Monday, September 24, 2012

My Review of Doctor Who's 7x04: "The Power Of Three"

Written by Chris Chibnall
Directed by Douglas Mackinnon

The Doctor: “You’re thinking of stopping, aren’t you? You and Rory?”
Amy: “No, I mean we haven’t made a decision.”

And what a difference two and a half years (or ten years on and off from another POV) can make. Could anyone have imagined back in Series 5 that Amy Pond would actually consider wanting to stop travelling with the Doctor? Rory, yes, to a certain extent but Amy, not quite as much but then again, things change.

I think what I really enjoyed the most about this episode was the duality of Amy and Rory’s dynamic with the Doctor and vice versa. Both of them were left back on Earth at the end of “The God Complex” and have effectively gotten on with their lives, even enjoying being normal again but at the same time, the Doctor is still a hard thing to give up.

I think this episode really highlighted that duality in several scenes, notably the one between the Doctor and Amy outside UNIT’s latest secret base where he openly brought up the discussion of her and Rory wanting to stop travelling with him altogether. Amy made the point about it feeling like running away but at the same time, it didn’t stop her and Rory have several adventures with the Doctor when they were supposed to be celebrating their wedding anniversary as well with family and friends.

This episode really was about the Doctor’s relationship with the Ponds and how it’s grown over the last two and a half years (or again, ten years on and off) and I found even delightful when in the middle of danger on a spaceship, even Rory was quick to quip about missing the running bit and defying the Doctor’s orders of staying back. That relationship between the Doctor and Rory has also developed beautifully in so much time.

And then there was the welcome return of Brian Williams. Mark Williams was pitch perfect in trying to help out the gang with the main problem of the week but I also liked him for actually asking the Doctor about the previous people who’ve travelled with him as well, before later encouraging Amy and Rory to keep doing so. Of course, Brian’s scenes did really lend to some foreshadowing about the events of “The Angels Take Manhattan” but they were effective scenes nonetheless at the same time.

Similarly effective wasn’t so much the return of UNIT (who were pretty underused in this episode) but more the introduction of the Brigadier’s daughter in Kate Stewart (for those of us who haven’t seen Downtime). Yes, it was one of those things that I knew about beforehand but the character’s addition to the episode was wonderful nonetheless.

I’ll admit that Kate arguably could’ve been given a lot more to have done than she did here but wasn’t Jemma Redgrave just brilliant as Miss Stewart regardless? Kate’s progressive (or more scientific) approach towards dealing with the invasion of the very small cubes might have been seen as a little too PC for some but I like that UNIT are shown to be a little more ask questions/study things rather than just blow it up nowadays, so overall it was a development that worked for me.

I’ll be really disappointed if Kate isn’t a character that returns at some point in the series as well. This episode was a nice introduction and while we don’t need to see UNIT all the time, I do hope it won’t be another three years until the series actually utilises them in an episode as well. Besides, the Doctor needs another Lethbridge in his life and Kate definitely seemed more than perfect for the role.

As for the main problem itself – I won’t lie. To be honest, more thought probably should’ve been put into the resolution of the cubes and the Shakri because their attempts of wiping out humanity and subsequent defeat did seem a little rushed but at the same time, just this once, I really will let it slide.

I’ll let it slide given the amusing subversion on the nature of invasion type stories this episode provided and the fact that this episode was more about the Ponds and the Doctor rather than the latest invasion on Earth.

Also in “The Power Of Three”

This episode’s title sequence is actually my favourite we’ve seen from the whole Moffat. I wouldn’t mind a permanent variation on it from now on.

Rory (to Amy): “We have two lives – real life and Doctor life.”

Rory seems to be some kind of an agency nurse who the hospital wanted to keep permanently and Amy has become a travel journalist.

Rory: “What do you think we do when we aren’t with you?”
The Doctor: “I imagine mostly kissing.”

Rory: “There are soldiers all over my house and I’m in my pants.”
Amy: “My whole life, I’ve dreamed of saying that and I miss it by being someone else.”

Because this episode played out like something from the RTD era, we actually got celebrity appearances with the likes of Alan Sugar and Brian Cox.

The Doctor (to Amy/Rory): “I hate being patient. Patience is for wimps. I can’t live like this, don’t make me. I need to be busy.”

I actually felt sorry for the Doctor that the cubes being so slow to do anything drove him mad (though he accomplished a lot in an hour) but the fact that he stayed for nearly a year because of Amy and Rory was lovely as well as them eating fish fingers and custard together.

Rory: “Did real life just get started?”
Amy: “I like it.”
Rory: “So do I.”

Brian: “What happened to the other people who travel with you?”
The Doctor: “Some left me, some got left behind and some, not many, but some died. Not them, not them, Brian, never them.”

Amy became a bridesmaid for her mate Laura and her girlfriend’s wedding while celebrating her own anniversary with Rory and the Doctor in 1890s Savoy (with Zygon) and accidentally marrying Henry the 8th too.

Kate: “Yes, I got officers trained in beheading. Also, ravens of death.”
Amy (to the Doctor): “I like her.”

The Doctor: “I’m running towards you and Rory before you fade from me.”
Amy: “Don’t be nice to me. I don’t want you to be nice to me.”
The Doctor: “Yeah, you do, Pond and you always get what you want.”

Even though I suppose they weren’t needed, it might have been nice to have seen Amy’s parents and River or had an update on Mickey and Martha as well. Plus we got to see Christmas and there was something else with light bulbs as well.

Shakri: “You’re too late, Doctor, the tally shall be met.”

The Doctor: “Run!”
Rory: “I’m gonna miss this.”

Standout music: Not the Birdie Song but definitely David Guetta/Sia’s “Titanium” and Murray Gold’s use of classics in relation to the Ponds.

Brian (re Amy/Rory): “Actually, it’s you they can’t give up, Doctor and I don’t think they should.”

Chronology: This episode took place within the confines of a year, but it’s been ten years on and off for Amy and Rory since they first started travelling with the Doctor.

The invasion storyline may not have been the strength of “The Power Of Three” but as a character piece for the Doctor, Amy and Rory and the impact they’ve had on each other’s lives (with some neat opening/closing narrations from Amy), this episode deserves a lot of respect. I really am going to miss Amy and Rory, maybe even more because of this episode.

Rating: 9 out of 10

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