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Episode Recap of Doctor Who, Season 8 Episode 8: Mummy on the Orient Express
On a fancy train car, an old woman sees a mummy coming toward her, but no one else can see it. It reaches her, places its hands on her head, and she dies.
Shortly after, the Doctor and Clara arrive on the same train, the Orient Express — in space. It has been a few weeks since Clara’s blowout at the Doctor, and it seems that Clara has decided this will be her last trip with the Doctor. They encounter the daughter of the old woman who died, and also the Captain, who informs them about the old woman dying.
The Doctor and Clara go to their separate sleeping quarters. The Doctor, alone, talks to himself, speculating that this situation with the old woman and the mummy could actually be something, so he goes snooping around. The Doctor finds the old woman’s “life extender” chair that tried, and failed, to keep the old woman alive. Upon doing so, he meets the chief engineer, Perkins.
Clara decides to get up and get dressed, and runs into Maisie, the daughter of the old woman. Clara follows Maisie, who tries to access the train car where the woman’s body is being kept. She uses the heel of her shoe to break the security panel keeping her out, and the door opens, so both she and Clara go in.
Meanwhile, the Doctor questions Emile Moorehouse, professor of alien mythology, about The Foretold, a mythical mummy. While they discuss the mummy, and how you only have 66 seconds to live once you see it, and that you can’t run from it because it’s always right behind you, the mummy claims its next victim, a cook in the kitchen, who tries and fails to run from the mummy.
Maisie confesses to Clara that the old woman was actually her grandmother, not her mother. She also tells Clara that she feels like she made her grandmother’s death happen, but Clara tries to reassure her. They have a heart to heart, which includes a conversation about the Doctor and what he means to Clara.
The Doctor confronts the Captain by using his psychic paper, saying that he’s the Captain’s worst nightmare — which turns out to be a mystery shopper. The Captain doesn’t seem to want to do anything about the rising body count, so the Doctor gives up talking to him. When the Doctor exits the office, Perkins presents the Doctor with a passenger manifest, train plans, and list of stops for the past 6 months. The Doctor, Perkins, and Moorehouse get together and brainstorm what to do about the mummy, though Moorehouse seems to think it’s unstoppable.
After a long night, the Doctor calls Clara and finds out that she is trapped, and goes to the train car where she is. He tries to open the door, but the computer refuses, and the sonic screwdriver won’t work. Clara tells the Doctor about the sarcophagus in the room, which opens just then — but it’s merely filled with bubble wrap. Meanwhile, the 66 second clock is counting down. Just then, the Captain arrests the Doctor because he called and found out that there is no mystery shopper. While the Captain escorts the Doctor in custody, the witness the death of the mummy’s third victim. The Captain realizes that the Doctor was right, and releases him. The Doctor then tells the train car passengers what’s going on, and explains that all of the passengers are experts in alien biology, mythology, physics, etc. — the perfect team to analyze the mummy.
The Doctor asks for instructions, and the engines shut off. Additionally, it turns out that the inside of the train car was merely a facade, which drops away, along with holograms of several train passengers and even one of the Captain’s guards. Left behind is scientific equipment, which the computer, Gus, instructs the passengers to analyze the mummy so that they can reverse engineer its ability, and also to capture it. There is an artifact in the train which the mummy is associated with, which is how Gus got it on the train.
The mummy chooses its next victim, Moorehouse, and the Doctor tries to get him to describe the mummy so that they can get as many details as they can to stop it before it kills again. Moorehouse tries to find the right word or phrase to get the mummy to leave him alone, trying to bargain with it, but to no avail. The 66 seconds are up, and the mummy kills Moorehouse.
Clara calls the Doctor, who informs her that the sarcophagus is where they want them to put the mummy is they capture it. Clara tells the Doctor about killings. on other vessels. Meanwhile, Gus insists for the call to be terminated and get back to work, which the Doctor ignores. Gus decides to decompress the kitchen and shoot all the cooks out into space. The Doctor decides to obey and gets off the phone. The Doctor wonders how the mummy chooses who to kill, and orders an analysis of the passengers.
