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Doctor Who Review: The Power of Three (Season 7 Episode 4)

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Posted by: Darren Blackburn, U.K. Correspondent
created 09/22/2012 - 3:16pm, updated 10/01/2012 - 2:27pm

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“With dress sense like that you must be The Doctor.”

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This week it seems the clock has been turned back to the yesteryears of Russel T. Davis with a story structure very reminiscent of everything that was punchy and dire during that era. Billed as a “love letter” by Producer Steven Moffat,"The Power of Three" gives more air time to Amy and Rory than ever before; a topsy turvy diary over 365 plus days – using the same format as the prequel "Pond Life" mini episodes prior to the transmission of "Asylum of the Daleks" as the Earth succumbs to one of the weirdest alien invasions ever seen in Doctor Who.

The story had great premises throughout; given real emphasis due to the fact that publicity wise, "Power of Three" was still in pre- production a few weeks ago - and that could account for the real bummer of an ending – the second “don’t blink” or you miss it resolution in a row. Steven Berkoff was in true Darth Sidious mode as the holo-graphic representative of the Shakri – cosmic pest controllers using black cubes to wipe out mankind before spreading to the stars to commit a load of heinous crimes spearheaded by James T. Kirk. It was a nice touch that it turned out they were a myth used by Time Lord parents to scare their children like the eponymous Boogeyman, but woefully wasted with a resolution that even more gives credence that the use of the Sonic Screwdriver is over used as a “solution” to any Modern who plotline where something more cryptic and ingenious could be used instead. One trait the classic series had in spades.

Of course, prior to the last 7 minutes – the majority of the story was superb – certainly nowhere as bad as the excess of "The Lodger" or worse "Love and Monsters." Life at the Ponds was both hilarious with Rory caught with his pants down as UNIT stormtroopers barge in to collect the Doctor – to yet another Christmas prompt – to the frenetic actions as a bored impatient Time Lord has to creosote the fence, repair the car, cook, clean, curse about Twitter and kick a football 3,578 times to relive the monotony waiting for the mysterious cubes to do something...anything.

It was a real nostalgia moment though when we were introduced to Jemma Redgrave playing Kate Stewart, the new Scientific Adviser and Head of UNIT (that’s the UNITED NATIONS INTERACTIVE TASKFORCE) – warmly acknowledged as the Daughter of the late Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart – who I hope returns for another story. She and Doctor clicked straight away. More please.

Also a trademark that again reared its head was the use of celebrity cameos; Sir Alan Sugar chastising one of the teams for not selling enough cubes on the UK version of The Apprentice and Brian Cox, my fave Astronomer, speculating the Cube mystery sweeping across the world. It was a clever simply ploy – making the Cubes a cosmic publicity stunt – using the gullibility that when folk see a “freebie” we inevitably take it, irrespective of it potentially causing harm, or in this case, heart attacks or playing the dreaded Birdy Song. It was a shock to see that even Time Lords were affected, but have to say the scene of Amy giving the Doctor electro-cardical shock to get his left heart going again was hilarious.

However, the story belongs to Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill;  this was the last story they filmed together before leaving the series. It maybe 3 years real-time wise, but here, we find that Rory and Amy have been on/off with the Raggedy Doctor for 10 years since he met them in Leadworth. They have been taking part in stories in-between the televised episodes - I hope we get to see the Zygons again – nice to have them mentioned and I hate to think how bad that smell was when they were hiding under that bed. As Amy and the Doctor sit outside the Tower of London, looking over the skyline across the river, we get that ever closing feeling that time is not on their side. I couldn’t see any flickering light bulbs this week, but hearing those lines between the actors it will be a very major sense of loss when finally they head for New York to face the Weeping Angels.

The best they say is yet to come, but also sadly the end of the Ponds as oh-so quickly we reach the end of the first run of Series 7 next week. 

For an in-depth look at the upcoming season, check out our Doctor Who Series 7 Fall Preview.

For all the Doctor Who news you can handle, jump in the TARDIS and hop on over to the Cosmic Book News Doctor Who Hub.

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