Saturday, 22 September 2012

Review: Doctor Who 7.4: The Power of Three

Kate Stewart... didn't do much.
Chibbers. Listen to me, man. I don't hate you. Not as much as I did a few weeks ago, and I'm sorry for that, but can you really look at your history and not see why? I mean, you spend so much effort in the Eighties having a go at the show when it was just trying to get along without getting cancelled, and then your episodes for the show end up being these slightly interesting but ultimately empty schlocks. It's like you took the strange image of the Eighties being style over substance and then decided in the interim years that, hey, perhaps I like that now. The Power of Three was by no means as bad as the train wrecks that were The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood and Dinosaurs on a Spaceship, but it certainly was just a complete and utter mess. It had trouble with pacing, with its core concepts and, some of the time, even keeping my attention.
     The story took a much looser format for the first half, with the Ponds awakening to find the world inundated with seemingly harmless unchanging black cubes. The Doctor, getting tired of waiting for the cubes to do something, goes off and we end up skipping over nine months, in which time the Ponds start to live a life of semi-permenance. When the Doc comes back, the cubes start doing a collection of random things in order to scan the planet, which leads The Doctor to discover that this had been an invasion by the Shakri, a legendary race of universal pest controllers who had identified humanity as a threat. The Doctor saves everyone, and he and the Ponds leave for further adventures.
     What permuated the story was an incredible sense of hollowness; it had a lot of concepts and ideas it wanted to get across, but it was absent of any real theme and they often contradicted one another. One moment the Ponds are reflecting upon how much they're enjoying life without the Doc, the next they're accepting the Doctor's offer and popping off on yet another adventure. Chibnall also came up with a dozen different ideas for adventures that in themselves would have made awesome episodes in their own right - meeting with Henry VIII, Zygons under the Savoy hotel... it gave me a strange whiff of the stupid, stupid prequel series Pond Life which did exactly the same thing.
Look at how clever we are...cubes...three... look, clever!
    This episode had very little in it, so it's not too surprising that this episode's main attraction, the return of UNIT and the daughter of Allister Lethbridge-Stewart, was similarly lacklustre.UNIT didn't even have their damn symbol, and spent most of their time in dingy underground bases. Kate Stewart, who was added in as a homage to the late Nicolas Courtney's Brigadier, wasn't so much ineffectual as she was absent as a character at all, with around three scenes in which she did nought but serve as speedy exposition. What, I may ask, is the point of bringing back classic things if you're not even gonna do anything with them?!? At least the Eighties had entire stories exploring the backgrounds of the Cybermen and Daleks, Chibnall, but this is damn pathetic!
     As opposed to his previous story, which was devoid of any interesting ideas whatsoever, this story took far too many and tried to squish them into a brand new format, and on every single level the episode failed to captivate or create anything resmbling coherancy or entertainment. It tried to be clever and it tried to do things in a fresh way, but none of it came together, and that's what really matters. Sorry Chibnall, but I still don't like your work.


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