia movie effect applied onto select clips in flashbacks. Overall I think mark gattis definitely redeemed himself after Cold War and I am looking forward to another of his episodes. One of the best episodes of series 7, next to name, hide, journey and rings IMO

grumpyoldcow
grumpyoldcow

Crimson Horror. Ghastly.My least favorite episode of Series 7b. In fact, of all Series 7. I barely rate this one 3/10. It is a 'horror'. I was unspoiled for this one; only had read that Diana Rigg was to be in it, and that in itself wasn't important to me since I barely knew who she was. So, I watched this when transmitted in shock, unbelieving what I was seeing. The story was gross, the acting terribly over the top, just WHAT? Decided this must be a parody. So I went on the net to see what I missed.

Found out this was supposed to be a comedy. Oooo mmm gee. That did not help. Crimson Horror is a sordid tale of parental abuse and neglect, torture and murder, dumping of rejected people into the city's water supply (!), selection and nurturing of people to create a superior race, and where was the dad/spouse? Were we ever told? And if all that's not enough to keep you awake at night, Diana Rigg was there in the campest role of her life as the wicked old crone. Ugly, wicked old crone.

And I found that most posters wanted to talk at length about the side events - the Doctor kissing Jenny without invitation, and Jenny's catsuit reveal arousing the Doctor as displayed by the sonic gag. Forget about the heart of the story, that this crazy old witch had a bitey leech attached to her chest, only it was doing what leechs do and that's not 'bite'. And she was harvesting the vemon from its interaction with her body. I don't even want to know how. Like I said. Ghastly.

Then there's the supposed to be cutesy bit about the Doctor, who makes up CLEVER LIES whenever he wants responding to how Clara could be Clara with, "It's complicated." Twice. Not funny.

One of the silliest bits ever in Doctor Who is the chair bit, "Chairs are useful!" Sorry, not funny, not even silly.Just another What??

Oh there was good stuff which kept it from being rated lower than a 3. Ada was great, and I loved her smashing Mr. Sweet. HA! Loved how she developed character by episode's end to rise above her horrid life. There were some great quotes. One of my all time favorites will be, "I'm the Doctor, and you're nuts and I'm going to stop you!"

Question: Just what was Clara doing in this story? I've forgotten.

And Doctor, that hat just isn't doing it. This one isn't cool.

I've had an Accident
I've had an Accident

10/10! One of my favourite episodes! Also, the Thomas Thomas joke was very clever.

DasManiac
DasManiac

7/10. It was good up until the Mr. Sweet reveal. I thought it was going to be the Great Intelligence. I also deduct points for Gatiss and Moffat lying about this one being a Doctor lite episode. It certainly was not. The Doctor appeared throughout most of the episode.

Deus_Ex_Machina
Deus_Ex_Machina

I'm sure that sometime between series 6 and 7 someone killed Mark Gatiss and replaced him with a competent writer, because both of his episodes this year were brilliant. I never would have expected to like a Gatiss episode, as all of his stuff was pretty bad (I'm looking at you Victory of the Daleks). Crimson Horror was probably the better of his two this year. It was good fun and I liked seeing the Paternoster Gang take the reigns for a bit, especially Jenny who finally received some character development. I also love the old fashion looking flashback. And then there's Mrs. Sweet, who instantly became my favourite human villain. More like this please Mr. Gatiss. 9/10.

Moves Like Jagaroth
Moves Like Jagaroth

I agree with a lot of people - most of these episodes are stunning to look at, with great sets and effects, and superb supporting casts too boot.  However it's a bit like the most gorgeous car you've ever seen which has every new-fangled device you can thinkl of, then you get in, turn the key and there's nothing.  No engine at all.  Everything is there except the fundamental thing that makes the beast go - in the case of much of series 7B it's strong storywriting.  The Lazarus Effect is by far Gatiss's strongest outing to date in my opinion as the story has a beginning, middle and end which flow into each other (along with hummings of the unfolding series arc).  Crimson and Cold War make me want to scream.

DW_girl
DW_girl

@Starfishmama I think she needs to come back for one more episode so we can find out about that whole screwdriver thing. It needs to be explained on screen!

DW_girl
DW_girl

@YourSpacialHatness I've just been marking each episode individually really without comparing to other DW episodes. I haven't given any episodes under a score of 4 because I don't think any  DW episodes are bad...

Moves Like Jagaroth
Moves Like Jagaroth

@YourSpacialHatness  Surely you have to mark them relative to each other across the scale - so the one you think most worthy should be high and the one least worthy should be low.  I can't see any point of them all being 8 or above unless you feel them to be really, truly excellent.  I would rate Dalek as a 9, nearly 10, for example, and Crimson as a 3, maybe 4 at a generous push.

