Open Thread: Mummy on the Orient Express

So here we go, this week’s episode of Doctor Who saw Clara and The Doctor on a train in space haunted by an Egyptian Mummy on the loose.

Ahead of the episode, this was very curious because I found on the blogterweb, someone pointed out that Matt Smith was called to a situation very similar to this at the end of The Big Bang – of an Egyptian goddess loose on a steam train in space and I am glad that was referenced. Clara is back despite storming out last week but there’s a lot of tension and this was pretty solid, I have no complaints.

So, my questions for this week…

Are you my Mummy… Jelly babies… these references to the past must have some purpose, surely?

I’m thinking that Missy will have had some link to tonight’s events. Is she The Great Intelligence, or perhaps Omega? Or maybe a new renegade Timelord?

8 thoughts on “Open Thread: Mummy on the Orient Express

  1. Hmm I was thinking GUS might be a baddie independent to Missy (who we don’t know for sure is a baddie) but possibly there’s a link there. Yes it bugged me all episode up to the bit at the end where he finally referenced the time he was called in the Tardis about the Orient Express (at the end of series 5.)

    I thought the tension between Clara and the Doctor was great. I love that they kept us guessing about whether the doctor had been trying to help all along (up to the bit with Frank Skinner poking about the Tardis I believed he was lying about saving everyone)

    Finally, it felt like the darker Doctor Who we’d been promised – a genuine threat, well-written.

    I thought the past-references were really for humour and seemed to be part of a recurring theme of trying to link Capaldi to previous Doctors – I had assumed this was to help with any people struggling to see him as the character. I was delighted with both little in-jokes anyway.

    I’ll probably rewatch this one, it’s the first time I’ve felt much inclination to since Listen.

    1. Hmm I was thinking GUS might be a baddie independent to Missy (who we don’t know for sure is a baddie) but possibly there’s a link there.

      I know the link is tenuous at best, but I don’t know… my spidey senses are tingling on this one. I’m half expecting the people who died to turn up later in Missy’s lair (whatever and wherever that is).

      I thought the tension between Clara and the Doctor was great.

      Their relationship for me has been much improved this year, right from the start (well from that “I am NOT a control freak!” speech in Deep Breath) I felt she would come in to her own and she hasn’t disappointed. The two of them simply work much better.

      I thought the past-references were really for humour

      Hmm, if this was the first time I would agree, but it’s been in every episode – though some have been far more subtle than most would have realised (CJ Moseley brought some up I wasn’t aware of in previous episodes). We still don’t know why he chose “this familiar face” and I hope there is good reason for that and some context. The only thing they did with Smith to allow him to impose his mark was at the end of The 11th Hour when we saw all the faces of previous Doctors and he stepped through and said “Hello, I’m The Doctor”. Plus the fact that nobody has campaigned to bring back Matt Smith in the way that the campaign to bring back David Tennant reached such silly proportions, even over a year after he left.

  2. Finally! A good solid episode of Who. I really through this would be a light hearted duffer, but it really hit the mark for me. It was yet another Who situation straight out of a formula book but this niggle was completely overshadowed by the more interesting developments of how dark the Doctor is and Clara coming to terms with, or deciding to ignore that. I loved that he was constantly focussing on the ‘research’ and not giving much thought to the deaths of the others. It maybe seems cold but its truthful. The Doctor has been around so long, seen so many die, he just wants to get on with the more interesting mystery at hand. I don’t blame him. The ending was particularly brilliant and again it was due to the Doctor’s lack of compassion, or air of mystery. I genuinely didn’t figure out the ending before the Doctor did either so it was nice for a change!

    My only problems with it were with the concept. Why did GUS bother maintaining the illusion of the train and passengers as it was just a distraction from the work? Why could they work out the importance of passengers trauma to determine who was next? If the creature wanted life force why was it picking on the weakest members?

    1. It was indeed a tantalising ethically dubious tale not seen (or handled so flippantly) during Matt Smith’s reign. We saw in with Tennant several times, most notably in Waters of Mars and his “Time Lord Victorious” speech. It was different though, because The Doctor handled it with a cold rationalism for which there was no argument. This for me is when Doctor Who does its best plotting.

      The Doctor has been around so long, seen so many die,

      Absolutely. Once again pointing to the more alien nature of Capaldi’s character.

  3. Yeah, this one had a few niggles that just didn’t make much sense including the everyone has listed…
    How did the Captain (or the Chief engineer for that matter-Perkins) not know about the changes made to his ship/train thing?
    Why were some of the guests holograms?
    How can Clara be surprised that The Doctor lies, that’s rule 1?
    For that matter how can she be surprised by his callous attitude, it’s not like she hadn’t seen him grumpy before…
    And who names an AI Gus, without it being an acronym (General Utility System perhaps) ?

    But otherwise it was a good story and thoroughly enjoyable, probably the best of the series. Although I question the ending a little, it seemed like an unnecessary point to have the Doctor rescue everyone out of Clara’s sight, was that just for the doubts? I didn’t spot many extra bits of Who history, I thought there might have been a pyramids of Mars mention, but if there was I missed it.

    I was a bit surprised we didn’t see Missy, talking with the dead, or debriefing Perkins…

    My biggest niggle: yet again an artificial intelligence seemed to be the bad guy, this is REALLY becoming a theme of the series. I keep expecting cybermen to be behind everything… Including Missy…

    1. I was a bit surprised we didn’t see Missy, talking with the dead, or debriefing Perkins…

      That was the only thing that surprised me actually, it almost felt like a given. She’s not getting enough screen time at the moment and we’ve still learnt so little about her… with just four episodes left in this series (five if you count the Christmas special).

  4. They’ve shown enough of Missy now that we can assume that everyone who dies ends up with her. The only question is why?

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