Mummy on the Orient Express
12 October 2014 at 22:30 #33466Craig @craigEmperor
@scaryb No probs at all. Better to be safe than sorry. I would’ve deleted the post instantly if it had really been a spolier.12 October 2014 at 22:52 #33467ScaryB @scaryb
Re Rani/cybermen – you could be right (see my theory re Missy preparing a “present” for her “boyfriend” (assuming it’s the Doctor she means and not Gus)).
Or it could be the massive redirect others have suggested and what we should be looking at is Danny. Has he really not been travelling yet? We’re all assuming his traumatic “thing” happened in “our” past as well as his. Or he’s the Master/Gus in disguise!
OTOH anyone who uses Tom Waits to illustrate a point is fine in my book! 😉
(@Craig – thank you, oh ever vigilant mighty emperor!! (Is that enough crawling??))12 October 2014 at 23:16 #33468
@scaryb – Yeah it’s true that the Doctor was more morally complex in Hartnell’s day, but I think most of the examples you give (though I’ve not seen the St Bartholomew’s Eve Massacre one) are about allowing Time to follow its proper/pre-ordained course, particularly in the Tenth Doctor examples. So you’re right in that these are morally difficult decisions, but I feel that these are different somehow, like the Doctor is absolved of the guilt in the audiences’ mind as if it is history’s fault these bad things happened and not his. Notice the only time he goes against ‘history’ is the one that’s not real-world history – the Waters of Mars.
What I’ve been looking for is for the show to challenge us the audience to watch the Doctor commit an essentially terrible act (even a relatively ‘minor’ one like causing the death of one person) but to agree with him that it was the right decision. This we got in Into the Dalek! But I felt we had never had it so overtly before. Previously, I feel the circumstances would have been set up (by the writers/directors) in such a way as to present the Doctor in a more positive light. But now the show is embracing its idea of a more pragmatic Doctor by deliberately showing him in a more unflattering light in these scenarios, which I find exhilarating (and is what I’ve been hoping for!). To me, this makes the character a more realistic and fascinating one.
But I also wonder what it would be like if we were to see Doctors 10 or 11, for example, in the same scenarios without the writers conspiring to present them in such a flattering way. There is, of course, a difference between the broad spectrum of what the Doctor is capable of, and the relatively limited aspect of that spectrum that the writers want/allow us to see. (I think in some ways this is what you aptly refer to as the Eleventh Doctor’s PR agent!)
But yes, I agree that the Twelfth Doctor is as equally a good man as his previous incarnations. What I respect about him is that, on top of that caring aspect, there’s another part of him (that exists either because he’s an alien or because of his raw experience) that simply accepts that the best way to do things is sometimes still gonna be messy and regrettable. But its better than the alternative.12 October 2014 at 23:37 #33469ScaryB @scaryb
I’m not actually disagreeing with you – I like this darker take, with lots of shadowy greys, and I agree it’s being played up more by Capaldi. But he’s always done the difficult choices. Ten would have let history take its course in Pompeii if it hadn’t been for Donna; Eleven in the Beast Below was making the “wrong” choice till pulled up by Amy. And the whole message of Day of the Doctor is that there’s always a better choice than killing children.
The difference is that Twelve doesn’t dress it up. When someone’s already dead or beyond his ability to help (eg Ross, the astronaut last week, those who have seen the mummy in this week’s) he doesn’t pretend he can. eg it doesn’t matter if Maisie stays in the carriage with Clara, or if she goes to where the Doctor is, if it’s her turn to see it, it will find her.
Hmmm – just thinking – this is the second episode where the Doctor has referred to masking his thoughts so his true intentions won’t be detected. (And he’s also doing it with Clara so as not to influence her decision. But you can see he’s delighted when she decides she wants to keep travelling)13 October 2014 at 00:16 #33470lisa @lisa
There has been The Master, The Rani. The Doctor, etc. and now ‘The Engineer’
I have a new conjecture – all ideas welcome !
On my second re watch I really felt that this is an introduction to the possibility of a new ‘The”
Could the engineer have also had some other connection to GUS ? no idea but he came up with the ‘it takes approx. 66 seconds to move out of phase’ answer and some other info for the Doctor pretty quickly
I think that in some way at least he has had more a part of the Gus set up
So my new current hunch is that maybe The Engineer knew all along who the Doctor was and even maybe the original
invitation sent to the Doctor came from him ?13 October 2014 at 00:37 #33471blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave
Great idea about “the engineer”. I was thinking this was a stand-alone episode, without any “arc” implications; but it is true that the engineer was slightly strange–even unnerving, from his first appearance to his last. And, as you say, he gave the impression of knowing more than he let on.
Hmm. More thought required (with the assistance of another glass of wine, of course).13 October 2014 at 00:54 #33472IAmNotAFishIAmAFreeMan @pedant
Why couldn’t it have just taken place on the actual Orient Express.
I believe we discussed the Rule of Cool in the last thread.13 October 2014 at 01:40 #33473lisa @lisa
One more thing about the Engineer calling himself Perkins – he handed over all the manifests etc regarding
passengers and trip joking that maybe he was already looking into ‘this’ ?
Maybe he is/isn’t just a train engineer ? yes/no/not sure
But I would like to see him come back in a future episode13 October 2014 at 01:48 #33474
I’m really torn on this. In some ways I agree. I think we live in a age where I think the collective storytelling – the myths and legends, are often overlooked for more current pleasures. In some ways I think if the links were intentional they could be stronger. BBC4 used to strand programmes after DW Confidential (back in the Day) when you’d get a prog on the period of Versailles for Girl in the Fireplace, for example. Another on Van Gough for Victor and the Doctor. After the first Cyberman two-parter in 2006 I remember they showed “Parallel Earths, Parallel lives” a documentary about the origins and potential of the Parallel Earth theory. It was that kind of thing that let you explore ideas.
On the other hand – I well remember the hamfisted approach to mythology that the BG years occasionally took. I remember watching Horns of Nimon and cringing because it’s such a literal look at the Theseus and Minotaur Story (IN SPACE!!) that you just want to kick something. I think the current philosophy of taking the oldest stories that exist, absorb (and occasionally subvert) is probably preferable. It’s less demanding on my glands. 😀
And I’m glad I summoned some small joy. I have a new conundrum for you and other fans of mythology to follow. On the END OF DAYS!13 October 2014 at 01:56 #33475
Many thanks to @serahni for the intervention. @GothanCelt – I was pretty specific about my criticism – However you feel about this series, episode, whatever – please do not call the Gods Of Who to your aid.
