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Doctor Who Season 7: 5 Questions About “The Power of Three”

This week’s Doctor Who offered the quietest, slowest alien invasion we’ve seen in the series in some time, but that seems fitting considering that the episode was really all about the trinity of Amy, Rory and the Doctor. Five questions about “The Power of Three”? Maybe that’s two too many…

Can Someone Else Water The Plants?
Seriously, if I wasn’t entirely convinced by his appearance in “Dinosaurs In Space” – And, to be honest, I pretty much was – “The Power of 3″ won me over to Brian Williams entirely. Sorry, Oswin; I really would love it if this man somehow ended up as the new companion. “Brian’s Log”? I mean, come on. He’s a wonderful, wonderful character, with everything I liked about Wilf (And what is it about older patriarchal figures for companions that makes them so happy about the Doctor essentially kidnapping their kids into space, anyway?) and an added amount of humor and resourcefulness. To everyone who writes Who spin-offs: More of this character, please.

What Is So Bad About Humanity Colonizing Space?
On the one hand, I get that the alien pest control thing was essentially a MacGuffin – and a really nice one, at that; I liked that the human tendency towards novelty, quickly followed by an ability to assimilate everything so that it becomes, essentially, invisible, was the key to the plot – but I can’t help but wonder who, exactly, decided that humanity had to be dealt with before they colonized space – and, why humanity in space would be such a bad thing. There are countless stories to be told here, and even though I doubt that it’s anything that’ll be followed up this season, I’d really like to see this plot thread followed up on at some point in the future.

Wait – The Ponds Have Been Traveling With The Doctor For A Decade?
Amy’s line about it being ten years since she and Rory started traveling with the Doctor was one to conjure with. She immediately fudged that detail by saying that it wasn’t ten years of “real” time, but Amy and Rory’s personal timelines, but still – I can’t help but feel as if this makes the Ponds the longest-running companions of the Doctor in the series’ history (More established Whovians, who am I forgetting? K9, technically, could be more long-lasting, right…?). The conversation between the Doctor and Amy as they sat outside UNIT HQ really sold me on that idea, too; there’s an emotional intimacy and affection between the Doctor and Amy (and Rory, albeit less so) that I actually believe, when I see them all together. I’ll really miss them when they’re gone (Next episode! Sob!), but this line about the ten years of timeline together – Even with the gaps for real life that we know have happened, which total at most a year at any one time; someone will end up making a timeline about this, I’m sure – means that there are all manner of “untold adventures” for comics, novels and whatever to tell for a long, long time.

(Also, maybe this is just me, but I feel as if Amy and Rory had more fun, silly adventures with the Doctor than at least any of the other companions since the reboot, for some reason. Just the glimpses of the mid-party jaunts tonight suggested that, for me.)

Is UNIT The New Torchwood?
It’d make sense if UNIT come back to the center of the show in some way. It’s not as if we haven’t seen them since the reboot (Didn’t Martha and Micky end up working with them, in some capacity, in the dying days of the David Tennant era?), but they had a particular authority – and a particular pacifist, scientific authority at that – in this appearance that I find myself thinking that they’re going to replace Torchwood as the scientific organization du jour in the Moffat run and moving forwards when needed. Which, let’s be honest, is pretty fair considering Torchwood deposed UNIT in the first place.

The Ponds Are Going To Die, Aren’t They?
Given that we dealt with the idea of the two just… giving up life with the Doctor this week, I have a very bad feeling about the fact that Amy and Rory are leaving the show with the next episode. All that talk about “some… not many” dying, and Brian asking the Doctor to bring them back alive… That’s really not looking too good for them, is it? After this episode, that just seems especially cruel. I’ve always liked Amy and Rory, but after this week, I kind of love them. Doing that just in time to kill them next week…? That is just mean, everyone involved in the show these days. I can only hope that I’m really wrong… After all, it’s not as if Steven Moffat normally likes to play into people’s expectations, is it?


  • Mark Walley

    I read the Amy comment about a decade being that she’s experienced a decade of life since she started travelling with the Doctor (since he picked her up the day before her wedding in the 11th Hour) which means Rory has experienced a bit less than that (Amy experienced what? A couple of days between that and the Vampires of Venice?) But then you realise the problem with this, because obviously for a part of that travelling Rory was dead and wiped out of existence, and then he was a two thousand year old plastic Roman, and Amy was half dead suspended through time in a box but meanwhile she was still born as a scottish girl in a reality that never really existed. And then they restarted the Universe so presumably hadn’t aged more than naturally by the time they get to the wedding day. PHEW. And that’s just Season 1 of their travelling.

