The Crimson Horror


1893 Yorkshire. Bodies have been showing up at the morgue with skin turned a bright red color. The locals are calling it the Crimson Horror. The latest victim is a newspaper man who was investigating the mysterious deaths. His surviving brother enlists the services of Madame Vastra and Jenny to investigate his brother's death. The only clue is the image photographed from the back of his dead brothers eye, an image of the Doctor.

The deaths seem to center around an exclusive gated community named Sweetville, a community built around a match factory. Jenny is to go undercover and try to gain entrance into the community. A Mrs Winifred Gillyflower appears to be in control of the operation and takes quite a pessimistic view of the deplorable moral state of current society. Her hellfire and Brimstone sermons draw large crowds and quite a few people sign up to enter the Sweetville community.

Mrs. Gillyflower's blind and horribly disfigured daughter, Ada, has a secret of her own. She is hiding something or someone behind a locked door. Something she affectionately refers to as her monster.

Meanwhile, Madam Vastra has learned from the coroner that the cause of the red death is a liquid poison, something she is familiar with. A poison she last saw 50 million years ago.

Once inside Sweetville, Jenny quickly slips away from the crowd and begins exploring. She discovers that the whole community is a facade. The factory noises heard loudly around the community are nothing but sounds being broadcast through speakers to give the impression of a busy factory. As she explores further, she finds her way to Ada's mysterious locked door. Quickly she picks the lock, and is surprised to find the Doctor inside the room. Only, the Doctor's flesh is lobster red and stiff as wood.

Quickly, Jenny frees the Doctor from where he has been chained to the wall and helps him from the room. The Doctor's limbs are so stiff, he has trouble moving. His jaw, likewise, is difficult to move and he can barely speak, but he manages to convey to Jenny that she must get him into a coffin size metal chamber. Along the way, they are able to see scenes of the process the Doctor must have gone through to end up the way he did. Groups of humans are being dipped into vats of bubbling red liquid very much like on an assembly line.

Once inside the chamber, the Doctor is able to use his sonic screwdriver to reverse the process he has gone through and to emerge from the device whole again. Back to his old manic self, the Doctor relates the story of how he ended up in his predicament and ponders what must have happened to Clara.

It seems once again the TARDIS brought the Doctor and Clara to an unplanned destination. It doesn't take long for them to stumble upon the rash of red bodies showing up in canals. Their investigations also lead them to going undercover to get into Sweetville. Unfortunately, their investigation ends with them being put through the process of dipping in red liquid. Apparently if you survive the dipping process you become a mannequin like zombie. If you fail the process you die a horrible death turned into a red husk and thrown into the canal. 

The Doctor, however, manages to survive the process, except his skin is still petrified and red. Ada, surprised by this condition, decides to  keep it secret from her mother and lock away the Doctor like a pet monster.

Once caught up on the background, the Doctor and Jenny resume searching for what has become of Clara. They find her displayed under glass like a mannequin and manage to free her. They bring her to one of the chambers the Doctor had used, in hopes of also reversing the process. They are joined there by Strax and Vastra who rescue them in the nick of time from a group of Gillyflower's thugs.

Brokenhearted by the loss of her monster, Ada admits to her mother that she has been hiding the Doctor. Mrs.Gillyflower proceeds to tell her daughter that she will never be accepted into the utopia to come because she is too imperfect and disfigured.

Once the Doctor and his friends are all back together again, they must piece together what Mrs.Gillyflower and her silent partner Mr Sweet are planning. Clara notes that there is a huge chimney in Sweetville, but no smoke coming from it. So what is it for? Upon further investigation, they discover that Mrs. Gillyflower is planning on using the chimney to launch a flask of the poison liquid into the sky and have it rain down on an unsuspecting civilization. Apparently, this would create the society Mrs Gillyflower desires where only the moral survive.

The Doctor and Clara boldly decide to confront Mrs.Gillyflower directly. After pressing her about where her mysterious partner Mr. Sweet might be, Mrs. Gillyflower opens her bodice to reveal a red crab-like creature that is symbiotically attached to her chest. She provides the tiny creature sustenance and it secretes the poisonous red liquid she plans to use to destroy half the population. She is now clearly quite mad. Mad to the point that she has even used her own daughter to experiment on to test the effects of the poison. These experiments are what have left her daughter scarred and blinded.

Ada overhears her mother's admission, and in a rage, beats her mother with her cane. During the distraction, Clara uses a chair to destroy the poison's launching mechanism. In a last ditch effort, however, Mrs.Gillyflower pulls a gun and takes her daughter hostage while she tries to reach the chimney where she believes she can launch the poison rocket manually. Unbeknownst to her, however, Madame Vastra and Jenny have already disarmed the rocket of its poison payload. In a final fit of anger Mrs. Gillyflower tries to shoot the Doctor, but stumbles on the ladder inside the chimney and falls to the floor many stories below. Mrs. Gillyflower's body failing, Mr. Sweet attempts to abandon his host. As Mrs. Gillyflower dies, Ada efficiently squashes Mr. Sweet with her cane.

With the adventure come to an end, the Doctor says his goodbyes and leaves in the TARDIS with Clara, not really explaining to Jenny and Madame Vastra how a girl they thought had died could still be alive.

Once back home, Clara is confronted by her two young charges who have been snooping on her computer and have found evidence of her time travel with the Doctor. Will she give in to their blackmail and agree to take them traveling?