Assuming that someone involved in the show will automatically share your worldview is just daft. Full stop. I’ve seen it on the Guardian (our original home) and other forums (which I check out to look for potential problems).
People summoning of the Gods of Who (Peter Capaldi – subdivision) usually seem to refer to:
Having been cast:
“Capaldi is no fool. He’ll sort out Moffat.” (Translation: I really don’t like SMs run. Capaldi is bound to conform to my view. He’s a fan. Just like me.)
“I hear stormy language and disagreements are apparent on set”. (Translation: I really don’t like SMs run. Capaldi is bound to conform to my view. He’s a fan. Just like me. I read a spurious rumour from someone who hears voices in their head. He obviously hates what he’s been made to do.)
“Capaldi should storm in there and talk some sense into the writers (scripts/music/A Combination of the two)”. He should shout at the director and stare at the Editor until he makes it all better.
“Capaldi deserves better” My ego suggests I could write a better script. It would be ace, and win a Hugo!
“Capaldi deserves better” Imagine Peter Capaldi working with Philip Hincliffe as Producer? Wouldn’t that be great!? It would be, unless you ignore his hatred of the idea of the Doctor as an “Intergalactic Eunuch” and embracing the more “Soap Opera” elements.
Have I left any out?13 October 2014 at 02:02 #33476blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave
OK, just watched it again, and I am less convinced about the ongoing importance of Perkins, the engineer.
Damn! I am so looking for a bonkers theory, but just cannot come up with one.
All I can hang on to is the mystery of Danny. Good? (probably) Bad? (perhaps) An Auton? (unlikely)
Probably time for bed.13 October 2014 at 02:10 #33477
I’d just like to echo others who have mentioned the naming of the beast as “The Foretold”. To me, it obviously immediately brings to mind prophesy or knowledge of the future. Thinking about it, and this series, I kept coming back to the thought “Signs and Portents”. As in end times, the apocalypse.
The reason for this, I’m sure (and I’ll beg the readers indulgence here) is probably down to Good Omens – a book by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman (we have a who link people!), which is actually going to be dramatised by Radio 4 in December.
For those who haven’t read it (place your order now) it is the comedic take on “The Omen”. The antichrist is born and through a series of misunderstandings isn’t fostered by the US ambassador. He’s fostered by an accountant in a rural village. Adam grows to puberty and the massed ranks of Heaven and Hell await the Signs and Portents that he will bring to signal the apocalypse. Adam’s powers manifest as he’s exposed to the good natured local eco-witch. The signs come forth, but not quite as expected, as they’re fuelled by his very natural childish imagination and his latest reading material.
It’s genuinely laugh out loud funny (with an excellent cameo by a pathetic almost-Dalek), but there are echoes of the signs throughout this series. You have the myth of Robin Hood in larger-than-life (as was the Dinosaur) reality. You have an improbable creature that has echoes of the Phoenix hatching from the moon. You have the dead walking (the Foretold). I’m not sure if this really adds up to much but I keep being dragged back to it. Do we have a “Four Horsemen” yet? I suppose Missy is Death, and you could call the Blitzer the personification of War. Should we keep an eye out for Famine and Pestilence (in Good Omens, Pestilence retired testily muttering something about penicillin. His replacement was Pollution, who was just getting into his stride).
So – if you have a better knowledge of the various Apocalypse scenarios than me, is there something here. Are the things we see “Signy” and “Portentous” enough to be signs and portents? Are we approaching the end days?
* Good Omens – the radio serial has some good early casting with people like Mark Heap and Peter Serafinowicz Louise Brealey, Phil Davis, Mark Benton, Colin Morgan, Paterson Joseph, and Josie Lawrence .13 October 2014 at 03:32 #33478LordAllons-y @lordallons-y
THIS is what I’ve been wanting from this series!! There was plenty of attention on the SUPPORTING characters (looking at Clara) but the majority of the episode was on the Doctor and him saving the day. I am disappointed that the engineer didn’t stay on the TARDIS as her permanent mechanic but there would have been a lot of explaining they needed to do. Good episode!!13 October 2014 at 05:47 #33479janetteB @janetteb
Excellent episode. Lots to like in this one. It really has been an excellent series this year. I agree with @blenkinsopthebrave in that it seems to be very much a stand alone while running with the general themes of the series. Compliments must go to the writing team and to Moffat for maintaining those thematic elements through the various episodes.
This story had lots of lovely lines and genre nods as pointed out by @phileasf Gus/eddy and the hard light halograms brought a smile to this face. So if hard light halograms are now “a thing’ in Dr Who that opens up numerous bonkers theorising possibilities. Danny and Orson as holograms??
@rob I liked your explanation (post33449) for why the Mummy picks off the most vulnerable first.
Am I the only person who does not dislike Danny? He certainly suffered from PTSD and a severe case of Foot in Mouth but he is hardly evil and one cannot help but feel sorry for him in his position re’ Clara. Like Rory he feels as though he is second best because frankly who could compete with the Doctor. What Danny is grappling to understand is that her relationship with the Doctor is not romantic. Is there more to Danny though than simply a war damanged, insecure lover? I certainly hope so but I do not think he is the master. (which given my propensity to be wrong almost certainly means he is.)
I agree with @TheKryniodMan re Clara lying at the end. I disliked it and I think it bodes ill for Clara and Danny. I think that lie will catch up with her and cause trouble down the tracks. Clara has clearly become addicted to the dangerous life of the time traveller. That I fear will lead to tragedy.
Capaldi has really settled into the role now. He seems a lot more confident than at first and he has jelly babies!!! Clara has developed very interestingly as a character this series, but as stated above, I fear she is headed for a fall.
Janette13 October 2014 at 06:18 #33480
I find the conversation at the end about addiction strange, because they both seem to have forgotten about the fact that the Doctor did give up traveling for ages and ages –
But the conversation wasn’t really about the Doctor. Clara tried to make it look like she was talking about him when she brought the subject up, but actually the reason she brought it up was that she had spent the entire episode fighting her own addiction, and was looking for a way to explain that she was still addicted. The “last hurrah” was like the “one last cigarette” that smoking addicts tell themselves that they need to have before they finally give up smoking forever.
