The Power of Three: Resurrection of the Dead

N.B. The following written text in this blog-post The Power of Three: Resurrection of the Dead  is Copyright © 2012 Philip Johnson.

Resurrection of the dead, apocalyptic judgment, trinitarian allusions: just some of the theological motifs that percolate to the surface in The Power of Three.

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In Series 7 of Doctor Who (Matt Smith) the episode “The Power of Three” represents the second-last story to include The Doctor’s companions Amy and Rory. The story, which is primarily told through the eyes of Amy and Rory, draws attention to the companions’ parallel lives: Their ordinary mundane earth-bound lives, and their lives spent in adventures with The Doctor.

The story involves what is called a “slow invasion” of mysterious cubes that are scattered across the earth. Over a period of a year the cubes capture the imagination of all humans, while seemingly inert. However, at a precise moment all cubes become active. The cubes scan all the earth pertaining to human life and activity: the aim is to find a weakness in humanity.

Within the plot of this story The Doctor is introduced to the new head of U.N.I.T. a scientist named Kate Stewart. It is disclosed in conversation between kate and The Doctor that she is the daughter of Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart. A nice touch for fans of the long-running series, along with a quick allusion to the aliens the Zygons (from Tom Baker’s time as the fourth doctor).

The cubes have been sent as part of scheme by a race known in Time-Lord mythology as the Shakri. The Shakri seek to prevent humanity from ever leaving earth and colonising the rest of the universe. When the cubes are activated in a count-down emphasising the number 7, one-third of humanity dies from cardiac arrest. (One might contemplate the number 7 in this story in terms of a reversal of the creation week: because the aim is to obliterate humanity).

When The Doctor encounters the Shakri on a spacecraft orbiting earth, he speaks of their coming in terms of “judgment” — note the apocalyptic image!

As the plot reaches it climax, The Doctor reverses the power of the cubes so that they act as heart-resuscitation/defibrillator equipment. In effect, all who died are resurrected from the dead by The Doctor’s manipulation of the cubes. Once again, The Doctor and motifs are resurrection are linked.

The story concludes with a reflection from Amy that a cube represents the “power of three” — here The Doctor, Amy and Rory acting together in a salvific manner. One might contemplate the theological emphasis in Christian thought of Unity-in-Trinity with the three centres of personhood in the Godhead (Christian doctrine of the Trinity).