Mels: 'You've got a time machine. I've got a gun. What the hell. Let's kill Hitler.'
Absolutely bonkers. I don't think I've ever seen anything so mad. 'Let's Kill Hitler' had just about everything: answers,
puzzles galore, humour, cleavage, conflict... Rory punching Hitler and
then locking him in a cupboard. What more could anyone ask for?
(Bearing in mind that this is a family show, not HBO).
I thought that knowing Melody couldn't die (or be harmed in any meaningful way) would strip
the season arc of its tension, but it really hasn't. True, we already
know River's fate—she dies in 'Forest of the Dead'—but what I didn't
count on was Madame Kovarian's scheme to turn River into a weapon
actually working. I do think they dismissed the question of how Mels
could both love and want to kill the Doctor too quickly, however. Alex
Kingston offered an interesting theory on Doctor Who Confidential—she saw River as a sleeper, meaning that her desire to kill the Doctor
didn't manifest itself until triggered (presumably, by seeing him). I'm
not sure that's what Moffat had in mind, but it's a more intriguing
explanation than her simply being a 'brainwashed woman'.
The pacing of the episode was so fast that it was easy to miss the
detail. I didn't initially make the connection between Mels and Melody—her
darker skin tone completely threw me— but what a brilliant twist! I
loved that Rory and Amy got to be a part of Melody's childhood. Despite
being lost in time, she was there all along. Little did they suspect that she'd grow up to kill the Doctor. Except that she didn't—at least, not
yet. That River is the person in
the spacesuit seems so strongly indicated that it just couldn't be
anyone else. Or could it? Until I see the face behind the visor, I'm
reserving judgement, especially after they threw in that 'time can be
River may have been unable to
override her programming, but she was still able to use the last of her
regeneration energy to bring the Doctor back. Unfortunately, the process
also consumed her remaining regenerations, making Alex Kingston River's
incarnation. Not a bad body to go out in. (Jodphurs? Yes, please!)
What I didn't understand is why the Numskulls in the Teselecta chose that
moment to torture her. Aren't they supposed to take people near the
end of their established time line? This was River's first meeting with
the Doctor, meaning that she presumably has plenty of adventures between now and 'Forest of
the Dead'. Was it just a case of opportunity knocking and them taking
So many great quotes. Which other show gives you
lines like 'Shut up, Hitler' and 'Right, I'm putting Hitler in the
cupboard'—and if memory serves me correct, he's still there! The
whole Hitler storyline was nothing more than a red herring; he was only
on-screen for a few minutes. I hope he doesn't do anything stupid when he
gets out... like start a war. I laughed out loud at the Doctor's 'You
named your daughter after your daughter?' line. (Bootstrap paradox
number one.) Ditto with 'Spoilers'. A brilliant reversal! Only Moffat
could come up with this stuff and make it so terrific.
glad at least one tabloid rumour turned out to be true—tonight's
episode saw the return of Amelia Pond. (Played by the lovely Caitlin
Blackwood.) The Daily Mirror (an English newspaper of dubious
repute) also promised cameos from Freema Agyeman, Catherine Tate and Billie Piper—despite Billie saying that she was done with her character
in the same newspaper just months previous. (Proof, if it were ever needed, that they pay scant attention to their own shitty articles.) They must
have somehow gained access to footage of the TARDIS' holographic
interface, put two and two together, and come up with five. Typical
tabloid nonsense. I'm not sure cameos would have worked, anyway—there
was no real reason to bring any of them back.
loved that River managed to eventually outsmart the Doctor. The Doctor
was initially ahead in their battle of wits: he managed to empty two
guns, swap one for a banana, and deflect a knife attack—but even Time
Lords can't resist a kiss. The old poisonous lipstick ploy. I was
genuinely shocked to see the Doctor dead. Actually dead—his
regeneration cycle terminated. Thankfully, whatever the Doctor said to
River, worked. It was enough to make her realise that he must mean
something to her in the future—but what did he say? Did he tell her his
name? That was the implication, right? (Which would tie in nicely with 'Silence in the Library'.)
There was oodles of continuity, too. We learned that it was the TARDIS who taught River to fly, not the Doctor. Maybe he was
busy that day after all. Since it was Amy travelling through the Time
Vortex (whilst on the job) which caused Melody's unique genetic
make-up, then River truly is the TARDIS' child. I liked, too,
that we got to see River starting out her career as an archaeologist.
And in Bootstrap paradox number two (no, I hadn't forgotten), we uncovered the origins of River's
blue journal—it was a gift from the Doctor.
We know a lot more about the Silence, too. They're a religious order, not a race—which means just about anyone could be behind
them. (Even someone we already know.) Silence falling when the oldest
question is asked felt thematically similar to Douglas Adams' answer to
life, the universe and everything—but what does it mean? And is River
truly free of her programming... or are there more twists yet to come?
—The Teselecta was a mad idea. It reminded me of the Numskulls from The Beano.
—Bootstrap paradox number three was Mels' part in getting her parents
together. Without her as a catalyst, it may never have happened.
—The Doctor now knows he's going to die at Lake Silencio on 22nd April,
2011. Which, presumably, means he can do something about it.
—The TARDIS being in a state of temporal grace was a nice throwback to the Tom Baker years.
—I loved the way they explained Rory's motorcycle riding prowess... by
brushing it off as just 'that sort of day.' Why not, indeed?
—'Hello, Mr Benjamin' is a line from The Graduate. River's obviously the Mrs Robinson character.
—Mels said she didn't do weddings, but, of course she was there. River
dropped in to give Amy her diary ('The Big Bang'), thus facilitating
the Doctor's return from oblivion.
—Loved the Doctor crop circle, and Mels' little red Corvette.
—I wonder who Mels was living with all those years? Adopted parents. I
did at one point think of Madame Kovarian, but she'd probably have been
dead at that point. Plus, Amy would've remembered the eye patch.
—'Cut to the song, this is getting boring.' A nice foregleam of Mels' true identity... which I totally missed on first watch.
—Rory's Scottish accent was awesome.
Doctor: 'You never said I was hot.'
Hitler: 'I think he was going to kill me.'
Rory: 'Shut up, Hitler.'
River: 'Oh, it's all going on down there, isn't it? The hair! The hair just doesn't stop, does it?'
Amy: 'That's Melody.'
Rory: 'It's River Song.'
River: 'Who's River Song?'
River: 'Spoilers? What's spoilers?'
Rory: 'Is anybody else finding today just a bit difficult? I'm getting sort of a banging in my head.'
Amy: 'I think that's Hitler in the cupboard.'
River: 'Well, I was on my way to this gay gypsy Bar Mitzvah for the disabled,
when I suddenly thought, 'Gosh, the 3rd Reich's a bit rubbish. I think
I'll kill the Fuhrer'. Who's with me?'
Rory: 'Okay, I'm trapped inside a giant robot replica of my wife. I'm really trying not to see this as a metaphor.'
Amy: 'We come in peace.'
Rory: 'When has that ever worked?'
Doctor: 'Sorry, did you say she killed the doctor? The doctor? Doctor who?'
Doctor: 'What is the question?'
Doctor: 'Oh, well. Fat lot of use that is, you big ginge.'