    Maybe, what she just meant was that in the five or six years of earth time that’s passed since the day they started travelling, they’ve experienced five or six extras years due to being in the tardis. Going away for six months but coming back only a week later. So Amy instead of being 23 when she got married (or was she older, complete blank here) and now 28 in earth time scale life, she’s actually 33.

  • Mark Walley

    Which brings me to another point, when the Doctor says his age, even if we assuming he’s not lying (which he always is), how is he measuring it? Is there an internal Timelord clock that lets you know how many years you’ve been alive for and what that is in terms of who your speaking too’s planet’s revolution round it’s star? If a Martian asked him would he say 701 years instead of 1320?

  • Douglass

    Martha was in UNIT, Mickey never was. He showed interest in joining Torchwood, but that was never followed up on. When last seen, they were married and working as “freelance alien fighters”. (Don’t ask me. It was Davies’ idea)

  • Mark Walley

    Martha and Mickey are one of the few people from RTD’s era I could see turning up and making good television sense. Mickey especially having seen three different Doctors would be fun.

  • Yonatan

    The interesting thing: Does A town called Mercy happen during this episode. In last weeks episode, Rory gets mocked for leaving his phone charger in Henry VIII’s bedroom. Where did they end up this week?

  • Falsoman

    Good catch! We’ve suspected that some of this has been happening out of order… so maybe!

  • tomdaylight

     The Doctor skipped two years at the end of episode one. We can then assume that the night of Amy’s wedding lasted about a year. So that’s three years in series 5 alone.

    Then – contrary to the article – in the 2011 Christmas Special Amy said it had been two years since they’d last seen him. If we call series 6 a year also, that’s at least six years of their timelines covered. Series 7 begins a year after that, so I figure they’re running this year at the rate of about a year between episodes.

  • 7thunders

      at the beginning of Mercy the doctor I believe says his age. Which he now says is 1200?   You would have to review that.  The doctor aged 200 years when he started season 2 in Impossible Astronaut right?   He was 906 then add 200 which makes it 1106 and then if I heard correctly,  at the beginning of Mercy he says 1200.    I think its a scene when he first enters the sherrifs office? 

  • 7thunders

      I found this on line, he did say 1200
    Not long after Amy Pond first encountered the Doctor, he told her that he was 907 (TV: Flesh and Stone), which he then restated when meeting the Dream Lord. (TV: Amy’s Choice) When his future self invited him to Utah, the younger Doctor gave his age as 909. (TV: The Impossible Astronaut) The Doctor later commented that he was around George’s age of eight “about a thousand years ago”. (TV: Night Terrors) When he met Amy, Rory, River and Canton at Lake Silencio, his older self told Amy that he was 1103. (TV: The Impossible Astronaut) Indeed, the Doctor at this point in his life had just finished his farewell tour which lasted nearly two hundred years. (TV: The Wedding of River Song) By the time he had left Amy and Rory, but still offered them brief trips in the TARDIS, he stated his age as 1200. (TV: A Town Called Mercy)

  • Shadowclaw

    Don’t worry, the Ponds will end up taking care of baby Melody Pond somehow, in NY & in the past.

  • Fury

    the doctor’s always been lying about his age. Romana told Four off for it.

  • Fury

    that’s why Moffat says the Doctor lies about his age, how could he ever keep track? unless he’s got a clock in the TARDIS set to Gallifrey time or something.

    But he told Rose he’d had 900 years of ‘phone box travel’ which means 900 years from “An Unearthly Child” to “Aliens of London”. which would put him over a thousand by the time of Nine, because One was already an old man a traveller in time and space before the show began.

  • Mark_whittington0607

    Exactly my prediction as well, the Angels will regain their original powers of sending people back in time, and send them back to 1960’s New York where we know melody ended up at the end of ‘Day of the Moon’.

  • Jason S

    Loved this episode. Though one thing did puzzle me a bit. When the Doctor grudgingly admitted that some of his previous companions died. Do you think he was meaning whilst they were traveling with him? As that seemed to be the implication, but I can only think of one that was killed (Adric) am I forgetting someone?
    (Did find it a little bit ironic that it was Rory’s Dad asking that though, since y’know Rory’s had that Kenny like happenstance of being killed off and continually brought back! ;) )

  • bairdduvessa

    please don’t kill the ponds, please don’t kill the ponds, please don’t kill the ponds.

  • Lead_sharp

    You know what? STOP looking for reasons behind everything and just enjoy the show.

  • Skapunkboi19

     the other two are Katarina and Sara Kingdom,I had to look them up cause I could remember any who died besides Adric.

