I’m still not quite sure how I feel about the direction this week’s episode of Doctor Who took and when I say direction I mean both the plot of the show and the literal directing. As we get closer and closer to Amy Pond and Rory Williams’s departure from the show, the episodes have been taking a closer look at them. We have often been given small scenes portraying Amy and Rory’s life without the Doctor but this week’s episode, the Power of Three, focused on the life Amy and Rory are creating together.
This entire episode was specifically crafted to show that Amy (Karen Gillan) and Rory (Arthur Darvill) are beginning build a life for themselves that doesn’t revolve around the Doctor (Matt Smith). Amy has begun writing for a magazine and Rory has been asked to work at the hospital full time. We learned quickly that the time between the Doctor’s visits to Earth have grown in length which has given Rory and Amy time to start a life. At one point Amy even asks “did real life just start?” The two have not just considered but actually started a life without the Doctor. Though it has been months since his last visit, the episode begins with an event that demands a visit from the Doctor. One night, hundreds of thousands of small, identical black cubes appeared all over Earth. With the cubs posing no immediate threat, the Doctor determines the only course of action is to observe the cubes until they do something. After four days of observation the Doctor gets antsy. Begrudgingly offering to observe the cubes, Amy releases the Doctor to travel the universe while she and Rory stay on Earth.
The cubes remained inactive for almost a year and even before they active (which we all knew they were going to do) the Doctor visits Earth for Amy and Rory’s wedding anniversary. It is then that the Doctor begins to realize that he and his companions are moving in different directions. Choosing to deal with his hatred of boredom, the Doctor decides that he misses Amy and Rory and rather than dragging them off to dangerous adventures in space he stays with them at their house. After about a week of the Doctor being there, the cubes finally activate. The cubes, which have now been dispersed all over the world, scan the entirety of the human race before attacking. The Doctor finds out that the cubes were sent by a race of aliens called the Shakri, a mythological race from the Doctor’s old bad time stories. Dead set on exterminating the human problem, the Shakri are attacking and as always, the Doctor stops them.
Earlier I mentioned that the way this episode was directed bothered me and it only bothered me for one specific reason. If I had to pick one word to describe this episode it would be scatterbrained. This episode covered multiple years yet Amy and Rory didn’t seem to age a day. The explanation of the villain was rushed and didn’t really make sense though they made it seem as if the villain was an important figure in the Doctor’s folklore. I am hoping that the introduction of this group of villains, the Shakri, was simply foreshadowing their return as a major villain later in the season or series. Overall I did like this episode but it was no the most coherent and cohesive episode of this season.
While I fought faults and flaws in this episode, the overall message comes through crystal clear. The Doctor and the Ponds are growing apart. Life is going on and changing around all three of them but it is directing them to different paths. The question arises in the episode, do the Ponds travel with the Doctor because they are running away from their real lives or if the Doctor keeps running back to the Ponds to keep them from fading out of his life. Both parties realize that the end of their time together is coming. The Ponds are just about ready to begin their own lives, their own normal lives as a married couple living on Earth. For the Doctor, a normal life is what he does, travelling around in the TARDIS and seeing everything the ever expanding, ever changing universe has to offer. They are moving in different directions and eventually, they will have to travel together for the last time.
Next week’s episode features the return of one of the Doctor’s most infamous villains, The Weeping Angels. The episode will be called The Angels Take Manhattan but the episode will feature far more important aspects than just the return of the Weeping Angels. The fall, mid-season finale, this episode will feature the final goodbye between the Doctor and Ponds.