Mummy on the Orient Express

What sounds like an Agatha Christie mystery is actually this week’s episode of Doctor Who. You know the drill; this review of “Mummy on the Orient Express” includes several Spoilers as I am laying out my thoughts. Proceed with caution!

I loved this episode from start to finish! All the references, the cameos and the whole 20’s look of it – brilliant! Visually, this episode really was another gem of this Series. In my opinion, putting the clock on screen was another smart move. But let’s not just talk about cinematography, but about the storyline as well. This episodes was supposed to serve as final farewell journey for Clara and the Doctor before they part their ways. Of course, in the end she couldn’t leave him, because just like a drug addict, she needed another shot of adventure. But let’s break it down a little more:

  • I was actually surprised to see Clara in this episode. As much as I love her, I expected the Doctor to sulk a little after their huge fight last week and to go on an adventure by himself. However, in the end I didn’t mind at all that Clara was on board, because the episode was not centered around her. I enjoyed seeing them talk about their fight and their future together. Clara’s relationship with the Doctor is so special and I am never sure how to categorize it, but not everything needs a label anyway – I just love their dynamic together. Also, I am really glad that Danny doesn’t stand in the way of Clara and the Doctor hanging out together, but I would like to actually see him tag along on one (or several) trip(s).
  • All through this season, I had the impression that the Doctor wasn’t even fazed or distressed when people died around him. It seemed like that wasn’t much different this episode, but I then was relieved to see him step up and actually put an effort into saving people. He is not heartless, well he in fact has two hearts, and I am happy about that.
  • The Mummy as a monster wasn’t the most terrible idea I’ve ever seen, but they always rush the ending so much. The creatures seem invincible and intricate most of the time and then they get defeated in a matter of seconds. Literally 66 seconds this time! I don’t want to complain too much, because this episode was mostly very well executed, but this is more of general feeling throughout the entire season so far. Please don’t keep rushing the endings!
  • I thought it was funny that all the experts, doctors and so on, looked a bit like famous dead scientists. Did I spy an Einstein?
  • Again no Missy!  With all those people dying, I thought she’d make an appearance for sure. But maybe she is behind “Gus”? Who knows …
  • Loved some of the cameos and actors. That interpretation of “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Foxes was amazing – I didn’t think I’d hear a Queen song on Doctor Who when I got up this morning. Also, Frank Skinner as Perkins was delightful and amazingly helpful to the Doctor. When he first appeared, he seemed a little creepy to me – lurking in the shadows and all – but he then redeemed himself. You should never say “No” to the Doctor though, when he asks you to tag along on the TARDIS.
  • The references were great and I was sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for them to come up. On the one hand there was the obvious one to “The Empty Child” – meaning “Are you my Mummy?” – and on the other hand there was the reference to “The Big Bang“. When the Doctor said that Gus tried to coax him into coming before, he actually referenced to the time of Amy’s and Rory’s wedding where the Doctor got a call, where it was mentioned that an Egyptian goddess was loose on the Orient Express in space. I know that a lot of people are tired of the references to Matt Smith/Eleven, but I will never be one of them.

So, I probably forgot to mention something, but if that something comes up, we can just discuss it in the comments. “Flatline” looks like another potentially creepy episode. As always, I’m already looking forward to more next week. Read you soon!

14 thoughts on “Mummy on the Orient Express

  1. This is probably my favorite episode so far in Series 8. I was surprised to see Clara too, but in the end I didn’t end up complaining. The plot was awesome, even if the ending was a little rushed, and I did not see that twist at the end about it being a soldier from a forgotten war. And we did see that even if he uses underhanded methods, the Doctor really does care and tries his hardest to keep people alive. And I loved that Queen song! I hope they release that as a single on iTunes, because I’d so download it in a heartbeat (Time Lord heartbeat, that is).
    And I really enjoyed the references. “The Empty Child” and “The Doctor Dances” are two of my favorite episodes.
    Still, I do find it a bit hard to believe that the Doctor thought that nothing bad would happen if he stepped onto the train after so many mysterious invitations That’s like being warned not to enter a condemned building and being surprised when the floor collapses underneath you. Then again, it wouldn’t be the first time someone has hoped for impossible things

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    • The episode was great, right? The rushed ending didn’t bother me in this episode as much as it did in others, but I just wish they’d take more time to resolve things sometimes.

      Loved the song! They actually put the full version on YouTube and I think there were some snippets of shooting material we haven’t seen yet in there. At least I saw Cyberman, and they definitely haven’t been in episodes yet.

      I used to love the Moffat episode during he RTD era. They were mostly my favourites back then, so yeah, I adored the Empty Child and The Doctor Dances a lot!

      I think the Doctor wanted something to happen on his last trip with Clara. He just doesn’t do boring.

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  2. The Foxes thing was kind of meaningless to me here in the States (for the, what, 7 seconds she was on screen). However, I had totally forgotten about that call in The Big Bang — thanks for the reminder, that was very well spotted!! I also noticed Einstein (who also cameo’s in a Classic Series adventure in 1987). Lastly, love your point about the Doctor stepping up and making a serious effort to save Maysie’s life, after it appeared that he didn’t care — I took away the point that the Doctor has cared all along, but just chooses not to show it (most of the time).

    BTW, there were a ton of references to the Classic Series, too… I’m writing about those now!

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    • I’m not from the UK either and I don’t know that much about Foxes, but I do like her rendition of the song. They even made a music video for the whole version of it with yet unfeatured scenes of this season.
      I’m always so happy when I spot the references! It is more ilkely that I only notice obvious things, so I was really proud of myself for remembering the Big Bang. I’m going to read your post on it later! Can’t wait to be enlightened about all the things I did miss.

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  3. It might be a while before I watch this episode, but I thought this space would be appropriate to tell you that I am now at Season 2 Episode 9. It was the first part of the first season that I had a hard time watching, but once I got beyond that I started having fun! Will probably take another week before I am fully caught up though.

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    • I’m so glad you didn’t give up! I had a feeling that, like many people, you just need a little time to warm up to it. When you’re all caught up and somewhere among the recent episodes, you’ll have to tell me which Doctor is your favourite, what episodes you liked and which companion you like best!

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  4. I thought the “rushed ending” was very Doctor-y-like… I mean, he clearly tells everyone that if he could see the Foretold, he would be able to end it, which means that everyone that died before and gave him some info, that wouldn’t be relevant for the ending – which obviously meant that the Doctor would solve it in the 66 seconds he was given with the mummy… very Doctor!

    I hate that Clara lied like that, I know now that that will keep happening and it’s not a good thing, I just thought it was utterly wrong of her to do it.

    I loved this episode though, love the countdown on screen, the visual was magnificent.

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