Review by Chlo Hickson

This episode was the opposite of ‘Everybody lives!

It’s episodes like this and 73 yards that make me happy that we have Russell T Davies back in charge. The plot twist with Lindy and Ricky was honestly shocking and might be one of the best plot twists in a stand alone like this. I think it was a genius decision by RTD to have the Doctor’s race be addressed in a futuristic setting.

I was caught completely off guard by this episode and that’s how I love my Doctor Who viewing experience to be. I’m truthfully amazed that the show can still keep me on my toes after nearly 20 years.

Before I comment about what this episode was about, I’ll admit I watched this when it dropped at midnight after a busy day so I didn’t pick up on all the racism in the episode – literally only the last scene when the Doctor meets Lindy properly for the first time – so I genuinely thought the episode was about technology reliance and echo chambers until I watched it for a second time.

So I’m going to address the technology reliance first. Too many people are glued to their devices, making this episode such a chilling self reflection. I hope watching this makes you want to put your phone down.

The technology was really creative, ambitious but also really realistic. It genuinely feels like a future that we could all live in, and that’s really telling about the world we live in.

The commentary was top notch, a second time commenting about the overuse of technology was in ‘The Giggle’. Well played RTD.

But obviously the racism was the blow.

I think one of the most realistic bits of the racial commentary was a black man getting instantly blocked for bringing awareness and trying to help while a white man gets easily trusted for exactly the same thing.

Ricky was very Doctor-like. When he finds out that no one in the home world has survived he decides to lie, which is a very Doctor thing to do. One of the first things Ricky does with Lindy is grabbing her hand to lead her away from the slugs, which as we all know the grabbing of a companions hand is a Doctor characteristic. It’s the Doctor taking charge, commanding the situation and often leading their companions away from danger.

Does anyone else think this was intentional? The reason I’m bringing it up is because it shows how accepting Lindy is of a white Doctor in comparison to the 15th Doctor.

Most sci-fi stories that tackle racism say racism is evil, while Doctor Who went for racism is stupid, which is just as important a message.

I think Callie Cooke did a fantastic job playing an extremely unlikeable character, making me simultaneously despise Lindy and still hope she survives throughout the episode, it’s so interesting to intentionally make the main character so unlikeable and I think it works well in this episode.

It’s a good character when you come across as a victim, than there’s the twist that you’re rooting for the wrong person.

As much I rooted for Ricky September, would he have treated the Doctor the same way that Lindy and the others had? Or would he be open to the idea of going with the Doctor because he wasn’t so ‘plugged in’ like the rest of them.

The slugs, or mantraps, were very interestingly designed. This was the episode I saw photos of being filmed and I was honestly concerned, I obviously hadn’t seen the episode yet, but it gave me ‘Space Babies’ vibes so I’m glad that I’m wrong.

My main take away for them have to be the fact that the slugs are happy and well fed, living their best lives. I genuinely don’t think these slugs did anything wrong, I’m not ashamed to say I’m team slug on this one.

Lindy deserved to be eaten.

Can we give Gatwa all the awards?

Ncuti is brilliant as the Doctor, it’s honestly criminal how little we’ve had him in his first season though I know why.

The last scene was brilliant and to find out that it was Gatwa’s first scene he filmed as the Doctor makes it all the more powerful, if I’m honest this is what makes my ranking higher.

Talk about making an entrance to the Whoniverse!

I also like the realisation for the Doctor in this scene. Every other incarnation, other than Whittaker, is a white man. They explored racism a bit with Martha and Bill, but I think it builds character for the Doctor now that he’s not listened to because of his race.

The Time Lords may have been many things but at least they didn’t care about skin or gender.

They didn’t really explore this with Jodie Whittaker which was a huge missed opportunity so I’m excited to see it.

After learning that this was going to be a Matt Smith adventure, I keep thinking how the last scene would’ve been different if it was any other incarnation.

Also, for the little they do in this episode, if you weren’t sold on Ncuti and Millie as actors you will be after this episode.

This episode was so unexpected and ballsy! Something I love about ‘Dot and Bubble’ is it asks the question what if there was a society that didn’t deserve to be saved? Unlike ’73 Yards’ the ‘leave it to your imagination’ stuff feels like actual plot holes here, like if the dot could kill people then what was the point of the slugs? Lindy struggled to walk so much without the dot that she was walking into lampposts but then quickly started walking perfectly fine a couple of minutes afterwards.  The ending is perfect though and I’m really impressed with the subtleness and performances. It’s honestly quite disturbing that I could actually see a future like this. Something that really stuck out to me, this is going to sound wrong because of what the episode is about, but the Doctor says anti-grav instead of anti-mav? Originally I thought maybe its because its on a different planet but when we went to the edge of the universe in ‘Wild Blue Yonder’ it was still mavity? So I wonder what’s going on, has Davies forgotten to include it as this episode was filmed early on – maybe mavity wasn’t a proper idea yet – or maybe it’s something that’s going to get resolved in the finale.

This episode had a great concept, morally complex characters, brilliant monster design and a dark ending with one of Ncuti’s best performances in the season.

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