TV Review: “Doctor Who” – “Mummy on the Orient Express”

Written by Caitlin Cooper October 16, 2014

Doctor Who

Things ended on a rough note between Clara (Jenna Coleman) and the Doctor (Peter Capaldi) in the previous episode of “Doctor Who”. The Doctor had left Clara when she needed him most even though he thought he was doing what was best. This caused a huge rift between the two good friends. Clara told the Doctor to go away, and she left the Tardis in tears. In short: things went very, very badly. I feared for the future of these two characters. Would Clara no longer be going on adventures through time and space with the Doctor?


“The Mummy on the Orient Express” has the Doctor and Clara being passengers on the Orient Express: space edition. It’s supposed to be a fun and light last trip for Clara and the Doctor; she’s decided to no longer travel with him. But when people begin mysteriously dying after claiming to be attacked by some invisible creature, the Doctor gets involved. Everyone is in danger, and nothing is what it seems. It’s a race against the clock – 66 seconds after you see the mummy – to save people’s lives, and Clara and the Doctor’s relationship.

“I don’t hate you. I could never hate you, but I can’t do it anymore, not the way you do it.”

The tone of this “Doctor Who” episode is rather sad because it seems like a sort of farewell for time and space adventures with the Doctor and Clara. Sure, they plan to remain friends and do more normal things like dinners and getting together on earth in Clara’s time. It seems like since the Doctor’s regeneration, things have been tense between the two close friends. In fact, they hardly seemed to be friends. Then things slowly got betteronly to get bad again when Danny (Samuel Anderson) become a more permanent fixture in Clara’s life. But even though the two have agreed to no longer be travel companions, they seem rather reluctant to give up on their adventures together.

Doctor Who

It makes me sad to think of these two friends drifting apart, especially when they have sweet moments that recall better times. So, when Clara has to follow the Doctor’s instructions despite lying to a new confidant she’s Clara has found, it gives some hope that perhaps things aren’t over. But by the end, Clara realizes there’s a reason she began traveling with the Doctor in the first place: to see the wonders of time and space with someone who became a good friend. So why should she give it up? Sure, he doesn’t always do the best things even though he’s well intentioned. In this “Doctor Who” episode, he tells her why he does what he does even though it usually involves a decision that isn’t popular. In the end, he saves as many people as he can from the threat. And that’s his main goal in each episode. If Amy (Karen Gillan) could continue to travel with the Doctor once Rory (Arthur Darvill) knew, why can’t Clara? Also, I don’t like that Clara lies to both the Doctor and Danny at the end; it’s not necessary to lie, and it will only create problems.

“So you saved everyone.”

Since the Doctor’s regeneration, there hasn’t really been an episode of “Doctor Who” in which the Doctor deliberately put himself in the most danger in order to defeat a villain. There’s danger in every trip he goes on, but this time he literally puts himself in the line of fire. In doing so, he reduces the number of lives lost and discovers who the real threat is. The threat isn’t really the mummy – who is just a stranded soldier looking to be released from ‘life’ – it’s the people who put the mummy on the train with people to conduct an experiment. In this episode of “Doctor Who”, the Doctor’s bravery means that everyone on the train is saved from the mummy; he even saves people from the train once the scientists tell it to self-destruct.

Doctor Who

Something wonderful about this “Doctor Who” episode is the acting. Capaldi and Coleman play off of each other very well. While Capaldi plays the Doctor as a rather blunt, secretive, and mocking character he also brings a subtle vulnerability. Past incarnations of the Doctor have been more obviously vulnerable, so it was nice to see the Doctor as something other than emotionally removed. Coleman does well in especially emotional scenes, and the past few episodes have been incredibly emotional. Together, the two actors make the show good. The supporting cast tends to change with each episode, but something that doesn’t change is how good they are in whatever roles they are portraying. The train’s mechanic is one such character which stood out amongst the other supporting characters.

“Sometimes the only choices you have are bad ones, but you still have to choose.”

Overall, “Mummy on the Orient Express” is a “Doctor Who” episode that may be a turning point for Clara and the Doctor. It’s also a point at which Clara begins lying to two of the most important people in her life. While things are more stable than they were after last week’s “Doctor Who” episode, I detect trouble brewing that has the possibility of boiling over.

My Rating: 8.5/10

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About Caitlin Cooper

Caitlin Cooper

Caitlin is an avid watcher of movies and television shows so she decided to use her passion to write about them. She has a B.A. in English Language and Literature with a Minor in Creative Writing.

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