Break out your Jelly Babies, your Jammy Dodgers, your fish fingers and custard, and your sonic screwdrivers (don’t even try to tell me you don’t have one)! The Doctor is back! The last we saw him, he was taking off to points unknown to find Melody Pond while Amy and Rory were taken back to Earth. But you know these kids can’t stay apart forever.
A new wrinkle has been added, though. Their lifelong friend, Mels, shows up unannounced and hijacks the TARDIS. Her orders are simple: “You have a time machine. I have a gun. What the hell? Let’s kill Hitler.” And thus we have the title! But don’t let it fool you. Hitler is only in about ten minutes of this episode. It’s really all about River.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Showing up on Hitler’s doorstep, we quickly learn that there is another assassin with the same goal. This assassin, however, is far more complicated. He is a shape-shifting robot that is run by a crew of miniaturized people. In the scuffle, Mels is shot and…she regenerates? Yes, friends, Mels is Melody. Which, if you’ve been paying attention, means she is also River Song. And out of the regeneration appears the River we all know and love. But, lest we forget, Melody/River was taken by Kovarian and conditioned to kill the Doctor. And now that she is essentially face to face with him for the first time, she gets to killing, and the assassin sent to kill Hitler shifts gears to go after her.
The surprising thing is that Melody actually succeeds by planting a tiny kiss on the Doctor laced with a deadly, incurable poison. He only has a half hour to live, and Amy and Rory must find her as she runs off into Berlin. Crossing paths with the assassin again, Amy and Rory are miniaturized and transported inside him where they become guests of the crew that pilots him. But as the Doctor inches closer to death, he convinces Melody to step into the TARDIS, which reprograms her so that she is no longer conditioned to kill the Doctor…or so we may be led to believe. In fact, she uses all of her regenerations to save his life.
An interesting twist that is delivered is the true identity of the Silence. Up until now, we were led to believe that the Silence was the name of the creepy aliens who make you forget about them as soon as you look away from them. In fact, they are only part of it. The Silence is actually a religious movement that believes that silence will fall on the universe when the right question is asked, and they are hell bent on killing the Doctor.
Now there are certainly a lot of inconsistencies in this episode. There is the question of Melody’s childhood, which is far too complicated to even try discussing here, but how does that image of River as Kovarian figure into the mix? Where in her timeline does she actually kill the Doctor in Utah? And then finally, for an episode entitled “Let’s Kill Hitler,” there was very little Hitler – and even less killing of him – to really be worthy of such a title. Though Rory still helps to solidify his position as the next Chuck Norris by punching out Hitler and throwing him in a closet.
We still have a number of episodes to go, and Steven Moffat has demonstrated in the past his ability to plant a lot of riddles that get solved in unique and unexpected ways. The fun will be trying to figure out how it will all play out. We all know, at this point, that the climax of this will be River killing the Doctor. But what we don’t know is how that will happen, and what the consequences will be. While this latest episode may not have revealed much, and felt rather inconsistent, I’m looking forward to seeing where this journey will take us.
Next week: creepy dolls. And nobody does creepy quite like Steven Moffat.