13 May 2017 at 13:30 #57386Craig @craigEmperor
Jamie Mathieson, who wrote the very popular ‘Mummy on the Orient Express’, ‘Flatline’ and ‘The Girl Who Died’ returns with ‘Oxygen’. It’s also directed by Charles Palmer who helmed ‘Smith and Jones’, ‘The Shakespeare Code’ and ‘Human Nature/Family of Blood’ so the pedigree here is very strong. This episode lives up to it. Another really good installment.
Fitting in with this series and its more retro style, once again it’s nicely paced and takes its time to set up a creepy, even scary, atmosphere as our protagonists investigate their situation. I might just be writing that every week from now on. Who nose!
It’s kinda your base-under-seige plot but with quite a few tweeks. The Doctor, Bill and Nardole (yes, there’s much more Nardole) are trapped on a space station with no oxygen. They soon discover the automated spacesuits that are keeping them alive are also trying to kill them.13 May 2017 at 14:38 #57393
Jamie Mathieson joked on twitter that the working title of this episode was ‘Scarybiscuits in Space’.
In fact ‘Oxygen’ is the only one he’s been able to keep…13 May 2017 at 20:04 #57398
Guardian BTL comments about BBC peddling left wing propaganda in 5, 4, 3, 2….13 May 2017 at 20:04 #57399Anonymous @
And Mathieson knocks it out of the park again! The first classic episode of this season methinks…
Looking forward to you-know-who next week13 May 2017 at 20:08 #57400
Nardole was fantastic in this. Matt Lucus that is. In fact everyone was fantastic in this one.
the doctor is blind. He’ll never be able to look at anyone ever again? Clumsiest line in the whole episode has to mean something.
He means twelve right? This personality. I’ve always felt regeneration is a death. (Just as you get such different personalities in Dali Lamas)…
so yes, he made an oath to himself and gave orders, and gave himself backdoors.
another monster that isn’t strictly evil (the company behind them though…)13 May 2017 at 20:09 #57401
what an utterly fantastic episode! 1st thoughts are that was so classic, from the moment they stepped out the tardis to see a big long corridor! so doctor who!!! im loving this series, but im just waiting like the rest of us to see where its all leading as we know missy, and john simm master is coming, and the original cybermen, probably daleks! its just feels asif its building up nicely.
i think the arc this season is the first and last few mins is all about the vault, could this have a meaning, the 1st and the last, if the rumour about the 1st doctor being in the xmas finale is true then who nose!!!
mega!!13 May 2017 at 20:11 #57402
does the doctors office with the tardis remind anyone of the masters office in the war games?13 May 2017 at 20:15 #5740313 May 2017 at 20:36 #57405
How does Dr Who manage to be so topical? Does it have crystal balls?13 May 2017 at 20:47 #57406
Funny to think that S Moffat recently claimed that series 10 wasn’t particularly political…
Perhaps Mag Boots (that hold you down & kill you) are a reference to Thatcher?(!!!)
Oxygen is traditionally jokingly the only thing that hasn’t been taxed yet…
PURGE is a Ridley Scott reference first seen in Alien & subsequently Blade Runner…
Velma is a character from Scooby Doo… Velma Dinkley
Once again Bill talked to her Mum…
Whatever is in the vault endangers Earth…13 May 2017 at 21:10 #57408
i also loved the race card being turned the other way tonight, a coloured person being given the race card! brilliant moffat!!!13 May 2017 at 21:23 #57409FiveFaces @fivefaces
Does this series have a theme of how the exploited come to understand their condition, and develop their consciousness to transcend it?
Certainly works for Smile and Oxygen; probably Thin Ice; maybe for Knock Knock; not sure about The Pilot.
So, time to start unwrapping some good old Marxist theories about alienation? Doctor as Vanguard?13 May 2017 at 21:52 #5741013 May 2017 at 22:26 #57411Mudlark @mudlark
Zombie space suits, nail-biting tension and snappy, sparking dialogue, supported by excellent production values: old style Who done to near perfection, and it just keeps getting better, quite apart from the fact that this episode was uncannily topical, as if Mathieson and Moffat had used the Tardis to take a sneak preview of the date of transmission. It is almost worth venturing BTL on the Guardian blog to witness the spectacle of right wing trolls blowing a gasket 😈 The double meaning of ‘suits’ in the context was scarcely subtle, but effective I thought.
