"Look at that. Berlin on the eve of war. A whole world about to tear itself apart. Now that’s my kind of town."Written by Steven Moffat. The first episode of the second half of series 6. Extremely plot-heavy.
— River Song
There is a short prequel to this story!Amy and Rory are driving a twisty route through a corn field, with Amy doing her best to navigate. After a few turns, they spot the TARDIS.Since they couldn't reach the Doctor by phone, they took the River Song approach to contacting him and created a giant crop doodle that says "Doctor". He went to search for Melody alone, leaving Amy and Rory behind for the summer. They can't rescue Melody, because they have to keep the timeline going, but they still wanted to see where she was. The Doctor asks Rory for permission to hug Amy: once again, he only has bad news, and Melody is still missing. However, the future newspaper clipping of the Crop Circle shows a line going straight through his name, and they didn't do that. Cue a little red Corvette Stingray coming straight at them through the field, hitting the Doctor.It's Amy's and Rory's loud Black Best Friend, Mels. Don't remember her? Don't worry just yet.Mels grew up with Amy and Rory, and she knows all about the Doctor from Amy. Except that he's hot, which she's quite happy to find out. The car is hers. Sort of. The Doctor wonders why Mels wasn't at the wedding, and she casually claims that she doesn't do weddings. Meanwhile, the police arrive, and Mels promptly draws a gun on the Doctor and politely asks for them to leave. Amy and Rory are shocked — Mels has always been a bit kooky and a bit overly interested in all the Doctor stories, but never borderline sociopathic. She shoots the TARDIS for good measure.
Mels: Let's see... You've got a time machine. I've got a gun. What the hell. Let's kill Hitler!We see a few flashbacks of Mels growing up, always near Amy and always asking about the Doctor. Rory tagged along as their Butt Monkey. In school, Mels would always get in trouble: saying it's the Doctor's fault that the Titanic sank and the teacher is stupid for not knowing who he is, or that World War II only happened because the Doctor didn't kill Hitler. As she grew older she was arrested with some frequency, stealing vehicles and generally being antisocial. And she was always a bit jealous of Amy, because Amy had "Mr. Perfect" all along. Amy protested that her Mr. Perfect wasn't even real. Mels meant Rory. Amy explained that she'd love to be with Rory, but they're Just Friends and can't be together because Rory's gay. He'd never looked at girls, after all. As Rory quickly walked out and Mels burst into giggles, Amy realised for the first time that Rory had just been Amy-sexual all along.In 1938, a shape-shifting humanoid robot containing miniaturised humanoids has assumed the form of Wehrmacht officer Zimmerman and attacked Hitler. It's the Teselecta, a group of Time Police. (Though not the Time Police.) Running out of the TARDIS to escape the smoke from her gunshot wound, the Doctor and his companions inadvertently stop the robot from killing Hitler.Hitler fires a revolver at the robot to defend himself. Everyone tries to duck out of the way, except Rory, who punches Hitler in the face and then, when Hitler tries to protest, tells him to shut up. Rory shoves Hitler into a cupboard, not to be seen again in this episode.But the bullet didn't hit the robot. It hit Mels. And the violent, odd, psychopathic Mels girl is now suddenly dying. She beckons the Doctor closer to her, glad that she finally got to meet him. She always loved Amy's stories. She dreamed of marrying him someday. The Doctor does everything he can to keep her alive — tells her that of course he's happy to meet her, and sure, he'll marry her if she'll just fight for her life right now. And that's when Mels smugly tells him that in that case, he should go ahead and ask her parents for her hand right now. Because they're right there in the room. The Doctor has a magnificent Oh Crap! moment when he realises that Amy named her daughter after her daughter. Mels is Melody Pond. Who promptly regenerates into Alex Kingston.Melody loves her new body. It's so mature ("hello, Benjamin!"), with hair that just doesn't stop, and a whole new colour-scheme to work with. She doesn't know why Rory is rambling about some girl named River, though. With that, she disappears to go weigh herself.
Rory: (completely stunned) Does anybody else find this day just a bit difficult? I'm getting a sort of banging in my head.The Teselecta, still operating from inside the robot, are freaking out. They recognise the Time Lord energy, the TARDIS and the person standing before them. One of history's greatest criminals. No, not the Doctor, but his murderer: River Song. While trying to capture the minor criminal Adolf Hitler, they stumbled on Gallifrey's Most Wanted.The Doctor desperately tries to deal with a Melody who is in no way like his sweet familiar River. She's extremely young, extremely crass, a psychopath, and raised by the Silence to kill him. After regenerating in New York, she ended up as a toddler, and spent years searching for her parents. She eventually found them and spent her childhood with Amy and Rory, growing up together with them, but now she's ready to finally get that assassination over with and live her own life. The Doctor manages to empty her gun while she's not looking, replace her backup weapon with a banana and (barely) dodge her attempts at seducing him. Then she manages a quick Take-That Kiss, with poison lipstick. As she jumps out of the window, the Doctor starts to die.Melody has other things on her mind: steal a motor bike, get new clothes. She's quickly stopped by the Wehrmacht, who are very curious as to why she's jumping out of Hitler's office window.
