Saturday, October 11, 2014

Doctor Who-Mummy On The Orient Express

                         For her final journey on the TARDIS,the doctor takes Clara on board a space bound simulation of the Orient Express for a railway trip through the stars. Pandemonium ensues when the doctor and Clara are suspected of being responsible for the murder of an elderly passenger. When the woman's granddaughter Maisie take it upon herself to investigate the death,they find themselves discussing their respective positions while the doctor confronts the captain of this expedition and his attempts to keep the continuing deaths quiet to avoid panic.

                          What's really happening is that mummy-like creatures are killing passengers on the train,many of whom turn out to be different medical and scientific experts,and the fact it all seems to happen within 66 seconds is inflaming many of their own superstitions and plays into why they are keeping the situation quiet. Even when Clara and Maisie decide to join the doctor on his mission? The doctor figures out that the Orient Express setup and most of it's passengers are a simulation-fabricated by a sentient computer that is performing a study on the life and death of humanoid beings.

                            The doctor then finds that the mummy's responses to those it "kills" seem to come not only from there emotions,but also from their likely physical probability of death when the computer dismissively murders several live cooks on the train for that very reason. The doctor also figures out these mummy's are programmed alien soldiers and liberates one of them by allowing everyone to see it at once-even if they aren't dying. The computer responds by cutting off the crew's air supply.  In the end the doctor manages to rescue Clara and much of the crew to a nearby sentient world. After a conversation with Danny Pink,Clara decides to continue her journey's with the doctor.

                                During this series in particular many Whovians,even a few I have know,have expressed great disappointment in some of the directions the show has been taking under the direction of producer Steven Moffatt. Even I can clearly see some of the issues these people have bought up with this episode. The story of the mummy's and the orient express,very much of human fear obscuring the eventual rational that what's been happening is a computer's logical view of life and death,is a compelling one making for wonderful storytelling.  And the appearance of jelly babies adds some fun continuity to the current series resurrection of Doctor Who's past. Yet at the same time,deeper holes appear very clearly on the surface of the story.

                                   Clara Oswald's personal problems with the doctor,which were illustrated at the end of the previous weeks episode,simply weren't integral to this story and prevented some major points from being addressed. Why did Clara go on one final trip with the doctor after stating she was leaving right then and there? What was the source of these mummy-like soldiers and just what was the doctor's relationship with them? And most of all? Why,after only a brief phone call to Danny Pink,did Clara have a manic change of heart to continue her travels with the doctor only after her lover seemingly gave her the okay to do so? Perhaps in the future Doctor Who stories might benefit from closer attention to the plot than advancing lesser elements of the doctor/companion personal dynamic.

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