The Eaters of Light

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    wolfweed @wolfweed

    An excellent little comic strip about The Vault, by Mogamoka.

    days months centuries

    nerys @nerys

    Interesting bit about the Doctor translating. I knew the TARDIS did a sort of auto-translation, so that everyone, whether human or alien (or humans of different languages or eras), understands one another. But how does that explain what happened last week on Mars, when the TARDIS was largely absent? How were Iraxxa and Friday able to understand the Brits, and vice versa?

    The other thing I was struck by was how willing the Doctor was to sacrifice himself as a gatekeeper. How fragile is his mindset now? Is he being affected not only by his many losses, but also by Missy’s state of mind? @blenkinsopthebrave I think you are right about the Doctor’s want or need of an escape hatch.

    @soundworld Thank you for your post! I enjoyed all the background information you presented, which clearly was researched as this episode was written, sets were created, etc. Such attention to detail is fascinating! (Oh, and I too love crows!)



    But how does that explain what happened last week on Mars, when the TARDIS was largely absent? How were Iraxxa and Friday able to understand the Brits, and vice versa?

    River – Angels Take Manhattan, when the vase was translating: “Gift of the Tardis – it hangs around”.


    nerys @nerys

    @pedant Very good. Thank you for the reminder!



    I just happened to watch it the other night. I knew the idea was there, but got lucky in my choice of which episode.

    CountScarlioni @countscarlioni

    @ichabod  I wonder whether taking on the gatekeeper’s job (for however long before devising a way to shut the gate for good) was almost tempting to him, as a respite from all us “kids” and our mistakes and foolishness for a bit . . .

    That’s a really interesting reading. In Series 9, the Doctor moaned about the pudding brains, but his attitude to the Picts seemed different from, say, his attitude to the Vikings in The Girl Who Died. 

    @soundworld   Here’s the guy who does the archao-acoustic research ‘This project explores the role of sound in the experience of Neolithic sites and landscapes’

    Many thanks for the link; much appreciated!

    Prompted by an upthread posting by @craig, I rooted around for the transcript of Survival and found

    Here is the struggle at the end of episode 4 between the Doctor and the Master

    [Bleasdale Avenue]

    (The Master is trying to pick the lock of the Tardis.)
    DOCTOR: Good hunting.
    MASTER: Yes. It would have been too easy. It seems we must always meet again.
    DOCTOR: They do say opposites attract.
    MASTER: But this is the end, Doctor. You see it. It’s a power. A power from that planet. It’s growing within me. Are you frightened yet?
    DOCTOR: No.
    MASTER: You should be. You should be. It nearly beat me. Such a simple, brutal power. Just the power of tooth and claw. It nearly destroyed me, a Time Lord. But I won. I control that force, Doctor. And now, at last, I have the power to destroy you.
    (The Master grabs the Doctor by the throat. Flash!)

    [Cheetah camp]

    (Fires are burning all around. The Master raises a long bone to use as a club.)
    MASTER: Welcome to my new home, Doctor!
    (The Doctor is surprisingly strong. He forces the Master down on to his back and grabs a skull. The Doctor’s eyes are yellow when he raises it to smash down on the Master, then he sees the Cheetah people disappear.)
    DOCTOR: They’ve gone. What am I doing? I’ve got to stop. We’ve got to go.
    MASTER: You can’t go. Not this time.
    DOCTOR: Yes, we can!
    MASTER: Escape to what? I don’t choose to live as an animal.
    DOCTOR: If we fight, we’ll destroy this planet. We’ll destroy ourselves!
    (The Master grabs the Doctor’s throat again.)
    MASTER: You should have killed me, Doctor.
    DOCTOR: If we fight like animals, we’ll die like animals!
    (The Master brings down a long bone to hit the Doctor. Flash!)</span>

    [Bleasdale Avenue]

    DOCTOR: If we fight like animals, we’ll die like animals!
    (Then he realises where he is, and stands up.)
    DOCTOR: Home.

    Missy @missy

    After watching this episode again last night, I came away feeling incredibly sad.

    When Missy asked if they could be friends again, the Doctor replies: “I don’t know, that’s the trouble with hope, it’s hard to resist.” The achingly sad look in his eyes as he said this, reminded me of the comment Ohila made in Hell Bent.  He asked: “Since when is hope a bad thing?” “Hope is a terrible thing on the scaffold.” she replied. I wondered if he was thinking  that he was on the scaffold now.

