A Special Look at: Mummy on the Orient Express

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In a previous post, I acknowledged the reset button on Clara after the events of Kill the Moon in Mummy on the Orient Express. In this particular post, I will address Clara within the episode, but not the entire episode. What made this episode good was that it was a story dealing with morality.

The first scene has an older woman being killed by the mummy. I suppose it was necessary to have a victim, but then the Doctor states later “Old ladies die all the time. It’s practically their job description.” Well, I wouldn’t go that far.

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Mummy on the Orient Express 6

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In much regard, this is such a cop-out way of storytelling. Apparently,

Doctor: Oh, I remember when this was all planets as far as the eye could see. All gone now. Gobbled up by that beast. And there’s that smile again. I don’t even know how you do that.

Clara: I really thought I hated you, you know?
Doctor: Well, thank God you kept that to yourself. There was this planet, Obsidian. The planet of perpetual darkness.
Clara: I did. I did hate you. In fact, I hated you for weeks.
Doctor: Good, fine. Well, I’m glad that we cleared that up. There was also a planet that was made completely of shrubs.
Clara: I went to a concert once. Can’t remember who it was. But do you know what the singer said?
Doctor: Frankly, that would be an absolutely astonishing guess if I did know.
Clara: She said, “hatred is too strong an emotion to waste on someone that you don’t like.”
Doctor: Were people really confused? Cos I’m confused. Did everybody leave?
Clara: Shush. Shut up. Look, what I’m trying to say is, I don’t hate you. I could never hate you. But I can’t do this any more. Not the way you do it.
Doctor: Can I talk about the planets now?
Clara: Yes. Go.
Doctor: Thedion Four. Constant acid rain. Had a lovely picnic there once, wearing a gas mask.
Maisie: That’s a lie.
Clara: I’m sorry?
Maisie: That’s a lie, what you said. Thedion Four was destroyed thousands of years ago, so you couldn’t have been there.

Of course, I am inclined to agree that wasting your time on hatred of someone you don’t like is good advice, but that still doesn’t mean you get inside their vehicle and go gallivanting across the universe with them.

Clara: Do you love it?
Doctor: Love what?
Clara: I know it’s scary and difficult, but do you love being the man making the impossible choice?
Doctor: Why would I?
Clara: Because it’s what you do, all day, every day.
Doctor: It’s my life.
Clara: Doesn’t have to be. Is it like
Doctor: Like what?
Clara: An addiction?
Doctor: You can’t really tell if something’s an addiction till you try and give it up.
Clara: And you never have.
Doctor: Let me know how it goes.

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This seems quite problematic to me as a way to express a reason to continue travelling with the Doctor. It’s a poor excuse. As the Nerdist.com review states on this:

So Clara is an adrenaline junkie now. She’s addicted to the thrill of traveling with the Doctor, even if he’s an asshole most of the time. She can’t stop, and doesn’t want to stop. I feel like that’s not going to end well for her. It also, unfortunately, sort of takes the Doctor off the hook for his behavior in the previous weeks. His punishment was going to be Clara leaving, but now everything’s “okay” again so he’s not going to learn.

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After the Doctor realizes how to stop the Foretold, he does so, resulting in the Orient Express exploding.

Doctor: Oh hello, again. Sleep well?
Clara: Weren’t we just on a train?
Doctor: Oh, that was ages ago.
Clara: And?
Doctor: And what? Oh, and we got off the train. Oh, well, the teleporter worked eventually. Beamed everyone into the Tardis. No casualties, just a bevy of sleeping beauties. I tried hacking Gus from the Tardis, find out who set this all up. He really didn’t like that. Set off some fail-safe thing. Blew up the train.
Clara: Blew up the train?
Doctor: Blew up the train. But we got away. Then I dropped everyone off at the nearest civilised planet, which happened to be here.
(View of a city with tall pointed buildings in the background.)
Doctor: You seemed happy asleep so I just left you.
Clara: So you saved everyone.
Doctor: No, I just saved you and I let everyone else suffocate. Ha, ha, ha.
Clara: Hmm.
Doctor: Yeah, this is just my cover story.
Clara: So, when you lied to Maisie, when you made me lie to Maisie
Doctor: I couldn’t risk Gus finding out my plan and stopping me.
Clara: So you were pretending to be heartless.
Doctor: Would you like to think that about me? Would that make it easier? I didn’t know if I could save her. I couldn’t save Quell, I couldn’t save Moorhouse. There was a good chance that she’d die too. At which point, I would have just moved onto the next, and the next, until I beat it. Sometimes the only choices you have are bad ones. But you still have to choose.

This is, of course, suggesting that Clara Oswald cannot handle the truth (lying to her so she can lie to Maisie) and that it is better to go for “what make[s] it easier” for her by “pretending to be heartless” by getting “off the train” as “the teleporter worked eventually” and “beamed everyone into the Tardis. No casualties, just a bevy of sleeping beauties.” He excuses all of this behavior by saying: “Sometimes the only choices you have are bad ones” but “you still have to choose.”

Staying in theme, we know from the Eleventh Doctor Era that…

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6 thoughts on “A Special Look at: Mummy on the Orient Express

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