REVIEW: Doctor Who - "The Power of Three"


I don’t know why, but my favourite moments on Doctor Who always seem to come from the true sci-fi episodes. Series 7 delivered one of those stories last Saturday, in the form of “The Power of Three”. When millions of black cubes mysteriously appear on Earth, the Doctor is forced to – of all things – wait them out and investigate why the cubes arrived.

As the Doctor battles boredom, he can’t ignore that his travels with Amy and Rory are coming to an end.  Their adventures are distancing the Ponds from real life, and the Doctor decides to cram in a few more travels before they say goodbye. Rarely has an episode with the Eleventh Doctor done such an excellent job honouring his relationship with his companions. It’ll be sad to see Amy and Rory go, but I’m glad we got an episode like “The Power of Three” to help see them off.

The episode opens with Amy and Rory sorting through everything they missed during their last trip with the Doctor. It’s clear that travelling with Eleven is a blessing and a curse: they do amazing things, but they always have to return to the humdrum of everyday life. Rory sums it up best when he simply says they must choose one life or the other. Of course, their conversation is interrupted by the telltale swoosh of the TARDIS, and the Ponds put off their big decision until later.

The strange black cubes that arrive are probably one of the weirder “villains” to be featured on Doctor Who. With no apparent purpose, they fascinate humans and mystify the Doctor. It felt like a reference to our modern consumer culture – a shiny object is released, and everyone has to have one. Of course, the cubes in “The Power of Three” have an ulterior motive, and the Doctor is bent on figuring out what it is.

One of the most engaging parts of the episode was its structure. Rather than a single, relatively linear narrative, the story jumped around a bit, hinting that there’s more to the episodes we’ve seen than we might have realized. I read a very interesting theory this week about how we might actually be seeing the Series 7 episodes out of order – if it’s true, we’ll probably all have to bow down in reverence to Steven Moffat once again.

The scene with Amy and Doctor really brought it all home. They are one of the best teams in the history of the show, and it’s clear from this scene that if the writers wanted to, they could get many more episodes out of Amy’s character. There’s a mutual trust between the Doctor and Amy, a friendship that goes far beyond their clever banter and occasional squabbles. It’s one of the many reasons Doctor Who has lasted all these years; without human relationships like this one, it would just be another madcap sci-fi show.

Despite all the great character work in this episode, I was a bit let down by the story’s third act. With the global implications of the black cube invasion, I expected a more intense showdown between the Doctor and the Shakri. Instead, they seem to invite the Doctor to walk aboard the ship; he promptly reverses the programming of the cubes with a flick of his sonic screwdriver. For all the effort the baddies must have put into their plan, you’d think they’d at least have some robots to chase intruders around.

As we take in the Ponds’ final episode this week, I’d say “The Power of Three” makes for a strong penultimate appearance. As with most companions’ last moments, we’re reminded of the toll travelling with the Doctor can have on mere humans. But it’s clear that Amy and Rory would continue on with Eleven if they could. The question becomes, how will they say goodbye? “The Power of Three” gets three and a half stars out of four.

What did you think of Episode 4 of Doctor Who Series 7? Like? Dislike? How sad will you be to see the Ponds depart in the next episode? What theories do you have for the rest of the series? Let me know in the comments section! If you liked this review, share it with your friends and followers, and check me out on Twitter! If you want to catch up on my reviews of earlier episodes, follow these links:


Series 7 Reviews:

Ep.1: Asylum of the Daleks | Ep. 2: Dinosaurs on a Spaceship

Ep. 3: A Town Called Mercy