I suffered through some disappointing summer science fiction television recently (most notably “Falling Skies” on TNT). But all that is behind me now with the return of the Doctor and the best ‘bad girl’ in any time or space: River Song. Amy and Rory continue their quest to reunite with their daughter, Melody Pond, also known as River Song, although her parents are still coming to grips with their daughter’s incorrigibility, knack for mad-cap adventures and an obsession with the Doctor not of her own making.
And River, as Mels, Amy’s BFF from childhood, who coins the episodes title ‘Let’s Kill Hitler‘ when she finally meets the Doctor, after Amy and Rory destroy a wheat field with a crop-circle calling card. Holding the Doctor and the TARDIS at gunpoint, Mels corrals everyone into the TARDIS for a trip back to pre-war Berlin. Mels manages to shoot the TARDIS and forces a crash landing in Hitler’s office, interrupting a shape-shifting humanoid robot containing miniaturised humanoids has assumed the form of a Wehrmacht officer and attacked Hitler.
And it’s at this point where Hitler becomes a minor impediment to the ongoing conflict between the newly regenerated River Song and her immediate assassination attempt on the Doctor, Amy and Rory kidnapped by the miniaturized humans, and a dying Doctor. Hitler is locked in the cupboard by Rory. My husband and I laughed repeatedly on that dialogue.
The tiny robot-occupying humans reveal themselves as time-traveling Justice Department personnel who mete out punishment to infamous criminals by snatching them in the last seconds of their life and torturing them for thousands of years for their crimes. They switch gears from Hitler (they arrived too early anyway in 1938) to River Song, who has a criminal record including killing the Doctor. So now we spend the last thirty minutes of the Doctor’s life arguing whether River can be tortured for killing the Doctor when he is in fact still alive.
Best bit of lore gleaned this episode about the Silence (spoilers follow, obviously):
Robot Amy: Records Available
Doctor: Question. I’m dying. Who wants me dead?
Robot Amy: The Silence.
Doctor: What is the Silence? Why is it called that? What does it mean?
Robot Amy: The Silence is not a species. It is a religious order or movement. Their core belief is that Silence will fall when the question is asked.
Doctor: What question?
Robot Amy: The first question, the oldest question in the universe, hidden in plain sight.
Doctor: Yes, but what is the question?
Robot Amy: Unknown.
This episode did not have the impact of ‘A Good Man Goes to War‘ (but how could it with the big reveal of who River’s parents actually were). However, I loved it (as I do most Doctor Who episodes) for the great writing, story-telling and acting. I know where I’ll be every Saturday evening … wherever the TARDIS re-appears.