Villordsutch reviews Doctor Who series 8 episode 8 – ‘Mummy on the Orient Express’….
Quell: So, what are you a doctor of?
Doctor: Now, there’s a question that’s never asked often enough. Let’s say intestinal parasites.
‘Mummy on the Orient Express’ was an extremely compact episode this week which hurtled along at an amazing speed, so much so that when the credits rolled up I checked my phone under the belief that we’d been cut short on the length of the episode. It was an episode that had me smiling at the Doctor, my eldest in shock when he appears to lure Maisie (Daisy Beaumont) to her death, and also at my youngest covering her face with a pillow as soon as the clock appeared on the screen. Doctor Who is working properly again.
Harking back to a Matt Smith episode from Season 5 “The Big Bang” in which the Doctor receives a phone call within the TARDIS about an Egyptian goddess on the loose on the Orient Express (in Space); finally the Doctor and Clara arrive – a fair few hundred years later by his calendar – as a final goodbye journey for both Clara and himself. Where better to make this journey be the most memorable than on a 1920’s inspired Orient Express train-ride in outer space, clearly nothing can go wrong on this outing. As the viewer we’ve already witnessed the rather gruesome mummy kill its first victim and as the Doctor and Clara investigates this rather bizarre death, in their last “Hurrah!”, the number of terrified corpses begins to grow.
Every few minutes a the clock – showing 66 seconds – appears in the corner of the screen and begins to countdown, the lights flicker and a new victim is chosen by the undead stalker before another poor soul is hunted and is taken from this mortal coil; it’s terrifying as only the chosen victim of the Foretold can see their lumbering fate and the Doctor rather coldly has to rely on their descriptions seconds before they die. In the background of all this GUS, the AI of the train, seems to be controlling the security and when things aren’t moving along, for example when the Doctor and the scientists (we discover the train is a cunning trap to get a few top researchers together to investigate the mummy) refused too get off the phone to Clara he opens the catering carriage door and jettisons the catering crew into space to show how serious his threats are. Finally after what seems like a very cold-hearted manoeuvre from the Doctor is revealed to be a rather grand selfless act, though it could have gone terribly wrong it went extremely right, Clara see’s something in the Twelfth Doctor that finally she understands and decides – in an instant – she no longer wishes to leave him nor the TARDIS.
Though it was an extremely fast-moving episode it didn’t stop being a good episode, an episode full of pieces that made you smile, hide or be taken aback. From the Jelly Baby cigarette case which was just fantastic and the impatient beckoning of the handshake from Capaldi, he is becoming more and more brilliant for me as the weeks go on; his Doctor is quite rapidly being placed up there with the greats. Our main assistant Clara didn’t have much of a presence this week, but it was the turn of Doctor Who fan boy Frank Skinner to step into the light as our Ad Hoc assistant and it was rather excellent watching the Doctor treat this Brummy Engineer with the respect he deserved, as he in-turn was given it too.
Villordsutch likes his sci-fi and looks like a tubby Viking according to his children. Visit his website and follow him on Twitter.