    To me it looked as if  the The Doctor  was haunted by the past, all the people he had lost. (“I’m sick of losing people”) he  seems to be defeated by past events. His blindness, the machine which restored his sight, but may have done untold damage to his mind. The ordeal the time Lords put him through in Heaven Sent, four and a half Billion years of torture, only for him to blow it with Clara, making her into an undead creature, and be forced to forget her, so that he cannot even remember her smile or voice.

    What do they say about “good intentions?” They are the road to Hell. Latching on to the Monk’s head and being thrown off, being saved by Bill. Little bits of regeneration he has wasted – all of these have taken their toll.

    Humans don’t need him as much, they have been sorting things out for themselves, albeit with is guidance. Clara did, Rose did, Martha did, Bill has. He needs to be needed,  (“I hate brave people.”)but he also needs someone who knows what it’s like to be a Time Lord and the price one must sometimes pay -he needs his friend back. Deep in his heart I think he knows it isn’t going to happen, and Missy does too, those tears were real this time. She knows that she will revert to type and there is not a thing she can do about it, but wants to. Losing River, I feel, was the final straw.

    Nardole is also a question mark.  Who’s side is he really on now.  And of course, don’t let us forget the Tardis. she knows everything that’s happened and will happen. Perhaps that is why she took Nardole back to the University, knowing that he would have to ask Missy for help – because Missy needed to be let out of the vault and be with the Doctor – why? I’ve got a theory, but I shall keep it to myself – well, I’ll tell my OH – because it’s bonkers and I do mean bonkers!

    For me this Doctor has suffered more,  lost more and been through more that the first three and it almost destroyed him.

    Perhaps that is why I took to Capaldi’s Doctor, I could actually feel what he felt, that and of course brilliant scripts and music.

    This must be the longest post I’ve made, sorry about that, but this episode really got to me, so much so that I still feel very, very sad.


    P.S. I still haven’t read your posts, but shall soon.

    tardigrade @tardigrade

    Another well put together standalone episode (with a nice sequence with Missy added on the end). I won’t comment on the historic elements, since others clearly know much more about than I do. @soundworld Agreed that this felt a little longer than usual- the pace wasn’t rushed as the story didn’t demand too much to be completed.

    I know it’s traditional for the Doctor to offer to sacrifice himself to protect the Earth, but I didn’t quite get the logic of him feeling his long life made him particularly well-suited to hold the Eaters from coming through (at least for the billions of years he suggested). It seems that a human with a sword can go through and hold off the Eaters for long enough to buy some decades on the other side of the rift. The Doctor might be a little harder to kill, and if he’s lucky might get a few regenerations in before being finished off, but it doesn’t seem like it’s really a very long term solution. It’s not like his potential to live for millennia is likely to be realised if he goes through. I suppose if he could keep regenerating, then the Eaters might be attracted to that- they do go after light and the light show of a TL regeneration might keep them interested instead of going through the rift.

    Missy @missy

    Whoops, forgot to click notify me.

    MissRori @missrori

    (Hugs). @missy I understand completely how you feel.  I love this Doctor most of all now but it breaks my heart that he will never have his own special Day of glory and joy, not from the looks of this finale…and how can there be glory and joy this Christmas if he “dies”?

    wolfweed @wolfweed

    Nardole said ‘Ah, like venting an oil gush.’

    I was trying to figure out what the hell an Ornell gush was…

    TEOL transcript


    Mirime @mirime

    He does seem determined to sacrifice himself with very little regard for the fact there will be another monster along next week, and given that he hates staying in one place for too long… 🙁

    I suspect Missy might well be trying her best, but I too thought of Ohila and ‘hope is a terrible thing on the scaffold’. No wonder he’s looking weary, all that hope and doubt.

    On the positive side, I really enjoyed this (I am rather fond of Survival as well) and Nardole in his dressing gown made me think of Arthur Dent.

    wolfweed @wolfweed

    Somehow this one eluded me…

    Craig @craig

    @countscarlioni Thanks for finding the transcript of Survival.

    That kinda sums it up, but I was actually thinking of an earlier conversation between The Doctor and The Master, very near the end, where The Master asks for help. I had fun reading this as if it was between Capaldi Doc and Missy. It’s almost flirtatious.

