In the eighth episode of the sixth series of Doctor Who, the TARDIS picks up a new companion (sort of?) in Mel, a childhood friend of Rory and Amy who is obsessed with Amy’s stories of the Doctor. And then WHAT THE FUCK. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Doctor Who.
I AM SO HAPPY THAT DOCTOR WHO IS BACK. oh my god.
I’m going to divide this review into two sections once we get into it, but I wanted to open this with a thought: The spectacle of this show has never been greater. As you’ll see, that’s not always a good thing, and the execution of that spectacle isn’t always what it sets out to be. But I just so terribly excited every time this show is one, and I just love seeing River, Amy, Rory, and the Doctor on my screen. I adore these characters and the actors/actresses who play them. I love how weird “Let’s Kill Hitler” was, and I love that even those most serious episodes can still be wonderful funny. I just want to hang out with these people IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK.
I’m still not sure how I ultimately feel about “Let’s Kill Hitler,” and I think more than ever that I’ll turn to the comments to discuss a lot of this with you. As I said, while I was watching it, I was doing my best not to analyze it too much. It was fun to be tricked by the title, to actually get answers, and to see Matt Smith give his best performance yet as the Doctor. But once I thought about the episode the day after it aired, I found that I had a lot of questions about what I’d witnessed. So, let’s try this to organize my thoughts!
THESE ARE THINGS I REALLY ENJOYED ABOUT ‘LET’S KILL HITLER’
- COULD BABY RORY BE ANYMORE PERFECT? The glimpse into the past of Rory and Amy was executed so well, and the idea that Rory was always a bit of a unknowing pushover is so perfect for his characterization. It’s even better once you realize how much he’s changed since marrying Amy and traveling with the Doctor. He punched Hitler. Rory Pond punched Hitler.
- In theory, the idea of titling this episode as “Let’s Kill Hitler” and then having it have virtually nothing to do with it is kind of genius. I say “kind of” because I do have a complaint about this.
- The idea of Mel is fantastic, especially that Rory/Amy “raised” her the whole time as if they were her parents. Again, the idea of it is great, but the executionâ€¦well, we’ll get there.
- Matt Smith’s acting. MATT SMITH’S ACTING.
- Oh my god, Donna, Rose, and Martha in the TARDIS, and the acknowledgment of the guilt the Doctor feels for treating them as he did. :: DEAD ::
- I love that both River and the Ponds have both defaced the property of others in ridiculous ways because the Doctor doesn’t answer his phone.
- Ezekiel Wigglesworth. Benedict Cumberbatch, you’ve met your match.
- As soon as Mel started to regenerate, I realized that this episode wasn’t going to be some weird one-off story, that it was uniquely tied to the larger mythology. With all the problems presented with this, I still can’t deny just how incredible this moment was. It was one of many brain-melting scenes, though! SO MANY OF THEM.
- When Doctor Who is weird, I tend to love it. A robot that is operated by a band of miniaturized humans in order to act as a form of time-traveling justice? YES, PLEASE, FOREVER. Remember? I love time travel more than most things.
- Awkward boner Doctor. I laughed so hard that I had to pause the episode. Justâ€¦oh my god, that was amazing.
- I love the ongoing reference to fish fingers and custard, and it reminds me just how much I love Amy Pond and the Doctor being friends. Best friends at that.
- THE DOCTOR IN A TUX!!! hhhhnnnnnnggggggggg
- Back to Matt Smith’s acting, I saw bits of Nine and Ten in the way he was so physical in his movement throughout “Let’s Kill Hitler.” Eccleston made the Doctor seem spry and athletic, and Tennant’s Doctor was silly. Sometimes I think of Ten running around and it brightens my day because it always looks hilarious. Even the classic Doctors moved about in ways that seemed strange to us, and so I love that Matt is doing the same here.
- FINALLY SOME ANSWERS. Yes, some of these answers pose some ridiculously complicated ideas about who River is, but I did enjoy that that this was such a huge continuation from “A Good Man Goes To War.” Seeing River Song’s story out of order is something that I am enamored by as a writer, and I like that Moffat is not afraid to be a bit confusing. (It seems every good point I have made has a negative counter to it. Hmmm.)