Maryanne123
Maryanne123

When is that Madame Vastra investigates spin-off going to occur? Mr Gatiss and Mr Moffat make it happen.

Maryanne123
Maryanne123

He has set the standard so high and just never gives anything other than a wonderful performance. I think Peter will be great too and is lucky enough to have Moff at the helm. I think we will have two of the best actors and greatest doctors in a row.

DW_girl
DW_girl

@grumpyoldcow I don't agree with anything here but oh well, it's your opinion. Oh, but I do hear you when you said that Clara hardly did anything. Seriously, are the writers adverse to her or something?

blueboxgirl
blueboxgirl

@grumpyoldcow  I think you've hit the nail right on the head. The whole 'jolly romp' feel of the episode sat awkwardly with the actual plot revolving round people being experimented on and killed and ada' s lonely, sad life. (Rachael Stirling, who is Diana Riggs daughter in real life, was brilliant, but almost seemed to acting in a different story). As for the Doctor kissing Jenny -WTF? No wonder she slapped him.

tealeaves
tealeaves

@grumpyoldcow I think the tone of the story might make more sense if you knew about Victorian Penny Dreadfuls (Cheap weekly stories written in the 19th Century and filled with odd horror and mystery tales for teenagers they mixed scary tales of men such as 'Spring-heeled Jack' with dark humour.) It's this literature which inspired Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd which has the same tone moving from the darkly funny 'A Little Priest' through to the quite disturbing 'Epiphany'. The skill of these kinds of stories is that they can make you laugh then make you wince. 

As such it was the idea of this story that the acting was over the top and campy as that was the style of story it was drawing from, that style might not be to everyone's tastes which I understand, but it' not a criticism of Mark Gatiss' writing or the acting of the cast who were fantastic.

I must admit I agree about Clara, but this was a Doctor and Companion light episode in the same vein as Blink. In fact we see about as much of Clara in this episode as we did of Martha in that one. So I'm not sure we can begrudge her absence that much...

grumpyoldcow
grumpyoldcow

As this American had never heard of Thomas Thomas, the joke fell flat.

The Finn
The Finn

@DasManiac  When did Gatiss and Moffat state that? The only thing I could find were DWTV's teasers.

DW_girl
DW_girl

@Deus_Ex_Machina Most of Mark Gattis' episodes are good in my opinion. Cold War wasn't exceptional though, or Night Terrors...

PrisonerZeroIsACybermen
PrisonerZeroIsACybermen

@Deus_Ex_Machina  I was highly unimpressed with Cold War (1/10) but I adored this episode just because it was fun and enjoyable romp through the Victorian Era, which is why I gave it a 9/10.

Planet of the Deaf
Planet of the Deaf

@Moves Like Jagaroth  But Crimson Horror is a great story, and imaginatively structured as well in that we join the Doctor half way through. The ending flows nicely, and isn't rushed either, as we see Mrs Gillyflower die and the Red Leech destroyed...

grumpyoldcow
grumpyoldcow

I didn't even know Gatiss wrote this until after the fact. He must be my least favorite writer. After all, he wrote "Night Terrors", too. Another of my least favorite Who episodes. I'd be happy if he would just stick to Sherlock. Seems to fit him much better.

TheDreamer
TheDreamer

@DW_girl @YourSpacialHatness  Ditto. I haven't been comparing to other episodes. Makes more sense to me to rate them according to how good I think each is, plot, pace, acting, setting, directing, script, setting,etc... I don't think I marked any under 5.

grumpyoldcow
grumpyoldcow

Quite alright to like it. I know I am very much in the minority.

Moves Like Jagaroth
Moves Like Jagaroth

@Planet of the Deaf @Moves Like Jagaroth  Over two episodes I think it may have been great.  In my opinion - as stated before - the balance between silliness and tension isn't there.  The Doctor ought to have been in peril a lot longer than he was and the mystery as to his whereabouts all the greater.  Only in two parts could this have been properly realised - and when you have Rigg and Sterling, why wouldn't you?

Moves Like Jagaroth
Moves Like Jagaroth

@grumpyoldcow I think he commits the same error in Sherlock - but gets away with it slightly more.  He writes the wrong things - or rather he chooses to spend time on matters that should pass quickly and not dwell on material we should be immersed in.  I think he and Moff are equally guilty of this.  Not sure why.

grumpyoldcow
grumpyoldcow

My 11 year old truck doesn't have it, and my friends only refer to it as "GPS".