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With two episodes now left of this season, The Eaters of Light gave us a monster of the week story, with one or two foreshadows of what is to come.

It’s a very simple story that touched on a number of things such as the origins of local legends, war, a discussion on cowardice and bravery, how two opposing sides sometimes need to come together in order to defeat a bigger enemy, a nod to LGBTQ Pride month and even, believe it or not, the reason why crows always say ‘Kar’.

The pre-credits scene shows a brother and sister exploring a stone circle in Scotland with a local legend about ghosts and mysterious music that plays. Just as the annoyed (Or annoying) brother is drawing his sister away she runs back as she hears the music. A crow lands nearby and sounds like it’s saying ‘Doctor’. A design, looking like the Tardis, is carved into one of the stones.

After the credits, we see the Tardis at the same spot, Aberdeen, at a much earlier point in time, second century AD. The Doctor and Bill are arguing over a point in history concerning the 9th Legion of the Roman Army in Scotland. He says all five thousand were killed and she disagrees saying they left and are probably following the river. The Doctor goes one way to find a ‘big pile of bodies’ while Bill goes another, promising to return with a Roman soldier. Nardole is just annoyed as there are better things to do, such as guarding the vault.

Bill, whilst being watched by something not of this world, is first to find someone, hearing a young Celtic girl tearfully praying for her family. It turns out she’s not just a young girl, but a young warrior who ends up chasing Bill until the latter falls into a pit where she comes face to face with none other but a young Roman soldier.

The Doctor and Nardole find a Cairn and Nardole finds a crow saying ‘Dark’. The Doctor is not surprised, saying crows have always spoken but not in the future. In the future they are all in a huff because Humans stopped having intelligent conversation with them …. Erm, cheers Doctor. He then continues with his story about Cairns and how the Celts used to believe they were doorways to other worlds. Remember that folks.

The writers have been quite clever this season in addressing the questions that the audience has from time to time.

In this case it’s how she can understand and converse with the soldier. Refreshingly it’s not left to the Doctor to explain as Bill, is shown to be the smart cookie she has always been in working out herself the Doctor and/or the Tardis has some kind of link, to those who travel with them, which makes it possible for her to speak and understand other languages, including ancient Roman Latin.

Of course, it wouldn’t be Doctor Who without a humorous, clever quip. And Bill comes through, noticing that the system even has lip synch! Take that you viewers who had started to say “But you can see they are mouthing in English!”- The writers appear to be learning from those, like myself, that discuss these things!

Anyway, the soldier tells Bill that there are only a few of the Legion left, just as the Doctor finds a body with no bones. The cause of that? A complete lack of sunlight. You need your vitamin D guys! They then come across the rest of the army – a ‘big pile of bodies’. Whether they were all killed by the same thing that killed the one soldier they found we don’t know. But, as they turn to go find Bill, they get captured by a group of Celts.

Bill and the soldier climb out of the pit and they hear the monster. The soldier tells her the Celts used it to kill the legion but It turns out a small group of soldiers have survived by deserting and hiding in an underground cave marked with a fish. Long story short, monster attacks, soldier ends up being a redshirt and Bill runs. Dr Who does do the ‘bring someone in to give all the relevant backstory to our heroes then kill the someone off’ bit quite well. At least they give their redshirts a sense of purpose that’s important to the story! They aren't usually 'fodder' and the deaths are proper story devices.

Bill finds the cave, and the group of soldiers, who fight off the monster.

The Doctor and Nardole on the other hand are being held prisoner by the Celts, who are also young. This is the group, that the girl Bill found, belongs to. Her name is Kar (For want of knowing how to spell that!) and she is known as the gatekeeper and she really doesn’t like Romans. The gate she has been keeping is the one that the monster, the eaters of light, came from. The cairn. One clever escape by popcorn later and the Doctor is entering the cairn to see what all the fuss is about.

While Kar catches up with Nardole, the Doctor takes a look at the gateway and discovers that it is a portal to another dimension and, although he was there for only a couple of seconds, he returns to find out he has been gone just over two days. The gate opens when the sun rises, closes when it’s dark and time moves a lot slower on the other side. An idea that has been used in hundreds of films and TV programmes but is still a favourite of the Sci-Fi genre. What the Doctor discovers, however, is lots and lots of these monsters, which look like a cross between Chinese dragons and something from Avatar, just waiting to come through.

It turns out that this monster is called The Eater of Light and their clan has been holding it back for years. Kar knows all about it and she is the next person who will hold it back. Unfortunately, she isn’t ready for the news that there are a lot more than just one and they want into the world.

Bill is still with the soldiers, recovering from the attack by the monster and finds the survivors to be quite nice, ordinary people. Their leader seems interested n Bill and she explains that she is lesbian, which is met with the ancient Roman equivalent of “That’s cool, let’s be mates then”. It turns out that, as the history books show, it was very much accepted, and even expected, that Romans be flexible with their sexuality and the leader, Lucius, is much more surprised that Bill is just gay and not bi-sexual. He sees it a bit of a narrow point of view but he’s cool with it. I am surprised, however, that if Bill knew so much about the Romans and the 9th Legion then she surely would have known about the sexual culture. It was a nice touch, though, showing that somewhere along the line, the Roman empire was, in a few respects, more progressive than modern day civilisation (Setting aside the death matches for sport and need for global domination that is).Plus it was Dr Who’s acknowledgement to Pride month. Anyway, they notice the place has gotten darker and Lucius knows it’s the beast.

