Stars: Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, Arthur Darvill, Alex Kingston, Nina Toussaint-White, Caitlin Blackwood, Maya Glace-Green, Ezekiel Wigglesworth, Philip Rham, Richard Dillane, Amy Cudden, Davood Ghadami, Ella Kenion, Albert Welling, Mark Kileen, Paul Bentley, Eva Alexander, Tor Clark
Writer: Steven Moffat
Director:  Richard Senior
Network: BBC America, airs Saturday nights
Original Telecast: August 27, 2011

In the return of DOCTOR WHO for the second half of Series 6, “Let’s Kill Hitler,” the rather casual chase to recover Amy (Karen Gillan) and Rory’s (Arthur Darvill) kidnapped baby leads them to 1938 Berlin, where they once again run into River Song (Alex Kingston), the adult version of their daughter Melody Pond. The reunion is a bit different than usual, not least because this is a River earlier than any version they’ve met before, and her attitude toward the Doctor (Matt Smith) is also decidedly different. As robots stalk the halls of Nazi headquarters and Hitler cowers in the cupboard, the Doctor may not have to worry about that death waiting for him 2011 Utah – time can be rewritten, and his death day may have moved up by several decades.

Matt Smith is wonderful as always and I love his new coat. And there ends the positive part of this review.

The glib title is the kind of cynical attempt at headline-grabbing that it sounded like when it flashed on the screen back in June. It has no real bearing on the story, nor does Hitler’s brief appearance or the period Berlin setting. This episode could be set anywhere at any time because it isn’t a story about anyplace or anything. It’s a series of set pieces that claims to answer questions, spitefully throws out a few more, and does all this with no sense of warmth or humanity whatsoever. We have entered an era that not only eschews character for plot, it now eschews plot for “game-changers” that change no games, “shocking twists” that offer no shocks, and random visuals that are dumped on the audience as if to say, “Here, you make something out of this.” That used to be the production team’s job.

Writer Steven Moffat has said that rather than pick up directly from a cliffhanger, he prefers to move the setting, pick up from a different vantage point, and find a way back into the story from an unexpected angle. There’s nothing wrong with that strategy and it works well in past stories like “Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead.” But no matter where you choose to resume, you still need to respect your audience and provide logical and emotional closure for the ending you set up in part one. In the second part of the two-part opener this year, we rejoined the story months later and got the flimsiest reprise of the cliffhanger and its denouement as if the events didn’t even matter when they were in fact crucial. This time we once again pick up months later, but last time we were given the “game-changing” event of River revealing to Amy and Rory that she was their daughter. We were left staring at their incredulous faces…

…and now here we are in a wheat field. What did they say to their adult daughter? Surely they spoke to her during their trip back home to present-day Earth? What sort of emotional outpouring took place at that most dramatic, most significant of moments? We are given none of it, not even in flashback. We are robbed of all the character-building and depth from that shock ending, because character and emotion don’t matter here at all when we could instead watch a sports car swerve into view and deposit someone that’s supposed to be a life-long friend of Amy and Rory we’ve never met before. Making things up as you go along is bad enough; making it obvious and sneering at the viewer at the same time is insulting.

My biggest issue over all, however, remains the situation with Amy and Rory and their lost baby. There is no parent on Earth who would behave as they do, regardless of whether they know she becomes an adult one day (which, given the way time works on the show, is no guarantee of survival anyway). Any parent would be holding the Doctor at gunpoint, commandeering the TARDIS when he attempts one of his condescending jokes as he tries to rush them off to a new adventure, and demanding that they find their baby NOW.

The result is we have two characters that treat the loss of a child and the knowledge that it lives a tortured, time-lost life of hatred and delinquency and psychosis like it’s a minor inconvenience. They don’t even seem at all concerned that they may never get to share its childhood, and living alongside her as a brand-new/always-there best friend is not the same as being parents to a baby.

