This week we went back in time to see some Scots and some Italians who were at war, not with one another, but with a common extraterrestrial foe. Considering that GallifreyArchive is all about me, what did I think of the tenth episode of Series 10, The Eaters of Light?
Now, I normally read pre-release reviews of Doctor Who episodes; they seem to be a good litmus for what’s in store. When I read these reviews for The Eaters of Light, I have to admit that I was somewhat downhearted. The reviews were saying that this episode was ‘just okay’, which when coming from Classic Who writer and acclaimed writer for stage, Rona Munro, was a bit of a shock. So when I sat down on Saturday night to watch The Eaters of Light, I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised.
Some people have said that The Eaters of Light seemed slow, and that no real action happened for a while; and to me, especially coming from listening to a lot of Big Finish stories, some of which can last for four hours, I had no problem with that. Personally, I think that nowadays, especially in Moffat’s tenure at the helm of the show, we’ve come to expect a blockbuster every week; but that’s not what Doctor Who should be about. Not every story should be an action story. Rona Munro has proven that in The Eaters of Light; yes, it’s slower, but because of that, we got to know the main supporting cast a lot more, and we became more invested in them and their stories. When you’re writing characters this true and this complicated, you can have the courage to leave out unnecessary explosions.
I loved the conversation that Bill had with the Romans about her sexuality, and it was interesting to see a different take, with the Romans thinking that she was narrow-minded for only being attracted to one gender; it really hammered home the point that the prejudices that remain in society in regard to sexuality are man made, and only recently. Ancient Romans didn’t give a crap who you loved, love is love.
Nardole also got a fair chunk to do in this episode, and I thought that he provided some good comedy, even if he didn’t hit it perfectly every time. The fact that he tried his best to integrate into Pictish society was rather fun, and I wish I’d have been there to hear more of his stories.
If there’s one aspect of the episode that didn’t really work on me, it was the crows. Now I know a lot of people speculated if the crow seemingly saying ‘Doctor’ meant that Clara was somehow involved; and I am so glad that it wasn’t. I also thought the revelation about why the crows seemingly stopped talking was cheesy, but what can you do?
The final scene in the TARDIS with Missy really worked too, and it gave both Michelle Gomez and Peter Capaldi time to show the softer sides of their characters. I’m so glad that there’s no romance between the two, and at the hearts of it, it’s just an age old friendship. I can’t help but feel like Missy is going to betray the Doctor next week in World Enough and Time.
Overall, The Eaters of Light was a really strong story that felt like a great blend of Classic and New Who, I hope that Chris Chibnall tries to attract more talent from the classic era of the show, as it certainly did feel slightly different, and in an odd way, I think that The Eaters of Light felt refreshing. Not so much action, with more focus on the characters. More Munro please!
Thanks to Sam Bentley for allowing me to use his artwork at the top of this article, if you want to look at more of Sam’s artwork, you can check out his website here.