A remarkable story with what some might call an unremarkable ending – but what was the overall reaction to The Power of Three?
With overnight viewing figures of 5.49 million – higher than last year’s The God Complex (which aired at a similar stage of the season) – the episode was never going to beat The X Factor‘s 8.24 million, yet with 25.6% of the total TV audience for its time slot, Doctor Who was the second most viewed show of the day!
But what did the critics think?
The Independent began by comparing the various movie genres that the series has touched upon so far, such as the action movie and the western, observing that…
The Power of Three’s tone seems like a conspiracy theory movie. The idea of the slow invasion was impressive given that the audience lets their guard down bit by bit and it is at that point the black cube of death strikes.
…The Power of Three explored a most interesting idea that is seldom touched upon on the show. It was the concept of the companion’s life without the Doctor in all its domestic banality. When the Doctor comes along the ennui of everyday life gives way to the fantastical.
Our own review (see below) has been contributed by one of our regulars. If it had been your editor’s turn, something similar to the following snippet from Den of Geek might well have appeared.
It feels like it’s been a long time since we had an episode like this. A big global threat, cameos from BBC newsreaders, a bearded face from a popular reality TV programme*? Had the Tardis taken us back, we wondered, to the Russell T Davies years?
Well, yes and no. It captured the feel of slightly older Doctor Who, along with the continual build up to events that are very much concerning the current era of the show. Plus, it added in a bit of Time Lord stuff too. Not bad for 42-ish minutes.
Regular readers will recall that we dip into The Telegraph from time to time to see how former Mastermind champion Gavin Fuller (specialist subject: “Doctor Who”) is coming along with that free journalism course he signed up to on the back of a box of Ready Brek. He’s a dogged reviewer, it has to be said, with a skin as thick as a cold bowl of the popular ground oat cereal, but this week he fails to correctly match the internal logic of the episode with anything that is actually wrong:
It all seemed to be resolved far too easily, with a wave of the sonic screwdriver the Doctor reprograms the cubes and everybody killed miraculously gets up again; anybody trained in CPR would find this highly implausible.
Indeed they might, except of course, that the concept of small cubes inducing heart attacks might also be considered extremely implausible. What is genuinely wrong with the episode’s resolution isn’t the miraculous recovery, but the use of the sonic screwdriver once again.
Most excited by the episode was probably The Guardian’s Dan Martin whose review began with excitement and maintained the love throughout.
The Power of Three was, in every sense, completely gorgeous; RTD spiked through with the swagger that is the hallmark of the Steven Moffat series.
The slow invasion of the Shakri presents the first attempt on Earth since the Silence in Day Of The Moon…
Den of Geek concluded with the following, which I probably agree with.
The Power Of Three might – might – just be the highlight of series 7 to date. It’s the first episode to give Asylum Of The Daleks a run for its money, at the very least.
We’ll leave it with TOR.com, who know a thing or two about good sci-fi and science fantasy, and their summary.
The dialogue was crisp and funny throughout, and there were some wonderful moments of drama in lines like the Doctor telling Amy, “Yours was the first face this face saw,” that made me tear up. The entire episode made me tear up, actually.
The Power of Three” is a simple, but powerful episode where the plot of the story wasn’t intricate, but the character relationships were.
Meanwhile, you can check our review to find what Alasdair McKenzie thought of the episode. You might also be intrigued to learn that voters in our online poll straight after broadcast had trouble making their minds up – indeed, this has been the most divisive episode of the serial so far.
A huge 42.08% of voters decided that it was “fantastic stuff”, while the majority 48.87% felt that the threat was “too easily diminished”. Finally, 9.05% considered the episode “square” – previous weeks have seen the negative option collecting 5-7%, so this is an interesting change.