Doctor Who Re-Review: The Power Of Three

2319952-doctor-who-series-7 When I posted my orig­inal review of The Power Of Three I called it “almost a great Doctor Who story.” Has my opinion changed with a fresh watch?

It certainly starts strong with a very distinc­tive hook. The myste­rious cubes raise lots of ques­tions and there’s no imme­diate answers. And then we get some solid char­acter building scenes between Amy and Rory. There’s been a running theme this season about the Pond’s slow depar­ture from the Doctor’s life.

The intro­duc­tion of Kate Stewart (daughter of Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart) is another high point early in the episode. Jemma Redgrave plays the role with appro­priate authority and it’s always nice to see UNIT return.

Then we get some really cool looking and very Moffaty aliens (creepy weird shaped mouths seems to be one of his things) along with the first hint that yes as we had assumed the cubes are up to no good. But then it goes off the rails with some irrel­e­vant side trips that serve to hamfist­edly rein­force what we already know and provide some rather goofy comedy moments. It wouldn’t be that big a deal except this is a single episode story so time is at a premium.

And that’s the pattern for a lot of the episode. We get moments of tension and forward momentum then every­thing comes to a screeching halt to make it clear to us… again… that the Ponds will be leaving soon. But we already know that. It’s so over the top that it has me eager for their depar­ture instead of sad to see it happening.

power-of-3-4And it’s frus­trating because the idea here is great. A slow inva­sion. People just accepting some­thing strange as normal over time. And I have lots of ques­tions about both the how and the why of it.

But all that good stuff gets crammed into a few minutes towards the end of the episode and while it’s hardly uncommon for a Doctor Who story to rely on unlikely conve­nience, in this case (being right next to the hospital that’s one of the 7 key trans­mis­sion points, and Rory’s Dad being kidnapped by the aliens) really makes that very obvious.

The Shakri are also quite an inter­esting concept. The pest controllers of the universe.  It’s some­thing that deserves explo­ration it really doesn’t get here.

And then there’s the cop out ending. Sure it was obvious they weren’t going to leave all of those people dead. But really… we just restart their hearts and there’s no brain damage or other consequences?

So yeah. Almost a great Doctor Who story. Chris Chib­nall came close here and if he’d been able to write an entirely stand alone episode he might well have succeeded. In the end though, I wonder how many elements he was asked to incor­po­rate to fit the larger arc of the season.

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