This week, it was my turn to explore Doctor Who before Anne did. I’d watch and warn her of any dangerous anomalies before she sat down to view the latest episode, The Power of Three. You know, to soften the blow… Yes, as an intrepid explorer I charted a course to (wait for it) “Boldly go…where no Anne has gone before!” Wrong franchise? Yes. Terrible joke? Absolutely. Have I lost my mind? Well, continue on, dear readers!
The Power of Three is over, and after vomiting loudly at Amy Pond’s heavy handed narration (and cheesy use of the title) I’m frantically waving my sonic screwdriver in front of my TV. This is the scene when Anne enters.
Anne: *cautiously* Zach…what are you doing?
Zach: The Doctor was able to miraculously bring everyone back to life with nothing learned and no consequence…all with the help of his handy deus ex sonic screwdriver. If I can do the same thing to the terribly written ending of this episode then just maybe we can all go back to the laughs… maybe…
Anne: Zach, you know that’s not actually a real sonic screwdriver, right? In fact, it’s not even a prop sonic screwdriver. It looks like your toothbrush, Zach. You’re waving your toothbrush around and making a buzzy sound. Why don’t you just sit down for a second and we’ll focus on the happy parts, okay? We’ll think happy thoughts and you can pretend that the last few minutes never existed, okay?
Zach: *sits down*
Anne: Good! Now stop rocking back and forth. Start at the happy place.
Zach: Okay, well, Amy Pond narration aside, I enjoyed this episode almost immediately. It had the mystery and notably less over-the-top timey-wimey shenanigans. It was actually pretty fun to see the Doctor slow down and experience life like everyone else. I also liked the “international” feel to it as the world dealt with the mysterious cubes. I almost expected to see the female American reporter that appeared on TV during all of Davies’ crises.
Most importantly, I’m choosing to believe Moffat read our previous rages and took some of our suggestions to heart. (Shh, I know these episodes were filmed months ago!) Specifically he’s listened to our bemoaning the lack of acknowledgement of the show before he took over. As a fan of old school Doctor, I was beyond excited that Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart’s daughter had taken over UNIT. Quite appropriate.
Anne: If Moffat isn’t reading our stuff, maybe he’s just watching us, listening in, paying attention to our every movement. He could be anywhere, innocuous as one of these harmless black cubes I’ve been using as a paperweight…
Generally, I thought this episode was fun. There was a liveliness to it, a tempo that worked for this cast and this Doctor. I always love Mark Williams (I know, I know – duh) and I wish that there was more of him in here – and not just in the “convenient damsel in distress” way. I think Matt Smith plays “bored genius alien” with just the right amount of frenetic twitching (and I always enjoy a chance to see him show off his soccer skills). Basically, I enjoyed this episode. I’m sure that I shouted at the screen a few times, quite certain that I made some horrible comment about Amy Pond along the way – but, really, the fun outweighed the terrible for me here.
Zach: I do think that’s an important distinction to make. After two, seriously poor episodes we’ve started to move int he right direction again. Mercy and Three have both shown some solid improvement. One can only hope that when the Angels Take Manhattan we might even see some legitimate plans come to fruition, like perhaps the light bulb motif that keeps popping up. More importantly, we have the end of the Ponds. Of late it seems Twitter and media sites are making a big fuss about it. Possibly due to the large number of new fans the show has drawn who haven’t known a companion before Amy. For me, This is all par for the course, and as we’ve previously discussed, the Ponds have been around for too long. Typically I’m sad to see a companion go, especially when I watch classic Who because often times companions leave with out elaborate fanfare or even warning. The Ponds, however, have lingered, and become stale. It’s time the 11th Doctor grow as a character, like all Doctors have when new companions come aboard. However, there was the one tender moment in The Power of Three when the Doctor explains to Amy why he’s stuck around her for so long. That was almost enough to forgive the fact that she’s been a companion for far too long.
Anne: One of the things that I’ve always loved about Doctor Who is how clever it is, how developed it is on all levels. That, and I love composer Murray Gold. Love. I think he’s the kind of genius that would be inspiring yet terrifying to be around. I love the way that, at least in early seasons, the music didn’t just signal who was on screen – but also laid hints about what was important or yet to come. The first time Rose runs into the TARDIS, all the way back in the episode Rose, you hear the opening seconds of “Doomsday,” aka “The Song Guaranteed to Make Me Sob.” Or, the first time we see Professor Yana on screen in Utopia, we hear a little bit of “This is Gallifrey: Our Childhood, Our Home” (and, even if you didn’t know the name, it’s the music that backs the Doctor’s description of Gallifrey at the end of Gridlock). So, I’m always listening out for repetition, twisted themes, little musical hints, songs that I want on my iPod immediately… but so far in Series 7, nothing doing.
That is, until the very end. Yes, it was hard to hear since Zach was throwing a fit over the Doctor’s Amazing Reset Sonic. But, while the Doctor was magically bringing 1/3 of the population back from the dead, you can hear “Can I Come With You?” – the music that we first heard in The Eleventh Hour, as Amelia Pond waited for her Raggedy Doctor to return. Maybe we’re supposed to take this as the Doctor’s return to mythical proportions in an increasingly-jaded Amy’s eyes. Maybe we’re supposed to take it as a return to some kind of innocence, a perfect setup for her one last hurrah before next week’s dramatic end. Maybe we’re just supposed to think “D’awww, widdle Amelia Pond has been with this Doctor all the way through – they need each other so much.” Either way, it was good to hear a bit of familiarity again. It made me forgive a lot – A LOT – along the way.
Zach: Well, I certainly feel a bit better after that discussion. Oh, Anne, did you see the “Next Time” Segment? Your *favorite* character returns next week!
Zach: Yeah, River Song is supposed to show up in Manhattan!
But surely we’ll have more to say on that next time! In the meantime, catch up on our discussion of Daleks, Dinos, and Mercy and let us know what you think. We’ll be back in a couple days to discuss the series finale of The Pond Show guest starring the Doctor.