The Doctor realised this, and turned Clara’s question back to her: “well you can’t really tell if something’s an addiction until you try and give it up” – implying he had noticed that Clara was finding it difficult to give up, unlike his earlier self. “Let me know how it goes” – that should have been Clara’s line if the conversation was really about the Doctor.
The reason Clara was so happy after her phone call with Danny was that she realised that the call gave her an excuse. Rather than admitting she had failed to defeat the addiction, something which she had been planning but dreading to say, she could instead pretend that Danny was the reason she’d been intending to walk away, and now he had come around so there wasn’t any problem.13 October 2014 at 07:01 #33481
@bluesqueakpip – The Doctor can stop – he proved that with his 1000 year, to the death stay on Trenzalore. He’s a ‘professional gambler’ – but he’s not addicted. As long as someone needs him to stop, he can stop. And he’s quite prepared to remain stopped for the rest of his life
i’m not so sure. i think he stopped travelling the universe, in that case, simply because of the threat of the time war breaking out again. the time he spent on trenzalore was one, long, drawn-out “episode” (a stalemate, actually) where he did what he had to do, as he was the only one who could have done so (with considerable help from the papal mainframe). he stayed to protect the town from invading forces, yes, but those forces were only there because of the time lords on the other side of the crack. the peace he found (and helped to maintain) while defending christmas for 800 or so years was the easier choice, over the unrest and turmoil that he would cause if he left to go do his own thing. it wasn’t a completely altruistic thing…
and he was tempted to leave, once the tardis returned after her long absence. i thought that was clear. but he didn’t retire to christmas, to be a beekeeper, or a curator, or whatever (as he had mentioned before that he thought he might like to do), he became its default defender til either the time lords went away, or the invading forces went away… or til he died, whichever came first. 🙂 he did sulk up on that cloud in victorian london after losing amy and rory, but that was an extenuating circumstance, too. no, i think the doctor has time travelling in his dna, now, and would only give it up for some extraordinary reason. like death, of course. but also, if my thought is correct that the moment has made him a de facto immortal, it could undo that at some point, once his punishment is complete…
i sort of agree about the daleks, though. i doubt the writers would get rid of them altogether, but i wouldn’t put it past them that they have a plan to make them less one-dimensionally evil. i expect their next appearance might reveal that there’s a “non-exterminating” faction that has grown from the fruit that is rusty, the first “good” dalek…
however, regarding the time lords, the doctor has a tumultuous relationship with his own race, as well (admittedly, not a daleky murderous one, except for a few examples, such as the rani and the master). i don’t think it’s a given that they would take up the doctor’s banner, upon his retirement or death, and go out into the universe to fight evil, and to right the wrongs in life for the “lesser” peoples of the universe. indeed, if they are returned to the prime universe of who at some point, at all, i would expect them to adopt (or try to continue) a hands-off approach: the very non-interference rule that the doctor challenged, back when he first ran away…13 October 2014 at 07:18 #33482
Don’t really see why people generally find it easier to suspend disbelief for a teleporting mummy on the Orient Express (IN SPACE!!) than for the moon’s an egg scenario, but happy people are generally on board for this epi 🙂
Given the way human nature works, an “Orient Express (IN SPACE!!)” is not just plausible but practically inevitable, given only that our tech continues to advance in the future and that as a species we retain our interest in stories, especially stories which combine opulence and mystery. And teleportation is a staple of SF, and mummies are a staple of the horror genre. Mechanically animated mummies are something that we could make even today and even with limited resources, though I admit they probably wouldn’t last for millions of years and teleportation would be out of the question.
Compare that with the moon as an egg.
There was a bit of a problem with it being closer to home because of “known” science – which nobody can actually claim to know.
That was a tenable position a couple of centuries ago. It’s still a tenable position with regard to much of our science, especially our cosmological speculations about the origins and the distant reaches of the universe; however, the moon is our neighbour. Men have landed there, and brought back samples, which have been analysed and which are not noted for their resemblance to eggshell. The pattern of craters on the surface has been examined, and used to infer how old that surface is, and it’s very old indeed. Maybe a billion years old. There’s no air there, no food, nothing that might support life, and no sign of life. It being an egg would contradict EVERYTHING we know about physics, chemistry, biology, and just about any other science you can think of. What does a moon dragon live on? Where does it come from? How can it gestate for maybe a billion years, and then lay a new egg immediately upon hatching? How is it able to extend its wings against the pull of its own gravity? What is the use of those wings, in space? What does it breathe? How does it avoid freezing on one side, and boiling on the other?
Now we might try to come up with pseudo-scientific answers to some of these questions, e.g. the wings are solar sails, the dragon doesn’t need to eat because it’s some sort of robot, or whatever. But any such answers would only raise more and bigger questions, because there’s nothing in our body of scientific knowledge which could even begin to accommodate a moon-dragon. If it was real then all of our science would be bunk, from beginning to end. ALL of it.
That’s the difference.
But moon-as-egg does work very well in terms of story. I’ve no doubt there’s plenty of myths about the moon as an egg, explaining its phases as a hatching out that happens every month. The story could have worked if set in a place where story takes precedence over science, e.g. in a virtual reality like the Library. There’s plenty of precedent for the Doctor turning up in such a virtual universe, where real world physics does not apply. The moon-as-egg episode would have worked better if there was some evidence (other than the bad science) that it was set in such a universe.13 October 2014 at 08:11 #33483chickenelly @chickenelly
Quick check in over breakfast. I must admit I thought last week’s episode left a lot to be desired, but this week’s I enjoyed immensely.
I noticed the background music in this episode in a good way for once. It reminded me of ‘Carry on Screaming’, plus Perkins had a bit of the Hawtreyesque about him:
Perkins Perkins, the railway engineer
Now that we’re quite far into the series, I’ve firmed up my bonkers theories a bit:
1) Danny will be the brother of Journey Blue who has been snatched by Missy into the Nethersphere then sent back using the tech which has been gleaned from the investigations into the Mummy.
