Doctor Who: Season 10, Episode 6 – Extremis

Particle physicists and priests. What could scare them both?

(SPOILER WARNING!)

We’re at the halfway point of the series, and who should drift back over the horizon but showrunner Steven Moffat, with his first episode since the season opener. Moffat’s kept a lower profile this year than the last, though presumably he’s been a guiding hand where plot arc threads are concerned. This week, however, was a definite return for his usual style – as usual, it screwed with your head. Continue reading “Doctor Who: Season 10, Episode 6 – Extremis”

Doctor Who: Season 10, Episode 5 – Oxygen

“The end point of capitalism – a bottom line where human life has no value at all. We’re fighting an algorithm. A spreadsheet. Like every worker everywhere – we’re fighting the suits.”

(SPOILER ALERT!)

Thirty years ago, at the height of Reagan and Thatcher’s monetarism mania, Mel Brooks’ classic Star Wars parody Spaceballs showed us a world that had exhausted its air – but you could buy expensive cans of it (amusingly labelled ‘Perri-Aire’). At the time, it seemed an absurdist, hyperbolic take on the contemporary free market ideology that was coming to dominate the world. In today’s world, where ‘the market’ is worshipped like a god and the only value that counts is monetary, the idea of privatising the very air we breathe seems like a frighteningly believable prospect. Continue reading “Doctor Who: Season 10, Episode 5 – Oxygen”

Doctor Who: Season 10, Episode 4 – Knock Knock

“You came here. You signed the contract. And now it’s time to pay.”

(SPOILER ALERT!)

After a trip to the future and a trip to the past, this week Doctor Who was back on contemporary Earth for one of the classic story styles it usually does rather well – the tried-and-trusted haunted house tale. The show’s been here before, notably with 1989’s Ghost Light and 2013’s Hide, and the results are usually atmospheric if not always comprehensible (I’m looking at you, Ghost Light). Continue reading “Doctor Who: Season 10, Episode 4 – Knock Knock”

Doctor Who: Season 10, Episode 3 – Thin Ice

“Conjecture – there’s something frozen under the Thames and it’s eating people. Proposal – we need to get a closer look at it. Plan – let’s get eaten.”

(SPOILER ALERT!)

As with Martha Jones before her, and Rose Tyler before her, Bill Potts’ second trip in the TARDIS took her to the past of her own planet – and what a marvellously unusual area of the past it was. February 1814, the last of the great London Frost Fairs. These were a fairly regular thing from the 17th to the 19th century, in a period known as the Little Ice Age, when Europe’s winter temperatures were much lower, and the Thames was regularly frozen over with ice up to a foot thick. The Doctor’s even been here before, though we didn’t see it; no sign of River Song being serenaded by Stevie Wonder this week though! Continue reading “Doctor Who: Season 10, Episode 3 – Thin Ice”