Welcome back, fellow Whovians! It’s been a few weeks since the last episode of Doctor Who. Hope you had an awesome summer and that you were able to avoid earthquakes, hurricanes, debt ceiling fights, and crappy movies about how awesome it was to be a servant. (Man, what a 2011 so far.) Now, before I begin, I’m going to let you take a moment to soak in everything that happened in the amazing Season 6.5 premiere, “Let’s Kill Hitler”.
Are you okay now?
Since we last saw The Doctor (Matt Smith) and his companions (Karen Gillan, Arthur Darvill), we were hit with a whopper of a twist when it was revealed that River Song (Alex Kingston) was Amy and Rory’s daughter, Melody Pond. And even though Creepy Eye Patch Lady and The Silence has kidnapped the baby, our heroes know that they’ll eventually find her alive since the adult River is still around and has been going on various adventures with them.
“Let’s Kill Hitler” begins with Amy and Rory racing to meet The Doctor at a crop-circled wheat field as they continue their search for their infant daughter. Behind them is Amy’s previously unseen troublemaker best friend Mels (Nina Toussaint-White), who, in flashbacks, is obsessed with Teen Amy’s own obsession over the mysterious Time Lord and practically gets her to hook up with Rory (in a pretty funny scene that’s well played by Gillan and Darvill). Mels has stolen a sweet-looking car and is ready to go on her own adventure in the TARDIS, pointing a loaded weapon at The Doctor and saying:
“…. I’ve got a gun. What the hell? Let’s kill Hitler.” (Hence the episode’s title.)
Mels accidentally discharges the gun in the TARDIS, causing the blue box to crash in Adolf Hitler’s Berlin office in 1938, thwarting another attempt on his life, this time by another set of time travelers: a miniature people who travel around in a ship that disguises itself as some of the humans it encounters. This time, they’ve disguised their ship as a Nazi officer in order to get closer to the world’s worst dictator and off him. (By the way, who would have thought that showrunner Steven Moffat was a fan of the Eddie Murphy bomb Meet Dave?) Hitler freaks out, tries to shoot the ship-turned-Nazi officer but shoots Mels instead. Rory cold-clocks Hitler (a nice homage to Captain America), locks him a cupboard, and joins Amy and The Doctor as they witness a pretty awesome reveal:
A dying Mels regenerates into the Alex Kingston-version of Melody Pond, a/k/a River Song. So, it turns out that the woman who Amy named her child after was her child after all. But that’s not the awesome part of the pretty awesome reveal. What was truly awesome, from a fan’s point of view, were the following thing:
-We have a female Time Lord; the second remaining female Time Lord if we count The Doctor-Donna from Season 4’s “Journey’s End”.
-The little girl who called Richard Nixon in “The Impossible Astronaut” and then regenerated in a New York City street was indeed Melody Pond.
-At some point, Melody regenerated into a British-African female Time Lord named Mels.
-And now she’s River Song but with no memory of the River Song we’ve been following for the last three seasons.
Before I continue with this review, let me point out how overwhelming it was to not only see a female Time Lord, but a non-White one as well. Sure, we caught a glimpse of the somewhat diverse society of Gallifrey in Season 4’s “The End of Time”. There were Time Lords of color and we met someone who may have been The Doctor’s mother but Timothy Dalton’s Lord President did most of the talking before The Master took them all out. To have an actual living, breathing minority Time Lord –- in an episode where the characters meet the biggest, most evil bigot the world has ever known –- is sheer genius on Moffat and company’s part.
Anyway, that euphoria is short lived as River, experiencing a few kinks in her regeneration process and remembering that her sole mission is to kill The Doctor, poisons him (in another great Moffat-penned homage, this time of The Sixth Doctor’s homicidal nature immediately after his regeneration), and jumps out of Hitler’s office window. Amy and Rory chase after their crazed daughter. The miniature people recognize River as The Doctor’s killer -– for her supposed actions in Utah in 2011 (and in their eyes, she’s just as bad, if not worse, than Adolf Hitler) -– and do the same, this time with their ship disguised as Amy. (Two Karen Gillans for the price of one! It is a good day to be a fanboy!)
Meanwhile, The Doctor is dying but it’s too late for him to regenerate. He asks the TARDIS to help him find an antidote and instead it appears to him as past companions (best day ever for a fanboy!) before settling on the one The Doctor hasn’t screwed up yet: little Amelia Pond. She tells him coldly that he’s simply going to die. The Doctor then finds himself in bit of quandary: should he then allow his potential killer to get what she seemingly deserves? Or should he help preserve her life? It’s pretty much similar to the ultimate philosophical question regarding time travel: if there were time machines, should we jump into one with the specific purpose of killing Adolf Hitler?
Of course, The Doctor chooses to help River live and with the help of Amy and Rory — who wind up inside the ship disguised as Amy — stop the miniature people from “giving her Hell” (which seems to consist of actually burning her).
And then The Doctor then dies! He just fracking croaks! For the second time this season nonetheless! It’s sadsville all over again!
The compassion The Doctor showed River didn’t go unnoticed. After Amy helps her see her true self, River zaps the rest of her regeneration powers into The Doctor’s lifeless body –- through an intense Snow White-like kiss -– and he comes to. The Doctor is back and ready for more time-bending adventures that involve awesome catch phrases like “Shut up, Hitler!”
“Let’s Kill Hitler” does leaves us with some interesting things to ponder for the rest of the season. Firstly: River gives up her other lives to revive The Doctor only to supposedly kill him in 2011? WTF?
Secondly: we now know that The Silence isn’t an alien species but a fanatical religious order that’s out to kill The Doctor. Why?
And thirdly: where can a fanboy buy a robot Karen Gillan?
Until next week, fellow Whovians!