|Flashbacks are done in a show-reel style.|
This was something of a Doctor-lite story for the most-part, with The Doctor and Clara only appearing in Victorian Yorkshire half-way through the story, with their role instead being taken by the charming Paternoster Gang, composed of detective Silurian Madame Vastra (Neve McIntosh), her resourceful chambermaid wife Jenny (Catrin Stewart) and bumbling Sontaran Strax (Dan Starkey), investigating mysterious disappearances at the contructed factory town of Sweetville in Victorian Yorkshire, as run by the sweet Mrs. Gillyflower (Diana Rigg) and her blinded daughter Ada (Rigg's real daughter Rachel Stirling).
The Paternoster Gang are welcome guest stars. The three, first introduced in the fluffier-than-a-feather-matress A Good Man Goes To War, initially felt a little gimmicky, but their more in-depth appearance in The Snowmen at Christmas convinced me of their worthiness. With Catrin Stewart's Jenny being the least developed of the three, The Crimson Horror allowed her the role of inquisitive companion for the vast majority, rounding off the group into a spin-off-worthy lineup.
Gattiss' core tropes - incredible nostalgia for historical time periods, classical horror elements - were all here, but Saul Metzstein's direction took a few twists and turns that turned it into something more special. Diana Rigg's Mrs. Gillyflower was wonderfully demented, with the twist of her parasitic life-partner Mr. Sweet being both grotesque and slightly comical. The mother-daughter dynamic (almost method acting, I suppose) was remarkably well done and formed the cornerstone of the episode's drama.
|The Paternoster Gang carry |
most of the episode - and marvellously.