Set back in the late nineteenth century, during the reign of Queen Victoria... specifically because she is actually THERE... "Tooth and Claw" pits The Doctor and Rose Tyler against a Lupine Wavelength Haemovariform (nee: Alien Werewolf) and some mad Catholic Monks who have somehow developed super-awesome Shaolin bo-fighting styles such that they wire-fu their way around the Torchwood manor house's entire compliment of staff and aristocrats.
I especially liked the touch where they shuck their brown robes for orange garb... which is rather typical for Shaolin monks.
Anyways, the episode starts with the wolves baiting their trap and continues with Rose and The Doctor talking their way into the company of Victoria Regina herself, who happens to be riding through the Scottish countryside thanks to a felled tree blocking her train's progress. The wolves (well, only one wolf, really... and a crap ton of mad monks with staves/guns) want the Queen specifically to infect her with the intelligent lycanthropy virus and usher in the "Reign of the Wolf" which the Doctor hints would be filled with steampunky glory.
Kinda makes me wish they had succeeded, really.
To make a long story short (too late), it seems that the Torchwood Estate was really built to be a trap for the Wolf, not the Queen, and after all the obligatory Whovian chase scenes where extras buy it and Rose, the Doctor, and any plot important characters survive, a MacGuffin is revealed to thwart the beast and save the day.
Really, "Tooth and Claw" is like most any bad Dr.Who episode in its conception, but somehow Russel T. Davies managed to produce an actually believable story arc, from its prologue to its filler scenes to its denouement. Maybe it's all lengths that Rose goes to in pulling a catchphrase from the queen or jokes about her "nakedness" or the primordial Torchwood roots, but nothing ever seems out of place or really all that stretched.
It's been forever, but I've actually managed to watch an episode of Dr.Who that I really rather enjoyed... and I had gotten to the point where I wasn't expecting to ever have that feeling in conjunction with this series again.
Plus, I was treated to the previews of the next episode which features both Anthony Steward Head (GILES!) and the return of Classic Who Companion K-9~! Things are definitely looking up!
Until tomorrow, Potatoes~