The Doctor figures out that the mummy is picking off the weakest first, so he requests the medical records of everyone on board, including psychological issues. The Captain confesses that he has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, for which he requires pills to sleep. The lights flicker, and the Captain sees the mummy. The Captain shoots at the mummy, and describes what he’s seeing, including the mummy’s teleporting capabilities. Then time runs out and the mummy kills him.
The Doctor realizes the mummy is ancient tech that drains energy from the living. Perkins figures out that it takes 66 seconds because the mummy takes the victim out of phase to drain their energy. They determine that the next victim is Maisie. The Doctor calls Clara and tells her to lie to Maisie and tell her that the Doctor can save her, so that she can get Maisie to go to the lab. Clara is resistant at first, but does what he says.
On her way to the Doctor, she notices that the TARDIS is surrounded by a force field. The Doctor admits that he may have known something was going on, since Gus had attempted to entice him before. Clara gets upset that he has made her lie, and made her his accomplice. Maisie sees the mummy, but the Doctor uses a device to transfer Maisie’s grief to himself. The mummy then thinks that the Doctor is Maisie, and the Doctor is able to see the mummy. As the clock ticks down, the Doctor tries to talk his way through. He realizes that the mummy is a soldier and just before the clock reaches :00 exclaims “We surrender!” Everyone is able to see the mummy, who salutes the Doctor. The Doctor tells the mummy, “You are relieved, soldier,” and the mummy disintegrates.
In the mummy’s remains, the Doctor finds a device and determines that the mummy was being driven by malfunctioning tech. The Doctor tries to re-engineer the teleporting aspect of the device. Meanwhile, Gus has announced that survivors are not allowed, and takes the air out of the train car. Everyone passes out, except for the Doctor, who continues to work. We then see the train from the outside, and it explodes.
Clara awakens on a rocky beach. The Doctor tells her that the teleporter eventually worked, and he moved everyone into the TARDIS. Then when the Doctor tried to hack Gus, it set off a fail safe, which blew up the train. Clara asks the Doctor if he was only pretending that he couldn’t save Maisie, but he admits that he couldn’t be sure if he would be able to save her.
Back on the TARDIS, Perkins takes a look at the inner workings of the TARDIS, saying it needs some work. The Doctor implies for Perkins to stay on for the job, but Perkins declines, and leaves. Danny calls Clara and asks if it’s done, and she tells him mission accomplished. However, after Clara hangs up, she lies tells the Doctor that Danny’s fine with her traveling with the Doctor. She decides to continue on with him, as long as he gets her home safe, and he seems overjoyed. They head out to their next adventure.
Violet’s Thoughts on Season 8 Episode 8 of Doctor Who: Mummy on the Orient Express
I liked this episode. It wasn’t my favorite this season, though it was far from my least favorite. I didn’t absolutely love it, but I did enjoy it. However, I must say that I was a bit surprised that Clara was on this episode. After Clara’s huge argument with the Doctor in last week’s episode, I thought maybe she’d be taking a break from the Doctor for a little while, and that maybe we’d see the Doctor on his own for a bit, making some new friends and carrying on his own adventure, as the Doctor tends to do from time to time (Stormageddon, anyone??). But no, she was actually back. Granted, they did talk about how it had been a few weeks since their argument, so she’s had a little time to cool down. I didn’t think she was done with the Doctor for good, of course, based on the conversation that Clara had with Danny afterward, where he suggested that with her being that angry still, she couldn’t conclude that she was done with the Doctor.
But anyway, so here she was, weeks later, having decided to go on this one last hurrah with the Doctor. Obviously, it wasn’t going to be just some uneventful pleasure trip, because it never is with the Doctor, is it? Though it would have been nice if that’s all it was. I really liked how authentic the train car interiors looked, bringing to life the era that it was trying to mimic, and I absolutely adored Clara’s costume and her hair. It must have been a wig, considering that it was much shorter than her normal hair length, but it looked quite good. I’ve often had the inclination to cut my hair off into a 20s flapper bob, but then I lose my nerve and elect to keep my hair long instead.
