In Review: Doctor Who – Oxygen

The Tardis picks up a distress call from deep space, and when the Doctor, Bill and Nardole respond they find themselves trapped.

Synopsis: The Tardis picks up a distress call from deep space, and when the Doctor, Bill and Nardole respond they find themselves trapped on board an eerie space station called Chasm Forge.

Review: In this episode the Doctor is longing to go into space again. He picks up a distress signal from the Chasm Forge space station, and goes with Bill and Nardole to help. Oxygen is a precious commodity on board Chasm Forge, and the Time Lord and his companions run into dead workers whose oxygen supply has given out. When their own oxygen supply is in jeopardy and with the dead crew closing in the Doctor makes a desperate gambit to save the lives of the remaining crew members. The time travellers return to the present where it is revealed the Doctor has lost his sight.

This was a fantastic and very gripping episode. The grittiness of space travel is conveyed well in this episode, as are the major themes of Who; kindness to others, anti capitalism and acceptance of life in all its forms. The Doctor makes an excellent statement when he says “We show our true face by how we respond.” The interactions between all three main characters was a pleasure to watch. Racism is touched on in this episode with Bill’s reaction to Dahr-ren, played by Peter Caulfield. There is some amazing camera work that shows Bill’s point of view when her oxygen is turned off and the dead crew members put me in mind of the water zombies from The Waters of Mars. A strong anti capitalist message is put forward here, with the human crew being seen by their employers as no more than replaceable parts in a machine. The Doctor threatens to blow up the space station making it more expensive for the crew to be dead than alive, thereby saving them.

There is some fantastic acting from all three of the main actors in this episode. Peter Capaldi plays a blinded Doctor perfectly, and Pearl Mackie‘s fear at being left to die is palpable. A new side to Nardole emerges this episode, with Matt Lucas literally shouting at the Doctor for his irresponsibility. The Doctor is heroic yet much more arrogant in this episode, for which he pays the price by losing his sight. The wham line at the end of the episode was incredible, with the Doctor revealing he is still blind.

Overall, this was an incredible episode which made me excited to see what happens next.

Doctor Who - Oxygen
  • Story
  • Acting
  • CGI
  • Incidental Music

I'm a writer on the autistic spectrum who loves sci-fi, cosplay and poetry. I'm also an actor with Theatre of the Senses.
    4 Comments on this post.
  • Jan Brzozowski
    14 May 2017 at 1:25 am -

    Over the last few weeks of Doctor Who – Dominic’s review have been some of the most excellent reviews I have read. An interesting thing about blindness is that sometimes those with sight can be actually be more blind than those that have sight. Also picking up on the importance of “We show our true face by how we respond” uttered by the Doctor was amazingly perceptive and a lesson for us all. Also the issue of capitalism — within an anti capatilist scenario – I capitalism really a bad thing? is the question that comes to mind here. Well we need money to py bills, have shelter, clothing food – so to be able to make money in and off itself is not necessarily a bad thing but what is bad is when it is done out of sheer greed and with a disregard for human life and the tis the real trouble with the sort of capitalism that exist in society today – a capatilism born of geed so maybe the real trouble with capitalism is not the capitalism in and of itself but the actual way of its implementation by greedy non caring people. As an example of the different and more positive side of this – some years ago in a newspaper report (i think it may also have been mentioned on the media but I can’t quite recall as it was well over a decade ago) a small company that was very successful and making a lot of money (it was know for its integrity, honesty and fair pricing and had a limited of workers) was sold for somewhere between ten to twenty million pounds to one of the bigger corporations. The boss of the company did not keep all the money for himself what he did was divide it fairly among himself and his small work force all of them getting enough to never have to worry where their next penny was coming from as the interest on the amount they got would ensure their financial safety and mean that they would not have to sign on. In essence a fair distribution of wealth but brought about through capitalism with the greed removed. Anyway getting back to Doctor Who — still an interesting and generally enjoyable series with some extremely well reviewed programmes recently. It will be interesting to see how the doctor copes with his blindness.

    • Ian Cullen
      14 May 2017 at 2:26 am -

      Thanks Jan.

      I’m really happy that you are enjoying Dominic’s reviews and I’m sure he’ll be grateful for the positive feedback.

      I agree with you about capitalism. It would be nice if more people did what that small company did when it was sold. I.E. distributed the wealth among the workers that helped make the company what it was, but unfortunately greed is allowed to run riot in our current system.

  • Dominic Walsh
    14 May 2017 at 9:21 pm -

    Hi Jan thanks so much for the lovely comment. I really appreciate your feedback. I didn’t mean to cause controversy, I only wrote what I thought the episode seemed to be about. Sorry for any trouble caused. I don’t really understand the inner workings of politics. Ian thanks a lot for commenting.

    • Ian Cullen
      15 May 2017 at 3:00 pm -


      With politics there’s not much to understand. So I wouldn’t worry about being controversial. Its note like you’re posting hate speech or anything like that. You’re just posting based on the view that was expressed in the episode.

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