Doctor Who Season 8 Episode 8 Review: Mummy on the Orient Express

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Well Doctor Who Season 8 Episode 8 certainly was a fun ride, wasn't it? The Orient Express in space!

The Time Lord and his impossible girl seem to have reached an understanding. I couldn't help but cringe every time Clara threatened to leave. Yes, I'm keeping my fingers crossed she'll stick around a little while longer.

Nice twist that the Mummy (aka the Foretold) was a victim in this adventure. The true villain was Gus, a Doctor Who version of HAL 9000.

Though Capaldi has come across as grumpy and not much fun so far this season, it was nice to see him hamming it up this week.

The guy is a terrific actor, period. Any complaints about twelve should really be directed toward Steven Moffat. After all, he's writing the guy right? Capaldi is simply doing the best he can with the scripts he's given.

That said, "Mummy on the Orient Express" is one of the few episodes I've enjoyed this season. Let's talk about why shall we?

That countdown, 66.0... A totally nerve-racking storytelling device. From the moment old Mrs. Pitt sees the creature we understand anyone it touches is history. Eeeek!

How amazing was the mummy? There's nothing quite as creepy as a mummy and for it to be the last thing you see before you die is awful.

I also enjoyed that the Doctor and Clara spent much of the episode apart. It allowed the Doctor to do his thing, while Clara came to a better understanding of what it means to be his companion.

Was she seriously going to give up traveling with The Doctor for a guy she met yesterday? Don't get me wrong, I like Danny but making her pick between her two guys is a crappy thing to do. Hearing Clara say "he's fine with it" was a relief.  I'm glad that situation resolved itself this week.

Besides, the more "the last hurrah" was mentioned the more it felt like a red herring. I'm aware of the rumors Jenna Coleman's leaving the show, but until her reps make it official I'll hold out hope that she's staying.

So the Doctor and Clara arrive in the baggage car. His excitement was genuine, though we find out later he had an ulterior motive.

There were many trains to take the name Orient Express, but only one in space.

The Doctor

Like the Doctor, I was a bit confused when Clara said she's hated him for weeks. She never hated eleven like that right? Sure he's much more insensitive and his bedside manner stinks, but there's something refreshing about how straight forward he is no?

The conversation about Mrs. Pitt is the perfect example of this "old ladies die all the time, it's practically their job description" the Doctor says.

Both Captain Quell and Professor Moorehouse were likeable characters. Hearing the Doctor tell them yeah this is the end but make it count... was rough. It was almost said jokingly. I think this is one of the things that's bugging Whovians about twelve. Later he explains he would have moved through victims like that until he beat it. Makes sense, but still cold.

Eventually the Doctor figures out that the passengers themselves are the strangest thing about this case. Experts in alien biology, mythology, physics. Did you recognize some of the geniuses Gus rounded up?

If I was putting together a team to analyze this thing, I'd pick you and I think somebody has. Someone of immense power and influence has orchestrated this whole trip.

The Doctor

I loved that the whole thing was a facade, that's not something I saw coming. When the hologram fades away Gus informs us the goal is to figure out the Foretold's true nature and to capture it. Suddenly the episode became even more interesting.

How creepy was it when Gus ejected the cooks into space? The Doctor was visibly shaken because he hung up the phone rather quickly.

The fact the Foretold chose sickly and weak victims was interesting. The chef was ill, the guard had synthetic lungs, Moorehouse suffered from panic attacks and Quell from post traumatic stress disorder.

Working hard to figure this all out and with no time to mourn, we learn the Foretold is using tech that drains energy from the living. "He's been leeched of almost all energy on a cellular level" the Doctor says. Wasn't it cool that it was not just a mummy but a vampire as well?

When the Doctor asked Clara to bring Maisie to him because she was the next victim, I was surprised Clara lied for him. Of course everything worked out because the Doctor had Maisie focus her grief, trauma, resentment and he captured it transferring it to himself.

Start the clock...

How brilliant was Capaldi in this scene? "Hello I'm so pleased to finally see you. I'm the Doctor and I will be your victim this evening. Are you my mummy?" he asks. Nice callback to Doctor Who Season 1 "The Empty Child."

Now that the Doctor can see the mummy he notices markings under the bandages like the ones of the scroll. The Foretold was a soldier, wounded thousands of years ago. "We surrender" the Doctor tells him and the mummy freezes.

The clock is stopped... The mummy salutes. "You're relieved soldier" the Doctor says.

Well Gus, I think we've solved your little puzzle. Ancient soldier being driven by malfunctioning tech.

The Doctor

Naturally, Gus doesn't require any survivors but the Doctor manages to fix the mummy's teleportation device and whisk them all to safety.

Was the Doctor pretending to be heartless so Gus wouldn't figure out the plan? He's been rather nasty since his regeneration. Are we not supposed to like this Doctor? As I said I'm hoping Clara sticks around but offering a spot to Perkins was just odd no? Pretty random if you ask me. 

So Clara's decided to stay but there's only a handful of episodes left until the Christmas special. Will she stay or will she go? What do you think?

That does it for me, what did you think of "Mummy on the Orient Express?" Is it one of  your favorite episodes of the season? Let me know in the comment section below.

Don't forget, you can watch Doctor Who online via TV Fanatic if you're new to Who and want to go back and check out other seasons.

Mummy on the Orient Express Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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Doctor Who Season 8 Episode 8 Quotes

There were many trains to take the name Orient Express, but only one in space.

The Doctor

If I was putting together a team to analyze this thing, I'd pick you and I think somebody has. Someone of immense power and influence has orchestrated this whole trip.

The Doctor