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Doctor Who Season 6: 5 Questions About “Let’s Kill Hitler”

Everyone’s favorite Time Lord returned to our screens last night as Doctor Who‘s sixth season came back for its second half with a belter of an opener. But just because it was amazing didn’t mean that we don’t have five questions to ask… Okay, maybe more than five…

Okay, I don’t want to go completely fanboyish on you or anything, but… That was a really, really good episode for the series to return with, managing to advance the longrunning plots while also paying off all manner of things (The questions we got answered! The weird-but-welcome reveal that Amy and Rory had “raised” their daughter after all! A surprisingly quick end to the search for Melody!) and still offering a fun romp in and of itself (Am I the only one who thought that Rory was just great this week? Punching Hitler! Yes!). Maybe I’ve just missed this show more than I thought, but I loved “Let’s Kill Hitler” a lot – and not least of all because the sensationalistic title both managed to have some payoff and still work as the ultimate red herring. I mean, did anyone really think that Mels was going to turn out to regenerate into River? Which leads me to…

How Much Did Melody/Mels/River Know About Her Past?
So, Mels had apparently searched out her parents after regenerating at the end of “Day of The Moon” – which suggests that she knew something about Amy and Rory, but clearly not everything, otherwise she would know that the Doctor was “worth it.” But did Mels/Melody know that she was a Time Lord? She knew that she could regenerate, obviously, but apparently, she also knew how to control her age – She mentioned wanting to age in reverse very slowly, after all – which implies that she knows her capabilities more than we might expect. Just what was Melody told by her captors, I find myself wondering? And also…

Who Is Benjamin?
“Hello, Benjamin” seemed to be the trigger for River to launch into psychopath mode. Who’s Benjamin? Is this a throwaway reference, or a clue of things yet to come?

What Happened With Kennedy?
Talking of throwaway references that could be clues about the future: “Time can be rewritten. Remember what happened with Kennedy”? Is that John F. that they’re talking about, or someone else…?

What Does “Silence Will Fall?” Actually Mean?
A thought occurred during this episode. If the Silence are a religious order and not the name of the alien race from “The Impossible Astronaut” and “Day of The Moon,” then… what if those aliens are actually working against the Silence? What if young Melody was in the astronaut suit because it was a way of keeping her away from the Doctor? What if “Silence will fall” is actually a reference about the failure of the attempt to kill the Doctor?

What Is The Question?
More importantly, the Silence is a religious order formed around one particular, unknown question… but is it really unknown? I can’t help but wonder if the Doctor himself asked it this episode, as others have done more than once this season already: “Doctor who?” Would Steven Moffat really turn the title of the show – something that’s never really made sense within the context of the show – into a plotpoint? And if so, what is the answer? That said, I’m fairly convinced that this will turn out to be what the question is, or something very close to it… We’ve seen more than enough suggestion about the importance of who the Doctor is – Ultimate weapon, ultimate hero, pacifist, curious old romantic who happens to be in the right place at the right time, or all of the above; think back to the discussion about what “Doctor” means in other cultures during “A Good Man Goes To War,” for example – during Moffat’s two seasons so far that I think we’re closing in on the need for some kind of clarification of the Doctor’s credentials as the best of all good guys.

(And here’s an extra question: What’s the significance of “fish fingers and custard”? Was it just a reminder of how much the Doctor loves Amy/Amelia, or something else entirely? I’m convinced something happened between that scene and his appearance in top hat and tails, and not just because he wasn’t around for 31 minutes before he collapsed…)


  • Michael Sacal

    If the question is “Doctor Who?” then the answer might be his name, which is how River learned it.

  • Will

    Benjamin was the young guy in The Graduate who was seduced by Mrs. Robinson, the nickname given to River by the Doctor in “Impossible Astronaut”. 

  • Guest

    “Hello, Benjamin” is a reference to the movie, The Graduate.  The way the camera was positioned behind her leg was also directly lifted as an homage to the movies most famous scene.

