This review includes spoilers, including the images above.
Mark Gatiss’ second episode this time round, his earlier one being Cold War. While that episode was a tense drama this one is more a comedy drama set in 1898.
This started out very much as though it was going to be a ‘Doctor light’ episode. We are re-introduced to the Silurian detective Madam Vastra and her household, her lover Jenny and her butler Strax. This setup is wearing thin on me, while Madam Vastra kept her self a secret this worked but now she seems to make almost no attempt to remain hidden. Strax’s attempts are even worse. I find them amusing, but that doesn’t excuse the situation. I’d rather see Madam Vastra living in secret in a big house with perfectly normal occupants and Jenny being a chambermaid for the house who knows that the Silurian is hidden beneath. Strax… he’d be best in a modern or future setting, maybe with Clive Langer and Rani.
The main story takes part ‘up north’. It being a slightly comedic episode there are plenty of digs about the North. Not least the setting of Sweetville. Mr Sweet, Sir Titus Salt… the reference is obvious.
I’ll be frank, I expect more from a Mark Gatiss episode. I liked this episode but it could have given more script-wise. The acting however, mother and daughter team up, real and fictional, was marvelous. Diana Rigg and her daughter Rachel Stirling were both marvelous. I can’t fault the direction this episode either. What I am criticising is the humour I think; personally this would have worked better as a drama with mild humour. I have nothing against jokes about the North… not being defensive, those I would have left in. Those or Strax… not both. The pathologist scenes though, I particularly enjoyed the enthusiastic pathologist.
The Nanny gets busted at the end of this episode by nosey kids… and she sees a picture of her dead self from the Christmas special…
Next Episode: Nightmare in Silver
Previous Episode: Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS