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Doctor Who – S8E8 – Mummy on the Orient Express

Previously on Doctor Who, ‘Kill the Moon’ 

After last week, I thoroughly expected to see a solo Doctor episode while Clara made up her mind, but indeed she had: the pair steps out of the TARDIS onto a space-faring replica of the Orient Express for one last adventure. The Doctor sports a tuxedo with a western-style tie and Clara looks phenomenal in a rich flapper dress with a new bob.

That dress tho Doctor Who 8x08.bmp


Seriously, I can’t stop looking at her. And I need that dress. She’s doing it again, smiling sadly, and it’s confusing him, like she’s malfunctioning. “I really thought I hated you, you know,” Clara admits. That’s a bit harsh. “Well, thank God you kept that to yourself,” he and the entire audience replies. Despite his many interruptions, she insists on having the breakup talk. But I digress… Back to the beginning.


Start the clock Doctor Who 8x08.bmp


The case:

“Start the clock.” A counter runs down from 66 seconds as an old woman in the dining car sees a mummy lurching towards her. Nobody believes her. The clock runs down to zero as the mummy touches her head… and she’s dead.

Separated in sleeping cars, the Doctor and Clara individually debate investigating the suspicious death, him talking to himself as usual, running the percentages on whether this is, in fact, Something. Deciding affirmatively, they both miss each other in the halls, splitting up.

The Doctor:

Finding a kindred soul, the Doctor introduces himself to the engineer Perkins as “nosy parker,” then interrogates a professor for information. The legend of The Foretold fits the story with a countdown of 66 seconds before death and possibility of reprieve if one says the right word. No matter how far you run, it’s still there… and as he’s talking, the counter begins and a chef dies.

The Lab Doctor Who 8x08


After producing the psychic paper and declaring himself the captain’s “worst nightmare,” which is apparently a mystery shopper, he finds the man less than helpful, intent on retiring without incident after a traumatic war experience. Perkins is more helpful, producing passenger manifests and stops for the last 6 months from his own investigation, snarking at the Doctor’s suspicion, “I’m obviously the mummy!” The Doctor likes him. Upon the third death, the Doctor realizes that the train is full of experts, and at that, the façade drops away and the train comes to a halt. “Gus” the “computer” announces that they are here to reverse engineer The Foretold. Unfortunately the clock starts again and it’s the professor, who starts describing it before declaring he would die as he wished, followed by the captain, targeted due to his PTSD, who thanks the Doctor for “waking him up” first.


Captain Quell Doctor Who 8x08


In a move echoing Danny’s assertion that the Doctor is an officer, he promises to keep using the information from each death until it is solved. Perkins suggests it takes about a minute to take things out of phase, so the Doctor surmises that it must be taking people out of phase, using their bioenergy to recharge itself. Like a vampire. A mumpire? “One minute with me and this thing would be over!” he declares.


Clara on the other hand bumps into the old woman’s granddaughter, Maisie, wracked with guilt, looking for the body and some closure. The pair get trapped in a room with a black sarcophagus. Clara says she and the Doctor aren’t even friends anymore—OUCH—but she couldn’t just slam the door. “Life would be so much simpler if you liked the right people. People you’re supposed to like. But then I guess there would be no fairy tales.” Maisie says.


Clara and Maisie Doctor Who 8x08.bmp


Clara calls the Doctor for help, but of course he natters over her until she finally blurts I’M TRAPPED. The sonic screwdriver is blocked from opening the door, but not from opening the sarcophagus which is full of bubble wrap and lights—a stasis unit in case the Foretold is captured. When the Doctor is briefly arrested for NOT being a mystery shopper, the women are once again left to their own devices. Over a phone call, Clara reveals that this is actually the third train to investigate the Foretold.

Solving the case:

They deduce that the next victim is Maisie, so the Doctor calls Clara, pushing her to bring the girl to the lab by any means necessary, lying that he can save her. Maisie agrees, but both Clara and Perkins are horrified. On top of that, the Doctor admits Gus has tried to lure him here before, even phoning the TARDIS. Clara explodes that he’s once again put her in danger and made her his accomplice, but as she attempts to apologize to Maisie, the Doctor scans the girl, collecting her rage and grief, injecting it into himself. Indeed the Foretold disappears from her view and into his. “Hello, I’m the Doctor, and I’ll be your victim this evening. Are you my mummy?” Necessary.


Are you my mummy Doctor Who 8x08.bmp


He concludes that the mummy is in fact also a soldier from a forgotten war, not unlike himself and the departed captain, being driven by faulty phasing/transporting tech until the war is over. “WE SURRENDER!” he yells as the clock hits zero, and the mummy stops and salutes. “You’re relieved, soldier,” the Doctor says, as the Foretold dissolves into sand, leaving the implanted device behind. Gus congratulates them, but, as he couldn’t give two rats about survivors, vents all the air from the train as the Doctor tinkers with the transport tech… and the train explodes.


Stone Beach Doctor Who 8x08.bmp


Clara wakes in a field of stones as the Doctor doodles in the sand and explains that he teleported everyone safely away, but that hacking Gus set off the failsafe on the train. It dawns on her that he had only been playing the part for Gus’ benefit, so he wasn’t being “heartless,” after all. She can believe that about him if it’s easier, he says. Sometimes, he goes on, all you have are bad choices. But you still have to choose.

The Companionship:

As they settle into the train for the night, Clara registers that he’s acting like he’ll never see her again. Why wouldn’t they still be friends after this? He allows that they can be, but on his face that seems impossible. She calls Danny for reassurance about “breaking up,” which he reminds her is impossible, considering the Doctor is “not her boyfriend.” Again with that.


Perkins says no Doctor Who 8x08


Back on the TARDIS after the adventure, Perkins tells the Doctor that the engines could use a little work and it could take a lifetime. The Doctor offers him the job, but he declines because that kind of thing could change a man. Speaking of changed people, Clara wonders if the Doctor enjoys being the one to make all these difficult choices. “It’s my life,” he says warily. She goes on trying to make sense of it, comparing it to an addiction, to which he replies that the only way to know is if one tries to quit. “Let me know how it goes.” She goes upstairs to call Danny, who wants to know if it’s done. She assures him it is, everything’s great. “I love you,” she says, in that passive-aggressive breakup way the Doctor can hear. He pretends he didn’t, wondering what Danny wanted, and she hesitates…

Claras addiction Doctor Who 8x08


Score | 10/10“He’s fine with it!” she chirps, lying that although her quitting was his idea, he totally supports her if she wants to keep going, as long as she’s safe and all that. The Doctor is giddy. She’s high on the addiction. He knows but doesn’t say, and off they fly….

Well, the Doctor may not be her boyfriend, but I’m pretty sure Danny just got two-timed. When he finds out, it’s not gonna be pretty in Pink.

Sorry, had to do it.

About Sarah de Poer (199 Articles)
Eminently sensible by day, by night, she can be found watching questionable scifi, pinning all the things, rewriting lists, pantry snacking, and not sleeping. She was once banned over an argument about Starbuck and Apollo, and she has to go right now because someone is wrong on the Internet.

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