Doctor Who continued its run of fine form on Saturday night
with one of the scariest episodes in years. Penned by fan favourite Jamie
Mathieson, who brought us Flatline, Mummy on the Orient Express, and The Girl
Who Died, Oxygen is a classic base-under-siege story, placing it firmly in the
territory of the kind of stories Doctor Who does best.
It will be long remembered for the fear factor, and the
disturbing final twist of the Doctor's blindness, but at Oxygen’s heart is a
social and political commentary on the value of human life over capital. It’s a
very timely affair given that it’s election season in the UK again.
The message is drummed in with a righteous indignation from
the Doctor, that like the stand out Series 9 Zygon episode, is something of a
throwback to the days of Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker when writers such as Robert
Holmes and Malcolm Hulke were overtly political.
Once again Capaldi and Mackie shine, and we get to see a
little bit more from Matt Lucas as Nardole. It’s about time that among the
other questions this episode poses, his mysterious character is thrown into the
spotlight, while for once the vault takes a back seat.
Paul Driscoll is a freelance writer and author across a range of subjects from Cult TV to religion and social policy. He is a passionate Doctor Who fan and January 2017 will see the publication of his first extended study of the series (based on Toby Whithouse's series six episode, The God Complex) in the critically acclaimed Black Archive range by Obverse Books. He is a regular writer for the fan site Doctor Who Worldwide and has contributed several essays to Watching Books' You and Who range. Recently he has branched out into fiction writing, with two short stories in the charity Doctor Who anthology Seasons of War (Chinbeard Books). Paul's work will also feature in the forthcoming Iris Wildthyme collection (A Clockwork Iris, Obverse Books) and Chinbeard Books' collection of drabbles, A Time Lord for Change.