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E5 of 12
Series 10 - Episode 5
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The hiatus seems to have given
fresh drive. There’s been a bit less fan service and rather more desire to present solid, straightforwardly enjoyable adventures – even ones that will hook the uninitiated. And Oxygen by Jamie Mathieson, a no-messing matter of life and death, is a fine example of that.
University lecturing is all very well, but it’s not until the Doctor receives a distress call that the twinkle returns to his eye: “You only really see the true face of the universe when it’s asking for your help,” he says. Against the advice of Nardole the naysayer (Matt Lucas’s sporadic presence has been a humorous delight), the Doctor takes him and Bill out into deep space. They find the Chasm Forge, a mining station seemingly overrun by the walking dead in spacesuits (zombienauts, anyone?). But why?
Oxygen presents a future world of big business and sudden death, with its ironic computer interjections providing a running commentary. A well-designed satire that reminded me conceptually of Ben Elton’s stage play Gasping, it features some bravura pieces of direction from Charles Palmer including a heart-stopping moment of disorientation for Bill (Pearl Mackie). And a scary predicament the Doctor has never faced before.
The Tardis picks up a distress call from deep space, but when the Doctor, Bill and Nardole try to answer it, they find themselves trapped on board the space station Chasm Forge. On further investigation, they discover all but four people on board the facility have been murdered - but the dead are still walking. Now stranded in a future where oxygen is sold by the breath, and space-suits are valued more highly than their occupants, the time-travellers face a battle for survival against the darkest evil of all. Sci-fi adventure, starring Peter Capaldi, Pearl Mackie and Matt Lucas.
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