Catching up on old business can be a bother, but two old friends like The Doctor and Clara decide to have one last adventure by hitching a ride on the Orient Express ..... in Space! What you see is not always the whole story!
IMAGINE IT FROM MY POINT OF VIEW!
Harkening back to a reference from the Matt Smith era, this episode has the Doctor and Clara solving the riddle of a centuries old Mummy loose on the celestial version of the famous rail line. Time and place appear to come together in a jumble as the jovially sinister train conductor Gus brings together a rag team of experts to work on the legend of the Foretold, an ancient curse. The adventure part of this episode is fantastic. Fast paced, reminiscent of pulp adventure stories from the 30's and 40's, and a wonderful supporting cast. It all falls apart when it comes to the secondary storyline of is Clara leaving or not.
The Good Things
Don't Always Soften The Bad Things...
A mummy on a train in space, killing its victims in 66 seconds. Awesome. Perfect vehicle for the Doctor.
Look and Feel:
The set design and costumes were spot on. Despite being in space, the train had an amazing retro steam punk feel and it is a good fit for this show.
Keep it simple:
This story for the most part stayed focused on it's theme: Mystery. The Doctor also stayed true to form by throwing himself in harms way, which is something we haven't necessarily seen enough of this season.
...But Vice-Versa, The Bad Things
Don't Necessarily Spoil The Good Things...
The Clara side story is a detriment at this point. The fact that her issues are overshadowing of the main plot is annoying and distracting, and I can't buy into it. The final scene grated on my nerves, especially when she blatantly throws Danny under the bus and lies to the Doctor, to satisfy her own ....guilt?
So the Doctor has an issue with soldiers, but is able to help the Foretold Mummy find peace and resolution. He is able to find common ground with Captain Quell. So I'm not sure, even more so now, what The Doctor would be opposed to Danny Pink.
Our Man Perkins:
I was actually kind of sad Perkins chose not to tag along with the Doctor, at least for a bit. There was a nice banter between the two, and there is far more going on in that engineers head than he lets on. It also would have been an acceptable transition with the potential of Clara leaving.
...And Make Them Unimportant.
The Doctor finally makes his way to The Orient Express after the phone call concerning an Egyptian goddess. This story works well, but it would have been nice to see the actual tie in.
Out of Order:
I am aware most productions end up reshuffling episode order for a variety of reasons, but the changing hair of Capaldi as well as his comfort level in the role seems to waver.
So no sign of rescued souls this week, but technology that maintains the dead is something that might tie in later.