Amy: Yeah, I think that's Hitler in the cupboard.
Amy: Yeah, I think that's Hitler in the cupboard.
Melody: I was on my way to a gay gypsy Bar-Mitzvah for the disabled when I suddenly thought, gosh! The Third Reich's a bit rubbish; I think I'll kill the Führer. Who's with me?As they shoot her, within the first fifteen hours of her regeneration cycle, she uses a regeneration energy burst to kill them all.Rory and Amy go after her with the sonic screwdriver, but they're stopped by a German soldier. Rory tries to explain, decides not to, and instead punches the soldier out after saluting. They follow Melody, unaware that the soldier was actually the Teselecta robot.The Doctor's dying in the TARDIS, and asks for a voice interface. The voice interface hologram shows his own body. He'd prefer to see someone he likes while he's dying. Not Rose — guilt. Or Martha — still guilt. Or Donna — more guilt. There has to be someone in the universe that he hasn't "messed up". The voice interface finally settles on an image of Amelia Pond, while she was young and he was a story. He clings to the image and shows Amelia great affection. The interface keeps reminding him that it's not Amelia. His system has been contaminated by the poison of the Judas Tree, his regeneration is disabled and there's no cure. He will be dead in thirty-two minutes. He'll be fine for thirty-one, and then dead one minute later. The Doctor loses hope, but then he is inspired by the sweet memory of fish-fingers and custard.Melody goes to a fancy party and forces the diners to undress at gunpoint, to provide her with a new set of clothes. Amy and Rory arrive outside, closely followed by the robot. The Teselecta intercepts them and miniaturises them, taking them on board the robot. The robot takes on Amy's appearance. However, the Teselecta is a group of Reasonable Authority Figures, and Amy and Rory are quickly given wristbands which allow them to live, and since they're Melody's family, they get to see her files.Melody is merrily trying on Nazi outfits when the robot arrives. She's about to be killed, but the TARDIS appears. This time, it's the Doctor who asks "Doctor Who?" He's leaning on a cane, dressed in an impeccable tails tuxedo, complete with a top hat.He's cross.The Teselecta robot has four hundred and twenty-three life forms inside. The Doctor didn't see that coming. They take evil people, villains and war criminals, at the end of their established time-lines and replace them with robots. The robot "dies" in their stead, and they "give them hell" to punish them for their deeds — without causing any kind of Time Paradox. They were a bit too early for Hitler, just by mistake. The Amy-shaped robot also reveals that the Silence isn't just a race. They're an order, and they believe that the universe will change when the last question is asked.The Doctor tries to convince them not to take Melody, but he's still dying, and he's slipping rapidly while trying to stay upright with the cane. The Teselecta starts to punish Melody, but Amy turns the Teselecta's safeguard wrist watches against its own crew using the sonic screwdriver. The crew is forced to shut down the ship, which automatically cancels Melody's punishment. They then teleport to their mother ship, leaving Amy and Rory stranded on-board.This finally gets Melody to do a tentative Heel–Face Turn. She pilots the TARDIS, materialising it on board the Teselecta around Rory and Amy, saving them from the antibodies. She's able to fly it instantly — because the TARDIS is her second mother. This she did not know, and she's appropriately shocked by the revelation.The Doctor's dying words to Melody, whispered into her ear, are for her to find River Song. Rubbish name, she comments, but she can tell that this River woman means a lot to the Doctor. So she promises to try. Amy, still with family privileges, commands the Teselecta robot to transform into River Song. Melody is stunned to see that this River the Doctor spoke of is herself. She suffers a massive and acute Heel Realization, rushes towards the Only Mostly Dead Doctor and kisses him, using her regeneration energy to save his life. All of her regeneration energy is used up; she'll never be able to regenerate again.The Doctor, Amy and Rory leave her in the best hospital in the universe. The Doctor leaves a blank little TARDIS-shaped book by her bedside.Back in the TARDIS, the Doctor consults the information on his death in 2011 from the Teselecta, but hides it from Rory and Amy. In the year 5123, River enrolls as an archaeology student at Luna University on Earth's Moon. After all, archaeology is one hell of a good way to find the Doctor.
- Accidental Proposal: Eleven accidentally asks River to marry him. Again.
- Acting for Two: In-Universe with the Teselecta as Zimmerman, Amy and River.
- Action Prologue: Fast cars, property damage, police sirens, and a fugitive with a gun.
- Adorkable: Rory is always this trope when he's not being badass, but his teenage self in the scene where Amy realizes why he's never shown any interest in (other) girls must set some sort of Adorkableness record.
- Agony Beam: The Teselecta's punishment method is an angry red beam.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Invoked by Amy, when she deactivates the Teselecta safety wristbands. The antibodies then go after everyone.
