I couldn't find anything detailing the weather conditions at the time, but assumed it was VFR below the cloud deck. I might be wrong, but in any case 35 degrees or higher AoA is quite significant -- just a basic seat-of-pants check (literally) should have indicated something was amiss.
It's a known problem that cognitive loading decreases in highly automated environments, below the minimum needed to keep response time where it needs to be when the automation fails. There's an entire field of research devoted to basically keeping the operator busy with routine tasks with the automation helping, so that if things really do go south the operator is ready to assume control of the higher level functions while the automation takes over whatever it can still handle. I don't know if this has ever been applied to aircraft though.