Tonight’s Doctor Who, Let’s Kill Hitler, was a cracking fun episode from the start. Now I’ve been known to complain about certain issues with illogicality and this episode certainly started with plenty – writing Doctor in a corn field, introducing Amy’s best friend who’s never been so much as mentioned before with a montage and crashing the TADIS into Hitler’s office.
BUT (and it’s a big But so big I’m going to start a sentence with it, write it in capitals and underlined bold for good measure) anyone who thinks a Doctor Who episode with the title Let’s Kill Hitler is going to be another Blink their head examining. It’s going to be pulp silliness and its going to try and give Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds a run for its money on a BBC TV episode budget.
Introducing Mel and getting the episode title into the pre title sequence was nicely done. The montage has its moments. Young Rory moments are humorous. Most especially there is the scene that shows Amy and Rory get together with Amy having thought Rory was gay. It’s all topped off with a lovely 2001 reference to get us into the action in the visual of Mel throwing model TARDIS cutting to TARDIS flying erratically.
The killer robot piloted by miniaturised crew silly idea and could have been such a bad Terminator 2 rip off except completely saved by the Tessellating exterior effect. Its slightly incompetent crew and killer robots added to the episodes pulp feel and humour. There was something of Men in Black about the whole set up.
It’s nice to see Rory’s transformation into action hero continuing. He gets stuff to do and good lines: Knocking out Hitler, a German soldier, riding a motorbike with a hint of The Great Escape and driving a mini through a cornfield. The contrast of post plastic Roman with early Rory as seen in the montage is telling of his character’s development. Amy gets her moments too.
That Amy’s childhood best friend turns out to be Melody Pond and her regeneration is triggered by being shot by Hitler. She gets one of the best pre regeneration lines ever in “shut up Dad I’m focusing on a dress size” and lovely post regeneration fun. Yet this is River as we’ve never seen her before. This River reminds me of Angelica in The Stainless Steel Rat books. Like Angelica we see the character transform from psychopath to the River we’ve previously seen.
Which brings me to her attempts to kill the Doctor. Their little duel of intelligence with Melody trying to kill him with knives and guns. Yet she succeeds by poisoning him with a kiss – the one strategy he wouldn’t be expecting – with the poison of the Judas tree. I wonder if the two religious references were slipped into the section on regeneration deliberately or accidentally.
It all gets wrapped up with the Doctor’s death plenty of sillyness which fits this episode perfectly. The temporally convoluted story of the Doctor, Rory, Amy and River takes more steps forward. I was going to call it a soap opera but it’s something older than that.
The set dressing, costumes and period detail throughout was deserve a mention. Going to the trouble of making Hitler’s office based on photographs of the actual office just to smash it up was a good idea. Dressing the Doctor in top hat and tails was a nice touch.