Earth has been slowly invaded by mysterious black cubes. Let’s talk about the latest Doctor Who episode, ‘The Power of Three’!
First, a quick rundown for our fair readers who missed this week’s episode. The Ponds, and not so incidentally the rest of the world, wake up one morning to find small black cubes scattered all over the globe. Months of investigation headed by Kate Stewart, daughter of the late, great Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart, reveal not a thing. The Doctor curbs his peripatetic inclinations for a few months, staying with the Ponds and keeping an eye on the mystery as a whole.
When the cubes finally wake up, it is to take readings on all of humanity, from pulse rates to military response times. Why? To calculate the perfect attack, of course. The cubes start a countdown, and at the end of it, one third of the human race is struck down by a heart attack. The Doctor and the Ponds run find themselves on the mothership of the Shakri, a Gallifreyan boogeyman and the “exterminators” of the universe (hmm… sounds oddly familiar). The Doctor waxes poetic about the potential of humanity, reverses the heart attacks, and rescues Rory’s kidnapped dad, all in about ten minutes. Finally, in a twist I personally didn’t see coming, the Ponds decide to rejoin the TARDIS crew permanently.
“The Power of Three” was certainly the most character-driven offering of the season thus far. Really, the Shakri and the cubes themselves were rather incidental. What we’re really paying attention to is the home life of Amy and Rory and how the Doctor fits, or increasingly doesn’t fit, into it. The Ponds are growing up and creating lives for themselves outside of the TARDIS, moving more and more towards leaving behind Amy’s Raggedy Doctor (although how much can you really leave a son-in-law behind?). I felt like their reversal at the end of the episode was a bit sudden, almost a “gotcha” to the audience. The Ponds have decided to make the TARDIS their permanent home just before the episode where they’ll be leaving it for good. Given their obvious enjoyment of “real life,” the decision just felt contrived to me. Feel free to contradict.
I very much liked the Doctor’s explanation of why Amy is so important to him. As the first person he saw after his regeneration, Amy is imprinted on his hearts. We know there was a similar connection to Rose, as Word of God says that Rose is the reason the Tenth Doctor had an Estuary accent. Now the Doctor is soaking up time with the Ponds before they “fade.” It seems increasingly likely to me that he knows something of what’s coming in the next episode, sensing the same kind of storm that was mentioned in “Fear Her” in reference to Rose. Canon or not, that’s my theory and I’m sticking to it. At least until next week.
Speaking of old companions, I have to admit that I quite nearly cried when we found out the background of Kate Stewart. I really love it when the newer episodes remind us of what came before, and the Brig was definitely some of the best of what came before.
Rory: “There are soldiers all over the 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.”
Kate Stewart: “I’ve got officers trained in beheading. Also ravens of death.”
Things to Ponder
- How much does the American audience miss by not being immersed in British culture? It was awesome that physicist and BBC presenter Brian Cox had a cameo this episode, but I’m guessing a lot of the not-British audience missed that. (Yes, I went to Wikipedia. Don’t judge me.)
- My totally unfounded prediction for the Ponds’ departure: They’ll get zapped back to an earlier time period, but live out their lives and return to NYC in time to give the Doctor a warning about the Angels. However, delivering the warning makes their life on the slow path an established event that the Doctor can’t fix.