Written by Russell T. Davies
Much better. This week’s episode was staple Who fodder, nothing more, nothing less, but unlike New Earth (which Davies also wrote), it got to show us the rapport between Rose and the Doctor. The episode did start out with a quite rubbishy prologue, wherein an order of monks take over a large Scottish estate. For whatever reason, these Scottish monks, circa 1879, go all Shaolin on the poor servants, in a hastily shot fighting sequence that was five years too late to be cool, and had no later bearing on the plot. Couldn’t they just have been evil monks with guns?
But after that, we have the Doctor and Rose planning to send the Tardis to 1979 to see Ian Dury and the Blockheads perform. Wouldn’t most of us, if we were companions use the Tardis for this kind of historical journey? Why would I want to go see the Battle of Hastings? I’d probably get hurt. So anyway, they undershoot by a century and join Queen Victoria, who is journeying north and has to stay in the creepy, monk-overrun estate. The monks are intending to release a werewolf they both worship and carry around in a crate and hope that a bite will carry on the lycanthrope gene to the monarch. The episode features a CG wolf in the house, a few moments of scary “it’s quiet, too quiet” suspense, and the Doctor thinking on his feet. So as I said, pretty simple. The pre-werewolf man, with his solid black eyes, was actually creepier than the wolf–too bad we only saw a little bit of him.
Most enjoyable was the waggish banter between the two leads, which reminded me a bit of the “above it all” attitude of the Tom Baker years. Yet, there’s always a dose of reality around the corner to put Rose (and by extension the Doctor) in her place.
If I remember rightly, both the first and second episodes of Season One (or Season 27 for you purists) were just okay, so hopefully we’ll really be getting to the meat of the season soon enough. Next week’s episode promises a reunion with former companion Sarah Jane Smith.