Mummy on the Orient Express (808)
Best episode title since “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship”!
If one word could sum up this episode, it’d be “confusing.” Clara’s behavior was confusing. The story was confusing. Well, not the immediate plot, to figure out the Foretold; but the end game left a lot up in the air. (More in a moment.)
The story was actually quite fun. What’s not to love about a mummy on the Orient Express… in space? The Twelfth Doctor takes Clara on One Last Hurrah—and we all know how this will end, because Clara just can’t let it go. (Stay tuned for more.)
Did you notice the Albert Einstein look-alike among the scientists and experts on the train? Of course it wasn’t the real Albert Einstein. If it had been, he’d have had a larger role, or at least a line or two. It was a fun touch, much like the nod to Eleven in “The Caretaker,” before faux-Eleven became a minor plot point.
Creepy scene of the week goes to the mummy walking through the doctor, with mummy fingers emerging from the Doctor’s eyeballs. Ew! Well done and effectively disturbing.
But the mummy and the space train merely served as a back drop for the Story of Clara. After all the drama the Doctor put her through, leaving her for dead in “Kill the Moon,” and making her lie to Maisie here, Clara does a 180. Turns out she’s pretty comfortable with lying, considering she lied to both Danny and the Doctor.
Would Clara’s ultimate decision have been the same had she witnessed the Doctor’s nonchalance at seeing the kitchen crew floating, frozen in space. Probably not, because she’s still addicted to the Doctor, choosing him over Danny.
Watching the episode a second time helped clear up a bit of the before-mentioned plot confusion. Who was behind this disaster? It wasn’t Gus the computer, he was working for someone else. My guess is it has something to do with the mysterious Missy. Doctor Who is great at taking what appear to be small hints throughout the season (Bad Wolf, the girl with the crack in her wall) and culminating them in the season finale. Which isn’t that far away!
In case you missed it, season 8 is The Year of The Clara. Other than the wibble-wobble of the past two weeks, I’ve enjoyed Clara with Twelve. I don’t begrudge all the time given to her, being that we’ve had a dramatically new Doctor this season. But I’m sure there’s more to her story.
James Mathieson wrote both “Flatline” and “Mummy on the Orient Express,” so I’d say he’s a keeper. Both episodes were extremely entertaining, featuring great mysterious and creepy adversaries.
“Flatline” felt like a good old-fashioned (dare I say “classic”?) Doctor Who. The Tiny TARDIS and its ensuing visual gags were hilarious. The Doctor saving himself ala Thing from the Addams Family was inspiring. Should I ever make it to a con, I might cosplay by sticking my hand out of a tiny blue box.
The nemesis was new, and a complete unknown. It would have been more interesting if the 2-D creatures had been something more than simple monsters, but I suspect the “easy” ending was more a matter of time more than lazy writing. Anything more involved would have required two episodes, which isn’t on the agenda this year.
Charlie (Emergency Awesome on YouTube) mentioned the TARDIS in Siege Mode looks much like the Pandorica. It does! But he dismissed the similarity as meaning anything. Instead, he’s spent much of this season contemplating the meaning of Missy, and has encouraged comments speculating about who she is. I’m obviously not a Whovian because, even though she’ll likely have some big part in the season finale, I’m not particularly interested. Are you?