Atrocious puns aside, this is a truly powerful episode...
Being the penultimate adventure featuring two of Doctor Who's most beloved and loyal companions since the reboot of the show way back in 2005, it's fitting that The Power of Three is something of a swansong for a certain Amelia Pond and her never-staying-dead husband, Rory Williams. This particular ballad is sung beautifully, too, which is more than welcome from the point of view of a reviewer who has felt nothing but feelings of under-use for the two characters over the course of the series, bar the second episode. Coincidentally, The Power of Three is also penned by the writer of that particular inclusion, and while Amy came across as a brilliant feminine caricature of a certain Christopher Eccleston in Dinosaurs on a Spaceship, which also saw Rory from a new angle thanks to the introduction of his dad, Brian, writer Chris Chibnall absolutely excels in fiddling with the companionship's threads throughout his second contribution to the series. And what a contribution it is, as long as you can ignore some slightly beguiling errors on a few other fronts.
While Chris Chibnall's latest ultimately emphasises the relationship between Amy, Rory and The Doctor, it is mainly pushed along by a very interesting plot thread, involving one of the oddest Earth invasions that the last of the Time Lords has ever come across over the past near-fifty years. Quite literally overnight, countless identical small black cubes arrive seemingly out of nowhere, to the surprise and intrigue of the human race. And what is it that these perfectly formed, indestructible shapes do, you ask? Absolutely nothing, and they continue to do so for months throughout the episode. Following in the footsteps of 2010's The Lodger and its spiritual 2011 follow-up, Closing Time, this story sees The Doctor in wait, because that's all he can do. While it reflects the aforementioned stories of past series', this Chibnall-penned tale plays the waiting game pretty much perfectly, and it wholly engages the audience as well as the characters you see on screen, and most importantly it isn't boring thanks to the key aspect of the episode, the companionship. When the cubes eventually showed signs of activity in the story's final act (that's not a spoiler, by the way) I was on the edge of my seat waiting to see what exactly the cubes are for and who or what has been pulling the strings all this time. Heck, I almost spilled tea all over my crotch when this was supposedly about to be revealed. As for the pay-off to all this waiting... Well, allow me to hark back to that later.
|Despite being driven by the intriguing concept that is the Cubes, the main pull of The Power of Three lies in the relationship between the two main companions and the Doctor, the former of which are set to leave in an episode's time...|
|Never thought this guy would find his way onto my blog, that's for sure.|
|Power of Three turns Brian into a character many viewers can relate to, as he interrogates the good Doctor in one scene, fearful of the consequences of Amy and Rory's traveling.|
|Despite her lack of screen presence, Kate Stewart is undeniably a character I, and I'm sure many others, want to see more of in future episode of Who. Maybe she'll return in the second half of the series?|
The thing is, the imperfections detailed in the last paragraph might well be evident in the episode not to Chris Chibnall's fault. You see, there are a few occasions throughout this 40-minute escapade that things appear slightly botched in terms of a key point in the production: the editing. There's a good reason for this, however, as the filming of this episode had to take place a lot later than expected, which ended up delaying the series a little after promises that it would begin sometime in August by Matt Smith himself. The Power of Three might well be another case of too little run-time for too big a story, a suffering that has impacted various episodes in the past. A little too much is squeezed into the story's 40 minutes of final cuts, leading to the conclusion that the episode isn't the most stable balancing act.
|"Geronimo..." A later scene involving The Doctor awaiting the supposed reveal of what exactly the cubes were for had me in stitches. Shame the outcome was a bit poor.|