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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

Date: 2011-08-31 01:08 pm (UTC)
ext_82470: (Default)
From: [identity profile] maikichelorrain.livejournal.com
A peu près les mêmes réactions que toi. Ça aurait pu être mieux fait. Je trouve seulement dommage qu'on finisse par se foutre totalement des aliens qu'on rencontre parce qu'ils ne servent à rien.
River était sympa dans l'épisode là, mais Mel tombe comme un cheveu sur la soupe.

Date: 2011-09-01 10:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] falling-voices.livejournal.com
Pretty much, yeah. Le côté Star Trec de Doctor Who m'a jamais beaucoup plu — c'est la raison pour laquelle je préfère des épisodes du type The Shakespeare Code à ceux du type The Long Game — principalement parce que ça fait très plastique; et cet épisode ci n'était pas exempt. Cela dit, c'est une critique très personnelle, et d'autres personnes aiment ça, donc mon jugement là-dessus est plus que subjectif.

J'ai bien aimé River, en dépit de son côté smuggggg. Mels m'a déplu jusqu'au moment où elle a commencé à se régénérer, ce qui est plutôt ironique...

Date: 2011-08-31 05:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] katty008.livejournal.com
Ooh, yes. The one thing I liked that you didn't cover, because you covered absolutely nearly everything I loved about this episode, was the interior of the Tesselector (which, considering the randomness of it showing up, is most likely going to come back in the season finale). I loved how they made a lot of the interior actually feel really small. Though they do need a spaceship bridge that doesn't resemble Star Trek, it's getting a little monotonous.

Date: 2011-09-01 10:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] falling-voices.livejournal.com
Honestly, the Tesselector (-ter? -ta?) plot flew right over my head, but yes, I do agree! it felt cramped and narrow, the way Amy and Rory were constantly trapped against doors and walls and people. They do an amazing job with building sets in this season, I have to say.

As for whether time travelers might come back in the finale, uh, maybe. [livejournal.com profile] fyliwionvilyaer pointed out downpage that they might be a future plot for next season, which I'm not certain I'd like. We'll see, I guess?

Date: 2011-09-01 02:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fyliwionvilyaer.livejournal.com
I have nothing to say about the pace--

But I have to add my theory on your other two qualms:

As for "Mel" Personally I am strongly under the impression up until a few episodes "Mel" did not exist. I don't know what happened-- I don't know when-- but between the doctor pointing it out with a giant red flag of "WHY HAVEN'T YOU MENTIONED HER" and the sudden onslaught of cheesy hs shots?

I am strongly under the impression something's up-- maybe when Amy shot her or maybe something to do with the "doctor's death"-- but I'd place my bet that's why it was so sudden. (If it's not then I'll be miffed too but it seemed too glaringly obvious that "something is not what it should be")

As to the Tesselecter? That's another one of those things where yes-- I didn't care-- but I did care because I'm 99% sure that's a nudge towards time agents and that might imply we revist time agents sometime in the next season or so-- which would be awesome. Moffat loves that-- drop random hints that make you bored and then 'OMFG THAT...THAT THING FROM... AHHHH' which was really why I enjoyed Let's Kill Hitler-- because it started revisting/tying up some of those bits.

As for the historical bit-- I can understand people being miffed but personally? I sort of loved that it was as epic of a red herring as you get-- because there were little hints/clues/bits that made you think it wasn't going to be "plotty" and then it was "we lied....."

Date: 2011-09-01 10:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] falling-voices.livejournal.com
Yeah, I've seen the theory that Mels might have appeared only after The Big Bang, but yours that it might be even more recent is more interesting, I think. If it is addressed in future episodes this season, I shall retract my criticism. :D

Revisiting the Time Agency — on the one hand, it might be amazing, having to deal with an actual institution — on the other, if we go full-out Star Trek, I shall be cross. I'll just wait and see, I guess.

I liked that Hitler was a red herring. I mean, seriously, who titles an episode Let's Kill Hitler and then locks him up in a cupboard and forgets about him entirely? Steven-they-see-me-trollin'-Moffat, that's who. No, I liked that. But I'd have enjoyed more History and less plastic robots in that one episode specifically, I guess.

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