Doctor Who: Flux – Village of the Angels Review

Flux reaches its fourth chapter and pretty much takes a side-step to tell a new Weeping Angels story, though admittedly does tie it into the overarching narrative right at the end for a cracking cliffhanger. The story by itself though was a pretty entertaining use of the only real “iconic” new villains since the 2005 series return. So let’s take a closer look then!

Synopsis:

Devon, November 1967. A little girl has gone missing and Professor Eustacius Jericho is conducting psychic experiments. In the village graveyard, there is one gravestone too many. Why is Medderton known as “The Cursed Village”? And what do the Weeping Angels want?

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

The Good:

“…. I think I’ll close the door now.”

It’s been a while since the Weeping Angels were actually the focal point of a (TV) story so it was nice to see, the whole “they move when you don’t look at them” thing and “blink once and they’re suddenly in your face” jump scare are still really effective, probably because they don’t get featured too much. The Doctor, Yaz and Dan arrive in a small village in 1967 after a Weeping Angel took control of the TARDIS and end up meeting Claire Brown (Annabel Scholey) who they actually met in Part 1 before she was zapped back in time to this date by an Angel, and a professor named Eustacius Jericho (Kevin McNally). The Prof is experimenting on Claire because she has moments where she is seemingly possessed and we soon find out its because she’s literally possessed by an Angel, taking the whole “what holds the image of an angel becomes an angel” plot point to its most extreme. We then get a good chunk of Angels assaulting the Professor’s house and breaking in, leading to The Doctor, Claire and Prof. Jericho to take refuge in the basement. The Doctor decides to speak to the Angle in Claire’s mind and its there the Angel reveals its hiding from its own kind and the Angels assaulting the house are a retrieval squad sent by The Division…

Yes, The Division are back on the table again and Claire’s Angel claims to have all of The Doctor’s stolen Division memories stored in her and will return them if she helps him… or her, it’s hard to tell. The Doctor and Claire are brought back to reality when Jericho shows them a bunch of Angels having broken in and part way down the stairs as well as one talking through the TV in Jericho’s voice, which was good fun. The trio start to escape down a hidden stone passageway but even the walls and roof are full of Angels trying to grab them for an extra bit of horror imagery. While Jericho is zapped to the past The Doctor and Claire escape, only for it to be revealed that Claire’s Angel has made a new deal with the Angel retrieval force to capture The Doctor instead of it and soon our heroine Time Lord is changed to stone and teleported away…

It was a good use of the Angels and given they’re one of the few species to be referenced both as a Dark Times species and even by Time Lords in the past it was logical to rope them into the whole Division thing.

The Bad:

Claire getting the mind probe! … The non-lethal human equivalent, anyway.

While not bad as such I have to say that the rest of the story didn’t grab me any where near as much. Yaz and Dan help out a search for a missing child when they get they zapped to the past, meeting the missing child also in the past and to cap it all off finding that the edge of the town is just empty space. They eventually find a “wall” back to 1967 but its seemingly too deadly to cross but they are able to both watch what happens to The Doctor and talk to an old lady who was actually the same small girl who got stuck in the past, never actually managing to get back to her own time apart from the old fashioned way. Like I said, it was fine, but not that interesting… plus the child wasn’t that great acting-wise, and the two relatives who were out looking for her were even worse. At one point they saw the edge of the town was the middle of outer space then got zapped back in time by a stone angel and still acted stupid when they found her, not mentioning or even seeming that bothered about anything that happened. Killed a lot of the tension and atmosphere.

There were also some scenes with Vinder’s lost love Bel on one of the last remaining planets that wasn’t all that interesting either. I think she’s the standout of the series so far in terms of actual bad acting. I don’t really point that kind of thing out a lot in my reviews but she’s not great to put it politely and some of her lines are even worse.

The Continuity:

The Doctor tries to figure out her own timeline again…

The Weeping Angels first appeared in 10th Doctor story “Blink” but a lot of the lore used in this episode was established in the 11th Doctor two-parter “The Time of Angels / Flesh and Stone”. The Thirteenth Doctor has already met the Weeping Angels in the comic “A Little Help From My Friends”. Also the idea of Angels reaching out of solid stone was used in the Fifth Doctor audio story “Fallen Angels”.

As for non-Angel or non-Flux related continuity? Nothing really. The Doctor uses the Second Doctor’s classic line “When I say Run, Run.” and the Third Doctor’s iconic line “reverse the polarity of the neutron flow” during the course of the episode though, so plenty of winks and nods!

Overall Thoughts:

A lovely atmospheric shot to end the review on!

“Village of the Angels” was much like last week’s Flux episode in that I really enjoyed the majority of the episode that featured The Doctor and her ever increasingly mysterious hidden past but didn’t really find the rest that interesting. Thankfully unlike last week the uninteresting bits weren’t featured much, leading to a better score overall. Hopefully it can all come together in the final third of the overall story!

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