A young blonde woman facing a mostly unseen slimy monster
(BBC)

‘Doctor Who’ Just Gave Us Its Most Horrifying Monster Ever

Doctor Who has long been noted for its great supporting characters. In virtually every season there’s been at least one who’s stolen the show.

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Take the episode “Blink,” starring Carey Mulligan as Sally Sparrow, for example. We rooted for her as she sought to defeat the Weeping Angels and to this day “Blink” is considered one of the greatest Doctor Who episodes of all time, despite not having much Doctor in it at all.

“Dot and Bubble” uses a similar strategy: take a young blonde woman and plunge her into a horrifying situation where she has to fight for her life. Except, that’s where the similarities end. Lindy Pepper-Bean (played excellently by Callie Cooke) IS the horrifying situation. She transpires to be a selfish, cold, entitled, racist monster.

“Dot and Bubble” presents a terrible world

The clever thing about “Dot and Bubble,” written by Russell T Davies, is that Lindy starts off as quite a sympathetic person in many ways. Who didn’t feel a sting of compassion for her when she revealed she’d never been hugged? Sure, she was dulled into complacency by the presence of her Bubble (a series of screens that travel with her around her head), she was privileged, and she was rude, but she had the potential to break out and become something greater, right? Well, as it turned out, no.

The first irredeemable thing Lindy does is sell out her pop star idol Ricky September, the man who’s come to save her from the monsters. The giant alien space slugs and the Dots are killing people in alphabetical order, so Lindy reveals Ricky’s true name in the hope that the Dot will kill him rather than her, and it does. Right up until that moment audiences may have been on Lindy’s side, but suddenly we saw her true colors.

The second thing may hit much closer to home. Lindy finally comes face-to-face with the Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) and she refuses his offer of help … because he’s Black. Lindy and the rest of her planet are racists and white supremacists. “You’re not one of us,” she tells him flatly, while another man nearby tells her to move away before she gets “contaminated.” It’s a scene worse than any scene of Daleks or Cybermen, and all the more so if you didn’t pick up on any of the hints that were there as to Lindy’s true nature.

“Dot and Bubble” challenges its white audience

Lindy demonstrates multiple microaggressions towards the Doctor as the episode goes on. “He’s not as stupid as he looks,” she declares in one scene. In another, she expresses horror that the Doctor and Ruby are in the same room together even though they appear on separate screens. This could easily be mistaken for horror that any people connect to each other outside of Bubbles … but no, it’s just racism, because the Doctor is Black and Ruby is white.

But perhaps the biggest indication of all was the fact that if you look closely, you’ll see that every single person in Lindy’s Bubble is white. There’s a chance that other white people may miss this—and Russell T Davies knew this all too well. “Will you be 10 minutes into it, will you be 15, will you be 20 before you start to think, ‘Everyone in this community is white’?” he said on the behind-the-scenes show Doctor Who: Unleashed. “And if you didn’t think that, why didn’t you?”

What other answer to that is there beyond, “You, too, are in a bubble”?


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Author
Sarah Barrett
Sarah Barrett (she/her) is a freelance writer with The Mary Sue who has been working in journalism since 2014. She loves to write about movies, even the bad ones. (Especially the bad ones.) The Raimi Spider-Man trilogy and the Star Wars prequels changed her life in many interesting ways. She lives in one of the very, very few good parts of England.