Once again there was a wealth of incidental details to take in and savour, but among them I noted the sly Star Trek references – the final frontier which is final because it wants to kill you, and the doors which are expected to go shk-shk but don’t. Nardole, given more prominence, hints at a shady past; but then how else would he have become involved with Hydroflax and River.
And the Doctor now has a another use for his shades. It is all building very nicely towards the finale, and we are not quite half way there yet.13 May 2017 at 22:30 #57412
I did have a thought when I first saw the helmet of “that looks like bubble-wrap”. Which, if it was, is a cool a homage as you will seem. Space station + bubblewrap = Anti-Ark In Space13 May 2017 at 22:30 #57413
towards the end of this series, im expexing a triple header, like david tennants eutopia/the drums etc, with all the big stories coming, i hope they flow from one to the next like classic who, which giving moffat is on the way out, i seriously cannot wait, with regards to the doctor not being able to look at anyone, could it be the birth of the weeping angels?13 May 2017 at 22:38 #57414
And the “Who is an evil commie propaganda machine” thread and all it’s replies have been removed by the Graun’s comment cops. Which, for once, is a bit a shame.13 May 2017 at 22:59 #57415
OK we’ve had persistence of consiousness (the pilot/Silence in the Library) tiny creatures that turn you into a skeleton (smile/Silence) the setting, within days and metres of one of River and the doctor’s dates (thin ice/a good man goes to war) it’s not right to be kept in a shadow of real life plus ‘I talk to a dead person'(knock knock/damn I can’t remember, the one where Clara jumped into the time stream) and now, corpses in spacesuits (silence again).
Part of me would love this ‘fresh new start’ to be a bluff and Moffat’s going to go full last season of Sherlock on us. Bill looks like Riverside. Her mother looks like Clara. I think it’s just returning themes and here have some headcannon.
but still… River asked Clara to think why Clara could still see her… ‘spoilers!’. Her ex employee is working for the doctor.
Ten got a full sob farewell tour. Eleven got a vision of Amelia and Amy. (Rory should have been there).
The final Moff episode should be the Moffary Moffartest episode ever. Like Sherlock playing violin with Euros.13 May 2017 at 23:00 #57416Mudlark @mudlark
Among all the other incidental details which appealed to me was the Doctor, as he lectured on the dangers to life in the vacuum of space instead of crop rotation, drawing a series of curving lines on the star chart on the chalk board, seemingly random until the camera pulled back to reveal the join-the-stars image of a skull. Such are the details which, for me, enrich the larger theme and picture.13 May 2017 at 23:19 #57417
@mudlark oh I loved that.
But, bloody he’ll! ‘I love space. I miss space. Lovely, leathal, boiling freezing to death space. Let’s go to space. Not there. Let’s go to dangerous space.’
‘it would be a worry’. What’s in the vault?
I’m dealing with an emotionally unstable 20 year old right now, so my own life might be fueling a ‘hmmm’ regarding the Doctor. But he’s red flagging a lot.13 May 2017 at 23:22 #57418
Oh also, the ‘it’s not my fault’ and the idea that this eliminates ‘what can I do about it’.
Is the road to hell paved with good intentions or indifference?14 May 2017 at 00:02 #57419
BTW, as highlighted by @DanMartin on the Graun:
“The nice thing about life is however bad it gets, there’s always one option left – dying well.”
I wonder if the Doc is fully aware of something unavoidable steaming down the road towards him…
Maybe The Vault contains the future. That would be a worry.
(Also @miapatrick – awesome work on the Graun tonight. Shame the cops deleted the threads. It’s always worth remembering that, every now and then, trolls unintentionally provide the merriest of sport.)14 May 2017 at 00:31 #57420JimTheFish @jimthefishTime Lord
Well, that was another cracker. Is it just me or is this the best unbroken run of Who since the Hinchcliffe/Holmes days (which this series is reminding me of a lot).
