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Vastra

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Vastra
Madame Vastra
Main aliases: The Veiled Detective
Species: Silurian
Affiliated with: Paternoster Gang, Eleventh Doctor, Scotland Yard
Place of origin: Earth
Spouse: Jenny Flint
First seen in: A Good Man Goes to War
Appearances: see list
Main actor: Neve McIntosh
Memorable moment
Doctor Who The Snowmen Prequel Vastra Investigates - Christmas Special 2012 - BBC One02:42

Doctor Who The Snowmen Prequel Vastra Investigates - Christmas Special 2012 - BBC One

Another memorable moment
The one word test - Vastra questions Clara - Doctor Who - The Snowmen - BBC04:00

The one word test - Vastra questions Clara - Doctor Who - The Snowmen - BBC

Vastra was a Silurian detective who shared a house at 13 Paternoster Row with Jenny Flint, her maid and eventual wife, in Victorian London. Alongside Jenny and the Sontaran nurse Strax, Vastra investigated unusual activities.

Biography Edit

Early life Edit

As a little girl, Vastra saw many dinosaurs, and was able to identify their gender. (TV: Deep Breath)

Vastra was one of many people who owed the Doctor a debt; she had awoken during the construction of an extension of the London Underground and sought to take revenge on the innocent tunnel workers responsible for the accidental deaths of her "sisters". After Vastra had slaughtered at least five commuters, the Doctor convinced her not to give in to her rage. He also told her of his species, the Time Lords, sharing many secrets about them, including the Untempered Schism, the Time Vortex and their ability to regenerate. At the the Doctor's insistence, she ceased her attacks on the tunnel workers and instead integrated herself into humanity's Victorian culture, eventually gaining the title of "Madame" and taking up residence at Paternoster Row.

At some point, she hired Jenny Flint as her maid. Vastra's relationship with Jenny eventually became romantic. (TV: A Good Man Goes to War, The Snowmen) During the pair's first meeting, the Doctor saved Jenny's life. (TV: The Name of the Doctor) Despite a begrudging respect for humanity, she did enjoy devouring them (and drinking their blood as if it were wine). She eventually became a detective and consultant to Scotland Yard, solving cases that they could not. Due to her proficiency in the field, some referred to her by the title of "the Great Detective". (TV: A Good Man Goes to War, The Snowmen)

The Battle of Demons Run Edit

At the behest of Scotland Yard, she tracked down Jack the Ripper in 1888 - and ate him. Immediately thereafter, she was summoned by the Eleventh Doctor to help rescue Amy Pond and her baby from Demons Run. Vastra agreed to join him, intent on repaying the Doctor for changing her life when they had first met. Accompanied by Jenny, Vastra arrived at Demons Run with an army of Silurian soldiers. By this point in her life, she referred to the Doctor as an "old friend", and a mutual respect had developed between the two.

Vastra overthrows Demon's Run security booth

Vastra participating in the assault on Demon's Run. (TV: A Good Man Goes to War)

When the Doctor began his assault of Demon's Run, he gave Vastra and Jenny the task of hijacking the control room. After unveiling himself as a disguised Headless Monk before Colonel Manton and the soldiers of the Church, Vastra and Jenny drew swords on the guards watching the monitors. They then deactivated the lighting to enable the Doctor to slink around in the dark, prompting the Church and the Headless Monks to attack each other in the disarray. This allowed Strax, a platoon of Judoon and some of Vastra's Silurian allies to subdue the soldiers.

The pair awaited the Doctor in the control room, preventing one of the guards from escaping in the meantime. When their allies finally arrived, she witnessed the enraged Doctor confront Colonel Manton and Kovarian. Shortly after, Vastra and Dorium Maldovar hacked into Kovarian's files and discovered scans of Melody's DNA, noting that Amy's child, Melody, has been born with traces of Time Lord DNA.

Using her knowledge of the Time Lord biology, Vastra and the Doctor were forced to speculate as to when Amy and her husband Rory had conceived their child. The Doctor deduced that she had been conceived on their wedding night aboard his TARDIS whilst it was traversing the Vortex, resulting in their baby inheriting Time Lord qualities. Realising that their enemies had given up too easily, Vastra and Dorium left for the main hangar to meet up with the remainder of the Doctor's army.

