With the fall season finale already only a week away, it is difficult for Doctor Who fans to allow themselves to be distracted from what they know is coming. Of course, I am referring to the end of the “Tardis trio” as we know it. We are all inevitably searching every episode for clues as to how it is all going to end come this winter. This week’s character driven episode, “The Power of Three”, gave the audience an emotional look into the thoughts and perspectives of our familiar heros, while (at the same time) putting the world in its usual mortal danger and saving it all over again in under a mere hour of television.
The driving point behind this episode is following Amy (Karen Gillan) and Rory (Arthur Darvill) as they examine the “normal” part of their lives sans the Doctor and intergalactic adventure. Meanwhile, it seems that millions of small, black cubes have mysteriously appeared all across the globe with absolutely no explanation or motive. The first half hour of the episode spans nine months as the “harmless” cubes lay dormant across the Earth and Amy and Rory attempt to reconnect with their daily lives. The Doctor (Matt Smith) even attempts to move in with the couple for a short time while keeping an eye on the cubes.
By the time the cubes “awaken” and the action finally starts, we are already given a clear glance into the Doctor’s soft spot in his affection for Amy and Rory. He comes to accept that the life he leads might not be right for them, yet still acknowledges (in a powerful speech to Amy) his own inner need to unlock the mysteries of the ever changing universe. What else is he doing but preparing us for the companion switch-up?
“The Power of Three” delivered in the usual scattered humor, heart, and something big exploding. However, the unmasked Darth Vader-like space pest exterminator was a somewhat less than captivating villain. What was the meaning of the block-mouthed orderlies and why were they taking random humans aboard their ship? None of this seemed to coincide with the global heart attack and wiping out the pathetic human race. I almost think the enigma of the cubes, themselves, would have been enough without any particular origin. Of course, I realize that Doctor Who thrives on a “don’t ask questions” approach to storytelling which is part of what gives the show its magical element. However, I can’t help but believe this episode had almost a “filler” villain of sorts just to keep the momentum going while the main focus was supposed to be character development.
One continuously wonderful character contribution is the return of Rory’s Dad, Brian Williams (Mark Williams), who becomes the first character to flat-out ask the Doctor exactly what happened to his past travel companions. It is the Doctor’s honest and eery response that sends a chill of impending doom up the spines of viewers. Next week is the final Pond voyage. And we will all be tuning in.
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