Doctor Who: Let’s Kill Hitler
Oh my dear, dear giddy aunt. “Let’s Kill Hitler” is a mad, impossible, brilliant, heartbreaking, hilarious spoiler of an episode. As usual with Moffat, it’s flawed, but show-stopping. Spoilers under the cut – because, after all, “You’ve got a time machine. I’ve got a gun. What the hell! Let’s kill Hitler.”
Okay, bad news first…
Er, Moffat? You’ve already killed the Doctor. Remember? Sure, this has different circumstances (poisoned from a kiss with poison from the Judas Tree? Nice touch, Moffat. Nice touch.) I’m starting to think this is some kind of anger management thing…
Honestly, though, using character death as your main drama device is getting a bit old. It’s superbly acted, of course (and more about that later), but I’m getting tired. If this keeps happening, the show will have to be called “The Ponds”, (a dysfunctional family show, with the tagline “My Daughter Is A Psychopath!”)
The episode opens with a very clever crop circle bit, where the Ponds call the Doctor in an unconventional manner (directly copying one of their daughter’s lines, “You wouldn’t answer your phone.”). It’s certainly a brilliant – and unexpected – way to start the episode.
Soon enough, the troubled childhood friend of the Ponds – Mels – shows up. When she was released to the public, by the way, everyone thought “Hmm, “Mels” sounds an awful lot like “Melody.” Could it be…. nah, that’s impossible.” And here we are, tricked again by the Moffat brand of double psychology – something obvious is teased, the public thinks that Moffat is too tricky for that – then that exact obvious thing happens, with no twists or turns involved.
It’s interesting to think of the options this opens up – particularly, finally the confirmation that regeneration can transcend race. Since regenerating into a different gender has already been confirmed this season, this means there really are a lot more choices for the next Doctor. Not that I really want to consider it yet, since 11 is magnificent.
The childhood versions of Amy, Rory, and Mels were all brilliant, little Rory being one of the most adorable things I’ve seen in a while. Amy thinking that Rory was gay was also pretty hilarious (and Rory’s look just before he runs off is perfect). Now, of course, save a few quick lines (“The last time I did this, I came out a toddler!”), Melody growing up the same age as her parents is never explained. It’s very timey-wimey, classic Moffat, but right now it doesn’t really make much sense. We can only wait, I suppose…
Mels herself was good, though she hardly got any time to shine. She did seem like River Song, but I’d be unhappy if she had actually replaced Alex Kingston as River. However, she seemed like an actual character instead of just a caricature, which is impressive for the few minutes she had on camera.
The story could have been set anywhere; it just happened to be set in WWII Germany. Hitler was quickly shoved in the cupboard and the one or two Nazi officers we did see were just scenery. Not that I really minded; the River Song antics more than made up for the complete lack of Hitler.
The justice robot seemed like it was a parody of something, but I don’t know what. Whatever it was, it was certainly trying to make the episode have more action and science fiction elements, but I’m not sure if it worked.
The adorable little deadly jellyfish were somewhat annoying. Of villains, they weren’t the best, even if they were for comedic effect.
But enough of me jabbering on about my pet peeves of the episode! What “Let’s Kill Hitler” was really about was the fabulous characters. River Song, in particular.
This was her episode. She stole the show. She had her own little post-regeneration attack, checking all her body parts and jumping out windows and hitting on the Doctor even more than usual…
Naturally, she tried to kill the Doctor – with a banana –
succeeded almost succeeded to kill the Doctor with a kiss.
Then she terrorized a few Nazis, using her regeneration energies rather frivolously…
And… well… let’s just say that YES, MOFFAT, WE KNOW YOU DID AN ADULT SHOW.
She tried on a few outfits (in front of her robot mom, er?)
She nearly rolled her eyes in the corner when her dear old Doccy finally came back:
But she wasn’t rolling her eyes when the justice-bots put her through “hell”.
She was wonderfully terrified in a way that we really haven’t seen her yet, and I loved that.
And then – the moment where all the Doctor/River shippers squeed their very hardest (including me, dear readers) and where all the non-shippers averted their eyes (or possibly turned the TV off) – the slightly more benign kiss.
Very frivolous with your regeneration energy, River. The fact that this basically makes her mortal makes me a bit sad, because we won’t be seeing Time Lady River. Neither will the Doctor. Finally another Time Lord, and yet she can’t live with him, either. Cue the angst!
Speaking of the angst, that, gape, and make funny jokes was basically all the Doctor did this episode. Oh, and dying. But, as ever, he did it wonderfully. A scene-by-scene breakdown of all the brilliant things he did would take about 45 minutes, so I’ll just do a few:
The very Sherlock-esque scene with the banana-gun switch was shot beautifully, and their looks to each other both say “You’re a very impressive arch-enemy, but I’m cleverer” and “Oh, we’re totally in love.”
Even though the “cameos” by previous companions were rubbish in this scene,(GUILT! MORE GUILT!) Amelia-the-hologram was hilarious. Doccy was angsting away (making unintentionally hilarious faces as he did it), and there she was, being her practical little hologram self. I sort of love the way the show made fun of itself there.
And suddenly… Mood Whiplash!
What an angst muffin.
However, his slow smile caused by “fish fingers and custard” is heartwarming indeed and quite a sight to behold.
His re-appearance in the new top hat and niiiice suit and sonic cane is epic, to say the least. I mean, the Doctor saying “Doctor who?” has got to be some kind of magic.
Stumbling around like a giraffe with the sonic cane is hilarious, but of course it quickly grows somber. The Doctor’s Rules are quite funny and they also happen to be easily applicable to everyday life.
Never knowingly. Never knowingly be serious — Rule 27.
Not a rule that you necessarily follow, Doccy, but very good.
And there you are, Eleven, there you are, forever perched at your scanner, worrying about one thing or another. Also, you cannot fake a smile.
The Ponds had a pretty darn small role in this. Sure, Amy hugged the Doctor, and ran away from robot jellyfish, and did some grieving for him, but nothing else.
Same for Rory. Sure, he punched Hitler and shoved him in a cupboard, was possibly the Master, wasn’t gay, rode a motorcycle, tried not to see the entire experience as a metaphor, and above all, didn’t die (it was the Doctor’s turn instead), but… well, actually, those are pretty cool things to do.
Dear Sir: A – for effort, F for execution.
Overall, “Let’s Kill Hitler” is a brilliant episode. Sure, it’s flawed, just like every script. I would have liked it with a bit less dying. The evil jellyfish robots were rubbish. But it’s a fun River-licious affair, every Doctor/River shipper’s dream, and plus there is quite possibly more of the gold regeneration effect than in any other episode. And Rory punches Hitler!
On to next week, then, creepy-as-hell dolls and a little boy menaced by them, all written by Moffat’s BFF, Mark Gatiss. And hopefully there’s less dying this time.