Six Smart Women Discussing Doctor Who

What a fascinating discussion this week’s Doctor Who episode lends itself to. Join Deb, Erika, and Tansy as we discuss women who are allowed to fail and still be heroes, the sexual politics of Romans, the Doctor’s (possible?) impatience, Bill’s outlook on history and its denizens, Nardole as a “space tourist”, and much more.

Erika, of all people, even has a cracktastic fan theory about the next season of the show. Incredibly unlikely, but kinda fun, depending on your outlook.

What did you think about this story? Was it slight? Were the stakes high? Was the monster the point? Was the doctor impatient or irritable or something else? What’s up with Missy? SO MANY QUESTIONS. Please feel free to play in the comment section like it’s one big happy fandom sandbox.


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Download or listen now (runtime 1:09:37) 

Comments on: "Episode 142 – The Death Eaters of Light" (7)

  1. Reblogged this on Confessions of a Curator, Editor, Geek and commented:

    New Verity!

  2. Deb, you’re coming to Minneapolis? Is that for CONvergence or something else? I went to the Verity! Spotting page to see why, and see that lonely page has not been updated in so very long. 😦

    I really loved The Eaters of Light. It didn’t knock Thin Ice off this season’s pedestal for me, but I look forward to watching it again.

  3. Deb, I downloaded that Big Finish audio of Captain Jack as soon as it was advertised as available (2 weeks ago) and Omg it is awesome!!!!! I’m still in the middle of the 3rd story. This compilation is definitely one that I will listen to again and again.

  4. Anton B said:

    Another fine episode Verities! I’m astonished however that, in regard to Erika’s crackpot tin-hat theory, none of you have made the obvious leap (which I’ve been clinging onto all series or at least since Ms Gomez was revealed as the occupant of the vault) that the regeneration has already happened! Moffat said he was going to do something different this time. What if, at the series finale Capaldi regenerates into Michelle Gomez? Then the 130th Doctor (Gomez) knowing this particular body to be unstable and prone to evil has to find the 12th Doctor (Capaldi) at a previous point in the time-line so she can be locked in a vault and taught to be good. Which is where we came in.

    • Anton B said:

      *13th Doctor(Gomez) of course.
      Excuse the typo. Who knows who the 130th Doctor will be?

  5. Richard S said:

    First of all, I have to confess I’ve only recently seen the whole of Survival. When it was originally broadcast on the BBC, I gave up watching after part one. Not so much because of the low production values (I love the equally ropey Kinda). No, the main reason I switched off was the dispiritingly unlikeable, unfunny and often badly acted cast of supporting characters.

    This time, thanks to the excellent DVD box set, I did make it through the whole three episodes. Found it strangely reassuring that I would’ve probably quit the story even harder during the annoying set-piece in the middle of part two.

    Going into The Eaters of Light, I was fascinated to see how Rona’ s work would be interpreted by a production team with better FX toys, arguably a more pragmatic view of the show’s budgetary limitations, and a proven high standard of quality casting.

    That last thing there. Casting. Absolutely astonishing this time. The guest cast made the story so watchable, so engaging, really heightened the degree of peril for me. I’ve been waiting a long time for a cast as good as this, and scripted as well as this. Probably the best cast since ‘Time Heist’. I was blown away by the energy of Rebecca Benson as the lead female character, Kar, and I hope she’ll become as much of a DW regular as Lisa Bowerman who played Survival’s female lead, Kar(ra).

    A few other similarities between the two Rona Munro stories… I had to re-re-watch part one of ‘Survival’ to check a line of dialogue about Ace’s friends. I thought she said the gang used to meet up on the hill to burn stuff. In fact, she said they went there to: “Light a fire, muck about, you know.” I’d previously had a head-canon of Ace & her friends running amok with magnifying glasses, concentrating the rays of the sun on any living thing they took a dislike to. But nope That type of behaviour is more suited to different youths from a much more recent episode.

    The theme of cowardice actually reminded me of the one (human) Scottish character in ‘Survival’, Sergeant Paterson, a bullying self-defence instructor who turned out to be (surprise!) quite cowardly and ultimately self-deluding. I found him annoying, and I’m glad Rona decided this time to give the male characters more of a thoughtful (if equally unjustified) view of themselves.

    I’m also glad Rona toned down the thematic aspects of the script. In her previous story, the presentation of the main theme was a little more bludgeon-y, with unconnected pairs of characters each discussing the phrase “survival of the fittest” purely to ram the topic home to the viewer. That kind of writing is okay… for situations where you need to take a shot whenever a character says the title.

    I could discuss this episode’s visual representation of the “male” force emerging from the “female” landscape… but I won’t, and it’s probably too simplistic a reading of those scenes.

    Overall, The Eaters of Light goes high on my list of fav Capaldi stories, due to the exceptionally high standard of acting. Better than Thin Ice? Probably.

    Regarding the TARDIS team, I’d agree with Deb that it’s been a relief to have a companion with no distracting arc. I enjoyed the original one about the Bad Wolf, but the scenes of Martha’s family & Mister Saxon were quite unpleasant to watch at times, and the whole DoctorDonna thing had me rolling my eyes right from the start. (And as a knowing side note, a brief shake of the head to all those Moffat arc mysteries, often not entirely worth the time invested in watching and canoning.)

    This week’s Radio Times cover has a typically muted photo of Peter Capaldi, and the names of three people who are saying goodbye to the show. If any of these people are not, in fact, saying goodbye to the show, then I guess the BBC or the Radio Times, or both, will be in trouble yet again for misleading the public about factual matters.

    I’m sure two of the three people will return to the show at some point in the future. But for now, I’m guessing the BBC needs a clean slate and a brand new crew, after the relatively low UK ratings at the start of series nine.

  6. I loved this so much; my archaeology degrees are both focused on later European prehistory, with a little Roman stuff thrown in, so it was totally in my wheelhouse. While they never said it explicitly, I wondered if there was a visual allusion to sites like Newgrange, where the sun comes in on midsummer/midwinter – perhaps a sort of long-term solve to beating the monster.

    And ‘music under the hill’ is one of my favorite folkloric motifs; add in Romans who look like an actual Legion – and making it the Ninth – and I was so happy. I love the novels about the Ninth, even if ‘what really happened to them’ was less mysterious and more administrative (there’s a few nice podcasts about it), and the Picts were wonderful.

    This is my new favorite Nu-Who story, up there with The Unicorn and the Wasp; perhaps that says something about the longevity of stories that you could drop anywhere in the season.

    We liked it so much we went out and bought Rona Munro’s The James Plays ( – would love to get Liz’s thoughts on those!

    But overall – more historicals, please!

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