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26 October 2014 @ 09:49 pm
Mummy on the Orient Express  
We enjoyed it.

NLSS Child having been very concerned, at the end of Kill the Moon, that Clara was leaving was relieved, if puzzled, to see her reappear here. The bridge between the two stories was certainly clumsy - the end of Kill the Moon should have been less final, or we should have seen a subsequent conversation. Some time was spent trying to explain what was going on to NLSS Child.

It also seemed a bit of a shame, to me, that Clara then spent so much of the story locked in the luggage compartment while the Doctor gained a new proto-companion in Perkins but, having seen Flatline, I can make a few guesses why it was set up that way which I may discuss further when I get around to writing about that.

Once again, Doctor Who was doing "spot the genre" - which seems to be something of a theme this season. However Doctor Who is often good at semi-historical pastiche. I suspect that writers, actors and set designers all have a better feel for what they are trying to achieve and the added confidence gives the story a boost (mostly, anyway, that one with the pirates was terrible).

It probably also helped that the explanation for, and mode of defeat of, the mummy had enough internal consistency to make it look like the Doctor actually worked for his conclusions rather than pulling some technobabble out of a hat. Even though, looked at dispassionately, he basically pulled some technobabble out of hat.

In general this was a strong slice of Doctor Who and it handled its place in the arc plot considerably better than Kill the Moon did. That said, although I'm warming to Capaldi's Doctor but I still feel I don't like him as much as I might wish to.

This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/130932.html.
a_cubeda_cubed on October 27th, 2014 02:42 am (UTC)
Knowing what I do about how tv scripts are commissioned, submitted, revised andfitted into plot arcs, I have to say this showsMoffat's weakness as a show-runner (I remain a big fan ofhim as a writer, but I think on balance he's a poor show-runner). Whether this story was submitted much earlier for a Smith outing (there's a one line throwaway about the Orient Express, and I think the mummy, in a Smith episode) or just submitted for a Capaldi first season, itshows the joins to between the plot arc (Clara leaving or not) and the story episode. Getting that smooth is the showrunner's job and he failed miserably here, marring what would otherwise have been a good episode.

This one and Flatline are basically the "Midnight"/"Turn Left" episddes for this season - they often do two episodes per season which are doctor-heavy/companino-light and vice versa to squeeze the production schedule to make toom for the Christmas Special. "The Lodger" is a similar doctor-heavy episode.
louisedennis: Doctor Wholouisedennis on October 27th, 2014 12:11 pm (UTC)
It hadn't occurred to me that this was a "companion-lite" episode but that would make sense of the structure. However given it was supposed to be the story that changed Clara's mind back... which refers to your point about Moffat as show runner, I guess.
daniel_saunders: Leekleydaniel_saunders on October 27th, 2014 11:40 am (UTC)
According to DWM, the writer of Kill the Moon couldn't work out how to end the story without Clara hating the Doctor, so later stories had to be re-written to accommodate that. I suspect that this may have been a mistake on Steven Moffat's part.

I agree that, while Capaldi's performance is great, the Doctor is often unlikeable. I also feel that, after three-quarters of a season, I still don't know the twelfth Doctor very well, which I think is a problem.
louisedennis: Doctor Wholouisedennis on October 27th, 2014 12:09 pm (UTC)
In a way that's more annoying, Moffat shouldn't be bending the whole season out of shape just to accommodate one writer (especially of a mediocre story).

I think you've hit the nail on the head with the idea that we don't know the twelfth Doctor. I definitely have the feeling I've no idea who this character is.
daniel_saunders: Leekleydaniel_saunders on October 27th, 2014 06:45 pm (UTC)
I suspect it there may have been a deliberate decision to keep the Doctor's character unclear. Certainly we keep being encouraged to question his morality and I wonder if it is heading to some dilemma in the season finale. I hope so, as it would be problematic to continue it indefinitely.
louisedennis: Doctor Wholouisedennis on October 28th, 2014 11:47 am (UTC)
If they are keeping his character deliberately unclear then I would say that was a brave decision :/

Various people have felt that Capaldi was doing impressions of past doctors in various episodes this season. I can't say I've noticed it myself but if the idea is that we see him run through his previous personalities before he decides upon his own that would make a kind of sense.