Doctor Who: The Power Of Three review

Review Simon Brew 22 Sep 2012 - 20:15

Doctor Who series 7 episode 4: here’s our spoiler-filled review of The Power Of Three…

This review contains spoilers. Our spoiler-free review is here.

7.4 The Power Of Three

“Don’t knock my log. I’m doing what the Doctor asked”

It feels like it’s been a long time since we had an episode like this. A big global threat, cameos from BBC newsreaders, a bearded face from a popular reality TV programme*? Had the Tardis taken us back, we wondered, to the Russell T Davies years?

Well, yes and no. It captured the feel of slightly older Doctor Who, along with the continual build up to events that are very much concerning the current era of the show. Plus, it added in a bit of Time Lord stuff too. Not bad for 42-ish minutes.

Predominantly, there were two strands at work in The Power Of Three, a very, very enjoyable episode of the show, that benefitted from a lighter, breezier feel. On the one hand, there were the cubes. Lots and lots of apparently boring, ordinary cubes. On the other, there was the foreboding of matters to come where Rory and Amy are concerned. So let’s deal with them in turn. cubes first.

Chris Chibnall has come in for sometimes heavy criticism for his Doctor Who work in the past, but he struck gold with the story idea here: a slow invasion, that's not explained until very late on in the episode. It feels like another proper science fiction idea, too: mysterious cubes suddenly appearring all over planet Earth, and rather than their point become apparently clear, there’s a real patience and skill to the build up. As such, people accept them as the norm, and it's only when they've fully done so, that the cubes strike.

One thing here benefitted the invasion element of The Power Of Three was its chronological timeline. The episode took place over the course of around a year, but this part of the narrative was strictly in order, and that aided the build up considerably. Part of the fun with Doctor Who is sometimes the zipping backwards and forwards in time in a single episode (and we got a bit of that with the Rory and Amy elemets), but that’d do more harm than good here. Instead, there was a tight focus on an intriguing story.

The scale of said invasion came across really well, too. There was a real sense that this is a global threat. Plus, while simple mechanics such as the slow countdown might not be radical, they're very effective. And again, there's the whole human acceptance of the cubes, and letting them interperse with everyday life (at one point, they’re used for a bit of putting practice). “People are just taking them for granted”, Amy sagely warned.

Chris Chibnall also threw in some treats and references for long time Doctor Who fans. Jemma Redgrave led the very welcome return of UNIT to the show, and it was a lovely touch that it turns out she’s a Lethbridge-Stewart. Then there was the broader tie-in to the Time Lords. It's a pity that Steven Berkoff’s ultimate villain was thrown away in the speed of wrapping everything up, but you can’t fault the ambition. He had the appearance of the Emperor in Star Wars, and The Shakri was an interesting extension to Gallifrey backstory (“pest controllers of the universe). A pity it turned into another humans are bad/not they’re not debate in the race to the credits. We’ll come to the ending again shortly.

Before that, there was the other side of the episode: Rory and Amy, and a glimpse into their everyday lives. Given that the pair are soon to depart the series, this was a chance to see what they do when the Doctor isn’t about. It turns out, after having the Doctor in their lives for ten years, that the idea of a more domestic existence has appeals, with both friends and workmates keen to see more of them. We’ve known for a long time that Rory is a nurse, for instance, but here, we see him nursing. Interestingly, we see the consequence that he and Amy’s Tardis-hopping lifestyle has on the people around them. We've had the families of companions taken into account before, but to spend some time deepening their broaders lives was an appreciated touch.

Most hauntingly, of course, we got Brian Williams’ realisation of what may be ahead. Mark Williams was the highlight of Dinosaurs On A Spaceship for us, a very funny presence and a joy to watch. Here, he shouldered – in between some more excellent comedy work – that sense of forboding. His “just bring them back safe” at the end of the episode felt laced with impending doom. We suspect that there won’t be too many opportunities in the future to bring Mark Williams back to Doctor Who, but it’d be a treat to see him return. In two episodes, he's had a real impact.

Then we come to Matt Smith. He's just brilliant here, in an episode that asks lots of different things of him. The exploration of the Doctor’s boredom threshold, for starters, demonstrated his already well-established comedy skills (both physically, and in his delivery of a line. His clear displeasure at the thought of Twitter was wonderful). The bored Doctor meant fun for us, but it wasn't long before Matt Smith's real range was called upon again. Loneliness, laughs, a literal heart stopping moment, and sadness in one episode? It shouldn’t be underestimated how hard that it is to put across. You may or may not like the eleventh Doctor (we like him a lot), but there's no doubting the quality of the actor who plays him.

