NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “Doctor Who” are present in this review
It’s always exciting, and a little terrifying, when Weeping Angels make their return to Doctor Who. The returning presence of these sinister quantum beings has been teased since the beginning of this season, and finally, now that one has hijacked the TARDIS, the Weeping Angels are back to menace The Doctor in earnest! “Village of the Angels” plays into the usual strengths of Weeping Angel episodes, being dark, unpredictable and incessantly tense, and in fact, it may be the single scariest Weeping Angel episode that Doctor Who has delivered to date! Its final resolution continues to tease big new developments with The Doctor to boot, as the latest Weeping Angels bear a surprising connection to the lost past that The Doctor has been struggling to piece together since the end of last season.
After the intensity kicks off early, following The Doctor having to eject the hijacking Angel from her TARDIS, The Doctor and her companions find themselves in a village called Medderton, circa 1967. As a mysterious old woman warns about emerging gravestones and disappearing citizens, The Doctor branches off to investigate, while Yaz and Dan join the search for a missing girl named Peggy. Immediately, it’s apparent that not all is what it seems, though it’s a bit of a nuisance that this episode tipped its hand early with the hijacked TARDIS, somewhat disturbing the initial buildup to the Weeping Angel attack that eventually comes to menace Medderton.
Before things get truly dangerous though, The Doctor is surprised to eventually ‘reunite’ with Claire Brown, the mysterious woman that claimed The Doctor hadn’t met her yet during this season’s first episode. Claire is being studied for psychic influence by one Professor Jericho, who finds himself baffled as to why Claire’s baseline polygraph refuses to accept that it’s 1967. Again, to longtime Doctor Who fans, it’s immediately obvious what happened here; Claire was attacked by a Weeping Angel in present-day 2021, thus sending her back to 1967. More intriguing however is the fact that Claire occasionally appears to display physical traits of the Weeping Angels, complete with stone wings, and dust falling from her eyes.
By the time The Doctor realizes what’s happening however, it’s too late. Yaz and Dan find themselves sent back to 1901 by another Weeping Angel, stranding them there alongside the missing Peggy. Meanwhile, The Doctor is forced to hole up in Professor Jericho’s house alongside Jericho and Claire, as a whole slew of Weeping Angels attempt to barge their way in. This claustrophobic main plot with The Doctor and the Weeping Angels is overall fantastic, being filled with excitement and terror that never lets up throughout the entire duration of this episode. The Weeping Angels keep finding increasingly clever and unexpected means to corner The Doctor further as this plot goes on, and upon The Doctor trying to discover the secret of Claire’s psychic torment, she learns an even more terrible truth; A Weeping Angel has hidden itself inside Claire’s mind, because it knows about the enigmatic Division, including The Doctor’s lost career under them!
It’s almost disappointing that the companions had to be separated into a different time period here, but I suppose this is kind of necessary, to keep the season’s focus at least somewhat on the over-arching Flux mystery. Even then though, it’s mainly Bel that does that, as she continues to hunt for Vinder, only to discover Azure promising refuge for displaced citizens on a former resort planet called Puzano, where Bel and Vinder originally planned to have their honeymoon. Bel saves someone from being captured by Azure’s Passenger Form, and beyond that, Vinder eventually finds some evidence that Bel was on Puzano, and that’s the whole storyline. As much as the reveal that Azure is intentionally capturing people in the Passenger Form is intriguing, Bel’s subplot didn’t mesh well with the rest of events here, instead merely interrupting the momentum of what’s otherwise a spectacularly scary core Doctor plot.
Likewise, Yaz and Dan are left to do little more but punctuate fairly middling mystery payoffs. The alarmist old woman is, unsurprisingly, an elderly Peggy that never made it out of 1901, while Dan and Yaz themselves are ultimately unable to accomplish anything in the era, beyond realizing that the Weeping Angels have removed all of Medderton from space and time. This is so The Doctor can eventually be cornered and betrayed by Claire’s Angel in 1967, who then declares that The Doctor has been recalled back to Division. This episode’s core storyline then ends with The Doctor eerily taking on the form of a Weeping Angel, leaving her companions even more stranded, while The Doctor presumably meets some terrible fate in regards to who she once was many eons ago.
“Village of the Angels” excels when it focuses on its eponymous quantum monsters, and their surprising connection to the mysterious Division that lies at the root of The Doctor’s unknown origins. This episode’s Bel subplot meanwhile mostly feels like dull filler, while Yaz and Dan didn’t have much to do in 1901 beyond set up a resolution that’s ultimately too predictable. The intense snaring of The Doctor by Division’s Angels in 1967 still more than makes up for this though, carrying this episode single-handedly with one of Doctor Who’s best Weeping Angel storylines to date. The Doctor now being indisposed with Division creates a bigger problem for Yaz and Dan as well, who are presumably still marooned in the 1900’s until further notice. All the while, the Flux continues to devour the known universe, and that’s before the likely horrible implications of whatever Swarm and Azure are up to with those ‘lucky’ enough to survive the disaster.
- Brilliantly intense Weeping Angel attack
- Claire's surprising role among the Weeping Angels
- The Weeping Angels being an unexpected new path to Division
- The Peggy twist is too predictable
- Bel subplot intrudes on the core storyline