- I MISSED THE BANANA GUN SWAP. Omg it came back BRILLIANCE.
- The reveal that the Silence are a RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATION. I LOVE IT. That means we still don’t know the name of the creatures we thought were the Silence, and that there are probably other beings part of that organization. Madame Kovarian?
- The penny dropping scene. My heart exploded. One of the most touching scenes between Amy and Rory. Ugh, I just love them so much.
- As strange as some as it was, it was great to see Alex Kingston get to play River Song in a completely different way than we were used to. That is exciting as a fan of this show.
- I think I can see how divisive it would be for fans, but I personally liked the explanation of how River came to lose her regeneration powers. It’s kind of romantic and poetic.
- The Doctor giving River the blue book. INCREDIBLE SCENE.
THESE ARE THINGS I WAS CONFUSED/DID NOT LIKE IN ‘LET’S KILL HITLER’
- Soâ€¦.did Hitler ever get out of the cupboard? I know that it was meant as a red herring to title this episode this way, butâ€¦.no, seriously. They left him in the cupboard and then the episode never dealt with the fact that Hitler saw the TARDIS. Usually there’s some clever device meant to explain this away, but I was kind of bothered that it was never acknowledged again.
- How did River ever get from that alley where she regenerated in “The Day of the Moon” to inject herself into Amy and Rory’s life? That seems like a really strange thing to overlook, given that a lot of this episode served as a flashback to fill in to spaces of River’s story.
- So how on earth is River the worst criminal in the whole universe? I am legitimately confused by this. I mean, seriously, saying this fictional character is worse than Hitler is already problematic as fuck, but what about The Doctor? Hasn’t he done worse? Why is killing the Doctor even worse?
- I suppose this is more just wishful thinking, but I would have really loved to explore the character arc of River being a programmed assassin for more than a single episode. I meanâ€¦that was over quickly. Now I’m sort of thinking that maybe River will be done after this series. Why else would you rush this?
- Okay, I’ve never had a child, let alone had one kidnapped, so I know this is perilous territory. I’ll admit that upfront. But Rory and Amy seem kind ofâ€¦nonchalant about all this? Sure, they could be in shock, and sure, they know that their child already grows up to be River in the future, so it’s not like she’s been harmed, but it’s more like they lost a really good book and not their daughter the whole time. Oh, and then their daughter poisons the Doctor. It’s just all so AWKWARD.
- I think it was weird to introduce Hitler and the idea of going back in time to kill him and then ignore that moral storyline. I suppose it was sort of dealt with when we found out what the Tessalecta was and the Doctor scoffed at the idea of time-traveling to punish people at the very end of their lives. I actually side with the Doctor on this one: you save no one by torturing a person right before they die. So why do it? For some perverted sense of justice? Still, I think that there should have at least been something to deal with this.
- So how much of River’s life is influenced by the Doctor? So she became an archaeologist because the Doctor told her to? Or suggested to? I’m kind of confused about this. And what does it say about River as a person? Did she find her own way as the Doctor said at the end of the episode, or did he shape her?
- All right, it’s kind of impossible to ignore, but Moffat has some written some great women characters and then he confuses me with the sexism that he wraps up in them. I mean, that line from the Doctor where he explains River by saying, “She’s a woman!” is not only ridiculous, but it makes no sense. What exactly was he trying to say with this? It’s getting irritating that this stuff is creeping so much into the stories. TAKE IT AWAY, MOFFAT. I don’t want any of this essentialist gender fuckery in my Doctor Who.
- I don’t think this is a complaint, but how did the Doctor have a sonic cane if Amy had his sonic screwdriver? Am I just flimsy on Doctor Who details? Are there two sonics?
I think I liked “Let’s Kill Hitler,” problems and all, but I am also kind of exciting to move into what looks like a non-mythology episode. The story that Moffat is giving us over the course of series six is becoming increasingly complex and I really hope that by the end of this series, he can tie up the numerous loose ends and move on to something else. Still, this episode was a spectacle, sure, but how well does it hold together when examined under a magnifying glass? Not well, I must admit, but then some of my favorite episodes of the new series of Doctor Who have the exact same effect. I guess that sometimes, it comes with the territory.