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 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.
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.
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.
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.