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TOOTH AND CLAW
Despite the title (been used before and in DOCTOR WHO) and the unoriginal idea (monks and werewolves were, I believe in the dark BROTHERHOOD OF THE WOLF) and the silly attitude of both Rose and the Doctor (could anyone stand either of them in this?) this has a lot of good stuff in it. For one, it's tense all the way through. For another, it has good guest performances even if the two regulars are acting like prats and rude house guests. At one point, Rose even stops just to watch a man killed by the werewolf and it seemed, at first viewing, just to see it kill him! He, Sir Reynolds, could have escaped. What I really don't get is why didn't the women in the kitchen save some of the mistletoe to give everyone to wear around their necks, rather than putting it all in the cooking pot? I mean it's a nice scene that they save Rose...and to be honest, despite all reason, I really thought the werewolf was going to get her. It was close enough. Sir Robert probably bought the Doc some time but he, too, it seemed, could have survived. But really, why not just get the mistletoe? And what happened to the monks outside? Another thing is the creature mentioned that if it scratched the Queen just once, it would be inside her. This is not clear. It DID seem to scratch her but we're not totally sure. If it did, would the entire monster take her over and the entire life form be her now? It seemed to have said that it did that to the boys it took over, hosting in their bodies while their souls died. Was the Queen just an infected werewolf now or a total alien life form IF she was bit? We never really find out.
Honestly, I prefer my werewolf stories a bit...more gothic. Not that this isn't somewhat gothic and exciting. It is but I would rather see SLEEPY HOLLOW like forests and maybe bridges and more night scenes, not a flat open field. I also like the werewolf to be...well, part of the man and the man unwilling or even nice. I mean here we have an alien man or an alien evil man inside a dead boy's body that grew up under the alien influence or something...but the point is IT is evil and the man is evil to begin with. The werewolf is evil and uncontrollable...I think. THe monks only seem to save themselves by wearing the mistletoe. Having an evil man turn into an evil wolfman/werewolf (that's another debate altogether--I prefer the WOLFMAN type over the full wolf body from AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON and THE HOWLING) makes the drama that could unfold a bit...static and one note. Still, I guess the show wanted to avoid the tortured soul kind of thing that BEING HUMAN, THE WOLFMAN, THE WEREWOLF OF LONDON and others have done. I hated WOLF with Jack Nicholson so if they were going to do it that way, I prefer this. Still, the remake of the WOLFMAN looks stunning in the promos.
All that said, nothing here is terrible. The chase is exciting. The CGI work, while not really scary, is proper and good and does the job. AND there are some wide eyed moments as when the Doctor puts his head to the door to listen and the creature is directly on the other side of the door doing the same thing. There's also Rose's near death and the thing howling at the moon, which to be honest, lasted longer and was more effective in the scenes to next time from the previous episode. The Queen seemed to be acting strange throughout and wasn't a particularly sympathetic character no matter how hard the actress and the writer tried to make her that. The Doc didn't seem to comfort her much either as he wouldn't since he doesn't believe in an afterlife AT LEAST NOT YET. I'm not crazy about the actress either and her last appearance in DW was terrible (THE FACELESS ONES). At least, here, I can understand her.
Rose's bet of trying to make the Queen say "I am not amused" didn't amuse me. It was trite and silly and stupid. The Doctor encouraged this. He's also quite rude to Robert in this. And again, we have a gay might be evil type thing. When Robert tried to throw the thick Doctor warnings, the Doctor tells Robert later that his wife was gone and the servants were bald and atheletic and healthy, "I thought you were happy." Meaning GAY, get it? So Robert might have been gay but wasn't. Again, I"m am not amused. I don't get RTD. For a gay writer he puts in these references that might be neutral, might be anti gay, or might just be gay but aren't. Playing it both ways. Again, I understand some of that in that this cannot be overt but really...
The Doctor and Rose get on my nerves in this. Their attitudes are awful and the Queen saying so is correct but she's just off, too. And she creates TORCHWOOD, the bane of my DW fandom world. I hate TW.
Still, I was kind of dreading this one but it was a dread uncalled for. There's action a plenty, some good chases, good fights, a lying Queen (Reynolds took care of the main monk indeed), and the Doctor does figure it out eventually in a good scene. Alot of it doesn't quite jell together but the guests are competent and interesting...moreso than the Doctor and Rose. The alien and the monster are chilling in many of the shots. In some shots, the werewolf does look a bit like a cartoon but that can be ignored as it's shot at great angles and with some great speed and shadows. Not a bad ep and a classic compared to NEW EARTH.