8.8 – “Mummy On The Orient Express”

DW Series 8 - Mummy On The Orient Express

In an effort to part on better terms, Clara decides to accompany The Doctor on one final trip. He takes her on-board the Orient Express…in spaaaaace!! There’s little time to enjoy the nostalgic 1920’s atmosphere though as an ancient mummy appears to be stalking the train’s passengers.

After last week’s emotional epilogue, it seems that Clara has finally had enough of The Doctor’s current incarnation wearing a heartless exterior and has decided that she doesn’t want to travel with him. But rather than parting on bad terms, she agrees to go with him on one last hurrah.

We all know that it will end with Clara forgiving The Doctor; him explaining that he has to make tough choices or else do nothing so that’s why he appears so cold at times, Clara agreeing to travel with him again and everything being back to the way it was. And that’s fine! The interesting part will be the adventure ahead, seeing how things play out and what brings the two of them back together as friends. Except that we don’t. The Doctor and Clara spend the majority of the episode apart, with The Doctor taking charge and leaping headlong into the problem of solving the mystery of the mummy (with Capaldi on fantastic form once again) before meeting up with his companion at the conclusion.

The episode has some great ideas to play with; the 1920’s style in a futuristic setting, the plot switcheroo that reveals the sinister truth behind the Orient Express, the reality of who and what the mummy actually is. But all of these pieces never really fit together, it just doesn’t feel like a complete story and, for all intents and purposes, it comes across as a stand-alone, standard fare adventure. It wasn’t bad, there was nothing about it that annoyed me or made me wonder what the hell the writer was thinking…it just wasn’t that rewarding. All the right ingredients, just not a great meal in the end.

And the happy ending – as much as I may have enjoyed it – was not earned. Not in the slightest. We had so much emotional drama at the end of “Kill The Moon” but by the end of this story our heroes have made up without really much on-screen interplay between the two of them. Bit of a let down for me, I’m afraid. Probably why this has been a shorter review than usual from me – the episode just didn’t leave much of an impression to warrant me saying that much.

Despite an intriguing premise and some good quality guest performances, “Mummy On The Orient Express” turns out to be a bit of a mixed bag. I would award an extra point for the jelly babies, but I’d only have to deduct that point for the jazz/swing version of Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now”. A watchable but unrewarding 6/10.

Written and edited by Richey Hackett


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