Doctor Who: Oxygen

Doctor Who: Oxygen May 14, 2017

The episode “Oxygen” begins with the Doctor saying “Space: the final frontier.” He then talks about space, the void, wanting to kill us. The first scene after the credits features the Doctor lecturing about how space kills us (eventually leading to a student asking what that has to do with crop rotation).

Responding to a distress call, the Doctor says, “You only see the true face of the universe when its asking for your help…we show iurs by how we respond.” The Doctor, Bill, and Nardole find a copper ore mining station in which no oxygen is present, or allowed, except in spacesuits – for a price. “Capitalism in space,” the Doctor remarks. The spacesuits had been sent a command to kill their organic component, leading to a bunch of zombies walking around seeking to kill those who are still alive.

IMG_0564There is a great scene about prejudice, in which Bill reacts towards someone named Dahren with blue skin.

In saving Bill by giving her his helmet, the Doctor ends up blind. They struggle to manage in faulty suits, and eventually the Doctor realizes that it isn’t a hack, but business.

“You know what’s wrong with this universe. Everyone says its not their fault. Yes it is!”

The organic components had become inefficient, and so the company started deactivating them. The Doctor comes up with a plan which will result in the station blowing up if they die, making it more expensive to kill them than to keep them alive. The Doctor says that corporate dominance in space will be ended in about six months from when they dropped the two survivors from the station off at head office.

The overall message about the commodification of necessities is a powerful one. And there is a great pun about “fighting the suits.” Nature wants to kill us, but humans find great ways of avoiding death both on planets and in space – when we work together in the best interest of humanity and for the common good. Now, when nature kills us, it tends to be due to others who chose profit over people. And that is indeed our fault.

Despite surgery that is supposed to restore his sight, we find out at the end end of the episode that the Doctor is still blind. This will make for a fascinating remainder of the season!

What did you think of “Oxygen”?

Programme Name: Doctor Who S10 - TX: 13/03/2017 - Episode: n/a (No. various episodes) - Picture Shows: Screen grab from episode 5 Space station - (C) BBC - Photographer: screen grabs
Programme Name: Doctor Who S10 – TX: 13/03/2017 – Episode: n/a (No. various episodes) – Picture Shows: Screen grab from episode 5 Space station – (C) BBC – Photographer: screen grabs

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  • Definitely a better episode than last week. The acting from Pearl Mackie was phenomenal. The next 3 episodes though are going to be the big discussion makers.

  • John MacDonald

    I’ve always thought I was important enough for the Universe to be out to get me.

  • John MacDonald

    Prejudice is always an interesting phenomenon in science fiction. I am reminded of the original Star Trek series:

  • I was surprised at how quickly we got the initial reveal. Usually with eerie premises (Army of Ghosts, Blink, 10th doctor), it takes awhile before the seemingly supernatural conceit is revealed to have a “scientific” premise.

    But in this episode, we learn early on that the “zombies” are just dead bodies stuck inside automated suits.

  • David William McKay

    This appears to be a return to the older Doctor Who making social commentary. I rather appreciate the overt political critique. On the other hand have noticed the last handful of episodes the energy and chemistry seemed to shifted. This is not the Doctor of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff.

  • Michael Wilson

    This is science fiction that’s already a reality. Whenever SpaceX sends astronauts to the International Space Station their sponsors have to pay for the weight of the oxygen