by Sherry Lipp
Doctor Who’s fourth episode of series seven is the penultimate episode featuring The Doctor’s (Matt Smith) companions Amy (Karen Gillan) and Rory (Arthur Darvill), and of the fall season. Clearly it is no secret Amy and Rory will be making their exit from the show. I do hope there is some surprise to their circumstances though. Perhaps they will just settle into marital bliss and no longer wonder when and where The Doctor may show up. In each episode this season it seems that long periods of time have passed between The Doctor’s visits, leaving more time for Amy and Rory to ponder just how much excitement they really need in their lives. I do have to wonder if they will be gone for good after the next episode or if they will show up at some point in the future. I guess it would surprise me if they didn’t.
In this episode, “The Power of Three,” The Doctor shows up due to a very peculiar phenomenon. Millions of little black cubes have descended on the Earth from out of nowhere and with no explanation. Rory’s dad Brian (Mark Williams), who has embraced a new life as an adventurer, also returns. Brian seems to have also become somewhat of an expert on unusual phenomenon. In addition to pondering the appearance of the cubes, Amy and Rory are celebrating their wedding anniversary, for which The Doctor attempts to gift them several quick adventures through different time periods. These adventures are shown in quick succession as a way of showing how The Doctor influences their lives. Many of the adventures seem to go astray, which points out the chaos The Doctor can bring along with the fun.
In the meantime, the mysterious black cubes have done nothing but sit around as the months go by. People just accept their presence and pretty much ignore them, though they litter every nook and cranny possible. This episode kind of reminded me of something that might have appeared in the first series, with Christopher Eccleston as The Doctor. It’s a quirky story that’s fun and offers some tension at the same time. Tonally it reminded me a bit of the Russell T. Davies era of Doctor Who. I liked how people just went on with all their normal activities despite the very odd presence of the black cubes. It’s almost as if the cubes themselves were creating a sense of complacency amongst the public. The inactivity of the cubes for the year they covered the planet left people so apathetic to their presence, no one even noticed the strange little girl who sat in the hospital emergency room day after day. Even The Doctor himself settled into a routine of hanging around the house and playing Wii tennis.
In classic Doctor Who fashion, the cubes were of course not as benign as they appeared. When the cubes finally kicked into action, the show offered a decent amount of suspense and drama as to what was going on. I enjoyed the performances of all the leads, with everyone having a lot to do. I liked how so many different aspects were covered in the episode and that The Doctor’s former companions were referenced in this episode. In a way, the Matt Smith era marked a reboot of the show (though not as drastic as the Eccleston year), and I have been missing some of the ties to the seasons before he started. I think it would be cool if one of his former companions, Martha (Freema Agyeman) or Donna (Catherine Tate), showed up. I don’t know that there is a possibility for Rose (Billie Piper), but it would be nice if she was at least referenced somehow. Even side characters like Mickey (Noel Clarke) or Captain Jack (John Barrowman) would be cool to have, even if only for a brief cameo. But overall I enjoyed this episode, and am looking forward to next week.
Next week is the final episode of the fall season and the last for Amy and Rory. The Doctor and his companions travel to the United States in “The Angels Take Manhattan.” It looks like a return for the infamous Weeping Angels as well.