I didn’t have much of an idea what to expect from Mummy on the Orient Express. All I knew was it involved an Orient Express in space and there was a mummy, so basically, not a lot. With that to go off of, I was glad to see it wasn’t an Egyptian mummy is somehow resurrected and is now going to go around and kill a bunch of people for no apparent reason story (as I feared after series 5 ended with a phone call about an Egyptian Goddess causing issues on the Orient Express, which perhaps was the original idea for this story).

SPOILERS AHEAD

I’m not going to go ahead and summarize the episode as I’ve been doing, since you’ve seen the spoiler warning you have probably watched the episode and need little in terms of recap. I will however, tell you how I continue to enjoy the complexity of Capaldi’s Doctor. As the story progresses, the Doctor realizes only the person about to die can see the

Has he ever worn the same outfit twice so far?

Has he ever worn the same outfit twice so far?

mummy and they have 66 seconds to live before they either die or say the correct phrase to stop the mummy from attacking. Sure, this basically tells us the Doctor will figure out the phrase by the end but how he gets there is a little surprising, at least compared to the last two Doctor’s we’ve had.

Here, the Doctor doesn’t waste time apologizing to people how they have to die. Instead, he tries to focus them and have them tell him and the rest of the scientists on the space train what they are seeing in order to learn more about their foe. It’s a bit cold but at the same time there is no other option, so the Doctor does it in order to save as many as he ultimately can.

What is a little strange is they’re all put on a space train to solve this mystery. A train full of scientists, carefully put together, and I believe at one point it was mentioned this has been tried before but without success (i.e. all the scientists died before they could figure out what to do). Unless I missed something, I believe this may have been set up specifically for the Doctor. Let me explain my case.

First, I recall the Doctor saying he has been summoned to the train before. Someone clearly wants him there to solve this, which leads to what he ultimately solved.

The mummy, as we have established, isn’t a typical Egyptian evil mummy who is evil for the sake of being evil, or perhaps being woken up from a good dream. Instead, this mummy is a soldier who in the end had to be relieved of his duty. The Doctor figured this out after a series of Sherlock type observations and before the mummy could kill him the Doctor told the mummy he was relieved of duty. As a result the mummy collapsed.

Now, this whole series has, among other things, focused on the Doctor’s increasingly aggravating and somewhat insulting dislike towards soldiers. I assume this will be another underwhelming story arc, because right now all it really amounts to is the Doctor insulting anyone who has ever served for pretty much anything. For a man who prefers to talk and reason instead of waving a gun around, he sure does an awful job at explaining things (or perhaps Moffat has no idea where he was originally going with this idea). Regardless, this was another story heavily focusing on soldiers. Coincidence? I think not.

Just because I like this picture

Just because I like this picture

I’m ignoring the blatant elephant in the room, and no, it’s not Clara’s wig, it’s the fact she’s back so soon. She was all ready to leave the episode before and Danny kind of pushed her along to eventually go back with the Doctor. In the meantime I would have liked a solo Doctor story. Yeah, Moffat will scream and shout how the show is all about the companion and the Doctor, but last I checked the show is Doctor Who, not I’m a Super Important Companion Who Will Save the World and Here’s This Doctor Guy I Keep Around. Give Capaldi a solo story. He can carry it. Or at least do something like Matt Smith had with Craig, they were fun and more Doctor focused.

So somehow we are left to imagine what the Doctor and Clara did in between episodes, as this is supposed to be their last trip together after a series of ones after the previous episode when she left. Yeah, I guess this story did something to get her back, but really, it felt like any other episode, there wasn’t much weight or worry of Clara actually being gone at th end. Which is fine, I just don’t get why they set it up to be that kind of episode if they never followed through with it.

In the end, what are we left with? I’d say a really fun, frantic episode which calmed down in the second half once the Doctor started to understand what was really going on. We got to see more of the new Doctor’s personality, which I have been enjoying so far, minus his soldier thing. The pacing of the story was well done, it never felt rushed or too slow, it was always just right. Overall, I would not advise missing this one. For two weeks now we’ve gotten less than exciting episode titles and seemingly boring creatures/plots turned around into two rather good stories.

Now to see what next week brings with Flatline:

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