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Saturday, 22 September 2012

Doctor Who: The Power of Three



It is true that time flies when you’re having fun as we’ve already reached part four of the five Doctor Who episodes we’re going to get before Christmas. It seems that show-runner Steven Moffat has tried to create mini-movies each week as we’ve already seen a prehistoric romp, western homage and the obligatory one with The Daleks. This week is much more low-key as the majority of the action takes place in London with The Doctor coming to stay with Amy and Rory who in turn are considering leaving the Tardis once and for all. As he’s already penned the mini-series Pond Life featuring the couple, as well as the Dinosaurs on a Spaceship episode, Chris Chibnall seems like the ideal man to show Amy and Rory’s daily lives without The Doctor.

As Amy narrates the episode she tells of how different regular life and life with The Doctor are and the opening scene sees her and Rory begrudgingly realizing that they have to decide between one or the other. She then tells of the year of the slow invasion in which small black cubes started to appear all over the world without any real explanation a mystery which inevitably sees The Doctor arrive in Amy and Rory’s lives once more. As they start to experiment on the cubes they are soon investigated by U.N.I.T who are led here by head of scientific research Kate Stewart (Jemma Redgrave) a character who has a link to the classic days of Doctor Who and in addition is another great strong female lead. As people all over the world start to get used to the cubes, using them in a manner of different ways, The Doctor gets tired of waiting around going off without the Ponds who for once get back to everyday life. Later The Doctor reappears once more this time staying for a little longer as the cubes finally start to react everyone in its own unique way – one attacks The Doctor, one takes Amy’s pulse and another poor woman is subjected to hearing ‘The Birdy Song’ on a loop for infinity. While The Doctor and Amy help out Kate at U.N.I.T they should really be paying more attention to Rory’s workplace as at the hospital there’s a girl with a glowing blue face, a couple of Doctor twins with no mouths and an out of work lift that doesn’t just go to the next floor.

Alongside the cube story is Amy and Rory’s decision whether to stay with The Doctor as they both seem to get frustrated by the fact that he doesn’t realise that life goes on without him. As Rory agrees to go full time at work and Amy, who now bizarrely writes travel articles for a magazine, commits to being a bridesmaid at a friend’s wedding. The Doctor meanwhile realises that his companions are growing apart from him, we’re told that it’s been ten years on and off since they’ve been travelling as a trio, and this is confirmed when Rory tells him ‘what you do isn’t all there is’. In a lovely heart-to-heart with Amy by the Thames, which I’m sure will have some Who fans reaching for their hankies, he tells her that he will be sad to see her go as her face was the first to see his face. There’s also a great scene between The Doctor and Rory’s father Brian (a returning Mark Williams) where the latter asks the former what happens to his companions with him reluctantly having to admit that some have indeed been killed while by his side.

It is these scenes that make the Rory and Amy story the strongest element of The Power of Three essentially eclipsing the cubes plot which is a shame as it is a fairly intriguing mystery. To be fair the cubes do have their uses namely the reintroduction of the legendary U.N.I.T and Redgrave’s Kate who is an incredibly British creation with her military background and sensible wardrobe I really warmed to her here and hope she will be used in the future. There were also some great comic scenes involving the cube including Brian creating a daily log to monitor the cubes’ activity and a mock episode of The Apprentice, featuring Lord Sugar himself, where the teams are tasked with selling as many cubes as possible. I felt though the revelation of who controlled the cubes and their inevitable defeat was a bit of a let-down and I felt it was also slightly rushed so we could get to The Ponds’ final decision and Amy’s cheesy last line of the episode.

The scripting of the Amy and Rory’s dilemma made the pair a believable young couple with commitments and a group of friends who couldn’t travel as often as they did because the milk would go off every time they hopped aboard the Tardis. Matt Smith and Karen Gillan were absolutely perfect in the aforementioned heart-to-heart where The Doctor realised his days of seeing the beloved Amelia Pond were almost over while as the Williams boys both Mark Williams and Arthur Darvill were great especially the latter who to an extent got to play the hero this week.

At the end of the day The Power of Three was another successful installment of this run and still leaves the door completely open to what will happen to Amy and Rory in next week’s  mid-season finale. Despite some problems I had with the cube story this episode had a lot going for it namely the return of Brian Williams, Kate Stewart’s introduction, some great comic moments and the more tender scenes. Gillan and Darvill both proved here that their characters are incredibly close to The Doctor so I wait with baited breath to see how they will be written out in their final episode. 

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