Doctor Who First Impressions Review & Spoilers: Season 8 – Episode 8 – “Mummy on the Orient Express”

Doctor Who, Season 8, Episode 8

Mummy on the Orient Express

Written by Jamie Mathieson
Directed by Paul Wilmshurst

Cast
Peter Capaldi – The Doctor
Jenna Coleman – Clara Oswald
Samuel Anderson – Danny Pink
Frank Skinner – Perkins
David Bamber – Captain Quell
John Sessions – Gus (voice)
Daisy Beaumont – Maisie
Janet Henfrey – Mrs Pitt
Christopher Villiers – Professor Moorhouse
Foxes – Singer
Jamie Hill – Foretold


Warning! This review contains quite a few spoilers!

Quick Summary: After their “break up” last episode, the Doctor and Clara decide to go on one last adventure. They get onboard the Orient Express…in space. Which is being haunted by a mummy! Quite a few twists and turns in this one, and in the end, Clara realizes that she might just be addicted to the Doctor and her travels. She decides to keep on traveling with him, lying to both the Doctor and Danny in the process.


First Impressions:

  • One of the earliest moments in the episode was British pop star Foxes doing a version of Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” from the 1920’s. BBC turned it into music video on their website, and it is definitely worth checking out. This definitely set the tone for the whole episode for me. I don’t know Foxes all that well, but I love this song, and this version was awesome.
  • As soon as I heard the title, I couldn’t help but think the idea for this episode came from the throwaway line the Eleventh Doctor has at the end of “The Big Bang” where he answers the phone and says something like “an Egyptian goddess is loose on the Orient Express, in space?” I thought it was great later in the episode where the Doctor seems to call back to that episode saying that he had once gotten a call about this Mummy a long time ago and just hadn’t gotten around to checking it out.  This ends up being kind of potentially important as this could be part of a bigger storyline.  At least I hope so.  More on that later.
  • I also loved the call back to “Are you my Mommy?” which is still one of the creepiest lines I’ve ever heard…and yet when it comes back up, it’s always pretty funny. Apparently there is a very fine line between terrifying and hilarious
  • Jelly babies in a cigarette case!  Classy move by the Twelfth Doctor!
  • Jamie Mathieson is a newcomer to Doctor Who, and I really hope he will be doing more episodes in the future (he actually wrote the next episode too). I thought this episode was damn close to flawless. The Mummy (also known as the Foretold) was a scary enemy with a great back story…and it turned out that he wasn’t even the biggest threat the Doctor would have to deal with.

  • BBC did a great job downplaying the fact that Jenna Coleman was actually in this episode (though she did have a fairly small role, and the Doctor was on his own for most of the episode). I didn’t see her in any of the trailers or promotional images. Not only did this make it a great surprise when she actually was in the episode, but it kept from revealing how amazing she looked in this episode. The short straight hair and flapper outfit just was gorgeous on her.But, I don’t just want to talk about how great she looked. She also had a powerful performance in this episode. The Doctor described her sad smile, and you see it throughout the episode. She is still struggling with everything she had to deal with in “Kill The Moon.” When she is trying to explain her feelings to the Doctor, and he responds with a sad “Can we go back to talking about the planets now?”, I thought it was an incredibly poignant moment. Both Coleman and Capaldi wrung every emotion out of each scene in this one.
  • Speaking of the Doctor, he seemed willing to sacrifice lives to save others, and his detachment was borderline disturbing at times.  Clara definitely seemed to be pretty dead on with her description of him last episode.  Which makes it real curious why she would decide to stay with him.   I also thought it was clever that the Mummy ended up being a soldier with a lot of the plot threads that have been lingering this scene…especially considering how the Doctor ended up stopping the Mummy.

  • The supporting cast in this episode were all excellent. All the characters seemed to have deep back stories and story lines, and it definitely gave the story very high stakes as each of them is killed off one by one. I especially liked Frank Skinner as the train’s maintenance man, Perkins. He had some great scenes playing off Peter Capaldi.  I was kind of disappointed in the end when the Doctor offered him a job on the TARDIS, but Perkins declines him. Perkins seems like someone who would match up really well with this version of the Doctor, and I hope his story isn’t over yet.
  • Speaking of stories that I hope aren’t over yet, this episode left us with a lot of unanswered questions about Gus  (the voice of the train) and whoever he is working for.   I hope that they plan on answering them at some point. Why were these mysterious beings so interested in the Foretold and what was their purpose. They clearly are bad dudes as they tried to kill the Doctor and everyone on the train as soon as they had the answers they wanted.  There is a lot of potential here for a huge threat to the Doctor.
  • When doing a review, I always try to point out at least one thing I didn’t like about the episode, even if it’s just a silly nit. But I honestly can’t think of anything I didn’t like about this one. It was scary and funny, great supporting cast, great monster, tons of character development and emotion. It also built up a potentially huge threat for The Doctor to deal with in the future. I have been very open about how much I’ve enjoyed this season, and this might be the best episode so far.
  • Next week’s episode Flatline: BBC has played it real close to the chest on this one. I literally know nothing about this episode other than it’s written by the same person who wrote “Mummy on the Orient Express.” So that gives me high hopes on this one.

    Final Score: 9.5/10: Pretty close to a flawless episode…nothing jumping out at me that could have been better about this one.

 

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