2) The Mummy was another being this series which was partially cyberised. Is the view out of the window which Seb looks at in the ‘Caretaker’ episode some kind of conversion unit? Danny has therefore been cyberised, hence the vagueness of his background (can’t remember). He’s clearly travelled through time and is the relative who was time traveller mentioned by Orson Pink.13 October 2014 at 11:11 #33485wordmuse @wordmuse
This had the potential to be a really good episode – and it was, right up until the end. I don’t know what it is, exactly – well, yes I do. There is an artificial strain put into this season that doesn’t need to be there; that doesn’t do a lick of good that I can tell and makes for lots of contrivance. I speak of the relationship of Danny and Clara – which ought to be at least as good as that of Mickey and Rose and Rorey and Amy; but so far isn’t.
Clara has gone from being heroic in her own right to being part of “Three’s Company” where there are lots of forced misunderstandings and entire arcs built around this. Some of it is downright squirm-worthy. Especially, when Clara – who’s supposed to be a strong woman (and was in the Matt Smith episodes) lies to Danny. My wife and I were so relieved when she finally fessed up and made things honest between she, Danny and the Doctor. We loved the relationship bits in the Moon episode.
But now we’re back to her lying to Danny and to the Doctor in order to carry on her double life – which had been resolved favorably in the earlier episode. This contrived tension just seems like bad or lazy writing to me.
Clara has the potential to be the best companion since series was reborn – and she was fulfilling that promise with Matt Smith. Sadly, that Clara seems to be replace with a confused little school girl who can neither make up her mind what she wants nor be honest about it.
As for The Doctor, finally this Doctor is beginning to be more like The Doctor and less like a confused old man with a mid-life crisis. He’s Doctor Who for Pete’s sake! Being a confused old man is OK for the first, maybe the first two episodes of the season. But this time it took too long. Thankfully that seems to finally be done.
The short of it is that both the Doctor and Clara need to be stronger characters than they’ve been. Otherwise, it’s like watching a scifi soap opera, and that would be such a shame if it came to that.13 October 2014 at 11:24 #33486
i think he stopped travelling the universe, in that case, simply because of the threat of the time war breaking out again
I’m with @bluesqueakpip on this one. It doesn’t really matter why the Doctor stopped travelling but the fact is that he did (and therefore could). It’s Clara that has the addiction because it’s now been shown that she can’t stop even if she wanted to — and now she’s lying to her loved ones to cover up her addiction, a classic signpost for where her personal arc is going). It should perhaps be a bit troubling that the Doctor recognises this and is yet still happy to be her enabler — although I suspect the end of her story will be him realising that he can no longer do this for her own safety and sanity. In the end it will be the Doctor that reluctantly leaves Clara rather than the other way around.
@mtgradwell et al RE. moon egg
I consider myself pretty science-y myself and I must admit I really didn’t have a problem with the moon egg — apart from the initial ‘blimey’ when it was first uttered. If anything I now look back on it as a moment of incredible daring by Moffatt and co. Going by the Graun forums and a few posts on here the argument is that it’s a step too far into bad science for what it supposed to be a SF show. Personally I think they’re making a fundamental mistake in thinking of Who as a SF show in the first place. It’s essentially a fantasy show that uses some SF trappings — sometimes to a greater extent, sometimes to a lesser. Now is just one of the lesser times.
But just take a look at the show’s history. Christopher Bidmead started off wanting to make the show more in tune with hard science. He started off with plots about the heat death of the universe and ended up with hatstands sticking out of rubble. The Daemons makes a few tokenistic attempts at half-hearted technobabble but is essentially all about magic. The Silurians gets its science wrong from the outset and for all its scientific chat Inferno is essentially a story about an evil potion that turns men into monsters and all the Jungian archetypes contained in that. And as @scaryb says, look at the core concept of the TARDIS and the Doctor himself. There’s more of magical archetypes about that than there is about science. At its core there is as much CS Lewis about the show than there is Asimov or Verne.
So I personally don’t have a problem with the moon egg at all. Even if it does fly in the face of what we do know about the moon. But it doesn’t really matter. Who as a show does not really operate in ‘our’ universe. Just one that happens to look extremely like it. This has never been more the case than during the Moffatt era so I’d tend to look at the moon egg if not as a statement of intent, then as a pretty graphic reminder of it.
And this is all very long-winded way of saying that, scientifically, you just have to roll with stuff like that. And who knows? The series isn’t over yet. It might turn out that that episode was all just a dream or a story or something.13 October 2014 at 11:54 #33487
On the title:
Mummy on the Orient Express, the clues in the title… so no surprise there. Its actually quite a useful spoiler, if you enjoy your Doctor Who, pre-emptied. Snappy title? I think the producers must have a penchant for what sound like working titles. Image if The Robots of Death; from 1976 had gone out under its working title of, The Storm-mine murders it would have been far more mysterious without any specific clues as to what this tale was to be about. In the hands of the current regime I suspect it would screened as, Killer robots on a sand miner.
The Robots of Death was a tribute to Agatha Christie. In this story the human crew of the sand-miner are being picked off by a rogue robots, the crew eventually taking refuge together. Claustrophobic atmosphere is something Who has attempted on and off for many a long year, but usually the effect has suffered, being over-lit… but I digress13 October 2014 at 12:10 #33488
On the Story:
The artefact was seeded, but why didn’t the Doctor return to his analysis of it sooner? I would have welcomed a chance to work out the clue… after all,wasn’t this an Agatha Christie inspired storyline/ The Lady Vanishes, albeit with a twist. If you are going to set up a mystery, at least allow your audience to get involved, and hazard a guess or two. This was passive viewing. I’m not suggesting the story didn’t work, it did.
I love the intensity Capaldi brings to the role of the Doctor, and he really carried this episode. The second story this season in which the sonic-screwdriver isn’t being flouted about and used liberally as a Get Out of Jail Free, card… and thus conveniently allowing every situation to be resolved with a relative amount of ease.13 October 2014 at 12:19 #33489
Didn’t she look lovely… so nicely and memorably turned-out for her final foray in the TARDIS. And then after the big-build up she changes her mind. Oh! Well that’s never been done before, but what an anti-climax. Maybe its possible to be a little in love with an older man.
Also, I suspect, this is goodbye now because Clara isn’t going to get the chance to repeat it further down the line.13 October 2014 at 12:57 #33490
i’m not so sure. i think he stopped travelling the universe, in that case, simply because of the threat of the time war breaking out again.
