Doctor Who Review #2: Let’s Kill Hitler

In our second review of “Let’s Kill Hitler”, you get to see what I thought of it.

Cast and Crew

Matt Smith as The Doctor
Karen Gillan as Amy Pond
Arthur Darvill as Rory
Alex Kingston as River Song
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

Written by Steven Moffat

Produced by Marcus Wilson

Directed by Richard Senior

Originally shown on the 27th of August 2011

Premise

Somehow, Amy and Rory got themselves back to Earth, and they’re writing the Doctor’s name in a cornfield. After he arrives, Amy’s friend Mels turns up, hijacks the TARDIS, demands to go and kill Hitler, and then we get a brilliant flashback sequence before the rest of the plot comes piling on.

High Points

  • “Rory, put Hitler in that cupboard.”
  • “It’s that kind of day, so I expect I can.”
  • “Well, there was a ray, and we were miniaturised, so miniaturisation ray.”
  • Basically, Rory gets all the best lines. And he punched Hitler.

Low Points

  • So just like that, she changes her mind and gives up so much?
  • Are the time justice whatever people really dumb enough to not realise that 1938 might not be the year they were looking for?
  • Why is it that wherever they go, something else is always going on? There must be time travelling vigilantes everywhen!

Questions

  • How did Rory and Amy get back to Earth? Is this the same kind of thing that allows River to move around in time and space quite freely despite not having a TARDIS or other apparent means of transportation? Does River have a temporal manipulator like Jack Harkness?
  • How do we get from here to the astronaut and the first episode of this series?

Scores

Originality: It’s fun to play with time travel tropes. I particularly liked how Hitler was dealt with. River’s behaviour is a bit too drawn out of the classic bad-girl instruction manual though. Four out of six.

Effects: Great robot shapeshifting effects. Less great security robot effects. Nothing that’s going to jar you out of your immersion though. Five out of six.

Story: What a tangle, tangled into tangles from elsewhere and more tangles in the future. I’m not quite sure what to make of it, but then it’s not meant to stand on its own. I did enjoy it, and I would have been deeply dissatisfied with any River story that wasn’t absurdly complicated. Five out of six.

Acting: Regulars on their usual form. Robot captain good. Robot crew quite generic. Five out of six.

Emotional Response: Exciting, slightly moving but mostly curious. What now? What now? I risk being annoyed in advance that there might be filler, even though last series what looked like filler turned out not to be. Four out of six.

Production: Again, can we please have some more musical variety? Heck, keep the action music motif and just shake up the arrangement a bit. Anything! Liked the Doctor’s suit. Four out of six.

Overall: Five out of six.

In total, Let’s Kill Hitler receives 32 out of 42.

9 replies on “Doctor Who Review #2: Let’s Kill Hitler”

  1. Vulch says:

    Why is it that wherever they go, something else is always going on?

    “Maybe I never took you where you wanted to go, but I always took you where you needed to be.” – The Tardis, slightly paraphrased.

    • TheYellowLantern says:

      “Why is it wherever they go”

      Because a show where the Doctor and his companions keep turning up in small English villages where THEY GO TO THE COUNTY FAIR AND NOTHING UNEXPECTED HAPPENS or distant alien worlds WHERE ALL IS FINE IN THE GRAVEL PIT wouldnt be very much fun?

  2. Jethro says:

    I’ve seen a lot of comments about River’s “conversion” being too quick.

    First of all, lets remember she’s a Daugher of the TARDIS, and lets remember who’s TARDIS. So I’m thinking beneath the brain washing and conditioning, that layer of Good Person is still there.

    Second, for the majority of the episode, The Doctor is being super-nice to her even though she’s trying to kill him. Even AFTER she’s delivered the poison, he’s still nice to her. When the what’s it called shape-shifting robot people go after her, even though he’s DYING BY HER HAND, he’s still trying to stop them form hurting her.

    Then at the end it all kind of falls into place when she realises that River Song, this person who is apparently extremely important to The Doctor, is actually her.

    And remember, she’s a Time Lord. They don’t see things the same way we do. Literally.

  3. adamazing says:

    How did Rory and Amy get back to Earth? Is this the same kind of thing that allows River to move around in time and space quite freely despite not having a TARDIS or other apparent means of transportation? Does River have a temporal manipulator like Jack Harkness?

    YES! She has a vortex manipulator. How did you think she got to Demon’s Run? The Doctor explicitly asks River to “get these two home” or some-such, before buggering off. Only once he’s gone does River drop the bomb on Amy and Rory that she’s their daughter.

    How do we get from here to the astronaut and the first episode of this series?

    Spoilers! I can’t wait to see :)

    All these reviews I’ve seen, and no-one’s addressed the best couple of lines in the entire episode:

    Rory: I think he just fainted!
    Doctor: Yes. That was a feint….a perfect feint.

    Oh Doctor….
    I +1 everything Jethro says. Firstly, I’d also posit that, as is almost but not quite explicitly stated in the episode, perhaps she’s “satisfied” her mental conditioning by killing the Doctor. Sure, it doesn’t go with Madame Kovarian’s and the Silence’s plans that she brought him back to life afterwards, but they weren’t to know she’d do that. Hence, if they conditioned her to “kill the Doctor”, she can quite rightly justify to herself and her own conditioning that she has indeed killed the doctor.
    Secondly, I’d point out that, as the Doctor says, she could have shot him in the corn field, but didn’t. This shows that she has some degree of control over the time and manner in which she kills him. Another strike for the conditioning because she’s obviously more than just some killing robot.
    Thirdly, we don’t necessarily even know that she’s finished trying to kill him. She killed him, and was stirred to bring him back to life in the heat of a moment. The next time we see her she’s in a hospital bed in no condition to kill anyone. Perhaps the conditioning only broke down temporarily?
    The only problem I had with the episode was that, initially, when converting the janitor to the German officer it took coordination from the Tessellactor commander, control center, an “art department” and numerous other departments presumably. Then, at the end of the episode, when the crew of the Tessellactor had “beamed off”, Amy gives the command and the Tessellactor turns into River Song.

    • Jethro says:

      Thanks for the +1 (:

      I assume that the Tessellactor already had River Song in their, uh, data banks, and that they were starting from scratch for the other guy. Makes sense, right? (;

  4. tudza says:

    I seem to remember an episode where River had to work her ass off on several different planets to get what was needed to get that vortex manipulator.

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