The fourth part of the latest season of Doctor Who is here, so naturally I have further thoughts. Also spoilers. Also Angels.
But as is traditional around these parts, I’d hate for anyone to wander into my musings by accident and have anything spoiled for them. So just in case — just in case — that’s you, I won’t start actually talking about Village Of The Angels until after the music video. Lurk beyond there, and there will be spoilers.
OK, so that was more like it. Sure, the whole Flux storyline is still being played out, and there’s still a lot more that’s being teased, but it’s being teased much more slowly, with room to breathe (and even blink!), making for a much more satisfying Doctor Who experience.
Central to this, naturally are the Angels, and the way that Village of The Angels treats them. It’s a wonderful bit of juxtaposition that matches up something that I’ve long thought makes for the best Doctor Who stories. Sure, you can have universal threats, but there’s also a lot of drama to be made out of smaller scale stories.
Village Of The Angels has both, because while the Flux is clearly creeping in on the village as our galactic threat, the Doctor, Claire and Professor Eustacius Jericho face a smaller scale, much more tense threat from what amounts to just a handful of Angels.
Although every single time they mentioned Professor Jericho, my head went here. Just me?
The tone is remiscent of some very classic Who — stories like The Daemons and Curse of the Fendahl come to mind — but with a small scale that means that most of the visual effects add a lot to the way the story plays out.
There are some plot points that are eminently obvious — I think pretty much any long-term Doctor Who watcher, and especially anyone familiar with past Angel stories would have picked that Mrs Heyward’s first name was going to be Margaret — and a few smaller story oddities. Like these ones, for example:
- Does everyone have to look at an Angel now? There’s a couple of instances of Angel movement where at least one character would have been looking at them. Especially the Doctor.
- Speaking of the Doc, what was her plan when running down the tunnel, claiming she could “outrun” the Angels. She knows that’s not possible…
- Lovely touch reversing the polarity of the neutron flow in a story set in the 1960s.
- What was Mrs Heyward/Peggy on about with the gravestones? I mean, yeah, they’re Angels, but an Angel statue is not a gravestone, and in any case she rather explicitly knows that getting someone to go look at an Angel is effectively sentencing them to quantum death. Why would she do that? Wasn’t she trying to get everyone to leave?
- Bel is back, and I’m firmly on Team-Make-Bel-A-TARDIS-Team-Companion. Who’s with me?
(well, I hope she is, anyway)
- Claire must somehow make her way back to 2021, and not that much older than she is in 1967, because we’ve already seen her, and she already knew who The Doctor was. And she can’t have taken the 54 year route.
- Jean and Gerald have fallen directly out of every 60s era British drama (or drama set in that era). I don’t know why having been attacked by one Angel, they don’t walk over the top of the village green rather than directly past the Angel that they know is… well, and Angel. Although I didn’t realise (until I looked up the actor’s details) that he’s actually a Sea Devil in disguise. Which can only mean that the Myrka is lurking nearby…
- I do appreciate how the over-arching story isn’t afraid to split up the Tardis crew for dramatic effect, although I’ve no real idea how the village can be split into 1901 Medderton and 1967 Medderton and have newspaper clippings about it in the “real world” that Dan’s from. I guess it’s the Flux’s fault.
- I 100% accept that I have no idea why there’s value in capturing spacefarers into a Passenger, though they’re presumably sacrifices. But hey, I’ll take more Bel where I can get her.
- The music is EXCELLENT. The score is good, the jump scare effects are good, and even the remixed end theme, with callbacks to classic Who themes is top notch stuff.
- Mid credits scenes? What is this, a Marvel movie?
- Why did the Angels throw a ROCK through Professor Jericho’s window, precisely?
- OK, so “The Division” is going to be our big, X-Files style mystery organisation that knows about the Doctor’s past, including the unknown Ruth Doctor. Am I alone in NOT wanting to know particularly?
I’m keeping to my promise to not rank individual stories in the Flux season, because the overarching story — and especially the way that show runner and primary script writer Chris Chibnall is teasing out the plot — makes that a tad redundant.
However, I will say that Village Of The Angels has easily been my favourite ep of the series so far. There’s only a pair of episodes left to wrap this up — and to really work out if the journey so far has been worth it.
Next time: Survivors Of The Flux