Reviewed By: Mercury
Review Date: 2/1/19 12:37 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.
I always find myself having to criticise Steven Moffatt for his illogical, over the top storylines and this is yet another case of that. I do want to point out that I really appreciate the entertainment value Moffatt brings, the ambition he shows, that he made quite a few terrific episodes and that I think overall he served the show well for his years in charge. It is just that he created so many interesting, exciting episodes like this that are well admired by many but for me many of them are let down by messy, illogical plots I do not like. Some are happy to just 'go with it' but I question things and when I cannot reconcile plots and make sense of them it detracts from my opinion of them.
This episode is another which has so much potential with good acting, action and drama but has plot lines that do not come together in a way that satisfies me. The idea presented is that Amy and Rory's daughter Melody Pond was stolen as a baby and brought up to kill the Doctor but she seemingly ran away as a young girl, regenerated and grew up as Mels who found Amy and Rory becoming Amy's best friend. She knows all about her origins and she knows about the Doctor. She finally meets the Doctor and amidst regenerating again into River Song, she attempts to kill the Doctor with a poisoned kiss. My problems with that are as follows:
1. If Melody is successfully raised to kill the Doctor why does she 'escape' and why many years later does she stick with her mission despite plenty of evidence she was stolen by the bad guys and the Doctor is the good guy? If she is successfully trained to be an assassin for them why did she feel the need to escape and why did she seem so scared?
2. If Melody/Mels/River is part Time Lord why does she age at seemingly normal human rate? Time Lords age differently and would not have grown up through teenage years that Mels was with Amy and Rory. Also how does she know how to use her regeneration as a defensive weapon against the Nazi soldiers?
3. What could they teach the child Melody to convince her so strongly to not tell her parents who she is and to kill the Doctor fighting against her parents wishes? Why is this hugely strong training so quickly and easily turned around into not just stopping trying to kill the Doctor but into giving him all her regenerations to save him? And how does she know she can do that? It is hardly a skill her captors would have taught her - how to save the person you are assigned to kill!
4. If all it came down to was some poisoned lipstick which mysteriously can also halt regeneration (!) then why did they need to kidnap and train a Time Lord baby in order to achieve that? Why not just get the 'flesh' avatar Amy to do that to him or any number of easier ways to kill him with such effective poison that could so easily have been given to him rather than bringing up a child to kill him over twenty years later?
It all just simply does not make sense!
The involvement of Hitler and the title of the episode are just gimmicks too and the deliberate complications and the introduction suddenly of the Teselecta, a time travelling 'police force' which never appeared before or has ever appeared since are also gimmicky.
This all sounds really bad but I have to also say that I do enjoy this episode as pure entertainment if you ignore all the plotting. Matt Smith acts at his best, Alex Kingston is great as River as usual, Arthur Darvill is always great too and while I am not a big fan of the characterisation of Amy I do not think Karen Gillan is at fault. The regeneration and the Doctor slowly dying are dramatic additions although the Doctor dying is less impactful given it is the 4th time he has 'died' only to return already during the Matt Smith/Steven Moffatt era. With River/Melody's regeneration also being the 4th time River has apparently died or regenerated in the Moffatt era, Rory having apparently died 5 times and Amy having apparently died twice (not including flesh avatars) it is just ridiculous over use of trick deaths as a plot device.
There is some good humour as well as good emotion when River sees the light even though it is very sudden for her to change her mind so dramatically. The episode is fun if you switch your brain off but is highly questionable if you think it through. Therefore, giving credit for great standards of acting, effects, action and settings but deducting for the things which do not really make sense I rate this overall as a fair score of 4.5/10 which along with the preceding two episodes The Almost People and A Good Man Goes to War makes 3 of my lowest scoring episodes of the show all in a row. What a pity when it could have been so great without all the illogical plotting.