Review of Doctor Who ‘The Power of Three’

Neela Debnath

Doctor 300x225 Review of Doctor Who ‘The Power of Three’


SPOILERS: Do not read this if you have not seen episode 4, series 7/33 of ‘Doctor Who’

The audience was treated to another Chris Chibnall story but this week was of a much higher quality than Dinosaurs on a Spaceship. So after all these exhilarating journeys across time and space, the audience were left earthbound this week with a story set on our very own planet.

Each episode is like a Hollywood blockbuster and yet it has a different tone to it, falling into a genre each week. Asylum of the Daleks was the action thriller, Dinosaurs on a Spaceship was the kid’s adventure story and A Town called Mercy was the Sci-Fi Western, while The Power of Three’s tone seems like a conspiracy theory movie. The idea of the slow invasion was impressive given that the audience lets their guard down bit by bit and it is at that point the black cube of death strikes.

Compared to the previous three weeks, this instalment seemed to be more low-key. There were no big, sets or particularly fancy use of CGI. It was about the ideas more than anything else and The Power of Three explored a most interesting idea that is seldom touched upon on the show. It was the concept of the companion’s life without the Doctor in all its domestic banality. When the Doctor comes along the ennui of everyday life gives way to the fantastical.

The contrast between real life and Doctor life was brilliant. This is possibly the first time that the show really examines life outside of the Tardis and surprisingly it is fascinating in all its mundane glory. It is a real eye-opener to look at the lives of those touched by the Doctor and what life is like once he has left or he is no longer around.

The story offered space for some great character exploration and just an analysis of how the lives of former companions can never be the same once the Doctor has left. It is no surprise that Rose Tyler was so distraught when she was torn apart from her Doctor, not only did she lose the wonderfully strange man that she loved, but she lost all the adventure that came with him. The Power of Three really poses that question, how you can go on living a normal life after travelling in the Tardis and knowing that there is so much more out there. The answer is that you can’t. Rory’s dad Brian realises this all too well and encourages his son and Amy to go off with the Doctor for more adventures out in the cosmos.

There was a great deal of foreshadowing this week. The audience were shown just how much love and affection the Doctor has for his Ponds. He cares about them and it was incredibly touching when he kept coming back for them. Rory and Amy are, after all, his first companions and they are the first faces that his face saw. Since The Eleventh Hour, they have been with him and they are part of the era of the Eleventh Doctor. Indeed, the Ponds are a definitive part of Matt Smith’s tenure as the Doctor and their lives are intrinsically intertwined. Amy in particular has grown up with the Doctor – he is her raggedy man.

On the topic of companions, the re-introduction of Kate Stewart (Jemma Redgrave) from Unit was a wonderful way of preserving the Doctor’s relationship with the organisation and Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart (known simply as ‘the Brigadier’) who spent many years assisting the Time Lord, particularly when he was stuck on earth due to a defunct Tardis that had been tampered with by his fellow Gallifreyans.

Nicholas Courtney who played Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart died last year this. The Brigadier was a good friend of the Doctor and was incredibly loyal to him. In last year’s The Wedding of River Song, the Doctor was informed of the death of the Brigadier. Despite what people say about Nu-Who, it still does pay attention to what has come before and this touch shows that the history of Doctor Who has not been forgotten in the bright lights of the new series.

The Power of Three is an homage to the Ponds with montages galore, it really celebrates the first companions of the Eleventh Doctor. There was so much scepticism when Matt Smith took on the mantle of the Doctor but Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill showed that they are just as watchable as their predecessors. This episode was the last moment of happiness before the darkness descends. One more thing – this episode had some unexpected but superb cameos from Brian Cox and Alan Sugar. Who could have imagined the Doctor sitting down to watch an episode of The Apprentice?

Next time on Doctor Who: The price of being with the Doctor takes its toll, in what appears to be a horror set in New York – a sort of American gothic haunted house tale. River Song returns for another adventure and the scariest creatures in the universe are back: the Weeping Angels. Blink and you’ll miss them.

Image credit: BBC

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  • Paul Morris

    Doctor Who is also about visiting strange alien worlds, which hasn’t happened much since its 2005 return.

  • Chris Murray

    Okay, seriously. Enough with the love-fest. Is this a review column or just viral marketing for the show? This series quality has dropped from that of its forebears, both of Chibnall’s scripts have had serious faults – the Doctor being friends with a big game hunter and decrying Rory’s job as a healer – and this episode… nothing happened. Some cameos, some exposition, a wave of the wand and everyone lived happily ever after.

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