- Anticlimax: When the Teselecta reaches up to Zimmerman's face you think he's going to kill him. The music even anticipates this. In fact the Teselecta just takes his glasses.
- Asshole Victim: Really, everyone the Teselecta goes after counts as this. They only go after the scum of the universe.
- Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: The Doctor has a lot of these moments where it becomes clear how much he's come to care about River Song. Melody picks up on it through the way he keeps referencing her, and later, when the Doctor is dying and gives her a message to pass on to River, her response is "I think she knows". It's made all the more poignant a few moments later when Melody discovers that she is — or at least, will become — River.
- Ax-Crazy: Mels introduces herself by nearly running over the Doctor in a stolen car before pulling a gun on him and demanding he take her to kill Hitler. This is followed by a montage of her wild and crazy childhood.Mels: I was late; I took a bus.
Rory: You stole a bus.
Amy: Who steals a bus?
Mels: I returned it.
Rory: You drove it through the Botanical Garden.
- Badass Longcoat: The coat the Doctor wears in this episode is longer than his usual tweed one. It looks good on him. Perhaps he should try an even longer one. It worked great for Ten.
- Batman Gambit:
- The Doctor tells Mels that guns don't work inside the TARDIS. Unfortunately, Mels, being insane, decides to test this, resulting in a broken console.
- Rory pulls one on a Nazi Mook by doing a Nazi salute while shouting "Heil" and then catching him with a sucker punch when he salutes back. Subverted in that the Nazi is actually the Teselecta, who let them go and followed Melody instead.
- Bait and Switch: When the future guys identify the TARDIS and begin talking about "the greatest war criminal in history", at first we think they mean the Doctor ("soaked in the blood of a billion galaxies" and all that). Then one says "It's her!"... Just goes to show that while the Doctor has uncountable enemies, there are more still who look up to him.
- Bilingual Bonus: Combined with Freeze-Frame Bonus. The name of the lake where the Doctor dies is called Lake Silencio, which is Spanish for Silence.
- Bits of Me Keep Passing Out: After being poisoned, the Doctor passes off his painful spasms as this. It was just his left leg; nothing to worry about.
- Black Best Friend: Mels is Amy's best friend since childhood. Then we find out that she's actually Melody who regenerated into a black girl before becoming River Song.
- Blatant Lies: This is the episode where we find out that the "temporal grace" system in the TARDIS (from the classic series) that is supposed to keep weapons from functioning doesn't exist, at least not any more. 11 admits that it was a "clever lie" all along. Rule #1, the Doctor lies.
- Bloodless Carnage: Mels's bullet wound is never shown, although Rory makes a reference to trying to "stop the bleeding".
- Book Ends: The Doctor whispers his name to River. In "Forest of the Dead" she does the same to the Tenth Doctor. In that episode he states there was only one time he could tell anyone his name, here it's revealed to be when he thought he was about to die.
- Borrowed Catch PhraseAmy: That's Melody...
Rory: That's River Song...
Melody: Who's River Song?
The Doctor: Spoilers.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: River was brought up to kill the Doctor. Amy wonders if that stuff is still in her at the end.
- Brick Joke:
- Back in "The Impossible Astronaut", the Doctor referred to River as "Mrs Robinson". River's words to the Doctor, complete with Between My Legs, after having regenerated from Mels' into a more "mature" body:River: Hellooo Benjamin...
- Hitler gets locked in the cupboard and disappears out of the story, but...Rory: I'm getting a sort of banging in my head.
Amy: Yeah, I think that's Hitler in the cupboard.
- Back in "The Impossible Astronaut", the Doctor referred to River as "Mrs Robinson". River's words to the Doctor, complete with Between My Legs, after having regenerated from Mels' into a more "mature" body:
- Brief Accent Imitation: Rory imitates Amy's accent when he repeats the word "clues".
- Butt Monkey:
- Poor tiny, forgotten child Rory.
- Hitler becomes this with someone attempting to assassinate him being interrupted by the Tardis trashing his office, followed by being mocked and ignored by everyone in the room and concluded with him being punched in the face by Rory and locked in a cupboard for the rest of the episode. Given the lack of Nazis hunting the trio and River afterwards it can be inferred he was there for quite a while. Other Nazis don't fare much better with River effortlessly frying a squad of SS men with her post regenerative energy (after declaring she was on her way to a gay gypsy Bar Mitzvah for the disabled) and casually holding a restaurant full of Nazis hostage for their clothes.
- Call Back:
- In "The Time of Angels", we learn that River can fly the TARDIS because she "had lessons from the very best", and that the Doctor was busy that day. Who is a better teacher than the TARDIS herself?
- The re-appearances of companions Rose, Martha and Donna as holograms, and the Doctor's response to them being "guilt" "also guilt" or "more guilt!".
