Sci-Fi · TV & Movies

Doctor Who Review: “Mummy on the Orient Express”

Doctor Who Review Mummy on the Orient Express
We Geek Girls

Well, that was disappointing. No, not the episode… the fact that Clara was in it. I never really thought she was GONE, but I was hoping we’d get a week off. Nope. That said, “Mummy on the Orient Express” was still leagues ahead of “Kill the Moon,” and I actually did enjoy it. A pretty typical New Who episode, but done quite competently.

I’m not sure how much else I have to say about this… But I’m sure I’ll think of something:

  • I liked the supporting characters, although I wish there had been more than one woman. Any of those people could’ve been genderbent without hurting the episode, and it might’ve made a few of them more interesting and less typical.
  • I liked the setting. I felt like they used the Twenties and the train well to create a mood and a closed-in space, and those qualities stuck around even after the trappings disappeared.
  • The mummy was creepy. Something about its inexorability, combined with how you KNOW you only have a minute to live, and that’s not nearly long enough to do all the things you realize you wanted to do, but just long enough for you to realize all those things and start to cry.
  • I loved the jelly baby case!
  • I REALLY loved the Doctor’s conversation with himself toward the beginning. He was basically being his own companion in that scene, and doing a way better job of it than Clara!
  • Good god, I just hate Clara so much right now. Even after everything that happened in the last episode, she thinks the Doctor will just come by for dinner sometimes? That this isn’t the last time she’ll see him? Yeah, he’s so obsessed with you he won’t be able to stay away. That’s totally gonna happen. Because it’s all about you.

On that note, I have two burning questions. (Spoiler alert.)

One, who asked who to go on this last hurrah? It’s painfully unclear. I assume Clara called him and he said yes. If it was his idea, I’ll be very unhappy. (If this was clarified in the episode, please tell me — I’m one of those people who can’t always understand their accents.)

Two, the Foretold has been a legend for ages and ages, yeah? And part of the legend is that if you say the right word, it’ll stop? But when the Doctor says the right word, the Foretold disintegrates. Are we to understand that there are many of these leftover soldiers wandering around killing people? Because otherwise, how would anybody know that saying the right word would stop it?

Regarding Clara and Maisie getting out of the locked room, it was locked because Gus wouldn’t open it without executive authorization. I figure when he realized Maisie was the next victim and he needed her in the lab, he gave himself authorization to open the door.

Here’s my final thought, firmly under the spoiler alert: 

I did like Perkins, the engineer guy, but I really thought he was the villain in the final scene. Nope, just being set up for a companion invitation so we can hear AGAIN that being a companion changes people. Oh noooo, not the changing! So dark and edgy! Somebody help!

Actually no. Being a main character on a TV show changes people, because that’s how stories work. The Doctor is involved only in that he changes people into better people. Where did this idea come from that the Doctor changing you is a bad thing? In general, companions walk off the Tardis as more mature, more interesting, more compassionate people than they were when they started, so what’s the big deal? I guess his current companion is a pretty horrible person, but she was always that way.

Can you tell I’m sick of Clara yet?

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14 thoughts on “Doctor Who Review: “Mummy on the Orient Express”

  1. The transcript for this episode hasn’t gone up on line yet, and I’m not at home to check the video… but my recollection of her conversation wtih Danny at the end, is that she tells him it’s over with the Doctor… and then turns right around and lies to the Doctor that Danny is OK with her staying on board the TARDIS. I intepreted it as Jenna Coleman playing it up as a blatant, obvious lie, and adding a tinge of manic desperation. Which hints at a major future confrontation between her, Danny, and the Doctor in one of the final four episodes, about her decision to lie to both of the men in her life.

    Meanwhile, is it confirmed that Jenna Coleman is actually leaving? We know she’s around through the Xmas special, but so far, the only report of her leaving is an unconfirmed statement in the Mirror. Which… not the most credible source.

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    1. I rewatched the episode last night. Basically she has a normal conversation with Danny that the train adventure is over and she’ll be back shortly, then runs up to the Doctor and says she wants to keep traveling with him. She blames it all on Danny, that he wanted her to stop but changed his mind, so it’s all fine now. So yeah, she did lie to both of them in a slightly manic fashion!

      You’re right, it’s not confirmed. I believe she gave an interview that she wouldn’t say one way or the other, because knowing would spoil the end of the season (or possibly the special). So that’s just conjecture at the moment, although I think it would make sense for her from a business point of view. (And obviously I’d like that to happen. 😉 )

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  2. I totally agree. The episode itself wasn’t so bad, and I like that it was reminiscent of some classic Who. But. It began with a WTF? and ended with a WTF?

    Tell me if I missed something, but Clara did an about face because Danny told her it was ok (the subtext being he isn’t making her choose, aka breaking up over it). I couldn’t even write my review on time because I was afraid I was missed a detail and misinterpreted, and also because I couldn’t trust myself to not just post a big ol’ rant at Part Time Monster, a blog which I do not officially have any ownership in.

    I’ve got a lot of pent up frustration at this point. I’ve been critical but nice, led with the things I liked, and retained my optimism up to this point, but really I am with you, and with Will on Clara the character. Want. To. Be. Done. With. Her.

    And I hope Jenna Coleman’s next gig is more worthy of her obvious talent.

    That is all I have to say in a comment, and I still have to rewatch and write a review. 😦

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    1. Although I must add an obvious addendum. We got what we wanted. Love her or hate her, Clara is no mere plot device at this point. So a little progress there, I suppose.

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      1. Heh. I have to disagree, actually. I think she was, briefly, more than a plot device in this season. But she’s just a plot device in a new way — any time there’s a dramatic moment, she’s given whatever lines would sound dramatic at that moment, with no regard for the character actually making sense.

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        1. I’m not sure, but willing to entertain that.

          Just needed to be bold for a second. Waiting on the youngun to settle down so I can rewatch.

          Am I reading that whole about-face correctly, do you think? And is it just so they don’t have to write real drama that makes coherent sense to resolve the whole Clara-Doctor dustup?

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          1. As far as I remember, I think you’re right. I’ve seen other reviews saying she lied to Danny, and that’s the part I don’t really remember.

            But I do think it is so they don’t have to write real drama. (Someone — David from Comparative Geeks? — suggested to me this week that maybe Jenna Coleman’s departure was a bit unexpected, and they’re having to wedge in a departure arc where there wasn’t one before. That might explain a lot, especially if it hasn’t been comprehensively integrated. There could still be bits of dialogue and whatnot left in from the arc they’d originally planned.

            I’m just gonna go rewatch the episode now, I’ve got time…

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          2. That could be true. If she has a savvy agent and publicist, they’ve been telling her she’s gotten all the good she’s every going to get out of that job. She’s imminently capable of getting other jobs. And it really must suck to be an acting professional at that level and get stuck being a plot device. Makes as much sense as anything else.

            The attempts to make her not-a-plot-device could be a pacification effort. I can see it.

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    2. I’m honestly still kind of fuzzy on that final conversation she had with Danny. As I mentioned, I can’t always understand the accents, and I guess I was distracted by something during that scene. I need to rewatch that bit at least.

      It is really frustrating — like most of the frustrating things on Who, the reason it’s so awful is because it’s ALMOST amazing. (And yeah, I’ll watch Jenna Coleman on her next project no matter what it is! 🙂 )

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