The Doctor is reunited with Clara (yes, she does come back) and they take one final trip together. The Doctor takes Clara, who looks stunning in her period outfit to fit in with the other passengers. She reveals that she doesn’t hate The Doctor, but wants to have one last trip to think of the good times. Shortly after arriving on the Orient Express (which we find out really early on is actually a train going through space), the talks of a Mummy killing people spread to The Doctor and he is intrigued by a creature that you can’t see unless you are about to die. The Doctor gets help in his investigation by Perkins, the engineer of the train (played by the quirky and effortlessly fun Frank Skinner). The Doctor eventually recognises a professor, Professor Moorhouse explains to The Doctor about “The myth of the Foretold” and that how they have 66 seconds to live once they see it. While The Doctor is exploring the case, Clara ends up stuck in the luggage car with Maisie, the lady who saw her grandmother die in front of her as she was the first victim. They find a mummy’s sarcophagus and when opened they discover it has a containment unit inside which is where the Foretold is coming from. The Doctor also discovers after another few deaths that most of the passengers he has interacted with have all been scientific experts and asks GUS (The on-board AI for the Orient Express, voiced by John Sessions) why they are all here? The train then stops and the façade begins to fade.
The train car that they are in changes and some of the passengers are shown to be holograms and disappear to reveal they are in a laboratory. The scientists are tasked by GUS to look at what is causing the mummy to kill people and how they can stop it. It is from The Doctor and Perkins looking at the previous victims they see that they all had some kind of condition that affected them, whether it was physical or emotional. The Doctor looks to those who fall victim to the 66 second countdown to learn about what it is that they are fighting and what it is doing as it goes to kill them. Eventually they realise the creature is draining the life force from people like a battery. They realise Maisie will be the next victim as she is still distraught over the death of her grandmother and makes her the next target. The Doctor claims to her he can save her but tells Clara that Maisie will die. When the mummy appears, The Doctor transfers the upset thoughts from Maisie to himself and can see the mummy. With 66 seconds to live, will The Doctor manage to stop the mummy? The Doctor works out that the mummy is actually a soldier from long ago with a phase-shifting camouflage which only made it visible with those about to perish. The Doctor calls for surrender and the mummy stops. Clara, while initially upset with The Doctor over taking her to a case instead of a relaxing trip, she realises she isn’t ready to leave him or the TARDIS.
Well, this episode is definitely an improvement on what we have seen in recent weeks, though a lot of the episodes have been good, this episode seemed to benefit from a new writer and new perspective to the Whoniverse. The line “Are You My Mummy?” had to come up at some time and was a great call-back to ‘The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances’ two parter from Series One. ‘Mummy On The Orient Express’ is just great fun, the cast once again is picked well and I would have enjoyed seeing Frank Skinner stay on the TARDIS for a while. Singer Foxes impresses with her short cameo as she does a stripped back version of Queen classic ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ and it is brilliant. The vibe on the train in Orient Express mode feels great and captures the period perfectly. Jenna Coleman is seeing her Clara become a very complex character as she can’t tear herself away from The Doctor, even though life away from The Doctor seems to be building a lot, especially with Danny Pink. The call between them at the end gives you that idea heartbreak may be on the way as she goes back on her “One last hurrah” and wants to continue travelling. Also Jenna Coleman looked great in that dress and I have to say that GUS was a great and sinister AI which I have not seen since 2001: A Space Odyssey. Peter Capaldi continues to be a very untrusting Doctor, though it seems he does this more to help now than to satisfy himself as he manages to save the remaining crew of The Orient Express in the end. The only criticisms is the amount of time The Doctor and Clara have been apart in this episode and that the mystery of the mummy is wrapped up just a bit too quickly. A solid episode by new writer Jamie Mathieson (who also wrote for Being Human) keeps Doctor Who fresh and a great tale we had too. So what is happening to everyone next week?
Final Rating: 8.5/10
Written By Jonjo Cosgrove.