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13 October 2014

Mummy On The Orient Express. Series 8-Episode 8

Murder On The Orient Express

Written by Jamie Mathieson
Director : Paul Whilmshurst
Producer : Peter Bennet
Executive Producer(s) : Stephen Moffat/Brian Minchin
Length : 45 minutes
Originally Broadcast : 11th October 2014
Cast : Peter Capaldi Jenna Coleman, Frank Skinner 


There's a mummy on board the Orient Express and anyone who is unlucky enough to catch a glimpse of it's tattered bandages, is dead within 66 seconds.

In Orient Express in motion


Contains spoilers
*Forgive the ponderous writing. Currently suffering from the curse...of the flu.*

The Doctor takes Clara on 'one last hurrah' on board a spaceship replica of the famous Orient Express.
 Mrs Pitt an elderly passenger also on board, suffers what appears to be a heart attack after claiming that she is being attacked by a mummy. The problem is, no one else can see it apart from those who are about to meet their untimely demise.

On encountering Maisie, (Mrs Pitt's granddaughter) who is distressed at not be able to see the deceased's body, both she and Clara break into the luggage car only to become trapped inside, along with a Mummy's Sarcophagus.

The Doctor and Perkins practice their frowning techniques
The Doctor meanwhile, ( masquerading as a secret shopper) strikes up an unlikely alliance with the the train's engineer Perkins (Frank Skinner) and together, the two of them begin to investigate the Legend of the Foretold. With the aide of Professor Moorhouse, who has been invited onto the Orient, along with several other scientific experts, they begin to unravel the legend of a supernatural being who once seen, claims the life of it's victims within 66 seconds. A forewarning of this is when the lights begin to flicker, which it does. This time, it is one of the train's chef who succumbs to the curse of the Mummy.

On his way to rescue Clara and Maisie, the Time Lord is arrested by the Captain (Quell) of the Orient for falsifying his identity. When the lights flicker yet again and one of the Captains men dies, the Doctor asks how many more people must die before he does something about it. The answer is three and the Doctor is promptly released.

"Are you my mummy?" I'm nothing if not predictable
On further investigation and after much questioning, it seems that the Orient is in fact a laboratory and the guests have all be lured there under false pretenses. A voice (Gus) tells the scientists that they are on board to discover the nature of the force so that they can reverse engineer the power.
Professor Moorhouse is the next to spy the Mummy, trying to give as much details of the being as possible before he perishes; only to end up bargaining for his life, but to no avail.

Back in the luggage car, Clara has uncovered evidence that the sarcophagus is in fact a containment unit and that it is not the first time that Gus has assembled such a team. Some who had previously perished for their poor performance in unlocking the mystery.
The Doctor wants to know why it takes exactly 66 seconds for the Mummy to kill it's victim, only to find from medical records taken by Perkins, that each of the victims had been suffering form various medical issues. By this summation Captain Quell is the next to befall the curse, having told the Doctor that he suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder during the war.

Before he dies, Quell is able to pass on valuable information to the Doctor, who realizes that because of the trauma of her grandmother's death, Maisie is the next intended victim. He asks Clara to bring her to the Lab as Gus unlocks the door and she is appalled by his seeming heartlessness. It turns out that the Foretold through phase shifting, drains the dead of their energy, hence the 66 seconds.
Once back in the laboratory, the Doctor absorbs some of Maisie's memories, tricking the Mummy into thinking that he is her. As the Foretold attacks, the Doctor finds out the it is a soldier that has been killed in a war centuries old and turned into an assassin having been modified with a phase shifting camouflage. Offering up their surrender, the Foretold halts in it's process, salutes the Doctor and disintegrates into a cloud of dust, leaving behind the phase shifting device.

Congratulating the survivors on a job well done and as their services are no longer required, Gus begins to evacuate the air on board the train. The Orient explodes as the Doctor tries to hack into Gus to discover his true nature but not before he rescues the remaining passengers by rewiring the phase shifting device as a teleporter and making a swift getaway via the TARDIS.


I can think of a lot of monsters that would have me clawing my face off with fear. The Mummy isn't one of them. What have Mummies's ever done? They can't out run their victims, yet people just stand there and scream in horror whilst they do whatever it is that Mummies do. Okay, so the one in this episode was able to teleport and drain the energy from it's kill, but every morning I face a far worse and even scarier mummy...especially if she hasn't had her daily cup of coffee.

In saying that, I did enjoy Mummy On The Orient Express, especially the fact that the Orient was travelling through space. And the ticking countdown at the beginning of each death sequence, added to the atmosphere of the scenes.
On a more negative note, i'm not quite sure what the purpose of the phone calls between Clara and Danny were all about as they didn't seem to fit with the whole episode. And  Clara's sudden turnaround at the end happened far to quickly for my liking, especially after her eruption of fury in Kill The Moon.

I must admit that the Doctor's coldness when under pressure is something that I find the most fascinating. His ability to switch off and just concentrate on the facts make for compelling viewing.
I would however liked to have known more information on who exactly Gus was. But as a stand alone story, explanations are not always needed. For me, the growing mystery surrounding the events, are what keeps a viewer interested and makes an episode linger in the mind long after it has finished.


  1. Sorry I'm a bit late . . . . . stuff to do and the like. But I have now arrived to leave a comment. I got to see the first ten minutes of this Dr Who. . . . . WOW its changed a lot since I last saw it. Its not in black and white anymore and the inside of the tardis is WELL COOL when did that all happen.

    Sadly as always happens I was dragged away by events, well I say events they were Zombies and big ones at that, but I fought my way out of the fridge and convinced them my brains were past their sell by date. Strangely they did not take a huge amount of convincing which is a worry. . . .

    Well done again and I hope that Man flu gets better soon, Women dont realize just how bad man flu can be for us chaps.

    1. Rob, i'm glad you were able to catch at least 10 minutes of the latest episode. Damn those zombies for intruding on your televisual entertainment. That's what makes them so annoying. That and the whole flesh eating thing.

      Thank you. Feeling a little better today, but won't let on to a certain person just yet.

  2. Here's to hoping your Flu flies away soon!
    I enjoyed Frank Skinner as the train's engineer. He was the Doctor's Watson.

    1. Thank you David.
      I must admit that i'm not a huge fan of Frank Skinner and was about annoyed that he was in this episode, But i really liked Perkins. I know that he's receiving a bit of a bashing by the critics but i thought he did very well.