Villordsutch reviews Doctor Who Series 10 Episode 5: Oxygen…
Directed by: Charles Palmer
Written by: Jamie Mathieson
Doctor – “Oh look Bill it’s Nardole! What a lovely surprise! I thought I sent you to Birmingham for a packet of crisps!?”
Nardole – “Yes I saw through your cunning ruse”
Doctor – “Yes well if you will go thinking for yourself.”
In this week’s episode of Doctor Who – written by Jamie Mathieson – not only are we introduced instantly to terrifying “Space Zombies” from the off, but then we find the Doctor, Nardole and Bill are at the mercy at capitalism; here even the air that you breath is a luxury to be bought.
With the Doctor well and truly bored with Earth and crop rotations, he insists Bill picks a location in outer space for them to travel; however, with her choosing of a rather mediocre spot, he changes this choice to answering a distress call. However, this upcoming excursion doesn’t go down to well with Nardole who reminds the Doctor that he was given strict instructions to keep him at the University and to maintain guard over the vault. Though the Doctor’s follicly challenged friend believes he has the upper hand on this planned journey off-world, the Time Lord soon shows him otherwise.
Arriving on the mining station Chasm Forge the travellers from the TARDIS not only discover that there is a serious lack of oxygen aboard this space station, but they witness a rather gruesome sight of a deceased member of the station’s crew who is currently stood up, alone in a room. Checking the stations records there are forty crew registered aboard and thirty-six listed as terminated, it’s an observant Nardole who is the first to spot where those terminated crew members are. It’s then down to the Doctor and company to rescue the remaining four members of this mining station, but with illegal oxygen being recognised – the TARDIS’s protective shell – the airlocks are opened and their only means of escape is currently sealed tight within a vacuum; not only that, but the rescuers’ air is now running out.
Jamie Mathieson returns to the Doctor Who fold with another terrifying tale which he does so well, if we forget The Girl Who Died of course. His previous ‘horror’ adventures include The Mummy on the Orient Express and Flatline and these both managed to hit the fear button firmly lodged in the centre of our heads. Now Oxygen can be added to the list as his stomping “Space Zombies” are bound to tick the boxes of ‘Terrifying’ for a few people out there. The make-up department for this episode have certainly captured a great look for these poor wandering souls.
It was excellent to finally see Nardole (Matt Lucas) out and about with both the Doctor (Peter Capaldi) and Bill (Pearl Mackie); not only is he an excellent companion and watchful gaze over the Doctor, but Matt’s comedic bounce off Peter’s is perfect. One interesting point was raised during the episode too – Nardole’s face isn’t his original look which makes you wonder who or what is he?
Oxygen is as much a horror story about “Space Zombies” as it is a tale about the horror of a major corporations not giving two hoots for its workforce. It’s a loud message and one that is clearly banged over our heads midway through the episode when discussing the suits, though this is what Doctor Who does – bring to our screen society’s failings.
Doctor Who – “Oxygen” is on BBC 1 on the 13th May at 7:15pm.