Outside the Doctor and the Celts find another body. The beast is getting stronger from the sunlight and making the world get darker. The Doctor has figured out what happened and Kar acknowledges that when everyone went off to the battle with the 9th Legion, when the soldiers came nearer their settlement she let the monster out so it could destroy the Romans and the Romans could kill or weaken the monster. I suppose it was a good plan, to kill two birds with one stone, and it worked to an extent, but for one small problem. You just can’t control a wild, undomesticated animal, especially a wild, undomesticated, alien, animal that gets stronger when it feeds on sunlight.

Meanwhile Bill convinces Lucius and his soldiers to go meet the Doctor so he can help. They say they are ok with her calling them cowards but that’s not what she’s doing, she knows they’re just scared and it’s fine, it’s human but it’s not a plan. So, they agree and try to find a way out of the caves. It’s at this point that Bill is shocked to find out that Lucius is the oldest at just eighteen. Nevertheless, Bill knows that they have seen warfare and is honest with them that they may not all make it.

The Doctor, meanwhile is making a plan to draw the monster back into the cairn and through the portal. The porta is a temporal rift and the cairn was built around it to act like a safety valve, allowing the gatekeepers to open it a few times a year and not every time the sunlight hits it. The Doctor gives Kar a pep talk and, although he recognises just as Bill has with the Romans, that she is very young, she has to grow up a bit and realise that war is never about you. Something the Doctor has learned (Although it did take him several hundred years so you’d think he would give her a little bit of a break).

As it happens, the way out of the caves for Bill and the soldiers is actually underneath the Celt’s home! And not a moment too soon as the monster attacks. As you can imagine it’s Mexican standoff time – Romans, Celts and Bill and the Doctor trying to broker a working truce in order for everyone to survive and get rid of the monster!

The Doctor gives them a choice. They can carry on needlessly slaughtering each other, or they can grow up, join together and fight the monsters, which he believes are like locusts and will eat all the light, the sun, the stars and everything, plunging the universe into darkness. Faced with that prospect, the two races decide to join and fight.

They manage to lure the monster back and into the portal and they realise that they need to push back against all the monsters trying to break through. Kar can’t do that on her own so the Doctor says he will do it as he will live far longer and will regenerate if killed (Well … only for eleven more times).

Kar refuses, as it’s her destiny, not the Doctor’s, to guard the gate. And she is joined by Lucius and his men who all volunteer themselves to fight by her side taking it in turns to protect the gate. Just as the monsters could only go through one at a time, the number of humans going through causes the cairn to collapse and bury the site. Kar’s brother tells a crow to remember his sister’s name …. And that, folks, is why crows only say ‘Kar’! I feel a quick, late night talk show, drum roll and cymbal crash should be inserted here! Yes, I found this a little much to digest as well but hey, one weak spot in what wasn't a bad episode is acceptable to me.

And now the shocker. Just as they enter the Tardis, they find that Missy is not in the vault, but there and has been maintaining the engines. One has to think ‘What the heck? ’The Doctor was going to allow Nardole and Bill to go home in the Tardis without telling them that one of the most evil beings in the universe was there? She can’t access the controls, or even leave, but she’s still there and that’s the issue. She can certainly hold a knife to Bill's throat to get Nardole to operate the controls can't she?

All things are lining up for the last two episodes!

So, the local legend of the ghosts and the music isn’t really a ghost story. People are hearing the music as Kar and the 9th Legion battle the monsters! I'm wondering if a story based in Scotland was a salute to Peter Capaldi, as a thank you for his work? It would be a nice touch if it was.

It was very clever that the Tardis/Doctor auto translate was pivotal in the Romans and Celts being able to understand each other and thus allowing Bill and the Doctor to make the peace. Language barriers can sometimes case problems but, if everyone can understand each other, then common ground can be reached.

Sometimes the Doctor does allow his hero complex to get out of control sometimes and it’s a good thing that Bill and Nardole took him down and reminded him that this was Kar’s destiny, not his.

Ok. So, we did get a couple of foreshadows. They weren’t Easter eggs and were quite visible, as Dr Who doesn’t tend to hide things that well.

We know now that Missy is on the Tardis and has been acting as engineer, unbeknownst to both Nardole and Bill. I’m not sure Bill knows just how evil The Master/Missy can be but the magnitude of Missy being on the Tardis and not back in her box, so to speak, is not lost on Nardole. Also, that discussion between Missy and he Doctor about whether her tears are genuine or a ruse has now come up. This indicates that things could go either way here. It certainly isn’t beyond the realm of possibility that Missy is putting on an act with her rehabilitation.

Add to that the fact that the preview shows that the Doctor will be sending Missy out on a scenario based test next week, presumably to test whether she is indeed changing her ways. This may well lead to her having to regenerate into her previous incarnation or this may be some kind of time aberration. Plus, there is no way to tell whether turning back into John Sim’s Master means the character will go back to being evil or if he will be rehabilitated.

We’ll have to wait and see.



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