At this point, Headless Monks began surreptitiously slaying the Doctor's allies as they made for the TARDIS. Thanks to Lorna Bucket, Vastra and her comrades had some warning about the trap, allowing them to prepare. After Dorium was beheaded, the monks attacked. Vastra wielded both her swords with great skill and precision, effortlessly defeating any Monk who challenged her. Following the battle, Melody Pond's adult self, River Song, arrived and revealed her true identity to the Doctor and her parents. (TV: A Good Man Goes to War)

Two days after the battle, Vastra and Jenny utilised alien technology found at the base to heal a disgraced Sontaran nurse named Strax. The two then invited him to join them in their pursuits in Victorian London, which Strax agreed to. Upon returning to 1888, Strax became Vastra's butler. (TV: The Great Detective, The Snowmen, WC: The Battle of Demons Run: Two Days Later)

Paternoster Gang Edit

At some point during the next four years, Vastra married Jenny. (TV: The Snowmen) The pair were not discreet about the nature of their relationship. (TV: Vastra Investigates)

After a melancholic Doctor took up residence in London following the loss of Amy and Rory, Vastra, Jenny and Strax, summoned the Doctor multiple times for help, hoping to reignite his passion for adventure. They frequently attempted to do so by presenting him with a variety mysteries for him to solve, which the Doctor refused to deal with, solemnly claiming he had "retired." (TV: The Great Detective) With little else to do, Vastra and her companions returned to their own investigations, which included at least one case involving identical twins, a poison undetectable to science and an ancient Egyptian curse. (TV: Vastra Investigates) The three soon became known as the Paternoster Gang.

In December 1892, Madame Vastra was contacted by Felicity Gregson due to her expertise as the Great Detective. Felicity told her about light with trailing smoke and fire that fell from the sky behind her house. She claimed that the crash site had been cleaned overnight, but she still had physical evidence to show Vastra in person. Vastra planned to meet Felicity in Ranskill Gardens, but due to being double booked at the Greek Embassy, she sent Strax instead. Unfortunately, Felicity was murdered before Vastra had a chance to inspect her evidence.

After returning home, Vastra met with Harry, who had helped to discover Felicity's body in the snowman he had built with his friend Jim. While her appearance initially caused him to run out of Paternoster Row, she gained his trust by saving his life with Jenny and Strax. She also paid Mr. Ranskin, the man Harry worked for, to become his new guardian to ensure his protection from the people that wanted him dead. With the help of Jenny, Strax, and Harry, she discovered that Felicity's evidence had been a wisp of fog, which was actually part of an alien force that took a fog-like form and planned to invade Earth and blot out the sun. They were defeated with snow. (PROSE: Devil in the Smoke)

By this point, Vastra's investigative exploits were believed by Walter Simeon to have been appropriated by Arthur Conan Doyle for fictionalisation in The Strand, in which he attributed them to his character, Sherlock Holmes. (TV: The Snowmen)

Defeating the Great Intelligence Edit

Vastra and Jenny later confronted Walter Simeon about his Institute, with Vastra discovering that Simeon was using snow which possessed a telepathic field. This allowed the snow to build itself into the form of lethal snowmen by mirroring the thoughts of people around it. She noted that it could utilised as a terrible weapon, with Simeon casually remarking that he had plans of his own and there was nothing she could do to stop it. As he left, Vastra called after him that even if she could not stop him she knew someone who could, and Simeon replied that he was looking forward to meeting him.

Vastra was later visited by Clara Oswald, whom she treated with some suspicion at first. Vastra and Jenny forced Clara to partake in their "one-word test", where she would only be allowed to answer their questions with a single word to prove she was not lying. In doing so, Vastra contradicted herself by explaining in great detail the Doctor's now-sullen exile in London, which Clara noted. After she offered to pass a message to the Doctor, but in one word only, Clara used the word "Pond" - coincidentally the surname of the Doctor's former companion Amy. Impressed that Clara had figured out how to persuade the Doctor to help and convinced of her honesty, Vastra called the Time Lord and told him that Strax knew where he should begin his investigation. She then sent Strax to see if the Doctor needed any help but the Doctor sent the Sontaran away.

