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< 10.4 - Knock Knock
10.6 - Extremis >

10.5 - Oxygen

Rating Votes
10
20%
8
9
38%
15
8
23%
9
7
13%
5
6
3%
1
5
3%
1
4
3%
1
3
0%
0
2
0%
0
1
0%
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Average Rating
8.4
Votes
40
Director:
Writer:

Latest Community Reviews

From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
8
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8
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8
Replay Rating:
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Reviewed By: DalekbusterScreen5ReviewsReview Date: 5/20/17 5:04 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

Many are describing Jamie Mathieson as the Moffat era's Steven Moffat, and it's not hard to see why. Whilst none of his episodes have particularly scared me in the same way Moffat's have, Jamie Mathieson's stories for the show mainly tend to lean towards the darker corners of the Whoniverse. This probably makes him the closest to what Russell T Davies had with Steven Moffat as a one-off writer. After Series 9's more light-hearted The Girl Who Died, oxygen is another dark episode from Mathieson in the vein of his series eight stories.




In Oxygen, The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Bill (Pearl Mackie) and Nardole (Matt Lucas) arrive on the space station Chasm Forge in the far future, where oxygen is sold by businesses as a commodity. The Chasm Forge crew are supplied oxygen through their space suits, programmed to give oxygen in relation to how many credits the wearer has. Things are not as they seem as the TARDIS crew discover some of the crew onboard the Chasm Forge are dead, and still walking. The suits have been killing their occupants, but is it the result of the suits' Artifical Intelligence going rogue, or has someone programmed them to do it?




The episode gets off to a slow start, but once the plot kicks into gear it proves to be a thrilling episode. The Suits prove for very effective monsters, essentially like space versions of zombies. Doctor Who has of course played with zombies before - most notably in 2005's The Unquiet Dead - but the monsters featured here are probably the most obvious examples of zombies in the show so far, and perhaps the most interesting take.



The idea of suits trying to kill their occupants is a very unique one, especially with the combination of the very Douglas Adams-esque idea of businesses selling oxygen. Some viewers may not like the very prominent anti-capitalism message in this episode, but I think it's one that is extremely relevant to today's society. The other day I read an online article about the Scarborough Council charging people 40p to use public toilets, and this is something that I believe is a disgusting money-making exercise. Why should you have to pay to go to the toilet? Why should you have to pay for oxygen? The two are instantly comparable, and charging for public toilets essentially turns councils into businesses.



Two things are very impressive about the production of this episode. The first is the make-up of the space zombies. The space zombies look fantastic, and pretty much as convincing as those you see in high-profile movies featuring zombies such as Shaun of the Dead. The second is cinematography. There is a brilliant sequence in this episode where Bill is exposed to the vacuum of space without a space helmet, and the image blurs and distorts to show the effects of the exposure. It's such a clever and well-executed sequence, and one that deserves recognition for how immediately effective it is.



It's the aftermath of the vacuum sequence with Bill that also highlights how much the 12th Doctor's characterisation has developed throughout his era. Series 8 Capaldi wouldn't have cared less that his companion was being exposed to the vacuum of space, but Series 10 Capaldi

SPOILER









saves Bill by giving her his helmet. This results in him becoming blind, meaning we have our first disabled Doctor. Quite how this will play out in future episodes is a mystery, although it seems likely that his eye sight will be fixed when he starts to regenerate in the Truth Monks three parter. It's a bold move by Moffat and one that should be applauded.













We are led to believe before the final scene that the Doctor's blindness was cured in the TARDIS, but in the final moments it is revealed that he is still blind. The way this was revealed didn't quite work for me. It was made a little too obvious in the scene by the way The Doctor is suddenly wearing his Sonic Shades again and not looking directly at Bill and Nardole when they are talking to him. It also feels like a cliffhanger for the sake of having a cliffhanger. Why bother showing a scene in the TARDIS where it looks like he's been cured? Why not just end with the blind Doctor and companions leaving in the TARDIS for the Doctor's office at St Luke's University?










SPOILER





If the cliffhanger didn't quite work, this episode did deliver in another area. In Oxygen, we finally get to see more of Nardole. This time his appearance isn't a brief cameo at the beginning or end of the episode, but as a proper companion to The Doctor like Bill. Finally I can form some sort of opinion on the character, and so far I like him. He's a fun companion for The Twelfth Doctor, and displays some interesting chemistry with Pearl Mackie. I can't wait to see more of his character in Extremis; hopefully he isn't relegated to cameo status again, as I think there's potential yet to be realised with Nardole.