Yes. Exactly. That’s why, for the Doctor, it’s not an addiction. One of the definitions of ‘addiction’ as opposed to ‘something the person finds fun’ is that an addiction will interfere with someone’s ordinary life responsibilities.
it wasn’t a completely altruistic thing
Nope. But then, choosing to give up drinking because you’ve realised it’s taking a toll on your spouse and kids isn’t entirely altruistic. Giving up gambling because the only money available is the mortgage money isn’t entirely altruistic. In both cases, however, it’s the inability to do that which is the sign of addiction.
I’m with @jimthefish – I wonder if Clara’s story is going to end like Susan’s. That is, the Doctor will leave her. Because he loves her, and she needs to have a normal life – and ‘a normal life’ is the one thing he can’t give her.13 October 2014 at 13:01 #33491
@oblique — the title is part of the joke. It’s a call-out to the phone call that the Doctor gets at the end of The Big Bang (I think) and which is referenced in the episode.
Similarly Dinosaurs on a Spaceship was a meta title as well — referencing the Samuel L Jackson movie. Also a huge misdirect as the real meat of the episode wasn’t really anything to do with the dinosaurs, but with Solomon and Nefertiti…. so not really a spoiler title at all…
Nor when you think about it is Mummy. The core of the story is not really about the Mummy at all. That’s just the hook on which to hang the story. The true core of the story is Clara’s decision to stay with the Doctor. Character is at the heart of drama.13 October 2014 at 13:14 #33492
What Danny is grappling to understand is that her relationship with the Doctor is not romantic.
I agree with the rest of your analysis, and I too don’t dislike Danny, but I can’t see that. On the contrary, he seems to understand better than Clara herself does that her relationship with the Doctor is not romantic.
“Well, one, you can’t dump him because he’s not your boyfriend. And two, dumping him sounds a little scorched earth, you still basically get on. I think you should just enjoy your space train. At least it’s not dangerous.” – He was doing really, really well until that last sentence.13 October 2014 at 13:29 #33493
It being an egg would contradict EVERYTHING we know about physics, chemistry, biology, and just about any other science you can think of.
Harking back to my blog on The Eleventh Hour, (other blogs are available) we are not in our local universe and our local laws on physics, chemistry, biology and just about any science you can think of do not apply.
We’re in the land of Leadworth (Doctor Who tale), where the computers run on myth. And the myths may well be true and the ‘experts’ (including the Doctor) may well be wrong.
At least, as far as I can figure out, that’s the ‘arc’ of Series 8. The most unscientific, unhistorical and seemingly preposterous myths may be based on fact.
I can’t believe I’m spending so much bloody time defending an episode I hated…13 October 2014 at 13:29 #33494thommck @thommck
Not so mello after all, what a shame …
Anyway, I have my bucket of exclamtion/question marks at the ready so hear we go.
Despite the later showing we got to watch this one live! What a fun episode. We had the lights off and my 10y/o was clinging on to me from the start 🙂 It was almost Scooby Doo!
@oblique: “Mummy on the Orient Express, the clues in the title”
Are you implying that Clara is the Doctor’s Mummy? If you’re not, I will!
Who was that Albert Einstein lookalike? Surely if it was the real one the Doctor would’ve said hello? Have they met before? Presumably it was just one of Al’s descendants (following the Orson theme).
The mention of hard-light holograms also made me think immediately of Arnold J. Rimmer (the TARDIS has visited Red Dwarf before). Now we need to look out for Clones, Gangers, Autons, Replicants and holograms!
Loved the look of the mummy, very scary and not an obvious man-in-a-suit. I’m wondering if the broken foot dragging was a clue? Look at for somebody breaking their foot in a future episode! @Bluesqueakpip, yes, the salute reminded me of Danny’s too.
Who created the Mummy? Presumably not the same person controlling GUS? Makes me think there are two factions at war here.
I liked how all of the passengers were used to space travel, they almost ignored the Doctor, or at least didn’t find him very special/interesting 😛
The Doctor says he is a doctor of “Intestinal parasites” and it turns out the mummy was suffering from one in a roundabout kind of way! It also made me think of the antibodies and bacteria we have been seeing in this series.
The Doctor wants Clara to stay, trying to give her a fantastic adventure (what he thinks she wants). Although, I feel he doesn’t just want a companion anymore, he wants an accomplice/partner. He doesn’t want to be alone or to have to start again with a new companion. Was the “Don’t Stop Me Now” song a subliminal message to Clara?
My only real bugbear with the episode was the explanation for the 66 seconds. In fact, when the veil was lifted from the train the curtain fell on the whodunnit element for me as a viewer. They seemed to pluck the “Phase-Shift” technobabble out of thin air. Maybe @phaseshift himself can enlighten us a bit? I was hoping they would discover the time was actually 66.6 seconds to add a bit more to the heaven/hell themes (OK, maybe the undead mummy is enough of a nod to that!).
Perkins was a curious character who definitely was playing his cards close to his chest. He seemed similar to Donna’s set-up. A popular but not necessarily “in-demand” comedian that could easily come back as a full-time companion. They completely tricked me into thinking he was going to be a permanent TARDIS occupant.
Where did they end up? Reminded me of New Earth (where the Cat people lived). The Doctor was drawing frantically in the sand but we never got to see what, more chalkboard style calculations perhaps? @phileasf, I agree the whole set up seemed suspicious. Did he really save everyone or just Perkins & Clara?
@spider I felt Clara’s change of heart robbed her speech at the end of Kill the Moon. @badwulf, @miapatrick, Clara didn’t change her mind because of Danny. She actually is deceiving Danny and lying to the Doctor. I believe she thinks she can have her fun with the Doctor and then just timehop back to Danny so he is none the wiser. Has she gone to far now? Is she unable to quit the addiction (@ScaryB)? What happens when she overdoses, a transformation into Missy perhaps!?
@jimbomcmaster – Great defense of the “soap” elements. I agree with you completely (except I am a Clara/Danny fan)
“the Doctor did give up traveling for ages and ages – in The Time of the Doctor”.
I felt the same but I thought of The Snowmen episode when he lived in the clouds (although @geoffers may have unconvinced me!). Those pesky memory worms have maybe got loose in the TARDIS!
Finally on to Gus, or is it G.U.S.?
“Augustus was an ancient Roman title given as both name and title to Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus (often referred to simply as Augustus), Rome’s first Emperor. On his death, it became an official title of his successor”
In Rome’s Greek-speaking provinces, “Augustus” was translated as Sebastos (@PhileasF you almost beat me to that one!). The Roman element would definitely point to a “mortal” being deified, becoming God-like and having power in the afterlife? Also, a bit tenuous to say the least, but we have a sarcophaGUS on board, a vessel to the afterlife!
