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(Review) Doctor Who: Flux - Village of the Angels

Welcome back!  Has everyone had enough time to settle down after last week's chaotic episode? 

We're starting the second half of Series 13 this week.  There are plenty of unanswered (and intriguing) questions to be resolved with just three episodes left.  Can showrunner Chris Chibnall match the energy of the first half and give us a satisfying conclusion to this adventure?   When last we left the Doctor, Yaz, and Dan, they were dealing with the small fact that a Weeping Angel hijacked the TARDIS.  Just another day in the Time Vortex, right?   Where do we go from here?   Let's jump into, "Village of the Angels."

 

(Warning:  Spoilers ahead!)

 

Plot Summary:

The TARDIS is taken over by a Weeping Angel, and it brings the Doctor and crew to 1967.  They've landed in a village where everyone is looking for a missing young girl named Peggy.  Meanwhile, an old woman warns of the danger to come.  It turns out she's onto something, because there are Weeping Angels everywhere.  They're looking for that mysterious woman named Claire who we saw earlier in "The Halloween Apocalypse."  It turns out she's hiding a secret that has huge consequences for the Doctor. 

Unfortunately, Yaz and Dan lose their encounter with a Weeping Angel and are transported back to 1901 in the same location.  No matter the year, that town is troubled.  This leaves the Doctor, Claire, and a Doctor Jericho to try to fight off the Weeping Angel squad.  After a few twists and turns, we discover that the Weeping Angels have a huge role in the Doctor's erased memories, and her past has come back to haunt her.

 

Observations:

  • The Doctor Who on BBC America Twitter accounted tweeted a reminder that yesterday was the 6th anniversary of Clara Oswald's "death," and we wondered for just a second if Claire Brown could end up being one of Clara's many lives in the Doctor's time stream.  Also, actress Annabel Scholey looks a little like Jenna Coleman.   No such luck, but that would have been one hell of a surprise. 

 

  • In any case, Claire is working with a Professor Jericho in an attempt to understand the visions she's been having.  It turns out that Weeping Angel she encountered sent her back in time to 1965, so she's been there for two years at this point.  When she starts going into something resembling a seizure, it becomes clear she's been taken over by an Angel.  That makes her immediately fascinating, and the Angels even creepier than usual.

 

  • Meanwhile, the Doctor, Yaz, and Dan are trying to deal with the Weeping Angel who is running the TARDIS.  There has been at least one spot in every episode this series where the audio mix leaves us unable to hear what's being said, and this was that moment.  As far as we can tell, the Doctor rebooted the TARDIS to eject the Angel. 

 

  • (Thankfully the audio was fine for the rest of the night.)

 

  • The Angel set the TARDIS for the same village where Claire is in 1967.  Going to go out on a limb and say that's not a coincidence, but it definitely feels like a trap.

 

  • Oh, Bel's back, still looking for Vinder.  What's your theory about why we're all watching this couple try to find each other?  The best one we've heard so far is that they're the Doctor's parents.  Bel mentions something about her and Vinder spending their honeymoon near "the academy."  The Time Lord Academy, perhaps? 

 

  • Bel lands on the planet Pizanno, where someone is "helping" Flux survivors.  Yeah, no way that's going to work out well.

 

  • The Doctor, Claire, and Professor Jericho have to fight off the army of Weeping Angels trying to break into Jericho's house.  This "base under siege" notion is a tried-and-true Doctor Who battle.  The stakes are higher than usual, because the Doctor has lost people to the Angels before.  (Hey there, Amy and Rory.)

 

  • The pace is slower than last week so far, but this week feels like much more of a threat.

 

  • Yaz and Dan lose their encounter with a Weeping Angel and are sent back to the same village in 1901.  That means the Doctor shouldn't be able to find them, right?  Otherwise, she could have gone to see Amy and Rory.  However, we don't buy that Chibnall would have the Doctor run around by herself for the final stretch of Series 13, so let's see how this gets fixed.

 

  • The two companions find Peggy, who is now the only person in the town, because the Angels zapped everyone else (but left behind a witness.)  Oh, and the town seems to have been removed from time and space.  Other than that, it's just another Sunday.

 

  • It turns out that Claire had a vision of a Weeping Angel.  That vision turned into her being possessed, because that which contains an image of a Weeping Angel becomes an Angel itself.  Man, these guys are scary. 

 

  • The Doctor uses her "mind meld" powers to talk to the Weeping Angel who has possessed Claire.  (Side note:  It would be great to see the Doctor use this skill this more often.)  This is where things elevate to another level.  This Angel is on the run from the others.  Turns out it, as well as the rest of them, work for the Division!  Hello!  This new chapter of the Weeping Angels backstory opens all sorts of possibilities down the road. 

 

  • This fugitive Angel knows everything about the Division (or is it just "Division?"), including the Doctor's erased memories.  The Angel has a deal - help me, and I'll tell you what you need to know about your history and also spare Claire.  Unfortunately Professor Jericho snaps the Doctor and Claire out of it before the Time Lord can make a final decision about the deal.

 

  • How long will we have to wait before Big Finish starts their own line of Division audio adventures?

 

  • Turns out the "savior" on Pizanno is Azure, who is stealing people via Passenger, but why?  Don't know, but Bel knows all about Passenger and is out of there.

 

  • Peggy's elderly relatives lose two encounters with Weeping Angels, and that apparently kills them.  That's not how this works, is it?  In any case, the couple was annoying, so this is not a great loss.

 

  • The Weeping Angels can talk now?  Good.  That adds an extra level of the harm they can cause with psychological warfare.  That won't help us sleep, mind you, but it's good for the show.

 

  • These scenes with Yaz, Dan, and Peggy are the slowest part of the episode.  They're just sort of wandering around, and it mostly feels low-energy until we get to the end where the 1901 and 1967 towns meet.  Turns out Peggy is the old woman, so she's been stuck for 66 years.  That wouldn't seem to bode well for Yaz and Dan.   Also, are we clear why the Weeping Angels also attacked in 1901?  The 1967 situation seems to be a trap for the Doctor, but what's this one about?  Maybe we'll find out next week.

 

  • The Doctor, Claire, and Professor Jericho escape the Weeping Angels at the House, only to run into a new army of them at the edge of the village that bumps up against the 1901 town.  Why aren't the Angels attacking now?  Turns out our fugitive Angel cut a deal with the extraction team and gave them the Doctor!  To make matters worse, the Angels tell her she's being "recalled to Division," and she turns into a Weeping Angel!

 

  • WHAT?

 

  • That's where we check out, apart from a quick mid-closing credits scene featuring Bel and Vinder just missing each other on Pizanno.  Please let this have a good pay-off.

 

Final Thoughts:

"Village of the Angels" is another entertaining episode.  It took a little while to get going, and the Yaz/Dan/Peggy scenes were a little flat.  However, the tension increased over the course of the story, and all of the Weeping Angels/Doctor/Division material was outstanding.  Watching the Doctor turn into a Weeping Angel at the end was a jaw-dropping moment.  We have no idea where next week is going, but Kate Stewart is back on the scene, and we're excited about that.

Assuming next year's specials are independent of this storyline, we've only got two episodes left to wrap up this adventure.  Chris Chibnall has created the most exciting and intriguing Doctor Who storyline in years, and we're cautiously optimistic he'll bring it all home in a satisfying resolution.  How about you?

See you back here next week!

 

Doctor Who Flux Village of the AngelsGoing against Weeping Angels is always stressful.  (pic via independent.co.uk)

 

 

 

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