Episode 11 – THE CRIMSON HORROR

Series seven was probably Mark Gatiss’ best for the show, but I think that tells a lot about his writing. Cold War and now The Crimson Horror are both average episodes, but do stand out from most of Gatiss’ other attempts. The first fifteen minutes or so of this episode was the conclusive proof that Vastra, Jenny and Strax deserve their own spin-off series. They were hilarious to watch, and Gatiss deserves credit for writing them so humourously. On the subject of humour howeverr, the little boy who spoke like a SatNav and then told Strax his name was “Thomas Thomas”, was one of the least funny gags I’ve heard on television. God knows how that made it through the editing process. Mrs Gillyflower was quite a generic, hysterical and pantomime style villain who everyone would boo. She was nasty, but her motives weren’t really discussed at length. She appeared to just want to cleanse humanity and rid the Earth of dirty and imperfect people, which should’ve been focussed on more, if those were her main motives. Mr Sweet was a bit disappointing. Although his venom was extremely dangerous, he posed no threat physically and put up no fight when he saw Mrs Gillyflower’s plans were failing. I did enjoy the more light hearted theme to the story though. It was an entertaining watch and the setting of Yorkshire added to the refreshing and almost holiday-like feel to the episode. The Crimson Horror itself was an intriguing mystery to begin with, especially how the Doctor was the last image on a dead man’s eye. It’s a bit of a shame how the story finished. Like Cold War and Victory of the Daleks, Gatiss built up something brilliant and failed to deliver what could’ve been three brilliant episodes. 6/10

Episode 12 – NIGHTMARE IN SILVER

Neil Gaiman returned to write for the show for the first time since the fantastic The Doctor’s Wife. The script wasn’t quite as magical, but I still found it to be a decent mini reboot for the Cybermen. I liked how they upgraded their arsenals as they fought and that made them appear almost invincible. These Cybermen would’ve been suited to Doomsday as they may have actually stood a chance against four Daleks and provided us with the battle that all Whovians wanted to see. Having said that, some aspects were taken too far. The Cybermen flying was something I didn’t like as it took away from the clunky and eerie robotic image of a Cyberman. Being able to freeze time was also dubious. If they have all this power, they should’ve conquered the universe easily. Angie and Artie were both quite annoying, Angie in particular. I didn’t see why they needed to be there. Nobody would believe Clara was a time traveller, especially if it came from a child she babysat, so it was an empty threat from Angie. They both served no purpose to the plot and Angie continuously acted like a spoiled child, despite being presented with the marvellous gift of time travel through space. Matt Smith’s performance as the Doctor and Cyber-planner was excellent and I loved the scenes where control of the Doctor’s speech and voice was going from one side to the other. The chess game was a bit basic but the Doctor using all the available resources and overcoming the Cyber-planner was a great moment. The revelation that Porrdige was in fact the Emporer was clever and provided a valid escape for the Doctor and co. before they blew up the Cybermen who remained on the planet. Not quite as good as their two parter in series two, but this is one of the Cybermen’s better appearances in the modern era. 8/10

Episode 13 – THE NAME OF THE DOCTOR

Like so many Steven Mofffat scripts, and particularly finales, there’s a lot of good and bad to this episode. Firstly River Song’s involvement in the episode was completely unnecessary and was simply just servicing fans and didn’t influence the story at all. When the Doctor grabbed her wrist and then kissed her, it made absolutely no sense and was a romantic moment that dampened the dark and serious tone the episode had built up. The conference call was also dubious. Strax was only knocked out, he didn’t need a candle like Jenny, Vastra and Clara. Also as River could somehow keep the link open, even though Clara was conscious, it made Jenny’s death and Vastra and Strax’s kidnappings redundant as it proved they didn’t need to be asleep. And the TARDIS opening its doors as River said the Doctor’s name made no sense either. It was as if Moffat actually forgot River wasn’t physically there. The Doctor’s biggest secret had been teased throughout series seven, and I’m glad we never actually found out his name. The amount of building up and discussion about it, would only make he true reveal anticlimactic. The Doctor’s tomb was maybe a bit of a repetitve theme after his apparent death dominated series six, but the episode was still intriguing. The Great Intelligence was a solid enemy and the Whispermen were designed very scarily. Clara jumping into the Doctor’s timeline was actually something I quite liked. I know a lot of fans see it as Moffat overpowering her as a character, but she was only really cancelling out Dr Simeon. One thing I didn’t like about the “Impossible Girl” resolution was Clara telling the first Doctor what TARDIS to steal, that was a step too far. I would’ve liked to have seen how the Doctor and Clara eventually escaped the Doctor’s timeline as they seemed to be in some sort of collapsing pit. The Doctor’s secret being a completely new and unknown incarnation was shocking and was the best cliffhanger since The Stolen Earth. Despite the usual Moffat plot holes, this is one of his better finales and set up the fiftieth anniversary special in such tantalising fashion. 7/10

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