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Final farewell to the Eleventh Doctor’s Era: Countdown of My 25 Favorite Episodes.  Number 6 - Let’s Kill Hitler

I could say that this episode is my guilty pleasure, but I absolutely love it and I don’t feel the slightest bit guilty about it. Part of me would even rank this higher because it’s one I can rewatch so many times and still enjoy.

Let’s Kill Hitler. The title is a bit of misdirection as Mels brings the Doctor back into WWII era Germany to kill Adolf Hitler, one of the first names that comes to mind when anyone thinks of history’s most hated people, but Mels has her own Hitler who she’s here to kill, the Doctor.

The Silence attempted to turn Melody Pond into a psychopath, but for all they managed to do to her in turning her into this reckless impulsive woman, they never truly succeeded in breaking her and actually turning her into a psychopath against her deeply loving nature.  Still, the damage they did to her is written all over her in the two episodes in which she is the youngest - the other being The Wedding of River Song in which she nearly destroys the universe in trying to save the Doctor (and I have no doubt these episodes are where she learns the lessons that lead to the much more pulled together River we know in the future).

River was raised with one purpose - to kill the Doctor, but then she meets him and he is nothing like she was raised to believe he was. He is dying because she poisoned him, but he is trying to teach her everything he knows in half an hour, save her from the Teselecta, and save Amy and Rory rather than save himself or seek vengeance on her… all when he should hate her not try to help her.

And of course, as River says, he must have known she could save him, but the Doctor never tells anyone there is a cure to what is killing him because the only cure is River risking her life and ability to regenerate again for him which is not something he would ask her to do. He faces his death and whispers a final message into her ear.

While I had previously thought there were a few things the Doctor could have whispered into River’s ear in this episode (my personal head canon aside from the obvious “I love her” being “I trust her”), I have become pretty convinced that the Doctor tells her he loves her in this episode (and not just because the official Doctor Who Tumblr once reblogged my previous post explaining what I’m about to repeat here :p).

In the Doctor’s final moments, he leaves a message for River Song to which Melody replies, “I’m sure she knows.” She then asks Amy and Rory who River Song is. When the Teselecta reveals that she is River Song, she realizes the weight of what she’s done and just how much what he said to her means.

To quote Steven Moffat,

Imagine if you are told that that man you just killed is going to become the love of your life. You think, ok I’m going to spend the rest of my life knowing that this man who I’ll fall in love with more every time I see him is a man I’ve already killed. River takes matters into her own hands and say, “I’ll bring him back”… She thinks, “That’s my man and I believe it. I believe it’s true.”

Despite everything he does for her in this episode, the only way she would she would feel this certain of the nature of their relationship is if he tells her that he loves River Song and she believes that she will be River Song. Her big smile and words are also in reaction to something sweet and personal about River. She has no idea what he’s going to say or if it’s going to be this big complex message, but then he says it and she smiles. If he had said his name, she wouldn’t reply with “I’m sure she knows” because that is a fact. She either knows or she doesn’t. What he said had to have been an emotion River could have known without being told and Melody had already been starting to pick up on the fact that River was more than just a friend. “I’m sure they know” is a classic response to comfort someone when they are dying or have lost someone who they haven’t told they loved and they want to before it’s too late.

Her future until this moment was bleak and was entirely based around killing the Doctor. She was used and abused her whole life in ways she will never even know because the Silence won’t let her remember. As Amy says, she shouldn’t have saved him for her because of the risk, but the Doctor wouldn’t have been on the ground dying if it wasn’t for her and there was no other way to take back what she had done to him.

Her choice was live with murdering this man who did nothing but try to help her and end his life or risk her own regenerations to take it back. She wasn’t just saving him, she was saving herself from being tormented by what she did for the rest of her life.

So, she saves the man who fought for her when he shouldn’t have and takes a chance on believing in a life where she is no longer just an assassin, but a woman who can love and be loved.


Just a friendly reminder that Rose Tyler merged with the Heart of the TARDIS, left herself messages through time and space that helped her to save the Doctor, Jack Harkness, and the entire human race, eliminated a whole fleet of Daleks, and survived.

And yet she is often referred to as the Doctor’s clingy, needy girlfriend.


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