After the confusing mess that was “Once, Upon Time,” Doctor Who: Flux came back beautifully this week and made up for that folly with “Village of the Angels.” While last week’s episode was a frustrating hodgepodge of mostly uninteresting storylines, this one was a suspenseful and disturbing episode featuring the terrifying Weeping Angels as the main antagonists of the episode. The angels’ presence and the chaos they wreak are scary enough to make you jump out of your seat. This is the Weeping Angels like we’ve never seen them before.
While the episode is still set back by lack of character development, there’s still enough going for it that makes that a forgivable flaw. In fact, I’m starting to think that lack of character development and storyline resolution may be intentional, and that Doctor Who: Flux may be serving as a segway into a major storyline we will see in the upcoming specials and perhaps even the next season.
Doctor Who: Flux ended on a major cliffhanger last week when a Weeping Angel took over the controls of the TARDIS. “Village of the Angels” picks up afterward with the Doctor (Jodie Whittaker), Yaz (Mandip Gil), and Dan (John Bishop) landing in an English village in 1967 where a little girl named Peggy has mysteriously gone missing. While the Doctor is more interested in finding out what in the area is making her sonic screwdriver so hot, Yaz and Dan join in the search for Peggy. In that search, they painfully come across a Weeping Angel and end up in 1901.
Meanwhile, in the same village, we come across the character Claire (Annabel Scholey) who we last saw falling victim to a Weeping Angel in “The Halloween Apocalypse.” She is undergoing psychiatric evaluation from Professor Eustacius Jericho (Kevin McNally), a process that is interrupted by the Doctor who has tracked her down and recognizes her. The Doctor and Professor Jericho quickly make the painful discovery that the area is swarming with Weeping Angels and that there is a strange connection between the Angels and Claire. I won’t spoil where all of this is going, but this episode ends on a truly creepy note that reminds us how terrifying the Weeping Angels really are.
There’s also a side story featuring the character Bel (Thaddea Graham) who was introduced in last week’s episode as Vinder’s (Jacob Anderson) love interest who is carrying his child. This subplot involves her encountering another survivor named Namaca (Blake Harrison) who along with many others seems enthralled by the messages of Azure and the character Passenger. While I don’t find that this storyline was all that enthralling, I must admit Thaddea Graham is making Bel an interesting character.
My one issue with the episode has already been mentioned, but I will expound a little. And then I will explain why I can let it go.
Bel is supposed to be a love interest to Vinder, who we’ve seen in every Doctor Who: Flux episode so far. Bel has only been in the last two episodes, and yet she’s already more interesting than he is. It’s really hard to take a love story seriously when we haven’t had much of a chance to see Vinder develop as a character, which has been my frustration with Doctor Who: Flux trying to do way too much with too many new characters in just six episodes. And considering the fact that there are only two episodes left in this season, I’m wondering how they are supposed to wrap this up.
However, I’m beginning to find myself becoming okay with them not wrapping things up in the next two episodes. Why? I may be wrong, but I don’t think wrapping things up this season is the intent. After Doctor Who: Flux, Jodie Whittaker is supposed to be in three more specials. Are they going to wrap up the Timeless Child storylines in the specials? Moreover, there is a possibility that Yaz and Dan could stay on as companions in the next season of Doctor Who. Could Vinder be another companion or at least a recurring character in the next season? Is Flux meant to be a segway or teaser into a bigger story that is to come?
Time will tell if that’s the case, but it would make sense of all the craziness we’ve had so far. Now let’s get to why “Village of the Angels” is the best episode of Doctor Who: Flux so far.
This is the first time we have had the Weeping Angels as the main villains of an episode since 2012, and they always make for a suspenseful episode. We first met them in 2007 in the eerie season three episode “Blink.” That episode is considered to be the very best modern episode of Doctor Who, and that is because the Weeping Angels are such compelling bad guys. In this episode, they are a whole new level of scary. There is one bit where they use Professor Jericho’s own voice to taunt him, and it truly makes for a spine-tingling bit.
We also finally start getting more teasers about the Division, the Doctor’s former employers who wiped her memory prior to the iteration audiences first met when Doctor Who premiered in 1963. Questions remain unanswered, but it seems like we are about to start getting somewhere with this storyline.
We also get compelling performances from Mandip Gill as Yaz and John Bishop as Dan, the latter of whom is becoming more and more fun and compelling as a companion. As I’ve said before, I am really hoping that we will see more of him in at least the specials. Their experience in 1901 has some truly bone-chilling moments, but I’ve said enough as it is. Watch the episode.
I will say it again: this is the best episode of Doctor Who: Flux so far, and it ends in a way that makes me eager to see what happens in next week’s episode in which the Ood will finally make an appearance. With strong performances, a mostly focused storyline, and some chilling moments, “Village of the Angels” is Doctor Who at its finest.
Chris Chibnall may still have a chance at leaving on a high note after all.