Legion of Leia contributor Anastasia Washington recaps and reviews Doctor Who ‘Mummy on the Orient Express’ for us. Follow her on Twitter @AnastasiaW.
Last week we dealt with Moon Monsters, this week, we deal with something older. A little bit more classic, as we travel by train in the 20s. Flashes of the Number 66, light bulb, clock, and mummy are on this train. To the Dining car we go where we find an elderly lady and a young blonde girl are entertaining themselve,s when all of a sudden the woman proclaims she sees something undead coming towards them. Everyone in the dining car seems to think she’s nuts until a Mummy enters killing the woman by touching the woman’s head. Apparently she is the only one seeing this because everyone seems to think she had a heart attack. Oh by the way, it seems the train happens to be in space.
Enter, the TARDIS, with the Doctor and Clara dressed to impress in art deco fashion. Apparently the train they are on is an exact replica of the Orient Express, but this is the space edition. The sad truth; this is Clara’s last adventure with the Doctor is revealed, but doesn’t seem to stop Twelve from babbling about trivial facts.
The Blonde girl from the previous event over hears the Doctor chatting about something being destroyed some 1,000 years ago, and instantly calls him a liar. She is quickly removed by Captain Quell, who begins investigating the incident of the Mummy and the Doctor with the usual questions. Turns out there are a lot of doctors and professors on board. Strange.
Clara is not happy as they go to their rooms. Clearly this is not going to be just a fun trip, but some kind of dangerous adventure, which is not what she had in mind for her finale. Plus with her … I guess let’s call it a break up, she’s hoping that even though she won’t be traveling with him, she’ll still see the Doctor. So much on her mind, and there’s a creature killing people — it’s a tough trip. She calls Danny telling him the trip is nothing special. Of course the Doctor is off to find clues, searching the luggage car and making creepy acquaintances. Going to the Doctor’s room to talk to him Clara instead meets Maisie, the blonde who lost her elderly friend, which turns out to be her mother. She wants to see her body but no one is letting her.
The Doctor has found his way back to the dining car, and begins to question Professor Villiers, apparently an expert in alien myths. The conversation uncovers some facts. First that the Mummy is a creature from a 5,000 year old tale, which says that you die within 66 seconds of setting eyes on it. Second, that there may be a way to stop it by uttering a secret phrase. Another victim gets caught by the Mummy. This time it’s the Chef of the Orient Express. Running from his doom does no good, and the kitchen staff is wondering what could possibly be going on. As the clock hits 66 on the TV screen, the Chef dies. Enter Captain Quell to tell everyone to call this is a heart attack if they value their jobs.
Stuck together back in the room, Maisie tells Clara of her guilty feelings about her mother’s death. She always wished for it and now her wish has come true. The Doctor has convinced the Captain that he is a secret shopper with his handy psychic paper. He demands that Quell do something about these deaths. Captain Quell doesn’t want to get involved. He likes his job and doesn’t want to jeopardize that at all. Engineer Perkins, the creepy acquaintance from earlier realizes that the Doctor is not registered to be on this train. Trapped, Maisie uses her shoe to try and break the control panel, breaking the door and also trying to learn more about the Doctor at the same time.
Perkins, Villiers, and Twelve watch footage of the first event to try and determine what happened, with no luck. The Doctor realizes that Clara is trapped, and that he must go to her rescue, and fast because the sarcophagus they are currently rooming with is opening up. Oh no, what could possibly be in there? Bubble wrap and lights. Well that was anti-climatic. Realizing the Doctor isn’t a secret shopper at all the Captain has him arrested, while the girls are left in the room.
Victim 3, a Bellman, fires his gun at nothing and then dies. Oh Captain, my Captain, maybe something weird is going on. He may need the Doctor’s assistance. Freeing the Doctor, he reveals that there is something rather weird about the passenger list. Everyone seems to be an expert in aliens. With that, the engine of the train ship cuts out and the train is revealed to be nothing more than a set which is actually in a lab. The remaining passengers that were not part of the façade are tasked to find the Mummy, capture it, and engineer its power, so sayeth Gus the computer voice. Like you do.
Professor Villier is victim 4, and tries to take his death in stride and be scientific about it. He describes the Mummy to the Doctor and tries to convince the Mummy to let him go. It falls, and another one bites the dust. Clara rings to tell the Doctor that the sarcophagus is actually a stasis unit, and that’s where they probably are meant to put the Mummy, should they happen to catch it. And it also looks like this has been done before, or at least attempted, as no one completed the task, or survived. Gus is not happy about this call at all, and demands that he hang up! Now they’ve done it, Gus wants to kill the whole group now! This makes the Doctor wonder just how is the Mummy choosing people.
Well, the only thing that seems to be their common factor is that they seem weak. But who will be next. Well Captain Quell of course! Describing the whole attack he is quickly dead leaving everyone a little upset. Now why 66 seconds, well because its powering up of course. And Maisie’s next, meaning Clara may be in danger. They all race to the dining car, finally able to bust out of the room, but the TARDIS is now covered in a force field thanks to good old Gus. Which forces Clara to con Maisie into going to her possible doom. We find out that the Doctor has been tempting him here and for quite some time. Clara is understandably upset that the Doctor has once again lied; this is why she can’t do this anymore.
Maisie is a bit upset, as her death is imminent. The Doctor asks her to put all her fear and rag into an item and it transfers to the Doctor, making him the next victim instead of her. The Mummy happens to be a soldier and the scroll is his flag. All he wants to do is finally die. How sad. So the Doctor utters the magical words, “ I surrender” freeing the Mummy and he is finally seen as dust. Gus isn’t so happy. After all, he wanted him captured and turned into a source of power! So now he will decompress the entire train. With that, the Orient explodes.
Clara wakes up. She is on a shore, and the Doctor seems to have saved all of them and has already dropped them off. Apparently. Perkins is offered a position on board the TARDIS but he declines. Clara says her goodbye and asks the Doctor whether this is an addiction. When Danny calls to check up, she tells him that everything’s wrapped up. She also tells the Doctor she will continue to travel with him, and that Danny doesn’t mind after all. Where to next, she asks. Clara, the Doctor may not be the only lying addict.
A rollercoaster of an episode, but one thing is for sure. We are not ready to let Clara go. Not yet.