Doctor Who gives us a Black Mirror-esque episode with "Dot and Bubble"

This week's episode is a thrilling and horrifying lens into the world we live in.
Doctor Who Dot and Bubble
Doctor Who Dot and Bubble /

This week's episode of Doctor Who goes full Black Mirror, reminding us that technology just might be the death of us all. "Dot and Bubble" takes us into a world where a select few people — individuals aged 17-25 from the top 1% of society — live in a place surrounded by force fields. They already live in a bubble, and they place themselves inside an even smaller bubble as they walk around engaging online with their friends. It feels eerily representative of the world we live in today, with everyone's heads buried in their phones and iPads completely disconnected from what is happening around them.

Like in last week's episode, "73 Yards," the Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) isn't front and center here. Sure, he and Ruby (Millie Gibson) guide our main character through obstacles, but once again we get an episode that's essentially Doctor-less.

While I'm here for the intriguing and wild storylines, I do want to see more of the Doctor and Ruby together. We only have a handful of episodes left before the season comes to a close.

With the preamble over, let's dive into the major moments of "Dot and Bubble". Remember, there are MAJOR SPOILERS ahead!

The world of Finetime

When we first see Lindy Pepper-Bean (Callie Cooke), I have to admit she looked just like Bryce Dallas Howard did in the Black Mirror episode, "Nosedive." That episode was set in a world where social media likes determine things like your credit score. "Dot and Bubble" explores some of the same themes.

As the episode begins, we're introduced to Lindy and her vast circle of friends that all connect through their individual devices known as Dots, which surrounds them in a virtual bubble. Basically, one's entire existence is lived within this bubble, with no interaction in the real world. Sound familiar?

Everything down to how and where one should walk is dictated by the Dot, which feels uncomfortably similar to our GPS navigation systems. We also learn that Lindy and her friends live within a larger bubble called Finetime. They each have to work two hours a day processing data, with the rest of the time left to party.

It isn't until the Doctor inserts himself into the Bubble that we start to realize something is going on within Finetime, which even he can't get in to. As happens in real life, Pepper is quick to block him because she doesn't know who he is.

Aliens threaten to destroy Finetime

Despite the Doctor being blocked, he utilizes Ruby to get back in and just unblocks himself. Even though he can't get into Finetime, he can certainly figure out how to do that.

After Ruby and the Doctor tell her to bring down her Bubble, Lindy realizes that there are these fat slug-like aliens devouring the citizens of Finetime. This is why, one by one, her friends have gone offline. Because the Dot can't recognize these aliens, it makes relying on her senses extremely important.

However, when you've spent your life inside a virtual bubble, how do you disconnect? Well, you don't, at least not in any way that is helpful.

During her journey, Lindy bumps into a rockstar by the name of Ricky September (Tom Rhys Harries) whom she and her friends follow. And no, this isn't the online version, by the actual version of him. He seems to be the only person still left walking around, and thanks to his guidance, and to the Doctor and Ruby's instruction, Lindy finds herself in a safe space.

But then things take a dark turn, the type of turn we expect from showrunner Russell T Davies, because what is Doctor Who without a lesson about mankind's ugliness?

Ending of Doctor Who Season 1, Episode 5, "Dot and Bubble" explained

Something feels off and uncomfortable about how Lindy chooses to interact with the Doctor, and there is a moment towards the end of the episode where everything aligns in a jarring way. At the start of the episode, Lindy was quick to block the Doctor and not listen to anything he had to say. It wasn't until Ruby came in that she gave any sort of attention or consideration to the dangers around her.

Fast forward to the end of the episode, and everything becomes clear. This episode is highlighting the racismof the citizens of Finetime. Not only did Lindy not want to hear the Doctor out, but when he begged to let him save her and her friends after they reached safety, she said no. Her and her elite-status friends did not want the help of a Black man, even if his help could help them stay alive.

It's a very devastating moment for the Doctor, who realizes he may who he is, but not everyone is open to being helped by him, simply because of what he looks like. I wasn't sure if racism would be a part of Gatwa's arc as the Doctor, but Davies went there, and he did it with profound nuance.

In addition to the twist that these young people are racist, we learn that the Dot is actually behind the slug aliens killing all of them. The AI became sentient (of course) and after hearing everyone be horrible and awful all day, they had enough and began picking them off one by one (in alphabetical order as the Doctor came to realize). It's quite a plot twist, isn't it?

I had goosebumps at the end of this episode because it all hit me very hard, all at once. I couldn't believe that Davies was able to shine a light on racism through this story, all while showing us the lengths to which one will go to avoid interacting with another human that they dislike for reasons too hurtful to state here.

I really and truly love what Davies has done this season and continues to do. The success of Gatwa and Gibson's first season is a testament to the writing and directing, and if the season so far is any indication, we are about to get some of the best Doctor Who episodes we've ever had the privilege of watching.

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Next. Doctor Who season 2 wraps production, showrunner confirms. Before Doctor Who season "1" has even finished airing, showrunner Russell T. Davies has confirmed that season "2" has already wrapped!. dark

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