Time is running out for The Doctor on this weeks Doctor Who as he and Clara tackle an ancient threat… but is there more to this than meets the eye? When the TARDIS lands aboard the Orient Express – a futuristic space train – it looks as though they might finally get to spend some time in the lap of luxury. But all that soon changes when a ghostly mummy begins picking off the guests and crew.
Start the clock…
It’s another chilling Doctor Who episode, but Mummy On The Orient Express takes a leap away from hard sci-fi into more ethereal territory. At least, that’s how it seems at first. When a passenger aboard the Orient Express succumbs to old age, it’s clear that something just isn’t quite right. And it soon turns out that she’s fallen prey to a sinister mummy who gives you just 66 seconds to live.
Of course, with Clara having doubts about the Doctor, the metaphorical time on the clock seems to be ticking away for them, too. And with plans to leave her adventurous life behind, this could well be their last hurrah.
“It’s a good one to end on,” says Clara as they enter the train. But with a cabaret singer belting out ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’, I can’t help wondering whether she’ll really turn her back on the Doctor after all…
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
“There’s a body and there’s a mummy,” says Clara. “Can you not just get on a train?”
Of course, the Doctor quickly dismisses the mummy as the hallucination of a dying woman… but Clara isn’t convinced. And when she ends up locked in the baggage cart with a rather odd sarcophagus and the lady’s daughter, it seems she might be onto something.
Realising that there’s a mummy on board the train that only the victim can see, it only takes several other murders before they really get to grips with what’s going on. It looks as though the passengers and crew are being picked off one by one, starting with those of ill health and working its way up the food chain. But it’s a bit more sinister than that.
“We’ve got doctors and professors coming out of our ears on this trip,” says the captain. And it soon becomes clear that this is no ordinary space train…
Deducing that this is no coincidence, the Doctor realises that this has all been set up – especially the part about all those scientists and doctors. It seems there’s a mysterious man who’s been hiding in the shadows – in fact, it’s the ship’s computer. And he wants his reluctant guests to figure out exactly what the mummy is. But can it really be stopped?
“The foretold, the mythical mummy,” says the Doctor. “Legend has it, that if you see it you’re a dead man.”
But that’s not the most interesting thing about the curse of the mummy… Of course it soon turns out that the ethereal nightmare has a decidedly more sci-fi nature. And with the Doctor on the case, he’s able to figure out exactly what’s going on. But not before the timer starts ticking down upon his own life.
The parallels between the mummy and his relationship with Clara are obvious… and it seems that’s the point. “You can’t run from it, that’s for sure,” says one of the scientists. “No matter how far you run, it’s always right there behind you.”
It’s this sense of foreboding that rings through the entire episode – not just the inevitability of the mummy, but of Clara’s decision to leave the Doctor behind. His very own ticking clock is counting down as we speak.
Unfortunately, the pay off of this rather gripping story is a little less than pleasing… and it seems that the secret to combating the ancient mummy lies in the Doctor’s understanding of soldiers – a running theme that continues to come back to haunt him.
But with the threat neutralised, will Clara really walk away now that all is said and done?
Of course, it wouldn’t be Doctor Who without a companion… and thankfully Clara soon changes her mind. “To hell with the last hurrah,” she says. “let’s keep going… as long as you get me home safe and on time, everything is great.”
But will Clara be forced to leave eventually? For now, we’ll have to wait and see.
What did you think of Mummy On The Orient Express? Will Clara turn her back on the Doctor eventually? Let us know what you think in the comments below…