REVIEWED: Doctor Who The Power of Three

DOCTOR WHO continued on Saturday with The Power of Three. After the lavish canvas the first three episodes have been told over, this week’s offering was a more domestic affair.

The Doctor moves in with the Ponds as he tries to unravel the mystery of the strange dark Cubes, which are slowly ‘invading’ the Earth.

A year passes and just as everyone starts to ignore them, the Cubes’ shocking surprise proves to be a heart-stopping moment.

The idea of an alien intelligence biding its time and slowly infiltrating human society was an interesting premise for a story, but unfortunately for me this wasn’t built upon and instead left us with was a checklist of new and old ideas re-cycled from previous stories.

First, and most obviously, we had the return to the Russell T Davies style of showing the scope of the emergency, by using TV news clips and current celebrities talking about the Cubes.

The idea of an alien’s presence in a hospital being guarded by two masked servitors, Smith & Jones, anyone?

Yet more debate from the Ponds whether they should continue to travel with Doctor, could be any episode from the last couple of series.

And finally, the Doctor not being very good at domestic life has been illustrated in two far superior episodes in recent years: The Lodger and Closing Time.

It really begs the question: just how did the Doctor managed to survive his exile on Earth during his third incarnation?

But I guess then he had Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart and UNIT around to keep him occupied. Which brings me to Kate Stewart, introduced as the latest face running UNIT, and later revealed to be the dear old Brigadier’s daughter.

I’m sure this was included as a warm reference to a popular character whose real life persona, Nicholas Courtney, sadly passed away last year.

However, her character never really got the chance to develop and perhaps tell us a more about both her back story and her father’s life away from the Doctor.

Having satisfactorily built up the invasion storyline, I also felt the conclusion relied far too much on coincidence and quick flick of the sonic screwdriver.

Of all the places on Earth, the conduit to the Shakri spaceship just happens to be, is in the lift shaft at the hospital in which Rory works.

Then, having gone to the trouble of casting the under used Steven Berkoff as the villain of the piece, he disappears unaided in a flash of light and with a quick whiz of his sonic screwdriver, the Doctor reverses all the The Shakri’s damage; so we can all go home for tea!

Happily, reprising his role as Rory’s Dad was Mark Williams. Again he had many of the best scenes and played them with just the right level of warmth and humour.

There was also an ominous scene when Rory’s Dad asks the Doctor what happens to the people that travel with him.

The Doctor replies honestly: “Some die… Not them. Not them,” he continues, thinking of the Ponds.

Well, with one episode to go until the fate of Amy and Rory is revealed, we haven’t got too long to wait.

Rating: The Power of – 2 out of 5

Next Week: The Angels Take Manhattan