Tonight’s Doctor Who gave us some really dark moments—and we’re not just talking about the space zombies. We need a moment to unpack that moment. You know the one we’re talking about. Take a breath and let’s jump in, shall we?
So “Oxygen” was primarily about space capitalism—oxygen-by-the-breath space suits turning everyone into zombies to save air and efficiency!—in a way that totally felt like old-school Doctor Who. But it was also deeply dark in spots. Not just through the zombies, but in the fact that, in what feels like the first time in quite some time on the show, the threat had very real consequences for our heroes.
As shocking as it was to put Bill through not just getting put out into the vacuum of space without protection, but then also later reluctantly abandoned and seemingly dying a horrifying death at the hands of the space zombies, was grim as hell for what is a family show. Sure, she got out of it in the end, but both incidents were so well executed in the moment that it pushed what Doctor Who can get away with in putting companions through the ringer.
That wasn’t even close to as far as the show went with darkness tonight, as we learned that the Doctor paid a terrible price to save Bill, one that not even the TARDIS could help reverse: he’s blind! Not just that, he’s lying to everyone to but Nardole—to keep it a secret that he wasn’t cured by the TARDIS by the end of the episode—and the Doctor is now more vulnerable than he’s ever been before.
The fact that this is seemingly playing a major part of the next episode seems to indicate that for now Doctor Who is playing a whole new ball game as we enter the second half of Peter Capaldi’s final season. How will the Doctor deal with being blind running around time and space? How can he keep lying to Bill? Will he ever see again before he regenerates? We’ve got so many questions to ponder, but for now, share your thoughts about the episode in the comments below.