Bloody hell, Mark Gatiss, BLOODY HELL. It is a bit like he had a list of all the things I judge about his eps and decided SOD IT I AM GOING TO PROVE YOU WRONG, RANDOM INTERNET PERSON. PS I SHALL BE DOING IT WHILE STICKING TO MY TRIED AND TESTED FORMULA OF PRETENDING I'M WRITING SEVENTIES WHO.
- TEAM VASTRA. Awesome. I love them. I love the Doctor has proper friends like this who very much have their own lives but he gets to pop in and out and they are so shiny and awesome and have their own amazing adventures and they are not from Modern Earth Times and OH IT IS JUST LOVELY SEEING THEM AGAIN. This also very much had the feel of "would this work as a spin-off"? Which I assume wouldn't actually happen because the world is not that pander-y to me, but it's nice to know that yes, yes it would work MARVELLOUSLY.
- Vastra is my fav but I loved that Jenny got such a great chance to shine. From her investigating skills, her cunning bribery, her lockpicking, courage and, of course, the MOMENT OF AWESOME where she rips off her Victorian dress to reveal a Victorian Emma Peel style catsuit and gets into a bit of fisticuffs. It's enough that, yes, I'm prepared to forgive the lack of sword-fighting.
- Clara got a not too shabby moment too, with her chair, well done her. Also many points to JLC for her EXCELLENT FACE when she said "I'm the boss?"
- Jenny's reaction to the Doctor snogging her is win. The Doctor is terrible kissy this episode. Three of em!
- DIANA RIGG. Oh, is she not just brilliant? And that character was pure classic Who megalomanaical crazy villian with a plan to destroy the world (Harrison Chase was the one that came most to mind for some reason) and that's the sort of Gatiss type thing that I might be having a complaint about because it is pretty retro characterisation, except maybe the writing was not awful and Rigg was awesomesauce and seemed to be having a ball. Totally conkers and ridic entertaining. And some fantastic deliveries (the "that's very funny" line made me lol, the way she said it.)
- Her daughter was just as good. And, correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that's the first female disabled character we've had in Doctor Who? And the first sympathetic disabled character in the New Series? And one of three sympathetic disabled characters there've been in the whole series?
- Ada losing it with her mother was brilliant. And her divided loyalties, and that we got her story as well, with the Doctor as her monster and her devotion to her mother and her loneliness and her doubts, and that we got such a great mother-daughter relationship. And she didn't forgive her mother and she squished the bug. She got to be angry about stuff! And get past her anger and move on and not have to be lovely about things that were rubbish for her.
- NO VASTRA/JENNY KISS. BOO. They really need to have one. The only other thing I was judgey at was Matt Smith's stiff walking acting whilst covered in red paint. Cause it just looked so silly.
- Oh, the flashback thing! That was rather fun and different. Much enjoyed. And the whole episode looks great as well. I mean, it's period drama, ahem, more or less, and it's the BBC, so, yeah, it's all looking very shiny.
- And Jenny being "wtf are you talking about re Clara?" was great, as was the Doctor's face when Jenny told Vastra cause she doesn't take "don't know/not telling" for an answer (but sadly didn't seem to really pursue it.) And Jenny had a GREAT FACE that she aimed at Vastra when the Doctor kissed Clara.
- AND THEY WERE A TEAM. And the Doctor even called them a gang. I LOVE TEAMS. And this lot just make me so happy. I love the characters and dynamics and humour and WE COULD HAVE THEM EVERY WEEK MAYBE PLS.
- GRATUITOUS OLD SKOOL REF. Winning. (Tegan and Heathrow airport and "brave heart, Clara".)
- And, yay, the Doctor was going to take Mr Sweet home. That's the proper Doctor. As was not giving up on stepping between Ada and the gun even when Diana Rigg kept shooting at him.
- So, yeah, Gatiss. Let's pretend he decided he was going to fix the stuff ppl have a go at his writing for:
1 - No/very few women - Five main female characters in this ep, plus two minor ones. (Clara, Vastra, Jenny, Diana Rigg, Ada, that Victorian lady helping them out, and one of the kids' Clara looks after...and the fainting lady. Three minor then.)
2 - Writes women badly - Didn't have any issues here. Jenny was written especially well. The villain was proper old skool villainy, and there's a definite lack of women playing that "I'm destroying the world for my own total bugnuts reasons, mwahaha!" role in Who.
3 - Never writes relationships between women - Diana Rigg and Ada, I thought was excellent. It felt real, or truthful, anyway. Vastra and Jenny, obv, though not much time spent on them.
4 - Always with the father-son issues - Heh, it's a mother-daughter, at last, and both are great characters. They definitely have issues and plenty of screentime to explore em.
5 - That bloody awful bit in Idiots' Lantern where Rose encourages the kid to forgive his abusive father - "He's your Dad," she says, which is just awful, cause it's that guilting obligation-y thing where just cause you're related by blood you should always forgive/put up with shit/work to preserve a relationship. And here we have a complete reversal. "Forgive me," says her mother. "Never," says Ada. And she's not punished for it - when we see her next she's calm, confident and ready to go out into the world.
- In conclusion, this really is Gatiss' best episode, (Did I say that last time? I bet I did. I MEAN IT THIS TIME) and it is Doctor Who that I would open up like a present and watch when I require cheering. A PROPER WINNER.
- Oh. Good. The rubbish Cybermen are back next week. But I like that it looks as though Clara's kids have blackmailed her into a trip through space and time, lols. I would so have done the same thing.
Incidently, female marriages were an accepted thing in Victorian Britain. History ain't a constant march upwards to ever more progressive times: the recognised gay marriages of the 19th century were anathema through much of the 20th.