Review: The Power of Three

Last night, the penultimate episode of Amy and Rory’s story with the Doctor aired. As this has quite a lot to do with the Ponds’ story arc, I’ll go through some more important plot points and tell you what I thought.

The story starts with Amy saying that this was the year of the slow invasion, and that the Doctor came to stay. I thought that the idea of a year-long invasion was awesome and it was funny to see the Doctor try to cope with everyday life. All in all the idea of this week’s episode was pretty solid.

The episode begins with Rory’s father, Brian, calling upon the Ponds to tell them that black cubes had fallen overnight over the whole world. They all then find the Doctor and he tells them he wants to stay over to investigate the cubes. The house is soon invaded by armed men and a woman from UNIT. This woman is revealed to be Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart’s daughter. I am a New Who fan, but I have seen a couple of old episodes and I liked this homage to the Brigadier, especially since his actor’s death last year.

Back to the story. UNIT subjects the cubes to rigourous testing, and the Doctor does some testing of his own. After four days of waiting for something to happen, the Doctor proclaims, ‘Patience is for wimps!’ and takes off. So the Ponds’ life continues as normal. Rory gets a full-time nursing job and Amy agrees to be a bridesmaid for a future wedding. By doing these things, they have finally commited themselves to life on Earth.

Mid-year, at the Ponds’ anniversary, the Doctor takes them away for seven weeks for a honeymoon. When they return, no one realises they were gone except for Brian, who express concern for the Ponds’ safety. The Doctor, guilty, decides to stay with them. As the Ponds continue on with their lives, the Doctor manages to entertain himself. Brian diligently keeps a daily log of the cubes’ behaviour.

Finally, on day 361 of the cubes’ arrival, every cube in the world activates in different ways. Brian’s one moves around, Amy’s pricks her and takes her pulse, and Rory’s scans the vicinity. There is a funny moment when the Doctor is vigourously playing Wii and his cube starts shooting laser beams at him. They decide that Rory and Brian should go to the hospital to help victims, and Amy and the Doctor are called upon to go to the Tower of London to meet with UNIT.

Suddenly, all the cubes display the number seven and begin to count down. (There is a humourous moment when the Doctor claims that the number seven is significant because a cube has seven sides – counting the in-side!). At the hospital, Brian is tricked into entering a portal to an alien spaceship, and Rory follows.

When the cubes reach zero, everyone in close proximity of a cube dies of cardiac arrest. The Doctor survives, because he has two hearts, and realises that the cubes were there to scan the limits of human technological power and now the alien power knows all their weaknesses. The Doctor gets to Rory’s hospital and gets defillibrated by Amy. They then find the spaceship, which is revealed to belong to the Shakri, some sort of universe pest-controller.

This is where the brilliant episode goes downhill. The Shakri has a speech about extinguishing the human race before they get into space. He says that he is planning another wave of cubes, then disappears. The Doctor then, with deus ex machina, uses his screwdriver to reverse the cubes’ shock, then escapes the ship before it explodes. Finally, Brian gives Amy and Rory permission to go with the Doctor, realising how wonderful the adventures are.

I thought the episode was amazing (very like the old Tennant earth invasion ones), if it had been longer. The pace of the story was more that of a two-parter, and had they ended with the cardiac arrest, and then had the whole second episode to develop the Shakri’s plans, it would have been much more sinister and scary. The Shakri could have been extremely terrifying, but as we only saw him for two minutes at the end, there just wasn’t time to develop his character.

In conclusion, I would definitely say this was the best episode in the series so far, but I really don’t like this new no-two-parter format. Asylum of the Daleks could have been great if it were a two-parter, and so could this episode. This would have Amy and Rory departing closer to halfway through the series and we would have more character development (like the sort we got in this story) before their farewell.

What did you think of the episode? Do you agree with my opinions? Tell us in the comments!

Watch: The Power of Three

Tonight, the fourth episode of Series 7 of Doctor Who will air. Here is the synopsis from the BBC Press Office:

The Doctor and the Ponds puzzle an unlikely invasion of Earth, as millions of sinister black cubes arrive overnight, almost like presents falling from the sky. But what are they, what’s inside them and most importantly, who sent them? With the international community at a loss, it’s left to the Doctor to unearth who is behind the mystery.

