Sunday, May 05, 2013

Doctor Who and the Red Leech

   Okay, the actual title of this week's episode of Doctor Who is 'The Crimson Horror', but the Sherlockians among us know that this is really writer Mark Gatiss's take on one of the untold adventures of Sherlock Holmes.  In the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle story 'The Golden Pince-Nez' Dr. Watson says:

   "As I turn over the pages I see my notes upon the repulsive story of the red leech and the terrible death of Crosby the Banker."

   Of course in The Crimson Horror, the repulsive red leech is an alien symbiote, but hey, this is Doctor Who. In many ways this particular episode seems to have been written for me personally.  Victorian England, a Sherlock Holmes reference, an overall Gothic atmosphere, a Steampunk rocket, martial arts. Hello?
   Not surprisingly I probably enjoyed this episode the most of any this season. I actually laughed out loud at a couple of lines from Strax, the Sontaran manservant, and the Doctor had some great lines as well.
   Gatiss knows his pop culture and I can't help but wonder if the overall plot premise was intentionally borrowed from the James Bond films 'The Spy Who Loved Me' and 'Moonraker', both of which involved a plan to create a race of genetically perfect humans and then wipe out all other life on Earth so that this super race could inhabit a new Eden.
   Oh and kudos to DW for casting Dame Diana Rigg as the villain, Mrs. Gillyflower. Rigg chewed the scenery with gusto, obviously enjoying her role. Rigg's real-life daughter Rachel Sterling, played Gillyflower's daughter with a tragic humanity that gave the episode some heart amidst all the frantic dashing about.
   And boy, that Jenna Louise Coleman looks cute in her Victorian costumes. All and all, a terrific episode that will bear repeated viewings.
   Next up, Neil Gaiman's Cyberman episode.


Paul R. McNamee said...

It was a rather rollicking episode. I bought the e'story featuring Vastra, "Devil in the Smoke", but I haven't read it, yet.

Charles R. Rutledge said...

I need to give that a look too.