Who Review: The Power of Three
by Kevin Rigdon (@pralix1138)
What do you do when you want to exterminate the entire human race? Send in the intergalactic Orkin man. What do you do when you want characters start saying goodbye? Provide a simple backdrop of mysterious black cubes to get the Doctor to stay in one place long enough to actually talk to Amy and Rory. Amy and Rory have developed a new life, a normal one, alongside their life as companions to a Time Lord. And they begin to realize that at some point, and soon, they will have to make a terribly difficult choice.
In “The Power of Three,” the world wakes up to millions of little black cubes all over the place. They’re all exactly the same, and no one, not even the Doctor knows what they are or why they’re here. The ubiquitous cubes are adopted en masse by people around the world as novelties. The Doctor attempts to stay and discover their purpose, but gets stir crazy just sitting still, and heads out to travel the universe sans Amy and Rory.
After a year of inactivity, the cubes activate, and the real fun begins. The cubes, as it turns out, have been sent to monitor, and collect all available information on humanity so that the human species can be eradicated by intergalactic pest control known as the Shakri. It seems that someone doesn’t want humanity to colonize other planets. The Doctor, along with Amy and Rory, is able to reverse the process and stave off humanity’s destruction once again. Once aboard the alien space ship, and the comic book-esque monologue by the antagonists, the Doctor is able to reverse the extermination as well as institute a mass resurrection with a few waves of his sonic screwdriver.
The thing is, though, the ending was really easy.
This plot setup presents the backdrop of what’s really going on in the episode: the coming separation between the Doctor and the Ponds. Throughout the episode, as with all of season seven so far, we see the winding down of the Ponds’ time with the Doctor. They have normal lives now, and the Doctor stays gone for weeks, months, even years at a time. At one point, Amy tells the Doctor that it’s been ten years, off and on, that they’ve been traveling with him. Now, Amy and Rory have jobs, have made friends, and, in short, established actual lives outside of traveling the universe. And they’re torn, because they are coming to like the normal life, but they don’t want to let the Doctor go just yet.
The Doctor isn’t keen on letting them go just yet either. In one particularly tender moment, the Doctor tells Amy that he keeps running toward them before they fade. For the Doctor, being a Time Lord and all, it is an effort to keep his family (quite literally, his family, since he’s married to Melody/River, who just happens to be Amy and Rory’s daughter) in his life. How many of us would do the same? I can certainly understand wanting to go back again and again for as long as I could to visit, and be with the people I love especially in their youth and vigor, when they are most alive, all the while knowing that they are fading, will fade, and all that will be left are memories. But memories, especially in Doctor Who, are incredibly powerful (but that’s another post).
So, we have only a little time left with Amy and Rory as companions. I don’t do endings, or goodbyes very well, so I’m thankful that the goodbyes here are being drawn out a bit, although I will admit that part of me wishes they would go ahead and do it so the Doctor can find someone new to travel with. I just hope the goodbye will not involve the deaths of Amy and Rory. I hope it’s an amicable, and agreed upon separation. But that’s probably not likely. Oh well, I guess we’ll see what happens in the mid-season finale in two weeks.
Casting Mark Williams as Rory’s dad is about as spot on as you can get. He was wonderful as Arthur Weasley in the Harry Potter films, and is just incredible as Brian Pond (Williams) here, and I hope that we get to see him again. The idea of the cubes, I think, was a good one, and implemented well, if a bit mundane. Lastly, the interaction between the Doctor, Amy, and Rory is some of the best of the season, so far. I can feel the conflict each one carries within, and the writers and actors do a marvelous job of bringing that out. I feel a good cry coming on in the next couple weeks.
Oh, and the Doctor playing Wii tennis.
The Not-so Good
While I think mysterious black cubes as information gatherers was pretty ingenious, the ultimate resolution of the conflict was really easy and fell flat. The ending didn’t seem to have the same intricacy, and tension, we’ve come to expect from Doctor Who. It seems to me that the cubes device was simply that: a device to provide a backdrop for the ending of the relationship between the Doctor and his companions. It didn’t feel as organic to me. But this doesn’t mar the episode, or make it unwatchable. It is still a solid Doctor Who story.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars