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"Lupus magnus est, lupus fortis est, lupus deus est..."
—Father Angelo ("The wolf is great, the wolf is strong, the wolf is a god")
The Doctor and Rose were planning on finding themselves in 1979, but they end up in 1879. In Scotland. And in the presence of Queen Victoria. Rose is in trouble for wearing a minidress, but David Tennant saves the day by speaking perfect Scottish and introducing himself as a Doctor. The Queen commands them to attend her as she goes to spend a relaxing evening in Torchwood House, a Scottish manor beset by werewolves and kung fu monks.
The Doctor and Rose make a bet on who can get the Queen to say "We are not amused." Someone should get a handicap, though, because there isn't much at Torchwood House to amuse anyone. The Laird of the Manor drops unsubtle hints that they should go away. All the servants are terrified. The lonely bloodcurdling cry of a werewolf echoes across the moors. Rose is drugged and chained up in the cellar with the rest of the household staff, where a cage contains a boy possessed by an alien!werewolf: that is, an alien wolf... thing... that possesses human hosts. Its current plan is to possess Queen Victoria, thereby gaining the throne of England, and therefore THE WORLD!!!
The remaining humans take refuge in the library, which the previous Laird had fortified against werewolves by soaking the wood in mistletoe oil. Now that's Crazy Prepared. Speaking of which, the Queen has thought to bring along the Koh-i-Noor diamond, which as it turns out was always meant to slot neatly into a telescope that -- again with the good fortune -- is not a telescope but a werewolf-melter. Also, the Queen suddenly has a cut on her hand after facing the wolf and refuses to show it to the Doctor. The Doctor realizes with glee that the royal family's unexplained and mysterious "haemophilia" may just suddenly a whole lot less unexplained and mysterious.
Queen Victoria knights both the Doctor and Rose, and then immediately banishes them for their knowledge of the stars (then being considered Heresy) and tells them to "leave her world". After they leave, she announces the foundation of the Torchwood Institute. The Doctor will rue this day.
- Admiring the Abomination: Victoria calls the Doctor out for doing this.
- All Monks Know Kung Fu: Inverted; British monks generally aren't known for their martial arts skill, and the household staff are completely taken aback when the monks turn on the Kung Fu.
"We will take the house."
- Artistic License: The Koh-I-Noor diamond really exists, it really has a reputed curse on it, and it really was recut by Prince Albert for Queen Victoria. In real life it's not a fist-sized brilliant, though - it's roughly the size and shape of a flattened plum. (For reference the diamond in Snatch is 80% as big as shaped similarly.)
- Badass Grandma: Victoria, of course.
- Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Played with at the end. Queen Victoria is injured by what she claims to be a splinter, but the Doctor is concerned it might be a bite from the werewolf. On the way back to the TARDIS, the Doctor and Rose joke about the modern-day Royal Family being werewolves -- given the Doctor's flippancy to what he earlier claimed would be a catastrophe, obviously he doesn't really believe it to be true (and if you watch the werewolf's demise, it doesn't actually get near enough to the Queen to scratch her before getting killed).
- A common bit of Fanon is that the alternative history as seen in the Cybermen two-parter later in the season came about because Victoria was scratched.
- Better to Die Than Be Killed: Victoria expresses this sentiment.
- Black Eyes of Evil: The werewolf's human form.
- Bonnie Scotland
- Changed My Jumper: Alluded to, as Rose (in a t-shirt and mini-skirt) is said to be "naked". She'd actually dressed quite appropriately--if not stylishly--for the intended destination. The TARDIS just had other plans that day...
- Continuity Nod: The Doctor gives his name as "Dr. James McCrimmon", the full name of Jamie, companion to the Second Doctor.
- The wolf, pre-change, comments on how Rose has a "bit of the wolf in her," and also on how she has a "bit of the sun in her," both referencing the end of the previous season.
- Embarrassing Nickname: 'Timorous Beastie', anyone?
- Fingertip Drug Analysis
- Fully-Clothed Nudity: Rose.
- How's Your Scottish Accent? The Doctor briefly affects a Scottish accent (actor David Tennant's own) in an attempt to pose as a Scot.
- Rose attempts this, and is so bad at it the Doctor's expression is literally pained.
Doctor: Don't. No, really, don't.
- She takes a turn through Canada with said accent.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Both Captain Reynolds and Sir Robert attempt to hold off the Wolf, knowing full well that they don't stand a chance, but doing it anyway to buy the Queen time to escape.
- Life Will Kill You: When Victoria mentions the legend that whoever possesses the Koh-i-Noor must surely die, the Doctor points out that the same is true of anything if you wait long enough.
- Literary Allusion Title: to Tennyson's poem "In Memoriam A.H.H."
- Men Are the Expendable Gender: Every male character except for the Doctor is killed in this episode. The lower-ranking monks aren't seen to be killed, but it's not all that likely they'd have survived for long in Victorian Britain, which was only too happy to punish traitors by death.
- Mistaken for Gay
Sir Robert: I'm sorry, Ma'am. It's all my fault. I should've sent you away. I tried to suggest something was wrong, I... thought you might notice. Did you think there was nothing strange about my household staff?
- Never Mess with Granny: Queen Victoria, having already had several attempts on her life, carries a gun.
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: An in-universe example; once the werewolf is unleashed, the resulting confusion causes the Doctor to forget that he's supposed to be using a Scottish accent, which Victoria eventually calls him out on. The story makes a strangely big deal out of the Doctor being able to easily change his accent though, considering it's widely accepted that you need to be able to pull off at least half a dozen different regional accents if you want to have any hope of becoming an actor in the UK, and therefore a much more common skill than the story would have us believe. (although, it may not have been that common during this particular time period)
- Considering that the Doctor had earlier introduced himself specifically as "Dr. James McCrimmon", at least part of Victoria's discomfort is the realization that the Doctor, in letting his accent slip, is obviously not who he claimed to be. Actors usually have to pull off a number of regional accents; doctors generally don't.
- Ominous Latin Chanting: In-universe. Lupus deus est...
- Our Werewolves Are Different: They're aliens, in fact.
- Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Angelo doesn't think Victoria has it in her to kill him, and derisively calls her 'woman'.
"The correct form of address is "your majesty"." (Bang!)
- Requisite Royal Regalia: the Koh-i-Noor diamond is an actual Crown Jewel of Britain, though without any werewolf-melting properties (that we know about).
- Shaky POV Cam
- Shout-Out: a couple of references to Robert Burns' poem To A Mouse.
- At the beginning of the episode, the Doctor tells Victoria's guard that he studied medicine with a Dr. Bell at the University of Edinburgh. Dr. Bell was one of Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle's teachers, and is likely the inspiration for Sherlock Holmes.
- The Doctor claims to be "from the township of Balamory"
- "Captain Reynolds," anybody?
- This Is No Time for Knitting: The Doctor asks Rose to help him with a giant telescope as they're being chased by a werewolf. Rose comments that it's hardly the time for stargazing. The Doctor replies, "Yes it is!" and uses the telescope to defeat the werewolf.
- Vertical Kidnapping: "And I'm telling you, I'll sleep well tonight with that thing's hide upon my wall." *walks over, looks around* "Must have crawled away to diAAAARRRRGGGGHHH!!!"
- Victorian Britain
- Warrior Monk
- You Look Familiar: Queen Victoria was last seen on the show sporting a Liverpool accent and snogging Jamie.
- You Shall Not Pass