There was a problem with the episode, though, for all the qualities of it. With two main parts to it, The Power Of Three had an awful lot to enjoy but, almost inevitably, it hit a problem come the end of the episode. Put simply: The Power Of Three crammed too much in, at the expense of its denouement. In days of old, it felt like it would have been a two part episode. While we’re not sure it warranted that, another ten minutes wouldn’t have hurt here, not least because the slow invasion storyline was wrapped up ridiculously quickly. There was a sense of Independence Day to it: the build up was patient, excellent and well executed. The pay off was hasty, and far less interesting. It was particularly disappointing here, because The Shakri was interesting. Maybe we'll see Steven Berkoff again in the role come the second half of series seven.

Still, that aside, The Power Of Three was enormous fun. We’re all prepped now, though, for the mid-series finale next week. This is when we’re told Amy and Rory are leaving. This is when the Weeping Angels return. Heck, come the end of The Power Of Three, the Doctor, Amy and Rory are apparently closer than they’ve ever been. And that’s a sure sign that things are about to go pear shaped.

For now, though, The Power Of Three might - might - just be the highlight of series 7 to date. It's the first episode to give Asylum Of The Daleks a run for its money, at the very least.

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* Does the presence of Alan Sugar finally get us off the hook for years of Apprentice reviews, we wonder...

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Can I just put forward a suggestion first? When Matt Smith eventually hangs-up the bow tie. Brain Cox as the next Doctor please. And has someone been painting the TARDIS?

I have no idea what I watched

so for the 4th week in a row we've had the flickering lights plus a spaceship has exploded killing someone. these can't be coincidences....

I really enjoyed this episode it was fun and felt like one from the Russell T Davies era

That was brilliant yeah the ending was a bit rushed but I like that the slow invasion had a quick solution, cant help thinking this mini movie idea has been a huge success for the show for me only the Mercy episode was a bit weak so far but Matt Smith has been majestic this series his range is tremendous. Having the Brigs daughter was a lovely touch too.

After a couple of good episodes its gone right downill again. Lots of ideas and concepts with were have thought out and then not elaborated. Who were the people with the weird faces? Why were they kidnapping people? Why if those cubes could have lasers in them did they not all have lasers and kill mankind that way? If you want to kill mankind why have the cubes only kill the nearest person? Was just a jumbled mess with over a year passing but no believable character development and a wishy washy premise.

I thought it was brilliant - did anyone else notice the Doctor, Amy and Rory were eating fish fingers and custard as they watched the TV?!

And what if humans turned out to be laser proof? A year of the Shakri's time would have been wasted. Much more sensible to find out their weaknesses and then use that information to eliminate them.

Hence his comment "A pudding that's savoury... remind you of anything?" as he held up a fish-custard finger.

I bloody loved that episode! The think with the cubes was secondary to me compared to the interactions of the Ponds (including Rory's dad ... Who is a pond ... Yes. He is.) and the Doctor. His explanation for his continual wanderings. The will-they-won't-they question as to Amy and Rory giving up the TARDIS lifestyle. Brian (nothing more needs to be said. Mark Williams was brilliant).

I just thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed it. ... And a (Lethbridge-)Stewart at UNIT! Simply marvelous.

Who was killed in the explosion this week? The Doctor pointed out that the Shakri was not really there - his presence on the ship was just a projection. I doubt the semi-faceless androids count as "someone".

Best of the series so far - For me that was Matt's best performance, he's not my favorite Doctor but I do think he's played brilliantly. Really, really enjoyed that episode.

Errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr how does that work as an argument? In the doctor who universe humans are certainly not laser proof, it is certainly a weakness. I notice you dont try and explain all the loose threads and unfinished ideas that were left in abundance at the end of this episode.

Yeah the Doctor avoided the lasers quite easily, I took that as the cubes testing humans and later they came to the best method to get rid of them, simples!

Fantastic first 30 minutes, ridiculous last 15 minutes. Sonic Screwdriver to the rescue again as the Doctor reverses, Capt. Jack style, the function of the cubes which were apparantly empty but also contained lasers, some device for creating numbers, the ability to create mood swings etc? Reviving people who've had heart-attacks with no brain damage? Silly and a real shame after a terrific build up :(

Does anyone else think that the 45 minute long episode doesn't really suit Doctor Who and the episodes really need to be an hour long to just let the story breathe. I have really enjoyed this run of episodes but they all seem a bit rushed especially in the last 15 minutes. This story could easily be a two parter. I've been watching some classic Pertwee,Baker and Davison stories recently and I find the long 4 or 6 part stories serve the narratives far better. I would love to see a proper multi part 11th Doctor story.

Cool Beans!

Brilliant episode. I think it beats Asylum of the Daleks hands down.

Loved all of the little throwbacks to past episodes, loved the insight into the Ponds' sans-Doctor life, I thought the idea of a slow invasion was genius, I thought that the Shakri was very intriguing and I hope that they delve deeper into that, and Mark Williams as Brian is a fantastic character.

