Ever since the title for this episode was revealed I have been going out of my mind with excitement, it’s a tantalizing concept to say the least. Many TV shows that deal with time travel raise the question of killing Hitler, usually explained away as an impossibility because the butterfly effect through time would cause the universe to implode. Or something like that.
Lets Kill Hitler is a slight bit of misdirection as the actual encounter with Hitler is merely the jumping off point for something much bigger. The episode opens with Amy and Rory driving through a cornfield, this is revealed to be a message for the Doctor and the man himself quickly materializes. The crop circles were an inspired touch. The Doctor has been unable to locate Melody, and we are introduced to Mels, an old friend of Amy and Rory’s. Showing up in a ‘borrowed’ car, she’s a world of trouble, pulling a gun on the Doctor she delivers the perfect set up for the episode;
“I’ve got a gun, you’ve got a time machine. Lets Kill Hitler”.
Incase it wasn’t obvious already, I thought this episode was bonkers, brilliant, emotional, exciting, funny, clever, silly with just a dash of sexy. Roughly translated, I loved it.
When Mels shoots a hole in the TARDIS console, they crash-land in Germany 1938. Without spoiling too much of the story, the Doctor and co are not the only time travelers there. Over 400 people are miniaturized and crew a shape shifting justice ship, traveling through time dispensing punishments to those who escaped it previously. Hitler is the latest target.
After the TARDIS crash inadvertently saves Hitler from the Justice ship, Rory knocks Hitler out and puts him in the cupboard. No sooner do I think “Mels a worthy addition to the team”, she’s shot during the scuffle and it’s here we get an unexpected twist. Revealing her true identity just before she regenerates, into River Song. This is the beginning of her story, but this is not the River Song we know and love, she’s been trained as a weapon to kill The Doctor. This end-of-episode-sized revelation came in around the 15 minute mark.
From here on in events reach the new heights of clever madness. The sequence of The Doctor and River anticipating each others moves was a beautiful dance to behold. I personally loved the line that explains how she can make herself look younger. Neatly answering any Whovians nagging question that she looks younger when the tenth Doctor meets her.
Particular credit to unsung Who hero Murray Gold for conducting another superb score. The Doctor Who soundtracks are worthy additions to any movie lover’s collections.
I could honestly not find any fault with this episode, it was light and fun, crazy and emotionally charged. I defy any fan not to get choked up as The Doctor pleads River for help. Moffat writes a master-class of an episode and it’s well directed by former Doctor Who editor and first time helm Richard Senior.
This was by far one of the most quotable episodes in the shows history. From “Just having a quick left leg power nap’ to “I’m fine..I’m dying” to the Doctor in full evening wear with his sonic cane. Then there was the blistering reappearance (of sorts) of the tenth Doctor’s companions “Guilt, more guilt, is there anybody in the universe I haven’t completely messed up”. It was just all so good.
Using the justice ship to access information, The Doctor learns about The Silence. They are not aliens, The Silence are a religious group. Quite how this affects their purpose is not yet clear, but rest assured they will be back to explain all before the end of the series. The lasting little touch was The Doctor’s gift to River, the TARDIS blue notebook that would become his biography. I’d say this was my favourite part, but in an episode so chock full of stand out moments it’s hard to pick.
There has been much debate about the episode count for next year, if the speculation that the BBC are planning something very special for 2013’s 50th anniversary is true and they had to borrow half of next years budget to do it justice. It’s a sacrifice we should accept and welcome, because with Who as outstanding as this then it’s worth the wait. It does beg the question that surely the BBC could find the money to do a full run and the ‘something special’. I’m sure it makes more than it costs, but that’s another argument altogether.
As a friend of mine recently tweeted “Oh Steven Moffat I bloody love you”. I couldn’t put it any better myself. Doctor Who returns to scare the life out of us all in next week’s creepy Mark Gatiss penned episode, Night Terrors.
Oh and I don’t think anybody got Hitler out of the cupboard.