Space suits have had a sordid history in Doctor Who. With or without oxygen, you might be safer staying away from them.
Hey, Who Turned Off The Oxygen?
The Doctor, Bill, and Nardole find themselves aboard a space station after the urge to travel is again too great for the Doctor to ignore. It’s quickly apparent that they haven’t found themselves in a good situation, as zombies start chasing them almost imminently. The twist with the zombies is interesting, but it’s a bit too familiar. There’s a definite feel of “we’ve seen this before”.
What keeps Oxygen interesting is the writing of the characters. The Doctor continues to be portrayed as a dominating, yet nearly fragile figure. He’s hiding something big just beneath his veneer of confidence. Bill is fascinating to watch. Her experiences with the Doctor continue to be trying, and this episode is no different. I love her reactions to the situations she encounters. She wears her emotions on her sleeve, but they never get the best of her. While the Doctor, and Bill are on point this season, Nardole keeps stealing the show. There’s something about his curmudgeonly demeanor that I can’t get enough of. Couple that with the mystery surrounding him, and the Doctor, and you’ve got a surprisingly interesting character.
Enough Of Character Development, How Was The Episode?
Sadly this episode, while entertaining, wasn’t anything brilliant. It’s not that Oxygen was a bad episode in any way, it was just too familiar to stand on its own. There were echoes of previous episodes throughout. What Oxygen did well was give us something that has never been done before; damage the Doctor physically, and perhaps permanently.
At some point during the episode the Doctor loses his sight. While it looks like he regains it, he confides in Nardole at the end of the episode that he is actually still blind. This is immensely interesting. How long will this blindness last? Up until his regeneration at the end of the season, or only another episode or so? The Doctor has been hurt before, but never permanently. Why now? Is it part of a long death/regeneration cycle? This shocking development makes you forget about the lackluster episode it was a part of, and, like the vault mystery, has you looking ahead.
So Far Good, But Not Great
Season 10 has been very good so far, even after only four episodes. While each episode has been entertaining with moments that shined, overall there hasn’t been a truly standout episode. I think there’s been a bit too much familiarity in theme, and threat. That said, Peter Capaldi is slaying it as the Doctor, and it’s apparent every episode that his departure is going to be a great loss to the fandom.
Season 10 so far has been more about the characters than the plot of each episode. I am in love with Bill, and Nardole, and I love the way they all play off each other. I do think this season is going to explode very soon, and the mediocrity of the first half will elevate the season as a whole.