Tripwire’s Man In Los Angeles Reviews Doctor Who: Flux Episode Four

They’re No Angels

Tripwire’s man in Los Angeles Robert Cave grabs his sonic screwdriver and takes a look at the fourth episode of Doctor Who: Flux

Writer: Chris Chibnall
Director: Azhur Saleem
Chapter Four: Village Of The Angels

Well, that was a shock. Not a surprise necessarily, but a shock. Once the Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) was left all alone with the Weeping Angels, including the purported fugitive Angel hiding inside Claire (Annabel Scholey), I had a nagging suspicion that the Time Lord was going to be the greater prize. Still, watching our title character seemingly petrified and transformed into a Weeping Angel right before our eyes was a really effective and disturbing sequence. I’m sure if I’d watched this when I was a kid, I would have been traumatised and quite likely hiding behind the door in our very well-lit kitchen where no monsters could possibly gain entry.

This week hinted at a lot of new information. That the Division is still active struck me as a major revelation, as is the idea that it employs Weeping Angels as extraction units, alongside a range of other aliens. And then finally came the news that The Division wants the Doctor back amongst its ranks, which prompts all manner of other questions around what that organisation has been up to in all the time between the advent of Jo Martin’s Fugitive Doctor and their current incarnation. Up to this point it has been strongly implied that the Fugitive Doctor predates the First Doctor (William Hartnell), but could this be misdirection? It’s hard to tell because it feels like there is a lot of misdirection happening all over the place.

One apparent nexus of misdirection is Claire, who, when first we met her in part one, mentioned something about coming to the Doctor “the long way round.” I took this to mean that Claire had been touched by an Angel and sent into the past before she bumped into the Doctor and Yaz (Mandip Gill) again by accident in contemporary Liverpool. Now I wonder if the Claire we met then was in fact the descendant of the one we saw later that same episode being abducted into the past. That’s just speculation on my part, but speculation borne out of the suspicion that we are being deceived here on some level.

Like I said last week, the Weeping Angels are not the easiest Doctor Who monsters to write for. It can be very difficult to tell them apart, they can only move when they are not being observed and usually use other people’s voices to speak. We know very little about what drives and motivates them, and what we do know seems to shift from story to story. The Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) described them as murderous psychopaths whose method of murder was “kind” because they didn’t directly kill their victims. Instead, they simply shunted their prey into the past, to live out their natural lifespan, while leaving in their wake a feast of potential energy for the Angels to feed on. Subsequent stories have undermined The Doctor’s claim of the Angel’s apparent benevolence, with the Angels actively killing people for fun (as seen in the Time of Angel/Flesh and Stone) or attempting to create cruel temporal paradoxes (The Angels Take Manhattan). The latest innovation in the Angels’ cruel streak seems to be the notion that two touches from them in quick succession now leads to victims crumbling into stone dust.

The story’s historical setting of Medderton, a fictional hamlet in Devon in the year 1967, is evocative of much of sleepy rural England, and the notion of the Weeping Angels besieging such a village is beguiling, but we never get much of a sense of the place and its people. The focus of the audience is placed squarely on the Angels themselves. Even poor temporally displaced Clare serves mainly as a receptacle for an Angel, notably the one that fell into the TARDIS at the end of last week’s episode and that was forced out at the beginning of this week’s. 

I should take time here to highlight another interesting, and possibly significant, feature from Flux Part Three. Once, Upon a Time used the actors playing the current Doctor’s traveling companions to serve as placeholders for the Fugitive Doctor’s co-workers at The Division back when they first captured the Ravagers. As we saw in that episode, one of those co-workers was Karvanista (Craige Els). However, the identity of the other two was not overtly stated. It is entirely possible that the Angel in Claire’s mind could be one of those other Division co-workers. Hell, while I’m speculating, the other could even be a Sontaran.  

Away from the monsters Kevin McNally, who previously appeared in the Sixth Doctor’s debut story The Twin Dilemma, is great fun as the psychic investigator Professor Eustacius Jericho, and I hope he gets to stick around for a week or two before returning to his own time period. Jericho ends the episode trapped in 1901 with Yas, Dan (John Bishop) and young Peggy (Poppy Polivnicki), a missing schoolgirl from 1967 who apparently will spend much of the rest of her life getting back to her home time period the long way round, arriving as old Mrs Hayward (Penelope McGhie). How will the Doctor’s companions get back to the TARDIS? I suspect the answer to that may well lie in the time and space stretching Edgehill tunnels, as seen in the last few episodes.

Away from team TARDIS, we saw Bel (Thaddea Graham) witness Azure (Rochenda Sandall) harvesting refugees from the post-Flux apocalypse into a Passenger-form mobile prison. Are these refugees intended to become part of the Ravagers’ anti-time army or merely to serve as hostages? Whatever they are being used for, I can’t imagine it is good.

Finally, the show witnessed one more fun innovation this week in the form of a mid-credits scene. Aside from merely depicting Vinder (Jacob Anderson) getting closer to reuniting Bel, his on-the-run life-partner, it also forced BBC America to play the show’s credits in full, which can’t be bad. Hope it continues next week.  See you then.

Read his first, second and third episode reviews here

Tripwire’s Man In Los Angeles Reviews Doctor Who: Flux Episode One

Tripwire’s Man In Los Angeles Reviews Doctor Who: Flux Episode Two

Tripwire’s Man In Los Angeles Reviews Doctor Who: Flux Episode Three

 

The post Tripwire’s Man In Los Angeles Reviews Doctor Who: Flux Episode Four appeared first on TRIPWIRE MAGAZINE.

They’re No Angels Tripwire’s man in Los Angeles Robert Cave grabs his sonic screwdriver and takes a look at the fourth episode of Doctor Who: Flux… Writer: Chris Chibnall Director: Azhur Saleem Chapter Four: Village Of The Angels Well, that was a shock. Not a surprise necessarily, but a shock. Once the Doctor (Jodie Whittaker)
The post Tripwire’s Man In Los Angeles Reviews Doctor Who: Flux Episode Four appeared first on TRIPWIRE MAGAZINE.Read MoreTRIPWIRE MAGAZINE

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