Doctor Who s02e02: Tooth and Claw

Tooth and claw
A review by Nalini Haynes
  • Director: Euros Lyn
  • Writer: Russell T Davies
  • Stars: David Tennant, Billie Piper, Pauline Collins

Kung Fu monks take over Torchwood manor, imprisoning the rightful inhabitants.

The Doctor (Tennant) and Rose (Piper) arrive in 1979 to visit Barcelona… except it’s not 1979, it’s 1879. And it’s not Barcelona, it’s Scotland, near Torchwood manor…

Queen Victoria’s train was sabotaged by a tree on the line. Instead of instructing her burly guards to remove the tree post-haste, Queen Victoria heads to Torchwood Manor for the night.

A cage holding a sickly-looking young man with black eyes terrifies the prisoners in the basement.

Rose discovers a maid hiding in a wardrobe when Rose looks for suitable clothing to cover her ‘nakedness’ (bare legs). The maid tells Rose everyone was taken prisoner – about 2 minutes before Rose and the maid are taken prisoner.

When the full moon rises, the caged man turns into a werewolf. [dun, dun, DUNNNNN]

It’s not clear why the monks put the man in the cage. As a man he seemed harmless enough;  as soon as he transformed, he broke out of the cage. I guess the cage was to build tension and buy the prisoners time to escape.

‘Tooth and Claw’ is a cross between a historical episode and a mild horror story. Rose bets the Doctor she can get Queen Victoria to say ‘We are not amused’; this and other historical references may cause history buffs to squee. Although there are grisly deaths, what is shown on screen clearly has a family audience in mind; no blood, no gore, and a focus on tension rather than the grisly. Highly recommended for family viewing.

Also note the Torchwood references in EVERY EPISODE SO FAR THIS SEASON.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 4/5 stars

My review copy is part of the Doctor Who series 1 – 4 box set on bluray; thanks to Roadshow.