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Musings on “Let’s Kill Hitler” – Doctor Who

August 29, 2011

We're gonna kill you so hard.

This is your spoiler warning, ladies and gentlemen. If you haven’t seen the episode, move along. If you have, I’ll see you after the jump.

Once again, Moffat gave us the bait and switch, this time right in the title. Aside from a few jokes (By the way, “gay gypsy bar mitzvah” is going to be the theme at my next party), this episode had nothing to do with Hitler. It could have taken place anywhere in time, which is a bit sad. But ah well, it was still a lot of fun, and Hitler is still in that cupboard.

Getting to the character of Mels. When that hot rod pulled up to the TARDIS, I was quite certain that River Song was inside. But it wasn’t. Yet it was. It was the irksome character of Mels. From the moment she was introduced I couldn’t stand her. From hijacking the TARDIS, to growing up obsessed with Amelia’s Doctor, she seemed contrite and shoe-horned in. She’s never been mentioned before, despite being the best friend since childhood.

And if Mels has been the best friend since childhood, how did she get there? During her regeneration, Mels said, “It took me years to find you two.” This makes sense, of course, she sought them out because eventually they’d lead her to the Doctor. And yet, the last time we saw young River/Melody (if that was in fact her) she was regenerating in an alley in 1969. Did she stop aging for 30 years until she found them? She made some mention of aging in reverse to freak people out, but that seemed more like a joke rather than something an Almost-Time-Lord could do.

I don’t want to give the impression that I didn’t enjoy this episode. I really did. As usual, Moffat raises ten questions whenever he answers one. and seems to create ten new plot holes in the meantime, which I’ll address in a bit.

Let’s Kill Hitler was hilarious and heart-breaking. The banter between Melody and the Doctor was great, as was their continued one-up-manship. When the Doctor was dying in his TARDIS and asked for a projection of someone he likes, (“Guilt. Guilt. MORE GUILT!”) was easily my favorite moment of the episode thanks to Matt Smith’s incredible performance. Though Rory punching Hitler was pretty sweet, too.

Another problem this episode is that it introduces yet another Doctor-Death possibility. There are robots out there that can look like anyone. I don’t think that’s the case here, I believe that really was the Doctor killed in Utah, and yet it’s still possible. Between Autons, Gangers, and now Meet-Dave-Bots, anything is possible. We can’t assume that anyone is who they say they are. In fact, when the Doctor died in this episode, I turned to my friend and asked, “Ganger?”

If we can’t assume that our beloved characters are who they should be, these deaths don’t pack as much punch. “Bah, that’s not him, he didn’t really die.” We lose out on that emotional connection because we’ve been given so many “deaths” of so many “people,” that they’re meaningless. We KNOW the Doctor isn’t really going to die in Utah. Not forever.

Speaking of Utah, the Doctor died when he was shot during his regeneration. River herself pointed out that this would kill him completely.YET when Melody was shot by the Nazis and was doubled over, she looked up and said, “Never shoot a girl during her regeneration.” So what does that mean?

Here’s another question: Why the tux? The Doctor had 32 minutes to live, and got all excited about fish fingers and custard. He returns in his tuxedo, and “dies” shortly after. This is about 20 minutes lost somewhere. The last time we saw him in that tux was the Williams’ wedding. Did he go back there? If so, why? If not, WTF is going on??

This episode also seems to cement the fact that River Song killed the Doctor in Utah. The Justice Department robot pretty much confirmed it. But now there is the question of which River? If very young 1969 River pulled the trigger, then why assume the role of BFF Mels to do it again?

And if the Silence is this religious order  that wanted the Doctor dead, why did they imprison her for doing what she was told? Remember in the Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone, Father Octavian seemed genuinely upset with her for killing a Good Man. And where does the Silence as the creepy alien race fit into all this??

I know. My head is spinning, too. I am all out of theories.

But yes, for all my nerdy nit-picking this was a terrific episode and I had a wonderful, fun time watching it. Leave your reaction and thoughts in the comments below!

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. August 29, 2011 11:27 am

    Great post!

