Yes, I adored ‘Mummy on the Orient Express.’ It’s what I’ve said before about essential Doctor Who: fun and scary, smart and sweet. Throw in a load of inside jokes and you’ve got perfect television.
I could go on at length about Peter Capaldi’s face. I thought of Jeremy Brett more than once; the tilt of the eyebrow, the just-right almost-smile. So much information in the smallest glance. This is what people mean when they say that everything Capaldi does is a master class: he is an exceptional actor, and his treatment of the character is gold.
The story is fun: last hurrah, but also there might be a monster because you’re traveling with the Doctor and of course he’s not going to tell you everything, and he’s certainly not going to just take it easy. The terror of the mummy and the evil supercomputer are well played. The jokes: jelly babies in a cigar case, bubble wrap, the Bechdel test, and of course that iconic new-Who line. Utter joy. The character stuff hasn’t gone away either: Clara has to think about what she really feels and wants, and she finally listens when the Doctor tells her where he’s coming from. Yes, the TARDIS is an addiction, as we devoted fans are well aware, and Clara is hooked; however, lying to both Danny and the Doctor I suspect is the beginning of the end for her.
I wanted to say something about Moffat’s treatment of mental illness, and rather than start typing all over again I’ll copy and paste my comment from The Mary Sue’s recap of the episode:
“Say what you will about the Moffat era, it is the one place in television where mental illness and psychological problems are treated as legitimate medical concerns. From Vincent’s depression, to Elliot’s dyslexia, to emotional trauma and post-traumatic stress in this episode, all are handled with compassion and validation.
This is in direct contrast to the treatment of disability in classic and RTD Who (Davros, Lumic), of psychological stress in every cop show ever, of mental illness in society at large. Moffat certainly has his issues, but he also has compassion and empathy for a group of people that receives little of either in popular media.”
That pretty much covers it.
Great TV, great Doctor Who, and I’m very glad to be surrounded once again by people who love this show as much as I do.