The main problem is a lack of emotional realism, which is important even in the most fanciful storytelling; arguably it’s more important since it provides the grounding for your characters and therefore your audience while the rest of the unrealistic adventure swirls around them. But these characters are so cold and unrealistic, they don’t care about anything. No, I don’t want them weeping their eyes out every five minutes, but these people are not believable as parents; they aren’t even human. So why should I care about anything they do? Speaking of which, I’ve said this year Amy has improved, but when the Doctor and Rory show appropriate loathing for history’s greatest war criminal, why does Amy rush to cuddle what she thinks is another wounded Nazi officer and ask him if he’s all right? Our Amy, so lovable. I guess we should be grateful that when facing death Amy’s first thought is to tell Rory she loves him. They don’t kiss though, but that can wait. They’re only married and have a daughter.

As for River, she’s a device that has succeeded in reducing the titular Time Lord to a guest star in his own show. Maybe that’s why the Doctor changes his clothes for no real reason late in the story – he’s desperately trying to wrestle back the title that he should hold by default – “coolest person in the room.” As for Mels, apart from the fact she’s River, she’s another collection of cheeky mannerisms in place of a character.

River’s arc – which is all the show is about nowadays – is particularly problematic here. For most of the episode she’s a crazed killer and then the moment she accomplishes her task she gives up lifetimes to save the man she’s been trained to kill from babyhood. Why? Did the programming switch off the moment she accomplished her goal? Was it the thing he whispered to her that changed her heart? If so, the show did not reflect that in her dialogue and performance, or in the editing and direction. She does what she does because the story says so and this will presumably remain another vague but important plot point left for us to figure out for ourselves. It isn’t “clever” to leave everything up to the audience; it means you can’t be bothered to write anything that makes sense, or maybe you didn’t have an idea in the first place.

And when all other avenues at padding the story with gimmicks and visuals instead of logical story-telling are exhausted, you can kill five or ten minutes by having characters repeat the same phrase over and over. “I am not Amelia Pond, I am a voice interface.” “You are unauthorized, your death will now be implemented.” “Hey, who turned out the lights?” Wait, that last one is old, never mind.

The robot and its STAR TREK-inspired crew? It seems like a cute idea but examine the notion for five seconds and it all falls apart, especially the insane security system that could kill any of the crew at the drop of a hat unless they remember to keep their wristbands updated. MEET DAVE already proved this idea had no legs, and the only amusement to be had is that the antibodies sound like the Loc-Nar from HEAVY METAL. Yup, that’s how far I have to reach.

I have lots more (like why the TARDIS didn’t offer Idris as the most logical default voice interface instead of painfully obvious BBC photos of past companions), but why bother? Ultimately, the saddest thing about this as a long-time fan that still loves this show in general more than any other single piece of pop culture in history – and yes, that means just about all eras of the show, not any one era or show runner or Doctor – is that I think this episode and much of the story arc of which it is a part is not just bad DOCTOR WHO, it’s very bad television with a total lack of respect for its own audience.

Since DOCTOR WHO is like Baltimore weather (“If you don’t like it, wait five minutes”) I’m sure this too shall pass. In the meantime, for those of you screaming “well stop watching then,” thanks but no. I’m going to stay right here, because like I said – I love DOCTOR WHO, and I want to see it shine again. For those of you enjoying it right now as it is, that’s wonderful. One day I hope to be back on that side of the sofa with you.

Next time, we visit a little boy with nightmares. He probably watched “Let’s Kill Hitler.”

Click on link: AX’s DOCTOR WHO – Series 6 – “Let’s Kill Hitler” – Review #2 (positive review)

Click on link: AX’s exclusive interview with DOCTOR WHO showrunner Steven Moffat

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Article: TV Review: DOCTOR WHO – Series 6 – “Let’s Kill Hitler”

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Comments:

  1. Obviously, this reviewer has his panties in a bunch. Some of us happen to like this direction of the show.

    a
    • this review articulated exactly what I thought.

      radiomother
    • I’m not one of them. The show has no direction any more. Moffat has done to it what Fred Freiberger did to ‘Space:1999′. The sooner he gets tossed out of an air lock, the better.

      David Barclay
  2. I don’t wear panties, but thanks for caring. :)

    “Obviously,” I have a different opinion from your own. Note what I said at the end of the review. There are tons of people loving the direction of the show right now. That’s great. I don’t share that feeling, and I know there are many people that agree with me too. It’s just TV, it’s all subjective. We’ve probably agreed before on some things, and we probably will again. It’s all fine in the end. :)

    ARNOLD T. BLUMBERG
  3. I thought this review was spot on. I’m surrounded by friends and fellow fans who seem to not be bothered at all by this new “River Song Show” business, so I’m glad to find out that I’m not alone.

    sammie
  4. Couldn’t agree more, Arnold. Could have written this review myself, pretty much word for word. But, as you say, let’s sit tight and wait for the really glorious bits. After all, if the show can survive “The Horns of Nimon” it can survive this.

    Grant Hudson
  5. I thought that the episode was excellent – one of the best of the new series. And I pity the fool who didn’t enjoy it.

    Ben
    • Although your opinion is not offensive, but your pity is so please stop.

      Bria
      • My English is terrible, sorry. :D

        Bria
  6. Pingback: 32.08: Let's Kill Hitler - Page 3 - Science Fiction Fantasy Chronicles: forums

  7. I fully agree with the reviewer in every way. The Germany stuff was a sideshow. I’m tired of River Song and the idea that the viewer should be so lucky to have the River Song story unfold before our eyes. Going back a few seasons, the relationship between the Doctor, Rose, and the people in Rose’s universe were so much better done — you really felt relationships with those people. Now, I can barely care. But, of course, I still watch …

    Smitty
  8. My exact feelings as well – wow you really left nothing out – I completely agree. and, like you said, “if you don’t like it, wait 5 minutes” – I hope that holds true and the next ep is better cuz I am really fond of this show as well. One thing you didn’t touch on much and I felt was: how annoying River was…I know this was her early years but, really, did you really have to downgrade her to stripping people’s clothes off? it was just so ridiculous and pointless and just a reason to get a laugh from the viewers which did not work. Such a wildly far fetched strung together episode where no puzzle peice had anything to do with the other. I hope they can soon put them back together well in the rest of the series.

    mia
  9. This reviewer clearly has no idea how Dr Who works – we are told explicitly the rules of time can’t be changed and certainly with an event so major that involves their own personal time lines that nothing can be done and they do know that their daughter will be fine in the end. Amy and Rory are intelligent and good enough people that they know the doctor will do everything possible to get their daugter back, all they can do is wait. I personally loved this episode, Alex Kingston was phenomenal and I for one can’t wait to see more of her.

    Lizzy
    • Unfortunately this is a TV and not real. And as a TV show ‘Let’s Kill Hitler’ was a poor effort for all the reasons mentioned above.

      rob
  10. Thanks all for the comments, whether you agree or disagree.

    Lizzy: I’ve been watching the show for decades and I’ve seen every story (even heard the ones that no longer exist in film/video form), so though I obviously disagree with your assessment, you can’t exactly say I have ” no idea how Dr Who works.” :)

    You seem to have something a bit wrong though. We are *never* told “the rules of time can’t be changed.” In fact during this era, and in this very episode that you enjoyed, we have been told many times that “time can be rewritten.” I also suspect you’ll see a lot of their lives changed by episode 13 this year, but let’s both watch and find out what happens!

    ARNOLD T. BLUMBERG
  11. Boston weather changes every five minutes – for a start.
    Poor review, you sound like a fanboy who didn’t get what he wanted from his favourite show. When you argue that Amy and Rory do not act like “normal” parents, let’s remember that they are not!! They did not go thrhought the normal process of pregnancy, for example.
    The River story has dominated this season, but what moffat has done is build on the direction the show was already taking. From its return, the show has had season long plots (Bad Wolf, for example) and often I have found the individual episodes which take the viewers away from the central theme frustrating. This season, it cannot be disputed, has been very focused on the central plot of the Doctor’s death and the indentity of River.
    Plus, Matt Smith is easily the best Doctor since the show’s return.
    Ta

    Seb
  12. I realise that may have been harsh,we all have different views!! And like you say, it’s all subjective and we’re all fans!!
    Ta

    Seb
    • Besides being needlessly patronising, your exclamation key on your keyboard appears to be stuck.