    MASTER: Good hunting, Doctor?
    (Two Cheetahs start fighting over which one of them will kill Midge.)
    MASTER: They’re fighting again in the dead valley.
    DOCTOR: It’s breaking up.
    MASTER: This planet’s alive. The animals are part of the planet. When they fight each other, they trigger explosions. They hasten the planet’s destruction.
    DOCTOR: How long before it blows up?
    MASTER: Not long. They’ve been fighting a long time.
    DOCTOR: Why did you bring me here?
    MASTER: I need your help.
    (A Cheetah likes Ace’s shiny Soviet WW2 badge.
    (The winning Cheetah has left, and Midge pulls a large sabre tooth from a skull then goes over to the loser. He kneels and stabs the tooth into it.)
    DOCTOR: You’re trapped. You can’t escape.
    MASTER: Just so. It seems the creatures of this world can’t take us away from here, they can only bring us to this place.
    DOCTOR: Yes. They can only return home with their prey.
    MASTER: I never thought of it quite that way.
    DOCTOR: But now that we’re both trapped, what good is it to you?
    MASTER: You’ll find a way out, Doctor. You must.
    DOCTOR: Why should I help you?
    MASTER: It’s not just death we’re all facing. This place bewitches you. If we stay here, we’ll be like the people who built these. They thought they could control the planet, the wilderness. They were the ones that bred the kitlings. Creatures with minds they could talk to, eyes they could see through the way I do. It only led to their corruption. We shall become like them.
    (The Master displays yellow eyes and large canine teeth.)
    MASTER: We shall become animals.

    wolfweed @wolfweed

    NARDOLE: The way I heard it, the human ship was called the Mary Celeste. Something like that. Anyway, the Enzomodons assumed that any species they encountered would communicate as they did, by digesting each other. The Enzomodan ambassador got through the whole crew and then very sadly choked on a lifeboat, so…


    Missy @missy


    Very interesting post. is seems that most of us enjoyed this episode.




    Missy @missy


    Thank you.  I feel a bit daft, it’s only make believe, but this Doctor, Missy and the stories have really got under my skin

    Not looking forward to the final two episodes.


    Mirime @mirime

    @missy same here. I don’t think I’ve ever been so upset at a regeneration.

    Missy @missy

    If there is anyone still out there, please could you direct me to the thread which told of Steven Moffat and Pearl Mackie in a Q&A. Damned if i can find it on YT.

    Ta muchly,


    bendubz11 @bendubz11

    @wolfweed re: the crow sounding like it said “Dork Doctor”, on the iPlayer subtitles it read “Dark Doctor”, which seems very ominous considering Missy’s currently in the Tardis.

    Nick @nick


    @wolfweed posted that. Its after the next episode I think.

    CountScarlioni @countscarlioni

    @craig  I was actually thinking of an earlier conversation between The Doctor and The Master, very near the end, where The Master asks for help. I had fun reading this as if it was between Capaldi Doc and Missy. It’s almost flirtatious.

    Thanks for emphasising that conversation and that way of reading it. I was prompted to then watch the final episode of Survival. Good stuff!

    Missy @missy


    Thank you.


    Mirime @mirime

    Having finally rewatched, could the Doctors seemingly reckless attempt at self-sacrifice have anything to do with the fact he knew Missy was most likely watching?

    An example of being willing to sacrifice yourself to save others rather than the opposite? A test – if he’d been able to carry out his plan, would Missy have come to his aid – one hell of a risk to take.

    I do still think Missy is genuinely trying her best, just because that will make it more tragic when whatever is going to happen happens 🙁

    Charlie Cook @cookgroom

    Apologies if I missed someone else saying this, but those of from the Original Series know that Nardole’s story about the Marie Celeste was incorrect – it was the Daleks travelling in a time machine that made everyone jump overboard 🙂

    Nick @nick


    The Chase. I’ve certainly seen some of those episodes although I’m not sure that all of it survives.

    janetteB @janetteb

    @cookgroom I think Nardole was spinning a tale for the amusement of the locals. Nardole “going native” was one of the delights of the episode. I feel as though we need more moments with Nardole, Bill and the Doctor in the Tardis.

    Oh and popcorn is now added to the Doctor Who party menu. Question; does popcorn really explode like that if thrown on a fire? Second question, Why was Nardole carrying a bag of unpopped popcorn?

    finally got to re watch the episode alone with head set so caught all the dialogue I missed on first watch. Watching the end I wondered if at the end of the previous series Missy sees the Doctor as changed because she has changed.

    One undercurrent in this series is the suggestion that the Doctor is being self indulgent in forgiving Missy and putting the world at risk. This would mean that Missy is playing with him, leading him on, which of course completely contradicts my earlier post where I stated that the main theme of this series is forgiveness, need for compromise and rule of compassion which would require Missy to join with the Doctor or undermine that moral message. I still think that trust and cooperation will win out though not without some testing of loyalties.

