Series 10, Episode 10
Bill wants to know what happened to the Ninth Legion of Romans, so the TARDIS goes to Aberdeen, Scotland in the 2nd Century AD.
The Doctor and Nardole go to look for the bodies, while Bill thinks some of them are still alive, so goes to look for them. It turns out both are right. The Doctor and Nardole find some remains of the Ninth Legion, but it is just their armour and skins, their bones are gone. Whatever killed them can’t have come from Earth.
Bill meets a Roman soldier, Simon (Rohan Nedd). She’s surprised they can understand each other. It’s due to the TARDIS translation system, but shouldn’t Bill already know about this by now? Was this an early episode that was swapped around? Anyway, Bill and Simon encounter an alien creature, which kills Simon. Bill manages to make her way to a hideout where the survivors of the Ninth Legion are, and they only survied because they deserted.
The Doctor and Nardole meet a group of Picts, a Celtic tribe. Their leader is Kar (Rebecca Benson) who says she is “the gatekeeper”. The Doctor wonders where the gate is. He puts some popcorn in the fire as a distraction, and he and Narole escape.
The Doctor goes into a gateway, which is in a cairn. It has a portal to another dimension, which contains alien creatures, the same species which Bill encountered earlier in the episode. The Doctor leaves quickly, he’s only in there for a few seconds, but coming back out 2 days have passed. By this time Nardole has befriended the Picts. Kar tells the Doctor and Nardole that they call the creature The Eater of Light. Every generation a new warrior went and fought the creature so it couldn’t come through. But one has come through now. It killed the Ninth Legion, but it will not stop there, and more will try to come through.
A Pict woman is killed by the Eater of Light. Kar confesses she let it get through so it could destroy the Roman army.
Meanwhile, Lucious (Brian Vernel), the leader of the remaining legion, has welcomed Bill to the group. They all call him “grandad”, as he is the oldest one… and he himself is only 18. Bill says she is going to find the Doctor, and asks the legion to come with her. They go through an underground tunnel, and one centurion is killed by the Eater of Light, but the others and Bill all escape into what turns out to be where the Picts are based.
The Picts and Centurions are in a stand-off. The Doctor and Bill ask them not to fight. Thanks to the TARDIS translation device, they can all understand each other. They are all practically kids, but as this time in history teenagers were expected to take more responsibilites and fight in battles. The two sides are enemies, the Romans invaded plundered the Picts land and killed, and Kar caused the deaths of many of the legion. The Doctor though says they have to try to put that aside, and come together against the Eaters of Light. The Doctor says they are light eating locusts, who will eat the sun, then the stars until there is no light left in the universe. It’s more important that they get rid of this threat.
The Doctor says lure it back through the gate. Light appears to burn the creature as well, for… some reason. They get the creature back through the portal, but it needs to be guarded. The Doctor says he will stay, as he has a longer lifespan than humans, and can regenerate. Kar however says she wants to do it, considering it her destiny. The remaining Roman soldiers say they will join her, as do a couple of Picts. They all go through the portal, the cairn starts to fall apart, and everyone else escapes.
Kar’s brother Ban (Daniel Kerr) has the story carved into stone pictures, and tells a crow to remember Kar’s name. Apparently crows can talk, it’s just humans don’t listen to them anymore, the reason they say “Kar” is to remember her name. I found this a bit too silly to be honest, and yes I know we’re talking about Doctor Who here, but still.
It turns out Missy is in the TARDIS again. The Doctor knew about it, but Bill and Nardole aren’t keen and don’t trust her.
The Doctor catches Missy crying. She doesn’t know why. The Doctor suggests it’s a ruse… but the alternative is her tears are real. If that is the case, he says perhaps they can become friends again.
When it becomes clear that Lucious fancies Bill, she tells him it might be difficult for him to understand, but she likes only women. Lucious says that’s like one of their soldiers, Vitus (Sam Adewumni), who only likes men. Lucious likes men and women, which he considers ordinary. Bill says this is very modern, but across history attitudes towards LGBT+ have varied far more widely than is often believed, classical cultures for example were a lot more open-minded and progressive about it than some cultures which came later.
The episode refers to a real Roman Legion which disappeared from the historical record, nobody knows what really happened to them, but by all accounts they were last recorded in Britain, so this episode comes up with a story about it. Similar to the series 7 episode ‘Dinosaurs On A Spaceship’ which featured Queen Nefertiti who also disappeared from the historical record, and that episode suggested she decided to go to a different time in history altogether.
Bill got an A* for a paper she did on Roman Britain, but the Doctor he has actually lived in Roman Britain. He says he’s governed, farmed, juggled, and was at one time a vestal virgin!
Bill falls through a deep hole in the ground and runs into a soldier for the second time in two episodes!
The Eaters of Light had a hybrid look, looking both reptilian and dog-like, having goat horns and tubes which came out, looking a bit like Doctor Octopus from Spiderman.
A lot of fans, myself included, thought it was a shame there was no mention of former companion Rory, who was a Roman Centurion for a bit, and dressed up as one quite often.
‘The Eaters Of Light’ was probably my least favourite episode of series 10. It felt like a filler episode, it was a bit dull. The only part I found all that interesting were when the two opposing sides had to work together, so it might have been better if that came in earlier and made more of it, but other than that I wasn’t too keen on the episode really.