It’s felt like I just recently watched a Twelfth Doctor episode of Doctor Who for years now but I decided this wasn’t actually true. So I watched my favourite one from his first season again last night, “Mummy on the Orient Express”.
I love the style, the plot, the tension about the Doctor (Peter Capaldi), both in terms of his relationship with Clara (Jenna Coleman) and in terms of his potential heartlessness. Twelve’s first season had an overarching theme about his preoccupation over whether he’s a good man. In this episode, we have a situation where he asks Clara to lie to a woman, Maisie (Daisy Beaumont)—he asks Clara to tell her he can save her. But then he actually does save Maisie by drawing off the mummy when he transfers her psychological pain to himself.
The Doctor didn’t actually know if he was telling Clara to lie. It’s easy for Clara to misunderstand what the Doctor is doing, to misinterpret his intentions, because he has a much broader perspective than she does. This is a lot like the Seventh Doctor’s manipulations but Seven showed less anxiety about his own nature. Twelve may finally have built his tower of machinations so high even he can’t see the ground.
But he still likes jelly babies. One thing I didn’t realise last time I watched this episode is that the cigarette case of jelly babies he offers to Professor Moorhouse (Christopher Villiers) is the same one the Fourth Doctor has in The Face of Evil.
Even the TARDIS Wiki page hasn’t noticed this. It looks like he actually picks it up off the table in the room created by the computer intelligence in Face of Evil. It seems he’s carried it ever since. It sure makes him look suave.
I love Clara’s costumes—the silk pyjamas and the flapper dress. The story is about a last hurrah for the Doctor and Clara’s relationship (though of course they don’t actually stop travelling together here) but maybe the real last hurrah was for this neckline. The Russell T. Davies era is filled with low cut tops. I don’t think we see another one after Clara’s in “Mummy on the Orient Express” unless you count Bill’s camisoles. Might I humbly suggest something a little vampier for Jodie Whittaker?