The Power of Three
First Broadcast September 22nd 2012 @ 7.30pm (7.67m viewers)
Although arguably the weakest episode in series 7A, ‘The Power of Three’ offers one last hurrah for the plucky TARDIS trio. With Amy and Rory due to leave the Doctor in the next story, this episode allows the team to share a number of scenes together without a strong peril. There’s plenty of that next week. It also returns to the theme of the Doctor in a domestic environment which had been seen in ‘The Lodger’ and ‘Closing Time’. For the final time, the Ponds get an opportunity to reflect on how their lives have changed with the Doctor. In fact, they have actually developed two lives. This period of reflection, with a developing happiness in their Earth-bound lives, screams ‘quit while you’re ahead’. Advice, they’ll wish they had taken soon enough.
The concept of “the slow invasion” is an interesting one and offers a refreshing interpretation of the Classic ‘invasion Earth’ paradigm. Planet Earth wakes up one morning to find small black cubes everywhere. But they just sit dormant for a year. Instead of creating a climate of fear as people wait for them to do something, humanity becomes bored with the cubes, lulling everyone into a false sense of security before they strike. Very clever actually. The Doctor of course, gets bored very quickly and actually leaves the human beings to it whilst he entertains himself with other adventures. It’s no wonder his Third incarnation loathed his exile to Earth so much!
Memorable Moment (Spoiler Warning)
As well as the return of UNIT and the wonderfully entertaining Mark Williams as Rory’s Dad, the story also sees the debut of a new character, Kate Stewart played by the lovely Jemma Redgrave*. When Kate’s identity as the daughter of Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart is revealed it is a touching moment. Nicholas Courtney sadly passed away in 2011 and will forever be sorely missed. However thanks to the strong character of Kate Stewart and the acting of Jemma Redgrave his tradition still continues. Unlike her father Kate has thrust science to the forefront once again. Redgrave is very respectful of the Stewart name and has since gone on to make a number of reappearances with Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor and of course in the 50th Anniversary special ‘The Day of the Doctor’. She has even been treated to a couple of excellent Big Finish audios which are well worth checking out.
Memorable Moment 2 (Spoiler Warning)
Sadly another memorable moment about ‘The Power of Three’ is the resolution but for all the wrong reasons. It demonstrates exactly what former Christopher H Bidmead loathed. Magical objects delivering convenient problem solving. On the Shakri ship, the Doctor finds the controls, waves his sonic screwdriver around and everything is fixed. Simple as that. No real explanation. He takes control of the cubes and not only stops them from doing any more damage but also uses them to cure everyone who had had their hearts stopped. To top it off the feedback also destroys the Shakri’s ship, tying everything together neatly. It has to be one of the worst conclusions to a Doctor Who episode because of this all too convenient ending.
The episode only serves the purpose of providing the Doctor and his companions a final hurrah because in one week in New York angels and the audience are going to weep…
*Note: Kate Stewart first appeared in the video drama ‘Downtime’, set in the Doctor Who universe but without the Time Lord himself, released in 1995 and is now available on DVD. ‘The Power of Three’ marks the first time she appeared in a BBC transmitted episode of Doctor Who.
The Doctor – Matt Smith
Amy Pond – Karen Gillan
Rory Williams – Arthur Darvill
Brian Williams – Mark Williams
Kate Stewart – Jemma Redgrave
Shakri – Steven Berkoff
Ranjit – Selva Rasalingam
Laura – Alice O’Connell
Arnold Underwood – Peter Cartwright
Orderly 1 – David Beck
Orderly 2 – Daniel Beck
UNIT Researcher – David Hartley
Writer – Chris Chibnall
Producer – Marcus Wilson
Director – Douglas Mackinnon
Aired On This Day…
- Destiny of the Daleks: Episode 4