SciFi Weekend: Doctor Who, Let’s Kill Hitler & Torchwood: Miracle Day

Tonight we had a rare event,which will reoccur for a brief time: new episodes of both Doctor Who and Torchwood. Even rarer, both are at a point where they are starting to give answers. Who Killed Hitler gave a lot of answers regarding the season-long arc as well as the multi-season story of River Song. Major spoilers follow.

The story began with Amy and Rory near home, having built a signal for the Doctor in a corn field. There’s no explanation of how the two got back to earth after the Battle of Demons Run, and this is just one of many plot-holes which it is best to ignore to enjoy this over-the-top story. They are  joined by their childhood friend, Mels, who is obsessed with the Doctor and blames all evil in the world on the Doctor’s failure to fix things. This leads to a trip through time to kill Hitler, who spent most of the episode locked in the cupboard.

Mel’s attempt to kill Hitler was interrupted by the Tesselector, a ship full of time travelors disguised as a shape-shifting robot which tortures historical villains who otherwise went unpunished. They shifted their target from Hitler to who they described as the worst war criminal in history–the woman who killed the Doctor.

This is all interspersed with flashbacks of Mels growing up with Amy and Rory. The later two had a relationship just as we might imagine. Rory was infatuated with Amy but Amy, who really did like Rory, assumed he was gay because he never showed any interest in other girls. At least Amy did run after Rory when Mels pointed out the flaw in her thoughts about Rory.

Mels got killed in  Hitler’s office and regenerated into a confused version of River Song. Leave it to Steven Moffat to have Amy name her daughter after her old friend Mels, who was actually River Song/Melody Pond all along. In a strange way, Amy and Rory did get to raise their child.

River was programmed to kill the Doctor and kissed him with poisonous lipstick, with regeneration also somehow prevented. Meanwhile, Amy and Rory got miniaturized and beamed into the Tesselector. This set up Rory for one of the great lines of the episode:  “I’m trapped inside a giant robot replica of my wife. I’m really trying not to see this as a metaphor.”

Meanwhile the Doctor, who already had a new coat and who was now in the midst of dying, spent much of his remaining time getting dressed up in formal wear. We got the rumored scenes with post-companions, but they were just projections from the TARDIS. There continued to be adventure  aboard the Tesselector, which for some unknown reason was packed with giant killer jellyfish. Amy prevented the Tesselector from killing River by destroying the mechanism which kept the jellyfish from killing everyone aboard–both a morally questionable move as well as one with obvious dangers.

The Doctor convinced River she didn’t want to go through life knowing she had killed her true love before they even got involved. As the Doctor put it, ““She did kill me, and then she used her remaining lives to bring me back. As first dates go, I’d say that was mixed signals.”

By River giving up her remaining regenerations to save the Doctor, she set up her own death in Silence in the Library/ Forest of the Dead. I wonder if this also means the Doctor will have additional regenerations, providing one way for Moffat to get around the previously established (and certain to be bypassed) limitation on regenerations.

All this went on with very little of Hitler in the actual story. Here is Adolph Hitler’s reaction to his appearance in Doctor Who:

In this episode, the Doctor learned about his future death and presumably is now plotting some way around this. We learned that the Silence isn’t really a species but a religious movement obsessed with a first question reminiscent of Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. There were further references to The Graduate with the relationship between River and the Doctor. There was even this poster referring to Silence at the school which Amy and Mels attended:

While there are still gaps, we now know much more about River Song’s life:

River was conceived in the Tardis after the Amy and Rory’s wedding, giving a whole new meaning to the episode title, The Big Bang. She was born on Demons Run and then raised in a creepy orphanage in the 1960’s, while being brainwashed to kill the Doctor.  At some point a picture was taken of her with Amy–perhaps we will see a trip to that orphanage sometime later this season to explain it. She escaped (perhaps intentionally allowed to escape) and wound up in New York where she had what was probably not her first regeneration. She wound up becoming a delinquent friend of Amy and Rory, ultimately getting aboard the TARDIS in this episode. After the  regeneration in this episode, River was left  with the Sisters Of The Infinite Schism. Somewhere along the way she has an affair with the Doctor as well as becoming imprisoned for killing him. The episode ended with her going into archeology so she could stalk the Doctor through time. I also bet she winds up assisting the Doctor in staging his death (or maybe the death of a Ganger) so that this fixed point in time can occur with the Doctor remaining alive.

Things also happened on this week’s episode of Torchwood: Miracle Day, End of the Road, and we seem to be coming towards a conclusion, but generally things just sort of  happen. We don’t really see the Torchwood team taking the lead in solving the mystery as opposed to grabbing bits and pieces of information over time. Perhaps that will change in the final two episodes. While the previous episode featured Gwen capturing Jack because of her family being held captive, this week’s episode quickly dispensed with the threat. Why didn’t Angelo’s granddaughter simply call Jack (or deliver a message thru Gwen) that Angelo was still alive?

There were some good touches. Newman was exposed as a bad guy and Q arrested him. Oswald Danes was shown as really being creepy, but also likely to receive the punishment he deserves now that he is designated Category 0.  For long-time Torchwood fans, there was a reference to Ianto.

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3 Comments

  1. 1
    Dr Who News says:

    SciFi Weekend: Doctor Who, Let's Kill Hitler & Torchwood: Miracle … http://t.co/yrXtfVI #Torchwood

  2. 2
    theoncominghope says:

    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

  3. 3
    Ron Chusid says:

    There’s at least one other River mystery which I intended to put in the post but forgot. (I still might edit the main post to throw it in). There’s also the picture of Amy apparently holding Melody as a baby in the orphanage. I bet we will see a trip back to the orphanage at some point to explain the picture, but perhaps they won’t be able to remove her from there because of this being a fixed point in her life. I also wouldn’t entirely put it past Moffat to have Amy and Rory take the baby home, and have two different time lines.

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