Many of you who saw the episode title, ‘Mummy on the Orient Express,’ may have been a little excited to think it was another episode with a tie-in to Agatha Christie, like ‘The Unicorn and the Wasp.’
Alas, no. But it involved a mummy on a space train, so who’s complaining?
Tonight’s episode was supposed to be Clara’s last “hurrah,” after she was very rightfully angry with the Doctor for putting her in the position to decide the fate of her planet. Supposedly, they are just supposed to hope on a train in outer space, have a good time without monsters and evil men complicating things, but that’s just not how ‘Doctor Who’ works. Instead, we have a mummy who, after its victim sees it, kills in sixty-six seconds.
Oh, and for some reason, all the people who could possibly figure out how to stop it are all on the train.
The episode follows the typical “evil mastermind” plot, except we never find out who “Gus,” the evil mastermind, really is. All we know, and are told, is that he collected everyone who could possibly reverse engineer the mummy’s powers into one place, and was coercing them to solve the riddle.
Fortunately, the Doctor figures it all out (doesn’t he always), and manages to save everyone before they die of asphyxiation as Gus vents the air because he doesn’t want survivors. Strangely, no one questions who Gus was in the end. Perhaps he was a pawn of Missy and the “promised land.” Perhaps he was a distant cousin of Jack from ‘Borderlands’ (another disembodied, evil, and sarcastic voice). We don’t know, but it doesn’t matter because we’ve moved on and Clara decides that her last “hurrah” wasn’t really her last “hurrah” Instead, she lies to Danny about quitting, and decides to travel with the Doctor who almost certainly knows that she wasn’t telling the whole truth about why she is staying.
I wasn’t sure I was going to like ‘Mummy on the Orient Express. I mean a mummy on a space train can go right, and it can go wrong. I’d like to think it went right. Was it scary? No. Was the mystery terribly complex? No, but honestly this episode wasn’t about the mystery of the mummy. It was about Clara coming to terms with the Doctor and why she travels with him, and this episode does that very well.
Her inability to do as she says (she wanders around despite claiming she doesn’t want any mystery), and her confessions about not truly hating the Doctor were well-timed and rounded out Clara’s character very neatly.
It was, in short, and enjoyable watch.