  • Skapunkboi19


  • Demoncat4

    found the comment amy made about traveling with the doctor for a decade intriquing for after all if any companion that has done that i would think would be k9 since never thought any of the companions or the doctor ever kept track of time. plus nice to see steve remember doctor history with unit.  as for the ponds will be sad to see them go. hope they just walk off like some companions and retire .not die.

  • Bumbles

    A Town Called Mercy would have been awesome if the Doctor was with Brian rather then the Ponds. “You asked to see the Wild West!”, done. You’d even be able to keep the whole “is this who you really are?” speech. 

  • JozefAL

    About the whole “Torchwood deposed UNIT in the first place” comment:  Incorrect.  Obviously, since the whole concept of Torchwood was a retcon into the Doctor-verse (think about it), it couldn’t have.  BUT, even leaving the idea that Torchwood was ALWAYS there and that it was only “explained” during the RTD/Tennant years, it still makes the idea of “deposing” incorrect. 

    Yes, under the retconning, this would mean that UNIT actually deposed Torchwood in the first place.  Torchwood, as was established in “Tooth and Claw” had a specific guideline of “secrecy”–the Queen did NOT want the public at large to have any knowledge of extraterrestrials.  Additionally, per the Queen’s directive, the Doctor was NEVER to return to Britain (or the Empire as a whole); of course, this happens during the Tenth Doctor’s existence–there was never any explanation why the Doctor, who made his identity known to UNIT during his Second incarnation (while his having been known to various British military officials prior to the establishment of UNIT, it’s unlikely that any of these people had any real reason to turn the Doctor over to the “proper authorities”), was never ordered to leave the UK.  One can presume that his helping the UK on prior occasions led to a reversal of the ban (something which could have been stated when the Doctor and Rose re-entered the TARDIS after the Queen made her edict–a throwaway line like “Oh, they got over that when I stopped the Cybermen back in the 60s. 

    At any rate, even Torchwood’s own on-screen history shows that it didn’t actually depose UNIT.  There were obvious ties between the two groups which probably aren’t as easy to understand (an example shown in Toshiko’s story in “Fragments”) but there was also, quite likely, a clear distinction between the two’s responsibilities.    As we see, however, in the “Children of Earth” story, there was obviously some strong distaste on the part of UNIT towards Torchwood’s activities.

    What I’m seeing from this episode is that Torchwood has left its UK-centric beginnings.  UNIT was always seen as a UK thing (even when it was supposedly a “United Nations” organization, for some reason, everyone involved was British; the obvious real world rationale was the actors available for the roles–you have a British TV show, produced by the BBC in the 1960s and 1970s, it would be expected the actors would all be British); even when the group was shown during the later episodes under RTD’s oversight, the group was still had a very British organization structure with the first person usually contacted being the UK’s prime minister before the POTUS or even the Secretary-General of the UN.  If we’re to assume that Torchwood, following the events in both “Children of Earth” and “Miracle Day,” would ever feel safe being under the oversight of a single government, it makes some sense for UNIT’s role in “Doctor Who” to resume its pre-RTD supremacy.  I haven’t heard of any new plans for “Torchwood” but, just going from “Miracle Day,” it would seem that a revived Torchwood would either go completely underground or would offer to become a group operating much as before (pre-COE) known only to the leadership of the world and called only to help when something happens that the public doesn’t need to know (obviously, with millions of cubes falling to Earth, Torchwood might take an interest and some of their people would study them but, without learning anything of significance, they wouldn’t be contacted by world leaders; OTOH, if you had something like “Reset” or “Meat” where alien tech or beings were being used or abused, that might be something more for Torchwood than for UNIT since the public would certainly NOT want to know that drugs they were using or food they were eating had extraterrestrial connections).

  • Jason S

     Ahhh..Both from the 1st Doctor! That explains it. Waaay before my time! So I guess the first doctor and the fifth are the worst, (so far) for keeping their companions safe. In fact now that I think about it, Didn’t the fifth lose another companion..(Well sort of..) that Kamelion android?

  • Jorell Rivera

    Amy’s Past-Tense narration throughout “The Power of Three” gives me hope that they live last the Fall Season Finale.  Although, I’m a little more worried about what’s going to happen to Rory.

  • Alan Alexander

     Not to mention the fact that the age he gave Rose was about 50 years less than the age given by Sylvester McCoy in “Time and the Rani.”