And, yes, @pedant, interesting to see the right-wing hissy-fits over on The Graun. Interesting that whenever there’s a bit of drama that’s not safely heritage TV and actually might want to make a political point or two, they get very jittery indeed. I do suspect that it was the fact that there were a lot of socially aware writers (and commissioners) back in the 80s that saved us from an even worse iteration of Thatcher than the one we lived through. And there are elements, I think, who are scared stiff of a strongly articulated voice of protest re-emerging now.
Off to watch that all over again before further commentage though. But just great. It strikes me that Jamie Mathieson is fulfilling the same role in Moffat’s era that Moffat himself fulfilled in RTD’s day.14 May 2017 at 02:46 #57423tardigrade @tardigrade
Another strong episode for me. And the line on needing to watch out for the “suits” was a clever one- it left we wondering what the genesis of this episode was- I could imagine it all stemming from that line. Though it seems more likely that it was all to put the Doctor in a situation where he could be left blind from oxygen starvation.
The Doctor being left blind is certainly an interesting situation. From the exchange at the end with Nardole, it’s clear that this compromises his ability to guard the vault, and given the stakes involved, resolving his blindness should be a priority, whether that means going off-world for medical treatment, or if it genuinely irreversible, even regenerating.
I also strikes me that the Doctor being left vulnerable would be an excellent set-up for him to have to team up with Missy to face a greater threat, and needing to depend on her and show trust in her, which would certainly be interesting, given their relationship- I can imagine Missy being right into that. So I’m still thinking that is on the cards.14 May 2017 at 03:23 #57424
@tardigrade The Doctor may be vulnerable right now, but he was still able to save the day without his sight in this story. Perhaps he will find a way to work with/around his disability, however long it lasts. But yes, this would also be a good reason to team up with the Master/Missy…especially since the next few episodes (possibly until the season finale) look to be Earthbound ones.
Now the Master/Missy at least thinks s/he knows the Doctor well, but so well that s/he could tell he’s infirm or dead from afar? Hmmm…and it’s still possible that whatever’s in the vault is less a threat to the Earth than the Earth is to it! What if Earth were to react very badly to…
Meanwhile, I’ve started rattling a tin cup at Tumblr to ask for alms for the poor blind Time Lord. (Seriously, I almost cried at that reveal. He gave up his eyes to save Bill…)
@jimthefish, The whole Capaldi tenure has been giving me a strong Hinchcliffe-era vibe, and yes, this has been an particularly exceptional run of episodes.
@pedant, As far as controversy goes, next week’s episode does involve the Vatican…14 May 2017 at 03:25 #57425Headbob @headbob
@fivefaces – “Does this series have a theme of how the exploited come to understand their condition, and develop their consciousness to transcend it?”
Well put. I really like this idea. If it’s not the intended theme of this series then I definitely think it should be.14 May 2017 at 03:28 #57426Headbob @headbob
As Bill thought she was going to die, did she think of her mother because she thought she’d be seeing her again, on the other side, or because her mother was still alive and she would not see her living again?14 May 2017 at 03:33 #57428blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave
Really enjoyable episode. Reminded me of John Carpenter’s “They Live” only in the sense of the politics. When you think about it, “Who” has, since 1963, been not a million miles from the secular, rational, cosmopolitan (and therefore left-wing) position of this episode.
The vault…well, I am not sure of the logistics, but, with the bootstrap paradox in mind, could it be the first Doctor, who comes into being because of the Capaldi Doctor? I am sure that is wrong, but for a nano second it seemed appealing.14 May 2017 at 03:44 #57429nerys @nerys
What a red herring! We were led to believe that Bill was in grave danger, when really it was the Doctor (or at least his eyesight). I often find myself thinking he is invincible … which is a mistake. He’s not immortal; he’s just not human. I really love the return of creepy storylines this season. When it was the Doctor and Clara, I never really feared for their safety, but this season that feeling of security is gone. It very much reminds me of Tennant’s final season, which was one for the ages. This season is on track to give us a similar ride. I’m afraid my heart will be broken at the end.14 May 2017 at 03:56 #57430
Hey, wait a minute — why can’t the Doctor’s blindness be cured? Shouldn’t his healing factor have kicked in? And, as I mentioned at the AV Club comment’s section, he doesn’t look to be going off-world again for a few episodes, so who on Earth can help him?14 May 2017 at 03:58 #57431
Just watched Oxygen and I thought it was very exciting and fast and had lots of dimly lit corridors and steel doors! Everything I like in a Who episode. Add mystery vaults, killer suits and space zombies and you have it all.
