***The following review and contains spoilers for 13.04 as well as the "next time" trailer for 13.05, so please watching them before reading.***
I was impressed with tonight’s episode of Doctor Who
, titled “Village of the Angels.” Weeping Angels are one of my favorite villains/creatures of the series, but I was afraid that the episode would be ruined by having everything else jammed in it like last week. I was happy to be wrong.
Unlike the first three episodes, especially last week’s, the story was much more linear (as linear as it can be in a time travel show). There was one main story thread that was split by the characters being split up, and then there was the side story with Bel (Thaddea Graham). Whereas I would have preferred the action not stop to make room for Bel and Vinder (Jacob Anderson), it didn’t feel squashed in like last time. The episode was much more cohesive as a whole, and aside from Azure (Rochenda Sandall), there weren’t other alien creatures, and it didn’t feel like random things were happening.
The main storyline with the Angels and our characters trying to escape felt like a classic (new series) episode. I loved how they brought in the idea of an image of an Angel being an Angel, because we’ve seen that before, and they took the idea to the extreme as Claire (Annabel Scholey) was seen transforming partially in moments. I also think the writers did a really good job of explaining what Angels were to any potential new viewers, and it gave everyone else a quick reminder of the basics, without making the episode feel like there was too much exposition.
Thankfully, Yaz (Mandip Gill) and Dan (John Bishop) were also put to better use this episode, and I was happy to get to see them work together and build more of a rapport.
I also really was pleased with the characters of Claire and Jericho (Kevin McNally). I especially loved Jericho’s bravery and his defiance of the Angels. They are used to everyone running scared. I also enjoyed how the Angels talked to him in his own voice, trying to take him off his game, and it was creepy when it came out of the television.
I appreciated the idea that the Angel was actually hiding inside Claire’s mind and the whole way, narratively, they showed the Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) in her mind talking to the Angel. I thought that an Angel going rogue and wanting the Doctor’s help was kind of interesting idea and definitely unexpected.
I’m not sure completely how I feel yet about the Division part of the storyline. I have to let the episode sit with me and watch it again. That being said, the idea that the Division would use even Angels to do their work was intriguing, and it does make sense that they would want to recall the Doctor with all the trouble she’s been causing. As long as Chibnall doesn’t retcon more of the classic history, I can probably be okay with it.
The Doctor turning into the Angel at the end was a really cool looking effect. I can’t say I quite understand the meaning of it, but it was definitely a great WTF cliffhanger.
I did also want to mention the promo for next time. It seems like the Doctor doesn’t show up for a bit and Dan and Yaz perhaps will be on their own for a few years. As much as I want them to be safe, I like the idea that perhaps the Doctor doesn’t always win and they had to be on their own. As long as they are eventually rescued I can be down with it.
The episode had all the makings of a thrilling episode. They have been blasting us with so much information recently, this one felt paced right: quick moving without being completely confusing. In fact, I was on the edge of my seat in the best way. I am really excited for next week; I just hope it moves me the same way.RECAP:
Professor Eustatius Jericho is running an experiment on Claire Brown in 1967. His control questions for the lie detector, however, don’t go as planned and he thinks there’s something wrong with the machine when it picks up that the year she was born and the date it is now as her telling a lie.
Meanwhile, a priest gets a note to “leave now.” An elder man and woman, Gerald and Gene, are searching for their ten-year-old great niece named Peggy.
Claire says “it’s happening” and goes into some kind of physical distress, Jericho takes notes that there is no discernible trigger. Then in a voice not quite her own, she says that there is no time, the end begins again now, and there is no escape for them. In Claire’s own voice she says that “the Angel has the TARDIS.”
Back in the present, the Angel once again is going at the TARDIS controls. The Doctor tells Yaz and Dan not to blink, and she attempts something risky. Rebooting the system will eject the quantum life forms. They need to let the Angel come as close as possible and then blink. They do and the Angel disappears. The Doctor worries, however, that they have arrived where and when the Angels wanted them to be.
