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Recap: Doctor Who S33 E4 "The Power of Three"
aka: Doctor Who S 33 E 04 The Power Of Three
...get it?!

"Every time we flew away with the Doctor we'd just become part of his life, but he never stood still long enough to become part of ours. Except once..."
Amy Pond

Written by Chris Chibnall.
One day, approximately ten years after Amy and Rory started traveling with the Doctor (in their relative time), billions of tiny black cubes fall out of the sky. Professor Brian Cox is on TV talking about it and everything. The Doctor and his Ponds — including Rory's dad Brian — investigate, with the help of UNIT's new scientific leader, Kate Stewart. The Doctor decides to stay with Amy and Rory for a while and gets to know them as they do their everyday jobs and live their everyday lives. Amy is now a travel journalist, Rory is considering nursing full-time.

Only the cubes don't do anything. The Doctor can't bear the endless waiting, and takes Amy and Rory on more and more adventures just to stave off the boredom. They fight Zygons, end up in Henry VIII's bedroom, and so on. Months pass, then a year. Meanwhile, Brian is getting increasingly worried about his son and daughter-in-law when he figures out what kinds of things usually happen to the Doctor's companions in the end. The Doctor decides to shelve his rampant Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny! for a while and comes to properly live with the Ponds, because he just misses them terribly when they're not around. Brian keeps a daily video log of the cubes, but all they do is sit and be utterly, completely indestructible.

When the cubes do eventually start moving, they light up, spit out fire, experiment on humanity and play "The Birdie Song". The Doctor rushes over to UNIT with Amy in tow, while Rory and Brian discover a starship portal in Rory's hospital and some rather scary aliens. While the Doctor and Amy have a quiet Friendship Moment, realising that their adventures can't last forever, the cubes start a global countdown after which they directly attack people's hearts, sending a third of Earth's population into cardiac arrest. Fortunately, the Doctor has more than one heart, and has both of them restored to full health after Chewing the Scenery for a bit. Even more fortunately, Kate Stewart turns out to be Kate Lethbridge-Stewart, the daughter of The Brigadier, and the Doctor knows he can trust her completely.

The Doctor and Amy rush over to the starship portal and confront the Monster of the Week: the Shakri, a bogeyman from Gallifreyan bedtime stories who wants to kill humanity with the cubes as a kind of interstellar pest control. The Doctor saves humanity when he realises he can Reverse the Polarity on the cubes, Kate gives the Doctor a kiss on the cheek, and Brian gives Amy and Rory his blessing in travelling with the Doctor a while longer.


Tropes:

  • Alien Invasion: The slow invasion by lots of little black cubes falling from the sky all around the world. Ultimately averted though. They only want to kill all humans.
  • All Myths Are True: The Shakri are a Gallifreyan myth.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The cubes can, among other things, stop people's hearts, fire lasers... and play "The Birdie Song".
    • The Doctor and Amy do not approve.
  • Artistic License - Medicine: Restart someone's heart after a period of death, and no oxygen to the brain? They at least had the decency to have the newsreaders say that emergency care was being set up for those affected, implying they weren't immediately back to full health, but the people shown coming back still seemed to be doing remarkably well to say they'd just been dead.
  • As Himself: Professor Brian Cox and Lord Alan Sugar.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny! / Allergic to Routine: Eleven still really, really hates waiting. He counted bouncing a football five million times and was annoyed to be informed only an hour had passed.
  • Badass Boast: The Doctor gives one to a cube. While playing Wii Tennis.
    The Doctor: This planet, these people are precious to me. And I will defend them until my last breath.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: This is the motivation for why the cubes are used, to prevent the spread of humanity throughout space.
  • I Always Wanted to Say That:
    Rory: There are soldiers all over my house, and I'm in my pants!
    Amy: My whole life I've dreamed of saying that, and I miss it by being someone else.
  • Internal Homage: A massive homage to Russell T Davies-era Earth-invasion stories.
  • It Came from the Fridge: Amy is cleaning out the fridge; there is milk two months out of date, and when she picks up the yoghurt, she simply screams and throws it.
  • Large Ham: Matt Smith gives his grand ode to overacting, and it's glorious.
  • Like Father, Like Son:
    • Brian is a Genre Savvy Determinator who calls the Doctor out. He truly is Rory's dad.
    • Kate seems a lot like her dad, Alistair.
  • Magical Defibrillator:
    • Amy restarts one of the Doctor's hearts with shock paddles. That is, of course, not what they do.
    • The Doctor also restarts a good chunk of humanity's hearts after a period of time spent dead with the Cubes, although it does at least mention on the news reports that emergency care is being set up for them, implying they are suffering some ill effect from this.
  • Mundane Utility: The cubes spend so long doing absolutely nothing that people eventually take them for granted. Among other things, they've been put to use as paperweights. Of course, this is precisely why it takes them so long to act.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • The Doctor takes Amy and Rory to the Savoy, which is invaded by Zygons, and Amy accidentally gets married to Henry VIII. The Doctor also once ran a restaurant and ended up inventing the Yorkshire pudding.
    • One of Rory's patients at the hospital shows up in a wheelchair... with one of his feet stuck in a toilet. Apparently, it's not the first time.
  • Patrick Stewart Speech: The Doctor gives a nice one in defying the Shakri's Tally:
    The Doctor: So. Here you are, depositing slug pellets all over the earth. Made attractive, so humans will collect them, hoping to find something beautiful inside. Because that's what they are. Not pests or plague; creatures of hope. Forever building and reaching. Making mistakes of course. Every life form does. But. But - they learn. And they strive for greater and they achieve it. You want a tally. Put their achievements against their failings, through the whole of time. I will back humanity against the Shakri every time.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Amy wears one briefly when they visit the Savoy.
  • Power Trio: Discussed.
    Amy: It was also when we realised something the Shakri never could: what "cubed" actually means. The Power of Three.
  • Ship Sinking: The Doctor says he's never been kissed by a Lethbridge-Stewart before.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The Doctor likes to play Wii Sports.
    • UNIT's collecting and testing the cubes is more than a little reminiscent of the SCP Foundation.
    • A reference to, of all things, Power Rangers RPM: When the doctor gets his hearts going, he says, "Back in the game," and makes a pose — the exact same words and pose were used by Ziggy in the episode "Dome Dolls".
  • Sinister Geometry: The little black cubes.
  • Skewed Priorities:
    Rory: There are soldiers all over my house, and I'm in my pants!
  • The Slow Path: The Doctor still considers anything in excess of a few minutes The Slow Path. He gets intensely frustrated with boredom after a couple of days.
  • Sneeze of Doom: Rory, the Doctor and Amy are hiding under Henry VIII's bed. The Doctor sneezes.
  • Special Guest:
    • Professor Brian Cox appears, talking about the origin of the Cubes.
    • Alan Sugar does an episode of The Apprentice where the challenge is to sell them.
  • Title Drop: Amy does this in the final line. Both the actual episode title and the working title, actually.
  • Twenty Minutes into the Future: Amy and Rory have been married for ten years (in their personal time-line). When the story is set is unclear, as she's adding Earth time and Doctor time together.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: There were a number of people on the ship that exploded and we only saw the Doctor, Amy, Rory and Brian escape. In fact, it looked like some of those people were still lying comatose in the background as we watched the Doctor and the Ponds escaping from the exploding ship.
  • The X of Y: The 118th time the naming structure has been used in Doctor Who history.


Doctor Who S33 E3 'A Town Called Mercy"Recap/DOCTORWHODoctor Who S33 E5 'The Angels Take Manhattan"

alternative title(s): Doctor Who S 33 E 04 The Power Of Three
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