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.

About Eoghann Irving

Overly opinionated owner and author of You can get updated on his posts directly on the blog here or through the usual social networking suspects. What? You expected me to say something interesting here? That's what the blog posts are for. Eoghann has often wondered if people read these little bio things we have to fill out everywhere on the internet and, assuming they do, why?