Doctor Who – Series 10, Episode 5: “Oxygen”

  • The opening for this episode certainly does a good job of setting the scene, particularly with regards to its monsters. The suit-zombies are very Resident Evil with their tilted heads and slow walks, and certainly creepy if not really scary.
  • So we’re continuing with the season’s initial setup of the Doctor as a university lecturer. To be honest, I’d be a bit more invested in this oath he’d taken – and his apparent irresponsibility in going on adventures in the TARDIS – if we’d actually seen it; but then that would spoil the surprise which most viewers have already guessed.
  • Once again, Nardole has no real need to be present at all – even his supposed purpose for keeping the Doctor in line is weak, given that the Doctor just ignores him – but I did find a few of his lines funny.
  • By complete coincidence, some guys in my office were talking this week about why people in zombie movies always cluelessly walk up to the first shambling, moaning, blankly staring zombie and ask if they’re okay. That crossed my mind as the Doctor and co walked straight up to the first dead body in the suit.
  • “Fear keeps you fast!” The Twelfth Doctor really needs to make up his mind as to whether fear is good or bad.
  • The suit asking for feedback on performance certainly helped to sell its corporate background. All that it was missing was advertisements.
  • That was some good acting from Pearl Mackie when Bill was exposed to the vacuum – and Peter Capaldi played being blind very well too.
  • I was a little disappointed that we skipped over the struggle through the outside of the space station, fighting off the zombies with lasers – though I guess it wouldn’t have been anything we hadn’t seen before.
  • Tip for Doctor Who writers: if you’re doing an episode midway through the season, don’t seriously try to pretend that you’re going to kill off the companion (or the Doctor, for that matter). It never works.
  • Compared to last episode’s twist, which brought a new emotional impact to the story, this episode’s twist about the suits being deliberately directed to kill their human occupants felt as sterile as the extreme capitalist process directing matters. Maybe it’s because the last episode of Classic Who I watched was Colony in Space, which also dealt with an interplanetary mining corporation with no value for human life – only in that one, the villains had faces and I actually cared about the people on the receiving end.
  • Still blind? Didn’t see that coming! (Too soon?) Are we going to have a Daredevil Doctor for the rest of the season until he regenerates?
  • And Missy is in the next episode apparently! Yay, I guess.

Doctor Who episodes set on space stations do often end up being bland, but this one was a decent, compelling adventure. Rating: 3.5/5.

About R.J. Southworth

Hi there. I've been blogging since January 2014, and I like to talk about all sorts of things: book reviews, film reviews, writing, science, history, or sometimes just sharing miscellaneous thoughts. Thanks for visiting my blog, and I hope you find something that interests you!
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3 Responses to Doctor Who – Series 10, Episode 5: “Oxygen”

  1. smilingldsgirl says:

    This was entertaining to watch despite being an obvious promotion for Alien Covenant which is ironic given the anticapitalist message. I felt that messaging was a little heavy handed but over all fun space zombie story

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, capitalism is a pretty easy target. I hadn’t thought of it as a promotion for Alien Covenant – Doctor Who isn’t generally known for that sort of thing and there have been episodes with monsters on space stations before. There was one last season where the astronauts used a machine that meant they didn’t have to sleep, and ended up getting chased by monsters made of that gunk that builds up in your eyes. (I’d say it makes sense in context, but I don’t think it did.)


      • smilingldsgirl says:

        Interesting. It could be that there was a fairly long ad for Alien Covenant during the episode that made me think that


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