- Call Forward:
- When Melody runs off to check out the new parts, she seems really excited about something in particular, to which she screams out "I'm going to wear lots of jodhpurs!"; her outfit of choice in "The Pandorica Opens"/"The Big Bang".
- River's comment that she "might bring the age down a bit, just gradually, to freak people out" forwards the way that the Doctor gradually meets younger versions of her each visit and vice versa, as a rule.
- Captain Obvious:Rory: I think he just fainted.
- Catch Phrase:
- Mels has "Penny in the air... penny drops." As typical of Time Lords, it's not seen after her regeneration, or before her previous one.
- Within minutes of River Song's appearance, we see the first use and genesis of both "Hello, sweetie." and "Spoilers" respectively. The second, being Timey-Wimey Ball, invokes a Stable Time Loop, even.
- Chekhov's Gun: The identity bracelets inside the Teselecta are essential to getting rid of its crew and saving River.
- Comically Missing the Point: The Doctor. Someone just stole a car, has almost run him over and what's his complaint?The Doctor: You never said I was hot?
- Continuity Nod: So, so many.
- Nice tuxedo, Doctor.
- The Doctor asking Rory for permission to hug Amy.
- "You're so Scottish!"
- "Rule #1: The Doctor lies."
- River begins her studies on the Moon. Very appropriate.
- At the end, the Doctor says that River won't be fine, "she will be... amazing". This sounds an awful lot like the Fourth Doctor's send-off of Romana: "All right? She'll be superb". It may also be a reference to Ten's last words to Jenny.
- A minor one to The Time of Angels: "Time is not the boss of me. Rule #408."
- "Fish fingers and custard."
- River's comment that her hair "just doesn't stop" immediately after her regeneration is the same comment Amy made about the Doctor's hair in a DVD-only extra scene.
- A throwaway line by one of the Teselecta crew notes that the Doctor's death is a fixed point in time.
- "As first dates go, I’d say that was mixed signals" is a reference to Amy complaining about getting "mixed signals" from the Doctor in a "Meanwhile in the TARDIS" extra.
- Melody gets shot within the first 15 hours after the regeneration.
- "Who steals a bus??"
- The TARDIS not really in a state of temporal grace.
- The Doctor not answering his phone.
- A miniaturisation field very similar to the Teselecta's was seen used in the Miniscope.
- Also, the miniaturization is sustained by a compression field.
- Surprise banana!
- The kidneys are always the first to go.
- Two of the TARDIS's previous designations — "TT capsule" and "Type 40" — show up when the Justice Department scans the TARDIS, and another one is given — it's a Mark 3.
- When the Doctor is dying he says "Find River Song and tell her something for me". She replies, "Well, I'm sure she knows." This closely resembles the exchange from The Satan Pit where The Doctor says "If you talk to Rose, tell her... Oh, she knows".
- In the prequel, Amy says "Don't worry, I'm not invisible", alluding to City of the Daleks, in which she does become invisible.
- "Give them hell" previously was said by the Doctor in "A Good Man Goes to War".
- "New teeth."
- When the holographic TARDIS Emergency Voice Interface takes the shape of the Doctor, the Doctor tells it to take the shape of someone he likes.
- "Vampires in Venice, that's a belter!"
- The Doctor leaves River in the hands of the best doctors in the universe.
- The Doctor warning people to stay back before a regeneration takes place.
- Mels didn't meet the Doctor because "I don't do weddings." She didn't attend Amy and Rory's as either Mels or River.
- Continuity Snarl: The Doctor says to himself that he'll regenerate. The TARDIS tells him that the poison has disabled his regenerative abilities. Neither of them seems to be aware that the Doctor is out of regenerations, which they should know given future episodes.
- Cool Car:
- Rory's classic Mini.
- Corvette Stingray. Doesn't get any cooler.
- Dating Catwoman: The Doctor is now dating a psychopathic murderer sent to kill him. "As first dates go, I’d say that was mixed signals." He later (or earlier) took her skating in the previous episode.
- Didn't See That Coming: The Doctor to Teselecta-Amy:The Doctor: At least I'm not a time-travelling, shape-shifting robot operated by tiny cross people, which I've got to admit, I didn't see coming.
- Department of Redundancy Department: "Stay still and don't move."
- Dissonant Serenity:
- "Remain calm while your life is extracted."
- "You will experience a tingling sensation and then death."
- The Amelia-hologram can have inflections but it doesn't bother when in "Justice Mode".
- The Teselecta-Amy transmitting the words of real Amy as she cries out to the Doctor to save her and Rory from the Antibodies.
- Distracted by My Own Sexy: Melody, in what appears to be a common side effect of post-regenerative trauma, is enamored of her new body.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Melody's delight after the guards shoot her, seems rather like something else entirely... especially given her parting line — "Mmm, that hit the spot".
- Dramatic Gun Cock: Rory: "Sit down"; cocks revolver, "shut up".