So yeah, we get this interesting story about this mummy, known as “the Foretold” (though we never really learn why it’s called that), and soon discover that most everyone on the train was actually brought on board because they were scholars on subjects that would assist the computer, “Gus,” in capturing the mummy and reverse engineering its power. Plus, many of the apparent passengers were actually holograms, and most of what we could see in the train was all an illusion. Interestingly, it seems that the only people really trying to solve this mystery are the Doctor, Perkins, Moorehouse, and eventually, the Captain. So much for all those other people who just stood around doing nothing.
Oddly enough, it turns out that the mummy was a soldier — bringing back this soldier theme that’s been kicked around all season. I wonder how the Doctor felt “surrendering” to the mummy soldier, and when the mummy saluted him? Also, it was a little disappointing that the mummy just turned out to be malfunctioning tech. It seems like every time we start to verge on the supernatural in Doctor Who, there’s always some scientific explanation for it. Like last season when there was supposed to be a haunted house, but it turned out there wasn’t a ghost, it was just an echo of a time traveler displaced. Which brings to mind Missy and “The Promised Land,” which we didn’t get anything about this episode. That is, unless Missy has something to do with “Gus.” But yeah, I’m sure there’s some sort of scientific explanation for that whole situation. Speaking of Gus, did anyone think that maybe Perkins was behind Gus? He was quite mysterious. Though by the end of the episode, it seemed like that was in fact not the case.
I feel I must bring up Rule #1: The Doctor lies. We all know this. So why is Clara surprised when he lies to her? Does she think that she’s someone special, and maybe he lies to other people, but oh no, not to her. She must be forgetting that she’s only one in a long line of the Doctor’s companions, all of which were special to him, so she’s no more special than anyone else. Plus, it’s annoying that she keeps bringing up the Doctor lying to her, when she continues to lie to him, and to others. How very hypocritical of her. But anyway, in the end, Clara has a sudden change of heart about this being her last trip with the Doctor. I suppose this is an addiction for her, one she cannot quit. I also think that maybe she was disillusioned about actually being able to see the Doctor again. Somehow she thought he would drop by for dinner or whatever — yeah, right. I think she wasn’t quite ready to let go of the Doctor and never see him again. She wasn’t ready for this to be the last time she saw him. So now, what’s Danny going to say about this? Or is she going to try to lie to him again? Hmmm…
Josh’s Thoughts: Doctor Who, Season 8 Episode 6: Mummy on the Orient Express
So, I had a feeling Clara would be back this episode right away. It took a while, but I thought that she would definitely want to keep going–at least for a little while. What is kind of strange is that Clara only was going to stop her adventures with the Doctor because Dan wanted her to. Clara seems too strong-willed to let some man tell her what to do, especially one that she hasn’t been going out with for that long.
All in all, this episode of Doctor Who was pretty cheesy. My biggest question is why was a mummy used for this episode? It seemed odd to use a construct from ancient Egypt to be the creature that was a “soldier” from another civilization. I didn’t really understand the reasoning behind that. The story seemed kind of off too. A group unable to figure out how to use a “weapon” unleash it on a group of scientists that will be killed likely before they figure it out…? I am not sure whoever this guy was understands how long science can take to figure out. I guess maybe this was the only way to observe the creature–right before death, but still, I would think there would be another alternative.
As for the Doctor this episode, he strangely seemed more compassionate and less at the same time. His explanation to Clara was that he kept his plan to save the girl a secret to not alert their captors of the plan, but at the same time says he would have let her die if the plan didn’t work–and continue on. But the Doctor does seem to note that there really isn’t much else for options. Someone was going to die, and since at least the Doctor knew who it was, he could use that to his advantage.
So, now that Clara is back on board with the Doctor, I am curious to see what causes her to part ways with him. Will the aggravating nature of the Doctor get to her again? Or will it be something else? Hopefully we will get some hints soon. Also, strangely absent again was “Paradise”. Hmmm….
Scenes from Doctor Who, Season 8 Episode 9: Flatline
Here are scenes from the next episode of Doctor Who, titled Flatline: