written by Mackensie Baker (@MackensieBaker)
The writers of Doctor Who have brought the Titanic to space before, so why not the Orient Express? And hey, the Titanic had angels, so let's give this train...a mummy?
There is a whole heck of a lot of nostalgia in this episode. The title, and subject matter, of the episode is of course based off the novel, "Murder on the Orient Express" written by none other than Agatha Christie, who has, like the Titanic, been on the show before, alongside The Tenth Doctor and Donna Noble. But of course, there was also the whole Clara-dumping-the-Doctor thing hanging over the mystery and intrigue of the plot.
We may have been given another excuse to use the line "are you my mummy," which I am certainly not complaining about, but this time it was directed at a brand new creepy foe, one based off of the very mummy stories that kept me up as a kid. It was a great episode because it really incorporated a lot of the elements of Classic Who, where it taught the audience a little bit about both science and history in one fell swoop, without quite explaining everything. The mini cliffhanger about the man behind the machine "Gus," for instance, is one that I find a touch more intriguing than the actual guesswork behind the secret of the Foretold. However, the plot was more or less as expected, with a murdering mummy on a train in space. And the big reveal? Not all that big, actually. But hey, at least everyone looked like they just came from a Gatsby party.
Another mention of the soldier motif was made at the end too, begging the question: When are we going to see Danny Pink as a companion? We were promised a new companion,, and there has certainly been enough build-up, so what's taking them so long? That said, I have to admit that I'm slightly disappointed in the simple romantic interest storyline that the two teachers' relationship has devolved into. If anything, I think keeping them friendly, and ocassionaly flirtatious, colleagues would have been the best result. Much like the previous Coal Hill teacher-companions, Barbara and Ian.
I loved the roaring twenties look of the set, as well as the sudden switch to the shiny new space lab look. I loved the creepy, bandage-wrapped monster and the blurry camera effects they used to heighten the experience of it reaching towards its victims. But most of all, I loved that the Doctor remained the hero we expect him to be, the one who has to make the hard decisions in order to beat the bad guy and save as many as he can, even if he has to make some sacrifices along the way.