Though, it wasn't perfect. I really didn't like that the cubes had lasers. It seems trivial, but I really don't think that it was necessary! If they all had lasers, why didn't they just shoot everyone in sight? I think that was a mistake. And I think Doctor Who should have hour-long episodes. And the ending was too abrupt.

But aside from that, the acting was all brilliant, and it's now one of my favourite Doctor Who episodes. And how awesome does next week's episode look?!?!

I loved the first 30 minutes or so but the ending was far too rushed....just a "sonic screwdriver wave fixes everything" ending...and Steven Berkoff was wasted IMO...should have been a 2 parter.

This regeneration of The Doctor has already met UNIT in thetwo-part SJA story 'Death of the Doctor' at the UNIT base under Mount Snowden so they know what he looks like.

You (so adroitly) notice that because I am answering just one of your questions. I don't see rules anywhere telling me I have to answer all of them.

I explained why it makes sense that the Shakri didn't use lasers. The logic is sound. Almost every invading force in the history of warfare has employed this exact same tactic - send in a scout first to find out their weaknesses and then exploit them in waves. It's a move so old it's even mentioned several times in the Bible.

Ah, I didn't really consider that! Yep, that makes sense.

One again the ponds are by far the most interesting thing in this show, I don't want them to go.

This was another rubbish episode that highlighted everything that has been wrong with 'Nu Who' era.

The centre of the box was empty but the each of the faces were about 5mm thick and about 100mm x 100mm wide - you don't think an extremely advanced alien culture could fit technology to do all the stuff you mention that in a space that size? We can put video on paper now and we've not made it past the moon in space travel...

The Doctor told the Ponds to get everyone off the ship, I think they did this but it didn't show it.

the episodes need to be either 4 30 Minute serial , or 2 45 Minuter serials. This has been a problem with the entire 'Nu Who' era (2005 till now). And the few two part episodes that there have been have been of the following design: Cram a load of crap into the first episode that has no bearing on the conclusion which is rushed a filled with more holes than than Swiss Cheese

The Doctor noted that the cubes were giving people what they wanted, adjusting to humans and giving different responses to each individual. The Doctor issued a threat against the cube so the cube reacted in kind with lasers. Because that's what the Doctor expected so that what it gave him. The rest, I admit, at the end of the episode felt rushed. Why didn't the Doctor try to save those other people? They could've been already dead but he didn't even check. I suspect a lot of scenes must've been cut. But I think the ship was just automated. An AI sticking to a strict duty of extermination and pest control and the nurses were just taking test subjects and people that got too close to the opening. That's my take.

So many RTD era references! SLADE! That was amazing hearing that song again at Christmas. Zygons: David Tennant's favourite monster. Mention of Artron energy. The Doctor's heart stopping like in 'Shakespeare Code' and him asking humans how they cope, complaining. Newsreader talking heads and celebrity cameos. It really made it feel like a RTD-era tribute, especially considering it's been a while since we've had a proper invasion story...except this wasn't even a proper invasion story, technically. haha

I saw no flickering lights though. Or maybe I missed it? Anyone want to correct me on this?

This was another great episode that highlighted everything that has been right with 'Nu Who' era.

Am I the only one who thought that the episode was actually this series' dud? The Doctor living with Amy and Rory was fun (the Henry the 8th part unneeded, though) but the end was awful. The ultimate revelation about the cubes was a disaster (just blow up the planet guys!) and the Shakri were so ridiculously rushed. What was the existence in seven times thing? Why were they kidnapping humans and, why, god why, were they taking orders from "judgement day"? This has been my favourite series so far, but the Power of Three really was awful.

Not a bad episode. Preferred last week.

But ultimately the enemy was disappointing, The Timelords use these guys to frighten Timelord children into behaving, it should take a bit more than a wave of a sonic screwdriver to defeat them.

Their Space ship look cool through.

Plus what was the point of that child android or the collecting of the patents.

An you do not just get back up an walk around after a cardiac arrest.

The build up to the ending was cool, seeing how the Ponds live without the Doctor and Rory dad good, love it when Rory Dad listing all the possibilities on what the cubes might be. Would love to see him, the doctor and his new assistance work together for an episode in the future.

Not to sure about the new UNIT through, still to much dumbness to them to take them seriously.

For all its lovely moments this episode was ruined by its ending, it just basically talked down to the audience in a way not seen since RTD. Rory works in the hospital where the wormhole is, a girl sitting in the waiting room for a year, no one notices anything until the very last minute, utter bobbins! spoilt a rather enjoyable episode.
If you spend the whole epsiode building up a mystery it better have a decent resolution.

it was an awful lot of fun, and I wish it had a full series, but it all feels a bit rushed

I...thought it was pretty bad, actually. A lot of build-up for a very damn squib of a threat (and resolutions), hyperactive direction and a gimmick of the Doctor trying to adjust to normal life that's already been mined before. Fell really flat.

