If you woke to find the streets littered with shiny black cubes what would you do? Pick one up? Try to open it up like a puzzle box? Take it home with you?
So began the strangest invasion stories in almost 50 years of Doctor Who.
What were these silent, innocent, seemingly harmless cubes that appeared simultaneously all over the world? “I don’t know,” said Matt Smith’s Doctor, “And I don’t like knowing.”
The story took place over the course of a year. People took the cubes into their homes and work places; made book cases out of them, used them for golf practice or used them as fashion accessories. Lord Sugar, in a lovely cameo as himself, even set a cube based Apprentice task.
Then when everyone was convinced they were as harmless as a pebble you might pick up off a beach, they started counting down from 7 to one, with sinister blue illuminated numbers. The slow invasion finally got nasty.
Of course the cubes and their meaning were really just a backdrop to further explore the Doctor’s relationship with Amy and Rory, his long running companions who will leave the show next week. So we saw the humdrum side of their lives. When not saving civilisations, fighting mad Daleks or dinosaurs on space ships, they had to deal with daily domestic terrors like sour milk, dirty clothes and crises at work. These scenes were well acted and set the scene for next week’s emotional departure.
The director managed to make his audience accept the cubes, allowed us to sweep them into the background, concentrate on the characters, so that when they started to countdown, we suddenly remembered them again. The tension was scary.
Pity then that the very rushed conclusion with an under used Steven Berkoff in a Star Wars Emperor style mask proved that the build up did not end up with excitement cubed but rather satisfaction halved.
Over to you: Would you pick up a cube and take it home? I think most people would. Do you agree with my review of Doctor Who The Power of Three? Has it set up the departure of Amy and Rory really well? Share your thoughts. Please leave a comment.