Doctor Who 08:08

 

DrWho0808-01And there it is! Something that has been lingering in the back of Doctor Who for a very long time has reared its head to cause shock and surprise to the viewers and fans.

It’s… The Return of Jelly Babies!!!!!!!!!

Just kidding. (Only slightly. Seriously, every old school fan of the show – particularly of the Fourth Doctor – squealed with delight when they came on screen.)

No, what came to light with this episode was something that has been always in the back of Who mythology but came charging to light in this episode: That in traveling in the TARDIS, the companion often takes on the characteristics of the Doctor, for good and for ill. Or as Perkins the engineer (played with zeal by a fantastic Frank Skinner put it), “Traveling on here could change a man.”

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If, like me, you were shocked at Clara being back on the TARDIS in the beginning of the episode (after last week’s fireworks), then her appearance was shocking to say the least. Even the “one last hurrah” was shocking. But nothing prepared me for when she said the word addiction. As Tom and Lorenzo rightfully called it two weeks ago, Clara has become an adrenaline addict at best and a TARDIS addict at worst, and the Doctor is her all-too-eager pusher. The dynamic has become so unhealthy that even the somewhat happy ending of Clara rejoining the Doctor’s travels glossed over the fact that she out-and-out lied to both Danny (saying she was stopping) and the Doctor (saying that Danny was okay with her travels). Lying might be too harsh of a word (?!!); let’s just say that she’s withholding information from people. Just like the Doctor.

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Like I mentioned in my review of Episode 6, time with the Doctor changes people and the companions end up picking up some of his traits from courage to self-sacrifice, to ingenuity, and more (think of Rose in Series 4, or Amy in “Dinosaurs On A Spaceship”). This isn’t a bad thing per se; if anything the Doctor expands the lives of people he’s around. Think of where Rose, Donna, and Amy would be without the Doctor opening their world. The flip side of this, and this has been painfully clear this season, is that the companions have also picked up a few of his less desirable traits, and pushing them into compromising positions. He managed to push Clara into lying to Maisie and using her as bait. And the thing is she did it! This set up her lying later in the episode later to Danny.

Of course the Doctor isn’t completely off the hook. We don’t know what happened to the rest of the survivors of the train. Did he really rescue them or no? And his answer once again was vague. Yes, he took Maisie’s memories into himself to distract the mummy, but still that one act of kindness is hard to balance amongst everything else. If anything it seems he was measuring Clara’s reactions to make sure she stayed. Which means that this is probably the most emotionally manipulative version of the Doctor we’ve ever seen. And we all know that this isn’t going to end well.

Random notes:

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* As much of a super fan as he is, Frank Skinner was probably gritting his teeth when turning down the Doctor’s offer to join him.

* As much was made of her cameo by the BBC, Foxes really didn’t do much did she?

* The period design was gorgeous for this episode. And man, does Jenna Coleman take to 1920s flapper styling well!

* So we finally get to see the mummy on the Orient Express promised to us at the end of Series 5.

* Did everyone else get the “Are You My Mummy?” gag?

* The actual reveal about who the passengers are and what was really going on was clever.

* So who is Gus and what is really going on? Is he an agent of Missy and The Nethersphere? Is it really Perkins behind it all?

Next Time: We get two-dimensional…

Photo & Video Credit: BBC

Originally Published on 13 October 2014 as part of “The Idiot Box,” my television column for l’étoile.

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