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Thoughts on “The Power of Three”

Yesterday’s new Doctor Who had Amy, Rory, and the Doctor trying to stop the slow invasion of the small cubes.  The end of the episode points out how the power of three refers to cubes (to cube something, you raise it to the third power) and the power of Amy, Rory, and the Doctor together.  This episode was a good way to celebrate the trio before we say good-bye to the Ponds in next weeks episode.  I also noticed how many shots in this episode consist of the three travelers in the frame together, just like in the picture below, further emphasizing the threesome.

The Doctor, Amy, and Rory observe the cubes.

This episode was another lighthearted one, after the rather serious morality issues in “A Town Called Mercy” and what I can only assume will be a very serious farewell episode for the Ponds next week.  The premise is this: mysteriously, millions of tiny cubes have appeared all over the planet.  They are all identical, but they appear to do nothing. The Doctor comes to investigate (and finds the waiting in real-time impossible to take) and UNIT returns, lead by Kate Stewart.  As always, there will be plenty of spoilers, and plenty of speculation, ahead.

First, I was excited by the return of UNIT, since I’m a huge fan of the Pertwee years and I felt that they did a good job with it in this episode.  I especially enjoyed that the woman leading UNIT was the Brigadier’s daughter (she dropped the Lethbridge to avoid getting special treatment).  It was a nice way to pay tribute to Nicholas Courtney and the character he created.

I also liked that Kate made UNIT less the military outfit that it was when we last saw it in season 4 (in “The Sontaran Stratagem”/”The Poison Sky”).  It always was a military outfit, but when the Doctor was working with it, it had a strong focus on science as well.  It was nice to see that element brought back in this story.  I wish that Kate could have a bit more to do in the story, and that her character could have been developed a bit more, but, who knows, maybe she’ll be back in the near future.

And, speaking of returning characters, this episode saw the return of Rory’s dad Brian.  I enjoyed his appearance in “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship,” so I was glad to see him return.  Mark Williams plays the character well, so he brings a lot of humor to the show in his appearances.  I loved the diligence with which he kept his log about the cubes, even after everyone else had pretty much started ignoring them.

I thought the idea of an invasion by tiny cubes was clever.  It was also interesting when they all activated and started doing random things like playing music or shooting lasers.  My only criticism was that the invasion was so slow, and so much in the background of the episode (as I think it was supposed to be, since that was the strategy of the Shakri, to let the cubes just sit long enough to blend into the background until they were needed), that the discovery of what they were used for and who was behind the invasion was a bit anti climactic.

I was also left a bit confused by the plan of the Shakri.  I get that they are the “pest control” of the universe, and wanted to eliminate the human race before it starts colonizing other planets.  However, I wasn’t sure how the men with the cube-like mouths fit into the plan, what exactly the little girl was doing, or why they were bringing humans on the Shakri ship.

I think the lack of explanation might be because the main purpose for this story  is to show the double life the Ponds have been living.  On one hand, they live a normal life on earth where Amy writes travel articles and Rory is a nurse.  However, their involvement with the Doctor means that this life is constantly being interrupted by their second life, the time they spend in the TARDIS.

The whole season so far has contained references to Amy and Rory having to choose which life they want.  In “A Town Called Mercy,” they even ask to return home, rather than go on another adventure.  Which is why I found the ending of this episode so interesting.  Brian encourages Amy and Rory to go with the Doctor, which of course, they do.  It seems the whole Amy and Rory might decided to leave the Doctor might be a red herring.  Neither they, nor the Doctor, are able to get by without the other.

Brian watches the Doctor say good bye to Amy and Rory.

This brings me to the speculation I mentioned earlier.  Part of the fun of Moffat’s tenure at the helm of the show is trying to figure out what’s going to happen next.  Ever since I heard about the departure of the Pond’s in “The Angels Take Manhattan” I’ve had a theory.  Since I am not Steven Moffat, it is most likely completely wrong, but here it is.

The Weeping Angels, back in their first appearance, the angels “killed” by sending people back in time and feeding off of the time energy that remained of that person’s life.  So, I’m thinking that this might be what happens to Amy and Rory (in my prediction they get sent back in time together, because I really don’t want them to be separated).  The only way that they are going to stop traveling with the Doctor is if they are physically unable to, and that would do it.  The Doctor wouldn’t know where in time to look for them.  Then Steven Moffat’s claim that someone will die, for real this time, could come true.  Amy or Rory (or both of them) could die from old age.  To speculate even further (and even more wildly), I heard that there will be some revelations about River, so what if they get sent back to a point at which they could find River and raise her? Since Amy can’t have children, this would give them a chance to raise the daughter they had together.  We never did see who Mels was living with (or what happened to River between 1969 and going to school with Amy and Rory).  It could be a nice way to bring closure to that storyline.

Amy and the Doctor share a rare peaceful moment.

Anyway, to get back to “The Power of Three,” I enjoyed this weeks episode, even if this is one where the plot is less important than the interactions between the characters.  It was fun to see the Doctor trying to adapt to Amy and Rory’s way of life instead of vice versa. The mystery of the cubes was clever, and it was a nice was to really showcase the relationship that has developed between the Ponds and the Doctor.  The slow invasion allowed for plenty of interesting moments between the characters, reminding the viewer of how strong the bond is between them.

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