The elder man, Gerald is trying to use the TARDIS phone to call the police. The Doctor tells Yaz and Dan to talk to them as she wanders off (after stating she won’t wander off); her Sonic is hot and acting up.
An older woman, Mrs. Hayward (Penelope Ann McGhie) tells the priest to count the graves in the grave yard, because it doesn’t stay the same, but the doesn’t believe in superstition...
Claire asks Jericho what she said. He says the machine recorded it and talks about the readings. The Doctor enters saying that the readings set off her Sonic. She whips out her psychic papers which say she is from the Institute of Psychic Investigation.JERICHO:
How did you get in here?DOCTOR:
Your door was open.JERICHO:
It most certainly was not!DOCTOR:
Well, it was once I opened it, but let’s not get bogged down in the order of things.
She sees Claire and realizes her Sonic has been reacting to Claire and not the experiments. The experiments are because Claire has been having premonitions. The Doctor sees a drawing of an Angel and rips it up so it doesn’t come to life.
Claire feels sick and goes in the bathroom. When she looks in the mirror she has stone angel wings.
Meanwhile, the priest is counting the graves and realists there is an extra statue of an Angel. He disappears as Mrs. Hayward looks on.
Yaz and Dan talk to Gerald and Gene about their missing great niece Peggy who has been in their care. They agree to help them and go off in search. Suddenly there is a scarecrow that wasn’t there before...
Yaz and Dan try not to blink as the Angel comes closer, but their flashlight goes out and the clouds cover the moon.
Meanwhile Bel is talking in voice over again when she arrives on the planet Puzano and meets Namaca Ost Parvess Po (Blake Harrison). He has not seen Vinder (Jacob Anderson), but tells her that everyone who is left has come there and someone has made it their mission to help get them to safety.
Back in 1967, the Angels have surrounded the house and are at the windows. Jericho asks how the statues moved, and the Doctor explains the basics to him about how they feast on quantum energy of unlived lives after sending people to the past.JERICHO:
Oh, don’t be ridiculous.DOCTOR:
Professor, I am many things, but I’m not ridiculous.
Claire tells the Doctor about how the Angel followed her home after she last left her and Yaz and sent her back to 1967 where she has been for two years. The tells her about her premonitions which include a village, Medderton. She Googled it and found that it’s known as the Cursed Village, because everyone in the village town disappears on 11/21/67. Whatever happens is happening today and leaves no trace. The same thing also happened in 1901.
The door bell rings. The Doctor tells Jericho to take a television downstairs to the basement which is a defendable position.
When the Doctor isn’t looking, stone dust comes out of Claire’s eye.
Dan and Yaz show up in the town in 1901. They assume that the girl, Peggy, was probably sent back too, which she was. The rest of the town is gone. She says the Angels, who can put thoughts in her head, are there too, but they promised they would leave her alone.
Peggy takes them to a sign in the village that she says they must not go past, but it has gotten closer. They are at the edge of a cliff and it leads into outer space. She says they put two words into her head: quantum extraction.
Gerald and Gene come to a sign, just like the one in 1901, and there is a cliff out into space. There is an Angel. Gerald says it probably belongs to the church and tries to pick it up, but he disappears.
Meanwhile, back at Jericho’s, the drawing of the Angel in the fireplace starts to knit back together. The Doctor has a video of the Angels on the television screen and tells Jericho to watch it.
The Angel comes to life from the drawing so the Doctor crumples it and throws it into the fire causing there to be a burning Weeping Angel. She puts out the fire and it disappears, but there are still Angels attacking the house. Claire says that she thinks they are there because of her and shows them that her arms look like stone but it kind of comes and goes. She has only starting seeing the physical changes that day. The Doctor explains that there is an Angel with in her - she had a premonition of an Angel and because of that image now it’s living in her. She gets permission to Claire to enter her mind; she’ll be as gentle as she can. While she does, Jericho, always the scientist, wants to record the activity.