    I wonder if Nardole has a bigger role to play. The Doctor brought him back to life possibly using some of his own regeneration energy. Is Nardole actually some kind of splinter Doctor, the shadow Doctor, created to be a kind of external conscience?



    Charlie Cook @cookgroom

    @nick not sure if has been released on DVD, but I have The Chase on a set of Dalek videos released in a Tardis

    Charlie Cook @cookgroom

    @nick having just looked it up, my set was a Dalek tin not Tardis (that must be some other episodes), and the full series IS available on DVD

    Nick @nick


    Please forgive me if my recollection is faulty, but isnt Nardole a bio-android ? Not so different in conception from a Cyberman even. I wonder if you look at Nardole as being the a mirror image of the Cyberman, there’s an added (moral ?) depth to Moff’s overall story for the season ? I wonder if that is deliberate or an happy accident.

    Your idea that Nardole acts as an external conscience makes sense to me, but I think it’s River’s oversight and conception of what the Doctor;s conscience should be, that’s at play.

    The more the season has gone on, the more I would have wanted to see the continued adventures of the three of them. Is that going to add poignancy to the finale though ?

    wolfweed @wolfweed

    Nick @nick


    Thanks. I must own the DVD then.

    Frobisher @frobisher


    Is that… is that… is that a duck?


    wolfweed @wolfweed

    @frobisher ha! Yes, Pictish Beast has a very ducky head, what with the beak & all…


    Not enough ducks & penguins or indeed any type of beaked creature in Dr Who…

    MissRori @missrori

    @janetteb It will be interesting to see how the Missy-Doctor relationship plays out.  Now there is some self-indulgence in the Doctor keeping her around instead of letting her fry, because he’s lost so many people in his life and she’s the only one whom he can fully relate to, as opposed to us pudding brains he still struggles to understand.  A last link to the past when he has to keep running.

    At the same time he clearly doesn’t fully trust her and is scared by the hope she can be redeemed, because he knows how badly that could go wrong even if she’s sincere.  And think of all he gave up by not executing her.  If he’d just been watching over a vault with a corpse in it, he would probably not have to worry too much about his usual travels in the TARDIS, and have his freedom.  A living Missy, one he knows can easily escape if she wants to, is a whole other story.  He has to attend to her, tell her bedtime stories, put up with her attitude.  He isn’t free, he isn’t having adventures; the odd Harmony Shoal affair aside, he is marking decades with lectures and watching the world go by.  He isn’t passing through, helping out, learning.  He’s growing stagnant instead of truly growing as a person.

    I think that’s behind his willingness to risk Missy being out of the Vault and in the TARDIS, and what’s to come in the finale.  Because even if she’s made a little process in developing a capacity for goodness while stewing in that Vault, even if their relationship is a little warmer, he’s putting off just dealing with her out in the open, seeing who she really is and could be.

    Nardole complains about him having adventures with Bill, but those experiences have reminded him that he’s capable of being more than just the jailer.  Every day she stews in the Vault is another day he puts off coming to terms with her and finally seeing whether she’s worth re-befriending or not, whether she is capable of goodness.  But once he does that…no matter how tragic the outcome may be for him, or others…he will be able to move on and let go if that’s what’s best for him, and her in a way.

    He did the right thing by not letting her fry, never mind if she sees him as vain, arrogant, and sentimental for that.  He’s done a right thing by keeping her from hurting others.  But he can’t do the latter forever, in the end, or even for 1000 years.

    ichabod @ichabod

    @janetteb  I wonder if Nardole has a bigger role to play. The Doctor brought him back to life possibly using some of his own regeneration energy. Is Nardole actually some kind of splinter Doctor, the shadow Doctor, created to be a kind of external conscience?

    Oh, that’s tasty!

    @nick  The more the season has gone on, the more I would have wanted to see the continued adventures of the three of them. Is that going to add poignancy to the finale though ?

    It’s going to be killer at my house, in any case.  I really don’t want this season to end . . .

    @wolfweed  — that is the Duck of Doom if ever I’ve seen one!

    @missrori  he’s putting off just dealing with her out in the open, seeing who she really is and could be.
    Nardole complains about him having adventures with Bill, but those experiences have reminded him that he’s capable of being more than just the jailer.

    Yes, restlessness, the growing unease of a natural rolling stone pinned down by — responsibility, however willingly undertaken.  Tears before bedtime, sure as I’m sitting here  . . .