Lizard Woman From The Dawn Of Time And Wife

Vastra frightens Alice with her appearance - and her choice of significant other (TV: The Snowmen)

Vastra and Jenny later turned up on the doorstep of Captain Latimer's house where they were greeted by Alice who screamed at the sight of a "lizard woman from the dawn of time" and her wife, then fainted when Strax went over to try to calm her down. Ignoring the maid, Vastra quickly informed the Doctor that Simeon was causing the alien snow to spread over Latimer's estate. Meanwhile Jenny used a force field to trap the Ice Governess, who had been created from the drowned governess who had frozen in Latimer's pond a year earlier. Vastra teased the Doctor, noting how much he had missed the thrill and excitement of such adventures during his brooding.

While the Doctor and Clara led the Ice Governess up to the roof, Vastra, Jenny and Strax remained in Latimer's office to protect him and his children. After hearing a loud thump outside, they saw Clara lying in the snow with the shattered remains of the Ice Governess around her. The Doctor arrived in the TARDIS and took Clara's body inside where Strax managed to bring her back to life. Vastra went to the Doctor and told him that Clara's injuries were severe and that she was going to die. The Doctor refused to accept the loss of another friend, especially so soon after Amy and Rory, asking Clara if she would travel with him if he saved the world. Clara agreed and the Doctor confronted Simeon who was waiting at the front door. He and Vastra then took the TARDIS to Simeon's institute, with Vastra wondering why the Doctor was suddenly doing everything he could to save the world again. The Doctor explained that the universe owed him for all the times he had saved it and that if he saved the world, he hoped that the universe would let Clara live. Although Vastra doubted that the notion that universe made bargains, she went with him and they met Simeon in his office. After the Doctor erased the memories of Simeon's adult life with a memory worm, the Great Intelligence took control of Simeon's body and knocked Vastra to the ground before she could strike it with her sword. Simeon then attacked the Doctor but collapsed as the snow inside the giant snow globe in the office turned to rain. Simeon died and the Great Intelligence fled, having learnt to survive without a physical body.

Realising that the rain was caused by the grief of the Latimer family and by Clara's tears as she lay dying, the Doctor and Vastra rushed back to the house. Strax sorrowfully informed them that Clara only had a few moments left. The Doctor told the dying girl that they had saved the world together and assured her that he would not go back to moping on his cloud. Clara died only seconds before midnight and Christmas Day.

Vastra and Jenny attended Clara's funeral with the Doctor, where they discussed the Great Intelligence. The Doctor then went to Clara's grave and learned her full name, Clara Oswin Oswald. Delighted by the revelation, the Doctor told Vastra and Jenny that he had met Clara before and that she had died twice, causing him to believe that there was another version of her somewhere in the universe. Leaving the confused Vastra and Jenny in the graveyard, he ran to the TARDIS intending to search for her. (TV: The Snowmen)

Sweetville Edit

Vastra The Crimson Horror

Vastra recognises the effects of the "crimson horror" from before. (TV: The Crimson Horror)

In 1893, Mr Thursday came to Vastra so she could look at a photo of his deceased brother, Edmund. Realising Edmund's eyes showed an optogram of the Doctor, the trio headed north, where Jenny infiltrated Sweetville to find the Doctor. Vastra recognised the symptoms of Edmund and others inflicted by the "crimson horror" as that of the repulsive red leech's poison.

Vastra and Strax later followed after Jenny. They rescued Jenny, the Doctor and a version of Clara from the 21st century from Mrs Gillyflower's pilgrims. Before Mrs Gillyflower could launch a rocket containing red leech poison, Vastra and Jenny prevented the venom from being put in the rocket. Angered by being unable to poison the world, Mrs Gillyflower attempted to shoot the Doctor and his friends. Strax shot at Mrs Gillyflower, causing her to fall to her death. Afterwards, Mrs Gillyflower's daughter, Ada crushed the leech Mrs Gillyflower was feeding off of, Mr Sweet. (TV: The Crimson Horror)

Trenzalore Edit

Vastra angry at Strax 2

Vastra demands Strax to bring Jenny back. (TV: The Name of the Doctor)

