he Following paragraphs is steeped in spoilers, so if you haven’t watched his week’s Doctor Who I highly suggest that you should do so now. Still here? You have been warned.
This week’s episode was a bit of a creepy one it was more or less zombies in outer space, we were also treated to a nod towards Star Trek with Capaldi’s opening narration. For me Oxygen felt like it was laying the foundations for an upcoming story that is going to be crucial for series 10. The sense of at any moment the Doctor and Co. was going to snuff it at any moment was in every scene, not to mention Bill’s near death experience. Upon first viewing my mind tended to wander onto other things that were around me, it wasn’t until my second viewing of the episode I had a full understanding of what was going on. However the cliffhanger still has me taken aback. The Doctor is blind? Seriously?
It does seem that the theory of series 10 being the slow demise of Capaldi’s Doctor is becoming apparent. What else is he going to lose the use of? He’s lost the use of his eyes; will his regeneration be similar to the First Doctor’s where he spent the majority of the story completely exhausted from having such a long incarnation? Five episodes in and we’re already presented with further more questions. Another question that still stands is who’s in the Vault? Now Nardole called the occupant “Our friend” could it be Missy or John Simm’s Master? Those two words confirm that whoever is inside the Vault is one person, so the fan theories of there being Mondasian Cybermen taking residence are now completely blown out the water.
My theory is that its either Missy or Simm’s Master, I’m absolutely adamant that either of the two Masters is currently inside the mysterious Vault. Could the return of John Simm as the Master mean Missy is in fact the Rani? Steven Moffat is notorious for pulling the carpet from under our feet but then sometimes people can see his story’s outcome coming from a mile away. But it does seem that with all the clues and little teases the Vault is going to be opened pretty soon. The wait doesn’t look like its going to be a long one, lets just hope that with all the speculation and the anticipation that the series is currently riding on the revelation is going to be disappointing. We’ll have a lot of angry Whovians if that happens.
This Episode however was Bill’s first proper adventure in space, of course she nearly dies but that’s a normal day at the office for a Doctor Who companion. Episode Five also involved Nardole being dragged along for the ride, which gave Matt Lucas the opportunity to be fully involved in an off-world adventure. Oxygen felt like a classic series space story, I felt like the space station too reminded me of Space Station Nerva that appeared in the 1975 serials The Ark in Space and Revenge of the Cybermen.
Again we’re being given nods to the show’s past and it seems that we’re being given a lot more since Peter Capaldi has become the Doctor. Will we be seeing more when he and Moffat departs and Chris Chibnall takes over as show runner? Who knows! I thoroughly liked the politics in this story and how it felt like the working class is under the thumb of the suits upstairs. The Doctor even declares that they’re fighting the suits, which can be interpreted in two ways. It was very much like a story from the McCoy era and it certainly feels like the series is going to go down that avenue. Last week’s episode Knock, Knock reminded me of Ghost Light. Not to mention that the show is to see a return of Rona Munro who wrote the season finale for the McCoy era in 1989. It certainly does have that Sylvester McCoy era feel to it.
Overall Oxygen was a decent standalone story. It involved a space station under siege and near death experience for everyone involved. I really liked seeing Nardole being thrown into the deep end and how he’s properly tough on the Doctor, everything he throws at the Doctor at the very end of the episode rings truth and that he is actually doing his duty by looking after the Doctor and Earth. Though one thing I couldn’t understand was the fact that he needed a spacesuit when I thought he was somewhat a robot.
It seems Episode Five has left us slightly lost and worried for the outcome of the Doctor over the next two weeks and with even more questions mounting the main one that’s one all our lips is will he ever seen again? I’m just wondering now does this make Nardole the Doctor’s carer now? 8/10 for a story that has left some of us slightly numb.