Overall, Oxygen starts off slow but once it gets going it proves to be another great episode from Jamie Mathieson. The space zombies are very effective, and the central premise is reminiscent of Douglas Adams. Also: Matt Lucas is finally featured in more than just a brief cameo! Unfortunately the game-changing cliffhanger is made a little too obvious in the final scene, and if you pay attention to the way Peter Capaldi plays it you will figure out what the cliffhanger is straight away.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
4
Plot Rating:
5
Acting Rating:
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Reviewed By: TCar96Review Date: 5/16/17 7:48 pm
0 out of 2 found this review helpful.

Really infuriating after waiting weeks for Mathieson to blow my socks off again, unfortunately I was left wondering where the man who penned Mummy on the Orient Express had gone - particularly given both stories effectively being little base under siege stories.

Essentially my key gripe is a lack of charisma. Dialogue felt needlessly clunky (especially the pre-credits scene); devoid of much wit; extremely pedestrian and cluttered with pop culture references. Every year this seems to be getting more extreme and I dread to think how badly 'satnav' and 'facebook' references will age when we watch these again down the years. As for the dialogue, there may be an argument to make that pacing is raising its head again as an issue - one I didn't feel last year. This comes down the vault arc, gouging out a big chunk of serials each week. I believe the run time of this was just shy of 44 minutes, with the Vault and University scenes summing to a good 7 to 10 minutes. That said, Mummy on the Orient Express pushed forward Clara's season arc and did so with popping dialogue and brief but effective characterisation. Once again, I can't remember one characters name or one line from the whole serial - with the exception of a frankly hilarious delivery of the final twist!

There's a great little premise here, that boils down to 'tax the air you breathe'. In one scene Bill spots a kitsch poster on suit maintenance, but sadly this flavour (again, so present in Mathieson's previous work) isn't present. This little gem is laboriously exhausted and hammered over the head of the viewer as it morphs into a sixth form calibre anti-capitalism message. Malcolm Hulke, you aint. Again, the show seems to be taking incredibly basic moral, philosophical and sociological themes, that have been on screens for decades now, and presenting them in crass fashion as if its something new. The result, again, is a preachy feel that warps characters beyond what we deem to be consistent.

As for the praise, the set design is top notch as expected, if not a bit uninspired and repetitious. Then again, given the repetitious settings of serials recently, who can blame them? Even Murray Gold impresses with the odd musical cue that's suitably chilling. The direction meanwhile, is very functional, but appreciably so given some excesses these last few weeks. Editing for the umpteenth week on the trot is excellent - albeit prone to hitting us in the face with flashbacks to muster up some emotional responses.

I expected something along the lines of Mummy of the Orient Express, I ended up with a mish mash of Kill The Moon and Sleep No More.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
7
Plot Rating:
8
Acting Rating:
9
Replay Rating:
7
Effects Rating:
8
Has Prerequisite(s):
Unsure
Reviewed By: JMChurch25Review Date: 5/15/17 2:40 pm
1 out of 3 found this review helpful.

In the first adventure featuring all three primary cast members in full, The Doctor, Bill, and Nardole become trapped on a space station in the far future where oxygen has been commoditized and turned into a precious capital resource. With no oxygen on the ship and the air in their spacesuits quickly running out, they must team up with the remnants of the crew in order to escape alive. But low oxygen isn't the only thing to fear on this ship as the spacesuits are coming alive and fighting back. This is Doctor Who in space proper for the first time in quite a long and it brings a brilliantly tense base under siege story with a menace straight out of the Walking Dead at the helm. I don't think I've had a space story fill me with quite as much dread and fear as this one in a long time but that could be because this one reminded me of "Prey" the video game I've been playing at time of writing with a similar idea and premise. The inventive premise and the ship itself are beautifully and chillingly realized with long drab hallways, darkness, and zombies straight out of a horror flick. There are some truly terrifying moments and real moments of human drama in this one and Mackie as Bill really gets to stretch her acting as she gets hit hard more than once with the terror and the drama especially near the end as things escalate. Capaldi and Lucas also give good performances in this story though I was a bit surprised how dramatic a presence Lucas makes Nardole in the final moments as circumstances and consequences hit home. Capaldi as Twelve however steals the show more than once and his final moment is a big twist that I won't spoil here but I'm curious to see play out. While I don't think it's going to change things permanently necessary as some of the advertising is saying, I will say that for now it's a much more personal twist than we are used to and it will make future episodes much more interesting especially as we head in to the three part drama promised in the next few. While I won't say it's better than 'Pilot' or even 'Ice', I certainly enjoyed and was creeped out by it and really have no idea how things will play out from here.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
7
Plot Rating:
8
Acting Rating:
9
Replay Rating:
8
Effects Rating:
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Has Prerequisite(s):
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Reviewed By: TakeTheType40Review Date: 5/14/17 2:27 am
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

Awesome episode, some minor issues which I'll touch on when I rewatch it. The only big thing right now is that why couldn't the Doctor just heal himself from the blindness? Doesn't make sense to me.