I’d seen The Power Of Three about a week ago, just after watching the preview of the largely excellent A Town Called Mercy. Obviously I couldn’t talk about the episode at that point, but after the clever dialogue and deep insights into The Doctor and his companions, The Power Of Three managed to miss the mark completely.
Was it the regurgitated storyline? Mysterious objects appear across the world and the inhabitants of the planet – who’ve had more alien invasions than hot dinners in recent years – somehow opt to ignore them or treat them as quirky gadgets. Remember Army Of Ghosts/Doomsday? In which mysertious figures start appearing and everybody decides they’re long-lost relatives when actually they’re Cybermen planning an invasion? That.
To be fair, the sinister black boxes are intriguing…until they throw that kitchen-sink mentality at the things, having each one behave in its own unique way. Which is even more disappointing when they finally deliver their payload, which is to electronically stop the hearts of the nearest humans. Really? It took months for these devices to scan the whole of humanity and decide upon their course of action? A woefully underwhelming story development. *sigh* At least they were visually stunning, especially when they started displaying their digital countdown.
What’s especially frustrating about The Power Of Three is that it marks the penultimate episode for Amy Pond and Rory Williams. Now, there were foreshadowings of their departure. In fact, I can’t recall a companion in the past whose departure has been so clearly waymarked. And in some ways, the episode does a decent job of showing us how normal life starts to appeal after ten years of TARDIS-hopping with the Time Lord. Somewhere along the line though, the action, the black box story, the whole episode fails to come together as well as it should.
And this is the episode that should have brought the story of the Ponds to a climax before next weeks earth-shattering departure.
Even sadder? The lame humans as parasites story that was eventually unveiled. Really? That’s the best we can come up with? Judgement day on the human race. As declared by a man who looked like a cross between Darth Vader without his mask and Pinhead from Hellraiser. Everything just felt lazy and regurgitated. And we’ve talked about that being okay as long as the episode is delivered well. And it just isn’t wasn’t.
They even found the time to reboot UNIT (again) and drag out Mark Williams for another charming appearance as Rory’s dad. Fans of classic-era Doctor Who will have enjoyed the nod to the Brigadier, but I was more pleased about the reappearance of Brian, who seemed to be more attuned to alien threats than Rory or Amy were.
Were you as disappointed as I was? Let me know in the comments.
PS. The Doctor’s age. Last week, he definitely said that he was 1,200 years old now. And he was 980 or something when Amy first met him. Yet this week, Amy said it was ten years for her and Rory, but no time at all for The Doctor. Was she forgetting about that 200 year time jump, or am I missing something?