The Power of Three? I think I'd rather have had the Power of Kroll!

Loved it overall, but I can't help but feel that Chinball wrote the Doctor, Amy and Rory stuff first, came up with the brilliant cubes idea next, and then jammed an exuse for an ending on at the last second.

Nah, rewatching the 6 parters they are incredibly slow & laboured. Not much happens to justify the lengthy running time.

I wish the resolution to this episode had been better, there was some great build up and interesting concepts, but everything was solved by waving the sonic at a computer screen and turning on 'reverse death' mode.

The interactions between the characters was lovely but I never felt any sense of threat, the cubes killed a third of the population but there was no sense of anger or loss or despair, just some 'one heart' jokes.

Hey! I loved the episode :)

Disappointed, as I've loved all Chris Chibnall's DW stories so far, but this was a very weak episode, possibly the weakest of the Matt Smith era so far. 4/10.

Was this an unflimed Sarah Jane Adventures script which has been recycled? 40 minutes of build- up, pointless little resolution.
"Oh, it's just some bad guy, he's legendary but he's gone away now, so I'll just use my sonic screwdriver to fix everything, including the people who've been dead for 30 mins. It'll also blow up his ship."
Even JNT wouldn't have allowed this nonsense on the screen. I guess Mr Chibnall's reputation is deserved.

There was a Zygon adventure in this episode BUT WE DON'T SEE IT.

Agghhhhhhhhhh.

I felt that the problem here was in the direction. When everyone dropped dead you only saw it on computer screens in UNIT HQ, if you'd seen it directly or perhaps a character you've got to know through the episode was affected, then perhaps this would have felt like more of a threat. That, and the resolution was too quick and simple.

I saw elsewhere that this might have been covered by the power outage in the UNIT base, would sort of make sense

I agree that I ending wasn't good, but there could have been a ton of stuff in the "empty" cube. This is the series that fits a swimming pool in a library in a spaceship in a police box.

When my family finished watching is my mom said "I kept waiting for something to happen." I think that pretty much sums up the episode. It left you expecting something at the end, but there wasn't really much of anything.

I give it a 9/10. The first 30 some odd minutes of the show are so good that it negates the rushed ending IMO

I love Rory's Dad and I really liked this episode and agree the ending did seem rushed and what were those people doing on the ship and did they get them off before it blew up? That was really a loose end and odd. I would of said we would know more later, but the ship blew up so I doubt it.
Also I thought Dr Who was either married or very involved romantically with River
Song, so would that not make him the son in law of the Ponds? They
seemed to have dropped the entire line of how it was going. I feel like
the River Song storyline got rather muddled last season and confusing. I
still feel like there was no true finale. Of course the way they break these seasons up now is confusing too.

Well, 90 minutes is certainly the right length for some stories (Asylum of the Daleks needed to be twice the length. I don't care what Moffat says, you can't do a 45 minute blockbuster and do it right.). However, the last two stories both had fairly simple plots, and so neither really felt rushed in terms of the story. Mostly they've suffered from not having enough character development (Dinosaurs had far too many new characters while still trying to find time for the regulars). But this one certainly needed a stronger climax, either by having an extra five minutes for a proper clash or by being better paced. In any case, the first 35 minutes of it were WONDERFUL. Some of the best Who in a long while. AND FROM CHIBNALL. My word.

Just felt a bit dissopointed. There seems to have been so much build up with the Ponds and I just can't see how its all going to be resolved in 1 45 min episode. Would have been etter for the Ponds to have aged more over the 5 eps, yes I know 10 years have passed but they don't look any different. 25 or 30 years would have en good so that the Doctor would have known them through-out their whole lives and then aged 50 plus they decide enough is enough and the little girl has finally out-grown he Peter Pan. Maybe a final shot of them as an old couple hearing the sound of the Tardis and smiling with a mug of horlicks. Many unanswered questions though I am not sure how many were just production cock-ups, Rorys badge in the Eleventh Hour and the 3rd floor in Amys house and the stairway to no-where, I always thought there was so much more to all that!!

I'd agree, these need to be 60 min episodes, 45 mins isn't enough

It didn't quite work for me. There was no sense of peril and a great idea for a bad guy was sorely underused. The concept of looking into the ponds' home life was great, but again didn't really get explored as well as it could have been.

It felt like a two parter cut down to fit into a single episode with nothing done quite properly. So many great ideas all squished up together and there was enough strong elements to this story to fill one of the old style 4 episode stories.

Why does Doctor Who assume we can't follow or like a 4 part story?!

