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Mummy On The Orient Express

ShowDoctor Who / Series VIII / Episode 8
First Broadcast2014/10/12 - 19:40 (Link: ABC Details)
Related LinksDoctor Who Wiki Wikipedia
Previous EpisodeKill The Moon
Next EpisodeFlatline

The Doctor and Clara are ostensibly on their last hurrah and the Doctor has chosen a train trip on the Orient Express in space. Naturally not all is as it seems and passengers start dying at the hands of an unseen Mummy-like monster called the Foretold. The myths surrounding the creature are remarkably precise suggesting some underlying truth.

The primary storyline of how the Doctor solves the puzzle and saves the day is gripping. We are drawn in as he callously tries to extract information from passengers who are about to die. Then he tricks the Foretold by taking on the persona of a passenger so that he can see it and solve the puzzle. And it doesn't end there. The mysterious entity behind the whole thing decides they are no longer required and the Doctor has to save them from it too.

The secondary storyline is the relationship between the Doctor and Clara. We begin with Clara trying to tell the Doctor how angry she was with him and how she almost hated him. During the episode Clara realises the Doctor knew something might happen and is again furious with him. It ends with Clara hoping the Doctor was only pretending to be heartless in order to save the day. The Doctor cryptically asks if it would make it easier for her to think that about him. He explains that sometimes you only have bad choices but you still have to make them. Clara continues to probe, asking him if he enjoys being the man who has to make the impossible choices. The Doctor replies that it is his life. Clara wonders if it is an addiction. The Doctor dodges by saying he could only know if he had tried to stop. In the end, it seems the Doctor is simply trying to help and make the best of bad situations, rather than being a good man. Clara, for her part, appears to forgive the Doctor, lies to Danny and asks to continue on in the TARDIS.

There's some nice continuity with other episodes. The Doctor implies the phone call at the end of The Big Bang is what drew him here. He offers another passenger jelly babies and (I think) imitates the fourth Doctor's voice during a soliloquy. And almost hilariously drops in "Are you my Mummy" while being attacked by the Foretold.