Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Episode Review: Tooth and Claw

Episode:                      Tooth and Claw
Original Air Date:        April 22nd 2006 (UK)
October 6th 2006 (US)
Directed by:                Euros Lyn
Written by:                  Russell T. Davies
Starring:                      David Tennant, Billie Piper and Pauline Collins

Our story starts with the Doctor attempting to take Rose (his companion) to see Ian Dury and the blockheads in concert in 1979 however, the TARDIS has other plans and they land in the Scottish moors in 1879 where they encounter a carriage and armed guard, due to a fallen tree on the train line Queen Victory is forced to take the roads to Balmoral Castle.  This is actually the third time the Doctor has encountered Queen Victoria, in the television story ‘The Curse of Peladon’ , the third Doctor mentioned having been in attendance at Queen Victoria's coronation, and in the novel ‘Empire of Death’ the Fifth Doctor met Queen Victoria and was even appointed her Scientific Advisor. None of this however is mentioned within this episode.  The Doctor claims to have been appointed the royal physician and joins Victoria to her overnight stop, The Torchwood Estate, home of Sir Robert MacLeish and his wife lady Isobel (interestingly, the Doctor introduces himself as James McCrimmon which was actually the name of the Second Doctors Companion Jamie.)  At this time the Royal party are all blissfully unaware that the house has been overrun by a brotherhood of monks whom tuned from God to worship the Wolf.  The monks force Sir Robert to play into their ruse as they take the place of the house's servants and guards. It was in fact these same monks who arranged for the fallen tree in order to direct the Queens travels to the Torchwood Estate where they intend to infect her with the curse of the werewolf.  With them the Monks have brought a ‘person’ already affected with lycanthropy, hoping to pass its nature to the Queen and create a new "Empire of the Wolf”. 

As the Doctor, Sir Robert and Queen Victoria sit down to dinner the Doctor becomes aware that this is all a trap, that the Monks led by Father Angelo have drugged the Queens guards and imprisoned the house staff and Rose in the basement with the affected ‘person’.  As the moon initiates this creatures transformation from man into beast Rose and the others break free of their shackles and escape into the estate.  Joining the Doctor, Rose, Sir Robert and Victoria take refuge in the estates library, armed with books the Doctor and others set about trying to find more information of this beast and more importantly how to fight it.  While there a question arises as to why the Werewolf hasn’t attempted to break into the library, what is it about this place that halts the creatures attack?  The Doctor discovers that the woodwork surrounding the room is coated with mistletoe.  Mistletoes use as a Werewolf repellant dates back to the fourth and fifth century were ‘magicians’ would not only sell the repellant but also herbs that “guaranteed” the werewolf transformation.  During their study of the libraries books, they discover evidence collected by Sir Robert's father and Prince Albert that indicate the werewolf is actually the current form of an alien species that fell to earth in 1540 near St. Catherine's Glen, surviving the ages by passing its lycanthropic form from human to human. The Doctor also realises that the Torchwood  Estate its self was designed as a trap for the werewolf, by the use of a strange telescope designed by both Prince Albert and Sir Roberts father, along with the Queen's Koh-i-Noor diamond, they can force the werewolf to revert to human form and destroy the alien symbian.

As the Doctor prepares the telescope, Sir Robert attempts to fend off the Werewolf allowing the Doctor more time, the wolf breaks into the observatory as the Doctor configures the telescope in such a way to concentrate the moons light and traps the werewolf, the now trapped creature which has taken human form once again begs the Doctor to increase the light and kill him, the Doctor reluctantly obliges.  The Queen appears to have a small cut from this ordeal which she claims to have been a splinter from the door when the werewolf burst into the room, however the Doctor explains to Rose that history (her history) notes that all Queens Victoria’s children will carry a strange form of hemophilia, and that perhaps this was a Victorian explanation for lycanthropy.
The Next day the Doctor and Rose are knighted by Queen Victoria which is actually the second time the Doctor has been knighted, although this was his first official knighthood, the fifth Doctor was knighted in the story The Kings Demons by his future companion Kamelion who posed as King John the first while under the control of the Master.  Due to their ‘unholy’ lifestyle the Queen then banishes the Doctor and Rose from the British Empire, and in tribute to Sir Robert and his father she creates the Torchwood Institute, taking the name from the estate, with the express duty to investigate paranormal events such as the werewolf in this episode.

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