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Recap / Doctor Who S33 CiN "The Great Detective"

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You know the Eleventh Doctor is really hurting inside when he stops wearing a bow tie.

In London, in the time of Queen Victoria, there were many tales of a remarkable personage known as "The Great Detective".

The one where the bereaved Doctor is through being happy.

Better known as the one where Strax declared war on the moon.

2012's Children in Need Special, hosted by Matt Smith and Jenna-Louise Coleman. The main plot involves the so-called "Paternoster Gang" — Madame Vastra, Jenny Flint and Strax, all in Victorian London, where They Fight Crime!, or in Strax's case, declare war on the Moon. The Doctor is also present, but after the events of the previous episode, he has seemingly decided to retire and just wants to live out his life as an ordinary, if cynical, Victorian gentleman, not caring a bit about the fantastic adventures the trio dangle before his nose. You can watch it on YouTube.



  • Achilles in His Tent: The Doctor says he's finished going on adventures and saving humanity, only to join up with Vastra, Jenny, Strax and Clara to stop the Snowmen in the main episode.
  • Back from the Dead: Strax, who was killed in "A Good Man Goes to War", is alive and well in this episode.
  • Blatant Lies: Vastra and Jenny tell the Doctor they need his help on various adventures to get him out of his Heroic BSoD, only to sheepishly admit halfway through they're actually nothing. Strax meanwhile tells the Doctor he's declared war on the Moon.
  • Continuity Nod: Vastra and Jenny unknowingly describe the plots of the original series episodes "Spearhead from Space" and "Inferno".
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • Strax seems to be single-minded in his pursuit of the Moon, even when the obvious flaws in his plan are pointed out...
      Strax: It has gained an enormous tactical advantage.
      Jenny: There's no-one living there!
      Strax: Then it is clearly time to act. They won't suspect a thing!
      Jenny: Who won't suspect a thing?
      Strax: Moonites.
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    • Later, he's still on it...
      The Doctor: I've retired.
      Jenny: [...] I think he means it.
      Vastra: Yes my dear, I rather think he does.
      Strax: ... Damn Moon.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Losing the Ponds has pushed the Doctor over this. Now he's bitter and refuses to help.
  • Foregone Conclusion:
    Matt Smith: This Christmas, the Earth will face terrible, terrible danger. But, as all humanity hangs in the balance, will anyone be able to persuade the Doctor to save the day?
    Jenna-Louise Coleman: Yes.
    Matt Smith: Right, well, so much for dramatic tension. Blimey, Jenna.
  • Foreshadowing: Turns out there is something living on the Moon.
  • Godzilla Threshold: The narrator says that there is a shadowy fourth member of the Paternoster Gang but his help is only sought "in the direst of circumstances". This is promptly Played for Laughs when the circumstances are not the least bit dire.
  • Gonk: The narration explicitly says that Strax's Sontaran looks were so repellant that nobody wanted to photograph him.
  • Prequel: For "The Snowmen".
  • Refusal of the Call: The Doctor has no interest in anything his friends are suggesting.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Played for Laughs. Matt Smith declares Karen Gillan's character Amy Pond could never be replaced, only for the camera to pull out and show her replacement Jenna-Louise Coleman standing right next to him.
    Matt Smith: If you remember, when last seen, the Doctor had to say goodbye to his best friend Rory, and to Amelia Pond, the woman who will never be replaced in his hearts.
    Jenna-Louise Coleman: Hi [...] Oh don't worry, she won't be watching. She's in L.A.
  • The Scrooge: The Doctor wants nothing more to do with fun and adventures.
  • Shout-Out: A group of unique Victorian personages? Sounds familiar.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Strax — unless you've seen the Series 6 minisode "The Battle of Demons Run: Two Days Later", where it's explained he was Only Mostly Dead.
  • Vehicle Vanish: As the Doctor walks away, a hansom cab passes between him and Vestra, Jenny and Strax. When it has gone, he has vanished.

"... Damn Moon..."


Example of: