Well, that was scary!
After an action-packed and seriously creepy episode of Doctor Who: Flux, we’re just about getting ready to let our eyes close for the first time in about an hour.
But even through our chattering teeth, we’re still here to answer your biggest and most burning questions about Village of the Angels, from the surprising (and stony) fate of the Doctor to the potential return of UNIT (!) in next week’s episode.
There’s a bit to get through – but let’s start with the end, shall we?
What’s happened to the Doctor?
Village of the Angels concludes with quite the image – Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor, trapped by Weeping Angels and “recalled by Division” is turned to stone, sprouting wings and assuming the position of a Weeping Angel herself.
While on the face of it this could be a permanent change, it seems more likely this is the angels’ way of trapping and transporting the Doctor back to The Division, a bit like freezing Han Solo in carbonite. One of their main “things” seems to be making people a bit angel-like, so it seems likely the Doctor’s fate is a new technique from their bag of tricks.
As for what the Division want with the Doctor, well, presumably they’re still sore over her (or at least, her past self) leaving against their wishes many years before. Or perhaps they’re angry at this Doctor’s attempts to investigate their activities.
Though of course, that rather depends what Division we’re dealing with…
Are the Division still active “now”?
The reemergence of the Division poses a rather tricky question: are the Time Lord’s secret police still active ‘now’ (i.e. whatever ‘the present’ means to a Time Lord like the Doctor) or are they operating from a previous point in time, possibly around the same period when the Fugitive Doctor (Jo Martin) was still their agent?
If it’s the latter, this wouldn’t be the first time that the current Doctor has run into a version of the Division from her past – in Fugitive of the Judoon, we met Gat (Ritu Arya, pictured), an agent of the Division from the Fugitive Doctor’s era who refused to believe that Gallifrey had been destroyed, since she originated from a time when the Time Lord home planet was still thriving.
Plus, if the Division’s timeline has run parallel to the Doctor’s and this is the ‘present-day’ version, it does rather beg the question as to what they’ve been doing all this time between Fugitive and Thirteenth Doctors. Presumably, then, the Division dies out / disbands at some point post-Fugitive era, but because time travel is a thing, that doesn’t stop them being any less of a threat to the Doctor now.
Now excuse us while we go take a lie down.
How did Claire know the Doctor and Yaz?
But wait, there’s more timey-wimey goodness to delve into!
We first meet Claire (Annabel Scholey) in The Halloween Apocalypse – she encounters the Doctor on the streets of Liverpool and is somehow already familiar with our hero, even though from the Doctor’s perspective they’ve not met yet.
You might assume going into Village of the Angels then that this latest episode will take place before The Halloween Apocalypse from Claire’s perspective – that she had a previous adventure with the Doctor that, from the Doctor’s point of view, hadn’t happened yet. Relatively straightforward(-ish).
But in fact the truth is more complicated – Claire is from the modern-day (as evidenced by how she’s dressed in Flux: Chapter One) but her encounter with a Weeping Angel transports her back to the 1960s. The Claire we meet in Village of the Angels is a Claire from after we first met her in The Halloween Apocalypse.
So how did she already recognise the Doctor if they’d never met? Simple(-ish). Claire is a seer, a clairvoyant (geddit? Claire-voyant…) with the power to foresee future events, including her encounter with the Doctor… so while they’d never met in person, Claire both knew who she was and that they’d meet again.
Clear as mud? Good. (For her part, Annabel Scholey herself was a little confused to as the sequence of events, telling RadioTimes.com, “Hilariously, when I shot episode one, I didn’t really know [how Claire knew the Doctor]. I didn’t really know what her story was – in the scene, she is quite confusing, and she’s quite confused. So I think that might have just been Annabel confused!”)
Have we seen the last of Claire?
Speaking of clairvoyant Claire… surely there’s more to come from the character?
We last see her still under the control of the Weeping Angels, with the Doctor failing to save her as she too is transformed into an angelic alter-ego. Is that the (rather depressing) end for Claire? Well, she doesn’t feature in the Next Time trailer for Survivors of the Flux and Annabel Scholey’s name is also conspicuously absent from the cast lists for both Flux: Chapter Five and the finale, The Vanquishers.
Then again, that could all be Doctor Who playing with us and intentionally keeping Claire’s fate up in the air. Her powers of second sight would come in pretty handy right about now…
What is Azure doing with all the prisoners in Passenger?
In the episode’s subplot, we catch up with Bel (Thaddea Graham) on a distant world, where Azure (Rochenda Sandall) is rounding up Flux survivors and tricking them into imprisonment within Passenger.
Bel manages to save one person (Blake Harrison’s Namaca) from that fate – but why is Azure grabbing all these people? Is she just shoring up more hostages to use against the Doctor, or is there a darker purposed for keeping all these people locked up?
