Monday, August 25, 2014

Doctor Who--"The Power of Three"

I do not believe I am spoiling anything by mentioning next week’s episode will be the final appearance of Amy and Rory. “The Power of Three” feels very much likr a preemptive wake for their departure. The story is tol from their perspective more than any previous episode as they try to deal with their mundane, everyday lives versus their adventures with the Doctor in the midst of an alien invasion that feels much like a leftover from the Russell T. Davies era.

The alien invasion plor is quite secondary to character moments. One morning, small black cubes appear all over the earth, but do nothing. The Doctor advises everyone to observe the cubes for activity. The observation drags out for months before it is revealed the cubes were meant to attract human attention so they could observe and find human weakness. The cubes do, by attacking the hearts, before the doctor finds the alien space ship and defeats the plan. If that sounds like a thin plot, you have no earthly idea. The aliens plan is a lot of nothing paced glacially slowly over the course of the episode.

It is the character moments that redeem ’The Power of Three.” The doctor can only manage to hang out with Amy and Rory watching the cubes for four ays before he runs off in the TARDIS for nine months. While left behind, the couple resume their lives. Rory accepts a permanent nursing job. Amy agrees to serve as a bridesmaid weeks away. When the Doctor returns for their wedding anniversary and to deal with the cubes, there is some soul searching for all three. The universe is an exciting place the Doctor feels compelled to explore, but he likes Amy and Rory, so he keeps coming back to them. They finally decide, at Rory’s father’s insistence, to go off in the TARDIS again with the ominous reminder from the Doctor not all companions’ stories end happily.

I have mixed emotions about ’The Power of Three.” It reminds me--not in a good way--of some of Davies’ blander scripts. The entire earth is place in peril with every person knowing there is an alien threat. Millions of people die from cardiac arrest, but the doctor literally hit’s the reset button at the end. The worst part is that these happenings are in the background. The real story is about the companions’ decision to resume their Aventures with the Doctor. These character moments are great, mind you, but the bitter sweet nature will truly resonate only in hindsight when we learn exactly what fate awaits Amy and Rory.

I do enjoy the nods to the past. UNIT shows up headed by the Brigadier General’s daughter. I assume she will become at least a semi-recurring character. Brian Williams returns, too. He keeps a nearly year long vigil on a cube upon the doctor’s request, demonstrating where Rory earned his patient dedication in his Roman Centurion days. These points help boost “The Power of Three” to overcome the lackluster invasion plot.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

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