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Doctor Who - Village of the Angels - Review

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© BBC Pictures
Episode: "Village of the Angels"
Directed by: Jamie Magnus Stone
Written by: Chris Chibnall and Maxine Alderton
Air date: 21 November 2021

Last week on Doctor Who, after a Weeping Angel takes control of the TARDIS, the Doctor manages to reboot all systems and get it out, but as a result everyone is left stranded in the Medderton village in 1967. The Doctor meets Professor Jericho and is reintroduced to Claire, who was sent back to this time in the season premiere. The group is trying to solve a mystery behind Claire's mysterious visions and impossible knowledge, but they are quickly surrounded by the Weeping Angels. Eventually the Doctor realizes that all the Angels are coming after Claire because she has an Angel locked in her mind and is slowly becoming one herself. Claire's angel is also revealed to be a rogue Angel, with knowledge of the Division, being a former member of its extraction squad. The Doctor tries to make a deal with the Angels to save Claire and to negotiate for the rogue Angel, but instead it offers the Doctor back to the Division, securing its own safety. Meanwhile Yaz and Dan get involved in the search for a missing girl named Peggy. After encountering a Weeping Angel they are sent back to 1901 where they find the girl and learn about the mass disappearance events that take place in the village in 1901 and 1961. All three witness the death of Peggy's grandparents, caught by the Angels one more time, and then reach a strange energy barrier that links the two years together. They are able to communicate with the elderly Mrs. Hayward, who identifies herself as an older Peggy who was left behind by the Angels to witness the history repeat itself, not able to stop it or save anyone. Yaz, Dan and Peggy watch across the barrier when the Doctor is betrayed by the rogue Angel and is turned into a Weeping Angel herself, being recalled to the Division. Additionally throughout the episode we check on Bel and Vinder who are trying to find each other, both visiting the planet Puzano but at a different point in time. Bel also learns that Azure has been looking for the Flux survivors and tricking them into being imprisoned in a Passenger.

Where do I start? The Weeping Angels are without a doubt one of the best villains of Doctor Who. The concept behind them is brilliant, but the execution can be tricky at times. In this episode they were truly a powerful and frightening force that I didn't know how the Doctor could possibly stop but I still expected her to. And then she did not. Honestly didn't see this one coming. The Doctor being turned into a Weeping Angel and forced to return to the Division is not something we can easily fix at the beginning of next episode. Certainly not in a satisfying way, so I'm expecting this one to take a little while. I'm very interested to learn more about the Division. The Angels being a part of it definitely makes things even more difficult for the Doctor. I'm looking forward to the conclusion, or at least some answers, to the Timeless Child storyline. I still have rather mixed feelings about it, but I continue to hope for the best. At the very least, I'm hoping for a great opportunity for Jodie Whittaker to shine. Coming back to the Angels, their growing ability to project themselves through images, drawings, video recording, or simply through someone's mind makes them more dangerous than ever. And let's not forget that we've already lost a couple of great companions and other memorable characters because of them. Stealing people's voice always makes me think of "Angel Bob" as well.

Outside of the Doctor, Claire and the Angels, we still have Yaz and Dan trying to survive the Flux events. I'm afraid the duo might be trapped in Medderton, or at least in the past for a while. I continue to enjoy Dan's character and the dynamics between the two companions. I wonder how their time stranded together will influence their relationships with the Doctor going forward. Peggy / Mrs. Hayward mainly served as the victim of the story. While Mrs. Hayward tried her best to warn people, asking them to evacuate the village and pay attention (count the stones), she sadly never had a chance to make a difference. Her fate is the proof for just how cruel the Weeping Angels are and how impossible the fight against them might feel. As a younger child Peggy surprised me with her stoic presence. She didn't react much to any of the tragedies around her and seemed strangely accepting of everything she's encountered, including her future self. It certainly made me think how her life must have been till this point to have her acting like this. On the other hand, the absolute highlight of the hour for me has to be Professor Jericho. He was genuinely curious and open to all the possibilities, he tried to help Claire and the Doctor and clearly never meant to leave them behind. But I especially loved his sheer determination not to blink and not to let the Angels win. His courage in the face of the danger was pretty inspiring and I hope this isn't the last time we see him on the show. Also, I did not recognize Kevin McNally at all and only realized it was him after watching the episode. Kudos on the memorable performance!

Finally, let's see where the Bel/Vinder storyline goes. So far we've been learning about the state of the universe through their experiences and post-Flux worlds are certainly not looking good. I wonder what's the endgame for Azure trapping people in a Passenger. Leverage against the Division perhaps? It feels like we're moving towards the confrontation between the Doctor and the Division, but also with Azure and Swarm right in the middle of it. Will the Doctor reunite with the Division against these two? Or perhaps Azure and Swarm turn out to be the lesser evil? Only one way to find out. Let's see what happens next.

Whovian notes and questions:
1. What's your favorite Weeping Angels story outside of "Blink"?
2. Which of these plots are you most interested in at the moment? The Doctor turned to Weeping Angel and recalled to Division? Yaz, Dan, Peggy and Professor Jericho trapped in 1901? Bel and Vinder on their journeys to find each other? Swarm and Azure collecting people and preparing for their next step? Or anything else happening on Earth or in this post-Flux reality?
3. There's an old fan theory regarding the Weeping Angels and the Time Lords. Are you familliar with it? Any thoughts after the events of this episode?

Memorable quotes:
1. Professor Jericho: "I've seen many things that are beyond my comprehension, Doctor. I was one of the first British soldiers into Belsen at the end of the war. If you think a few stone statues will destroy my equilibrium, you are mistaken."
2. Professor Jericho: "Please stop using my voice. It's a very clever trick, but most impolite without permission."
3. Professor Jericho: "How did you get in here?"
The Doctor: "Your door was open."
Professor Jericho: "It most certainly was not."
The Doctor: "Well, it was once I opened it. But let's not get bogged down in the order of things."

What did you think about "Village of the Angels"? Any favorite scenes, quotes or theories? Feel free to let us know in the comments. As always, thanks for reading!

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