'Doctor Who' Series 6 Episode 8 - 'Let's Kill Hitler'
Written by Steven Moffat - Directed by Richard Senior
After a miserable few months and only the tremendous 'Torchwood: Miracle Day' (I love it, although many don't) to keep fans going, our beloved show finally returns to brighten up our Saturday nights. For those who follow the site, you will be aware that I felt a little disappointed by the mid-series finale, 'A Good Man Goes To War' (which I re-watched again recently and sadly still felt the same), but let's not moan over spilt milk, let's kill Hitler instead!
The TARDIS travels from Leadworth to Berlin in 1938 where The Doctor, Amy, Rory and 'Mels' meet Hitler at the rise of the Third Reich, but meeting the Fuhrer is the last of their problems when they discover more hidden truths about River Song/Melody Pond and her relationships to the group.
Like many, I was expecting 'Let's Kill Hitler' to be a 'romp' episode, much like 'The Curse of the Black Spot' - It would have been a good idea after the emotional impact of episode 7 to give viewers a fun, witty and entertaining ride to ease them back into the series but in rather typical Moffat fashion, the title misleads fans in more departments than one and makes this episode a heavy character study which seems to slightly forget it's footing.
There's no denying that this episode was fun and indeed enjoyable; it had witty dialogue, some brilliant CGI effects and it was a sheer pleasure to see the gang bursting from my box once again, but something wasn't right. For starters, 'Let's Kill Hitler' as a title is terribly out of place - Adolf is in the episode for the sum total of 2 minutes and utters perhaps 4 lines of brief dialogue, the task of actually killing him isn't even established which makes it all the more contradictory, and then we get a tyrant of muddled information about River Song/Melody Pond which is even confusing loyal 'Who' fans - I dread to think what newcomers are trying to make of all this. SPOILERS! Here is a list of everything involving River/Melody in this 45 minute episode:
- River Song is not River Song, in fact she is an old school friend of Amy and Rory's called 'Mels'
- 'Mels' then regenerates into River Song but she is unaware of who River is
- As we already know, River/Melody is Amy and Rory's child
- River poisons The Doctor by kissing him
- River is then shot multiple times by Nazi officers and but part-regenerates to avoid death
- River flies the TARDIS to save Amy and Rory from certain death inside a robotic replica of Amy
- River then part-regenerates again to save The Doctor even though her 'primary mission' is to kill him
- River then finds out who River actually is and knows why The Doctor cares for her
- Future River is at the Luna University wanting to become an archaeologist
Although River is probably my favourite character and I love every moment of screen-time with her, it seems that Moffat was either making up everything as he went along, or has given viewers a bombardment of information in one go meaning we won't be seeing much more of the character until obviously the final two episodes. Amongst all this was the episode's plot which was based around replicating a person to gain information and capturing the 'real' person by shrinking them and placing them inside the robotic version in order for them to be disposed - imagine a concentration camp for The Borrowers with alien jellyfish as security. As ludicrous as this all sounds, this was the episode's strongest point along with it's performances - this is the adventure we wanted and needed, it felt tongue-in-cheek and bubbly; perfect Saturday night television. Don't get me wrong, I adore the darkness that's leaked into the show over the last two years, but this was the silly yet engaging Sci-Fi I wanted and it was a slight shame to weigh it down by the double-crossing character narratives.
As previously mentioned, the performances were all fantastic, especially Smith who gives one of his best as The Doctor so far here. He embodies everything that defines the character; from the zany humour, to the darkness that sometimes gets the better of him. After he had been poisoned and was slowly dying, Smith's gun came out a-blazing and he acted his socks off. It was a naturalistic, effecting and often funny portrayal and he deserves a great big pat on the back for it. Tremendous stuff. Gillan and Darvill were also both excellent and opened the episode with a hilarious bang as they race through cornfields to find The Doctor. Kingston was great too and spoke an utterly wonderful line of dialogue to the Nazi's; I won't spoil it as it's that funny.
But despite my slight quibbles, I was engrossed, entertained and satisfied by our favourite Time Lord's return - 'Let's Kill Hitler' had tremendous momentum and laughs-a-plenty. Roll on 'Night Terrors' which looks pretty darn scary.