The Weeping Angels vs the Silence
Guest contributor Ben Strachan on why the Silence are the better monster.
Doctor Who TV has run many polls, such as ‘Scariest Monster’, and ‘Best Monster;’ ones to decide which is truly the best. But the results always come out the same. Number 2: the Silence. Number 1: Weeping Angels. Even top 10 countdowns on other sites have similar results. This article is, in a way, a case for the Silence, and why I believe they should be topping these polls.
Why the Weeping Angels Keep Winning
Firstly, I am going to share my ideas on why the Angels keep getting the majority of the votes in the polls. (This is because if I don’t, I will end up writing an article just to criticise them, which I don’t want to do.) For me, the reason why they are so memorable is they are different. Their concept is as innovative as the Daleks were back in 1963. What makes them different to a majority of the creatures in Doctor Who is the fact they are the most powerful natural beings in the universe; they could kill you in a blink of an eye, yet they don’t. They’re “the only psychopaths in the universe to kill you nicely”: they send you back in time and make you live to death. There is a depth to them some monsters don’t have. They also scare the Doctor, something not many enemies can do. I’m not sure if I’m the only one, but I find something more scary and distressing if the Doctor is scared of it. I never see the Daleks as a threat, apart from “Asylum of the Daleks” when the Doctor screamed for help as the Daleks nearly killed him with their suckers, or when he first met the Dalek in “Dalek”.
That’s not the only way they’re different. Another important factor in their concept is that, apart from a minute in “Flesh and Stone” I’d like to forget, they are never seen moving. It adds a level of mystery and keeps fans of the show intrigued. The fact they are never seen and they are incredibly fast allows the writer to have fun making kids and adults jump. A great example of this is the scene in “Blink” with Larry resisting the urge to blink when faced with an Angel. The tension and surprise has made it one of the best of New Who. However, there isn’t much else you can do with them. Future appearances proved the fact they get less and less scary with every encounter with the Doctor, just as the Daleks did. (In “The Angels Take Manhattan” they improved a bit.) The only way to stop Weeping Angels becoming repetitive is to give them new, terrifying abilities. However, this could diminish them if done over the top. Don’t fix something that isn’t broke.
Why the Silence should be
I believe the reason why the Silence should be winning is that they have much more potential. The Weeping Angels’ fear factor will reduce in every appearance. But the Silence have so many possibilities; they could excel in theirs. (Not too many, they’ll become predictable like the Daleks.) Their magnificent concept is that instead of being any statue, they can be anywhere. They are beings who can’t be remembered. If I was younger, I would have been terrified at this.
At least with the Weeping Angels you know what you are looking out for and what they look like. You don’t with the Silence. This ability also allows them to use post-hypnotic suggestion: basically control your life. Ever had déjà vu? Every do something you wouldn’t consider normal? Maybe it was them. That’s why the terror they dish out to young children is much stronger than the Angels. All they make you wonder is if that statue is nearer today than yesterday. The fear they dish out isn’t to just the audience, but the characters as well. Rosanna Calvierri said her species ran from them, Prisoner Zero warned the Doctor of them. The whole of Series 5 was spent building up the tension and myth to this species before we have even seen them. A technique used by John Steinbeck for his characters in ‘Of Mice and Men’. I haven’t seen it applied to any other monster and I love the way it was done.
This unique ability of being able to manipulate people to doing their bidding is where their potential shines through. For people who don’t know (most probably do), they are religious order led by this species. This order consists of humans, humanoid species and the Headless Monks. But, how many more followers do they have, billions? If a species with billions or trillions of followers, and the ability to gain more, decided they want something done, it is going to be very hard to stop them. Killing the Doctor was the first objective, but surely they aren’t going to just stop. What if they decided to change the universe in some other way? Or what if they discovered the Doctor’s death was a deception? That could give Moffat many more story arcs and possibilities to write about. There are only so many Weeping Angel stories you can do without being repetitive.
Another reason the Silence are, in my eyes, the best monster of New Who, and the classic ones I’ve seen, is they are very intelligent. Maybe not as smart as the Time Lords, but smart nonetheless. They come up with a near perfect plan to eliminate their enemy, the Doctor. The Daleks, Cybermen, Sontarans and the Angels all just attack him. No plan, just shoot to kill. The Silence carefully manipulated Earth to create a spacesuit for them, and used that suit to nurture a child; the child of Amy and Rory. They also managed to project a signal to wherever the TARDIS was in time and space to keep a Ganger alive in place of Amy. This child was then mutated into a Time Lord to be used as a weapon. Now all they had to do was to get River to shoot him. But they went one better, they made his death a fixed point, so there was no way to escape. This would have been successful, but the fixed point wasn’t his death, but the deception itself. However, this is a small error, surely an easily fixed one. When the inevitable episode comes were they discover the Doctor’s survival, what is left for them to do? They blew up the TARDIS and erased the universe; they very nearly killed the Time Lord himself. The amount this species is capable of I am very intrigued with, and excited to find out. I’m also very worried for the Doctor, something I doubt the Weeping Angels could ever make me feel.
The Weeping Angels and the Silence are both brilliant creations from Steven Moffat, and if what he says is true, we are in for another great foe in the concluding half of Series 7. This article wasn’t intended to make the Weeping Angels look bad, because I don’t think they are. I just wanted to express my views on why the Silence deserve a little more credit, and I hope you have enjoyed reading it.