Well then, I've watched the contentious new episode of Doctor Who
a second time and I still don't know what to say about it - like much of Steven Moffat's work it's hard to say how good "Let's Kill Hitler" is until the end of the current series.
So all I can really say is how much I enjoyed it, especially, of course, Alex Kingston's performance as a very different River Song. Obviously the opening scenes with Mels' introduction were another red herring to make you think they'd Done A Dawn and some malevolent force had retconned a new friend into Amy and Rory's past, only for it to turn out she was Melody Pond all along. To be honest although I know most people have found bigger annoyances with the episode that was my biggest gripe, if they were so close would there not have been the odd mention before? What, Amy never suggested going back and taking her "best friend" Mels on a TARDIS trip because she was going off the rails and some time with the Doctor would set her back on track? The wedding absence is a bit pants too, especially since given what we've seen of her, something like "I was spending the night in the cells" or "I had to get out of town in a hurry" would have been more plausible than "I don't do weddings." After all, she's been brainwashed into an obsession with the Doctor, she'd have needed a good excuse not to go to a wedding that he might, just possibly, turn up to. I did like that in the flashbacks Mels nudged Amy and Rory into getting together, and thus ensured her own existence. But I think although I normally don't mind The Moff's constant mindfucks with the audience as much as some people, this does bring the Annie Wilkes out in me: The very vaguest clue that such a friend as Mels might have existed would have done, as it is there's something of the "dirty birdie" in bringing her in so completely out of the blue, it's the writer not sharing a piece of the puzzle until after it's been completed. Whereas everything else about the series' arc story, however convoluted, at least feels as if the pieces are there even if we don't yet see how they fit.
Anyway, other than that a very enjoyable episode, and very nicely directed by Richard Senior, some real visual flair to the show this week. Some great little moments of course - from River, on her way to "a gay gypsy bar mitzvah for the disabled" and
plus lots of Rory moments - "Shut up, Hitler," punching Nazis and riding motorcycles, the promotion of Arthur Darvill to a regular this series continues to be more than just a name in the credits.
Was anyone particularly
surprised that the title was a red herring? Apart from giving the production designers some great 1930s visuals to work with the Führer's inclusion was mainly necessary to justify the time-travelling vengeancebot's presence, although of course teasing a Hitler episode all summer only to have him locked in a cupboard for most of the story is a rather fantastic touch. More good work from Matt Smith again, and was it just me who thought he looked even younger than usual when he was "dying" in his top hat and tails? As in, positively childlike, not just in an "I'm getting old and don't you think Doctors are looking young these days?" way. Also more of the rather vain 11th Doctor, a trait he shares with the 1st, 3rd and 6th - I somehow can't see Ten, who had women swooning across the galaxies for reasons that personally escaped me, even noticing that Amy hadn't described him as "hot," let alone getting distracted by it.
Loads of continuity nods in this episode that I enjoyed by the way; River's remaining regeneration energy saving her from Nazi bullets is in keeping with what we found out when Ten's hand grew back in "The Christmas Invasion," and some continuity fixes both way back to the classic series and ahead: The "clever lie" about the State of Grace explaining how cybermen shot guns inside the TARDIS in the 80s, and the ten or so regenerations River gave the Doctor putting that
problem off for another couple of decades.pretinama
thinks Doctor Who
might have jumped the shark this week. I don't think so - besides, I'm not sure jumping the shark is even a concept that can apply to Doctor Who
, a show whose format is that it doesn't have a format, and whose identity isn't tied to one writing style or actor. It can have lengthy bad periods as it has in the past, even disappear again for decades, and still come back, but never get to the stage where it's beyond reviving. If the villain of the week can be a liquorice allsort in the 1980s and the show still going strong in the 2010s, I'm not sure what
can kill it.