The Doctors return
Title: “The Power of the Doctor”
Directed by Jamie Magnus Stone
Written by Chris Chibnall
Jodie Whittaker as The Doctor
Mandip Gill as Yasmin Khan
Sacha Dhawan as The Master / Rasputin
Tosin Cole as Ryan Sinclair
Sophie Aldred as Ace
Janet Fielding as Tegan Jovanka
Jemma Redgrave as Kate Stewart
Bradley Walsh as Graham O’Brien
John Bishop as Dan
Jacob Anderson as Vinder
Bradley Walsh as Graham
Patrick O’Kane as Ashad
Nicholas Briggs as voices of the Daleks & the Cybermen
Joe Sims as Deputy Marshal Arnhost
Sanchia McCormack as Train Marshal Halaz
Danielle Bjelic as Curator
Richard Dempsey as Tsar Nicholas II
Anna Andresen as Tsarina Alexandra
Silas Carson as the Ood voice
Bonnie Langford as Melanie Bush
Katy Manning as Jo Jones
William Russell as Ian Chesterton
David Bradley as The Doctor
Colin Baker as The Doctor
Peter Davison as The Doctor
Paul McGann as The Doctor
Sylvester McCoy as The Doctor
Jo Martin as The Doctor
David Tennant as The Doctor
The Master makes alliances with the Daleks, the Cybermen, and the Russians (okay, the last group is being manipulated) and runs an absurd number of machinations in order to get revenge on the Doctor and destroy the earth.
The Doctor might be able to stop the Evil Plotting… With a little help from her friends.
The first hour features a lot of sound a fury that signifies very little, with multiple misleading false starts and unnecessary padding. The entire camp Rasputin ruse could have been removed from the script. It would have tightened the episode without removing anything from the plot, and they would have had a decent idea that might actually have been developed at some future date. The time then could have been filled with better coordination / interaction among the show’s villains, who have been defeated so many times before it’s difficult to take them seriously.
However, the second half features great action, some dramatic stakes, and effective use of familiar actors. Some of the special guests play key roles while others provide entertaining cameos that made at least some sense in context.
I loved the ending, even if we know that the actor will only play the Doctor for three episodes before an entirely new actor takes over.
Story: 4/6 The story is uneven, with a few two many Doctor ex machina moments and too little coordination among the villains, but it delivers a highly watchable second half.
Acting: 5/6 Whittaker and Gill’s scenes together have an understated power. Dhawan is anything but understated as the Master but, really, there’s no point to dialing that character down. The actor does a great job delivering over-the-top, demented villainy.
Emotional Response: 5/6 It was fun seeing so many bits of the Doctor’s past, and the cameos were (mostly) not gratuitous. Ace and Tegan, in particular, serve important purposes in this episode.
Overall: 5/6 This is an uneven episode, which starts with Chibnall at his most excessive and settles into a pretty solid special episode.
In total, “The Power of the Doctor” receives 32/42
-The episode gestures towards the Chosen One syndrome recently foisted on the Doctor in the most recent run, but in a subdued and subtle manner.
-The Doctor could have spared herself some trouble if she just hurried back to the TARDIS and didn’t engage with the Master.
-Speaking of the Master, he really needs to be dead this time. It’s bad enough they didn’t just shoot him early on when they could have. Seriously, there is no way he could have survived the end of this episode and, while I know he probably will, he shouldn’t.
-The Doctor and I apparently use the same brand of safety goggles.
-Yes, that is 98-year-old Ian Chesterton as Ian!