Doctor Who (7.4): Brian, pants and Ravens of death

I’m worried that I’m getting the seven-year itch, but I don’t honestly know if I can say to Doctor Who “It’s not you, it’s me…” I was totally cream-crackered when I watched The Power of Three on Saturday night and it didn’t do anything for me at all. Having finally rewatched it tonight I’m relieved to find that I actually quite like it – but that’s it. I don’t love it. The basic plot’s not bad, though the whole tally of the Shakri thing was a little weak (no weaker than the Tardis towing Earth halfway across the universe I guess). Jemma Redgrave used the phrase “Ravens of Death”. Matt Smith is fabulous – I can not take my eyes off him when he’s on screen. Mark Williams is great and should have been introduced ages ago. So why am I left slightly dissatisfied? There’s lots to like, and I want to like it. Answers on a postcard (or feel free to recommend a counsellor).

Spoilers below the line…

Anyway, this is on one level about the slow invasion of Earth by apparently inert and harmless black cubes (ie, potentially lethal alien death machines) and on the other about Rory and Amy. It isn’t just a look at the Ponds’ (non-running-away-from-explosions) life – fine as that is. It’s adding another layer to the foreshadowing that’s been going on from the start of this series. Brian asks the Doctor what happened to previous companions, and we get to put faces to the Doctor’s answer: the ones who left him (Sarah-Jane), the ones who got left behind (Rose), the ones who died (Adric). Is the Doctor’s assertion, “Not them, not them, no, never them”, wishful thinking or misguided optimisim? I guess we’ll find out next week.

And to keep us guessing there are plenty of hints that the Ponds may be tiring of life in the Tardis after ten years anyway – Rory commits to going full-time at work, Amy promises to be at a friend’s wedding in six months’ time…

Knowing Steven Moffat, he has something completely Other up his sleeve – trapping one Pond in a different dimension forever perhaps. But,this isn’t the place for speculation and we’ll find out soon enough. *gulps*

For all my mithering, there were lots of good things in this episode. These are my favourites:

  • Brian. I want Brian to be the new companion. I was prepared to accept yet another perky, feisty young woman in the Tardis, but I’ve seen better and now I just want Mark Williams to take over from Amy and Rory.
  • The idea of a slow invasion. It is genius – not quite so keen on the reasoning behind it though.
  • Rory in his pants and being cross about this (combined with the soldiers all over the house).
  • The big old nod to Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart in getting his daughter in to run Unit (and getting Jemma Redgrave to play the part).
  • The man stuck in the toilet. Again.
  • The Doctor’s anniversary present to the Ponds is actually a really lovely thing. Or it would have been if his promise of ‘no complications’ had held true…
  • The Doctor and the Ponds eating Fish Custard on the sofa in front of The Apprentice, and the Doctor claiming to have invented Yorkshire puddings: “Pudding yet savoury … [holds up custard-coated fish finger] Sound familiar?”
  • Kate Stewart on the secret base beneath the Tower of London: “I’ve got officers trained in beheading. Also Ravens of Death.” Amy speaks for us all I feel: “I like her.”
  • The Doctor’s beautiful and moving explanation of his non-stop travel. “I’m not running away from things, I am running to them. Before they flare and fade forever.” Matt Smith captures so perfectly the Doctor’s loneliness and love for his friends, I’ll admit he brought a tear to my eye with that whole speech.

We’ve been promised a ‘heartbreaking’ farewell to the Ponds next week. I hope they can deliver…

Posted by Jo the Hat

2 Comments

Filed under Dr Who

2 responses to “Doctor Who (7.4): Brian, pants and Ravens of death

  1. dogdrovenorth

    I feel they used the same footage for the spaceship three times. It was also rather confusing – was it in an event horizon or a wormhole entrance or a tunnel of some sort – or was there just loads of space junk from a century of sending things up in to space? But seriously, three times? That was awful.

    I had that heart-sinking moment when Rory and Amy saved Brian and left all the other poor captives to DIE HORRIBLY IN AN INSTANTLY CATASTROPHIC EXPLOSION.

    The portal in the lift wobbled as if someone had touched it – but no-one did. The Doctor and Amy stood there wondering what to do – probably because they were looking at a green screen and had as little enthusiasm for their scene as McGregor had for his fight with General Grievous.

    I liked that the cubes had different abilities – just like the ALPHAS on 5*.

    I don’t get how a third of the population OF THE WORLD died and everyone was standing around like it was a bit of a calamity. It should have been numbing – like the death of David Marcus in The Search For Spock. Plus bringing them all back to life ten minutes later made no sense.

    Should have been great – but the story was told at the wrong speed throughout.

  2. Dreamer

    So far, I haven’t been impressed by DW. However, I read a review of this week’s episode on Tumblr, and they were positive about it. Made them cry though.

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