Kyle J. Steenblik

Mummy on the Orient Express is having such a good time

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Mummy on the Orient Express might as well have been written for Tom Baker’s Doctor, and performed by Colin Baker.  It is best modern example, since the last one, of the classic glory days of the series, which have arguably come again.  The argument for the new golden age of Doctor Who is actually quite strong; in fact, it might appear as if it is not much of an argument at all.  Obviously, the production value has never been higher, the audience has never been larger, the critical response couldn’t be more glowing, and the performances (dare I say) have never been better.  I would even say the writing has never been stronger than it has been over the last several seasons.  This episode is just one of a treasure trove of stand-alone adventures us long term fans will show to new converts to win them over.

Ep8-finalSpecifically, Mummy on the Orient Express blends the past with the future and tosses it into space, with a dash of something seeming to be supernatural.  In what was supposed to be Clara’s last journey with The Doctor he takes her to a faithful recreation of The Orient Express, down to the period costume.  Sure it is in space, but other than that, it’s exactly the same, also, there just might be a mummy loose killing passengers, maybe, also, it may be a trap.  Written by Jamie Mathieson, Directed by Paul Wilmshurst, guest starring Frank Skinner, Foxes, and David Bamber, episode 8 did everything just right.

Now, if you have seen this episode you may continue the adventure spun by the words leaving my fingers.  If you have not yet seen this episode, again, like every week, I ask what you think you are doing.  There are secrets of the universe I am about to reveal, and you come wandering in here ill prepared.  Go on keep reading if you like but I’ll not be responsible for what happens to you.  Before I go much further there are just a few things I want to mention, a cover of Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now”, jelly-babies, a very old suit, and “are you my mummy?”  Now, look around knowingly because naturally you know exactly what I’m talking about.

DW-12_Ep8_10975If you don’t I’ll explain because they are my favorite moments of this episode.  First, Foxes performed a cover of Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” (video at the bottom of the page).  Normally I would consider this type of cover blasphemous, but this is so beautifully done I can’t help but love it.  In one scene, The Doctor pulls out an old cigarette case, opens it up, and offers a jelly-baby to a fellow passenger.  I love this for one very simple reason; they did not use Tom Baker’s classic line.  It was a perfect callback, they didn’t call undue attention to it, and it fit.  For the unfamiliar, Tom Baker, Doctor Number 4, would frequently offer his favorite sweet, Jelly-Babies, to nearly everyone he met.  The suit the doctor wears is nearly identical to, and may be a replica of William Hartnell’s costume from his time as The Doctor (number 1).  If it is not a replica, it was most definitely homage, and a fitting one at that.  “Are you my Mummy” is the terrifying phrase from one of Christopher Eccleston episodes, one of the first written by Steven Moffat, “The Empty Child”/”The Doctor Dances”.  All that is reason to love this episode, but there are more important reasons to love this episode.

The first reason you should love this episode is because this is where Clara finally gets it.  Where after all this time she actually understands The Doctor is not careless and reckless.  His detachment is a defense mechanism, and he might lie, but he also tells the truth more than he should.  He might ask you to take a step closer to the edge than you would like, but he will have a very good reason.  It was a light bulb moment for her character, and it was about damn time, she was really starting to get on my nerves.  The second reason you should love this episode is this video.

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