Sunday, May 21, 2017

A Sunday Doctor Who Review


I will be discussing my thoughts and feelings of the Doctor Who episode "Oxygen" after the cut. I will not worry about spoiling the plot, so read at your own risk.


Doctor Who: "Oxygen" - The Doctor wants to visit outer space, and answers a distress call at a deep space mining base.

The opening Star Trek reference was funny, but the rest of the opening was sheer terror. It was one of the most effective openings for me that this show has had in ages. I was in my chair, watching on my laptop, but I wanted to climb behind the sofa anyway.

Interesting that Nardole attends the Doctor's lectures sometimes. It's no doubt a good way to keep track of the Doctor's moods, as he does in this episode - noting that the Doctor is missing space. I also find it funny and a little disturbing that when Nardole asks for the truth, the Doctor calls him unreasonable.

The Doctor sending Nardole to Birmingham for crisps was hilarious. The interplay between the two is fun to watch and listen to. We also get more hints about Nardole in this episode, including that he swapped his face at some point during his criminal life and that he dated a woman who provided a voice for computers. There was also another lovely tribute to the past when Nardole steals a fluid link. I loved the second Star Trek references with Nardole arguing that doors are supposed to make a shk-shk sound.

My biggest complaint about this episode was how quickly I figured out what had gone wrong. Very early in the episode, the Doctor says the last log entry was that the station was declared non-profitable. Right then I knew exactly why the crew was killed. When Nardole reads the last command sent to the suits it just confirmed it. However, the question of how the Doctor is going to save the remaining crew and his own crew saved the episode from being boring.

Bill's reaction to the corpse in the suit was realistically distressing. She wanted the corpse to be treated with respect, but the Doctor and Nardole aren't bothered at all. I also note that some important information was conveyed during that brief scene, including the fact that the air field stays up even after death. It was also nice to see the sonic getting crushed, as it removes a lot of options early on. And having it heroically save the TARDIS crew was nice.

Probably the best scene in the entire episode is what happens when Bill's suit takes her helmet off - and the terrifying trip through hard vacuum. The strangest scene is the bit after, during which the suits figure out where the crew is hiding thanks to stray words. Abby is busy wanting to kill the Doctor and the suits suddenly come out and attack. It just seemed abrupt and annoying to me - perhaps because I'm fond of Dahh-Ren and didn't want to see him die.

The moment when Bill asks the Doctor to tell her a joke and he says nothing hit hard. I felt it was the Doctor trying to say, "Don't worry, you'll get out of this, so I'm not even going to try to calm you down." Then again, it could have something to do with him worried that she might actually die. The fact that she asks whether it's a good sign or a bad sign is telling.

There is at least one big plot hole. Is it truly cheaper for the company to send out a replacement crew than to keep the current crew alive?

Lastly - the Doctor's injury. His eyes boil in space, and now he's blind. Nardole uses tools on the TARDIS to try to cure him, and the Doctor pretends he's cured, but he's not. The fact that he tells this to Nardole while Nardole's in the middle of a rant about being injured or sick is also a nice touch.

TL;DR summary - A really solid episode with a very good ending.