The angels have the Doctor!
Yes, Doctor Who: Flux’s fourth chapter ended with quite the cliffhanger as Jodie Whittaker’s Time Lord was turned to stone and captured by the Weeping Angels, ready to be delivered to her ex-bosses at The Division.
It was a shocking and creepy ending to a great episode – and in many ways, it strikes me as the Empire Strikes back of this serialised series 13 story.
Partially, this is just because of the Doctor’s fate. At the end of the episode she’s essentially frozen in carbonite by bounty hunters, who are fulfilling a contract to a nasty outer-space organisation – so far, so Han Solo. You’d half expect to see Jodie Whittaker on the wall of Jabba’s Palace next week.
But it also evokes the sci-fi classic in the mood of its ending. Village of the Angels has a classic “all is lost” conclusion, with the Doctor completely defeated, captured and removed from the board. Her friends are stranded far away, the villains are utterly triumphant – and while we know our heroes will eventually prevail, it’s hard to see how.
Obviously, The Empire Strikes Back is a seminal sci-fi movie, and I’m not suggesting Village of the Angels is on a par with it (not even most of the other Star Wars movies are!) But as the six-part Flux rumbles on, it’s notable to see how much more impact these plot twists are having than similar moments over the last few years.
This series of Doctor Who has stood out from the start thanks to its serialised structure, exchanging the usual standalone stories for a narrative that flows from week to week, bringing back characters regularly and facing an ongoing threat. On the most basic level, it’s been fun because of the weekly cliffhangers (of which, Village of the Angels’ shock ending is undoubtedly the best so far).
But it’s also allowed for a deeper, more engaging story than we’ve seen on Doctor Who in a while. Would this great cliffhanger have even been possible without the serialised story? No – and we’d all be the poorer for it.
Looking ahead, we’re into the final third of this story, and Chris Chibnall will have a lot to do to stick the landing in just two more episodes. But overall, Flux has been a great sign-off for the soon-departing showrunner – and even if the last series 13 section (and the specials) end up more Return of the Jedi than Empire, it’ll still be a good note to end this era on.
Read more about Doctor Who:
- Doctor Who: Village of the Angels podcast review
- Doctor Who: Village of the Angels’ 10 biggest questions
- 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?