Doctor Who The Eaters of Light – the hunt is on
The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Bill (Pearl Mackie) and Nardole (Matt Lucas) dive into the disappearance of the lost Ninth Roman Legion. Turns out Bill is a history buff who thinks the lost Romans marched away in 2nd century Scotland.
The Eaters of Light Classic Who Connection
Award-winning playwright Rona Munro wrote this episode and Classic Who’s last story 1989’s Survival. Munro gives the episode an epic scope with some rich characterization. A perfect example is Lucius (Brian Vernel). Kar (Rebecca Benson) is also rather forcibly grown up by a roughly Scottish bulling Doctor. Speaking of characters the cinematography turns Scotland itself into a character, at least in atmosphere and mood.
Bill realizes the history books she read failed to mention the young age of the Roman soldiers. While Bill entered the episode feeling like a wise expert due to her book smarts she quickly realizes the truth of all war isn’t glamorous at all.
Despite the seriousness of the episode and the gray Scotland landscape Bill has a funny scene where she marvels at the translation abilities of the Doctor or the TARDIS as she is able to communicate with the Romans’ Latin. Nardole brings the most comic relief wearing his pajamas to a TARDIS outing and chatting up the Scottish “barbarians”.
The only odd bit is the monster or Eater of Light, isn’t really fleshed out much and works much better as an unseen hunter than when it is on screen.
The Doctor’s love of humanity is back as he attempts to keep the Eaters of Light at bay by sacrificing himself. Kar and the Scottish “barbarians” halt the Doctor from his sacrifice and the Romans join the Scottish to do battle with the Eaters of Light.
Missy (Michelle Gomez) and the Doctor’s chemistry is fantastic. The Doctor seems to be training the Master/Missy on the sacrifice of compassion and the beauty of gifts such as music.
This episode is a perfect setup for the last two episodes (before the Christmas Special) leading to the Doctor’s regeneration and Capaldi’s final Who performance (perhaps?).