5 years

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

Clara must decide whether to stay or go in this dark and opulent episode, set on the Orient Express....in space

A review of Mummy on the Orient Express

This episode caused a bit of a fuss by being shown at a later time on Saturday night. It turned out that 8.30pm was to be the new time slot for Doctor Who (the new series of Strictly Come Dancing had started and would be on around the 7pm mark, up against The X Factor). The newspapers ran articles about the time slot being too late for Doctor Who, considering the younger audience. However, in this day and age viewers tend to have different viewing patterns, as catch-up TV on demand has become popular through sites such as BBC iPlayer, or recording the show through set top box. Also it was stated that possibly this episode was too scary for children anyway.

It’s true that this season is darker than many of the previous ones since the show came back in 2005. This episode was set on the Orient Express train, but in space (of course). In the previous episode Clara had an argument with the Doctor, and decided she didn’t want to continue to travel with him. The trip is meant to be their last journey together. There is meant to be no mystery at all –  just the Doctor and Clara enjoying the journey.

This doesn’t last for long. There are mysterious deaths happening on the train, and when the victim is dying they act as though they are seeing something, and pleading for their life. But, the people around them can’t see the threat. This episode had a tense atmosphere and the music used was very creepy indeed. The viewer gets to see the monster before the Doctor figures it out, which is a nice touch.There are also cameos from the comedian and TV presenter Frank Skinner, who is a massive Doctor Who fan, and the British singer Foxes.

Clara seems to be saddened by the thought of this trip being her last with the Doctor; it seems as though some time has passed since their argument. The story unfolds, with an ancient legend turning out to be responsible for the deaths, and Clara decides she doesn’t want the trip to be her last. She decides she can juggle her life with Danny and her life with the Doctor.

In this episode there are references to the past Fourth Doctor, as the current Doctor offers a train passenger a jelly baby. As the story progresses, it turns out that all the passengers have been invited on the train because they are experts in their field of interest. The interior of the train has been made a replica of the Orient Express, but it is in fact a laboratory and most of the staff on the train are holograms. Time is running out as the experts try to solve the mystery of the deaths by the legend of the Mummy. The Doctor, of course, is the one to eventually work out the mystery.

The episode was very fast paced, and dark in places (some might say a little too dark for the younger viewers) but we’re liking the direction this season is taking.


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