What will happen to Dan, Yaz and Jericho?
No-one ends Village of the Angels in the best of positions – like Amy and Rory before them, Yaz and Dan have been touched by an Angel and sent back in time, in their case to 1901, and Professor Jericho (Kevin McNally) later joins them after failing to escape a tunnel packed full of the winged blighters (“The angels are in the walls!”).
One might expect a quick fix – that the Doctor will somehow revert back, pick up the TARDIS and save her friends – but the trailer for next Sunday’s episode reveals that Dan, Yaz and Jericho end up stranded in the early part of the 20th century for three whole years.
Poor Dan – kidnapped by Karvanista, spends five minutes in war-torn Crimea before getting zapped back to Liverpool, then ends up on the planet Time for five minutes only to (sort of) get zapped back to Liverpool again, and then ends up stranded in the past. Hardly the most fun-packed initiation for a new TARDIS traveller.
On the plus side, Kevin McNally is credited as appearing in Survivors of the Flux, which means that Dan/Yaz will at least have the brilliant Jericho by their side in the Doctor’s absence.
What is the Grand Serpent doing on Earth, and with the TARDIS?
Speaking of the Next Time trailer, we get a glimpse of Craig Parkinson’s Grand Serpent during the teaser footage, now apparently on Earth and wearing very ‘human’ clothes.
“How you expect to protect this pitiful race I do not know,” he says, while standing in front of the TARDIS, apparently addressing a very familiar face (of whom, more below).
So what gives? Last time we saw the Grand Serpent he was doing all sorts of shady things in the organisation Vinder works for, having opponents’ families murdered and generally being a nasty piece of work. Why’s he now on Earth?
Well, it’s possible that the next episode’s title ‘Survivors of the Flux’ gives us a clue. Maybe after the space hurricane ravaged the galaxy the Grand Serpent travelled to Earth, one of the few planets left standing thanks to the Lupari shield (which apparently has been “breached” in episode five anyway).
In the cast list for next week’s episode the Serpent is also credited as “Prentis” suggesting he might have a human alias, so who knows? Maybe he snuck onto Earth some time ago and has been posing as a human, looking to amass more illicit power on a new planet. Maybe, John Simm’s Master-style he’s even been there for a while, and is responsible for the demise of UNIT. Speaking of which…
Why/how is Kate Stewart back next week?
Atten–shun! With relatively little fanfare, Kate’s back – her reappearance coming some six years on from her last Doctor Who appearance (in 2015’s The Zygon Invasion/The Zygon Inversion, fact fans) and confirmed rather casually by having her pop up in the Next Time trailer for Survivors of the Flux.
Does the return of Kate Stewart mean that UNIT is also returning? Or is she now a free agent, operating on her own, following the apparent disbandment of the Unified Intelligence Taskforce due to budget cuts (as revealed in 2019 special Resolution)? Perhaps said dissolution was all just a cover for some top-secret operation? (See below for more.)
Most importantly, will she be bringing her long-time partner-in-crime Osgood (Ingrid Oliver) along for the ride?
Have UNIT returned?
Of course, Kate’s comeback doesn’t necessarily mean UNIT has been reformed. Following its dissolution circa 2019, UNIT hasn’t been included in the series for a while, and it’s entirely possible Kate is now working as a private individual (though still trying to protect the Earth).
Still, there may be hope. During filming for series 13 fans spotted the UNIT logo on the floor of a building – so unless Kate is visiting the old headquarters, it seems likely that at some point UNIT will return as well. Hooray!
Who knows? Maybe UNIT was never truly gone after all, and just moved more into the shadows (a bit like Torchwood) to seek out alien threats more covertly. In the world of Who, stranger things have happened.
How do you pay Weeping Angels anyway?
One of the earlier surprises in this episode was that (most of) The Weeping Angels in this story were working for The Division, first to hunt down a rogue angel then gunning for the Doctor instead.
Which has us wondering…how do the Division…pay the Weeping Angels? What’s in this partnership for them? What do Weeping Angels even want except loads of people to zap back in time, which they can just do anyway?
Until we see one of the angels whipping out a Mastercard to pay for a Nando’s next week, we may never know the answer.
Read more about Doctor Who:
- Doctor Who: Village of the Angels podcast review
- Village of the Angels may be the Empire Strikes Back of Doctor Who series 13
- Doctor Who: Flux star opens up on “shocking” episode 4 twist – “But she can’t die!”
- Doctor Who’s Village of the Angels includes surprise mid-credits scene
- Are the Time Lords returning to Doctor Who?
- Kate Lethbridge-Stewart makes shock Doctor Who return – but is UNIT back?