Doctor Who Review: “The Power of the Doctor”

The Doctors returns!

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 Doct

And introducing…

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.

Low Points

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.

High Points

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.

The Scores

Originality: 2/6

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.

Production: 6/6

Effects: 5/6

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!

3 replies on “Doctor Who Review: “The Power of the Doctor””

  1. I had trouble suspending my disbelief for this one. It was too clumsy. I want to like Chibnall, he has some great concepts, but it feels like he needs someone to trip his ideas down to about a third, make that his arc, then do the next two thirds for the next two arcs.

    That said, the reveal at the end has been spoiled so painfully badly, even on the BBC’s YouTube home page, that I am amazed that we got to it without knowing what it was.

    And since when does a regeneration change your clothes? It didn’t earlier in the episode!!

  2. Regarding the regeneration thing: given that a fairly easily missed lampshade was hung on it, there’s at least a chance that it will be explained.

  3. The altered clothes were the source of a “WHAT?!?” in that list, so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt until we see the next episode.

    I think Chibnall’s “Doctor Who” is something like Schumacher’s Batman: substandard because of directives imposed on the person in charge that they have no impact over. It sounds like this wasn’t a case of Chibnall pitching a more episodic, more PC era of the show, but was a case of the BBC coming to Chibnall and saying, “the next era of Doctor Who will be more PC and more episodic, and we need someone as showrunner. Are you our guy?” It’s less extreme than WB deciding that Batman would be more kid-friendly to sell more toys, including more characters, more colours, more super suits, and more vehicles. The Schumacher movies are bad, but not because Schumacher had no talent. Instead, Schumacher’s talent is the reason the franchise survived to reach a fourth movie instead of dying with the third.

    I really wish Whitaker had stayed a little bit longer, though. I don’t think the scripts served her well, especially with the relatively tiny amount of screen time she had in her first episode, thanks to all of her companions. I can’t wait for her to get the call from Big Finish and show us all what she can really do.

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