Spoilers will rise.
We’re off to a new magical destination on Doctor Who 8×08: Mummy on the Orient Express. Clara has reunited with the Doctor for one last hurrah. It’s the Orient Express in space. There’s a mummy on board that only a few can see. And the circumstances are possibly a plan set in motion by an enemy of the Doctor. Yes, I am jumping ahead. Let me find my place here.
First of all, it seems we’ve amped the adventure to full power. As it happens, it will be on purpose but before we get into that… I was a bit peeved with the way this started because it seemed like the entire dramatic act of the last episode between Clara and The Doctor had been severely diminish. So it did feel a little bit like a shiny object waved in front of our faces to forget the seriousness from last week.
As it happens, it turns out the Doctor and Clara have not been on speaking terms. I know we watch this show for the adventure, but were they scared they had amped the drama too much? Is that why they decided to skip the tense moments that would’ve resulted? I really think we should have had at least one transition episode. I think they dropped the ball there, that was an opportunity to really analyze the Doctor-companion relationship.
That being said, this episode was nicely done. Either that, or I guess I am the young kid at heart that was fooled by all the shiny-ness. We’ve got a mummy, the Foretold. A creature that only appears to the intended victim which it haunts and kills in 65 seconds. It first kills an old woman. Her granddaughter, Maisie, runs into the Doctor and Clara and immediately denounces the Doctor as a liar when he mentions an event from a different time.
The show does give Clara a few heart to heart moments with Maisie as they both end trapped with what looks like the mummy’s sarcophagus. Meanwhile, the Doctor makes allies of Perkins, the chief engineer and Professor Moorhouse, an expert in myths. He doesn’t get much cooperation from Captain Quell, the conductor.
While the body count mounts, the Doctor is on to the man behind the curtain, the computer of the train, Gus. This is a setup for the Doctor. Poor Professor Moorhouse becomes the target of the Foretold. The Doctor once again shows his ruthless side as he coldly asks the victim-to-be to detail his plight. He asks Clara to lie to Maisie and bring her over as he has deduced she’s the next victim. The lie? That he can save her.
It’s a little bit of a crossroad as Clara decides to once more lie for the Doctor… but as it happens he does have a plan. And turns himself into the next target of the Foretold. I’ll leave it to you to find out how the Doctor resolves what the mummy wants before the time is out.
In the epilogue, we get to see Clara and the Doctor resolve their differences. Wait… Did they? No, not really. Clara just lied. This is going to become trouble. Does this mean that being a companion is actually an addiction to her? However, I have to say that this could still be an interesting storyline to watch.
An enjoyable episode despite some lost opportunities.
- The Doctor uses the ruthless card once more, but it’s a ruse. He’s playing for the audience. In the end, he might only have had a plan with uncertain results but still, that’s better than just plain using Maisie. Of course he was also playing it up for the audience at home.
- There’s a bunch of easter eggs, including the fact that this Orient Express has been referenced before. Fitting into a much larger plan, that does mean the Doctor is being pursued by someone or something that is also capable of chasing him through time.
- The Doctor offers jellybabies to Professor Moorhead.
- Perkings: “You know, Doctor, I can’t tell if you’re a genius or just incredibly arrogant!” The Doctor: “On a good day, I’m both.”
- A mini-high. When the Doctor is in his room, he talks to himself. It’s obvious that he doesn’t have anybody to bounce ideas against. What isn’t obvious is that he needs Clara here. More stress and more admittance on this would have enriched him as a character.
- What was the point on having the doctors and professors analyze the Foretold? It’s pretty obvious. Gus was trying to analyze the Doctor.
- I’m not sure how to treat Clara’s cover-up at the end. Is it a path to self destruction? Will it make for an interesting storyline? There’s potential here.
- The dramatic scene from last week’s Kill The Moon presented a great opportunity, but it was squandered away. Weeks have past and they’re back to speaking terms, although apparently on their “last hurrah” trip.
- Clara is trapped with Maisie and they talk about The Doctor. Way to fail the Bechdel test. Clara even says the premise of two women being stuck with each other and all they can talk about is “some man.” It seems like a direct dig, which I guess tries to be amusing.
- Chief Engineer Perkins would have made a great addition to the TARDIS, but alas it was not to be.
- The great opportunity wasted by skipping all the weeks that Clara and the Doctor were not in speaking terms. Did were really want this solved so quickly? Oh yeah, right I forgot. It’s not really solved at all…
That will do for now.