I’m really excited for this one. There hasn’t been much hype surrounding it initially and it was actually the episode we knew the least about, but I’m looking forward to seeing UNIT again. What do you think? Tell us in the comments!

Review: A Town Called Mercy

Yesterday, the third episode of the current series of Doctor Who aired. This was the rather anticipated Western episode and was rather action-oriented. It wasn’t really important to Amy and Rory’s story so I won’t go through every event in the plot.

Although we’ve already seen the western United States last season, I quite liked the idea of a Doctor Who Western episode. The feel of the setting is realistic and the effects were impressive. One thing I noticed was that the accents were a little exaggerated and fake, but this is overshadowed by the western townspeople’s acting.

The first antagonist we meet, the Gunslinger, got a lot of coverage in trailers, and I don’t think he was disappointing. He was intimidating and yet he had depth in his character. I like that he still has some of his unaltered gentler side left (as shown when he disengages when an innocent person is there), but will still do anything to kill Kahler Jex.

Speaking of Kahler Jex, I didn’t like him quite as much. I found it a little annoying how the story couldn’t figure out if he was the bad guy or not. I didn’t really like when he sacrificed himself, because I thought he should have been the real antagonist of the story to the end.

After last week’s silly episode, it was fitting to have something a little more serious. We saw a more serious Doctor when for the second time in the last two episodes he decided to kill someone. It was nice to see Amy remind the Doctor of his morals, as it really shows that the Doctor needs humans just as much as they need him.

All in all, this week’s episode was pretty solid, though I was disappointed a little just because there was a lot of hype around this one. Personally I thought this was the worst episode of the series so far, but I believe the best is to come in the form of ‘The Power of Three’.

What did you think of the episode? Are you excited for the next episode? Tell us in the comments!

Watch: A Town Called Mercy

Tomorrow, the third episode of the current series of Doctor Who will air. Here is the synopsis from the BBC Press Office:

The Doctor gets a Stetson (and a gun!), and finds himself the reluctant Sheriff of a Western town under siege by a relentless cyborg, who goes by the name of the Gunslinger. But who is he and what does he want? The answer seems to lie with the mysterious Kahler-Jex, an alien doctor (yes another one!) whose initial appearance is hiding a dark secret.

Are you excited for this episode? I’ll write a review when I can, though this time I may be a little delayed.

Review: Dinosaurs on a Spaceship

WARNING: There may be spoilers ahead

Last night, the second episode of the new Doctor Who series was aired. It starred Harry Potter alumni Mark Williams and David Bradley. I won’t go through the entire story this time, like I did with Asylum of the Daleks, as that makes for really long posts. I’ll do that for more plot-integral episodes only.

First of all, I think all the characters in the Doctor’s gang were great. We had John Riddell, a turn-of-the-century explorer of the African Bush, along with Queen Nefertiti of Egypt. Their personalities clashing made for some good lighthearted scenes, which fit the tone of this episode in general.

It has been ten months since the Doctor last saw Amy and Rory, and this time Rory’s dad gets brought along. I think Mark Williams plays the character of the bumbling old man quite well. He is a cheerful and funny old man (not very unlike Wilfred Mott, in fact) who has sort of been dragged into the situation.

The monsters promised in the episode are, of course, dinosaurs. I think it was a nice throwback to the Classic Who days, but dinosaurs don’t really fit the New Who series. Luckily, dinosaurs only played a small role in this episode. The real antagonist, Solomon (played by David Bradley), is a trapped space trader who is looking to make a profit from the creatures aboard. He, too, is portrayed very well, with a little bit of spooky selfishness which comes with being trapped on the ship for too long.

Although Riddell and Nefertiti’s flirting was a little unnecessary, I thought that the characters were well managed. Where this episode misses out is the story. While there is a nice backstory featuring the destruction of the Silurians by Solomon to get their cargo, this is a rather silly episode. The dinosaurs really changed the tone from what could have been an eerie story about a trader who would do anything to save himself, to a kiddish run-away-from-the-dinosaurs episode.

I still thought that this was a good episode. The beauty of Doctor Who is that the episodes each have their own theme, and we haven’t really seen a good silly one from Moffat (except maybe the Craig Owens episodes). This episode will no doubt balance the series, since we know there are darker episodes ahead.

What do you think about this episode? Did you like Mark Williams’ portrayal of Rory’s dad? Tell us in the comments!