WARNING! SPOILER ALERT! Welcome back to the Doctor Who Review, where I recap the week’s episode and give some thoughts and opinions on it. Please do not read if you have not seen this week’s episode. There are major spoilers ahead. You have been warned. Check out the rest of the Doctor Who Reviews here.
Written by: Jamie Mathieson
Responding to a distress call in space, the Doctor, Bill and Nardole arrive at a space station which has no oxygen and appears to be empty. They discover a man in his space suite standing in one of the rooms … but he’s dead. The suit is standing him up.
After an appropriate amount of time in which deliberation is undertaken, the conclusion is that the majority of the members on board the space ship are dead, their suits having taken their lives due to the artificial intelligence inside them being hacked. The personnel have run out of oxygen, which they have to pay for, and the suits take over.
The TARDIS had filled the ship with oxygen when they arrived, but now the suits have blocked the blue box off from the team, and the Doctor, Bill and Nardole, in order to remain alive, have to get into empty suits themselves. Oxygen levels are measured in breaths, not minutes, so when they find remaining crew members still alive, they’re running on stressy borrowed inhalations.
As the suits with zombie-like beings in them come after the team, Twelve has to figure out what they’re after, why they’re after it, and how to stop the rest of them dying. To top it all off, Bill’s suit is malfunctioning and she’s essentially taken out near the end and becomes semi-zombie Bill.
By the end of the episode, all is mostly well. Bill is alive and well, they figured out how to stop the zombie-filled-suits from killing them, and the Doctor is blind. Oh yes. Let’s not forget that. In an heroic act to save Bill, Twelve becomes ‘temporarily’ blind. He says it’ll pass, and he’ll be back to normal soon enough … but in the very last seconds of the episode, back in his University office with his eyes looking normal, the last words from his lips are “I’m still blind.”
My thoughts on Oxygen
As far as Who episodes go, meh. Average.
As I’ve said every single week since Season 10 Episode 1: Bill is awesome. I suspect she will remain awesome, too. As my friend and I were discussing recently, she’s brought Doctor Who back to life after way too long of Urgh-Clara.
While the past 4 episodes have seen Nardole in the background, in Oxygen he steps into the companion role, mostly by accident, and he is definitely a fun addition to the Doctor’s team. The back and forth between Nardole and Twelve is brilliant, and in this episode he almost coached Bill through some of the stuff she needs to know about space travel.
In terms of story line, it’s kind fun that they’re space zombies, but I think I’m just over artificial intelligence offing people all the time. Especially when it’s in suits … and in space. The explanation of why they were killing crew members off was a bit naff, and while the dialogue had it’s good parts, it wasn’t full of funny comments or laugh-out-load moments like so many of the episodes have.
This is going to sound stupid because it’s Doctor Who and he’s a Time Lord and travelling through Space is one of his main things … but I really don’t enjoy space-themed episodes. I’ve said it before, but my favourites are either on other planets with other neat creatures, or on earth and something’s gotten lose or is eating people. But in space? Nah. Not so keen.
That being said, this one wasn’t too bad. It definitely wasn’t a favourite for me, but it wasn’t horrendously bad either. Middle ground.
Next week’s episode looks better, if the short teaser is anything to go by. Missy returns to the scene (yay!), so it should be a good one! But we’ll wait and see.
What did you think of Oxygen?