The Doctor enters her mind and they are on a beach, an Angel behind Claire. The Doctor talks with her through Claire. She is the Angel who hijacked the TARDIS. She brought the Doctor to her because she needed her help. The Doctor refuses until she stops terrorizing Claire, but she says that she had no choice but to enter her. She was not the same Angel that hunted Claire down; she was already there. Claire is her sanctuary, her hiding place from the others of her kind.
The Doctor realizes that the other Angels weren’t coming for Claire, but for the Angel and not to rescues her but to capture her. They are an extraction squad for the Division.
Meanwhile, the one that is supposedly rescuing people arrives where people are gathered on the planet - it’s Azure. She talks in their minds. She says that space is disintegrating; time is being corrupted. She promises them transport to a safe galaxy unaffected by the Flux. She says to stand and wait and the Passenger will activate the transportation field and they will be taken.
Recognizing what Passenger really is, Bel pulls Namaca away, trying to get him to run, but he refuses. She tells him that Passenger forms are not transportation but endless prisons and it’s not their salvation. The planet is a hunting ground. He doesn’t believe her, but she gets him out of the field in time before everyone disappears. Azure says to them that they have nothing to fear; they can come next time. Bel wants him to come with her in the ship, but he tells her to stay away from him.
Meanwhile, in 1901, The open space is closing in like they are herding them. The three of them turn around, but there is another Angel.
Gerald and Gene show up behind the Angel. Yaz and Dan yell for them to stay back. Peggy says that no one survives it twice. They ignore them, and when they are touched by the Angel, they explode into pieces of stone. Peggy says they were never nice to her.
Yaz says that they have to keep moving; the Doctor will save them she always does. She asks Peggy if she discovered anything else.
Meanwhile, the television starts flickering on and off. The Angel in the television start talking to Jericho in his own voice. They tell him to look away, but he refuses and just says to stop using his voice; it’s impolite without his permission. The Angel keeps taunting him, saying he thinks he’s a failure. He refuses to surrender and smashes the TV as it starts to come through it. He tells the Angels which have now made it down the stairs to stop. They are observed and that is his power over them. The Angel just says that it’s only for now; they are patient and have time. His lie detector starts sketching out an Angel.
In Claire’s head, the Doctor says she wants to know what the Angel knows about the Division. It says it was part of it as the Doctor was, but like her, it ran. The Doctor starts to get agitated and doesn’t believe the Angel is telling the truth. The Angel says that they are both trapped and have to trust each other. The Doctor questions that the Division uses Weeping Angels as operatives to do their work. The Angel says that they use every species, every world, every moment. They are everywhere, unseen, and unstoppable. The Doctor says she is good at stopping the unstoppable. The Angel says that that is why it brought her, but it might prove too much. If the Doctor stops them, it will leave Claire and let her live. The Doctor wants it to leave her first, but she refuses. The Doctor asks what makes it so dangerous that they would need so many Angels; what are they scared of? It’s knowledge - of everything, all the Division’s history, including the Doctor’s missing memories. It can give her what she’s looking for.
The Doctor is pulled suddenly from Claire’s head.JERICHO:
Sorry. Threw a cup at you; needed to shake you out of it.
The Angels are in the room and they are running out of options; there are no exits. The Doctor questions that he hasn’t read the floor plans. There is a tunnel in the basement. She takes a sledgehammer to the wall, revealing a door.
After opening the tunnel she sticks the head gear from his machine on two of the Angels and reverses the polarity which she says might give them a quantum headache.
They dash to the tunnel and the Doctor slams the door.
They run through the tunnel as the Angels pound on the door and eventually unlock it. There are Angels arms sticking out from the walls - there are Angels in the walls too! “Of course there are; why wouldn’t there be?” the Doctor quips.
The rest of the tunnel is past the angel. They might stand a chance if they can sneak past it without blinking.
Meanwhile, Peggy is showing Yaz and Dan the cemetery. She says that her history teacher lied and said it was a burial site from the Stone Age that was excavated in 1901, but they are in 1901, and it wasn’t there the day before but is today, and everyone disappeared.
