The Oriental-Caucasian ninja-monks were a rather bizarre to start the episode. This may seem like a discriminatory opinion, but I think Western viewers would have been more impressed than Asian viewers upon seeing this. Sure, the choreography is cool and they’ve got their kung fu fighting on, but to me, it felt more like very successful cosplaying.

After this speed bump, the rest of the episode proceeded quite nicely. I enjoy period drama, especially those that deal with British monarchy. This episode was not exactly an accurate historical treatment, unlike my favorite period movies (Pride & Prejudice, The Young Victoria), but it had an entertaining portrayal of Queen Victoria and detailed looks at costume and little traditions.

When the entire mansion turned out to be a brilliant and carefully thought-out plan by Prince Albert and Sir Robert’s father, I marveled the the way the authors were able to piece together nonfiction with fiction. The Koh-i-Noor diamond is infamous for being ‘cursed’. The interpretation of the ensuing royal heirs’ hemophilia and fondness for bloodsport is a clever way to suggest lycantrophy. I particularly enjoy it when the series appropriates historical facts for its own purposes. Queen Victoria’s character was very entertaining because she was very proper, uptight, and oh-so-British despite all the chaos ensuing around her. She even had the gumption to exile Rose and the Doctor from the land.

I wondered at the episode’s treatment of royalty, because suggesting that they are werewolves is rather irreverent. I’ve read news reports of the British becoming extremely angry after even the slightest insults of the Queen, so I wonder how the series got away with calling them werewolves. Perhaps it is because Doctor Who is such an iconic part of their culture.

The episode did not impart any life-changing lessons, but I enjoyed it just the same. I think the writers developed it this way to focus more on the new Doctor’s personality rather than take attention away from him. His charm was highlighted by all the jokes he exchanged with Rose, as well as lines like “I suggest a brisk walk” or “Oh, your father got all the brains, didn’t he?”. Also, the previous episodes were rather heavy — regeneration, Christmas Invasion, dealing with death — so a sarcastic and funny episode was fitting.

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