The series so far is lacking cohesion, as we bid goodbye to the Ponds, the tone variable and random, which is good in some ways, but in others it feels disjointed like we're all just waiting now.

Is it just me or would it be nice to not have a huge emotional farewell with every single companion since the series returned?

I'm looking forwards to the new companion now, altho I adore Amy & Rory, this once again drawn out shmaltz is wearing a little thin for me.

I'd give it a 3/5 for ideas.
Oh and the last bit of narration was cringe inducing.

Oh the flickering... I'd say possibly something really tenuous like the new companion's electronically copied mind searching thru time and space for the Doctor via electricity. It's always something which turns out to be a little bit hard to believe.

Sigh. This episodes writing was almost schizophrenic.The earth based scenes studying the Doctors changing relationship with the Ponds were generally pretty considered and well executed but the invasion adventure the character stuff was built around seemed to be directed at eight year olds.All the plotting of the adventure story had problems everywhere such as why people were abducted and brought to the spaceship and how did the Doctor rescue them when he blew the ship up . i thought the empty box reveal was a fairly direct homage to Kinda but they never got anywhere near the tension Grimwade generated in that story.

Maybe I missed the explanation, but why were the Shakri kidnapping people from the hospital?

This was my favorite episode so far this season. It had Matt Smith more the scientist for one (like John Pertwee and Tom Baker). I have no complaints with the quick ending. Seen too many times where they last too long. Can't believe just one show left than wait to Christmas. Hopefully the departure of the Williams (Ponds) althought will be touching for us it will be good for Amy and Rory. Two of the best companions ever.

I really hope they bring back the serial form of Doctor Who, the one-part episodes of 45 minutes always seem too rushed, especially in last night's episode.

Why did those Cube mouthed aliens take the humans to the space ship in the first place? Also, when Rory, Amy and the Doctor fled the ship...those people were still there O_O And then they blew up!

I agree, I'll be honest, when emperor Palpatine explained his evil plan, I didn't get it at all! I was thinking 'okay, you want to kill all humans....then drop a bomb on them and get it over with already!'

Yorkshire pudding lol, that was brilliant! I wonder if they were actual fish fingers and custard...Matt Smith did eat one on the Graham Norton Show once

There were still kidnapped people on the ship, they all got killed in the blast. Which scene were those flickering lights in? I think I missed that.

I haven't been disappointed in the new series yet. I thought the last 2 series was crap. It took 3 seasons for me to get attached to the Amy and Rory characters and believe that Matt Smith is the doctor not just some guy playing the doctor.

I've watched it back now and in the scene where the Doctor says there's a massive wave of energy coming back at the ship and then they run for the portal you do indeed see the comatose bodies of the abductees still lying there as Doc & the Ponds leg it.

That said... it's hardly the same as the main protagonist being killed in the explosion (as with episodes 2 & 3) and Asylum showed a planet being destroyed, not a ship. I think you are clutching at straws with that analogy.

Have we had Christmas in every episode of this series so far? Christmas scenes in this one, mentions of Christmas lists in others.

Yup. Why were there seven people who got captured and what on Earth was that seven time zones thing? Color me confused.

Was this episode shown out of order with the last episode?

In 'Mercy' it was mentioned that Rory had offscreen accidentally left a mobile phone charger in one of Henry the VIII's suites. In 'The Power Of Three' we had on screen scenes with Henry the VIII with Rory, Amy and the Doctor hiding under his bed after Amy accidentally agreed to marry him.

Maybe if the cubes had come in the first episode, or last series, so it wasn't just the characters who were complacent about them? At least then they wouldn't have had to use so much of the episode with the glorious build-up, leaving more time for the ARGHPANIC ending.

Pretty much entirely in agreement with this review. Most fun I've had in a Doctor Who episode for a long time and the first one this series to get close to Asylum of the Daleks.

There were a number of plotholes and confusing jumps through time (which may be solved by a rewatch free from distractions) and yes that little girl was a glaringly obvious slip unless I missed something.

Even so I still managed to enjoy most of the episode and I agree with the reviewer that the ending was far too neatly wrapped. I hope the introduction of the shakri messing with the timeline hints at more Gallifrey goodness down the line!

I really like they introduced a new L-S and I hope we see more of her.

My personal feeling is what seems rushed is a first episode of a new bad guy. The Shakri will return and more will be explained. He was just a hologram and only one of an ancient race so lets give it tell the end of the season before we decide how the ending was on this one.

Very true. I think this episode was really meant to demonstrate the bond between the doctor and amy which I think it did quite well.

The episode was written by Chibnall but even though many of his flaws were on display here, I really did like the character work he did, credit where it's due.

Good point. They seemed a bit random as part of the overall episode (not an uncommon feeling given the writer) but perhaps these bad guys were laying the foundation for some future storyline, I can't imagine the Shakri giving up that easily.

