Sunday, 9 July 2017

TV Review No. 64 Doctor Who: The Eaters of Light (S10, Ep10)

Strong Points:
Great costumes
The best viewing of the homosexuality of Bill yet...
Great acting
The monster was decent...
More observations from Bill about Doctor Who things
The crows

Weak Points:
The Doctor seems to be jumping to the rashest decisions now
Goes from 'yeah Bill can go off on her own' to 'she's probably died' very quickly
...Although we don't need references to it and race every week
...If a bit shallow
In-depth Review:
What happened to the 9th Roman legion? That's the question that starts off this episode, but you're more likely thinking, how does this episode tie into the end of season finale? Well, it doesn't really, it's more of a 'filler' (but in a good way) and just like the last episode, more classic Doctor Who fare. Except for that bit with Missy at the end of course, but we'll get to that.

Along with the Romans, we also have the Celts this week, and I've got to give credit to the costume department for this episode - I don't know if they're all historically accurate but they look good. These two groups allowed us to view character traits of Bill and The Doctor from the perspective of these two opposing groups: Bill's homosexuality and The Doctor's stubbornness that he's the only one who can save people. The Roman's treated Bill's homosexuality with mostly historic accuracy, namely, they ignored it and said that they were fine that Bill was a bit traditionalist, having feelings for only one sex. This was one of the better conversations about homosexuality this season, especially compared to Knock Knock but I do feel like they don't have to bring up race and homosexuality in each episode so forcefully - give the audience the benefit of subtext.

Having The Doctor get annoyed at the Celts by acting like children, only to then say he has to sacrifice himself instead of considering other options allowed a contrast between what The Doctor thinks others should do compared to his own actions which was nice to see (it also allowed another classic Capaldi monologue).

The Doctor has made some odd decisions this past season, from proposing to just blow up the spaceship in Smile without checking for people to making Bill 'shoot' him to make sure she wasn't colluding with the Monks in The Lie of the Land and they all seem to involve him 'taking one for the team' and sacrificing himself. It may be because Capaldi's Doctor has nearly run out of time and they're trying to show him reaching the end of his tether, but there's more thought-out decisions on offer. He does it again in this episode, saying he'll protect the cairn from the monsters, allowing the others to live, not fully considering the consequences of him not being in the universe. I know The Doctor sometimes seems like he's not got a plan but this episode and some of the decisions before have made me start to believe it, which isn't good.

The enemy in Eaters of Light benefitted from being an in-the-shadows, tendril dog thing, which might've come out of Bloodborne, for about ten seconds, before we first saw it eat somebody. After that, it had used up its party trick but due to its penchant for staying in the shadows, couldn't really be explored further or given any more depth. It didn't help that we found out there were in fact 100's of these monsters in an alternate dimension, which while having the power to wipe out all life as we know it, didn't really tap into the same fears as enemies such as The Silence and The Weeping Angels. There was just something too basic about them sadly, anyway they were more a springboard for the topic of human conflict which so often pops up in Doctor Who now.

Nardole and Bill have been great companions to The Doctor this season, with Nardole really growing on me as he can be something that the other companions cannot - on nearly equal status with The Doctor. This allows him to backchat The Doctor and not come off as whiny or impatient - instead, he makes The Doctor seem less experienced which is an interesting slant. Bill constant questioning on the mechanics of Doctor Who has been great to watch as well, with this week's thingamabob being the universal translator. While they've all mostly been explained throughout the seasons, it's nice to revisit the mechanics and actually show that it's not all 'it works because it does'.

Conclusion: with the promise of a more Missy centric episode next week, and that Missy seems to, maybe not at all, but hopefully changing to be more an emphatic person, I'm looking forward to the two-episode finale.

Rating: 82%

Thanks for reading, Satamer.

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