Sunday, 12 October 2014

Mummy on the Orient Express - Review

A good story - but not a great one. The actual Mummy plot struggles to fill the fraction of storyline it has. It appears, there's the 66 second countdown, the victim dies. Repeat. The most famous piece of literature set on the Orient Express was a whodunnit. You know the one I mean. The one where they alldunnit. This story shows us the Mummy (a wonderful costume design) in the opening seconds - so we know who is doing the killing. The question posed instead is why? (It's a whydunnit).
Writer Jamie Mathieson could have added more of the whodunnit element if it had been suggested that one of the passengers or crew was really the person behind the computer - GUS. For a brief moment, we do think that the amiable Perkins might not be quite all that he seems.
As it is, the mystery of who brought the Doctor and all the other experts here is left hanging - to be resolved another day. All we know is that they are a cold-blooded killer, interested in the Mummy - or the Foretold to give it its proper title - in order to retro-engineer a weapon from it. Seems the mystery goes back to the closing moments of The Big Bang - where the Doctor got a call enticing him with an escaped Egyptian goddess on the space-bound version of the famous train.
Interesting that the Foretold proved to be a malfunctioning soldier. Are we to see some sort of parallel with Danny Pink? (Samuel Anderson quite literally phones in his performance this week).
The remainder of the story's running time deals with the aftermath of the big bust-up from last week's episode.
Did you notice how Clara did not appear in any trailers or photos? Seems it was a deliberate decision, to make us think she really had stopped travelling with the Doctor. Trouble is, the synopsis writer for the episode wasn't told...
To begin with, this is going to be her last journey. She no longer hates him - just dislikes him.
Later, she has realised that she cannot give up this lifestyle - but needs to understand where the new Doctor is coming from. He isn't heartless, just has a lot of bad decisions to make.
Clara asks the Doctor if his lifestyle is a form of addiction - and we know that it is she who is addicted. Danny thinks she is giving the Doctor the heave-ho - but she is determined not to do so.
I am starting to long for Clara's departure (as much as I like Jenna Coleman). The constant pulling away from the main story to her relationships with the Doctor and Danny can be a little jarring. A bit irritating. Did you notice how, when supposed to be consoling a woman who has just lost her mother and who is trapped in the baggage car with a killer Mummy on the loose, Clara still managed to bring the conversation round to her relationship with the Doctor? Do male writers think that women can only ever have a conversation about men? They can't try to work out what is going on and try to solve things instead?).
Here's to the next companion being someone who simply travels with the Doctor and has adventures - and most definitely doesn't want to get inside his trousers.
I read recently that Frank Skinner was worried that people would simply see him as "stunt-casting". Having Foxes on the cast list did make me worry about this too. As it was, he gave a lovely performance. Fortunately, the pop singer only got a cameo.
Clara was sidelined in the baggage car for much of this story. Next week, it looks as though the Doctor will be taking a back seat - trapped in the TARDIS...

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