Poor Doctor, saving Bill but going blind is sad but beautiful. My favourite part was when the Doctor excepts responsibilty for Bills fate even if Nardole doesn’t think it is his fault. If your actions have caused a problem then even if it wasn’t intentional or your fault you still have to try and fix it,which he did.
I start watching Doctor Who and I get sucked into the TV for an hour, then emerge blinking and bemused to come here and see what I missed and it is always so much. This one like some others needs a few more viewings before I catch it all. I swear I try but I think Peter Capaldi mesmorizes me.14 May 2017 at 04:15 #57432
@winston Of course it’s sad but beautiful. That’s practically a theme of Capaldi’s tenure… 😉14 May 2017 at 04:22 #57433
@pedant I just watched The Ark in Space for the first time the other day and am ashamed to say that not only did I giggle at the wormy critters but I squealed “look out for the green bubble wrap,its behind you” which brought Mr. winston into the room to see and caused a few more giggles. The helmets did have that bubbly look.14 May 2017 at 04:25 #57434
@missrori Yes this Doctor has had a hard time. I was happy to see him get a group cuddle ,he needs it.14 May 2017 at 05:34 #57435
spellbinding and original.
I recall last week mentioning Bill saying “thanks” to her mum’s picture on the wall. Here she was, talking to her mum again!
So, some regen energy is going to be used to fix his eyes?
definitely, I also thought Doctor 1 might well be stuck in the vault too -some while ago, but ‘head explodes’, and it’s not…..thematically possible. Or is it?
Puro14 May 2017 at 05:35 #5743614 May 2017 at 05:58 #57437
@winston Yes indeed Twelve has had it rough and rougher. I sense a major theme of this season, if not his tenuer, is how much he’s willing to risk (himself, those he loves, even Earth) for others, no matter how “insignificant” they may seem. All the way back to “Deep Breath” — “They’re never small to me!”
So…who will risk it all for the Twelfth Doctor? Who will see how precious his life is/lives are and give up their good health and happiness for his?
Last season, no one was there for him in his darkest hour; no one who knew his suffering loved him enough to set him free of the confession dial. But the Drylanders and soldiers of Gallifrey stood up for him once he was free, even though that only went so far with regards to the sorrows that gripped him. (I don’t count Clara because he had to bring her back from the grave and everybody treated that as a bad thing.)
Who will be there for him this year, when the finale looms?14 May 2017 at 07:16 #57439CountScarlioni @countscarlioni
A terrific episode. Like @tardigrade, I wondered if if the play on killer suits was the jumping-off point for Jamie Mathieson’s script. He should be taken under Chris Chibnall’s wing so he can be the next showrunner! All of his episodes have struck me as least excellent, with Flatline and Oxygen brilliant.
Nardole is now looking more substantial, a cyborg with a dodgy history who presumably knows much more than he’s told us so far. I wonder if the Doctor has mistakenly taken him for granted.
We also got a fun link back to the First Doctor. Unlike the First Doctor, the 12th Doctor got the Tardis travelling minus a fluid link. If I remember right, in `The Daleks,’ the First Doctor had to work very hard to retrieve a fluid link taken by the Daleks and removed to the Dalek City. And that after he’d initially fibbed about needing to explore the Dalek city in order to get mercury to repair a fluid link.14 May 2017 at 08:26 #57440Anonymous @
Yes, the first Doctor references keep coming. I wonder what it all means…14 May 2017 at 09:26 #57442
@countscarlioni, Mathieson has already gone on record as saying he hasn’t been asked to come back for Series 11, as yet, and doubts he will be. According to him “My understanding is that Chris is sticking with a team he’s got used to working with on Broadchurch.” :/14 May 2017 at 09:48 #57443
@pedant– thank you! I was having a lovely time as well, was a little upset when it all vanished. It’s another problem with threads, really.14 May 2017 at 09:52 #57444tardigrade @tardigrade
Perhaps he will find a way to work with/around his disability, however long it lasts.