    MissRori @missrori

    @ichabod (cuddles)  I’m sorry to make you cry.  I think many people are crying right now tonight…

    ichabod @ichabod

    Thanks, but not yet — I don’t get to see WEaT until tomorrow morning!  “Had we but world enough and time, Lady, this coyness were no crime — ”  I first looked that up after reading a very good thriller called “The Iron Gates” by Margaret Millar, many years ago, and finding out where that title came from.  “Time’s winged chariot, hurrying near” — if I have that right — is that what the Doctor is running from?  Like the rest of us, but for much longer.   Hmm.

    Bed-time!  Story in the morning.  Nothing like some decades of life to teach you to accept the rewards of delayed gratification.

    Missy @missy

    @missroriI think many people are crying right now tonight…

    Not now, but I was.



    Mudlark @mudlark

    There is a great deal of catching up for me to do and it is probably a bit late in the day for me to be commenting on this thread, but I got to watch World Enough and Time only yesterday evening and need to collect my thoughts and, for preference, read the comments on that before contributing my ha’p’orth, so I may as well start here.

    Given the Doctor’s extended and temporally convoluted life spans he can perhaps be forgiven a certain chronological inexactitude, and the anachronisms did not detract significantly from my enjoyment of the episode.  This is the whoniverse, anyway, so we should not expect things to be exactly as they are in our own, more mundane world.

    Having said that, I’m going to don my archaeologist/historian’s hat and talk about the anachronisms, so feel free to skip the next bit.

    It is interesting that the Doctor – or the Tardis – chose to describe the inhabitants of North East Scotland in the early second century as Picts, because the first recorded use of that name is around two centuries later and was, in any case, applied to them by Greek and Roman writers, probably from the Latin picti, painted people.  I note that neither Kar and her followers nor the survivors of the Ninth Legion used that name, and Kar and co. would have been more likely to identify themselves by one of the regional tribal names –  rendered by writers of the Classical world as Caledonii, Taexali or Vacomagi.

    @wolfweed has noted the resemblance of the ‘Pictish’ cairn to the Mound of the Hostages at Tara in Ireland, which it more closely resembles than the equivalent in Scotland, but these are all Neolithic passage graves, constructed between 3000 and 2500 years before the second century AD and more than a millennium and a half out of use by that time.  The standing stone near the entrance of the cairn was decorated with spiral patterns, which is consistent with a Neolithic date, but the Pictish symbol stones are dated no earlier than the sixth century, so long after the disappearance of the Ninth Legion from the record.  No one, as far as I know, has yet found a depiction of the Tardis on any of them, but who nose what may be revealed by excavation in the future 🙂

    As usual, there were a lot of details to savour and, like @wolfweed , I very much liked the nod to Irish and Scottish folklore regarding the inhabitants of the ancient mounds – the aes sidhe (old Irish) or daoine sith (Scots); the ‘Good People’ or ‘Fair Folk’, never to be referred to directly by name, since it was unwise to draw their attention.  Time was different in the realm beneath the mounds, as mortals who strayed or were lured into it found to their cost. The subdued light in which much of the episode was filmed contributed much to that sense of eeriness and otherness.

    At the centre of the story was not just a monster, and not just an alternative solution to a mystery but, once again, the resolution of conflict.  As @soundworld said, Kar’s speech about the Romans and their rapacious ways was in part a paraphrase of the speech which Tacitus put into the mouth of Calgarus, the leader of the Caledonian federation, before the battle of Mons Graupius.  What Calgarus said on that occasion, if anything, was probably very different, but it is interesting that a Roman historian could empathise sufficiently to imagine such a speech.  Once Kar has had her say, though the survivors of two hostile peoples, brought face to face and enabled to understand one another’s speech, are here brought to a sense of their common responsibility for their predicament and of the need to face and defeat the common threat summoned in response to their war.  And once again the Doctor has an opportunity to denounce those who see war as a sane, mature and effective means of resolving conflict –  just as, in different circumstances, he did in the Zygon Inversion. It is significant, I think, that the surviving protagonists here were all teenagers who had to be exhorted, like Bonnie the Zygon,  to ‘grow up’

    In Kill the Moon and, more recently, in Thin Ice, the Doctor placed the burden of decision on his human companion, but it seems he isn’t always consistent in these matters and here, as @blenkinsopthebrave observed, he takes the opposite stance, and it had to be pointed out to him that it is not for him to decide who takes on the burden of holding the light-eaters at bay. It is the erstwhile foes who, having ‘grown up’, who can and must determine to take on the task together.



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