Doctor Who “The Power of Three” Review

This week’s episode of Doctor Who, “The Power of Three” was a reflection on the life of the Ponds and their friendship with The Doctor. Unless you’ve been completely tuned out to any previews or news related to Doctor Who, you probably already know that the next episode of Doctor Who will tell the story of the fall of the Ponds. In that context, it’s somewhat appropriate to have this episode be a warm, emotional story that highlights just how important the Ponds have been to The Doctor.

The Doctor sees Rory and Amy’s slower, everyday lives, and we see Rory and Amy considering a commitment to their “real life.” Amy tells Rory’s dad, Brian, that they estimate that they’ve been traveling with The Doctor for 10 years now – just not on their Earth timeline. They’re older than the friends and family they leave every time, and even when they try to come back as quickly as possible, there’s still mysterious gaps in their lives.

While I can kind of understand Rory and Amy’s desire to slow down, I think I still view the chance to see the Universe the same way that The Doctor does. In a conversation that seemed a lot like Wendy talking to Peter Pan, Amy told The Doctor that she wanted to stop running away. The Doctor explained that he was not running away with all his travel and adventures, he was running to see all the wondrous parts of the Universe before they faded away.

It can be a little frustrating watching Rory and Amy take their travels for granted, but I guess they’re ready to retire. I’d like to think that if I had the opportunity to travel along with my husband on adventures all over the Universe (and not have to worry about a mortgage or meals) I wouldn’t be ready to retire at 30. I’d happily let my friends and family think we were insane when we told them we’d be gone for a few months to visit the year 2254. We’d promise to write, call, or Facebook while we were out (just not Twitter… because apparently The Doctor is suspicious of the Twitter crowd) and we’d tell the tales of our adventures even if no one believed us.

Rory’s dad, Brian, had a conversation with The Doctor earlier about the fate of his previous companions, and The Doctor’s answer was raw and honest. The Doctor told Brian that the Ponds were different to him, but the look on Brian’s face seemed to say that he knew The Doctor wasn’t completely in control of their safety. Knowing what The Doctor had told him, Brian still seemed to understand more completely how rare Amy and Rory’s opportunity was, and he encouraged them to continue travelling with The Doctor.

All this conversation about how much the Ponds meant to The Doctor only added to my sneaking suspicion that The Doctor has been spending time with the Ponds after already knowing their fate. After running around impatiently with no change in the status of the strange Cubes that suddenly appeared all over the world, The Doctor asked Amy, “Can I stay here?” and added, “I miss you.” He then spends almost a full year in one place, taking in life with the Ponds.

Of course, there was the whole business of “The Slow Invasion” with those mysterious black Cubes appearing suddenly all over the Earth. Despite Brian’s helpful observations and theories about the boxes (including the possibility of them being “alien eggs” for anyone keeping track) The Doctor was completely stumped by the little black boxes.

The Cubes had the makings of a really great mystery adventure and I loved seeing how puzzled and frustrated The Doctor was by their presence. UNIT got involved, and in a special little twist, the Brigadier’s daughter, Kate Stewart, was able to work alongside her father’s long-time colleague to defend the Earth from a likely alien threat.

As the Cubes became active, their presence only became more strange and my curiosity continued to grow. Unfortunately, after all that build up, I was a bit let down by the simple explanation and sudden resolution to the slow invasion. The Shakri seemed to come out of nowhere, the cube-faced orderlies were never found, and we didn’t really get an explanation as to why they had been kidnapping and holding hostages from the hospital.

Once The Doctor located a screen on the spaceship, all it took was a little wiggle of his sonic screwdriver and boom, resuscitation by defibrillation for everyone! Although, no one really addressed the “1/3 of the population” that had been attacked by the cardiac short circuit who would now be severely impaired due to the loss of circulation to the brain for about 10 minutes. As The Doctor and his companions escaped, they left a room full of abducted patients to die on the spaceship as it exploded in space. They then returned to the Pond’s home (decorated with flashing Christmas lights, by the way) satisfied about saving humanity from the Shakri Tally.

The story behind the Cubes let me down a bit, but it hardly seems to matter when we realize that the real reason this episode was special was because of what it told us about The Doctor’s relationship to the Ponds. I expect next week’s Doctor Who mid-season finale will be heartbreaking, but we’ll always be able to look back at “The Power of Three” and see how warm the Ponds made the Universe for The Doctor, and how special The Doctor made life for the Ponds.