  • Mythos

    I’d laugh so hard if The Doctor’s name turned out to be “Benjamin”. I know, I know, people are posting the reference in the comments, but, still… how funny would that be if it turned out to be true?

  • Shawn

    They said “Silence Will Fall” is the answer to the oldest question in the universe, and I highly doubt it answers the question, “Doctor Who?”. I think it answers more of a ‘What happens when….” question. For example, “What happens when the Doctor dies?” “Silence Will Fall”. 

    But I doubt that’s the question cause the Doctor’s only 900 years old or so and the universe is older. I bet it’s something else. 

  • Shawn

    I think he might have told his name in this episode when he whispered in River’s ear.

  • Mat

    Who Is Benjamin – given that the Doctor referred to River as ‘Mrs Robinson’ before, I think it’s just another Graduate reference..?

  • Yahbooh

    The question has to be the one about hot dogs in tins of eight and buns in packs of twelve. It’s the only thing that really upsets the balance of the universe.

  • NJ

    What do you mean “Doctor who?” has never made sense within the context of the show?  In the very first serial, Ian calls the Doctor Doctor Foreman, assuming that since he’s Susan’s grandfather he has her last name, and he responds with, “Doctor who?”  The title’s always just been a joke about how not much is known about the Doctor.  It makes perfect sense.

  • Jason Canty

    I think thats a good theory. As for the Doctor, he is far older then 900, the 8th Doctor was around 1100,  it seems between his 8th and 9th life he ether “forgot” or somehow lost about 200 years of his life.  The Current Head writer says the Doctor doesn’t really “know” how old he is anymore and just tosses around 900+ since thats the last time he really kept count.

  • Jason Canty

    As with Mel’s past.  It seems that The Doctor does somehow find her as a baby and thus lets Amy rase her for afew years before she has to go back into the space suit and live in 1969.  So thats probably where,when she learns a little of her parents enugh to seek them out and age slowly from 69-late 90’s and restart her aging to have a chance to grow up and sort of be raised by them.

    Sucks how the Doctor indiectly Ruined all their lives for just being a silly old man in a blue box.

  • Bill Reed

    I must be the only person on the interwebs who thought that episode was pants. Is it my fault? My expectations?

    And what did Chekov say about a Hitler in the cupboard in act one?

  • Bill Reed

    No, no, no. He’s a “Todd.”

  • The Librarian

    Here are two questions that are bothering me.1. How did Mel go from kid in 1969 to kid in amelia’s time that’s about 10 years later?

    2. How and when did Mel get the Judas Plant for her poison if she’s grown up with Amelia all this time?

    Both mean more time travel, and possibly young space travel as the Judas plant isn’t an earthly plant, and it’s also a different plant than the acid trip lipstic.  Maybe there’s more to child Mel than we realize.  Also, I loved the entire round robin the story has done now.  We’ve covered what river told rory during the 1969 story about a man who knows everything about her, which makes her become the archaeologist that goes to research about him.  We’ve now reached full circle with the rest of the details to come this season about the courtship and why.  Everyone else already caught the Graduate nods.  (Doctor looks young, River looks ‘mature’ though inside both are the opposite.)

  • Shawn

    Yeah, besides, Rule #1-The Doctor Lies. I wonder though how old The Doctor is now compared to when he left at the end of episode 7. I mean who knows how it long it was before he saw the newspaper with the crop circle news. It could’ve been a long time later. And I’d love to see where he got the coat. And to see him wear it again. Probably didn’t take 200 years, but it must’ve been a while.

  • Shawn

    Yeah, and it was even a question in this episode by the Doctor himself. 

  • Shawn

    I find it funny how there has been no mention of Mels anytime before. So maybe the Silence group played around with Amy’s and Rory’s mind or something. And also, where did Mels stay in Leadworth? Probably with the Silence/Kovarian who raised her. 

  • Jase

    “Who Is Benjamin?”

    Just a joke reference to the Graduate, like the one previously made in The Impossible Astronaut.