@soundworld Great Unintelligence System? Do I win 😉
Off to refill my bucket now but I’ll leave you with a couple of awesome bits of artwork from the BBC gallery!13 October 2014 at 14:06 #33495
@scaryb – I appreciate you’re not disagreeing with me re the new darker shade of Doctor. Also, your point about The Beast Below is a good example of what I was looking for actually, and one I’d forgotten, so thanks for that. I respect the Doctor (and more importantly the show itself) because in that one he was willing to commit a terrible act, killing the Space Whale, for the greater good (although he was being a bit short-sighted in that case, as Amy proves).
Still, I feel that these examples are of times when in the end he didn’t actually commit (and didn’t have to commit) those terrible acts- as you say, Donna and Amy showed him another way. In other words, the show itself gives him a way out. (The only exception is his destroying of the Time Lords.)
To be clear about what it is that I felt the show had been lacking (and has now finally gained): I wanted the show itself (ie the writers/producers) to accept that sometimes in the Doctor’s adventures he would have to commit these terrible acts for the greater good. Just occasionally, these instances would surely arise, and the Doctor would (as he says in this week’s episode) only be able to choose from bad choices, eg kill one person, or let five die, for example. In other words I wanted the writers/producers (let’s say Russell T Davies) to put him in a position where he would have no choice but to kill that one person for the sake of five others. The Doctor is an intelligent, brave and moral man, and would appreciate that he had to take that action, and not let the five die, regardless of what face he was wearing at the time.
I’m glad we’ve had that happen now (in Into the Dalek, and acknowledged this week), it adds a realistic facet to the kind of life the Doctor leads, whereas I feel that perhaps previously the show had been that bit more idealistic (and kinder to the Doctor’s reputation), and that it would have been really interesting to see Tennant or Smith, for example, react to having to commit these ‘little’ evils. I appreciate that the Doctor’s destruction of the Time Lords is actually a very good example of this, although much more personal, but I feel that in reality the Doctor would find himself cornered into these kinds of positions more often that the show, up til now, has allowed for.
Anyway, I’m just saying that I’m glad we’ve had (what I consider to be) this extra facet of ‘realism’ this year (not that I hold it against the previous seasons or Doctors – it was only minor quibble of mine.) The amount I’ve written on this isn’t really proportionate to how much I care about this one feature, I just wanted to explain my thoughts. I thought they would be straightforward to explain but it has taken several paragraphs in the end! Oh well, Doctor Who deserves my time.13 October 2014 at 14:23 #33496
Some of it is downright squirm-worthy. Especially, when Clara – who’s supposed to be a strong woman (and was in the Matt Smith episodes) lies to Danny. My wife and I were so relieved when she finally fessed up and made things honest between she, Danny and the Doctor. We loved the relationship bits in the Moon episode.
But now we’re back to her lying to Danny and to the Doctor in order to carry on her double life – which had been resolved favorably in the earlier episode.
But does she lie to Danny? Danny asks “is it done?” and she replies “yep, mission accomplished”, but what precisely is the “it”, the mission that has been accomplished? I think it is the completion of the “last hurrah”, the final trip on the Orient Express (in space!!!), and indeed that is accomplished. Clara is no longer on the Orient Express (in space!!!). It no longer exists, having been blown up. All through the episode Cjara has been explaining to the Doctor about why this is her last trip, so there isn’t anything more that needs to be said. All that remains is for her to get a lift home, a mere formality at this point.
I think it’s only a couple of seconds after the ending of that call that Clara realises that she really doesn’t want the adventures to stop, and they don’t have to. It’s that belated realisation which causes a big smile to spread across her face. In the words of the song, she’s having a good time, she’s having a ball. And as Danny told her earlier, she does basically get on with the Doctor. And Danny is cool with that. So why should it stop now? Of course Clara has been lying throughout the episode, occasionally to the Doctor but mainly to herself, but I don’t think she deliberately lied to Danny.13 October 2014 at 14:39 #33497
Incidentally, has everyone noticed that the soldiers we’ve seen are ALL soldiers whose wars haven’t ended? Journey Blue, Skivotz Blister and now the Mummy.
Except for Danny. Seemingly.
The theme in the other episodes is people feeling forced to do something because a loved one has told them to/being held captive. In Robot of Sherwood, Robin is trying to be a hero to live up to Marian’s love for him. In Time Heist, the Teller is forced to do horrible things because his family is being held hostage. In Kill The Moon Lundvist feels she has to kill a baby Moon Dragon because the entire world is in danger.
Okay, so which is Danny? Is he a soldier stuck in a war that isn’t over? Or is he doing something he doesn’t like because of his loved ones?
Or is he both?13 October 2014 at 15:20 #33498soundworld @soundworld
You were going to win, until I thought of Gallifreyans Using Stealth… I suspect though its more a case of ‘Gatiss Using Subterfuge’ or would be of he’d had a hand in writing it!
Perkins is suspicious. He has a set of documents at hand very quickly, and he says ‘Yes Sir, I must be the mummy… or, perhaps, I was already looking into this’. What is the ‘this’ he has been looking into? The initial death – which on its own wouldn’t be suspicious, and its presented as being the first death on this trip, there haven’t been previous ones to trigger Perkin’s suspicion; or the issue of the mummy – which again has only just been raised by the dying lady. Some FOREknowledge may be implied. Perkins certainly may be Chief Engineer – as in engineering a situation (or, ‘architect’ of).
I don’t think GUS created the mummy though.
There was a focus on the mummy’s shuffling feet. In The Heist, we had a very similar focus on the Teller’s feet/hooves. I can’t rememb er at the moment any other episodes where this features.
Further to my theory upthread that Missy’s world is only a phase-shift away from our ordinary Doctor-world and can thereby materialise in and out of ‘reality’ at any time to pull people through, this could also apply to the monsters in Listen (assuming they were real).13 October 2014 at 15:25 #33499
@thommck – Thanks. I’m not saying I have anything against Clara/Danny myself either – Danny seems to be a decent bloke – but I just wanted to emphasise that the ‘format’ of a character-driven arc-plot seems very effective.
