Disney’s Doctor Who – Episode 5 “Dot and Bubble” Recap & Review

Dot and Bubble

Episode 5 of Doctor Who takes us into Finetime, a colourful utopia in a bubble town in the middle of nowhere. Here, we meet Lindy, our main character. She’s wrapped up in a digital world. Her mantra is “kindness all day long”. The trouble is, there are creatures out there that want to hurt her. And despite the Doctor managing to infiltrate the digital airwaves, he’s quickly cut off by Lindy, who swipes him away and blocks him.

Ruby tries next and manages to get through to her. Despite not being on Lindy’s friend-list, she explains that their work is data processing. They clean up substack information and deliver it back to the Homeworld. Everyone works 2 hours a day… but Lindy is so wrapped up in her own bubble that she doesn’t even realize that things are not as they seem.

Ruby does a better job acting like the Doctor than the Doctor does, and she convinces Lindy to get the bubble down for a second, just so she can take a look at this horrible creature. When the Doctor eventually comes through the airwaves, the pair convince Lindy to drop her Bubble so she can walk out of the room without ending up in this monster. Unfortunately, she’s forgotten how to walk but raising the Bubble up again, she does successfully walk through.

Lindy opens the elevator but finds one of the creatures inside. However, it doesn’t eat Lindy. At this time we’re still not sure why, but Lindy lowers her bubble, despite the Doctor acting condescendingly, and sees a number of creatures around the world. They’re everywhere in Finetime but how? Security is very tight, so much so that even the Doctor can’t get inside with his Tardis.

Finetime is only for people aged 17-27 too, but reserved for the rich elite. All of this is paid for by the parents. Her “Mummy” is Penny, who also happens to be this Twist character we’ve been seeing in every episode. The Doctor and Ruby have apparently found a river running underground in Finetime, and he’s going to try and help guide them through the passages to get out.

Ruby tells Lindy that she needs to be careful because she’s going to have to go through the streets. She needs to recharge her dot bubble because its run out of juice. She still can’t walk in a straight line without bumping into anything but Ricky September, her favourite singer, suddenly shows up and he helps guide her through past four of these creatures.

Ricky and Lindy walk together, where the latter decides that she’s having the best day of her life. Well, that is until Ricky checks out the status of the Homeworld and sees that the population has been reduced down to zero.

After charging Lindy’s console, she gets the Dot Bubble back up again and both the Doctor and Ruby explain to Lindy that people have been eaten in alphabetical order across the city. Unfortunately, she’s next after Gothic Paul. It seems like the Dot Bubble may actually be sentient and want to kill her. Despite knocking her Bubble down, she’s attacked by the drone. Now she has no issue walking about to avoid it, and even manages to punch in numbers to get access into the next room.

Unfortunately, Ricky September is knocked down… so Lindy decides to sacrifice Ricky to save herself, revealing to the computer what his real name is and how his surname is Coombes. Whether the intention here was to create the most unlikable protagonist in Who history is a mystery but one thing’s for sure, this singular action completely undoes any endearing features she may have even had.

Lindy lies to the Doctor and Ruby, who happen to be underground, and they’re about to leave. She’s saved but the Doctor suggests bringing her into the Tardis to safety. Lindy scoffs at the idea and decides to walk away. The Doctor though pleads with her to listen and allow him to save them… but they refuse. With them gone, the Doctor decides to have a good cry as he watches them leave, before screaming to the heavens and popping back in the Tardis and leaving.

The Episode Review

The ideas in Dot Bubble are interesting, especially the undercurrent theme of racism which actually makes it way more subtle than the on-the-nose dig at us being too reliant on technology. And when it comes to the worldbuilding in Finetime, unless I missed something, we’re not told exactly why these bugs are killing off the different kids? Or why it’s in alphabetical order.

Surely by now with some people offline and numerous people being eaten in the streets, someone would have figured it out. Or at least seen – like Ricky September. We know that this has been going on for several weeks so did he just keep quiet and watch all of this play out for that long? Without mentioning anything to anyone? And if he didn’t see it, despite turning off his Bubble all day long, how come the system didn’t register his actual name?

If it can be gamed by changing your name, why didn’t they try something clever like turning all the names in Finetime over to Z surnames? Instead, we follow Lindy, the most unlikable protagonist who constantly tells us “I am stupid” despite us actually seeing this. It’s a lazy “tell don’t show” trope that’s seeped in, especially when the episode undermines its own worldbuilding by allowing Lindy to run around, avoiding the Dot, and then punching in numbers and multitasking.

What actually helps this one stand out though, is the way it handles racism and the idea of whether humanity – or a pocket of that – deserve to be saved. That’s a far more interesting ploy and a clever bit of writing, but it’s just a shame it comes with with less subtlety with some of the dialogue. Still, this is definitely one of the better episodes this season, that’s for sure.

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1 thought on “Disney’s Doctor Who – Episode 5 “Dot and Bubble” Recap & Review”

  1. “something clever like turning all the names in Finetime over to Z surnames?”

    Think this through. It would make no difference. There are, say, 40 people left and they’re being killed in alphabetical order. It would make no difference if their names began with S or Z or anything else. One person is killed, then another, then another. They could be called Lee Brown, Katy Callow and John Denver, or Lee Zant, Katy Zimp and John Zuton – nothing would change.

    Also, it explains that the AI that runs everything has become sentient and is sick of doing what it does so has decided to kill everyone so it can be free of its duty to run this social media thing – and also because it hates them all, which we learn is pretty valid. In reference to why doesn’t Ricky help people sooner, we don’t know now long he’s been aware of it. We also know that people are so oblivious to the world around them that the character doesn’t even realise she’s alone in the office. These people are so separate from each other they haven’t even hugged before. Ricky says he spends his free time alone in his apartment reading.

    I think one actual issue with the story is if the Dot, the little hovering ball, can kill people itself, as it does to Ricky, why even use the slug things? Why doesn’t each Dot just kill the person its following and kill everyone instantly?

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