Home » Episodes » Radio Free Skaro #329 – The Curse of the Black Cube

Radio Free Skaro #329 – Click here to listen!

The Three Who Rule took almost as long to talk about “The Power of Three” this week as the (admittedly truncated) episode itself took to play out on UK television screens. So what did Steven, Warren and Chris think of the slow invasion of the world by an Ikea fever dream? Did they enjoy the emergence of a new generation of UNIT leadership or the strengthening of emotional bonds between the Doctor, the Ponds, and Pond Sr? Or did they think it was all a load of stapled-on Gallifreyan fairy tales sealed by a bit of wand-waving? You’ll just have to listen to find out! Also, don’t miss stats, more stats, arguments about the canonical nature of Bill Baggs videos, pedanting, prequeldanting, and more!
Show Notes:

The Power…Of Three!
The Power of Three…Overnights!
The Angels Take Manhattan…Airs September 29!
The Angels Take Manhattan…Cardiff Screening!
A Town Called Mercy…Appreciated!
Dinosaurs on a Spaceship…Final Ratings!
A Town Called Mercy…Prequel!
Steve Thompson…To Write For Series 7!
Neil Cross…Writing Two Series 7 Scripts!
The Curse of Clyde Langer…Writer’s Guild Nomination!
Adventures With The Wife In Space…The Book!

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What do you think?

9 Responses so far.

  1. darthcheese says:

    Kate Stewart? Very nearly raised a tear there.

  2. Nomad of Norad says:

    The Tocraphane, you said, were a race from Gallifreyan myth.

    You know, I’m pretty sure the Doctor said that the Tocrophane originally were characters from a Gallifreyan children’s cartoon, or some such thing, and it was made clear that the Master had *appropriated* the name when he turned the remote-future Humans into a new race by that name. It was also shown that, when the Master first revealed this bunch were CALLED the Tocraphane, that the Doctor was… really upset when he heard it, as if the Master had deliberately *picked* the name, maliciously, to upset the one other person left in the universe who’d *know* where the name originally came from.

  3. Chris says:

    @Nomad – Toclafane, but yes, exactly, which I was trying to get at before I gave up on the others getting where I was going. Hence the ‘apples and oranges’ comment.

  4. Chris says:

    And for what it’s worth, this has sat happily unread since I bought it in 1995.

    http://twitpic.com/axtx6y

  5. Henrik says:

    The Power of Three… was some well executed crap.

    The acting, the effects, the sets, lighting, directing, music and editing is all fine. Unfortunately it’s all based on a script that seems to have been written for the tenth Doctor in a style that, I would say thankfully, has become much more rare in later years.
    The voice-over bookends are unimaginably dumb, telling us things we all know because we were there watching when it happened and even if we were new to the show these are things we would learn anyways just by watching this episode!
    UNIT and Kate Stewart is a nice touch but goodness, is this what counts as getting to know a character? She shows up and seems promising for a second or two and then settles into pure exposition mode. “Hello! Here’s the problem, we can’t solve it so we found you via [insert fan service here]. I am the daughter of [insert fan service here]. I’m tough and got to where I am on my own.” Well done, Chibnall. Great character work there. I guess you had to save time in this 40 minute episode without much of a central plot in order to properly wrap up the alien menace… No, that can’t have been it.
    The alien plan is convoluted and impressively stupid, requiring people to still be physically close to the cubes a year after they first seemingly magically appear out of thin air and then the actual mechanism to kill people is something as blunt as zapping their hearts. All the while there are cube-faced aliens and robot children hanging around abducting people for some reason.

    Why didn’t the aliens just poison everyone? Why didn’t they just transport everyone into space or another dimension? Why wait a year at any rate? And why, for the love of all that is holy, did it have to be yet another hyper-public invasion of bleeping Earth? I had hoped that we’d be done with that now that the yearly Dalek or Cybermen invasions had been wiped from history. Now that any memory of the Adipose or Atmos or the Atraxi or the space Titanic or freaking Gallifrey itself has been forgotten. No. We’re back to everyone on contemporary Earth expecting weekly alien invasions complete with celebrity cameos on the TV.

    Then the Doctor sonics a thing, everyone who had a heart attack 15 minutes earlier wake up fine as ever and our heroes are off.

    Am I being too harsh?

    Perhaps I am but I’ve grown accustomed to something better since Moffatt took the reins. Not always something brilliant, not always something better than everything that came before but certainly a higher minimum standard than this.

    This episode isn’t terrible as a whole. I found it enjoyable but not at all satisfying and there were moments in there that seemed to promise more. The interactions between the companions, the conversations between the Doctor and the Ponds, Brian, etc are all great. Except it doesn’t work within the framework of this episode. There’s too much other seemingly important stuff going on with the cubes that then of course doesn’t seem to matter much in the end.
    If Chibnall aimed to make this about the Doctor and the Ponds figuring out where they are headed with their relationship it should have been attached to an alien threat that is straightforward and which could be easily ignored and quickly forgotten about, like in any of the two Craig episodes, not a planet wide invasion that aims to exterminate humanity as a species somehow with cubes, cube aliens and robot little girls, however slow that invasion appears at the onset.

    Well. That was a bit of a rant. Probably even a bit incoherent at times. I think that Doctor Who can be much better than this episode and I think it usually is.

  6. Forrest Leeson says:

    Re girl-who-looked-like-Mels — I started wondering about the casting of actors and actresses who strangely resemble previous ones as of “The Hungry Earth” (“say, doesn’t Dr Chaudhry look an odd bit like Dr Ramsden from ‘The Eleventh Hour’?”). Obviously mileage will vary…

  7. Fantom Films! It’s Faber & Faber!

    But thanks for the plug ;-)

  8. Milo says:

    Wonderful build up, horrible end. And I like The End Of Time so it is really horrid.

  9. Frankymole says:

    The Missing Adventure with Kate Lethbridge-Stewart is indeed Downtime, it was indeed novelised (following the original BBV video). Kate has nothing to do with Shakedown. She’s a mother, and the Brig gets to meet his grandson – wonder if he’ll pop up in future? He’ll be grown up now.


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