Retro ‘Doctor Who’ Reviews – Vol. 11.6

A Good Man Goes to War 

With the reveal that Amy has been pregnant and kept in another location (with a ganger talking her place in the TARDIS, Rory launches into a violent investigation to recover her. Amy gives birth to Melody, who the clerics intend to keep for themselves. When the Doctor tracks down the clerics and the headless monks they get involved in a dangerous conflict. Fortunately the Doctor is not without his allies.

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Madame Vestra, Jenny and Strax made their debut appearance, joining the Doctor’s side during the battle, along with Dorium Maldover. Although the ending is far from a happy one there is a major reveal concerning River Song. Once the action is settled she reveals that she is Melody, the daughter of Rory and Amy. Having been conceived in the time vortex Melody/River shares some of the abilities of the Time Lords.

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After all the built up to this episode it’s good to report that it does actually deliver on the action. The Clerics and the Headless Monks have hardly been established as villains so it does feel as though the Doctor et al are battling against an army of red shirts. One thing that does deliver on the hype is the reveal of who River Song really is, cleverly handled and imaginative.

Let’s Kill Hitler

It is certainly hard to resist a title like that. Amy and Rory meet up with the Doctor in the middle of a field (after using a primitive crop circle to signal him) and are unexpectedly joined by one of their friends. The wild card Melody (of whom Melody Pond is named) turns up and, holding the Doctor at gunpoint, insists that they go and assassinate Hitler. They’re not the only ones with this idea, however. There is also a race of miniature humanoids piloting a human sized robot that can take any form. Their motivation comes in the form of a mission to travel through time and eliminate war criminals.

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When the two parties converge on Hitler the German leader panics and fires a shot, hitting Mel. To the surprise of everyone Mel regenerates in River Song who immediately attempts to kill the Doctor. This is the first time that River has met the Doctor on her timeline, and it is revealed that she has been conditioned from birth to kill the Doctor.

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Whilst further information into the mystery of River is always welcome this episode is found lacking. Dropping Mel into the action without warning makes the reveal rather pointless, especially as some forward planning could have inserted her into the series earlier. The Teselecta robot is a good concept, and one that gets explored in more depth when Rory and Amy are absorbed on board, but it ultimately becomes goofy. Not a terrible episode but it feels like they’re just patching up holes in the overall plot.

Night Terrors

Because apparently it had been a while since Doctor Who had scared the crap out of everyone. The Doctor is shocked to receive a message from a child on his psychic paper, something that should be impossible, and he traces it back to a council building in modern London. Eventually they find that George, the boy responsible is terrified of practically everything, to the point that is causes his parents distress. Naturally everything he is scared of is fully justified.

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Amy and Rory find themselves transported from the building to an old mansion. They’re confused to find everything is fake and made out of wood. The truth is that they are trapped in a dolls house, among other people who have been taken, and some have been turned into monstrous dolls. In the real world the Doctor reveals to George’s father that George is not a human child but an alien in need of caring who inserted himself into their lives.

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The dolls are certainly creepy, and the mansion makes for a creepy setting. The alternative world, George’s room, detracts from the horror and there’s little to narratively connect the two. When the scary gets ramped up the episode is at its best but it doesn’t quite come together at the end.