    “What Is The Question?

    More importantly, the Silence is a religious order formed around one particular, unknown question… but is
    it really unknown? I can’t help but wonder if the Doctor himself asked
    it this episode, as others have done more than once this season already:
    “Doctor who?””

    First thought I had too, but I’m guessing that’s just a major league red herring.

    “Would Steven Moffat really turn the title of the show – something that’s never really made sense within the context of the show”

    How has it not made sense before? It’s been a running gag in the series since the first episode.

    “What’s the significance of “fish fingers and custard”?”

    Just a reminder of more innocent days for Amy, before the Doctor “got it all wrong”.

  • Shawn

    I just realized there’s a whole Academy dedicated to the question: The Academy of the Question. But also, since River gave all her regenerations to the Doctor, does that extend his regenerations? 

  • Jase

    Probably that a Hitler in the cupboard is best left there.

  • Darkseidius

    “fish fingers and custard” comes when the Doctor was pleading for something for the pain. It obviously helped

  • Charlie Misicka

    I wonder if the fish fingers and custard comment was actually a way of reminding The Doctor about regeneration energy and its healing properties. As River even remarked, the Doctor had to know there was one way to save him, which is exactly what River did. He’s very good at manipulating people to get what he wants.

  • Bernie

    I took the fish fingers and custard line as reminding the Doctor that River was still regenerating and she could be used to help.After all the Doctor did regrow a hand during a past regeneration.

  • Lavulpinique

    I seem to recall a scene, from years ago, in which Nyssa and Tegan cry out the name of the 5th Doctor (Davison), during one of their famous — or should that be infamous? — onscreen threesomes.

    If I’m remembering correctly, his name was Gary. Or Keith. I forget.

  • Exiled In Geeksville

    What is the Question….   Doctor Who?  That’s what I thought immediately.

    I also want to note, the shape shifting robot justice dept ship –  Where did it go? Hmmmmm?  I have a hunch it will be important later on.  Spoilers!

  • Christopher Baggett

    “History can be rewritten. Remember the Kennedys?”

    Quantum Leap reference? Sam leapt into Lee Harvey Oswald, and it was revealed that his actions saved Jackie O, who was originally supposed to have died too.

  • Jacob

    It’s more than established that regenerating can cause age degeneration. Just look at the various Doctors (the Tenth Doctor even pointed it out). Since we’ve been shown that she can control her regeneration, she could have just lived all that time being raised and brainwashed. Then she regenerates into Mel as a little girl and plants herself in their lives. Also, it’s obvious that there’s some time travel going on here. The fact that she went from Demon’s Run to 1969 is obvious enough of that.

  • BerserkRL

    No, we (meaning those who read the website “Doctor Who Spoilers”) already know what it was, and it wasn’t his name.

  • Jacob

    Mind linking to that?

  • BerserkRL

    Here’s the link to the website:  
    and here’s the specific story:  
    This website predicted both River’s and Mels’ identities before the relevant shows aired, so it’s pretty reliable.  
    Warning:  I guess this hardly needs saying, but the “Doctor Who Spoilers” site contains SPOILERS.

  • BerserkRL

    Oops, I just meant that it predicted River’s identity.  It was a different site that predicted Mels’ identity:

  • VonGloom

    I’m surprised no one got this, the question is what do you get when you multiply seven times nine, the answer is 42, and after that, silence falls.

  • thesnappysneezer

    I always thought Silence will fall was a warning not a threat. Those aliens, seemed kind of harmless except for that one lady they killed in the toilet.

  • James F. McGrath

    Thanks for compiling all these key points and questions! The ultimate question, of course, is “What is the oldest question in the universe?” I’m a religion professor and so I am really intrigued by the religious elements in the episode and where they might go with that.

  • Don’t Blink

    if you read the book ‘Who killed kennedy’ that might answer your question about what happened with kennedy…

  • Stacy

    That would be A-W-E-S-O-M-E !  Quantum leap was one of my favorite shows and it would be such a nice little nod to the show if that’s what Doctor Who was referring to.

