Doctor Who Season 8 Ep.8: Mummy on the Orient Express

October 15, 2014 — Leave a comment

At the end last week’s fairly decent – and politically charged depending on how long you stayed on Twitter – episode, Clara had ripped the Doctor a new one, leaving him to shuffle off unsure as to where it all went wrong. So, it came to a surprise to a lot of us, I’m sure, when this week the Doctor was seen stepping out of the TARDIS with… Clara in tow. Had the Moffat-haters begun sharpening their wits ready for a full on attack on the importance of continuity later that evening? Probably. Had continuity been forgotten? Nope.

Clara and The Doctor were calling it quits. Clara had decided to stake her claim in her time, with Danny by her side and a bunch of young minds to inspire. If she had been with the Tenth Doctor, he would have probably beaten the concrete, crying that life was so unfair and wondering where Rose was. The Seventh would have probably said goodbye, and then tricked her into overthrowing a dictatorship. The Third would have sloped off and driven Bessy around in a strop. The Twelth was just awkward. But oh, it was beautiful.

Taking her on board a space-bound recreation of the Orient Express, he struggled to understand what Clara was feeling. Something he’d been doing for some time, but now he’s beginning to see what he’s doing is a problem. Not, that he was going to let Clara realise that. He continued to bluff his way through his emotions, trying to cut her short on any topic to do with her leaving.

And then people started dropping dead, crying they could see a mummy stalking them. That’s always going to rain on your parade. Not that the Doctor was going to jump into the mystery with both feet. No, seemingly having learnt his lesson about dragging Clara into danger, the Doctor slinked off to his bedroom to have a good think and argument with himself. Whilst we’re on the subject, can we please have more of Capaldi’s Fourth Doctor impression, or even just hinting that he’s talking to his past selves. It’s a lovely little quirk and anchors the new to its past without alienating the casual viewer.

Obviously this is Doctor Who, so of course the Doctor made the decision to get involved. As did Clara. As I’ve hinted at in previous reviews, particularly The Caretaker, the monster of the week shenanigans the duo get caught up in aren’t necessarily the A-Story this season. Whilst the Doctor went toe to toe with a Mummy, the real monster in Jamie Mathieson’s superbly written episode was addiction. For the Doctor, it’s the thrill of the chase. When the space-train is revealed to be a lab, the Doctor wastes no time in allowing people to die in order to collate data. There was no ‘I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.’ Just calculated collateral damage, with the help of TV’s Frank Skinner.

Meanwhile, despite her protestations at once again being manipulated by the Doctor, Clara finds that she can’t quite shake the habit of time travel. Discussing her return home with Danny, in actions that echo previous companion Amy, she lies to both to him and the Doctor so she can continue to bounce around time and space. A number of comments on the internet have pointed to The Caretaker as being an episode where a woman’s choices take a backseat to the men in the room. I actually think that was a deliberate choice on the part of the Danny/Clara/Doctor triangle story. Previously Clara was flustered and allowed herself to be caught up in Danny and the Doctor’s pissing contest. Here though, Clara is fully in control of what she wants to do. I don’t think it’s her wisest decision, but for now, she does and who’s the one to take that away from her.

But she’s not the only one lying. After the Doctor tells Clara about their fantastic escape from the Orient Express, she asks him if he’s lying. He jokes that, yes, he was making it up and he left people to die. I’m with Clara. I think he’s lying too. Whilst Missy wasn’t to be seen this week, it is unusual that we didn’t get to see the Doctor being all heroic. At the end of the episode, he may have been smiling, but the days are counting down when something is going to come and bite him on his time lord posterior.

About The Author
My name is John Noonan. I’m a freelance writer that specialises in arts and entertainment. From genre flicks to chick flicks, I love the stuff. So much so, I started a film review blog at earlybirdfilm.wordpress.com. I also contribute to online and hard copy press, including FilmInk magazine.

If you like what you see, I am available for hire. You can contact me via the social media channels above or the form on my home page.

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