The three come to a sort of barrier where it’s dark. Peggy asks why it is night over there, and Dan suggests the don’t go over.
The camera pans to show that Mrs. Hayward is on the other side in 1967. They can see each other. She tells them not to come closer and then says that she remembers this. She remembers a strange woman and all that followed. Peggy doesn’t understand, but she tells her that she knows she is in 1901 and that she won’t get back to 1967 for sixty-six years. She is Peggy, and she says she remembers the next bit vaguely.
They came to show Yaz and Dan the burial site, but they were right; it’s not a burial site, but it is made of stone, just like the Angels are. She thinks it’s how they got there. They told her later why they left her and them when they could have killed them. It’s because they are cruel and like to leave a few witnesses to tell the story - of quantum extraction.
Back in the tunnels, they need to go around the Angel. The tunnel starts shaking, pieces of dirt crumbling and falling. The Angels are causing it in order to shake off dust, because you can’t sneeze with your eyes open. Jericho tells Claire to go first. He’s not blinking! She moves around the Angel.
The Doctor tells Jericho when she gives the signal, for him to run the opposite direction as her and the Angels who are all around will be left staring at each other. However, the Angels cause the tunnel to crumble more as he goes to move, and dust gets in his eyes, and he blinks...
Suddenly, Professor Jericho show’s up with Yaz, Dan, and Peggy. He sees Mrs. Hayward and questions why it is night there and who Yaz and Dan are.DAN:
Mate, it’s a long story. Unfortunately, you’ve got enough time to hear it.
The ground rumbles, and the stones light up where Mrs. Hayward is standing. It looks like there are Angels buried there perhaps.
Jericho says he has to get back; he left someone in terrible trouble. Dan tells him that that is going to be harder than he thinks.
Yaz says they need to get away from the stones as the light gets brighter, and it looks like it’s about to break apart.
Back with the Doctor, talking to the Angels, she says that she’s ready to run but has to turn her back, but she’s quick and will race them. However, they don’t follow; the aren’t attacking. She questions that she has turned her back and is no longer observing them, but they are still. What are they waiting for?!
She goes out the tunnel and says to Claire that it’s worrying that she thinks they let her go, and she doesn’t know why.
She exits the tunnel and arrives at the edge of the barrier, surrounded by Angels. One is holding Claire. She tells the Doctor that her Angel says to go to her friends and that they will wait. They are enjoying watching her work it out. Her Angel has been communicating with them, but she doesn’t know what it said.
Yaz stops the Doctor yelling not to cross and that they are stuck in 1901. Jericho is confused, and Dan says that perhaps they should have broken that to him more gently.
The edge of the village is creeping closer. Yaz asks what quantum extraction means, and the Doctor says that they have taken the village out of time and space to isolate and extract the target. She says that they got what they came for and to take the rogue Angel out of Claire, without harming her, put the village and people safely back. She says for Claire’s Angel to tell them that, and she will negotiate a deal between her and the Angels.
Claire says that her Angel refuses. It says it made a better trade. They’ve agreed not to take her; they will take the Doctor instead.
The Doctor realizes that that was its plan all along. It hid in a human to attracted her to it. Claire says that the only thing the Division wants more than her Angel is the Doctor.
The Angels say through Claire, “You are recalled - to division.”
The Doctor sprouts wings and starts turning to stone and covers her eyes, completely now a Weeping Angel...
In a mid credits scene, Vinder happens upon Namaca. He shows him a hologram of Bel. He tells Vinder that she was there but left awhile ago. He’s not sure how long it was as time is "cronky" there. He saw her do something before she left, however.
Namaca leads Vinder to a rock. He says that he thinks Bel might have saved his life and to thank her if he sees her.
Bel has left Vinder a hologram message. She had one chance to record it. She tells him that she has to go and help some people because a creature with a Passenger is abducting people. She’s taking the ship but will leave the transponder blaring. She tells him to hurry up and that she loves him. Before she can tell him the coordinates she’s heading to the recording ends.
Vinder says that he’s on his way...