Doctor Who
Tooth And Claw

Episode Report Card
Jacob Clifton: B | 2 USERS: A+
YOU GRADE IT
The Breaking Of Albion

The Doctor pulls Rose to her feet: 1979. "Hell of a year! China invades Vietnam...The Muppet Movie! Love that film. Margaret Thatcher -- urgh -- Skylab falls to Earth, with a little help from me...nearly took off my thumb." The Doctor steps out of the doors, talking about how much he loves his thumb. As though he wouldn't be him, if he lost it. Outside the TARDIS is...Scotland. Specifically, Scottish soldiers, surrounding them on all sides with their guns raised. Rose and the Doctor put up their hands, and the Doctor realizes that he's a hundred years off. "You will explain your presence, and the nakedness of this girl," says their leader, Captain Reynolds, who is a dick. So...ugly, silly, girlish clothes yes, but nakedness? I guess Victoria has reached this far. (Although not, apparently, the Protestant Reformation, considering the huge monastery of Saint Catherine around which this episode is built. Don't care; I don't trust Protestants. Or Catholics. Or anybody. I've been hurt. By werewolves!) The Doctor downshifts into Tennant's regular Scottish accent: "Are we in Scotland?" When Reynolds -- imagine, if you can, Cathica if she were an asshole -- asks how he can't know that, the Doctor smiles: "Oh, I'm dazed and confused. I've been chasing this...this wee naked child over hill and over dale. In't that right, ya timorous beastie?" "Beastie." Rose gives a dismal Scottish accent -- "Ooch, aye! I've been oot and aboot!" -- and the Doctor begs her not to do that. "Hoots mon!" He shakes his head. "No, really don't. Really." (Boreanaz never listened to that request either, no matter how loud we screamed.) The Doctor identifies himself to Reynolds as "Doctor James McCrimmon," who was, of course, a Companion to the Second Doctor, a piper named Jamie, and total hottie. "From the township of Balamory." He offers Reynolds the slightly psychic paper, promising credentials, and he suddenly has a Doctorate from the University of Edinburgh, and training under Doctor Joseph Bell, who was the real-life Sherlock Holmes. (The Second Doctor claimed to have studied under Joseph Lister, whom we've talked about, in 1888.) Inside the carriage, a woman's voice issues: "Let them approach." Reynolds isn't feeling that, but she won't be denied: "Let them approach."

Inside the coach is Pauline Collins, who's been on the show before, and was offered a Companion role in 1967, which she turned down. She's lovelier than the portraits of Victoria that we've seen. Which implies that she's ugly, it occurs to me: she's not. She is a pretty lady. Reynolds tells them to approach the carriage and "show all due deference." The Doctor salutes the Captain, and he and Rose approach. One of the footmen opens the door, revealing Queen Victoria. "Rose, might I introduce her Majesty Queen Victoria, Empress of India and Defender of the Faith," grins the Doctor, and Rose curtsies: "Rose Tyler, Ma'am. And my apologies...for being so naked." Rose laughs, but Victoria isn't interested: "I've had five daughters. It's nothing to me." She asks for the Doctor's credentials and is surprised -- as is the Doctor, so where did the thought come from? -- that he's been appointed by the Lord Provost as her Protector. The Doctor takes a second, and then poorly feigns having known this: "Then let me ask: why is Your Majesty traveling by road, when there's a train all the way to Aberdeen?" Victoria says simply that there was a tree on the line, and when the Doctor wonders if it was an accident, she nearly cracks a smile: "I am the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Everything around me tends to be planned." So an assassination. Rose gapes: "What, seriously? There's people out to kill you?" And the Queen's pretty awesome: "I'm quite used to staring down the barrel of a gun." Indeed. I appreciate this episode doing the work to make you just adore Victoria; she is a total fucking bad-ass. ...To a point.

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