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Mummy on The Orient Express: She-Geeks Series 8 Episode 8 Review

Mummy on The Orient Express: She-Geeks Series 8 Episode 8 Review

12th Doctor and Clara Oswin Oswald

Author: Eris Walsh/Wednesday, October 15, 2014/Categories: Blog, KdW Feature, Episode Review

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As always, DO NOT READ unless you're caught up on Series 8 of Doctor Who! As River would say: *spoilers* 

 

 

This week saw The Doctor puzzling the mystery of a disheveled mummy terrorizing the passengers on The Orient Express (in spaaaaaaaaaace). This episode had all the makings of a fantastically fun and intriguing story: A gorgeous set, a creepy twist on a classic monster, a set time limit to save those in danger (66 seconds to be exact), and an unavoidable and extremely difficult obstacle to hurdle in order to solve the mystery (the mummy can only be seen by its victims). Then the TARDIS doors opened and out popped Clara, seemingly as excited as ever to be there. We are not one episode removed from her finally standing up to The Doctor and his constant abuse (complete with her declaring their "relationship" over, telling him to leave and never come back, and then storming out in a huff), and the writers have decided to gloss over one of the most intense Doctor/Companion conflicts we've seen. 

I mentioned last week that I feel like the relationship between the 12th Doctor and Clara has progressed into a classic abusive relationship, and I can now confidently hold this episode up as a glaring example. Just because they threw in a line mentioning that it has supposedly been weeks since Clara had her meltdown on the TARDIS, does not make this episode feel any less like Clara is just giving in to The Doctor's abuse again. The writers and Moffat decided that this topic is so trivial that they could simply insist that 90% of its resolution happened off screen so they didn't have to waste precious screen time on a situation that they created but don't seem to know how to write their way out of! We should have had at least one episode that did not include Clara going on an adventure with The Doctor to legitimize the gravity of the fight they had in 'Kill the Moon'. Instead, we got a few half-assed lines and Clara caving in once again. Now, you may be saying, "But, Eris, this was supposed to be their goodbye trip AND he made two whole comments about her sad smile, so there's obviously still tension there! You're just a filthy Moffat hater who won't like the show no matter what!"

 

 

Aside from the fact that it surprised absolutely no one that this did not turn out to be the last adventure between The Doctor and Clara, this was a piss poor excuse for a final trip. It is clear from both Clara and Danny's dialogue that this last hurrah was supposed to be a quiet, safe jaunt so that Clara could have one last pleasant memory aboard the TARDIS. It's revealed later in the episode, however, that The Doctor knew it was likely to be a dangerous mission since he'd been getting repeated invitations onto this version of The Orient Express. This means that he, once again, disregarded Clara's wishes and safety, and that he lied to her (which are exactly the reasons she's supposedly going to be leaving him after this last trip, so her staying makes even less sense). As to his mentions of her countenance, the moment she begins to try and discuss the situation between them and her feelings, he all but rolls his eyes as he continuously attempts to change the subject. The Doctor has done everything he possibly can to show/tell Clara that he is who he is and he won't be changing for her any time soon. Clara, on the other hand, has done everything she can to excuse his actions, downplay his disregard for her safety, and give in to what was clearly referenced to as her addiction to knocking about with The Doctor.

 

"Who cares how you've treated me then? All's forgiven, woohoo!"

 

 

Here's where I currently stand: IF this abusive relationship turns out to be the actual underlying story arc (as opposed to the Missy/Promised Land stuff), and IF it is handled with respect to the subject matter and in a realistic way (which is going to be extremely difficult given the abuser is the show's main character), then my respect for Moffat will skyrocket. Given his abysmal history with attempting to write female characters, and his penchant for leaving gaping plot holes in his story lines, however, does not leave me with much hope.

 

Seriously?? NO ONE looked at the Statue of FREAKING Liberty while it walked through New York?!?!

 

 

Lately there have been a lot of people who believe there is nothing wrong with Series 8 who are throwing around accusations that those of us who are being critical are simply unhappy that Peter Capaldi was cast as The Doctor, or because we don't understand the complexity of the writing, or because we will blindly hate anything Moffat has a hand in. I've seen these arguments enough that I actually feel the need to address them: I love Peter Capaldi. I think he's being underwritten, and that makes me sad. I've found the writing to be shallow and lacking any nuance, never mind complexity. It's no secret that I do not like Moffat's contributions to Doctor Who. I do not, however, feel that I'm blindly hating anything other than what I believe is poor writing. At the end of the day, I am a fan of Doctor Who. Really. I've been watching since I was a child begging my mum to let me stay up and watch Tom Baker's Doctor go on adventures with Sarah Jane and K9 and Leela. That I haven't truly enjoyed a single episode from this series makes me feel like I've lost a friend. I want to love the show again. I go into every episode with hope that I will finally end this one with a smile, and it crushes me when time and time again I don't. One of the wonderful things about this show is how much it embraces change, so I'm going to continue to watch and hope that when the next change happens it will be for the better.

 

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