I wouldn't go so far as to say it ruined the episode, but I agree the ending did feel a bit rushed. I'm afraid, though, that those hoping for a standard 60-minute length don't appreciate the new normal: that as long as the show relies on BBC America and other commercial broadcasters for support, then the show has to stay within the 42-45 minute range or else risk being edited overseas. The occasional longer episode is fine - Asylum had a few extra minutes and BBCA and Space aired them with no problem - but as a regular thing, you're not likely to see it. I don't think the serial idea works anymore - imagine those who hate Chibnall, or at least hate this storyline, being forced to watch it over 4 weeks. The show would bleed viewers (and if you study the ratings history of the original series, you saw that happen). With the standalones and occasional 2-parters it's easier for naysayers to hold their noses for a week or two and then move on.

Probably just as well. The Zygon are well remembered, but they really were ridiculous to see on screen back in 1975. The only way we'd see them is for them to undergo a Silurian-like transformation and people are still harping about the fact the new series made the Silurians sexy and got rid of their third eye. It's sort of like the Gorn in Star Trek - people kept harping to see them return, and when they finally showed up people complained because they were done in CGI rather than putting a stuntman in a lizard costume like they did back in 1967. With things like the Zygons, it's best to keep them in our imaginations. That goes for the Yeti too.

What a weird episode. It had some fantastic bits in it that unfortunately were ruined by some utter tripe.

I'm all for humour in Who but it does have to be funny, that montage of the doctor doing the fence and football etc was just pants. Compare that to the sly one liners about Yorkshire pudding and twisted fairy tales, they were funny

Kate Stewart, she started off a strong female character and dissolved into a bit of a wimp. It was a nice touch that she was the Brigs daughter. That is probably the only reason people are rating her as to slate her would almost be like slating the Brig. If she wasn't related to a beloved past character then i strongly believe she would be considered useless!

Matt Smith, i don't mind a bit of wacky but he is just way too OTT too much of the time nowadays.

YES--I agree--while the extra 15 minutes wouldnt be "needed" for every story, But would still be good to have, I think you are correct that it could help a great deal in the episodes where the ending "feels rushed"

Anyone else noticed the shorter episode length coincides with the same day broadcast on BBC America (episodes aired in a one hour time slot with commercials can't be longer than 45 minutes)?

Are you kidding? The Skarasen was a bit ropey in Terror of the Zygons, but the sculpture/masks of the Zygons themselves still look excellent today. One of the finest creations of the series - but whether they can recreate them is another question.

Because they only wanted humans dead, no other animals

Ohhh. Then why kidnap seven humans?

I have to admit, I looked at the clock post-BOOM! and thought "where the rest of it?" Also, the title drop was cheesy, and yet again, pointless voiceover work! Gah! I HATE STUPID VOICEOVERS! But other than that, it was a pretty good ep, I'd say. Although, even with Time Lord reflexes, how the hell did he do five million (or was it billion) keepy-ups in an hour!?

After three hugely enjoyable stories I thought this was the first real dud. The stuff about the Doctor and the Ponds was wonderful but the invasion plot was the biggest pile of crap since RTD used to write it.

Speaking of future storylines, I hope we see Kate Stewart (Stuart?) again, she was very cool

It's always us humans, isn't it? Why not kill mosquitos!

I am surprised they haven't even mentioned River Song in the past episodes, you're right, the Doctor is the Ponds' son-in-law, which of course adds to their importance in the Doctor's life, but not once have the Ponds asked the Doctor if he's heard of their daughter!

Touching tribute to the Brigadier, great cameo by Lord Sugar, otherwise a boring episode. Once again, production quality and f/x were first class thou.

Needed to explain why humans were being taken to the spaceship.

Does this mean you will start reviewing The Apprentice again?

I thought the episode was pretty good, but in a way that's irrelevant, as it's the next episode that is all important. The departure of Amy and Rory (and probably River Song) needs to deliver as truly heartbreaking and final. Donna's departure was a cop out, simply forgetting the Doctor, Marthas was tame and while Rose Tylers first exit was excellent, her final (probably) exit with a Human clone of the tenth Doctor was a cringeworthy 'happy ever after' ending.
For it to really work, one of Amy or Rory has to die, with the other disowning the Doctor and ordering him out of their life for good. Brian Williams could reappear later in the series as a villain hell bent on getting revenge on the Doctor for the loss of his son.

Just a whiff of The Cranberries 'Zombie' at 4.11 in. With Brian Williams having suggested they might be 'bombs' and a reference to UNIT having run their tank over one of the cubes.

Mercy took place during the seven weeks they were with The Doctor during The Power of Three. Time travel. ;)

Agreed. Best episode of the season. Especially after that ridiculous Dalek opener. I have no idea what people see in that snorefest. "Ooh look! The Daleks! Never seen them before! Zzzzzzzzz!" ;)

Agreed!