    I wasted the entire morning pondering the many lives of River Song, and have come up with a timeline (of sorts) here:

    http://theoncominghope.blogspot.com/2011/08/many-lives-of-river-song-or-thinking.html

  2. Chris permalink
    August 30, 2011 2:04 pm

    A few points that occur to me when thinking back on the episode (only got to watch it this morning)…

    The Mels twist was amazing. At first I hated the character as well, and thought it was just some crazy kidnapper shoe-horned in to give us something distracting and delay addressing the missing baby/stuff like that… But then BOOM! Regeneration! Except she was still just as crazy, but it was suddenly forgiveable because she never really had a choice in the matter. Braaaaaaaaainwashing.

    As for the Doctor dying in Utah, I think the important difference is that the Astronaut shot the Doctor BEFORE he could start the regeneration and finished the death. Doctors can die the same as anyone if they’re killed insantly. What River did with the bullets was akin to what Ten did with regrowing his hand… She still had leftover regeneration energy in her body for something like a day or so?

    As for the fish fingers and custard, I think that was less about giving him some epiphany and more about him holding on to that happy memory as a reason to keep going. It was a mantra to give him the will to live. As for the tux… Well, it looked nice. And would YOU want to use the sonic cane without properly accessorizing?

    Also, the existence of the Justice Department seems to indicate that the Doctor, at the point in the future they came from, is no longer vilified. It’s probably from farther in the future then Demon’s Run was set. I’m thinking that Eyepatch Lady is a big bad of the Silence (pretty obvious) and the order likely duped/manipulated people into fearing him so that they could destroy him. But it didn’t last, and further on in the future the Justice Department views the murder of the Doctor as akin to killing Ghandi or such.

    And the creepy alien race doesn’t appear to be the actual Silence at all. They seem to likely just be pawns/drones serving the greater goals of the Silence.

    Oy, so many more things in my head, but I’ve rambled enough. Sorry for cluttering up your blog.

    • August 30, 2011 2:16 pm

      Re: Mels. I think Amy and Rory should still feel cheated out of parenthood, that this is a cheap gimmick of “Oh, they got to raise her after all!” and that the missing baby is going to remain unaddressed. Lame.

      Re: Generation (see what I did there?) Ah, you’re right of course. Didn’t think of that.

      Re Mantra, Interesting. But I still feel like he went somewhere.

      Re: Doctor Hero/Villain, I think it depends on the viewpoint. Justice Dept could be contemporaries, but just the other side of the coin. Not everyone today agrees on Obama, for instance.

      How dare you read and comment on my blog, sir. The internet is not for exchanging ideas. It’s for porn.

      • Chris permalink
        August 30, 2011 2:26 pm

        I agree on them getting a bit cheated out of raising her. On one hand, they probably feel better that they know who she is/where she was for most of her life. On the other hand, it still sucks that they never got to really be her ‘parents’… I don’t think anyone is supposed to agree that this is a good compromise. The characters certainly don’t feel that way. Even when they did ‘find’ her, they still couldn’t keep her. Foreknowledge is a bitch.

        The entire story of River/Melody’s life is essentially one long, drawn out tragedy. Poor River.

        And yeah, but eventually the chafing sets in and I gotta go elsewhere.

      • August 30, 2011 2:38 pm

        I just worry that it’s never going to be addressed, that growing up with Mels makes it all okay, storywise. That Amy isn’t going to want her baby back anymore, that this plotline has been “resolved” and is over and done with. I really hope that isn’t the case.

      • Chris permalink
        August 30, 2011 4:18 pm

        Unfortunately, I think it is over and done with… I mean, it sucks, and I hope that all the characters thoroughly AGREE that it sucks. But Melody’s already got a timeline for her early years, and they can’t go back to mess with it without exploooooooding the universe. I hope they at least have a lot of angst about that.

        In fact, next episode seems to have a little kid featured predominately, so maybe this is where we’ll see some of their sadness/longing for family projecting onto the freak of the week.

  3. September 2, 2011 10:43 am

    Thanks for sharing! Yeah I am a bit confused about the Mels/River timeline. It seems she can pick her age and, apparently, dress size. I lurve Alex K though and am very excited to see what will happen next! My favourite moment was between Amy and Rory- “My head is pounding” “No, that’s just Hitler in the cupboard.” (Sorry ubernerds, parrot-phrasing there and couldn’t find a transcript!). I love that my Saturday nights need no more than the Doctor! And maybe some ice cream. R

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