Doctor Who Oxygen Review – Stuffed to the gills!
“What if you’re wrong?”
“Well, we’ll be horribly murdered?”
There is so much story and great content “Oxygen” could have easily been a two-parter.
Capitalism a go-go
The story is quite clever and direct in its critique of capitalism. No punches are pulled as the Doctor’s opening speech about the terror of dying in the void of space becomes the next adventure. The Doctor, Bill, and the comedically complaining Nardole take a ride on the Tardis to the future of a mining space station where a sadistic company sells its workers oxygen. Please don’t let this come true.
Doctor Who vs AI
“Oxygen” has one of the best lines this season from the Doctor about fighting an algorithm. The physical manifestation of the algorithm is our adventurers fighting the suits. This made me chuckle.
The blue-skinned Dahh-Ren set up a couple of real quick jokes but doesn’t have any time for any exploration of the topic.
This fifth episode was very good versus the great four preceding episodes of this season. It still works and is fun but it might have packed too much in to let the episode have any room to breathe (pun intended). Peter Capaldi and Pearl Mackie’s chemistry continues to define this season in a spectacular fashion and both actors fold Matt Lucas’ Nardole into their acting rhythm quite nicely. This episode reminds me of the Fourth Doctor’s adventure with Sarah Jane and Harry exploring the empty Nerva in “The Ark in Space”.
At first I though having the crew appear as basically zombies was a bad thing but when I let the episode soak in I realized it was a necessary set up to put Bill in a truly dangerous situation that caused the Doctor to do what he does best, think his way to a solution.
The reveal of the Doctor not actually recovering from the space blindness is an intriguing cliff hanger. Capaldi sold the scene in the Tardis where he is “cured” although he never really locks eyes with anyone. The big question is will the Doctor get his eyesight restored before he regenerates at the end of the season. Also, how will this impact dealing with the prisoner in the vault.