Monday, August 25, 2014

Doctor Who--"Let's Kill Hitler"

The back half of Doctor Who series six resumed today. Like just about everyone else, I was nervous by the goofy title. Killing Adolf Hitler is an old, boring plot that the audience already knows cannot actually thankfully. Thankfully, the title reveals only the catalyst for a much better story. I think the mid-series premiere is better than the series premiere.

Amy and Rory reunite in the present day with the Doctor by creating a crop circle to get his attention. I guarantee some Wholigans will be out in the fields of England tomorrow giving it a shot, too. The doctor has not yet found the infant melody. The reunion is interrupted by Mels, a childhood friend of Amy who hooked her up with rory and for whom Melody is named. Mels insists at gunpoint the three go back to 1938 in order to kill Hitler.

In reality, the TARDIS inadvertently prevents Hitler’s assassination by a robot manned by operatives from a Justice Department. Mels is fatally wounded in the incident. To everyone’s surprise, she regenerates into River Song. This gets the Justice Department’s attention. She is wanted for murdering the Doctor. River has been sent by the Silence to kill the doctor. She blows several attempts, but finally succeeds by smooching him with poisoned lipstick. She makes her escape, subsequently wreaking heaven all over prewar Berlin.

I assume you all want to see this:Alex Kingston is 48, believe it or not.

The Justice Department winds up confronting River after picking up Amy and Rory. They do not want to see their daughter killed regardless of what she has done, so they wind up in danger with the Justice Department themselves. At this point, the dying doctor shows up. He is too weak to help, but his struggle inspires the otherwise amoral river to intervene on her parents’ behalf. In the end, she gives up all her future regenerations in order to preserve the Doctor’s life. Her, in turn, drops her off at a hospital to be cared for in spite of the fact she is going to successfully murder him in a few weeks as seen in the sixth series premiere.

There is some nifty continuity stuff here. The Doctor leaves an empty diary for River by her hospital bedside as a gift. She uses it throughout the series. River died for good saving the Tenth doctor because she had no regenerations left. When looking for strength to resist the poison, the Doctor calls on holograms of rose, Martha, and Donna, all of whom he reveals guilt over ruining their lives. The Silence are a religious order, not just the big headed, suit wearing aliens we have met so far. They believe the Silence Will Fall when a specific question is answered, but no one knows what the question is. One assumes the answer is 42, no? Everyone is Team TARDIS now knows River is going to kill the Doctor shortly.

I am relieved Hitler only plays a small part in “Let’s Kill Hitler.” the episode is quite good without the minor Hitler bit. There are some funny bits, though I think they were trying a little too hard with Rory punching hitler’s lights out. We got it. Rory is not the wimp we all thought he was early on. His punching the Doctor last season was no fluke, either. Thanks, but could you try something new next time? Other than “killing” him again, of course. “Let’s Kill Hitler” has a lot more action than usual, as well as heart. It is very well done. I am a sucker for World War II era stories. Ever River is starting to grow on me.

Rating: **** (out of 5)

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