@mtgradwell – Yeah I have to say I’m erring in your direction about whether Clara lied to Danny or not. I don’t believe she did. He definitely is not encouraging Clara to stop if he describes her leaving as a ‘scorched earth’ response to the events of ‘Kill the Moon’ and emphasises that she and the Doctor still get on. In other words, I don’t think Clara had any reason to lie to him. I might be wrong but I think next time we see Danny he will probably have been told by Clara that she changed her mind about leaving the Doctor.13 October 2014 at 15:32 #33500PhileasF @phileasf
Sometimes there are no good choices. But you still have to choose. One of the great instances of this in fiction is in the Odyssey, in the Scylla and Charybdis sequence. Scylla and Charybdis are two ‘hazards to shipping’ that Odysseus has to sail between. He has to sail closer to one or the other. Whichever one he gets closer to will kill some of his men, so he chooses the one he thinks will kill fewer men. Later, he visits the underworld and meets the men who died as a result of his choice. Its a long time since I read the Odyssey, but I remember it being a really interesting sequence — it’s one of the earliest instances in fiction of a man feeling a ‘duty of care’ for other men because they were under his command and depending on him to make the right choices.
I’ve always felt that Doctor Who is basically a descendant of the Odyssey, that the core characteristic of the Doctor is that he comes up with ingenious methods of escaping or defeating monsters. This latest season has foregrounded this other point of similarity, the hero’s regret regarding the people he can’t save.
So… Missy = Penelope? The Doctor’s Missus, who’s been waiting a bloody long time for him to come home?13 October 2014 at 15:35 #33501
I wanted the show itself (ie the writers/producers) to accept that sometimes in the Doctor’s adventures he would have to commit these terrible acts for the greater good….only be able to choose from bad choices, eg kill one person, or let five die.
Who benefits from teaching kids a moral viewpoint that says ‘yeah, sorry about the wedding, and the people who weren’t involved, and the ten year old, just like you. Oh, and the kid just like your little brother, who was clutching their teddy the way he does. But we got the person who would have murdered thousands, so it was all okay. You can go to sleep at night knowing it was for the greater good.’
[Okay, I’m being nasty. But really – who benefits from teaching kids crap like this?]
The ‘greater good’ can be used to justify almost any action. It has been used to justify the murder of millions. It isn’t the same as ‘there are no good choices’, because it’s almost always used to justify a bad choice on the grounds that something good may result from it in the future. It’s often justified as ‘realistic’, ignoring the point that ethics is generally all about stopping us doing realistic things (like punching my annoying neighbour).
It’s a quite different choice from ‘all I can do is drag one person/family from the wreckage.’ Or ‘I can’t stop someone being murdered.’ Which was what the Doctor had to do this week, and in Into The Dalek – admit that he couldn’t stop someone being killed, but he could use their death.
The Doctor does indeed do the ‘greater good’, but generally the show will portray this as a mistake. Donna agreed that stopping Vesuvius would be worse, but insisted that he could still save someone.
Someone who had the face that the current Doctor is using…13 October 2014 at 15:36 #33502
My first thought was: What was Gus’s plan? If he was after the Mummy’s tech, why conceal everything. Why hide the lab equipment? Why bother with all the experts and then not use them. Fortunately I was rescued by:
@phileasf b) It’s the people on the train who are being tested. Someone wants to find very clever people who are good at dealing with difficult problems, and kill them.
The test included figuring out that it was a test!
GUS is a military officer. General of United Soldiers.
I agree with others that the denouement very peculiar. Bang! And then “I saved everyone”. Huh??
And why did the Doctor say that was “ages ago”. (Again!)
Bonkers thought: Does Clara actually keep dying all the time?
Side note: Every episode I hear lines that were clearly written for Matt Smith’s Doctor. Like the scripts were written before they knew he was leaving. This time it was the whole “You’re a genius! That solves everything. Well, apart from what it is and what it wants. May have jumped the gun on the whole genius thing…”
For a while I thought Maisey was going to be Missy. Being promised by the Doctor that he was going to save her, but was lying. Thought she was going to die and then come back to take revenge….
Note: She specifically calls him a “good man”.
What was the Mummy’s original mission? If he is acting on buggy code now, what was he SUPPOSED to do? Seek out the weakest and…. what?
@scaryb Don’t really see why people generally find it easier to suspend disbelief for a teleporting mummy on the Orient Express (IN SPACE!!) than for the moon’s an egg scenario,
I suppose it’s a matter of contradicting what we do know versus not contradicting what we don’t know. 🙂
So, so far this series we’ve had 5 “broken” soldiers (HFM, the dalek, Danny, the skovox blitzer, the mummy)
Six. Don’t forget the Captain with PTSD!
@bluesqueakpip – The Doctor can stop – he proved that with his 1000 year, to the death stay on Trenzalor
Not necessarily! We don’t know if he took “day trips” from Trenzalore. Moff admitted that he built in an opportunity there for the novels and audio dramas to fill in that time. (Not to mention a convenient way to bring back an older Matt Smith for another multi-doc ep!)
@All Re Clara’s addiction. Maisey called her out on it. “You could just slam the door on him. Unless you can’t”
I think we should start calling it “Doctor Who: The Arc in Space”13 October 2014 at 16:05 #33503Juniperfish @juniperfish
@phileasf I like the idea of Missy as Penelope but Missy refers to the Doctor as her “boyfriend” and I suspect if the Doctor’s children and grand-children are eventually part of the narrative (which I think they will be) then Moff (who is a bit of a traditionalist) would consider the Doctor had a wife once on Gallifrey (not a girlfriend).
Incidentally, has everyone noticed that the soldiers we’ve seen are ALL soldiers whose wars haven’t ended? Journey Blue, Skivotz Blister and now the Mummy
Yes – they are narrative mirrors for the Doctor, whose own war is still not over given the daleks still loose in the universe and Gallifrey on his mind.
But Danny and the Doctor have been set up as antagonists who simply haven’t yet realised how much they have in common (both being reluctant soldiers who wanted to dig wells/ save people).
Unlike some, I don’t think Danny is going to turn out to be nefarious. But yes, he will probably turn out to be a good man stuck in a situation between bad and worse choices.
