Doctor Who: Power of the Doctor Review – A messy, fast-paced, fan-pleasing finale

Power of The Doctor

Jodie’s Whittaker reign as Doctor has been quite the tumultuous ride, to say the least.┬áThe episode begins with Cybermen on the attack. They break into a high-speed train and immediately wipe out those onboard. However these are no mere cybermen, they can regenerate, as we know. However, they grab a young child from inside a container and take off, while the Doctor destroys the Cybermen on the exterior by turning off the gravity and allowing them to float off.

When the group head back on Earth again, Dan has a change of heart and decides to quit being a companion as he almost died… forgetting that he’s almost died a hundred times before but there we go. “See you again Doctor.” He says.

Yaz stays outside to talk while the Doctor heads inside the Tardis alone. However, a holographic Dalek suddenly shows up claiming to have crucial information about the future – including the destruction of the Daleks. This one no longer believes in the Dalek mission and thinks she should destroy its entire race to save the humanity.

We then cut to Siberia in 1916. Father Rasputin Grigori is given a message from the Tsarina who’s requested at the winter palace. Rasputin shows up… but he actually happens to be The Master in disguise. He uses his abilities to hypnotize those inside, slowly seizing control.

And in true Chibnall fashion we jump across like a hyperactive child to another timeline, this time London in 2022. 15 of the world’s most renowned paintings have been taken taken down all at once. Ace is on the case and she tries to figure out what this means, communicating with Tegan whom she seems to be working with.

Tegan confirms that the Doctor seems to have also sent an old Cyberman doll over to her for some reason. Although given we know the history they have together, it’s a bit of a bad joke given Adric’s date.

The Doctor finds another Tardis, one that has “haha” written over the front, which seems to be the doing of the Master. That child from before seems to be used as an energy source, strung up by chains and powering this cyber planet alongside a creature trying to evade capture by the name of a Qurunz.

All of this is actually a structure, which is the zenith of Cyberconversion, at least according to the Cyber Leader. However, the Cyber Leader isn’t alone and as other Cybermen show up, they all fire at the Doctor, miraculously missing every shot.

Racing away, inside the Tardis Kate asks for the Doctor’s help at the new Unit HQ. Tegan and Ace are also there as freelancers but as we know, this Doctor is not one for personal emotion and shrugs off the fact it’s been 38+ years since she saw them. However, the mystery of the paintings is revealed when we learn that they’ve actually been defaced by the Master.

When The Master does show up, in Naples no less, he tells the Doctor that this is the day she’s erased from existence completely. When armed guards show up with guns, the Doctor encourages Yaz to pick up a gun of her own and aim it at the Master. The Master is quick to point out the Doctor’s no-killing rule, but the Master is taken to Unit and locked up, while the Doctor continues to ignore what’s happening.

Yaz demands answers but the Doctor believes meeting this Dalek is a calculated risk they need to take, especially if it means killing the entire Dalek race. In Bolivia, the renegade Dalek confirms all the data is inside its casing and needs to be extracted.

Other Daleks are already there, and seemingly working with the Master. The other Daleks suss them out and outsmarts the doctor, exterminating their own brother before the transfer is complete. The Doctor is held captive and teleported away. Yaz is left to control the Tardis herself, using a bunch of post-it notes to control it.

Remember that Cyberman doll? Well, it turns out the Master is the one who brought the doll. It turns out this is no toy and it’s actually a Russian Doll in reverse. It suddenly emerges and brings forth numerous Cybermen, all led by Ashad. Of course, all of this means the Master is freed from containment while Unit is wiped out.

Meanwhile, the Doctor is brought to St Petersburg in 1916 with the Master there, working as Rasputin. He’s managed to bring the Daleks and Cybermen into his plan given their hatred for her, and he also intends to “go old-school” and force a regeneration on her for breaking sanctions. He has the technology to do it now and the energy too, coming from the conversion planet the Cybermen had earlier.

