The Doctor and Clara hitch a ride on the famous Orient Express….. in space!!!! Only a Doctor Who episode can pull that off. One last space ride, one last hoorah! Clara insists that is the case. With the Doctor-style of adventure, he treats her to a train ride through the stars in-style. Wearing a flappers dress from the ‘20s, Clara is really excited about this. The Doctor goes back to wearing his usual black outfit and his signature white shirt. They enter the train while the passengers are being entertained by a singer. The style of the train car looks like it came out of a speak-easy from the 1920’s. The Doctor is being a gracious host to Clara, by showing her a gaseous body where a planet used to be. He starts to tell her about one of his adventures long time ago on the planet when a woman interrupts him and accuses him of being a liar. The passenger, Maisie doesn’t believe that he was there on the planet. For that to be possible, that would make him a few thousand years old and she finds it hard to believe. The conductor of the train, Captain Quell, steps in and apologizes to the Doctor and Clara. He explains that everyone is on edge due to unfortunate events. The Doctor is curious and asks what happened. The captain tells them that there was murder on the train. Right off the bat, this episode is a page from an old detective novel by Agatha Christie. Who murdered the old woman? Who would gain from her murder?
Clara is happy to be on this journey with the Doctor, but the Doctor can see the sadness in her eyes. Clara says something about the murder on the train, but when the Doctor mentions about this being their last adventure Clara tries to explain to the Doctor that she still wants him to be in her life, but not traveling all the time. The Doctor has a different view on this subject.
The Doctor needed something to distract himself so he snoops around the train hoping to find any clue towards the old woman’s death. He discovers that an ancient legend called the Foretold has been hitching a ride on the Orient Express and is rumored that it is killing people. The legend goes that if you see the Foretold, you have sixty-six seconds to live before you die, and only the intended victim can see it and not anybody else.
Clara gets into the investigation by accidentally bumping into Maisie, the granddaughter of old woman, Ms Pitts. She is determined to see her Nana’s body for reasons unknown to Clara. Clara follows her to a room where Maisie believes Nana’s body is stored, but the computer that is securing the door denies them access. Somehow Maisie finds a way in, but is locked in by the computer. While waiting for anybody to help, Maisie talks to Clara, asking her about the Doctor. She tells her that he is not friend, but a space traveler, and this is her last ride with him. Maisie asks her why doesn’t she just say goodbye and leave, and not go on this farewell ride. Clara thinks about it and questions her decision about going on this trip with the Doctor. In the past, the Doctor has proven again and again that his actions cause her to be in danger and he can’t be trusted. So why does she still want him in her life?
The Doctor finally figures out the mystery of the Foretold and why it is here on the train. He forces the computer to reveal its true nature and identity. The train is a laboratory researching the Foretold, and the passengers are qualified professors, and doctors trained to accomplish the task at hand. While everybody is researching the Foretold, it kills a few more people. The Doctor finds the connection between the Foretold and the victims, all of them have some sort of medical problems. He finds out that Maisie is the next victim. He calls Clara telling her to bring Maisie to the lab. Clara thinks that he has a plan to save her, but he doesn’t say yes. Just then Clara makes an extremely difficult decision. In order to save her, she lies to Maisie and tells her that the Doctor needs her to save her. She is elated and follows Clara to the lab. The Foretold appears and walks toward Maisie. Clara asks the Doctor if he can really save her, he tells her that he’s been trying to figure out the mystery of the Foretold before he met her. Clara is stunned about that, he again lied to her. He put her in harm’s way and didn’t inform her. She has had it, and gives the Doctor a piece of her mind. He figures out a way to confront the Foretold and save Maisie. The Doctor trades places with her, putting her emotions and memories into him so that the Foretold would come after him. It works and discovers that the Foretold is not a killer, but a fallen soldier who had malfunctioning tech inside him. He saves the soldier and everybody else.
Clara and the Doctor end up on a planet where he safely put the passengers. Clara realizes that the Doctor had to make really tough decisions in order to save the people on the train. His deception was a trick to prevent the train’s computer from killing everybody. She sees the Doctor differently now, and begins to understand the pressure he has. All his actions and decisions may not be ethical or moral, but in the end he never gives up when it comes to helping people. In the end, Clara has made the decision to continue on traveling with the Doctor, just as long he promises to bring her home safely.
Clara has finally figured the Doctor out and why he does what he does. Unfortunately, things are already in motion that will lead to some life changing events for the both of them. This is one my favorite episodes. It has class, style and intelligent storytelling. It gets better and better.