blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Doctor Who (2005) s13e04 – Village of the Angels

Most of this episode—save a brief appearance from rubber masked villain Rochenda Sandall—is quite good. Not just the best episode of the season so far (though it’s handily the best episode of the season so far), but an actual good episode.

Doctor Jodie Whittaker is solo in late sixties small village England, trying to stop the Weeping Angels from getting lost-in-time Annabel Scholey for their nefarious reasons. Sure, there’s some tedious stuff explaining why the Angels want Scholey and how it ties into Whittaker’s lost history arc, plus the rules for the Angels are a bit loose here. I mean, they have the same rules as always, but the episode seemingly forgets them from time to time to move the plot along.

But it’s a compelling episode. Whittaker and Scholey are a lot better together than Whittaker has been with her regular companions this season. Whittaker’s relationship with Mandip Gill is on its way for another hard talk because Whittaker’s still lying to her, and then John Bishop is just around. Though when Gill and Bishop team up to help the villagers search for missing ten-year-old Poppy Polivnick, it pretty much just works. Like Gill and Bishop have fine chemistry opposite one another. You wouldn’t be able to tell when they’re hanging off Whittaker.

Whittaker met Scholey in the first episode of the season when Scholey knew Whittaker (and Gill), but they didn’t know her, which ought to make everyone chill out a little because the only explanation for that disconnect is they’re going to survive this adventure for Scholey to again see Whittaker in the future. I think. It’s timey-wimey, who knows. Plus, the “Flux,” which destroyed most of the universe or whatever, didn’t affect Earth’s history. At least not since they did something, but then the rubber mask villains did something and then….

Doesn’t matter. Unraveling it distracts from the strong episode, which has Whittaker and Scholey fortifying in amusing old professor Kevin McNally’s house to survive the Angels.

Then Gill and Bishop are trying to find Polivnick, which leads to some big twists and turns and generally engaging television.

And Thaddea Graham’s a lot better this episode than last time. She’s traveling the Flux-ed universe in search of Jacob Anderson. That storyline is the easy least of the episode, but it’s not terrible. I mean, it’s a definite improvement (until the end) over before.

The writing’s better—this time Chris Chibnall has Maxine Alderton helping him in addition to the plot not being a series of tropes and pop culture steals—and it’s easily Jamie Magnus Stone’s best direction of the season.

The end’s wonky, but it’s a much better-than-lately forty-five minutes getting there.

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