- Drugged Lipstick: As per usual, River has some but this time, it's not hallucinogenic but poisoned.
- Dynamic Entry: The TARDIS crashes through the window into Hitler's office.
- Elephant in the Living Room: This is the first Who episode to air after Torchwood: Miracle Day was broadcast, and it's essentially said that the Ponds have been waiting all summer for the Doctor to come back. You'd think Amy and Rory would mention something about the whole world becoming a fascist hell for about three months. note
- Eureka Moment: When the Voice Inferface realizes how to help the Doctor: "Fish fingers and custard."
- Even Evil Has Standards: Mels.The Doctor: If you were in a hurry, you could've killed me in the cornfield.
Mels: We'd only just met! I'm a psychopath — I'm not rude.
- Evil Is Hammy: Melody is all over the place while in assassin mode. Few things are hammier than breaking into a party with a pair of automatic guns, shooting both, and then demanding that everyone undress. It's toned down after her Heel–Face Turn.
- Exact Time to Failure:TARDIS Voice Interface: There is no cure. You will be dead in thirty-two minutes.
The Doctor: Why do you keep saying that?
TARDIS Voice Interface: Because you will be dead in thirty-two minutes.
The Doctor: You see, there you go again. Basically skipping thirty-one whole minutes when I'm absolutely fine. Scottish, that's all I'm saying.
TARDIS Voice Interface: You will be fine for thirty-one minutes. You will be dead in thirty-two minutes.
- Exposition Fairy: The TARDIS's interface informs the Doctor and the audience that he will be dead in 32 minutes and regeneration is disabled.
- Expospeak Gag:Amy: How can we be in here? How do we fit?
Rory: Miniaturisation ray.
Amy: How would you know that?
Rory: Well, there was a ray, and then we were miniaturised...
- Foregone Conclusion: The Justice Department point out that the Doctor's death at Lake Silencio is a fixed point in time, so the poisoning could not kill him. Other one reminds that first one that time can be rewritten.
- The Doctor encouraging Mels, "If you stay alive, I'll marry you". It's fulfilled with her regenerated self.
- Freud Was Right: In-universe example from Rory:Rory: Okay, I'm trapped inside a giant robot replica of my wife... (lowers voice to a whisper) I'm really trying not to see this as a metaphor.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar:
- After Melody regenerates and invades the Doctor's personal space, he puts his hands over his crotch. Then Rory pats him awkwardly on the shoulder. Knowing Steven Moffat, there's no way this was not intentional.
- River's ecstatic about her new body —- especially one particular feature. "I'm going to wear lots of jodhpurs!"
- "Hello, Benjamin!"
- A God Am I: Traveling through time for the sole purpose of "giving hell" to war criminals? "I'd ask you who you think you are, but I think the answer is pretty obvious. So who do you think I am?"
- Good Thing You Can Heal: Melody gets shot after regenerating. For the first fifteen hours, it doesn't matter.
- Guns Akimbo: River dual-wielding submachine guns.
- Have a Nice Death: The Antibodies would like you to remain calm while your life is extracted. You will experience a slight tingling sensation and then death.
- Heel–Face Turn: Melody Pond does this after poisoning the Doctor, with her spending her remaining regenerations to save his life.
- Henpecked Husband: Rory, once again, is trying not to imagine being trapped inside a robotic version of his wife as a metaphor. From what we can see, it's been like this for a looong time.
- Hitler's Time Travel Exemption Act: Zigzagged and invoked. (see below). The crew of the Teselecta is aware of this rule. They target war criminals throughout history, particularly those who were outright Karma Houdinis or committed suicide (like Hitler) before they could be brought to justice. They replace the original with a duplicate near the end of their time-line, and "give [the originals] hell". In Hitler's case, they mistakenly entered his life too early, and would've left him alone (for the time being) had the TARDIS not appeared when it did.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Amy saves River from the Teselecta by shorting out all the devices that make the Antibodies leave them alone, forcing them to teleport away when they can't shut the Antibodies down quickly enough.
- Hypocritical Humor: When young Amelia asks why Mels is always in trouble.
- Amelia: Why are you always in trouble? You're the most in trouble in the whole school, except for boys.
Young Mels: And you.
Amelia: I count as a boy!
- I Know You Know I Know: Between the Doctor and Melody as the latter attempts to kill the former. He knows what she's going to try so he sabotaged her, but she knew about the sabotage so she had a back up, but the Doctor knew that she knew so he sabotaged the back up etc. The Doctor even says the trope's name.
- Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Hitler is a lousy shot. An allusion to his exaggeration of his war record?
- In Love with the Mark: Mels/River seems pretty smitten with the Doctor even before she meets him.Amy: I don’t understand. One moment she’s going to marry you and then she’s going to kill you.
The Doctor: She’s been brainwashed, so it all makes sense. Plus she’s a woman.... Shut up, I'm dying!
- Improperly Placed Firearms:
- The MP38/40 sub-machine guns featured in the episode were not in service until 1939 at the earliest.
