Sunday, 14 May 2017

Doctor Who: Oxygen

"Do people ever hit you?"

"Well, only when I'm talking."

In some ways this is very much a story of the week- a tale of outer space capitalist exploitation as a corporation jealously controls oxygen for profit, even for its own employees and (as the Doctor discovers) is prepared to extinguish its own employees if they cease to be profitable. A bit of a hint that Jamie Mathieson may be no Tory, then, in another excellent script from him which, while not up to his best, is nevertheless impressive, keeping up the quality in this excellent season.

There's more development of the wonderful rapport between the Doctor and Bill, and for once Nardole joins them on their travels, attempting to keep them on Terra Firms; apparently it was the Doctor himself who told Nardole to prevent him leaving earth for fear of leaving the mysterious Vault unguarded. It can't be long until we find out more about this because, simply, this episode turns out not to be a story of the week- the Doctor ends the episode, it seems, permanently blind.

It's a splendid episode yet again, though, and again old-fashioned in its style, with some leisurely exploration of the space station and things feeling very Troughtonesque and, indeed, recalling The Wheel in Space for obvious reasons and even mentioning (and undercutting as a MacGuffin) the fluid link. There's a nice riff on racism ("Some of my best friends are bluish"), great dialogue and some nice directorial touches from the returning Charles Palmer as Bill loses consciousness. It may not stand out in what is shaping up to be a great season, but here's a fifth top notch episode in a row.

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