I knew from the start that this episode would be my personal dark horse. The buzz surrounding the kid-episode had so many fans hyped. I don't mind children in Doctor Who, but they seem to have an unbelievable skill to completely ruin a good story if they suck. It can be more devastating than a bullet and that's just one small element of the story.
Catch up the 8th episode of the series here with MUMMY ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS
So the whole earth becomes one big jungle and the Doctor and company need to navigate the rough terrain, try to stay together and eventually find a way to reverse everything. Simple? Yes, but dull. There is never any sense of menace or threat in the episode. We were promised a fairy tale-esque story, but it seems they dialed down the sinister from 'fairy tale acceptable' to 'let's forget such things'.
The main attraction was the 'team' of children being chaperoned by Danny and Clara. I have no idea why they were sleeping over in a museum. Given the nature and delicate artifacts inside, it seems a huge risk to allow a bunch of kids in there. Besides, what was the point of said sleepover? Most of them don't talk during the episode save for three: Ruby (the annoying talkative one), Bradley (the bully with anger management issues) and Samson (the supposedly cool one). Most were bearable, however I did get a good laugh in with Ruby's find the x in Danny’s math class scene.
Maebh was the star you could say, though she came across and annoying at times. I also hate the 'magical' ending at the end that makes no sense, nor had it been setup to happen. Even fairy tales have their own internal infrastructure that it needs to follow.
The episode's 'venue' was spectacularly well done. It really felt like trees had taken over and I liked the camera directions and visual effects. I have no issues with those. Even the tiger and wolves were wonderfully animated (they were CG if you didn't know), though poorly used I believe.
There just doesn't seem to be an episode where Peter Capaldi's Doctor doesn't keep me entertained. After having to allow children into his TARDIS, he still manages to get a laugh out of me with his sarcastic humor and insulting wit. I know half the problems with his incarnation has been his rudeness and I know it can be frustrating so I'm not even going to try and justify it. Sometimes you dislike something. I accept that. I do however hope you (who find his incarnation frustrating) will find something to enjoy about him in future episodes.
From the hype and promo pics, it looked like Danny would play a significant role in this episode, but other than saving the Doctor and Clara at one point, he doesn't really do much. Well, the Doctor and Clara also don't really do much so you can't blame him for that. Although I was hoping they'd expand and grow on his character since his introduction. Up till now he's been quite static.
After being 'the Doctor' last episode, Clara returns to being the girl who just cares too much and doesn't act like a believable human being. Seriously, all her faults and conflicts are either handwaved or dealt with off-screen. Let's list them:
1) Her explanation to Danny about how she knows his real name.
2) Her make-up fight with Danny after their first date.
3) Her fight with the Doctor before agreeing to one more trip in the TARDIS.
4) Her fight with the Doctor after he finds out she lied to him about Danny.
5) Her fight with Danny over her lying to him about still traveling in the TARDIS.
These are real things that matter in relationships and for some of them I can't even find an answer that would justify their continuing relationship. Ask yourself the answer to the first question. How did Clara convince Danny? Did she lie and say she did a background check? Nope! Clara didn't believe in lying back then. Did she tell him the truth? Nope. Doubt their relationship would've continued beyond that. So how did she convince him? Well, sex is an option I guess. People tend to forget about important stuff when offered sex on the first date.
This episode functioned on dream logic. A lot (I mean too many to list) of the stuff that happened just seemed to happen for the heck of it. It lacked internal logic on a number of levels. For one: why did everyone suddenly listen to the Government asking them to stay indoors? Every fan I've talked to said they would've gone out exploring and I'm no different. It's not the only one, but I don't want to draw up another list after the Clara one.
Rating this episode: 6.5/10. Manages to just stay on the right side of annoying/quirky.