11 May 2017

We're really loving the 'back in time for tea' element that Series 10 has brought; with The Doctor seemingly detained on Earth to watch over the mysterious vault. The impromptu trips with Bill have seen her travel to the future and the past, and now we get her very first space adventure - with Nardole along for the ride, too!

As the episode begins, you may be forgiven for thinking it was the start of a Star Trek adventure, with Peter Capaldi narrating a shot of space with the words "Space; the final frontier". There's something about those four words that instantly set the scene, and prepare you for something exciting, yet unknown. The pre-titles sequence makes use of some stunning visuals and there's a Kubrik-esque style to it that sets the precedent for everything that follows. We love our comparisons, and Oxygen feels like a mash-up of 2001: A Space Odyssey, Alien and The Walking Dead - all rolled into one!

The Doctor, Bill and Nardole arrive on a space station where almost all the crew have died and those that remain are being hunted down. Without giving too much away, as the title suggests, oxygen has an important part to play in the story. Let's just say that whilst we live in a time where bedroom tax is a real thing, the concept behind this episode, although slightly far-fetched, isn't exactly beyond the realms of possibility.

Writer, Jamie Mathieson (Mummy On The Orient Express, Flatline), has expertly woven an action-packed episode, with real horror and suspense, and there's more than one moment that will genuinely shock you - no matter how old you are! We did feel, however, that the episode has been a slight casualty of the editing process. There are some clunky cuts that sometimes makes the action on screen feel like it's moving ahead of the pace of the story. There's a lot going on in the episode, and much like with a Moffat-based story, you really have to pay attention to get everything that's happening.

The Doctor and Bill have definitely found their groove now, and it's a delight to see them sparring off each other on-screen. Pearl Mackie has continued to captivate us with her unique take on the Doctor Who companion template, and every frame she's in seems to sparkle with charisma.

If any of you are still undecided on Nardole (ok there are moments when he can be a little annoying), be prepared for a great scene, excellently executed by Matt Lucas, towards the end of the episode.

There's a lovely piece of music that kicks in about 5 minutes into the episode that dips beautifully from major to minor keys, and for the first time in a while, we get a taster of something anthemic building in Murray Gold's score. Music has played such a key role in Doctor Who since its return in 2005, and Gold has been at the heart of it. If we may embellish a (slightly cheesy) observation; Doctor Who glitters when Gold is at its beating heart.

Oxygen is a thrill-a-minute space adventure that will frighten, shock and surprise you. You definitely get the feeling that the production team are taking some risks and pushing the horror element, and whilst, at times, it sails perilously close to the border of what's acceptable for the kids pre-watershed time-slot, it reminds you that Doctor Who is perhaps at its best when it makes you feel slightly uncomfortable.



5 Things To Look Out For:

1) ”I want to have a baby with you!”
2)  Velma.
3) ”That is my theme tune! Otherwise known as a distress call.”
4)  A similar shot of a companion to one we saw in The Girl In The Fireplace.
5)  A rug-pull moment, just before the credits roll.

+  10.5: Oxygen airs This Saturday at 7:15pm on BBC One.

[Source: DWO]

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