In the second episode of the second series of Doctor Who, the Doctor accidentally sends the TARDIS to Scotland in 1879, where they team up with Queen Victoria to fight a werewolf. And honestly, the episode is so much better than it sounds. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Doctor Who.
I think it will be fun to see if we can find an episode of this revival of the show where there isn’t a gigantic plot hole. It’s almost a plus to Doctor Who that most of the plots are wrapped in ways that leave me scratching my head. It’s like part of its charm. I did think, while watching “Tooth and Claw,” that this might have been the first episode where every part of the story fit perfectly with another, until the last five minutes. BUT WE WILL GET TO THAT!
This episode is simultaneously one of the funniest and creepiest so far and it manages to do so with probably the least amount of character development on the part of Rose and the Doctor. This episode is all about Queen Victoria, played masterfully by Pauline Collins, facing the supernatural. I’ve never been much of a fan of the werewolf story (and Twilight certainly did not help at all), so I was hesitant when I realized that’s what this episode was going to be about. What really works for me is that Davies takes a familiar horror trope and applies it to the world of the Doctor. Somehow, the idea that an alien life form uses lyncathropy to keep itself alive is NOT the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.
“Tooth and Claw” is more of a short horror movie than anything else, as I didn’t really pick up on any overarching themes or social commentaries that I usually find in these episodes, and that’s entirely ok. Not only is it a great story, but it is also building up this “Torchwood” mythology thing. So now we know how Torchwood was formed (and that the Doctor inadvertently inspired its creation), but we don’t know how else it has or will affect him. Interesting.
I’m feeling very, very listy today. We like lists. They are fun.
- I cried laughing during the scene when Rose tries to pretend to have a Scottish accent. “No, no, don’t do that.”
- I have never heard of mistletoe being a method to fight a werewolf attack. Did Davies invent that specifically for this episode or is it based on some sort of myth or legend I’ve never heard?
- How many times do I get to say this? A billion: I love alternate histories and I love the way the show manages to weave in Prince Albert and the mysterious blood disease Queen Victoria had.
- Quite possibly the most disturbing order of monks on the face of the fucking planet. Something about their bald-headed homogeny was simply too much for me. However, there was only one moment that I laughed at them: When they somehow turned into goddamn ninjas during the opening scene. REALLY. REALLY. They were creepy enough as-is.
- The idea that the house was a trap built in advance, as if this was all some sort of long con to trap the werewolf, is a bit of a stretch, but I found myself not caring at all, until one moment: when the Doctor threw the Koh-i-Noor diamond under the moonlight and it perfectly refracted to hit the werewolf. WE WERE SO CLOSE TO A NON-PLOT-HOLE-FILLED EPISODE. Like, what are the odds that the diamond would roll to a stop in the perfect position to refract light onto the werewolf? UGH. So close!
- I will probably change my mind at some point, but Sir Robert’s death might be the worst in the show. I clung to the notion that he would somehow survive and be reunited again with his wife, but listening to his screams as the wolf tore him apart…wow, seriously goddamn awful.
- I had a feeling that when the Queen knighted Rose and the Doctor, we would see the seeds planted of them working together again in the future. Perhaps it was just a stray thought that I felt would be fun to see, but I had the sensation that this episode wasn’t truly a one-off, monster-of-the-week story. I was right, but I was completely taken by surprise when she banished them both from the British Empire. Even while she was doing the banishment, I thought she would reveal she was joking, but nope. Completely serious. Dag, yo.
- The wolf saw “something of the wolf” in Rose. Creepy. 🙁
- “Oh, I’m dazed and confused. I’ve been chasing this wee naked child over hill and over dale. Isn’t that right, you… tim’rous beastie?”
- The “I am not amused!” running joke was WONDERFUL.