Completely agree. No Zygon return will ever live up to the hype in the heads of old school fanboys (like myself). Like trying to bring back Sharez Jek from "CAVES OF ANDROZANI", Magnus Greel & Mr. Sin from "TALONS OF WENG-CHIANG", or even getting Julian Glover to reprise Count Tancredi from CITY OF DEATH, you are still faced with the impossibility of trying to catch a moment in time that was golden for THAT. MOMENT. Haven't you people ever WATCHED Doctor Who? ;p "Everything has its time, and everything dies {ends}" It's 50 years soon. Let's keep moving forward.

I don't think he invasion was wrapped up too quickly. This story wasn't really about that ,it was about other things and the cubed invasion was only a sideshow really.
Sometimes the threats that the Doctor encounters can be dealt with relatively easy.
It doesn't always have to be such a drama.

There is a fob watch on the dressing table in their house.

I have to say, after seeing the first two episodes, I'm feeling that this year is not going to be all that great. The Dalek episode was good, not great, just good. Dinosaurs and Gunfighter were pretty damn average. So the finale better be the schiznit, otherwise this could be the worst year of NuWho since David Tennents year of patchy specials.

Not one of the best , as a matter of fact this season's low light. The premise was interesting but the anti-climax made this whole episode a let down and with the exception of re-introducing U.N.I.T one asked what was it's purpose ? The villain was well acted but lacked gravitas and menace. Matt Smith , alas, returned to the hyperactive , toe curling harassment of his first season after he 'quietened down', which was a relief and made the character of the Doctor more appealing in recent stories - I actually grew to like him. When he gurns and behaves like someone one would cross the road to avoid this seems so sad as the Doctor should be quirky and eccentric but never a hyperactive fool and unfortunately this does become apparent and worst still a constant source of annoyance. Where I am concerned Smiths incarnation is several steps forward when he is thoughtful, pensive and quirky but then several steps back when he acts with borderline stupidity. Excellent performance from Darvill and a lovely touch about Lethbridge Steward but the rest instantly forgettable and at times an embarrassment and yet again another syrupy 'and they all came back to life' endings so favoured by the Tennant years created a glib 'clunker' of a story. Another thing crossed my mind - do the actors and actresses talk as though they have taken amphetamine because they are restricted on these ridiculous 45 minute formats ? So we 'limp' into the final story which looks promising but then we, the viewers, are left with that impression every week and at times how deceptive this can be.

This was another bad episode that highlighted everything that has been wrong with 'Nu Who' era.

What's happened to Matt Smith? He used to be really good, and now he's over-acting like David Tennant. Also, this series has been full of massive plot-holes. It's like RTD is secretly back in charge of Doctor Who again, and doing his usual job of mucking it all up.

I tried to find how to edit my last comment but could not so corrections should be :
toe curling harassment should be toe curling embarrassment
Lethbridge Steward should be Lethbridge Stewart
I must remember to read before submitting - sorry if this spoiled your read.

It was too short, and over to quick. In the 70s shows like the Bionic Man, were an hour long, and when they said and hour, they meant and hour, thats what you got. Now shows that are SUPPOSED to fill an hour are 45 minutes long. We are being short changed. Look at it like this - 45 minute Dr Who now = Part one of a classic who at 25 minutes, THEN only 20 minutes of the second part of a Classic Who. Its just not enough for a story. Yes a 6 parter was often too long, but the old format of 4 parts at 25 mins each worked best. It was Part one, turn up introduce everyone, what going on? Part two, fill in the plot and start to work it out, Part three, action and start to solve the problem, Part four, solve the problem, kill the monster and say goodbye. All done in 100 minutes, just short of two hours and it was great.
The Power of Three was superb, but should have ended at a cliffhanger when the cubes open and people start dying, then you could have had the second part on the spaceship sorting it out, and use the Spooky crusty Emperor guy better. It would have been brilliant. 45 minutes is too short a time to introduce the problem, get character stuff in and give everyone something to do. I REALLY enjoyed the time the Doctor spent with JUST AMY. Like the old days, it should be just the Doctor and one companion, because there is not enough time for everyone.Next week we are going to get Angels, New York, Amy and River and Rory , the leaving stuff and plot all in 45 minutes and it should be in two parts. This year with Doctor Who we have been shafted. Sad but true, its over already almost...yet you can bet that the moment Doctor Who is finished we will get 10 - 13 episodes of Merlin. Its not on and I am disapointed. I can only hope that next year we get a full series and not just the other missing episodes of this run plus a couple of specials. I just wish they would put on 13 episodes a year, and some two partes AND STOP MESSING ABOUT WITH IT!!! Ahem...sorry! Thanks for reading!

