15th May2017

‘Doctor Who 10×05: Oxygen’ Review

by Paul Metcalf


It is fair to say that Doctor Who is on a bit of a roll at the moment with good episodes this season. In Oxygen, we go back to space in an episode that has repercussions that the Doctor was definitely not ready for.

The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) finally gives in to his desire to travel into space and takes Bill (Pearl Mackie) and Nardole (Matt Lucas) to a space station which has sent a distress signal. Finding it lacking oxygen, they soon find themselves hunted by spacesuits trying to kill them.

There are elements to the story that really shouldn’t be spoiled before you get to watch it, and that is why I won’t get too deep into the plot. What is impressive though is the use of oxygen as a mechanic in the plot, and our need for it.

One thing I will say though is the monologues the Doctor give are typically well delivered by Capaldi. One feels like it is very much a Braveheart moment, and you may even feel like yelling “Freedom!” after he gets through it.

Oxygen is an episode that really plays with your emotions in some scenes, and this is down yet again to the acting ability of Pearl Mackie. Something happens, and her reaction really tugs at your heartstrings and it is quite devastating in its impact, even if you trust The Doctor when he says everything will be okay, it’ll still hit you.

One thing that Nardole has reminded us many times about this season is the fact that The Doctor must not leave Earth, that the Vault must be protected. There are many theories about who or what is in there, but we know that it is something big. This week we finally get the hints that the build up to whatever is in there escaping. Just taking a look at the teaser to next week’s episode shows that there is an escalation in the danger of the Vault and what it represents.

What makes Oxygen work as an episode is the fact it feels quite original and new, especially for Doctor Who. There are some things that the show does like to repeat still in there, but the secret behind the suits and of course the oxygen restrictions is actually quite topical to the year we are in. For movie geeks, you’ll also see some connection to a certain space movie, but I’ll leave you to work out what that one is.

This episode is definitely a season changer, and the build-up works well. It is the Doctor’s foolhardy that once again gets him into trouble and it will cause him issues for at least the next episode. Once again, with next week it looks like we are in for a good one, with a return that every fan will love (no, not THAT one yet).

Oxygen is another Doctor Who episode that works well, and really highlights what a good team Peter Capaldi and Pearl Mackie are. Praise should also be given to Matt Lucas as Nardole, this week he really feels part of the team. I’m quite liking the bossy little character that isn’t afraid to tell The Doctor off when he needs it.

Now to next week when things get even more interesting, especially as the halfway point for this season. If the episode is as good as it looks, then season 10 is going to go down as one hell of a good-bye to Capaldi as The Doctor.

***** 5/5

Doctor Who airs in the UK Saturdays on BBC 1.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

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