Doctor Who: Mummy on the Orient Express

Doctor Who (Photo: Adrian Rogers / BBC)
Doctor Who (Photo: Adrian Rogers / BBC)

Doctor Who continues to be compelling watching with a mummy on a train and deeper trouble for Clara’s relationship with The Doctor and Danny.

I’m starting to feel like a broken record when it comes to Doctor Who – every week I seem to hit the same points: the show is noticeably darker this season, the Doctor is gruffer, and Clara is dealing with the dark side of being a companion.  What’s making for some harder-than-usual coverage of a show is making for some absolutely fantastic television.  A change of Doctor has been a breath of fresh air when it comes to the tone and direction of the show.

One thing I’ve been dancing around in my reviews because I wasn’t sure it was the case is what got spelled out explicitly this week: Clara has a TARDIS addiction, and it’s not as easy for her to break up with the Doctor as she’d like it to be.  On one hand, who can blame her – once you’ve seen the wonders that blue box can bring you to, it’s hard to say no to one more voyage.  But what Clara’s starting to see is that this is starting to take over a little too much of her life – Danny’s been able to get her to realize that she can’t completely leave the real world behind.

But enough about that for now.  Let’s talk about the awesome styling/plotting this episode.  This is the first tribute to Agatha Christie the show’s done since “The Unicorn and the Wasp”, and of the two, this is the stronger episode1.  The Deco and other 20s touches in the design and costuming this episode were lovely, especially once everything was revealed, and the larger nods to Christie’s works (like everyone in one room) were a nice nod that didn’t need to constantly remind us of what it was referencing.  I particularly liked GUS, once his endgame was revealed, and Perkins in general.  Also, let’s not forget that there was a mummy this episode!  On a space version of the Orient Express!

After calling this a “last hurrah” and preparing to call it quits after this, I was rooting for Clara…right up until after her phone call with Danny at the end of the episode where she claimed he had a change of heart.  Ultimately, she needs to decide if she’s going to travel with the Doctor full time or not (which, with her job and her boyfriend who doesn’t appear to be joining the TARDIS crew anytime soon, doesn’t appear to be happening), and to give this a clean break.  Clara has moments of clarity where she realizes she can’t going like this forever, but still seems to try to have a foot in both worlds.  This already ended poorly only a few episodes ago, and I can only see ending in tears if Clara’s not careful (and as the end of the series quickly approaches, we may be seeing some tears soon.

Stray Thoughts:

  • Apparently the lounge singer on the train was British singer Foxes.
  • “Old ladies die all the time.  It’s practically their job description!”
  • The explanation of the mummy was particularly well done in terms of finding something new.
  1. if only because this episode isn’t screaming “LOOK! AGATHA CHRISTIE” with every stylistic choice  

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About Ben Smith 228 Articles
Ben has been writing about TV, music, and pop culture in some form or another since 2009, including stints at Mental Floss and Temporary Obsession. When not solving puzzles of some sort or consuming pop culture at a frightening pace, he can be found collecting shiny pieces of the internet at E-mail: