Review: Eaters of Light

Naturally, I have to have the obligatory SPOILER WARNING on here before I crow about last nights episode….

Image result for doctor who eaters of light
Welcome to 2nd Century Roman Britain.
The 9th Legion, 5000 Roman soldiers disappeared from history.
The Doctor is out to prove he knows more about Romans than his student does.
“I’ve lived in Roman Britain,” he insisted . “I’ve governed, farmed, juggled, been a vestal virgin – second class… It’s a long story.”
Nardole is there to be snarky.
The crows have something to say and it’s not “So long, and thanks for all the fish. …
Oh, and there are barbarians too. Barbarians in the classical Roman sense was anyone who wasn’t a Roman; a civilized society.
They split up deliberately because Bill thinks she can find a Roman over there…And the Doctor isn’t going that way. R2 and C3PO anyone? 🙂
Though it’s all hilly, it’s the Welsh Valleys standing in for Scotland.
Bill finds a Roman by falling down YET ANOTHER hole! Two Weeks in a row there Bill.
Then the Monster, an Eater of light, finds her and her Roman snack of the day. She runs away, and straight into the rest of what’s left of The 9th Legion, conveniently. A little too conveniently though.
Nice bunch of scared teenagers who didn’t stick around when the Eater came and snacked on the whole Legion and an hour later was still hungry.
Yes, the prose is deliberate, because this was a very fun episode with lots of bits of humor thrown in for good measure. Like when the Doctor describes one particular dead roman as having been killed by an absence of sunlight and Nadole gives the best Snark yet, “Death by Scotland”.
You see, the writer of this episode is now a renowned Scottish playwright. In 1989 she was the very last writer of a Classic Who story, “Survival”, Rona Munro.
So the Doctor is Scottish. The Showrunner is Scottish. The main guest star, The Pict Warrior, Kar, is also Scottish. It’s Scotland all day long.
The Doctor meanwhile, found the Picts, ancient Celtic Warriors from the North of the British Isle so feared that the Emperor Hadrian had a wall constructed across Northern England (not a high wall, more of a defensive position) that was started in 122 AD.
At 73 miles (80 Roman miles) long, it crossed northern Britain from Wallsend on the River Tyne in the east to Bowness-on-Solway in the west.
And when he discovers the remains of the 9th Legion he goes looking for Bill saying she’ll either be where the Danger is the Worst or safe from it. Now that’s almost a 4th Wall comment about the trope of the Companion finding the Monster first and getting in danger.
But Kar has a secret. She was so in fear of The 9th Legion that she did not fulfill her duty as Gate Keeper and let the monster loose on the land to kill the Romans, which it did very handily. But now, that cure is worse than the disease.
“They will keep eating until there are no stars left”
Time to Call a Doctor, The Doctor, the definite article you might say. 🙂
A LOT of this episode is based around that most base of human emotion, FEAR. Fear is everywhere in this episode.
It drives the story.
Even the conclusion in the TARDIS between The Doctor and Missy is driven by fear. Fear that her attempts at being a good person are not genuine.
“That’s the trouble with hope. It’s hard to resist.”– The Doctor to Missy. But that’s also fear, fear that the hope is misplaced.
Capaldi as always was great. His Doctor wanting to do the noble sacrifice but the humans decide it’s their destiny no his to guard this particular Vault-of-sorts.
The Reckless Doctor is taken down by brave humans. “I hate Brave people”.
But this also brought up my biggest quibble with the episode. If the Doctor figured he would spend multiple regenerations holding back the eaters of light, how much could humans with their pifflingly short lifespans really hope to accomplish? And why would he just leave it like that??
That was my “What?” moment during this episode. It seemed The Doctor went from ‘only I can do it’ to they can do it themselves in a neck-jarring 180 degree turn in seconds.
What drives a peace between factions? Are we looking for it in the face of a common enemy? To ensure survival? Simply because we want it? Or because we want to believe it?
Hope?? Fear?? Both???
Overall, a magnificent episode and now it’s onto Mondasians, The John Simm Master and 2-Part Finale for the Season.
Cyberman: Feelings? I do not understand that word.
The Doctor: Emotions. Love. Pride. Hate. Fear. Have you no emotions, sir?
Cyberman: Come to Mondas and you will have no need of emotions. You will become like us.
“Ah, yes. It’s good. Thank you. Keep warm.”

— The First Doctor
Gee, it will be lonely two weeks from today when I write the last review for the season…

About mydoctor1962

Doctor Who fan like few others. Also a fan of Science Fiction, Cooking Shows and more.

Posted on June 18, 2017, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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