While on death row for the murder of fourteen women, Clarence DeMarco told Vastra: "The Doctor has a secret, you know. He has one he will take to the grave. And it is discovered." Vastra stopped Clarence's execution until she understood what it meant and was also given the space-time co-ordinates to the Doctor's tomb on Trenzalore. Vastra held a conference call in a dream with Jenny, Strax, Clara from 2013 and Professor River Song in the Library. The call was interrupted by Jenny's murder at the hands of the Whisper Men. River woke up Vastra and Strax, keeping the link with Clara. To get the attention of the Doctor, the Great Intelligence used the Whisper Men to take Strax, Vastra and Jenny's bodies to Trenzalore. There, Jenny was revived and River, unheard to the Intelligence, spoke the password to enter the tomb, the Doctor's name. Inside the tomb, the Intelligence entered the Doctor's timeline, the time winds shattering him into a million pieces, each echo of the Intelligence undoing every one of the Doctor's victories.

Jenny died in the new timeline without the Doctor, while Strax forgot his friendship with Vastra and became aggressive, forcing her to kill him. Clara reversed these effects by entering the timeline and undoing the Intelligence's changes, saving the Doctor wherever he went. The Doctor then decided to save Clara by entering his timeline himself, telling the Paternoster gang that the TARDIS could return them home with the fast return protocol if he didn't return. (TV: The Name of the Doctor)

Encountering the new Doctor Edit

Along with Jenny and Strax, Vastra arrived at the Thames to find that a Tyrannosaurus Rex had appeared in the river without explanation. She was even more surprised, however, when the beast threw up the Doctor's TARDIS. There she met the Doctor, newly regenerated into his twelfth incarnation, along with his companion Clara. She took the Doctor back to her house and used a psychic trick in order for him to sleep off his post-regeneration trauma.

When the dinosaur was reduced to nothing more than smoke and ash through the process of spontaneous combustion that night, Vastra and Jenny began investigating nine similar murders plaguing the city. While the Doctor investigated on his own, Clara discovered a cryptic ad in a newspaper which led them to Mancini's Family Restaurant, which was being used by a group of Clockwork Droids from the 51st century as an organ-harvesting factory. Vastra waited outside the restaurant while Clara and the Doctor investigated, and when she received a distress signal from the pair, she and Jenny cut through the clockwork decoys populating the upper floors of the restaurant. They managed to get down to the droids' crashed ship, where the Doctor and Clara were being accosted by the droids' control node.

Their intervention forced the control node to flee in his escape capsule, followed closely by the Doctor, while the others fought off the advancing robots. Over time, however, they were overwhelmed and were only saved when the control node fell to his death from the escape capsule, deactivating his clockwork subordinates. Since the Doctor had been trying to convince the control node that his purpose (making it to 'the promised land') was futile, the question was left open as to whether the node had jumped to his death, or whether the Doctor has in fact killed him. Victorious, the group travelled back to Vastra's house, where Clara was reunited with the Doctor while Vastra, Jenny and Strax returned to life as normal on Paternoster Row. (TV: Deep Breath)

Personality Edit

Vastra was very honest, brutally so at times, and was determined to ensure the honesty of those in her company as well. In her opinion, the truth could be said in one word, whilst lies were just a string of words. Therefore she used the "One word test" to ensure that people were telling the truth. When Clara fell from a cloud, Vastra was sorrowful but bluntly stated that she was dead, making no effort to soften the impact Clara's death would have on the Latimer family, who had all been very fond of her.

While she shared some of the prejudices of many Silurians against humans, referring to them as "mammals" and sometimes threatening to eat them, Vastra was much more tolerant and accepting of humans than many of her species, apologising for her remarks about humans to Jenny and showing concern for the safety of the infant Melody. Vastra also showed suspicion when visited by Clara and even implied that she would eat her if she discovered anything untrustworthy about her. However, she quickly warmed to Clara and was impressed when she was able to get the Doctor to return to save the world with a single word, something that Vastra, Jenny and Strax had been trying to do for a long time. When Clara was mortally wounded falling from a cloud, Vastra showed concern and sorrow and later attended her funeral after she died. (TV: A Good Man Goes to War, The Snowmen)

