Rose, the Doctor, and Sir Robert engage in some heated and crazy...reading of library books. (If this had been a montage, we'd be golden, but as it is...) Rose reads about "biology, zoology," wondering if there's something about wolves they could find. She doesn't know that she's already that book. Sir Robert finds a book, and the Doctor gets very excited: "Look what your old dad found. Something fell to Earth." Which rose already knew. Rose is like, "A spaceship?" Call Torchwood! I'm kidding! "A shooting star," says Sir Robert: "In the year of our Lord 1540, under the reign of King James the Fifth, an almighty fire did burn in the pit." This particular pit -- by no means the only one that ever happened on this show -- is the Glen of Saint Catherine, just by the Monastery, he explains. (Patron saint of maidens and schoolteachers, notably, greatest of the virgins; and who of course died on the wheel, which goes round and round, and which these days burns like the sun.) Which was 300 years ago...didn't we already know that too? The Doctor explains that maybe "just a single cell survived," that it adapted slowly down the generations, and that it survived through the humans: "Host after host after host." Could be holy; really is fucking not. But why, Sir Robert wonders, would it want the Throne? "That's what it wants," Rose repeats. "It said so: the Empire of the Wolf."
The Doctor goes off on one of those sexy RTD monologues I love so very, very much: "Imagine it, the Victorian Age accelerated: starships and missiles fueled by coal and driven by steam. Leaving history devastated in its wake..." (Two weeks until I freak out on you about steampunk! The only things I like are Victorian etiquette and computers, with Ada Lovelace close behind. You know how much I hate science fiction, but dude: steampunk done properly is like a birthday present for your entire brain. The clothes alone!...Never mind. Two weeks.)
Victoria summons Sir Robert to her side: "If I am to die here," she says in a measured tone, ignoring his protests, "I would destroy myself rather than let that creature infect me. But that's no matter. I ask only that you find some place of safekeeping for something far older and more precious than myself." She opens her bag, and the Doctor jokes that this is not at all the time to worry about valuables. She thanks him for his opinion, wonderfully, but explains that actually, idiot, there is nothing more valuable than this: the Koh-I-Noor. Imagine if the Halliburton quarterly report gleamed in a thousand facets and 106 carats; imagine empire made real, made beautiful, with all the blood wiped off. There is nothing grosser than diamonds, I hate them. This one or any of them, I don't care. Gross me out. Diamonds are tacky in the exact same way cocaine is. Maybe if I thought they were pretty, I'd revise my opinion -- I'm shallow and a fake, and I care more about outsides than insides -- but sadly, they don't do it for me, so I can't ignore the other stuff. Everyone recognizes the stone, and the Queen wonders if "its legend is now coming true," since whoever owns is said to be fated to die. (Well, that's one of them: another says it only kills men, but brings women luck; another says that whoever owns it rules the world. In this story, none of those things is true; it's just the catalyst that makes the Endeavor work properly, and sight Heaven correctly, like the Doctor. Who brings death to everyone that loves him, male or female, without regard to gender, because he's totally above that.) The Doctor says that anything you own, if you own it long enough, could predict your death, because everything dies. Almost everything. He holds out his hand and the Queen hands the awful thing over. Rose pokes at it; the Doctor slides his sexy glasses down his nose to look close, getting more ratlike in the process. Rose wonders how much it's worth: "The wages of the entire planet for a whole week," the Doctor murmurs. Gross! Rose peers at it and says it's a good job Jackie's not there: "She'd be fighting the Wolf off with her bare hands for that thing." The Doctor nods and exhales: "And she'd win." Fucking word! They laugh, it's actually- and not fake-adorable. Sir Robert starts to wonder where the Wolf is, but nobody pays attention to him, which means that the Wolf is imminent. The Doctor asks the Queen why she's carting the Koh-i-Noor all over the Highlands, and she explains that, every year, she goes on a (note) "pilgrimage" to Helier & Carew, the Royal Jewellers, at Hazelhead. "The stone needs recutting," she says, against Rose's protest that it's already perfect. "My late husband never thought so."