4 September 2011

Doctor Who - Let's Kill Hitler

So a week behind I'll admit. I did do a Doctor Who related post about how I watch it, something which I think is worth mentioning in light of how I'm reviewing.

I think my main fear in the run up to the new Doctor Who episodes is that the amusingly-titled Let's Kill Hitler would just be a fun romp without answering any questions or progressing the ongoing arc.
Not that there's anything wrong with fun romps, they 'e obviously fun, but in a programme that's set up so much plot I find myself impatient for answers. The start of the series proved that the show has no problem halting plot for fun (as seen in that pirate episode) or leaving large plot holes between episodes (if anyone can tell me what actually happened between Impossible Astronaut and Day of the Moon I'd be fascinated to know).

As it turns out the episode was a fun romp full of plot relevant stuff, and many questions. This will contain spoilers, just warning you.


Emotional response
This was a fun episode.
It started with Rory & Amy contacting the Doctor via crop circle. A new character appeared, was given a hurried backstory that showed the early relationship of Amy and Rory. There was lots of running around, there were fun one liners, there was a shape-shifting robot/justice ship with a shrink ray! Posh people had their clothes stolen and ran out of a restaurant in their undies. Hitler was mocked, Rory punched out a Nazi, River was being cool! What more could we possibly want?
There was peril, the Doctor was killed (again, what is that about) but not for definite. We found out a lot more about River/Mels/Melody's story. It's all a plot, but who is plotting and why? Mystery and intrigue abound.

Intellectual response
This was fun and had some cool ideas, although it didn't entirely make sense and afterwards I find I still have many questions.
I liked that Rory and Amy are contacting the Doctor in order to get more information about their missing baby. Of course that got interrupted by the arrival of Mels, who I assumed would be River until she got out of the car -it was a very River-like entrance. (You can imagine how pleased I felt when she regenerated.) I liked Mels, I wouldn't be surprised if she were the only black kid in the village, I grew up in a rural village and there were less than 5 children at the village school who weren't white. Killing Hitler is a bit of a time travel fantasy, and also a rookie mistake, it's easy to see why this impulsive, trouble-prone girl has decided on this.

I liked the justice ship/robot, it was a neat idea. I also liked that those shooty death robots basically seemed to be antibodies. I'm hoping that in the future I can use this episode to explain my auto-immune condition and make it sound cooler. Of course it'll only work if someone has seen the episode, but I'm willing to give it a go.

Hitler was there but mostly as a background. He was more set dressing than a plot point or character. I suppose taking Hitler seriously immediately stops all the fun romping.

The Doctor turning up in a suit immediately reminded me of the last program I saw with Matt Smith in 1930s Berlin, of course that was Christopher and his Kind so I had to banish thoughts of loud, enthusiastic man-love.

Having River unaware of who she is and annoyed by everyone knowing more than she does is a nice turnaround to her enigmatic, knowing smile. IShe acted a bit immature, though she had been an irresponsible twentysomething just moments before. This also means that the Doctor/River relationship isn't going entirely in opposite temporal directions.
Well at least we now know why River doesn't regenerate in the library. Also interracial regeneration seems to be possible. There's still a chance Paterson Joseph fans.

Thing is, thing is... I don't know quite what's happening. It's all crazy and fun but I feel like I'm missing something. It didn't feel coherent as a story, more a set of fun things on which to hang some reveals.
One of the people I was watching with hasn't seen New Who, and commented that it must make more sense if you'd watched previous episodes. It was a good point, this was very much not a self-contained episode. It purported to give is answers, but really just raised more questions.
Lack of answers in TV is one of the things that has put me off series before, usually American series which do tend to do drag things out more. Then again this plot (or parts of it) has technically been going on for two series, so I think it's fair to say that it is being dragged out.


Questions
How does Mels know who Rory and Amy are? Has she seen them since she was a baby? She seems to have a lot of info as Mels, but not much as River? She must have regenerated again, right?
Why would a time travelling justice robot try to kill people before they've committed their crime? They aren't trying to prevent anything and they seem to have pretty accurate files, so surely they should know what time they're meant to strike?
Why was River created/brainwashed to kill the Doctor and how does that work?
Why aren't Amy and Rory a bit more curious about their daughter/best friend? Seriously, wasn't that why they initially contacted the Doctor? It seems as though whenever an issue about missing Melody comes up the answer is 'Oh well she's River, so it'll all be fine' and everyone just accepts that!

I have more questions, but I won't go on.

Overall it was a fun episode, but it was definitely one of those that didn't hold up to thinking.

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