Saturday, September 7, 2013

50th Anniversary Countdown: Doctor Who 7.04: "The Power of Three"

“Actually, it’s you they can’t give up Doctor. And I don’t think they should. Go with him. Go save every world you can find. Who else has that chance? Life will still be here.”
- Brian

Our time with the Ponds is coming to a close. The first half of the series really has been the farewell tour for Amy and Rory. Moffat does like to not have season-long arcs and it is kind of irritating. But it made for a good splitting point in terms of covering the season between Jen and myself.

We start with a monologue from Amy, describing life with the Doctor and then real life at home. Clearly, life at home is boring (punctuated by cleaning out the fridge of nasty milk and yogurt and being in need of more wash tablets). But, Amy says, all that changed the year of the slow invasion when the Doctor came to stay. Brian shows up at some ungodly hour in the morning to tell Amy and Rory about the cubes that have appeared all over the world. The Doctor has appeared as well and he’s a tad annoyed that all the cubes seem to be the same. He tells Brian to watch the cubes, leaving him in the TARDIS as he borrows the Pond’s kitchen to do some experiments.

He doesn’t get far because UNIT smashes in (literally) at gunpoint and Rory ends up in his boxers (poor guy). Enter the new head of UNIT, Kate Stewart. She’s a scientist and she is quite pleased to see the Doctor. They both agree the cubes need to be watched and studied. Unfortunately, given that the Doctor is over 1,000 years old and is really just a big child with a short attention span, he gets bored after four days of nothing changing. So he goes off and mows the lawn, paints a fence, bounces a soccer ball around and then decides to take off since it only took an hour and he’s back to going stir crazy. He offers to take the Ponds with him but Brian points out they just can’t go off. They’ve got lives and jobs. That’s kind of the big point of this episode. To see how the Doctor just interrupts their normalcy whenever he feels like it.

Once the Doctor leaves, things begin to actually pick up in the life of the Ponds. They make commitments months in advance. Rory goes full time at work and Amy agrees to be a bridesmaid. Brian is dutifully watching and recording his observation of the cubes like the Doctor asked. Nearly nine months goes by and Amy leaves the Doctor a message as she and Rory celebrate their anniversary. The only thing of note that’s happened in the last nine months is that during December, a few of the cubes begin to glow and people start acting strange. The Doctor makes a comeback and whisks the Ponds away for one night as an anniversary present. Since it’s the Doctor, things don’t go as planned and they’re gone for seven weeks. The Doctor brings them back and Brian questions how long they were away and what has become of the Doctor’s previous companions. It’s a fair question to be asking. And the Doctor is honest. Some have left him (a la Martha), some have been left behind (Jack) and some have died (I like to think of that as a nod to Sarah Jane). But the Doctor promises that Amy and Rory will never die on his watch. Honestly Doctor, I wouldn’t make that promise. It’s too big to keep. As the party goes on, the Doctor asks Amy if he can stay for a while.

Nearly a year has gone by since the cubes arrived and finally things begin to happen. The cube Brian is observing moved. The one in the kitchen with Rory opens. Amy’s takes her pulse and the Doctor’s starts shooting at him before scanning the internet and the TV. Rory gets called to work and he takes Brian along while Amy and the Doctor are summoned to UNIT headquarters. All of the cubes are doing weird things from causing mood swings to playing the Chicken Dance on a loop. Shortly after the Doctor clues the rest of the audience in that Kate is actually the Brigadier’s daughter, the cubes go dormant. The Doctor needs some air and he and Amy head outside for a heart to heart about travelling. Amy confirms that she and Rory may be thinking of stopping. The Doctor says he understands and he denies that he’s running away after Amy characterizes traveling in the TARDIS as feeling like she’s running away. At the end of the conversation, the Doctor realizes that the cubes got what they wanted. They scanned the entire planet after everyone had taken them into their homes and gotten used to them. And they’ve begun a countdown.

The Doctor orders UNIT to get the message out that the cubes need to be as far from people as possible. At the hospital, Rory is ordering other nurses to dispose of them and we see the young girl who’d been sitting in the waiting area back in December. She’s rather creepy and her cube just keeps glowing. Brian gets sent for tape and he runs into the two orderlies who kind of went crazy also back in December. They’ve got weird looking mouths (almost like the gas mask people in Empty Child/Doctor Dances). And they nab Brian. Rory follows after them and finds a ship with lots of unconscious people. Meanwhile, the cube’s nefarious plan unfolds. It found the human weakness; the heart. Nearly 1/3 of the world’s population dies from cardiac arrest. On rewatch this kind of reminds me a tad of Torchwood; Children of Earth. With the global scale and the dire situation and what not. And all the news programs going on throughout the episode remind me of Stolen Earth/Journey’s End. Not a bad comparison.

One of the Doctor’s hearts gives out and he and Amy head to the hospital because it has a wormhole linked to it. In fact there are seven wormholes all linked to various points over the world. They find the same spaceship Rory did and set him and Brian free. The Doctor spars with a computer program of a race he thought only a myth from his childhood on Galifrey. There is a species that goes through time, cleaning things up and apparently they want to stop humanity from spreading throughout the galaxy. But the Doctor won’t let that happen. He uses the cubes to restart the hearts of everyone who died and the wormholes and ships all go boom. Luckily, Amy, Rory and the Doctor are safely back on Earth before that happens. The Doctor says his goodbyes to Kate and has dinner in with the Ponds before heading off. Brian makes the observation that Amy and Rory should go with him because they can’t give him up and shouldn’t have to. Something tells me Brian is going to regret encouraging them to go.

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