Well. Well well well well.
That was not your usual episode of Doctor Who, to put it mildly. You don’t usually get that many revelations in a single episode.
Shortly after Steven Moffat won yet another Hugo, one approaches “Let’s Kill Hitler” looking forward to an excellent romp with a very interesting title. We got a romp alright, but it was rather a lightweight one. The fact that the story hung together at all was because of the chemistry of the three leads and Alex Kingston.
The pre-titles sequence is classic Moffat-era. Amy and the Doctor creating a crop circle to call the Doctor is something that wouldn’t have happened in the RTD era, let alone the pre-1989 show. Then having their sparky naughty best mate Mels show up and comment that “You never told me he was hot” adds another strange dimension to things, as after the titles we look back at the past of Amy, Rory and Mels.
Crashing in Hitler’s office in Berlin in 1938, where they stop a robot full of tiny people from killing the Fuehrer, things then starting getting very arcy. Mels gets shot – and then regenerates into everyone’s favourite time-travelling archaeologist – River Song. Then the robot decides it’s going to kill River/Melody for the crime of killing the Doctor. Cue some fun in miniature, River stealing people’s clothes and some very polite homicidal security robots.
Alex Kingston is great in this episode. Time Lords do tend to go a bit funny post-regeneration and she is very funny after this one; demonstrating a woman who ultimately is changed for the better by a “good man” (I can see some feminists having a go at the entire River Song arc now).
Gillan and Darvill just go with the flow of the crazy story and demonstrate that they’ve thoroughly settled into the TARDIS by now.
Matt Smith manages to get upstaged by Alex Kingston and to be honest spends much of the time gurning. While he’s certainly proving to be a superb Doctor, this isn’t one of his finer performances, especially nearer the end.
While there are certainly some very interesting science-fiction elements in the plot and the comedy stuff is a treat, there’s a good amount in the episode. Hitler only serves to appear for five minutes and get shoved into a cupboard – this episode could have worked without him and it’s clear the title was just to draw people in – many of whom were going to turn up even if this was called “Tiny People in a Robot”. The whole thing seems to be a mishmash of popular Moffat and even RTD elements, trying to play to the crowd without actually providing a good story. It’s got to rate as one of the Moff’s worst eps.
It’s not to say it’s not good; it definitely creates some interesting plot points and it’s definitely entertaining. It just could have been better – Steven Moffat can do so and has done so. The show will survive at this standard, but it is capable of much more and hopefully we’ll see that.
One last thing – I really like the Doctor’s new coat.