However, despite her usually calm and collected nature, even when dealing with deaths such as Clara's, Vastra's resolve had one weakness - her wife's wellbeing. The normally composed Silurian openly wept over Jenny's lifeless body, and threatened to kill her friend and comrade Strax if he could not revive her. Later, Vastra was quick to defend Jenny from the advancing Doctor Simeon and his Whisper Men. (TV: The Name of the Doctor)

She was very loyal and protective, ordering her allies to protect Melody Pond at all costs. Vastra was an old friend of the Doctor and seemed to know him well. However, although she supported the Time Lord, she disagreed with his decision to stay out of the affairs of the universe. Although she understood that he was heartbroken and told Jenny that such tragedy affected everyone, she also felt that he had spent too much time sulking on his cloud and was therefore delighted when the Doctor returned to save the world.

Although Vastra enjoyed eating humans, she had a romantic relationship with Jenny and eventually married her. Vastra could control her darker urges, and she spared two men when she and Jenny were helping the Doctor despite commenting she was hungry. She poisoned one of them with her venom, but this was only to stop him from calling for help. When her sisters died in hibernation, Vastra was enraged, but with the Doctor's help she controlled her anger and did not seek revenge on the humans who had awakened her.

Vastra showed a considerable understanding of time and space and even the Time Lords themselves, knowing about the Untempered Schism, regeneration, and even how the Time Lords became what they were, which was through prolonged exposure to the Time Vortex. She also believed that the universe did not make bargains but was less sure when the Doctor gleefully told her that Clara was still alive in another era after her death. (TV: A Good Man Goes to War, The Snowmen)

Despite her origins preceeding humanity, Vastra spoke with an accent reminiscent of those from the nation of Scotland. The newly regenerated Twelfth Doctor, who found himself with a Scottish accent in his persona, found solace in being able to understand Vastra when she adopted a Scottish accent herself to talk to him, in contrast to the accent of his English company, Clara and Jenny, which he initally found infectious and incomprehensible. (TV: Deep Breath)

Abilities Edit

Vastra was a fierce warrior who wielded two swords in combat. She held her own against a group of Headless Monks, surviving without any apparent injury. As she grew older however, Vastra's reflexes may have slowed down slightly; she was quickly tossed aside by Walter Simeon when he was possessed by the Great Intelligence. (TV: A Good Man Goes to War, The Snowmen)

Evidently a member of the Silurian branch found in Wales, Vastra lacked the third eye common amongst other Silurians and also had the ability to extend her tongue over a long distance. This tongue was laced with a nasty venom, but it was not necessarily fatal. (TV: A Good Man Goes to War)

Vastra was also well known for her exceptional skills as a detective. Indeed, her skills were so renowned that the adventures of Sherlock Holmes were believed to be based on her and Jenny's exploits. (TV: The Snowmen)

She had experience with telepathy, being able to trick the Doctor into "assisting" with "her" sleep problems, and bouncing the help back at him. (TV: Deep Breath) Vastra knew enough of telepathic fields to recognize potential danger, when she saw it. (TV: The Snowmen)

Behind the scenes Edit

Spin-off? Edit

Since their appearance, Vastra and Jenny have become quite popular among fans, with many wishing for a spin-off series based on their adventures. Steven Moffat addressed this, saying he considered a spin-off when he created the two characters, but would not have the time, though he would like to revisit them. [1]

The Brilliant Book 2012 Edit

According to The Brilliant Book 2012, a book that contains non-narrative-based information;

  • She made a home in London, at first making a living as the main act in Henry Gordon Jago's "Monstre Gathering" (to the Doctor's disapproval) and then as a masked bank robber. After finding lodgings above a gin palace in Cheapside, she came across Jenny, a match girl who was being molested by a Chinese gang. She saved Jenny from the Tongs and subsequently began a relationship with her.
  • In 1881, Vastra visited Egypt and was mistaken for a god.
  • At some unknown point in Japan's history, she and Jenny battled some Cybermen.
  • Following their return to their own time, Vastra and Jenny were added to the Papal Mainframe's "most wanted" list.

Other mattersEdit

Footnotes Edit

  1. The Madame Vastra & Jenny Show. Doctor Who TV (July 22nd, 2011). Retrieved on 13th August 2011.

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