The Power of Three
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|(Doctor Who Story No. 234, starring Matt Smith)
- written by Chris Chibnall
- directed by Douglas MacKinnon
- produced by Marcus Wilson
- music by Murray Gold
- 1 episode @ 43 minutes
Story: When the mysterious appearance of small cubes
all over the world defies all quick attempts at investigation
or understanding, the Doctor is forced to be patient and
reluctantly moves in with Amy and Rory and their more normal
pace of life. This also allows him to re-establish
old bonds with his colleagues at U.N.I.T. But the situation
may soon reveal that some old Gallifreyan legends are actually true....
DVD Extras for this story on the 15-episode box sets include:
- Behind the Scenes featurette: "A Writer's Tale" (3 min.) with
Matt Smith (The Doctor),
Karen Gillan (Amy Pond),
Arthur Darvill (Rory),
Jemma Redgrave (Kate Stewart),
writer Chris Chibnall,
director Douglas MacKinnon,
producer Marcus Wilson, and
executive producer Caroline Skinner.
- "Last Days of the Ponds" featurette (12 min.) with
Smith, Gillan, Darvill, Alex Kingston (River Song), and
executive producers Steven Moffat and Caroline Skinner.
In-Depth Analysis Review
by Martin Izsak
WARNING: This review contains "SPOILERS", and is intended
for those who have already seen the program.
To avoid the spoilers, read the
Buyers' Guide to the season instead.
I have to say I really liked this story for what it was. Though it plants itself on the domestic
side of Amy and Rory's almost everyday Earth life, it can now get away with it so much better after
all the fantastically varied settings of the previous stories. Plus, today's adventure is just so
well written and full of interesting elements as well. "The Power of Three" ranks in as a good, strong
average for Season 33.
In many ways, the real premise of the tale is its attempt to integrate the Doctor into Amy and Rory's
normal life, instead of having them integrate into his, which is very nicely and clearly laid out
through Amy's narration in the opening sequence. It's very close in concept to season 31's
"The Lodger" (story no. 216), but it succeeds so much better at the idea
of domesticating the Doctor. Firstly, he can be his own open honest self the whole way through,
rather than trying to pretend that he's one of us, which allows for a number of deeply heartfelt
emotional scenes that can engage the truth of the characters and hit home.
And secondly, we have to note that the structure of the overall script is remarkably free.
Time and again we see the characters faced with a lot of options, and no real pressure to make hasty
decisions. Instead, they look deep down at what they truly want, and wrestle with bigger questions
of what they want their lives and lifestyles and relationships to be about. They have the time to do it
here, which makes the tale feel so much larger in scope and more profound. I love it. Though writer
Chris Chibnall has always been fond of time pressure and a ticking clock, he only uses those in
short sequences in this tale, while the adventure in its totality is much more of an exercise
Of course, the Doctor is seen to struggle with this quite a lot. Back during his exile days in
the Jon Pertwee years, he might easily have taken all this
in stride, but his pace of life has been so frenetic of late, he finds it difficult to get back into that
more relaxed mode. As a bonus, we get to see him squeeze a few mostly off-screen mini-adventures
into the middle of this tale, which gives us a hint of what his adventures with Amy and Rory look like
to those Earthly people on a normal time scale who try to be friends with them.
I love the fact that Rory's dad Brian comes back to make another appearance. We haven't had
companions' extended family be this entertaining since Jackie Tyler, Mickey Smith, and Donna's grandpa
Wilfred Mott. Nice. Additionally, Brian embodies the kind of patience that the Doctor is struggling
to emulate, the kind that is actually of more use in real science than the Doctor's frenetic jumping about.
This story rounds out Brian's character nicely and provides a great balancing perspective throughout.
The story also brings back U.N.I.T., once again without any recognizable faces from stories past,
which has me scratching my head somewhat. But to the story's credit, the face we do get of
Kate Stewart, played by Jemma Redgrave, is one of the best we've ever got in New Millennium Who.
I'll definitely say that I trust the fate of the world in her hands more than any other member of
U.N.I.T. seen since 2005, and that includes Martha Jones. It is a nice nod to the fans to say that
she's the daughter of Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, which may be the source of her calm, confident,
stoic optimism. All to the good. I do hope we see her again at some point.
The plot with the cubes is really just subservient to the needs of the year-long character
story being told, yet it's also different enough from the usual Doctor Who plots to sabotage
audience attempts to guess what it's all about or what will happen next. It reminds me a lot
of the monoliths from the "2001: A Space Odyssey" series, only made more personal in a
Russell T. Davies kind of way. I have to give this plot a general thumbs up.
It does feel a bit contrived that one of the focal centers for this plot should become the
hospital that Rory just happens to work at, but I'll let that go. Still, I think I found the
hospital setting of
"Smith and Jones" (story no. 183) to be more interesting.
I also like the sequences on the spacecraft, along with all its visuals, and the brief glimpse
we get of the Shakri. The Doctor digs through some dialogue with one of them,
searching out their motivation, and we get a few telling sound-bites. But there's a distinct feeling
that we are only skimming the very shallow layer on top, and that there's a whole iceberg of mysterious
purpose below waiting to be discovered. What exactly is "the tally" all about? I like not knowing yet,
and I hope we encounter the Shakri again doing something completely different to add to the mystery.
The end of this show is exuberant and powerful and uplifting. I really like where this one has gone,
and the statement it makes about this TARDIS traveling trio. In fact, I almost wish a slight re-write
had allowed Amy and Rory to go out on the high of this story. Although another adventure with them,
before or after this one, is certainly welcome, the one they did get left much to be desired.
This story has become available on DVD and Blu-ray.
Season 33 Box Set
Sept. 24, 2013.
Sept. 24, 2013.
Sept. 24, 2013.
Sept. 24, 2013.
This 5-disc DVD box set includes
13 regular episodes,
2 Christmas specials,
4 audio commentaries, documentaries, behind-the-scenes featurettes,
and additional scenes.
The Blu-ray version has identical content in high definition
spanning 4 discs.
This Region A/1 version (U.S. & Canada) is new for September 24, 2013.
This story is also available in a 5-episode volume with minimal extra features.
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