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A few words on Let's Kill Hitler.

I watched it on telly on Saturday night (London. London was gorgeous), and then watched it again yesterday evening, which gave it focus, I think; I certainly liked it better than I did the first time around. I've still got mixed feelings on a number of things, though, and I do believe it could be very much better, especially according to Moffat's usual standards. So! Bulletpoint lists.

things that were lovely;

  • RORY. Hello wonderful. The punching Hitler and pointing a gun at him ('Sit still. Shut up.'), and then locking him up in a cupboard, and then forgetting about him for the rest of the episode — all of this was amazing. So was the flashback scene in Amy's bedroom, for that matter; the shifts in time very much allow the viewer to understand how much they've grown and changed, which is fantastic. Rory has gone from a naive boy to a shy young man to a fucking BAMF of a husband; Amy has gone from the girl who would let him believe they were playing with him and instead ignored him completely, to the young woman who was afraid of commitment, to the wife who tells him I love you without a second's hesitation when they're about to die; their relationship has gone from a one-sided adoration to a full-blown love story. They've changed and grown a lot, and I think this episode centers rather well around it.
  • The filmic beauty of the shoot is rather breathtaking. The opening sequence, all blue sky and golden corn, is absolutely gorgeous. So's the flashback scene in Amy's bedroom, as well as the set of Hitler's... bureau, I suppose, and the marble restaurant. The show has taken real pains to create very atmospheric scenes, full of colour, in this season (the goodbye picnic by the lake in The Impossible Astronaut comes to mind). I love that.
  • The penny in the air... penny drops moment is chilling; even on second viewing, it left me rather breathless. Perfect acting on the Trio's part, too. Overall, I do think Karen Gillan's acting has gone up a steep hill this season — her littles cries still grate slightly on my nerves, but the anguish in her voice when she tells her daughter You're not a psychopath! sounds very real and very painful. 
  • Never knowingly be serious. Rule 27. I want a Doctor's rules book so very badly. Rule 569: only eat bananas upside down. Rule 4: don't forget the coffee machine on the TARDIS's console. Again. Rule 35: Never look back. Don't ever look back. Rule 213: No, wait, that's a hairdryer...
  • Oh, that's magnificent! Ahahahahahah River. She had ALL THE LINES in this episode.
  • River being taught how to fly the TARDIS by the TARDIS. I had lessons from the very best.
  • Generally, being allowed to see River's birth of sorts is very lovely, although I'm not a fan of the way Amy and Rory pretty much lost their best mate. But this is the beginning of her run; this is what she was telling Rory way back in The Impossible Astronaut. I'm not much of a River/Doctor shipper, and I hope it doesn't end up to be quite as cut-and-dry as it seems to be now, but their banter and slow understanding of each other in this was magnificent.
  • Oh, and all the quotes. GAY GYPSY BAR MITZVAH and I danced with everyone at the wedding and That's what you said when we made Rasputin green and You will experience a tingling sensation and then death and Oh, shut up, Dad. I'm focusing on a dress size and You named your daughter after your daughter and Okay. Okay. I'm trapped inside a giant robot replica of my wife. I'm trying very hard not to see it as a metaphor...

things that weren't quite so great;

  • The pace of the episode was dreadful. There was an abundance of plots, and the final result was a tangled jumble of threads that had little to do with one another. It would probably have done much better as a double-parter, as the feeling I kept from my first viewing was one of sheer confusion, and the knowledge that I'd have to watch it a couple more times before understanding it fully. Two episodes would very likely have done a better job at expounding on each different plotline and resolving it more gracefully.
  • Mels' introduction comes absolutely out of nowhere; she is suddenly thrust upon us as this badass, beautiful best friend of Amy's, but we feel very little kinship with her, for as long as she is there. I wish we could have had, if not an earlier meeting, at least a mention or two of her previously. A simple Ooh, I'm going to have so much to tell Mels from Amy's in Season 5 would have been enough!
  • The Doctor's She's a woman! to explain River's behaviour is fairly grating. Moffat has shown well enough that he could be misogynistic, and I try to ignore it in favour of liking his plots and humour and time loops, but when it comes to putting it in the Doctor's own mouth — no, please no.
  • The Tesselecter subplot is, to my mind, completely and utterly pointless; I simply had zero interest in it. I understand that it was needed for the Doctor to get information as to his own death, and so that River could know she's River, but. Well. This episode was advertised as a historical one, à la Vampires of Venice or The Shakespeare Code, and instead we got ourselves some Star Trek. River's little Berlin on the eve of war! speech, though melodramatic, was exactly what I wanted from this episode, once Hitler had been locked up in his cupboard; a long and winding chase after River in '38 Berlin, possibly with clues and disguises and beautiful locations, would have been marvelous. Ah, well.

Overall, I keep a good feeling from the episode, and I expect it'll only get better as I rewatch it in the future. I can't help but feel, though, that Moffat might be trying too hard, and rehashing many themes and subplots he's already used before (thank god I love time loops, or I'd be bored out of my mind). I really, really hope that this season will meet a clean, final round-up at the end, without any loose ends, and we'll be able to move on to something else. 

I'm still fairly ambivalent on River, but at least I like her much better than I used to, back when she was a fresh face on the show — I also adored the fact that, for once, for the first time, she is the one learning; she's the one who's unsure, uncertain, undetermined. It gives her growth. 

And now I'm going to go listen to The Secret Of Sherlock Holmes
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