“Right. Putting Hitler in the cupboard.”
–Rory

The Doctor is in the house.

Title: “Let’s Kill Hitler”

Cast and Crew

Written by Ryan Scott and Jane Espensen
Directed by Ryan Scott

Director: Richard Senior
Writer: Steven Moffat
Matt Smith as the Doctor
Karen Gillan as Amy Pond
Alex Kingston as River Song
Arthur Darvill as Rory
Frances Barber as Madame Kovarian
Nina Toussaint-White as Mels
Caitlin Blackwood as Young Amelia Pond
Albert Welling as Adolf Hitler
Ezekiel Wigglesworth as Young Rory
Ella Kenion as Margaret / Harriet
Maya Glace-Green as Young Mels
Philip Rham as Zimmerman

Additional cast and crew information may be found here.

Premise

A mysterious friend of Amy’s causes mayhem, sending the TARDIS back to 1938 for an encounter with Adolf Hitler and time-traveling people obsessed with justice. We meet River Song before she became the woman we know from the future, and the Doctor faces his past sins and a present betrayal.

High Points

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?
–River Song

The Doctor has been around so long it’s difficult to anything truly original with him. This episode had a great deal of fun deliberately playing with SF tropes and fan expectations, from the throwaway use of the “killing Hitler” meme to the Enterprisesque crew of the moralistically-intervening Tesselector. The episode even riffs on Terminator 2. All the while we get the expected witty dialogue. They haven’t forgotten the serious side, however, and we have a number of deeper reflections, including the Doctor’s own guilt about the fate of his companions.

The characterization of River Song also hints at some dark times to come– and next week’s ep looks real horrorshow.

Low Point

Doctor Who‘s origins as a children’s show have always given it license to be silly. However, it asks a little too much when we have people breaking into der Füehrer‘s office, a chase from Nazi headquarters, and a bizarre hold-up and shoot-out in a top restaurant, and yet no one—not the German Army, not the Gestapo—turn up to interfere with the proceedings.

The Scores:

Originality: 4/6 We have a lot of deliberate raiding of SF tropes (see High Points) but the mix proves fresh and entertaining.

Effects: 5/6 This show features some impressive visual images, using fairly typical BBC effects.

Story: 5/6

Acting: 5/6 Doctor Who frequently goes over the top, and the actors do well here, entertaining without becoming ludicrous.

Emotional Response: 5/6 This feels like Doctor Who.

Production: 6/6.

Overall: 5/6 Obviously, River Song’s story will become a key element of this (half) season. This may or may not work well, but it has potential. Still, I hope they find other interesting things to do. In some respects, the underlying quest that leads to many adventures harkens back (Who-wise) to The Key to Time.

In total, “Let’s Kill Hitler” receives 35/42

Notes

We’ll have more than one reviewer for the current Doctor Who series.

Adolf Hitler played only a small part in the episode, but they found a way to mock him without forgetting his vile role in history.

Of course, mocking Hitler has a long history, from Chaplin’s Great Dictator to Mel Brooks’s The Producers, but a high point might be Spike Jones’s little number:

Correction: The song was actually written by Oliver Wallace for the well-known Disney cartoon, though Jones’s cover hit the airwaves first.