  • Cforshaw672200

    The shot when she says it is a visual reference to the famous shot in ‘The Graduate’ where Dustin Hoffman asks, “Are you trying to seduce me?” (I think so, anyway – famous, through her legs.)

  • Darren

    Benjamin is a ‘Graduate ‘ reference isn’t it? I’m not being daft here am I? 

  • Cforshaw672200

    Maybe I’m being a bit crazy here, but four questions spring to mind for me:

    (1) Can the TARDIS interface be used to bring Idris back? And if not, why not? She was the highlight of this series, and the best new character since River Song.

    (2) Are the Silence the ones rewriting history in the wake of The Doctor’s death (as hinted at in this episode), and the question is, “What would a reality without The Doctor be like?” I mean, if they blew up the TARDIS, wouldn’t that be their aim? Like that Dalek said, “Only The Doctor can fly the TARDIS!” After all, {SPOILERS, SWEETIE} the finale looks like it is set in a parallel universe without The Doctor, where Churchill is leader of the Roman Empire, and Charles Dickens may well be back. {SPOILERS FINISHED} Also, given that they are a religious order, does that mean that Madame Kevorian leads The Silence? Finally, and this is the big question… why are they willingly working with The Doctor against The Angels the first time they meet them? And why do they have an Omega symbol?

    (3) When are they going to reveal the fact that The Silence were in Amy’s house in ‘The Eleventh Hour’? C’mon, they kept looking at the room with Prisoner Zero in, and were unable to see it, and there were stairs leading to a non-existant top floor, and they had Melody Pond hanging out with her mother in that house, and, oh yeah, Prisoner Zero was the first to say, “Silence will fall”… There were hints in ‘The Lodger’ as well. Now, either it is a perception filter – which they clearly use in ‘The Lodger’ – or The Silence were actually there. I guess Prisoner Zero was created by The Silence, which would explain why it knows of them, and why it knows all about The Doctor… Is it going to make a reappearance?

    (4) The old saying goes, “If you introduce a gun in act one, you want someone to use it later on.” Given this… Donna? Rose? Martha? Fan-service, or setting up the big 50th anniversary episodes, which will probably see Jack, the Tenth Doctor Clone Thing, Mickey, Wilf, and maybe Jackie show up? It was clear that Russell T. Davies set up the alternative universe Doctor as a way for Tennant to return to the show, and, no matter what, Donna’s happy ending was still a bit ruined by the tragedy of her losing her memory, and Martha and Mickey = awesome, as the Mr. and Mrs. Smith of the Whoniverse. Plus, Moffat asked Jenny to be kept alive, and we have been promised a Liz Sladen tribute episode (hopefully with Luke, Rani, Clyde and K9)…

  • Cforshaw672200

    It would be awesome if the Face of Boe gave it to him, as a reminder of all those years they spent adventuring.

  • Cforshaw672200

    The picture was taken at Demon’s Run. The background is all white, suggesting it was probably taken in the room she was kept in. Therefore, there is no guarantee she has a good upbringing, like you said.

  • Cforshaw672200

    1. Regeneration after being killed again.

    2. See one, and the fact that Jack was probably still in New York with his wrist time-travel device thing. Otherwise, how would she know how to use one in, ‘The Pandorica Opens’?

  • Cforshaw672200

    Yes… when did he have fish fingers and custard? When he was regenerating! Very Idris thing to say, too, like, “The only water in the forest is the river.”

  • Cforshaw672200

    Kind of undermined by the fact that they were keeping the woman who would kill The Doctor alive, isn’t it? After all, they work with technology others create, and implant triggers in people to do the work for them – someone hands them a Time Lord, who has triggers implanted to kill The Doctor…? 