Eventually, he and the Doctor will recognise their similarities and bond over their shared love for Clara.13 October 2014 at 16:21 #33504IAmNotAFishIAmAFreeMan @pedant
I’ve always felt that Doctor Who is basically a descendant of the Odyssey,
Watch out for a monolith!13 October 2014 at 16:30 #33505
@brewski – What was the Mummy’s original mission? If he is acting on buggy code now, what was he SUPPOSED to do? Seek out the weakest and…. what?
excellent question! perhaps he was a medic, whose job is to tend to the wounded? he would have to choose the most wounded to save first, then the next most wounded, and so forth, just like the mummy… with the twist that now he’s not saving any of them, at all, but using their lifeforce to continue his own existence! the monster that’s not a monster by choice, but by accident, or made by someone else. like the teller…
@bluesqueakpip @jimthefish – i will concede that the travelling part of the doctor’s life is not an addiction for him, but now you have to convince me that he’s not addicted to saving people/being a hero! 🙂13 October 2014 at 16:35 #33506
Ah! So the titles are misnomers…
I failed to get the joke because I haven’t seen the episodes referred to.
Oblique X13 October 2014 at 16:42 #3350713 October 2014 at 16:52 #33508
@mtgradwell – however, the moon is our neighbour. Men have landed there, and brought back samples, which have been analysed and which are not noted for their resemblance to eggshell.
please note, i’m not arguing with you. you were disappointed in the science of the “moon egg.” but…
take a neighbor of your’s, for example. your next door neighbor. let’s say you’ve known him for thirty years. you know his schedule, his wife and kids, what sorts of cars he likes, where he vacations, all the times he’s been sick (and what caused them), and on and on and on…
now, put the two of you in a doctor who episode, and you just find out, today, that he’s an auton. or a hard light hologram. or a replicant/duplicant/dalekised human… whatever! he is still all those things you knew before, but now there’s more to him that you didn’t know. and the things you start knowing today contradict everything you knew before!
you said, The story could have worked if set in a place where story takes precedence over science. that is every episode of doctor who that i’ve ever watched!
oh, and your neighbour is now hooking you up to a machine with tubes, for some nefarious reason. will the doctor be able to save you?! does he even know, yet, that this monster has you?! or is he dawdling about in space, in a spaceship that looks like an old police box, with ___ (insert companion’s name here) floating out the door to have a look around?!
Now we might try to come up with pseudo-scientific answers to some of these questions… But any such answers would only raise more and bigger questions, because there’s nothing in our body of scientific knowledge which could even begin to accommodate …
the tardis, for starters…
🙂13 October 2014 at 16:58 #33509
@oblique – i think ‘mummy on the orient express’ is an obvious homage to ‘murder on the orient express’ (by agatha christie)?
i watched ‘the robots of death’ just a couple of weeks ago! didn’t know it was a tribute to her…
🙂13 October 2014 at 16:59 #33510
@geoffers excellent question! perhaps he was a medic, whose job is to tend to the wounded? he would have to choose the most wounded to save first
You mean like… a Doctor? Hmmm…13 October 2014 at 17:04 #33511
I’m not sure where I mislead you?? I wasn’t implying that Clara was the Doctor’s ‘Mummy’ ???
I think this is the episode in which we see the pretty companion walking away from the Doctor.
We’re being shown it now, because its not going to happen like that. She’s made her choice. This ending – this type of happy/sad ending -wont be repeated, or it shouldn’t be repeated for Clara’s character. Therefore I make the assumption that her arc will end different to the pseudo farewell of MOTOE.13 October 2014 at 17:22 #33512BadWulf @badwulf
That’s an interesting thought, and would explain why the Mummy was going for the weakest first, which I was at a loss to explain to myself.
Still, it does seem like a very odd sort of triage, to actually eliminate the weakest, even if they weren’t in immediate danger of death.
I think, therefore, the Mummy is still acting as a soldier, rather than as a doctor.
we of course have seen mummies before, in The Pyramids of Mars, although they were very different. Could this mummy have been a remnant of osiran technology?13 October 2014 at 17:40 #33513
@badwulf Still, it does seem like a very odd sort of triage, to actually eliminate the weakest, even if they weren’t in immediate danger of death.
But the remark was that something had gone wrong with the mummy’s tech. It’s original mission may have been to save. But something got corrupted over time.
Whoa! Maybe the definition of “save” got rewritten. What if the Medic Mummy got got turned into a Missy Mummy.13 October 2014 at 18:25 #33514
I think, therefore, the Mummy is still acting as a soldier, rather than as a doctor.
A soldier would take out the leaders first; they wouldn’t go for the 100 year old biddy and the cook, and the professor with panic attacks or the guy with a lung replacement, or the officer who’s already shown himself as less than competent. A predator would take the weakest first, because they only want one or two animals for lunch. A soldier wants to take out all the opposing forces. Or force them to surrender. A soldier would target the strong and leave the weak and incompetent.
Two alternatives: one, the mummy was a medic and was deliberately ‘triaging’ the people less likely to live anyway. That would be a ‘no right choices’ option – his programming is forcing him to kill, he’s trying to cause least damage.
Two: the mummy was a regular squaddie, and was deliberately subverting his training. Didn’t the Doctor make a comment along the lines of the mummy also fighting his programming? In that case he was picking off the weakest of the group in order to give the ‘leaders’ a chance to defeat him. He was fighting to lose.13 October 2014 at 18:37 #33515
Like the scripts were written before they knew he was leaving
Naah. It’s often this way in a new Doctor’s first series. The voice the writers will be ‘hearing’ in their heads as they write the Doctor will be the voice of Matt Smith’s Doctor. It won’t be Peter Capaldi’s voice yet – when they wrote the scripts, they hadn’t seen his Doctor.
I agree entirely; there are so many lines where you can hear Matt Smith saying them. Capaldi’s doing wonders with changing the delivery, but you can still hear it. Don’t worry; they’ll have his voice in Series 9. 🙂13 October 2014 at 18:52 #33516
Moffatt has gone on record as saying he considers the Doctor to be the same character anyway, despite regeneration. But personally I think it’s been less pronounced than in Matt’s first series, where for the first good few episodes he was still very Tennant-ey in terms of character.
Despite the occasional Eleven-ism — most obviously in Time Heist, which struck me as a story absolutely designed for Smith, River, Amy etc. — I thought Capaldi started freer of legacy characterisation than before, although it was definitely still there.. If anything, I think for the first few episodes writers seemed to indulge in the temptation to give the Doc pseudo-Malcolm Tucker-esque dialogue more than anything else.
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