Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Doctor as Labor Leader

The Doctor as Labor Leader
(Attn: Spoiler Alert!)

We're just back from Marcon 52 and trying hard to catch up with things, so this week's review wasn't the first thing on my to-do list. I put off watching the latest Doctor Who episode for a few days (so I could make myself finish several projects first), and now I wish I hadn't. 

I find it amazing how my "day job" of being the editor of Our Revolution Continues dovetailed nicely into this week's episode, Oxygen. Both blogs are on the topics of worker/employer -- or more accurately slave/master-- relationships. To see what I mean, check out my piece at the O.R.C. blog, How to Build a Better Slave, er Worker. The fact that most human beings don't recognize how they're being manipulated and used by the oligarchy isn't a new concept, but seeing it portrayed in an effectively sinister way on Doctor Who really surprised me. Kudos to writer Jamie Mathieson, known for penning the better scripts in Peter Capaldi's first season, for once again writing a worthy episode for Peter's Doctor.

 Oxygen is quite a unique screenplay. The overt theme of the story is particularly intriguing, considering the accusations the BBC head  made thirty years ago against the producers of Doctor Who for  putting on a "leftist show." It got the show cancelled, so is this "leftist bent" made during the Theresa May leadership going to result in the same thing, or is the Beeb more interested in ratings rather than politics this time around? I think they're in it for the money, so a story theme about how human life is cheap and easily disposed of by those with the power and wealth is even more poignant.

But it wasn't all just politics--the "spacesuit zombies" were pretty creepy. You don't expect something that's supposed to protect you like a spacesuit to try and kill you. Nice touch linking the capitalists' greed to overtly killing their workers/slaves. At least the worker/slaves at the Chasm Forge understood they had a limited supply of oxygen, but they expected their masters to provide more. Too bad, so sad their corporate masters felt the workers weren't worth giving the "benefits of breathing."

There was definitely more "meat" to the plot this time out, and more Nardole as well. I've been wondering if Matt Lucas was going to get more lines, and this story featured him well. He's a loyal and conscientious companion, and he's trying to keep the Doctor on task--which we all know isn't an easy thing to do. How Nardole as a character will develop in subsequent episodes intrigues me and will keep me watching.

Bill in this episode plays the innocent in space, trusting that the Doctor and a spacesuit will protect her from the evil of the "zombies" and the faceless corporate oligarchs. The Doctor risking his own sight to save her--and then seemingly risking her life to save her again later--was quite dramatic. It's great to see Peter Capaldi playing a heroic Doctor who is willing to lay down his own life/health for the safety of his companion without hesitation. We've had enough of the "darkness" Steven Moffat tried to infuse into the first two seasons of Peter's tenure. 
Let the Doctor be a hero and his companions worthy aides in his fight to save humanity against the evils in the universe. Please, Doctor, come to Earth and be our labor leader! Save us from the blind greed of our corporate masters who take and take from the working poor to fill their bloated off-shore bank accounts!

What do you think of Peter Capaldi's Doctor and  the episodes so far? Leave your comments below.

P.S. It's sometimes uncanny how you can predict the future, even if you're not a Time Lord... While I was doing some edit work on my upcoming re-release of  Leaving Who, I realized I'd coin the term "The Mistress" many years before Steven Moffat had. Maybe I time traveled and didn't realize it?


A J said...

I'm enjoying this season of Doctor Who, which I haven't done for most of Capaldi's tenure in the role. Capaldi's a great actor, but as you say, Moffatt's cold, dead hand on the tiller did the show no favours. Jamie Mathieson's scripts are excellent, and the only episodes I've really enjoyed to date were written by him.

Cindy A. Matthews said...

Yes, there is a return to a warmer, more compassionate Doctor this season, which is much more enjoyable. Jamie's scripts have been the highlight of Peter's tenure, so I'm always glad to see both their names on the screen.

I guess my show reviews and surveys I filled out for the BBC made a difference after all? ;)

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