  • Cforshaw672200

    Oh, and also, as it just occured to me writing this…

    (5) Who arrested and imprisoned River Song, and seems to be relatively okay with her escaping to help him out? Seriously, if they arrested her for killing him, and considered her still dangerous enough to warrent long-term imprisonment, then they would have probably executed her to preserve the Time-Line and ensure that she can’t carry out her mission of murdering The Doctor, but they locked her up and left her with ineffectual guards that means she can work with The Doctor, but otherwise serve her sentence… Whoever they are, those people imprisoning her, they know she is harmless, but want her to pay her debt… and yet, in The Angel’s two-parter last year, we found out that the Omega-wearing Silence-order who worship the question are able to get her release into her custody to work for Ser Jorah Mormont (or the actor who plays him), which raises bigger questions: Did the Silence realise their error? Where they hijacked by Madame Kevorian? Is she Omega (given that I don’t think The Doctor ever laid eyes on Omega way back when…)?

    (6) Are the crew of the shapeshifting robot Time Lords, rebirthed by The Doctor? They know time can be rewritten, they time-travel, and Moffat is very careful about The Doctor not meeting them… One look, and he’d know them, after all. Plus, bigger on the inside? Who knows where they teleported out to? And they have the same readout as the TARDIS? Plus, if The Doctor did bring them back, who would they reguard as their greatest hero, and who would they consider their greatest war criminal? Finally, the fact they were that small could have meant he couldn’t get a fix on their species… although, half the crew were dressed as the cast of Misfits in SFX shots! Or… could they be early versions of another Moffat creation? See, I’ve
    often wondered why, with the Time Lords gone, another Time-Travel based
    empire hasn’t surfaced to replace them, like the power vacuums we often
    see in the real world, and there has been only one organisation that
    suggests that there is a new power… could they be an early form of
    Time Agents? Could Jack be the one who imprisoned River Song, linking it
    all back to Moffat’s first episode of ‘Doctor Who’? Or are they part of the future of The Silence, the ones who work with The Doctor and have respect for him, as seen in the Angels two-parter?

    (7) Most importantly… how does 1930’s River know about ‘The Graduate’?

  • Cforshaw672200

    Oh, and lastly…

    (8) If, as has been implied for years, the TARDIS is programmed not to go back and change Time Lord history, who created that, and why did they create it (assuming it wasn’t for sensible reasons)?

  • Generalgrievous365

    Um…yeah. I REALLY DID think mels would turn into river. Wasn’t a shocker at all to me, and I guess river being their daughter too.

  • Anonymous

    Right, I spent a lot of time thinking about the implications as regards River Song this morning, which resulted in this rather lengthy blog post. Let me know what you guys think!

  • David Fullam

    The question is of course how did the author never hear of The Graduate?

  • Dave M.

    I think question 6 is — did the writer of this piece watch/read anything about Doctor Who besides the “Best of…” specials prior to or after seeing the episode? 

  • Gorillamydreamz

    Is it possible the Doctor was in a tux because he married River in his last few moments of life?  Perhaps he rushed that after a hasty, hasty wedding?

  • Drossosa

    I like your thinking, friend, but unfortuenatly, I think Mr. Tennant will catch onto the same mindset as Tom Baker. Remember how back in “The 5 Doctors” how they had to use stock-footage of Baker, lest he over-shadow the other Doctors? I did read recently that those two tie for “Most Famous Doctor”, so I wouldn’t look for Tennant, or even Ecclston to make a re-appearance anytime soon.
    Which is too bad, ’cause I’d love to see Smith team-up with them along with McGann for “The 4 Doctors”!

  • Drossosa

    Easy: it’s that whole “Fixed points in time” thingy, just like the “Back To The Future’s” “Rupturing the Time/Space Continuum And Destroying the Universe!”

  • Scorpionborn89

    Hello Benjamin is a reference to “The graduate” because Dustin hoffman’s character’s name is Benjamin. In the first episode the doctor refers to river as mrs. robinson and  if you notice after she says “hello benjamin” she has her leg up and we can see the doctor in the same position as hoffman was, just like mrs. robinson in the famous scene from that movie.