Doctor Who: Terror and Rather Delightful Inherent Sapphicity

by thethreepennyguignol

So, last week, I was printing out some tosh or other (actually, it was a Betjeman poem that I wanted in hard copy to put on my wall, but that stays between us) when I idly pulled back the curtains of the print room to look at the mossy bank beyond. There, barely a foot from me, was a mother duck scrambling about with about twelve, teeny, fluffy, snuggly ducklings. I mean, glee doesn’t cover my reaction. I was standing there with a lopsided, beatific grin that looked like I’d found out I’d been cast in the Saw reboot. I was happy happy. But even tiny avian womb-hummers didn’t come close to making me as smack-facedly joyful as Doctor Who this Saturday. This weeks episode, The Crimson Horror, comes to us from The North (requiring Matt Smith to do a frankly erogenous Yorkshire accent), following the tale of the creepy Winifred Gilliflower and the strange goings-on in her institute. 

Now, I really, really dug this episode. It was the 100th episode broadcast since the revival in 2005, and it saw the centenary in with style; it was a proper rollick, allowing us another three-quarters of an hour with the lesbian lizard, her girlfriend, and the potato-head war machine from the Christmas special. The story was a prime example of how tight the writing can be on DW- oneliner after oneliner (“Oh, God, attack of the supermodels…”) and ridiculous throwaway sequences wrapped around what was, at it’s heart, a creepy and compelling story. The chemistry of the extracurricular trio with Clara and the Doctor was superb, as ever, because the writers haven’t quite cottoned on to it yet; as soon as they do they’ll be overused to hell and I want them to be a highlight instead of a third (, fourth and fifth) wheel. 

It was another good episode for a very smoochy Matt Smith, playing the fun Doctor for the first time in your ages, smashing things with chairs and getting a very nicely pitched scene with Rachael Stirling towards the end of the episode that provided emotional closure without souring the mood at all. Diana Rigg, who awoke every pubescent sexuality in the country, was great as the kind of demure psycho bitch Doctor Who specializes in, reveling in the grandeur of the setting and getting to do a funny accent on top of it. But this wasn’t an episode of performances, or monsters, or special effects; it was an episode of attitude, that attitude being “fuck it, let’s have fun”. More, please.

Not so good, though? Both the promise of the Cybermen AND child actors next week. I’ll have you yet, Moffat.