Now, the Master intends to use this to regenerate the Doctor into the Master… and it works! As the Master appears as the Doctor instead, Yaz shows up with the Tardis to find her Doctor gone.

The Master, as the Doctor, can’t change back but intends to use the Earth as a foundry for the Daleks and Cyber production, hence the work in the volcano. The Master intends to completely tarnish the name of the Doctor. And part of that comes from changing outfits, harking back to the past by wearing a whole bunch of different outfits from the past – the celery stick from the 5th doctor, the question mark jumper and the big ol’ scarf. Oh, and the recorder too of course!

Yaz pushes the Master out of the Tardis and shuts the door, heading off. As for Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor, she ends up finding herself in the presence of a number of different Doctors including Paul McGann! Proper fan moment from this huge Doctor Who fan!

Apparently they’re all the “Guardians of the Edge” the place they pass through during the process of regeneration. Once they go through, there’s no way back. They cannot allow the Master to hijack their appearance so they all decide to work together and find someone on the outside (namely Yaz) to force another regeneration.

Thankfully, the Doctor has an AI holograph all ready to go inside the Tardis. It’s built from data of her behaviour across thousands of years. This only activates under the gravest of circumstances, like if she’s no longer around. I mean, this isn’t the first time is it but I digress. She’s actually inserted a sonically triggered nano-implant under Yaz’s skin and passed it off as static electricity. She’s also done the same thing with Tegan and Ace too.

Anyway, the Tardis shows up on the Converting planet where Vinder happens to be there. After bringing Vinder aboard. The AI points out that it’s extremely dangerous but given there’s no other choice, they need to try and figure this out.

Likewise, Tegan and Ace work together with Kate, intending to try and stop the Cybermen, who are led by Ashad. Ace, having got changed back into her old gear, decides to take a leap of faith off the roof, but her parachute is shot mid-air. Thankfully she’s saved by Yaz who manages to fly the Tardis and save her at the last second. After dropping her off at the Bolivian volcano, Yaz arrives to pick up the Master after stranding him on that planet.

There’s some lovely harks back to the past, with both Tegan and Ace given moments with their respective companions. Only, suddenly Graham shows up for… reasons? Anyway, he teams up with Ace and the pair work to try and stop the Daleks. At the same time, Kate buys some time for the others, striking a deal with Ashad to spare everyone in exchange for crucial intel. However, they’ve found Tegan in the walls and immediately start firing.

As for the Master, he’s outsmarted by Yaz and the Hologram Doctor, which shows up as The Fugitive Doctor and manages to stop all the Cybermen thanks to being a hologram. Vinder soon holds her up at gunpoint but shooting the Master, along with the Cybermen starting to regenerate, works to use the power inside this machine to reverse the Forced Regeneration and return to how things are. Yaz saves her life, while the AI, acting as the Fugitive Doctor, leaves.

With volcanoes erupting in 1916 and also in the present day, all our characters reconvene inside the Tardis. However, the new Unit HQ is blown up and destroys all the Cybermen inside.

With everyone gathered inside the Tardis, we get a repurposed scene from David Tennant’s era, with everyone gathered around the main console. The Doctor heads out and fixes Vinder’s ship and encourages him to leave, before eventually returning and managing to save the day, by freezing volcanos into steel.

She also frees the Qurunz and asks it to disintegrate everything on the planet. As it sets to work doing just that, the Master reappears in his Tardis and tries to stop the Doctor. However, he uses a contraption to move the laser from the Qurunx to obliterate the Doctor and knock her down. However, Yaz manages to save her and bring the Doctor back inside the Tardis.

As the Cyber-converted planet is destroyed. the Doctor is knocked out and and in that time, Yaz brings everyone back home again. The only one left in the Tardis is Yaz. And just in time for the Doctor to begin regenerating. “I want more time!” She cries out.

So in order to get that time, the pair head out and sit atop the Tardis, eating ice-creams together. “I think I need to do the next bit alone.” She says. Yaz decides they shouldn’t say goodbye and just leave things open-ended. Just incase, y’know?

