Doctor Who: Oxygen review

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This is a post-UK broadcast review of Doctor Who: Oxygen. River Song always warned the Doctor against spoilers, so be sure to watch the episode first. Doctor Who, season 10, airs on Saturdays at 7:15pm UK time on BBC One, and 9pm EDT on BBC America.

This week’s episode—Oxygen—is the first to show Bill in serious danger, courtesy of a malfunctioning spacesuit that nearly kills her and also, ultimately, saves her from dying: a dichotomy that seems to point to the uneasy relationship some people have with capitalism—a theme that is explored here. And again racism is challenged. I’m reminded of classic Star Trek episodes that score an A-plus for science fiction, while still finding time to scrutinize modern-day prejudices.

Not surprising, then, that the Doctor’s first line is “space, the final frontier.” Although, Oxygen—which too easily slips into on-the-nose dialogue in an otherwise solid Doctor Who episode that expertly knits chunks of knotty science into the plot—probably deserves a B-minus at best.

Knock Knock, the Doctor paid a visit to the piano-playing guest who has a penchant for grizzly haunted-house stories (don’t we all?). So, he knows who’s inside, even if the rest of us are still waiting for the big reveal. Has he left the vault unattended for a reason? Or is he getting a bit slapdash with his babysitting duties?

Space: Where the money is

After arriving on space station Chasm Forge (touches of the Alien franchise and Gravity quickly come to mind), where this week’s B-characters feel a little underwritten, the trio finds itself suddenly trapped without access to the TARDIS. Normally—though not always—the Doctor’s sonic screwdriver comes to his aid to help get him out of a tricky jam, even when the police box is out of reach. But this time, one of the evil AI-controlled suits bends it out of shape within minutes of them investigating the space station.

Ars Technica UK


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