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Doctor Who 6.08 'Let's Kill Hitler'
By Janie Logan Aug 28, 2011, 20:45 GMT
The Doctor\'s journey with Amy and Rory continues in "Let\'s Kill Hitler." What starts as a mission against the Nazi leader leads to another big development in the character of River Song. Photo courtesy of BBC.
"You've got a time machine, I've got a gun. What the hell...let's kill Hitler." In typical Doctor Who fashion, the episode began with a grand idea, and things went wrong from there.
I was looking forward to watching the Doctor face off against the Nazis and bring down one of the evilest villains in human history. But just as the TARDIS doesn't always take the Doctor where he wants to go but rather where he needs to go, writer Steven Moffat had greater things in mind with "Let's Kill Hitler" than imagined.
I enjoyed how the beginning echoed the season opener, "The Impossible Astronaut," with Amy and Rory driving to meet the Doctor after a few months apart, only this time they were summoning him, with his name spelled out in the cornfield. Shortly thereafter, their childhood best friend arrives. Mels--a brash young woman with a penchant for trouble.
Growing up, she had been fascinated by Amy's stories of her imaginary friend, the raggedy Doctor with the flying blue box. Now that she was finally meeting him, she's ready for an adventure and commandeers a field trip to World War II-era Berlin. A mishap with the TARDIS sends them crashing into Nazi headquarters and inadvertently saving Hitler's life from a deadly robot full of miniature people who travel back through time dispensing justice on evil doers. (The fact that I can write a sentence like that...that's why I love this show.)
From there, the episode quickly spun off in a crazy, exciting direction, but not before Rory got to punch Hitler in the face and lock him in the cupboard ("But I am the Fuhrer!"). Mels lay dying from a stray bullet to her stomach. She told the Doctor she had wanted to marry him as a little girl.
"Good idea, let's get married. You stay alive and I'll marry you, deal? Deal." "Shouldn't you ask my parents' permission?...Might as well do it now, since they're both right here."
Suddenly her hands start to glow, and Mels, a.k.a. Melody Pond, regenerates into the woman we've come to know as River Song. But she's not River yet. She doesn't even know who River is. She prances around the room, becoming acquainted with her new body and flirting with the Doctor, Mrs. Robinson-style: "I love it! I'm all sort of mature...Hello, Benjamin."
But Baby Melody was abducted for a reason: to be trained to kill the Doctor. He knows that, which makes for an amusing cat and mouse game between the pair of them, until she makes a cruel move, poisoning him with a kiss.
The crew of little people watching from inside the robot are confused. The Doctor doesn't die here. He dies on April 22nd, 2011, by Lake Silencio in Utah. According to them, it's a fixed event in time, one of those things that can't be rewritten.
So they say, and yet the Doctor finds himself dying nonetheless. He tries to find a way out of it, and when he realizes there's no escape for him this time, he decides to spend his last minutes in style: white tie and tails, complete with a top hat (because top hats are cool). "You're dying...and you stopped to change?" Melody marvels.
"Oh, you should always waste time when you don't have any. Time is not the boss of you--rule 408."
The Doctor uses his last bit of strength to save Melody from being punished by the people in the robot, and then to save Rory and Amy. That's what makes him the Doctor--he has to take care of the ones he loves, even when he's experiencing great pain himself. Melody is only just starting to see who he is and realizes that her life's mission has been all wrong. His dying breath is a message for River Song. Moments later, Melody sees that she is River.
"Is he worth it?" she asks her parents, before using the last of her regeneration energy to revive him, this time with a life-giving kiss.
So even though they did not kill Hitler, the Doctor learned a couple of very important things from this experience:
1) Silence will fall when the question is asked--the oldest question in the universe, hidden in plain sight. (Say whaaaaa??)
2) The place and time of his death. Foreknowledge is dangerous, but his curiosity gets the better of him. He gets that sad look that breaks my heart, but he's going to put on a brave face for Rory and Amy.
On the one hand, the Doctor loves life. He's over 900 years old and still delights in beautiful things and exciting adventures with interesting people. But he also has some regret from those 900 years.
He gets pangs of guilt when he sees the holograms in the TARDIS of his former companions--Rose, Martha, Donna--all of whom he blames himself for "screwing up." He considers himself a man of peace, only to be confronted with an army of enemies that view him as the biggest danger in the universe. He's lived many lifetimes, so perhaps he's reaching the point where he feels death would be a relief.
I'm so looking forward to seeing how Steven Moffat gets the Doctor out of this timey-wimey conundrum, in both a physical and emotional sense.
Such a fun, entertaining episode to kick off the back half of Season 6. What did everybody else think?
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