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.
This week’s episode of Doctor Who can be aptly described by its title, “Dinosaurs on an Spaceship.” When an unknown, unresponsive spaceship heads towards Earth in the future, Earth sends out a distress call to the Doctor (Matt Smith). Telling the Doctor that he has six hours to stop the spaceship from crashing into Earth or the ship will be fired upon, the Doctor gathers the troops. Rather than just gathering Amy (Karen Gillan) and Rory (Arthur Darvill), the Doctor brings two new companions to the battle, the African big game hunter Riddell (Rupert Graves) and Queen Nefertiti (Riann Steele). While picking up Amy and Rory, the Doctor accidentally brings Brian Williams (Mark Williams) along with making Rory’s father the second parent to be accidentally transported through time and space on the TARDIS. Landing the TARDIS on the unknown ship, the group finds it uninhabited by anybody that could pilot the ship. The only life forms on the ship are dinosaurs. Upon further investigation the Doctor finds a smaller ship has boarded the large ship. The Doctor has to find out what happened to the inhabitants of the spaceship, figure out how to gain control of the spaceship and defeat the episodes villain, all while dealing with dinosaurs on the spaceship.
Just like the first episode this season, this episode was fairly light hearted throughout almost all of it. With quick witted jokes and quick snappy dialogue, the episode was amusing and intense. One aspect of the show that I really liked was the small Harry Potter reunion. Brian Williams was played by Mark Williams who was Mr. Arthur Weasley in all of Harry Potter films. This episodes villain, Solomon was played by David Bradley who was Argus Filch in the Harry Potter franchise. David Bradley played a great villain, a remorseless psychopath dead set on getting whatever he wants by whatever means necessary. Though he doesn’t react as much as I wanted him to when he is transported in the TARDIS, Mark Williams was a perfect person to cast as Rory’s father. Not only do the two look somewhat alike, or at least enough to make them believable as relatives, Mark Williams even copies some of Rory’s mannerisms and actions.
There were no real hints towards a season long plot save the Doctor distancing himself from Amy and Rory. His visits to Rory and Amy are getting further and further apart. Though he plays it off as if he is just busy, I have a theory as to why the Doctor is not visiting as often. I believe that the Doctor realizes that eventually he is going to have to leave Amy and Rory so he is starting to distance himself to make the moment when the part ways easier. This theory comes from a single look between the Doctor and Amy towards the end of the episode where they are each forced to consider the other’s mortality. It is a beautiful scene that hints at Amy and Rory leaving the show, something we all know is coming.
There was only one aspect of this episode that I didn’t like. Just a few minutes after they get on the spaceship, the Doctor, Rory and Brian get separated from Amy, Riddell and Nefertiti. While investigating the ship without the Doctor, Amy begins to talk and act like the Doctor, explain complicated things that she has no business knowing. The writers try to say that because Amy has been hanging with the Doctor so often that she is picking up some of his knowledge but I couldn’t help but think that Amy should not be explaining these things to me. I did not like the new knowledge that Amy seemed to develop out of nowhere.
Next week we finally get a true Western episode. The writers and creators have had Matt Smith wear his cowboy hat in a number of different episodes and now we get a Western episode. It is called “A Town called Mercy” and will have the Doctor go up against a cyborg who simply calls himself the Gunslinger. As always I will be counting down the minutes until the next episodes and will let you know what I think of it.
Four seasons, four full seasons of television have been building to this series 4 finale. Like cockroaches, the Daleks somehow managed to survive, return to power and threaten the entire universe This time however, the Daleks returned with their creator, Davros, and have found a way to wipe out all of reality. By stealing planets and aligning them in the correct order, the Daleks have created a power source capable of enhancing their reality bomb (a weapon with the ability to destroy reality) to reach the entire universe. To save the day, the Doctor and his companions must band together and destroy the Dalek’s new empire.
The Doctor’s companions seem to crawl out of the woodwork when the Earth is stolen and humanity itself is threatened. Official companions Donna Noble, who is the Doctor’s companion for all of Series 4, Sarah Jane and Martha Jones, the Series 3 companion, ban together to help save the Earth. Unofficial companions also join the battle. Captain Jack, head of Torchwood, returns and puts his inability to be killed to good use. Mickey Smith returns from the parallel universe and even brings Jackie Tyler. Though it was nice to see all the mentioned characters again, nothing made me happier than seeing the triumphant return of Rose Tyler.
This hour long episode of Doctor Who was the most enjoyable hour of television I have had the pleasure of watching. Each character that returned was a wave of happiness and nothing was more satisfying than seeing the Doctor and his companions fly the TARDIS, and with it the earth, home. No episode better showcases the wit, skill and absolute brilliance of the Doctor Who team of writers. Everything that Doctor Who fans crave happens in this episode. Rose Tyler returns across a universe to see her Doctor one more time. Donna Noble finally realizes how important her role in the universe is. The Doctor’s secret army, his companions whose lives he has changed forever, ban together to save the Earth in the Doctor’s absence and they all survive (except for Captain Jack but death doesn’t really faze him). Despite all of this however, the show cannot leave us with simple happiness. Once again, the show left me devastated.
Last time it was Rose Tyler leaving the universe but this time it was Donna Noble. After a full season of self doubt and some fairly horrible events (getting a “fake” family in the library, having her history rewritten, destroying Pompei ect.) Donna is finally given her moment to shine. Inadvertently sparking some of the Doctor’s energy, Donna becomes the first half human half Time Lord. Using the knowledge she gained from the Doctor, Donna single handedly saves all of reality. Releasing the Doctor and his army, Donna helps to right the wrongs the Daleks caused and returned everybody to their rightful places. Once the day is saved and Donna’s rightful place in the universe is revealed, it becomes clear what sacrifice she must make. Reality could have only been saved by a human Tim Lord but there is a reason a human Time Lord has never existed. Donna’s mind cannot handle the knowledge and power that comes with being a Time Lord. To continue living, she must forget that she is a Time Lord which means she must forget anything that could remind her of the Time Lords. To save her life, the Doctor must erase every memory of himself and their time together from Donna Noble’s head.
Where Rose Tyler was originally stuck in another world without the Doctor, she at least had her memories with him. Donna is afforded no such luxury. Instead, to keep her alive, the Doctor himself must wipe every happy memory they had together from her mind. Doctor Who proves itself to be an outstanding television show. Easily taking me through a vast range of emotions in a single hour, this finale makes me wonder what is going to happen to this amazing show when David Tennant lets go of the reigns and the Doctor regenerates.