Tooth and Claw

If the theme for this season is “Torchwood”, it’s not very subtle about it. By the end of the episode, Queen Victoria quite explicitly explains how she will set up the Torchwood Institute to protect Britain from its unholy enemies, and we know how that’s going to turn out. Given what she goes through in this story, I can’t blame her!

The wolf is fairly well realised but the CGI is showing its age.

The wolf is fairly well realised but the CGI is showing its age.

The werewolf, of course, is not really a werewolf – it’s an alien entity that has survived within human bodies and been passed down through different hosts for hundreds of years, turning them into werewolves. Okay, so it is really a werewolf.

Doctor Who's fight scenes have come a long way since the old days, when the credits would include a "fight arranger" as if they were hired to stir up an argument outside a pub.

Doctor Who’s fight scenes have come a long way since the old days, when the credits would include a “fight arranger” as if they were hired to stir up an argument outside a pub.

The Doctor, being the Doctor, thinks it’s “beautiful”, but he has to protect the humans too, so cue lots of running around the old Torchwood mansion, with various men bravely electing to stay behind and buy them time to escape (and then getting ripped to shreds). Bullets cannot stop the monster, so it’s books that save the day – knowledge is power, kids! The Doctor puts the pieces together and uncovers the secret of the old house and the power of the moon. Or something.

The Doctor puts on his glasses. It's time for some serious thinking. Alternatively, he wants a job as a teacher.

The Doctor puts on his glasses. It’s time for some serious thinking. Alternatively, he wants a job as a teacher.

It’s a pretty good episode on the whole. It’s not overly scary, but it has a scary tone and some good action. The wolf is not entirely convincing, but it’s kept hidden a lot of the time, to good effect. The characters are really well played, particularly Queen Vic herself and Sir Robert. It’s also nice to hear David Tennant using his native accent for a while. The writing is sharp, with some good humour amongst the terror. The pacing is good, it’s never dull, and the Tenth Doctor and Rose seem to work well together.

The Doctor gives his name as James McCrimmon, a reference to his former travelling companion, Jamie.

The Doctor gives his name as James McCrimmon, a reference to his former travelling companion, Jamie.

If you’re going to do a “Doctor Who Meets Famous Person From History” story, then make it stylish, interesting, fun, scary and… well, Doctor Who-ish. This one hits the spot.

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5 responses to “Tooth and Claw

  1. Exactly, this one may not be ambitious in any sort of thematic way, but the idea that knowledge is power is nerdily satisfying and puts a bow on a very entertaining episode. The atmosphere was great even if juxtaposing wire-fu monks with Victorian Steampunky Werewolf milieu is an exercise in “let’s throw these things together because we can!” If you can do it and get away with it, like they did here, then by all means, Allons-y!

    I like how calling himself James McCrimmon works because it just sounds appropriate and won’t make casual viewers raise an eyebrow, but it’s a dog-whistle for Classic series fans that says “We love Jamie, too!”

    Lots to like and nothing terribly wrong with it — this is one my favorites of series 2 … and it’s followed up by “School Reunion”, probably my absolute favorite …

  2. Hello there. I enjoyed your blog. Quite a bit actually. I hope you don’t mind having someone tag along with your blogs even though they have no prior experience with Doctor Who(two episodes don’t count). Several of my friends love Doctor Who and I haven’t the time nor the inclination to watch the entire series like yourself. So if you’ll have me, I’ll just pop on by every now and again to get a recap on episodes. 😉

  3. Oh, and I’ll probably ask really annoying questions now and again that will be really obvious to Doctor Who fans. Like, since Doctor who is portrayed by around 10 different characters, is he the same character or does a new character don the glasses and become Doctor Who. Kinda like Batman. Batman get’s killed, Robin becomes Batman.

    • Thanks for following!
      As I understand it, each incarnation of “the Doctor” is the same person with all the memories of the previous incarnations. During a regeneration, every cell in his body is “renewed”, changing his appearance. This also changes some aspects of his personality, which could be construed as making him a different person, although the intent is that he is the same actual entity.

  4. Oh… Well that’s pretty cool. 🙂

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