After saying goodbye to Yaz, who joins with Graham and Dan. Graham in fact, starts a group and finds a whole bunch of other companions who decide they should keep the Doctor alive and discuss everything that’s happened for them.

As for the Doctor, she heads out the Tardis and takes in one last sunrise. “Right then. Doctor whoever I’m about to be, tag you’re it.” And with that Jodie Whittaker bows out. Welcome to the gig… David Tennant?!

The Episode Review

What an ending! Doctor Who has been declining for a long time and they’ve needed to do something to shake things up. The ending with Tennant revealed as the actual Doctor is a huge coup and with Russel T. Davies back for the next set of episodes, coming in November 2023 as a set of 3 chapters I believe. It’s actualy the perfect way to entice fans back en-mass to the show.

Jodie Whittaker has had a very tumultuous ride over the past 3 seasons with some of the absolute worst writing in the show’s history. That’s to say nothing for the way Chibnall has rewritten the Doctor’s history, and gone on to change the rules for many of the different enemies, including the Cybermen who can now regenerate following what happened on Gallifrey, although to be fair they may just be exterminated the same way previous iterations have been hastily forgotten (remember the Human Dalek in season 3?)

Whether you agree with that assessment or not, going from 10.96million viewers for Whittaker’s first episode down to 3.47 million for Sea Devils (which isn’t reviewed here because honestly, it was diabolical and I didn’t have the heart to even write a recap!) is a massive jump down.

However, this episode is messy – very messy. There are parts of this that serve absolutely no purpose and full of both contrivances and erratic jumps, which are both highlights of Chibnall’s era. The actual story has been all over the place, even here, and things like Dan’s ending were contrived and awkwardly placed – especially as he shows up 20 minutes later!

Now, I’m not usually one for member berries, and the repurposed scenes – like the Tardis group around the console and the Master dancing about to pop music (seasons 2 and 3 anyone?) – are awful inclusions.

However, the moments with Ace and the Seventh doctor, along with the Fifth doctor back with Tegan are definite highlights and there’s plenty for Classic Who fans to like. In fact, the hilarious thing is, both these moments – along with seeing Paul McGann and the other old Doctors – are the best parts of Whittaker’s 3 season run, which speaks volumes.

It’s not perfect but those moments alone, along with that bombshell ending, should be enough to give a bump to the ratings. And it certainly brings the prospect of next year’s special incredibly enticing indeed.

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2 thoughts on “Doctor Who: Power of the Doctor Review – A messy, fast-paced, fan-pleasing finale”

  1. To: Argy

    Bad writing is literally bad writing. These have been hands down some of the dumbest, most incompetent attempts at writing Doctor Who since the Colin Baker Era when they were intentionally trying to get it canceled. Also, up yours, with your fake misogyn accusations, Dr. Ruth was awesome, better then Whitaker, and she’s female too.

  2. “Bad writing” is just people’s way of saying “we didn’t want a female Doctor”.

    The writing has been great, and Jodie’s acting has been terrific.

    For some reason people don’t like stories with a series-long arc. I actually prefer them.

    The Flux was a lot of fun, and introduce some amazing characters.

    I do agree that Vinder was wasted here.

    I thought it was good to give Fan an actual reason to leave. A reason that many other companions have used, in the past.

    Janet Fielding demonstrated why she had been one of the best companion. The woman can act!

    I loved all the throwbacks. Particularly to the Fugitive Doctor, who has rightfully become a fan favourite.

    It was lovely for an older fan like myself to spend some time with 5 through 8 (I don’t understand why people go so much for 8 – his movie was awful).

    The Master wore bits of the Doctor’s past ensembles for two reasons:

    1. He wanted to be all of them.

    2. He doesn’t know how to dress as the Doctor. He doesn’t know how to come up with something new. He is a poor imitation.

    I throughly enjoyed this final outing for Jodie.

    Except for the regen. What a shame to take that away from 14.

    Bloody Tennant.

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