This weeks episode of Doctor Who, Mummy on the Orient Express, was a study of why the Doctor does what he does and the companions follow him into danger. Of course, Clara called it into question last week on Kill The Moon. But, lo and behold, they’re coming out of the Tardis together so what’s going on?
Well, it’s made clear that this is to be the Doctor‘s and Clara‘s last hurrah. You can taste the sadness between them as they begin this final journey with a bit of remorse and regret. But both insist this is the last time. And we believe them.
Of course, on the pretense that they are bedding down for the night to get some rest, the adventure begins. The Doctor patters off on his own to investigate what looks to be mysterious deaths caused by some ancient legend, The Fortold. This specter appears as a mummy but only to the damned. Soon, we find that this is not random. As Clara finds that a mysterious benefactor has been trying to get the Doctor on this train for some time. His timing, as usual, is impeccable as Clara finds herself flung into the face of death itself.
The real story is the actions of the Doctor not only drag Clara along into a death trap, but pull her into his lies. She becomes his accomplice by the end of this knowing that the Doctor is using her as a part of some big experiment. All of time and space has become his lab and he is the clinical scientist.
(By the way, he was finally asked what he was the ‘DOCTOR’ of. He gleefully replied, ‘Intestinal parasites’.)
He’s constantly asked where his emotions are. His response is that the situation that they are in calls for a level head and powers of deduction. But the question really is: does he do this on purpose? Maybe, he flings himself into impossible situations that call for an uncaring analysis so he doesn’t have to care.
“Who is she?” Soldier
“I’m his carer..” Clara
“Yes, she’s my carer. She cares so I don’t have to.” The Doctor
Quite possibly, caring has become too painful. Every time he stops to think or looks too deeply into Clara‘s eyes, we see pain in the Doctor‘s face. It’s as though he knows this is all coming to an end and he doesn’t want it to. And neither does Clara apparently. I mean, she talks a good game, but, in the end, she lies to the men in her life so that she can have her cake and eat it too.
This brings me to the fact that this whole season has been to prepare us for Clara‘s exit. But is it an end to them traveling together or is it something a bit more dire? You see, along with this theme of Clara leaving the nest, there is a constant reminder that life ends. Despite the message of the Dalek that “life prevails,” there’s a constant reference to the end of the line. Paradise. Heaven. The Nethersphere. We all have to make that final appointment. Or do they?
The Doctor cheated death. This may be why Missy calls him boyfriend. They dance together; live constantly in each others presence, but don’t we all. But the Doctor lives on the edge a bit much. But it’s more than that for him. He was appointed to die after the last regeneration. It was to be his last. The Timelords came to his rescue supposedly giving him a new set of lives; restarting a new line of legendary Doctors. But much like the movie Final Destination, cheating death is an idiot’s game.
So, has the Doctor been flirting with death or running from it? I think that is one question that will be answered in the final episodes. Death in Heaven sounds very much like an ending. Possibly Missy is in charge of seeing that dead things meet their final resting place and the Doctor has defied her.
But, I’m afraid it’s more than that.
There’s a bit of sadness in the Doctor‘s eyes these days when he looks at Clara. Is it merely because she’s about to leave him and go live another life or is it something more? What we may see, maybe even in the next episode, is Clara meeting a tragic end and it all being the Doctor‘s fault. Does his meeting with Missy have something to do with saving Clara? Will he have to make a deal with death itself to save the one woman who trusted him to the end?
In the meantime, Clara lies to Danny about the Doctor and to the Doctor about Danny. The adventures continue, but to where? The next episode is called ‘Flatline.’ Is that merely a reference to two dimensional invaders or does it have a double meaning? Till next time Whovians…
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