  • Alan Alexander

    If you consider Kamelion a companion, then yes, but since they couldn’t actually get the damned thing to work, he only really appeared in his debut episode and then the one in which he went evil (due to the Master) and then died.  Also, personally, I think it’s a stretch to call Katarina and Sara Kingdom companions as they both died within the (admittedly 12-part) story in which they debuted. According to Tardis Eruditorum, it was actually supposed to have been Viki who died in Dalek Masterplan, but she got into an argument with the producer of “The Myth Makers” and he rather petulantly wrote her off the show at the end of that story and the introduced Katarina for the express purpose of killing her later.

  • A_weird_boy

    Amy and Rory were genius companions…
    The “Danger of Romance” betweem the Doctor and Amy (the Doctor does not bave to be asexual, but please do not let him start soemthing with a companion…one of the many reasonys, I hate the ending of season 4) was dealt with very early.
    And I love the fact, that there were two companions (and one of them male)….that should be a lot more often the case

  • Jason S

    WOW! If that is the case, then yeah that is petty. I suppose it is a stretch for them to be companions. Though I suppose if the defining characteristic of a companion is traveling in the tardis in more than one adventure, then I guess Katarina and Kamelion just about qualify. Guess it’s debatable where to draw the line. Though their short lived stints are certainly why they didn’t spring to mind. But I guess the Doctor must count at least one of them as having been a companion from what he said to Rory’s Dad. Or other wise it’s just Adric. And he did say some. Which seems to imply more than one.

    But then as I originally stated maybe he’s giving a broader definition to it, in the sense of people who’ve helped him, but not traveled with him.(Though if that is what he’s saying, than he’s probably actually understating it..LOL!)

  • FredII

    Am I the only to think that Amy’s voice over at the begning of the show is her talking to her child, either River Song in an alternate timeline (we do know that River changes history next episode somehow) or the child she and Rorey conceive and bring into the world as their replacement baby, and cause of their not traveling with the doctor anymore.

    The whole thing seemed like she was explaining to this child who the doctor was, and what it was like to have these adventures and what not.

    I don’t know, I doubt death is actually on the horizon.

  • GerardMorvan

    About the Doctor/Torchwood/UNIT: my theory is that the Doctor was (with one exception) never in Great Britain long enough for Torchwood to catch up to him. The fact that he was travelling in a police box helped to camouflage his visits during most of the 20th century also (I suspect Captain Jack Harkness to have had something to do with the choice of design for those police boxes). And as for his exile on Earth in the seventies, and his work with UNIT, I’m pretty sure that UNIT essentially told Torchwood that the Doctor was off-limits for the time he served as their scientific advisor (I would have loved to hear that conversation).

    Anyway, regarding the episode: good set-up, rushed ending, just like a comic book mini-series. Great supporting cast (bring Kate Stewart back, please !). Great moments of laughter, and good emotional moments. And I will never hear “La Danse des Canards” the same way again.

  • AtomicKommieComics

     “UNIT was always seen as a UK thing (even when it was supposedly a
    “United Nations” organization, for some reason, everyone involved was

    In the case of the earlier Doctors, since the threats appeared in England, naturally the British branch of UNIT would be “first on the scene”.
    As we’ve seen since the return, UNIT is an international organization, with branches all over the world, and apparently has some sort of internal exchange program that sends personnel from one country to another as needed for specific asignments.
    (For example, Dr Martha Jones was assigned to New York in “Stolen Earth”)
    And I suspect there are other UNIT helicarriers besides Valiant, with appropriate names like Potemkin or (ahem) Enterprise…

  • Atomic Kommie Comics

    I like the idea of Martha and Mickey returning, but as a bickering couple, perhaps on the verge of divorce, but still drawn to traveling with the Doctor.
    Would make a nice counterpoint to the Ponds.

  • Convoy

    As far as humans colonizing space, the only bad instance I can think of are The Power of Kroll episodes from the Key to Time serials, which were back in 1978. Humans had colonized space for some time at that point to where there are humans who have never even seen Earth. On this one planet they colonized, they kicked of the indigenous species and transplanted them to that planet’s moon. Then years later when the humans found resources they needed on the moon, they then tried eliminate them from the moon as well.

  • Bazell

    What third Doctor did he meet? 

  • Bazell

    Many characters who appeared for only one episode are considered Companions, like Astrid from the Titanic episode.

  • Douglasdickerson

    Am I the only one who has noticed the clues in this episode (the power of three) and in past episodes that point to the doctor being part human? Remember for example the cubes are only to kill humans nothing more. Even the doctor said they were attacking “human” hearts. And the cube only attacked one of his hearts. Maybe his “Human” one? 

  • tomdaylight

     I reckon he’s about 49.