- Hitler's use of a non-standard Smith & Wesson revolver is correct.
- Indy Ploy: The Doctor's dying, but it's fine, he's got a plan.... Not dying.
- It Works Better with Bullets: The Doctor anticipates being shot by Melody by disarming all the guns in Hitler's office, or swapping them with bananas.
- Karma Houdini:
- The crew of the Teselecta aims to prevent this, by travelling to the end of said person's timeline... and killing them painfully.
- The crew of the Teselecta become Karma Houdinis themselves, in that they are forced to teleport away before the Doctor has time to do to them what he usually does to people who try to justify torture
- Kill 'em All: Invoked by Amy, when she deactivates the Teselecta's wristbands, causing the antibodies to go after the entire crew. A few are killed before the rest escape to their mother ship, but that still stopped them from killing Melody....
- Kiss of Death: How Melody poisons the Doctor, very nearly killing him. Given her track record, he really should have known better....
- Kiss of Life: Melody, not long after her Kiss of Death, transmits her remaining regeneration energy into him to save him.
- Lampshade Hanging: When Melody regenerates, she mentions she might adjust the age later on, this being an explanation for why Alex Kingston was at her youngest in the episode set chronologically last in her personal time-line, "Silence in the Library"/"Forest of the Dead".
- Large Ham: Melody is a very loud prescence here. She's a Laser-Guided Tykebomb, probably undergoing some post-regenerative trauma, and calls herself a psychopath.
- The Last Dance: The Doctor's been poisoned by Melody, and has only half an hour to live, so what does he do? He takes the time to put on a nice tux, fabricate a Sonic Cane and move the TARDIS to confront the Justice Department out to punish Melody for his murder. Time is not the boss of him, so he can waste as much as he wants.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Melody says she wants to take her ageing down gradually, to freak people out, which explains why she might appear younger in episodes where her character should be older.
- Match Cut: In the flashback, Mels throws away Amy's model TARDIS, and it segues to the real one twirling in flight in the present.
- Meaningful Name: The Teselecta is derived from the word tesselation, which in computer graphics is the subdivision of a 3D model into small polygons — which is exactly the way the Teselecta changes its appearance.
- Mercy Invincibility: Immediately after regenerating, Melody Pond is Immune to Bullets for a limited time.
- Misaimed Fandom (In-Universe): It's strongly suggested that it was the Doctor who inspired the Department of Justice to travel through time punishing villains.
- Mistaken for Gay: Amy originally thought Rory was gay before they hooked up. Her reasoning was that he's shown no interest for any girl in his life... except her, as she finally realizes.
- Mobile-Suit Human: The Teselecta is a human sized robot drived by over 400 mini humans.
- My Death Is Just the Beginning: Melody uses her post-regeneration power rush so effectively that it is quite possibly part of her plan. It wouldn't have been hard to deliberately move so Hitler's shots would hit her, or even shoot herself during the confusion.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: On the one hand, the Doctor's crashing of the TARDIS prevents history from being altered on a massive scale. On the other hand, he does so by saving Hitler's life.
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: "Well, I was on my way to this gay gypsy Bar Mitzvah for the disabled..."
- The Nth Doctor: Mels, Amy and Rory's ex-con friend, regenerates into Alex Kingston.
- Non-Indicative Name: The episode's title implies the plot revolves around an attempt to kill Hitler. It doesn't, it was just something Mels suggested on a whim and got derailed by The Reveal 15 minutes in. In fact, Hitler spends most of the episode locked in a cupboard.
- Noodle Incident:
- "Time can be rewritten; remember Kennedy?"
- Whatever led to the Tesselecta being Rasputin (with green skin).
- Nothing Is Scarier: The antibodies aren't seen on-screen for a while.
- Oblivious to Love: Teenage Amy is completely blind to the fact that Rory is in love with her until Mel points it out.
- Oh Crap!:
- The Doctor's expression when Hitler stands up and reveals himself. It's the same expression he gets when he runs into the Daleks or the Master.
- When Rory and Amy encounter robot Amy, they really shocked.
- Omniscient Morality License: The crew of the Teselecta think they have this, using Time Travel to go back in time and kill any remaining Karma Houdini. The Doctor thinks they're playing God.
- Pachelbel's Canon: This is performed before Melody crashes the party.
- Perfect Poison: The Poison of the Judas Tree disables Time Lord Regeneration as well as killing the target in 32 minutes exactly. It has no cure.
- Precrime Arrest: This episode features the obvious Hitler's Time Travel Exemption Act, from Melody Pond and from new character/crew Justice Department Vehicle #6018. The Justice vehicle is sent to painfully kill Time's greatest criminals just before their death (and after their crimes). They realize they've arrived too soon in Hitler's personal timeline, however, they find a bigger fish: The woman who killed the Doctor. Except that she hadn't done that yet, either. Or has she?
