That was fun!
I’m not sure what else to say in terms of the positive. It was fun, well written, directed and performed. Bravo.
STUFF I LIKED
1. Peter Capaldi talking to himself and answering himself in Tom Baker’s voice. Genius! Wonderfully foreshadowed by the ‘cigarette case full of jelly babies’ gag, too. Furthering the Tom Baker allusions, Capaldi was behaving in a very Sherlock Holmes fashion. Some of his leap of logic were very Holmsian
2. IT. HAD. A. PLOT!
3. An actual monster to fight. We’ve not see that for a while! (The Scovox didn’t count, it wasn’t a villain, it was a Macguffin)
4. Clara understanding The Doctors duplicity and emulating it with the massive lie to Danny; all part of the plot, rather than tacked on because emotion.
5. HAD. A. PLOT!
6. Frank Skinner was excellent and reminded me of John Ratzenberger in House 2.
7. Elements of Sapphire and Steel: the confine space, the terror from long ago, the death being watched impassively and then utilising the information in a very cold way.
8. The understated way in which people died.
9. It was funny that the main aim was to try and get the Mummy back into the Sarcophagus.
10. Many, many nods to Horror Express, a 1972 movie with Peter Cushing (the movie Doctor Who!) and Christopher Lee.
11. HAD. A. PLOT! AN ACTUAL PLOT! Not a bunch of neat scenes carelessly threaded together in a perfunctory way.
STUFF I DIDN’T LIKE
1. Danny Pink. I like Danny Pink. I don’t like the way he’s being used. I liked that when he, Clara and Courtney became an analogue for the original Tardis team (two teachers and a child with a grumpy old bloke). I’m sure he has more bearing on the overall arc, but it’s annoying when his largest role has been as someone else.
2. It was almost a rewrite of Curse of the Black Spot which, to be fair needed rewriting.
IT WAS A BIT LIKE: Curse of the Black Spot, Voyage of the Damned, Midnight and The Unicorn and the Wasp… well, the latter only in that it was another Agatha Christie fest. Also, the Statis thingy looked a lot like Sutekh’s Time Corridor, although that’s probably because it was sarcophagus shaped and had ancient Egyptian trappings.
THINGS THAT MADE ME GO HMMM . . . IN A CHIN STROKING WAY.
(ESSENTIALLY OFF-BEAM MUSING)
1. Who is Gus? How and why did he, or could he, engineer something like getting a team of people in one place at one time.How did he managed to phone the Tardis? Is this the same person who gave Clara the Tardis phone number in Deep Breath?
2. Yet another ex-soldier with post-traumatic stress? Well this is a theme, isn’t it? How many is that now? The Doctor, Danny, The Captain of the Train, The monster – being the soldier who wouldn’t stop fighting – the Scovox who couldn’t stop fighting, The Half Face Man. We have a massive war and post-war theme going on.
3. Lot of Robots, lots of cyborgs and armies. Hmm.. cyborg army…. Cybermen. Also… Missy sounds a lot like Mercy. Mercy Hartigan? Is she returning for a Cyber-slapdown?
4. The Doctor has been lured to a another place by a mystery person, first the restaurant in Deep Breath and then this… with another seemingly unstoppable Robot…
Oh this is the kind of Who episode that makes me bristle with excitement! Mummy on the Orient Express. Vying for equal favourite with The Caretaker.