If you’ve been following Doctor Who for a while, you’ll notice that in The Big Bang, the finale of Season 5, the Eleventh Doctor mentioned taking Amy and Rory to the Orient Express in space as at the request of a distress call. Finally, after three seasons of waiting, we get to see the aftermath of the phone call, as Capaldi’s Doctor takes Clara on ‘one last hurrah’ through time and space. However, it doesn’t take long for things to go awry, and soon they find themselves being hunted by a mummy who is invisible to all but his intended target, and once you see it, you will only have 66 seconds to live.
The result is one of the more cleverly plotted and fun Doctor Who episodes that I’ve seen in a while, following on from the best episode of the series so far (Kill the Moon) with a way that didn’t manage to leave me feeling underwhelmed. It didn’t quite meet the quality of the previous episode but that aside, Mummy on the Orient Express was excellent, at least in my opinion. I know this season of Doctor Who has arguably been the most divisive yet, but I’m very much in the ‘loving it’ category. For reference, it’s probably my fourth favourite season of the rebooted series so far, with Eccleston’s first being my preferred choice, followed by Season 3 and then Season 5. There hasn’t been an episode that I haven’t liked out of the season so far, and all have been a great way to spend a Saturday evening (or, in the case of most of the episodes, a Sunday evening for me).
The episode itself was a unique, silly science fiction drama that only something like Doctor Who could do. The plot was fun with a good murder mystery element and the tensions were raised in a way that continued to push the Doctor’s and Clara’s relationship as it continues to look at the fallout from Kill the Moon, even if this area wasn’t handled as well as it should have been. However, that said, the pace was great, and Mummy on the Orient Express was incredibly exciting to watch.
The episode itself also included multiple cameos from different sources that are worthy of note. A Foxes cover of Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now featured alongside comedian Frank Skinner in clearly a stunt casting, one designed more for UK Audiences than anybody else.
Peter Capaldi has been nothing but excellent so far this season and he was on great form once again here, with Mummy on the Orient Express. It was great fun to watch his Doctor work out how to save everyone from being killed by the mummy and his performance kept you engaged as the episode progressed. Even in episodes that aren’t as exciting as this one he can still keep the audience hooked and his casting choice continues to be an awesome one, with Capaldi now firmly planted just behind Eccleston as my favourite Doctor.
In conclusion then, Mummy on the Orient Express was a strong, high concept episode that was pulled off incredibly well. Whilst not everything was perfect, it didn’t disappoint, and showed us that Capaldi and Season 8 in general continues to be very good indeed. Next week can’t come soon enough.