- Psychopathic Womanchild: Melody gives off this impression even before name-dropping the trope, squealing over her new appearance like an overexcited teenager right before pulling out the guns. To her, it's all fun and games.Melody: (after taking down five Nazi police) Thanks, boys! Call me!
Amy: What are you doing?!
Melody: New body, new rules... I'm going shopping!
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Custaaaaard!
- Putting on the Reich: When Melody is trying on different outfits, she goes for a Nazi officer's coat and hat◊.
- Race Lift: Mels gets one when she regenerates into River Song, an older woman.
- Refuge in Audacity: Melody Pond's line when confronted by German soldiers might be an attempt at something so outrageous they shrug and leave.Melody: Well, I was on my way to this gay gypsy Bar-Mitzvah for the disabled when I suddenly thought, "Gosh! The Third Reich's a bit rubbish; I think I'll kill the Führer." Who's with me?
- Religion of Evil: The Silence (or "The movement known as the Silence, an academy of the Question") turns out to be a religion.The Teselecta: The Silence is not a species. it is a religious order, or movement. Their core belief is that silence will fall when the question is asked.
The Doctor: What question?
The Teselecta: The first question. The oldest question in the universe. Hidden in plain sight.
The Doctor: Yes, but what is the question?
The Teselecta: ...Unknown.
- Religious and Mythological Theme Naming: The Doctor is poisoned with a toxin derived from the Judas Tree. Which is actually a real tree.
- Remember the New Guy: Amy and Rory's never-before-mentioned best friend shows up for the first part. The Doctor is as confused as the audience, asking why he's never heard of her and where she was at their wedding. Then "Mels" is killed and turns out to be a prior regeneration of River Song/Melody Pond.
- Retcon: Mels's entire existence and backstory with Amy/Rory is established in a lengthy "Retconathon" that also counts as an example in-universe. Since she's Amy and Rory's daughter, she obviously wasn't there originally but became part of their time line by finding them latter. Timey-wimey!
- Rule of Cool: Why can the Teselecta imitate any piece of clothing, and even an entire motorbike, but has to take the glasses from the first Nazi officer it imitates? So we can have the dramatic moment mentioned above under Anticlimax.
- Rule of Funny: Surprising for an episode that not only is an integral part of the season arc, but also prominently features Nazis. Yet the episode runs on it pretty well (locking Hitler in the cupboard, River jumping out of windows and hijacking motorcycles, miniaturisation ray, the TARDIS voice-activated command system). Moffat said that he did part of it on purpose, saying that turning Hitler into a punchline was a way of showing his failure. Think of it like a real-life Riddikulus Spell.
- Running Gag:
- River jumping out of windows.
- River's lipstick.
- River's nickname being "Mrs Robinson".
- People needing to contact the Doctor in more creative ways because he never answers his phone.
- The Doctor asking for permission to hug Amy.
- Sharp-Dressed Man: The Doctor gets his top hat and tailcoat.
- Shooting Superman: The Nazis attempting to shoot River just after her regeneration.
- A robot that appears human (and can mimic appearances) from the future travelling back in time to assassinate a future leader. Followed up by Melody saying, "Take off your clothes".
- Also, the time-travelling robot is manned by a bridge full of people in uniforms who have teleporter technology... who are on a "Fantastic Voyage" Plot, you might say. The bridge of the Teselecta looks like the bridge of the Klingon Bird of Prey.
- Human-looking robot manned by tiny people...
- Our heroes are in Nazi Germany, racing motorcycles and punching Nazis. Very Indiana Jones.
- The scene where the Doctor explains how he anticipated Melody's plan with the gun]] is filmed in a similar way to another of Moffat's shows.
- The whole sequence where the Doctor and Melody one-up each other's attempts to assassinate/foil/foil the foil/foil the foiling of the foil... ooh, gone cross-eyed... seems to be a big long shout-out to Doctor Who: The Curse of Fatal Death, conveniently also written by Steven Moffat.
- Another in a long line of shout-outs to the short story "Continuity Errors", Steven Moffat's first piece of official Doctor Who fiction. This time it's River's archaeology professor at Luna University, who is named in the end credits as "Professor Candy". "Continuity Errors" opens at Luna University, where a Professor Candy is scheduled to give a lecture. (It's interesting to note, given the themes of this season, that the subject of the lecture was to have been that mysterious and dangerous legendary figure known only as the Doctor.) Professor Candy originally appeared in the Bernice Summerfield books and audios, and Bernice is the companion in "Continuity Errors". He's also a known, if involuntary, time traveller; the Afterword of Decalog 2 reveals that the Doctor dumped him in 1996 to stop him giving his lecture. The "I had yesterday off" joke is also from "Continuity Errors".
- Many of the Antibody Squids' lines — particularly "...followed by death" — put people in the mind of GLaDOS from Portal.
- Melody getting her own parents together may qualify as one to Back to the Future.
