If you would like to read my review of the last episode, click here.
Synopsis: A hunt for the lost Ninth Roman Legion leads the Doctor, Bill and Nardole into the middle of an ancient battle that could cast humanity into the dark forever. What is inside the cairn? And how far will they have to go defeat the terrifying alien Eaters of Light? (BBC)
Writer: Rona Munro
Director: Charles Palmer
Running Time: 45mins
We are slowly making our way towards the end although before that happens, we are given a mostly standalone episode once again that probably won’t amount to much in the grand scheme of things but was still entertaining to watch. The episode started off with a pair of children in present Scotland playing around a grouping of old stones. A girl wanted to stay because she heard music through the ground and prompting another boy to want to leave, warning about hungry ghosts. The premise of the episode was a debate between the Doctor and Bill about who knew more about the Roman empire and trying to find the missing Ninth Legion. The question took them to second century Scotland to find out and of course it wasn’t just some innocent fun as they happen to run into an alien monster obsessed with eating all the light hence the episode title.
The episode may not have been the most memorable but what will be remembered will be the beautiful shots of the Scottish countryside. Bill split up from the Doctor and Nardole each looking for evidence of the Legion and Bill was the one to get into trouble, running into the monster first. The monster itself had decimated most of the Legion with only a small group of deserters remaining. They were mostly living in isolation trying to hide from the monster and weren’t doing much besides that. However, the Doctor and Nardole found themselves faced with a tribe of Scots tasked with protecting a gate which we later learned was between our world and another dimension where the monsters lived.
Bill found herself embedded with the remnants of the Ninth Legion who were struggling to survive while living in a cave. This was also Bill’s first experience with the Tardis’ translation circuit which proved to be fun. Their leader may have had romantic motivations in saving her but she informed them of her orientation and surprising her by how understanding they were for Romans. Days had passed and she needed to find the Doctor so she managed to motivate them to face what was outside as they would inevitably not survive for very long hiding in a cave. The Doctor pretty much did the same with the Scots by giving them a reality check, telling them that their efforts were futile. In fact, being at war with one another, the Scots let in a monster through the gate which decimated the Legion and was still out there reaping havoc.
Both factions would eventually converge and were ready to fight each other so the translation circuit came in handy once again, reminding each faction that they were both the same and children. The members of each faction were no older than teenagers which was probably intentional with the Doctor preaching the unnecessary nature of their war and rallying them for a new war with the monsters. Thankfully, as he always does, the Doctor had a plan to lure the monster back through the gate. Someone still had to watch the gate so the Doctor volunteered so that the others could live their lives but members of each faction came together to guard the gate. The amount of people going through the gate at once overloaded it, leading the gate to collapse.
Back in the Tardis, the gang were greeted by Missy who was doing some work inside. They were surprised to see her, showing the Doctor’s growing trust in her on his mission to make her good. He was hoping that they could become friends again but he wasn’t quite sure.
Overall, this was another good episode with a fun standalone story featuring some great banter between the leads. Nardole was kind of fun blending in with the Scots and so was the relationship between Bill and the Romans. The monster CGI was poor and the story was rather predictable but the cinematography made up for it. What elevated it slightly was the emotional scene at the end between the Doctor and Missy. They have been slowly building their relationship and I can’t wait to see where it will go.