It’s the power of three!

So as we wait for this week’s episode of Doctor Who entitled The Power of Three (here on iPlayer) I am not sure what to make of the trailers. Last week’s Town Called Mercy which I commented on here had mixed reactions and I wonder what people will make of this week’s story which is clearly going to lead onto next week and the final episode for the Ponds.

From the trailers I am glad Brian is back; the Ponds talk about having a choice as to which life they lead – I think not (angels incoming!); is there a suggestion of the Doctor becoming ill or being kidnapped? Do we have a UNIT type involvement? Might River appear just at the ending as the mastermind behind the defence of Earth from little black cubes. What are the little black cubes? I suspect all really the same cube but that’s just me. As long as they don’t go all 2001: A Space Odyssey I will be fine.

Anyway, see you after the break with my thoughts! (Updated slightly after a second viewing)

The Story

This is the story of Brian. Brian’s son Rory spends some of his time travelling in time and space in a blue box with Amy (Rory’s wife) and a strange chap called The Doctor (who looks human but is apparently an alien!) One day when vast numbers of small black cubes appear all over the Earth, The Doctor decides to spend time staying around with Rory and Amy who had been worried as to which life the wanted – the Doctor life or the more normal  real life.

Soon soldiers from UNIT appear and the Doctor meets Kate (who turns out to be the daughter of his dear friend the Brigadier, wonderfully played by Jemma Redgrave).

Nothing much happens until after nearly a year on Earth the cubes start exhibiting random behaviour. Brian had been studying his cube and blogging about it and all is exciting until the cubes take in lots of electricity, start a countdown and then kill people nearby by stopping their heart! Thankfully the Doctor has two hearts!

Brian and Rory had gone to help out in the hospital where Rory works as a nurse. Nobody had spotted the strange girl nor the hospital workers with funny mouths abducting people. Things get worse when Rory realises Brian has been kidnapped but luckily the portal to the secret alien spaceship goes to that very hospital!

Rory chases the abductors to their spaceship and is captured though set free when the Doctor and Amy appear. A strange alien from Gallifreyan stories is trying to cleanse the planet but the Doctor saves the day, blows up the ship and they all escape. To make it even better all the dead people come back to life as well!

THE END

Gripes and Moans

Lots wrong with this for me:

  • The beginning was gentle and gave chances for the Ponds to explain their lifestyle difficulties and people to get bored with the cubes. The approach to showing how life with the Doctor works was simplistic – missed phone calls and rotten fridge contents. What about when the piled up mail, burglars in an empty house, how Rory manages to keep getting jobs with all that time off (even the part-time work would have dried up with him being so unreliable I suspect? Also as Brian is aware of the truth wouldn’t he be looking after the house? It’s almost as though he didn’t exist before this series 😉
  • Henry VIII again – last week the phone charger left behind, this week Amy marries the King!
  • People’s hearts don’t stop for minutes then they all get up again fine (without even a zap effect of the electricity). Given how specifically this was built into the plot I found it disappointing
  • The Doctor waves his screwdriver, destroys the alien and wins the day – not much of a stretch!
  • Why do UNIT have to break into the Pond house to get to the Doctor? OK Kate apologises but was the whole thing just for the Rory pants gag?
  • How come UNIT records still exist if the Doctor has been wiping himself out of all records?
  • Is under the Tower of London the best spot for UNIT HQ? Even the Doctor makes this point, maybe it is a fourth wall kind of thing with the Doctor saying what we might say
  • And the point of the robot girl was? The dodgy trolley guys with needlessly odd mouths?
  • Why did the alien need to be a Shakri from Gallifreyan mythology?
  • The secret portal happens to go to the hospital where Rory works. Stoke of luck!
  • Would the Doctor really just sit around waiting months for the cubes to start doing things? How did they get to Earth? Why wait in orbit for so long? I liked the slug pellet idea but still felt it lacked some credibility that the big ship would stay around undetected. Remember there is an alien attack / invasion happening every few weeks if you look across all the canon!

Overall

Despite many good things (Brian, Kate, Lord Sugar, great design on the cube effects and the fantastic Chris Foss style spaceship) I just didn’t like this. Maybe in a different mood I would have enjoyed the slightly comic book nature of the story but for me this was a poor story. Maybe not as poor on a second watch when I ignored the flaws but still surely might have been more polished.

Please someone convince me otherwise! What did you think?

3 thoughts on “It’s the power of three!

  1. As much as I’d like to convince you otherwise, I had a pretty similar set of reactions to you. There are certainly some fun moments in this one and I liked that this story made it clear that it’s not the alien worlds that appeal to Rory and Amy but actually just spending time with him. The framing story though felt really rushed and quite unsatisfying to me. A shame as it’s been two less than stellar stories in a row IMO – thankfully the trailer for the next one was quite thrilling so here’s hoping for a swift return to form!

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    • I re-watched it yesterday. I may have overstated some of the criticisms but I do feel a lot of people are forgiving the flaws solely due to Jemma Redgrave’s excellent Kate Stewart character and performance. What a strange bunch we fans are!

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      • Very true – this story may improve on multiple viewings for me too. The people I was watching it with we’re all really confused by just what

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