Bang on! The Zygons looked FANTASTIC and still do. You could use the same costume design today, just better make up on the face, rubber blending in with the skin, like the new sontarans. I would love to see the Zygons back. Apparently they did away with the third eye on the Silurians because the worried it was too much like Davros!?!?!?? Bloody stupid! Silurians were NOTHING like Davros. Blasted BBC management and "ideas" men/women.

After all this time, you still believe what the Doctor says?

You'll be saying you believe he can talk to babies and horses next...

I completely disagree with you, and I think most fans would. Those Zygon costumes look better than a lot of the stuff on the show right now: Hath and Slitheen anyone???? They might need a tweak here and there, but a Zygon story is long long overdue. No offence, Namnoot, but I think most Who fans will completely disagree with you. The Zygons were one of the best-realized aliens in the whole of the classic series. Give me a costume like that over a CGI alien any day!!

The Shakri are just screaming for a return in the future of Doctor Who. It was too bad that the ending of the episode was kind of rushed. It left me with some questions: 1) Who where those squaremouthed nurses? and 2) Where the others abducties on the Shakri schip already dead or something like that? The Doctor didn't even bothered to look. Or did I miss that? If so, it was kind of harsh to just let them blow up with the ship. O, and one more thing: that girl with the cube, did she really sit in that waiting room for months without anybody notacing? Again I just might have missed the 'why'.

It was a very RTD style episode complete with deus ex machina conclusion

Maybe for now there may not be a reason to understand little jester about things being said or done. But as the show goes on the little bit of info that was said may show itself latter on.

What the Hell is going on?!!! Why is the writing this season so bad?

To all the points that everyone's already made, I'd like to add: If your heart stops and you fall over, exactly how long before you're dead? At least brain dead? Gotta be a couple minutes, and I didn't get the impression that the Doctor "reversed the polarity" nearly quick enough to have everyone just hop back up like nothing happened!

You all know damn well this would NOT fly in an episode of Sherlock. The very thought is laughable! Come on, Moffat! If you're not gonna give the Doctor any love, at least pay someone to write something decent! My beloved Who is turning into the Phantom Menace: real pretty, but stupid!

You want to invade a planet, knock out their power supply. Probably best to check if you can actually do it first though - hence the flickering lights.

Would it work better as 60 minutes or in the old style episodic format? I don't know, but I do think it is possible to do a good DW story in 45 minutes if the pacing of isn't completely askew - as was the case in "The Power of Three". We had that sequence with the Doctor being bored (painting the fence, mowing the lawn etc) which, while being quite funny, added absolutely nothing to the story. There were also periods when the story seemed to drag in other places (I do not agree that it could've benefitted from being a two-parter). Subsequently, the climax - for some suspense could've have been built up - just ended up being rushed. This kind of thing is supposed to be ironed out during the script drafting process. "The Power of Three" played out like a first or second draft.

i truly loved this episode, i think it is my favorite sofar this season! it had a bit of the RTD/Tennent era feel to it that i think who has been lacking with moffit i have loved matts seasons but this felt like some good "old" doctor who.

Are any new comments actually allowed??

Finally a modicum of acting from MS, kudos matt.

Unlike a lot of people on this forum I've enjoyed a lot of Chibnall's scripts, and if a lucky power cut had knocked out my TV 10 minutes before the end of 'The Power of Three' then his reputation in this house would have remained largely unsullied. But, dear oh dear, what a dog's breakfast it turned out to be! Enough people have already pointed out the glaring plot holes, inconsistencies, manic over-acting and stupid, stupid, stupid rushed ending for me to really add anything. But, surely, there must have been at least one person, at some script read-through or production meeting, who thought but didn't say: "Dear God, this is woeful bollocks!".

While I have been enjoying watching Moffat's Who, I don't think I've had any desire to watch any recent story more than once. The last one I really got excited about was The Doctor's Wife, and that was AGES ago! I'm not the biggest Russell T. Davies fan, but I am really missing the feeling of variety his seasons used to have.

Dont want to sound like a hater. I find the season a bit off kilter and kindy weak. This new Doctor is played like an over exsited 14 year old and I dont really have much love for his adventures. Ill keep watching in hopes of something cool. It seems that the writers comfortable relying on pseudo science paradoxs to end the stories and wrap up all crisis.

Because Mosquitos are a galactic endangered species of course :-)

I just loved that someone (Moffat?) had the prop dept put a fob watch in sight to further the rampant speculation that Rory was the Master. Imagine if the preview for the AngelsTake Manhattan had said something about regeneration, cut to a shot of Rory, and then a close up of the Doctor's hand over River's when be healed her wrist.

No one who watched seemed to notice Brian's eyes glint blue when he asks to go to the hospital with Rory. Anyone??

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