The Latest of my reviews of the Peter Capaldi Era of Doctor Who
Summary: Murder on the Orient Express, in Space is staying out of it
Plot: On what is intended as their “Last Hurrah the Doctor and Amy find themselves on the Orient Express in space for what they think is going to be a fun and relaxing few days when odd things start happening namely bodies start to pile up being killed by an Egyptian Mummy who only the intended victim can see. The Doctor eventually figures out the trip is a trap for him and other experts such as Professor Morehouse by someone or something wishing to use them to discover the nature of this creature that has been killing for millennia. Can they solve the puzzle and even if they do will they get out alive?
Writing: We get back to back first time Doctor Who writers, last week Peter Harness this week Jamie Mathieson and back to back linear stories. Although it’s not a contest if it was Mathieson would get the win. with just the right combination of horror, wonder and memorable characters. The episode really flows, makes great use of the confrontation from last week episode and plays on all of the 12th Doctor’s contradictions. Not only great television but an episode that I suspect will be watched over and over again.
Acting: All of the acting here comes in pairs. Capaldi’s doctor finds himself grouped with Captain Quell (David Bamber), Professor Moorhouse (Christopher Villiers) and Perkins one of maintenance (Frank Skinner) Meanwhile when not just oozing chemistry with Capaldi Coleman’s Clara, in what is undoubtly the sexist outfit I’ve ever seen her in, is paired with Maisie (Daisy Beaumont) whose grandmother was the first victim. All of these characters are played to a T and when combined work even better, in fact so well they actually raise the level of both Capaldi & Coleman performances beyond what they had been which isn’t easy.
Memorable Moments: the one liners about Maisie’s gran, Mystery shopper, lie to her
Doctor Who Flashbacks: Are you my Mummy (9th Doctor) Orient Express in Space (11th Doctor) Jelly Babies (4th Doctor)
Oddities: While I’ve noticed a lot of similarities with the 3rd and 4th Doctor with this incarnation I’ve finally found something that directly links him with his previous incarnation. Doctor’s 3 & 4 could enjoy just relaxing from a game of chess, to fishing to a ride in a car, but this Doctor like his previous incarnation just can’t abide sitting around without a disaster going on. Also given the deaths and how they happened I suspect a scene involving the promised land might have been filmed but cut.
Pet Peeves: At the end of the Big Bang (11th Doctor) it’s implied that the Doctor Amy & Rory headed to the Orient Express in space but it appears they did not. I want to know where they went.
Clara: There’s a body and there’s a mummy. I mean, can you not just get on a train? Did a wizard put a curse on you about mini-breaks?
The Doctor: It might be nothing. Old ladies die all the time. It’s practically their job description.
Perkins: Well, I know that when I find a man fiddling with a chair that someone died in, it’s best to play my cards close to my chest.
The Doctor: Really? Well, I know that when I find a man loitering near a chair that someone died in, I do just the same.
Perkins: Perkins. Chief Engineer.
The Doctor: The Doctor. Nosey Parker.
Clara: You knew. You knew this was no relaxing break. You knew this was dangerous
The Doctor: I didn’t know. I certainly hoped.
Final Verdict: Five stars. Tried hard to think of something that might mark it down slightly , couldn’t come up with anything. Next episode is by the same guy curious how he will do.
Ranking of Season: 2nd of 8. This was the hardest episode of the season to place so far. In a lot of ways it’s a very ordinary episode, not much different than Kill the Moon, Time Heist or Robot of Sherwood but when I thought about what I didn’t like about the episode I found I couldn’t name a thing. That put it at five starts by default. So what is this an example of? A “typical” Doctor Who adventure done EXACTLY right