I expect so- it would be too good a narrative opportunity to pass up with a quick resolution, and a positive story about disability if he is still bad-ass regardless. So I suspect that the Doctor may be blind until he regenerates.14 May 2017 at 10:18 #57445
Oh my gawd! Everyone’s been there for the Doctor! You do keep playing this same choon! He aint human. He was with River for 24 years; he has a granddaughter; he had people (like Rose) who found him. No-one’s had as many friends as the Doctor.
Enjoy the story x
Puro14 May 2017 at 10:25 #57446Whisht @whisht
Well I really liked this one too!
And as mentioned by others, the production values for all the episodes so far are excellent (no wobbly walls or too much bubble wrap!).
Nothing to add to what’s been said other than I’m hoping that the Doctor’s blindness is not something that debilitates him from being the Doctor (if that makes sense). There’s been so much furore over a black Doctor or female Doctor but a ‘disabled’ Doctor hasn’t even been mentioned much (or at least I haven’t picked up on it).
But I admit, as soon as I saw him suffering from exposure to space I thought “uh oh – this’ll cause a regeneration”.
The only other thing that the episode brought to mind is totally personal – I saw the play Gasping* by Ben Elton when it was on originally (possibly first time I’d ever gone to the theatre for pleasure rather than for school!). Hugh Laurie was in it and a key reason why me and my mate went.
At one point we were desperate to shout out from the audience “But what about the poor people!?!”.
We were huge A Bit of Fry and Laurie fans.
* Gasping is a satire on the sale of ‘designer air’ – “perrier for the lungs”. Demand outstrips supply, so…14 May 2017 at 11:00 #57447
@thane15 Point taken (again), lots of people have been there for the Doctor. The eternal question is who will be there for him next! It’s a passing of the baton! 😀
@whisht I think I understand what you’re saying — that his blindness won’t be played as something that keeps him from doing good, and/or has to be cured in order to solve a crisis. There’s a fair deal of speculation that it will be resolved by the end of the multi-Master arc, rather than something that presumably disappears with the regeneration, but hopefully it will just be a “side effect” of some other development if that’s the case. Or maybe he’ll just put in some lizard eyes! 😉
He better hope the Veritas is available in Braille, though! I doubt he can access the book on tape or would ask that someone read it to him…. 😉
And what will Bill do if/when she finds out he’s still blind because he saved her? He would never ask to be repaid, but…14 May 2017 at 11:25 #57448Anonymous @
@missrori – Was this on the aftershow (I haven’t watched it yet)? Or another source?14 May 2017 at 11:43 #57449Craig @craigEmperor
Hi all, just a gentle reminder…
Can we try to discuss the episode (and previous episodes) and not what is going to happen next based on evidence from “Next Time” or trailers. Please do that in the “BBC Approved Spoilers” thread.
I don’t care myself, but I know there are people who try to avoid all trailers and the “Next Time” teasers.14 May 2017 at 13:16 #57451
@morpho, This is just online and Radio Times speculation I’ve seen. I’ll post the article on the latter in the BBC Approved Spoilers thread, though.14 May 2017 at 13:38 #57453
@miapatrick, Excellent points. The Doctor has a bad case of “chronic hero syndrome”, as TVTropes calls it — and once again, he paid for it. But I’d rather have someone with good intentions in their heart than indifference, someone who’d shoulder all the blame…14 May 2017 at 13:46 #57454
@MissRori– me too, which is why I prefer the idea of the road to hell paved with ‘indifference’. To say it’s ‘good intentions’ is to imply it might be best to do nothing. Indifference.
The entire point to the doctor is that he meddles. But I do love that the show doesn’t shy away from the fact this is also problematic.
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