Doctor Who – Series 8, Episode 8: “Mummy on the Orient Express”

(Warning: spoilers)

* This episode has a particularly great opening, throwing us right into the action and introducing the ‘ticking clock’ device used to enhance the fear. This device worked for the most part, except the deaths tended to get a bit repetitive – the story, accordingly, flowed a bit slowly in parts, particularly in the first half of the episode.

* It was dissatisfying to see Clara suddenly back travelling with the Doctor after the events of last episode. Yes, we’re told that she was mad at him for weeks, but it would have been good to see some of it. So yeah, I didn’t buy that this really was the last hurrah, and I didn’t like how quickly Clara got over things at the end.

* Clara’s statement about not being able to travel “the way you do it” makes me wonder if things would still be OK if the Doctor hadn’t regenerated – so by “you”, she really means this particular Doctor and his particular ways, which is quite sad really.

* And we get a new version of that moment in School Reunion when the companion realises that when the Doctor says goodbye, that really is it. An suitably awkward and uncomfortable scene.

* The story starts out as a fairly intriguing mystery as we try to guess exactly who’s involved. But then we get the twist where it turns out they’re in a science lab being controlled by a computer, which is definitely a good one. This is one of the reasons I like the Moffat era; I don’t think the Davies era would have given us a twist like that. The revelation about the mummy’s true nature also works well.

* The new characters in this episode couldn’t be called one-note – but they just weren’t very interesting.

* You would have hoped the Twelfth Doctor would have learned to be a bit more sensitive about people dying by now.  But maybe that’s the point: what else can he do in these situations? As Sherlock once said, caring about the victim won’t save them. This is definitely brought home by his statement that “sometimes the only choices you can make are bad ones”.

* I was really turned off by the Doctor’s attitude towards sacrificing Miss Pitt (even if he was maybe sort-of faking it) and Clara’s agreement to lie about his intentions, which felt like a temporary regression on her part. Then there’s the scene towards the end where, for a moment, we’re really not sure if the Doctor’s telling the truth or not about saving everyone. That’s definitely something you can do convincingly with this particular Doctor.

This episode had some good twists, but was average in every other department – and I’m not feeling as warm towards the Twelfth Doctor as I was earlier. Rating: 3/5.

About R.J. Southworth

Hi there. I've been blogging since January 2014, and I like to talk about all sorts of things: book reviews, film reviews, writing, science, history, or sometimes just sharing miscellaneous thoughts. Thanks for visiting my blog, and I hope you find something that interests you!
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3 Responses to Doctor Who – Series 8, Episode 8: “Mummy on the Orient Express”

  1. Screensage says:

    The Doctor lies and so does Clara now apparently! The whole “saving people” being an addiction for The Doctor was interesting. I also liked how Clara was putting aside her feelings that she has for Twelve, because she is addicted to travelling with him, and in the words of Han Solo “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.”


    • I did get what they were going for with the addiction aspect, but Clara still switched to enthusiastic mode a little too quickly for me.

      So do you reckon they might kill Clara off? I’d be pretty sad if it happened, even though technically it’s already happened twice. I don’t think Russell T Davies would have the heart to do it, but I’m not so sure about Moffat.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Screensage says:

    I agree, I was watching the episode with my friend last night and when I saw Clara I said “what the hell?! Why is Clara with The Doctor, they better explain this!” Haha. Needless to say I was very disappointed with Clara being in the episode.

    Based on the way they ended the episode, I have a feeling Clara will be killed off. It’s very similar to Donna when she said she was going to stay with the Doctor forever, and we know how that ended up. It could be interesting if Clara “died” in the sense she doesn’t exist on the show, but she is stuck in an endless time loop like Simon on “Misfits.”

    To answer your question I definitely think they might kill Clara off, but probably in a fashion similar to Amy and Rory in “The Angels Take Manhattan.” That sendoff was both heartbreaking and happy, because Amy and Rory got to live their lives out together.


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