Monday, August 29, 2011

Doctor Who S06 E08 Let's Kill Hitler

I'd mostly avoided spoilers for this one, so aside from Hitler being in it, I knew nothing about the episode. To say it wasn't what I expected is quite an understatement. Read on for masses of spoilers and pictures.

I had very low expectations going in, and to have the episode start with Amy squawking at POOR RORY was unfortunately a bit of an affirmation. Then they introduced an annoying new character. New character pulls a gun on the Doctor, they all jet off to 30s Berlin, meet Hitler, lock Hilter in a cupboard, and you never see Hitler again. Shenanigans ensue. There are robots. Robots are cool.

The Good

The Doctor's Coat
There has not been a coat with this much free-standing sexual appeal since...season 4? When was Jack last in the show? Anyway, there has not been a coat with this much free-standing sexual appeal since Jack was in the show. Ten's coat was PRETTY good, but there's just something about a man in a military-style coat. Woof.

Crazy-ass River
River had been starting to grate on me a little by the time the break rolled around. I think River is like a 'sometimes food'. River sometimes is awesome, River all the time is significantly less awesome. But psycho River is all good all the time, and it's a real shame they didn't drag it out and have the cat and mouse game go on for a couple of episodes. She was sass on overdrive. 'I was on my way to a gay gypsy bar mitzvah for the disabled when I thought "Gosh! The Third Reich's a bit rubbish, I think I'll kill the Fuhrer". Who's with me?'

"Shut Up Hitler!"
Rory got to do a few good things this episode which nicely balanced out all the severely emasculating crap he usually has to deal with. He got to put Hitler in a cupboard at gunpoint! Okay, so he was ordered to do it by the Doctor, but still. He got to punch a guard in the face! Okay, so it turned out to be a robot who was actually sort of on their side, but still. He got to ride a motorbike like a hero with a girl clinging to him! Okay, so the girl questioned his ability to actually ride the motorbike because she seems to consider him a bit useless when it comes to manly things, but still. Sigh. Poor Rory. At least he didn't die.

Robot Robot Robot!
And what a robot! A time-travelling shape-shifting robot controlled by tiny people in its head! With incredibly polite antibodies that kill unauthorised intruders! Wonderful concept, but strangely used. They go back in time to kill bad people, but AFTER they've done the bad stuff so that history isn't badly altered. Yep. But other than that, the robot was rad. And it had a control room as badass as the Enterprise.

TARDIS Trollin'
The Doctor is dying so he pops back into the TARDIS and boots up the Voice Interface (*shrug*) which presents him with a hologram of himself. 'No no no, give me someone I LIKE!' The TARDIS presents him with this:

I C WAT U DID THAR, TARDIS. TROLOLOLOLOL. Admittedly, it's a bit mean, he is dying and everything, but nice to know the TARDIS has a sense of humour.

The Bad

Moffat doesn't like us to have nice things
Seriously, crazy River is super. Keeping her crazy would have a) given the Doctor an enemy who could out-Doctor himself and b) allowed greater character development and a more interesting history. But no. If these last two seasons have taught us anything, it's that Moffat holds his clever little twisty plotlines in far higher regard than the fleshing out of his core group of players. So we get a bit of crazy River but then she sees the light and saves the Doctor and it's all nice and shiny. Blergh. If there was more crazy River, there would have been more scenes like this:

I'm going to refer to her as 'Melz' from now on, cause she seems like the type of person who would spell her name with a Z. In short, Melz is an unlikeable fuckwit who raises more questions than she answers. Firstly, as I have mentioned, Melz is a fuckwit. We see a flashback clipshow of Melz constantly getting in trouble with teachers and then police, and Amy bailing her out every step of the way. Now I'm not the biggest fan of Amy, but she doesn't strike me at the sort of person who would tolerate this sort of personality for 3/4 of her life. Secondly, Melz is Amy's best mate, right? And has been since they were really small, right? Did Amy ever find it...weird...that Melz didn't have, you know, parents? I've seen people on forums and whatnot suggest that The Silence may have set her up with decoys or something, but come on. Show us. Don't just put a plot hole in front of us and expect us to shovel dirt into it ourselves.

Totally Melz with a Z

So, dying or not?
I would really genuinely like someone to explain this to me. I've been looking at forums and groups trying to find the answer, but it seems people aren't even discussing it, so either I'm a complete idiot and missed something huge, or it's so intensely ridiculous that no one is even bothering to give it thought. So, the Doctor is dying, right? He goes and talks to his Voice Interface thing (I'm not sure exactly what the purpose of that is anyway, but willing to gloss over), and while he's on death's door on the floor, asking for help, the interface tells him 'fish fingers and custard'. Okay, so maybe eating fish fingers and custard (as he did just after he regenerated into Eleven) would kickstart some sort of metabolism memory and either heal him or allow him to regenerate? No idea. He turns up a few minutes later, no longer in agonising pain and looking like this:

So, ignoring the added fact that the TARDIS was able to materialise without anyone noticing, what the HELL is going on? Maybe he did the thing with the fish fingers but we didn't see it and he's all ok now? But then why is he in a tux? Once he starts dying again you realise that the last five minutes have meant absolutely nothing, haven't helped him at all, and he's still going to die. Great. Wonderful. Of course then River gives him some of her Time Lord juice and you're all 'Hurrah! Everything turned out fine!' and totally forget about the unexplained previous minutes. If it is cleared up in future episodes then ok, I can deal with it, but I imagine it won't be, and will just be left as a planet-sized plot hole. SIGH, MOFFAT.

Even the Doctor is facepalming right now
So moving on to next week, it looks like it's going to be one of those creepy as hell episodes that Moffat is actually quite good at. There's darkness and eyeballs and creepy mask people:

Despite the issues I had with the episode, I did quite like it. Maybe it was the fact it looked so good when compared to Torchwood, or maybe it was just very nice to have Eleven back on my TV, but either way, I felt entertained. There was too much plot crammed into an hour to keep it all cohesive, but hey, we've put up with wibbly-wobbly plots for a season and a half, we can keep going, right?


Is Hitler still in the cupboard?

(All screencaps in this episode from EnchantedFleur. Bless people who spend hours doing this sort of thing)


  1. That River lady looks like a swollen cross between Renee Zellweger and Tori Amos.

  2. Great review! Loved it! I also love the picture of Amy with her mouth wide open.

  3. i was a bit confused by the fish fingers thing too, but here's what i think i understand from it... he said that the tux thing was just wasting time. we were meant to think he was ok now, but he really wasn't and starts dying again. maybe it was all part of seducing river so she'd save him?

  4. also that coat was a masterstroke.

  5. Fish fingers and custard was a pain reliever. I had to rewatch the scene a few times myself to finally pick up that the Doctor asked for "something for the pain" after learning there was no cure for the poison and that regeneration had been disabled.

    As for the tux, well, he needed something to go with the sonic cane, seeing as Amy had his screwdriver. :p Why'd he waste time dressing in a tux if he was still dying? "Oh, you should always waste time when you don't have any."

    And for the TARDIS materializing silently: "silent running", "stealth mode", "It's not supposed to make that sound, you keep leaving the brakes on!" Take your pick. :p