- The Teselecta conjures a motorcycle from under itself, similar to how programs in TRON and TRON: Legacy conjure the light-cycles from under themselves.
- Might be a coincidence, but the awkward way Rory says things like "Get in the cupboard, Hitler" is very reminiscent of the famous Whose Line Is It Anyway? "Would you like some Jello, Hitler?" scene.
- The comment about Kennedy's death being an exception to the "fixed point in time" rule is likely a reference to all those "time-travellers-assassinate-JFK" stories.
- Rory punches out Hitler. Very Captain America.
- Shown Their Work: Alex Kingston pronounces "Führer" correctly, making her something of a rarity in TV land. (Kingston's mother is a German immigrant, so she knows how it should be pronounced.) Also, Hitler's office looks exactly like surviving photographs of Hitler's real office.
- Shrink Ray: Lampshaded with Rory's explanation to Amy. It's a ray and it shrinks.
- Single-Target Sexuality: Rory has only ever had eyes for Amy. Because she was Oblivious to Love, she thought he was gay.
- Skewed Priorities:River: You're dying! And you stopped to change?
The Doctor: Oh, you should always waste time when you don't have any. Time is not the boss of you.
- Stable Time Loop:
The Doctor: Mels. Short for...
- Melody/River, in her guise of Mels, hooks up Amy and Rory, thereby ensuring that they will eventually marry and conceive Melody... who they then (unwittingly) name after herself.
Amy: Yeah, I named my daughter after her.
The Doctor: You named your daughter... after your daughter.
- Melody found out from Amy that she was River Song —- and starts using that name as a result.
- The Doctor says "spoilers" to Melody, as an Ironic Echo from the many times River has said it. "Night and the Doctor" later confirms that River got the Catch Phrase from the Doctor.
- The Doctor placing the (brand-new) TARDIS-cover notebook by River's bedside, which she uses as a diary to avoid "spoilers".
- The Ponds make the Crop Circle to get the Doctor's attention. This technique of leaving dramatic messages in history is inspired by their previous interactions with River Song. Since Mels is River, this incident is what taught River that this technique can be used to contact the Doctor.
- Stealth Pun:
- The Teselecta's "faint". When Rory points out "I think he just fainted," the Doctor looks visibly suspicious, and says, "Yes, that was a faint." Faint? Or feint?
- Also the phrase "Whose murder?" by Amy, which could also have been "Who's murder" — as the camera moves slightly to center on the (out-of-focus in this scene) screen in the background that we know from a minute prior contains the Teselecta's record of the date and place of the Doctor's death.
- Survival Mantra: "Fish fingers and custard", the words the TARDIS Emergency Visual Interface in the shape of Amelia Pond says to the Doctor, which he repeats over and over again to help him ignore the increasing pain caused by his poisoning.
- Take-That Kiss: Melody gives the Doctor one, but of course it turns out to be her poisoning him with her lipstick.
- Think Nothing of It: Combined with Stealth Insult when the Doctor finds he's inadvertently saved Hitler's life. "Believe me, it was an accident."
- Time Police: The "Department of Justice" organisation behind the Teselecta travel through time to catch war criminals that weren't punished in their lifetime.
- Title Drop:
- Mels' quote:Mels: Let's see... You've got a time machine. I've got a gun. What the hell. Let's kill Hitler!
- The old "Doctor Who?" gag pops up again, this time done by The Doctor himself...The Doctor: You said she killed The Doctor...Doctor Who?
- Mels' quote:
- Timey-Wimey Ball: There's so much timey-wimey here that Rory feels a banging in the head.
- Melody Pond herself makes sure her Oblivious to Love parents hook up. She had to point out her father's Single-Target Sexuality for her mother because her mother thought he was gay!
- Spoilers; it turns out that River says it because the Doctor said it to her first.
- Melody Pond decides to become "River Song" because the Doctor keeps calling her that but he only does that because she introduced herself to his previous incarnation as "Professor River Song".
- Amy named her daughter after her best mate Mels, who is her daughter, and Melody finding out who River Song is from Amy, who only knows who River is because she met her before.
- Victorious Childhood Friend: Comes up between Rory and Amy:
- It takes a minute or two after Rory's exit for Amy to realize that he's had a crush on her for the past ten years.Mels: And the penny drops...
- Wham Line: Mels' secret.The Doctor: As soon as you're well, I'll get [your parents] on the phone.
Mels: Might as well do it now... Since they're both right here...
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Hitler gets locked in a cupboard and promptly disappears entirely from the narrative.
- What Measure Is a Mook?: Amy is very quick to set the antibodies on the the Teselecta crew. We're not given details on what the antibodies do exactly, but it's implied they electrocute people. After all, when they put you through your officially sanctioned termination, they warn you that you will experience a tingling sensation and then death.
- Xanatos Speed Chess: The Doctor's and River's duel as she keeps trying to kill him and he, anticipating her, disarming her, mostly in advance.