Doctor Who “Oxygen” Review
Doctor Who is back with the latest episode titled “Oxygen.” We start out with a voice over monolog of the Doctor talking about the dangers of space and how it wants to kill us. He warns us saying that “the void is always waiting.” As we zoom in on a space station with two space workers, we get a great visual of the space station. Outside, the talk about conserving oxygen and the cost. We realize that they must pay for oxygen to live. As they are working to repair the airlock, they are attacked by what looks like zombies.
Meanwhile, the Doctor is in his classroom giving a lecture on how space can kill you. Bill and the Doctor go to take a trip and Nardole intervenes, but comes along for the ride because the Doctor tricked him. Nardole tells the Doctor to give him the truth, and the Doctor responds with “don’t be unreasonable.” This is foreshadowing for something in the rest of the episode.
They head to the space station after the Doctor receives a distress call from them. The Doctor, Nardole, and Bill come across one of the suits and the dead guy. They assume he is dead until they get a warning from the remaining survivors telling them the suits will attack them. Blocked from the Tardis, they must work to get a way out. In the process, Bill has to handle issues with her suit that involve putting her in the vacuum of space. Once she awakens, she realizes that the Doctor gave her his suit and as a result is blind! Being just as magical as he ever was, the Doctor manages to come up with a plan and save the day, regardless of his blindness which we hope can be cured.
The social commentary in the episode is very obvious but nonetheless very effective. The idea that oxygen has to be bought as well as your life. The invasion of capitalism on the human life is nothing new but taken to the extremes in this episode. Giving Bill, the Doctor and Nardole the choice of getting in the death suits or dying is pure genius. They are at a time when “the bottom line, where human life as no value at all. We are fighting an algorithm.”
The visual aspects of this episode are amazing from the space station design to the electrocution of Bill and the makeup design of the suits. The makeup design of the suits is creepy and spectacularly done. The scene in which Bill passes out and then when she is electrocuted are spectacular, and the cinematography is on point.
“Oxygen” was a great episode that sets up something very problematic for the Doctor. Once Nardole is lecturing him about the thing in the vault being able to sense what is wrong with him, we become even more concerned about what it is. While I’ve said it before, I hope that it is something more creative that just the Master / Missy in the vault. It would be disappointing if that is what it was. As much as I love the character, I think we need a bigger shock than just that, especially since it was leaked that he will be returning.