Twelfth Doctor: Oxygen


Writer: Jamie Mathieson

Director: Charles Palmer

Producer: Nikkie Wilson

Companions: Bill Potts (Pearl Mackie), Nardole (Matt Lucas)

Series: 10, episode 5

Summary: The Doctor, Nardole, and Bill are trapped on an abandoned space station with no oxygen because it’s charged by the company that owns the station. No problem, just use the space suits. Um, yeah, one problem–the suits kill you and then take over your body.

Review: I have a couple problems that get in the way of my enjoyment of this one. First of all, this whole episode’s message is “Capitalism is bad.” That kind of message is always one that turns me off because it comes from people who actually benefit quite well from the very thing they are lamenting against. It’s rather hypocritical to talk about how bad capitalism is when it’s helping you live so well. To me, Communism, the same system so many in the entertainment industry can’t stop praising, is actually far more exploitive than capitalism.

My second problem is the ending. The Doctor sacrificed his sight to save everyone. To me, this doesn’t give us extra tension because this is Capaldi’s final season. Once he regenerates, he’ll be able to see again. So what’s the point?

Nardole was great in this episode. I loved that he finally got to go an adventure with the Doctor instead of just showing up to wag his finger at the Doctor at the end. “Yeah, but he was wagging his finger for the whole story”, you say? Well, yeah. That’s the whole point of the companion! The companion is in many cases the Doctor’s conscience. I liked that Bill was so fearful once she realized the dangers and that Nardole was pointing out that the fear that the Doctor was saying was a good thing was also going to make things worse because you use more oxygen. And besides, the Doctor should be on Earth, because what about the thing in the vault? (and no, I’m not theorizing about what’s in there. I want to be surprised).

So, yeah, our first bad episode of season 10. It happens. And what’s with all these lame titles anyway? “The Pilot”? “Smile”? “Oxygen”?

Overall Review: 4/10

Continuity: The Doctor once again wears his “sonic sunglasses”. (ugh)  The Vashta Nerada also hijacked spacesuits. The TARDIS’s fluid link was first seen in “The Daleks”. The Doctor met a blue humanoid in his ninth incarnation.




2 comments on “Twelfth Doctor: Oxygen

  1. I had a better opinion of this episode than you did, but it’s still not my favorite episode. As far as your specific criticisms–regarding the anti-capitalist bent, in an age when the most powerful free nation on the planet lives under the rule of a walking example of the worst tendencies of capitalism, maybe it’s time for a story like this. Yes, real Marxism isn’t practicable, because it would require everyone on the planet to be like Christ, but capitalism carried to its own extreme makes human beings only valuable as commodities and means of production. Moving on– I’m getting really sick of Nardole and this vault business. When did this ‘I have to guard the vault’ thing happen, again? I don’t remember. I like the ‘space zombies’ aspect here, but the Vashta Nerada were a more interesting adversary, and I would rather have seen them again. I agree with you about the Doctor’s blindness–but I would bet a stack of money it won’t last through the next episode. I continue to like the interplay between the Doctor and Bill, but it’s time for Nardole to go. Too preachy, too uptight, can’t relax. I’m all for letting a companion be the Doctor’s conscience, but let Bill do that. Let Lawful Good Bald Boy guard the freakin’ vault. Yeah, I guess overall, the political commentary of this episode was one of the things I liked best–which makes this not the season’s finest hour. Let’s hope for better.

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