...with a SPOILER FREE review of The Power of Three, the fourth of five new DOCTOR WHO installments slated to air this Autumn/Fall. Episode number five, The Angels Take Manhattan, transmits next week, and will exit companions Amy and Rory (Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill) from the series. What I just said isn’t a spoiler, by the way,. The duo’s departure from the show, and its timing, have been highly publicized for some time.
More on The Power of Three shortly. But first...
LAST WEEK’S WHOTININNIES PODCAST IS NOW ONLINE...
In which A Site Called Fred’s Ken Plume and I...
** Discuss the first three episodes of DOCTOR WHO Season/Series 7...
** Revisiting our ‘Is the Doctor a hero?’ discussion...
** Discuss George Lucas’ annoying propensity for retreating from the dark tones he establishes in his movies...
** Talk of the wondrous IMAX issuance of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK...
** Champion a standardized re-release pattern for vintage/'classic' films...
** Mull THE BLACK HOLE - is it worthy or sucky?
** Blow on that gunk on the tip of Glen’s microphone.
** And more!!
THE FIRST THREE EPISODES OF SEASON/SERIES 7 CAN STILL BE SEEN ONLINE...
AN IMPORTANT NOTE
RE: IMPENDING SPOILERS
Docbacks are regularly visited by participants from across the globe - which is tremendously cool. Global visitors are cool. Alas, DOCTOR WHO is shown in different times in different places across the world...
For example, it transmits in the UK early evening - which is early afternoon US time.
This Docback will remain a SPOILER FREE ZONE until DOCTOR WHO’s initial UK transmit (which occurs early afternoon Saturday, US time).
Once DW transmits in the UK, SPOILERS will be allowed in this forum. Thus, folks wishing to remain unsoiled by Dinosaurs on a Spaceship details until they've seen the episode for themselves may wish to tread very, very carefully if entering this Docback after late morning(ish) North American time.
Please note the Spoiler Warning Policy posted on the Code of Conduct below.
The Power of Three - SPOILER FREE REVIEW
If The Angels Take Manhattan is our final goodbye to Amelia Pond and Rory Williams, The Power of Three very much serves as a pre-emptive wake. It is a celebration of the Amy and Rory characters, a final evaluation of how they have interacted (or have failed to interact) with Matt Smith’s Doctor, a cursory summation of what the couple most want and need in their lives, and a not always easy assessment of what they have found instead.
All wrapped within an “slow invasion” mystery package which very much recalls DW’s Russell T. Davies era, while evoking no small portion of ‘Classic’ DOCTOR WHO. Three even manages to trot out some STAR TREKian thematics along the way.
I’ve often discussed Matt Smith’s subtle and ingenious presentation of age when writing about his run as the Doctor. He spins the role as an outwardly youngish guy, who...every now and then...conveys the strain of many years through his eyes, facial expressions, and body motions. This is an inspired notion which Smith lands perfectly - and you’ll see it happen quite a bit in The Power of Three. Longtime WHOvians might find it difficult not to flashback to William Hartnell’s First Doctor during a few sequences here, which may in turn fuel recent speculation that Smith’s 11th is headed into darker, bitchier, less huggable Hartnell-esque territory.
Mark Williams returns as Rory’s father Brian (initially introduced in Dinosuars on a Spaceship - S07E02), and in his own sweet way becomes something a a centurion, not dissimilar to his son. Jemma Redgrave spins a newly-introduced role as Kate approachably and compellingly.
Her (possible?) return to the show in the future would seem most welcome (if not mandated), and would also portend a number of fun and intriguing possibilities.
Director Douglas Mackinnon returns WHO for the first time since 2008 (having previously directed The Sontaran Stratagem and The Poision Sky), and keeps matters moving quite briskly. Mackinnon and Director of Photography Gavin Struthers deploy strange, J.J. Abrams-esque lens flares to abundance during a number of hospital shots. Some viewers may be tempted to attach cosmic significance to this effect - but my money’s on this simply being a stylistic conceit which was a bit over-utilized.
While I’m guessing many fans will not respond terribly well to this episode - its presentation, style, and attitude are decidedly unlike what many may be expected or wanting - I’d argue that The Power of Three is a very nice ramp up to what we know is coming. It represents a very different approach to the loss of characters than, say, STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION’s Skin of Evil, in which one of that series’ leads was ripped away from the show suddenly and forcefully, leaving the characters to wrestle with the aftermath. Here, while the characters themselves don’t seem to know what’s coming next week (or do they?), the audience does know - no secret has been made of Amy and Rory’s exit, and the series itself has pointedly portended the possibility of the couple leaving in a number of ways. Thus, this is the ‘chance to say goodbye’ episode - a recap and remembrance - before moving characters off the playing field entirely.
An interesting and not necessarily expected approach which lends a decidedly bitter-sweet quality to this episode’s Three’s moments. Despite its jarringly cheesy closing line...
The Angels Take Manhattan (S07E05)
[Season / Series Seven Docbacks - MOST RECENT DOCBACK IS HIGHLIGHTED]
[SEASON / SERIES SIX DOCBACKS]
"The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe" (2011 Christmas Special)
[RETRO-WHO DOCBACKS ]
"An Unearthly Child" (Story #1)
"The Daleks" (Story #2)
"The Edge of Destruction" (Story #3)
"Marco Polo" (Story #4)
"The Keys of Marinus" (Story #5)
"The Aztecs" (Story #6)
"The Sensorites" (Story #7)
"The Sensorites" (Story #7 - full DVD release)
"The Reign of Terror" (Story #8)
"Planet of Giants" (Story #9)
"The Dalek Invasion of Earth" (Story #10)
"The Rescue" (Story #11)
"The Romans" (Story #12)
"The Crusade" (Story #14)
"The Space Museum" (Story #15)
"The Chase" (Story #16)
"The Time Meddler" (Story #17)
"Galaxy 4" (Story #18)
"Mission to the Unkonwn" (Story #19)
"The Myth Makers" (Story #20)
"The Gunfighters" (Story #25)
"The Tomb of the Cybermen" (Story #37)
"The Mind Robber" (Story #45)
"The Krotons" (Story #47)
"The Seeds of Death" (Story #48)
"Spearhead from Space" (Story #51)
"The Colony in Space" (Story #58)
"The Daemons" (Story #59)
"Day of the Daleks" (Story #60) + Preview of the DotD Special Edition
"The Three Doctors" (Story #65)
"Carnival of Monsters" (Story #66)
"Death to the Daleks" (Story #72)
"The Robots of Death" (Story #90)
"The Talons of Weng-Chiang" (Story #91)
"The Sun Makers" (Story #95)
"The City of Death" (Story #105)
"Nightmare of Eden" (Story #107)
"Kinda" (Story #118)
"Snakedance" (Story #125)
"The Five Doctors" (Story #129)
"The Awakening" (Story #131)
"Frontios" (Story #132)
"Resurrection of the Daleks" (Story #134)
"The Caves of Androzani" (Story #136)
"Time and the Rani" (Story #144)
"Paradise Towers" (Story #145) + New WHOvian Documentary / Newsbits
"Dragonfire" (Story #147)
"The Happiness Patrol" (Story #149)
"The Greatest Show in the Galaxy" (Story #151)
"Doctor Who: The Movie" (aka TVM) - McGann)
Merrick's Personal Journey With The Doctor (How Merrick Got Hooked On DOCTOR WHO)
"The Crash of the Elysium" (Manchester version - interactive DOCTOR WHO adventure)
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