      Lucy
  13. Moffat’s goal is to emasculate the doctor, turn women into men (river/amy) and men into women (rory/nurse,). Regenerating has been turned into joke much like Moffat’s tenure on this show. The only satisfaction I’ve got from series 6 so far is knowing that river song DIES in silence of the library. anyays, great review you’re spot on.

    Neon
  14. Is it me, or does it seem that the real decline began when Matt Smith took over the title role? He has never had the emotional depth of David Tennant, whether we’re comparing the heat between Tennant’s Doctor and Rose Tyler, or his pathetic ending, alone in the Tardis after burning all his bridges. Perhaps that explains Smith’s aloof, snarky portrayal–the Eleventh Doctor doesn’t want to sink to the level of desperation that the Tenth experienced. It’s easier not to become involved at all than it is to become involved and lose the people for whom you care. It’s almost as if the Doctor is doing a Benjamin Button before our eyes–each of the last three incarnations has become younger and younger, until now we are saddled with this shallow adolescent narcissist. And, it seems, the series draws its own emotional depth from that of the Doctor, which is to say that it has almost none at the moment. I really like Stephen Moffat in general, but there are times when I wouldn’t mind seeing a touch of the old Russell Davies stuff.

    Having said that, I am one of those who finds the River story arc engrossing, and I wouldn’t mind seeing her get her own series. Like Mr. Blumberg, though, I’m getting a little tired of her dominating this one.

    Rick
  15. Spot on review, Arnold. I felt hollow after Saturdays episode. I felt hollow after A Good Man Goes To War, i’ve felt hollow watching too many episodes over the past year. Too many cold characters attempting to be mysterious yet merely coming across as annoying and

    Nick
  16. This review is all kinds of rubbish quite frankly, and seems to boil down to the writer assuming their emotional responses are universal, and that any threats to ‘MAH BABY!’ should warrant an immediate suspension of any morals or intelligence, and that all expressions of affections in times of mortal danger should involve tonsil hockey.

    In all the writers apparent years of watching Doctor Who, apparently they missed the fact that the Doctors companions are supposed to be chosen for their inner goodness and strong moral compass the Doctor can guide his actions with. If you think they didn’t do enough because they didn’t threaten to murder the one man that could actual do anything to help them, then you should be aware of the fact that there are better people in the world than you, and that doing what is the equivalent of demanding a paramedic drive an ambulance through a crowd of innocent bystanders to get your sick child to a hospital faster, makes you both a bad person, and an idiot.

    As for the complaints over Hitler not getting enough screen time and the pointlessness of the 1938 Berlin settings, and the crazy Justice Robot with a ‘Star Trek’ crew, well what the hell is wrong with you? Never mind the fact that the use of Hitler was both a great way of grabbing peoples attention, and diverting attention away from the real plot, do you really want more of the Doctor running around with Hitler? Unable to do anything to him because he knows he can’t interfere? No, Hitler getting punched in the face, told to shut up, and being locked in a cupboard. is exactly the right way to treat a real life monster like him.

    Using Berlin in another time setting is also something I can’t understand the complaints about, I mean why NOT use it? The Doctors got a time machine, using it even when it’s not massively important to the plot isn’t a bad thing.

    And the robot was just a cool idea, and will no doubt pop up again. I mean it makes perfect sense, in a universe where time travel is possible, the fact that people have actually gone through with the old fantasy of punishing histories most evil figures, despite the extreme pointlessness and arrogance of it all. It’s just a cool idea, and I’m it provided a massive amount of info and a credible threat to allow the Doctor and Melody to unite against a common foe, and show Melody why the Doctor is worth saving, and what she can become if she tries to change herself. And besides which, it’s Doctor Who, you get this kind of mad stuff running around throughout time and space all the time.

    Also, yes, generally people who are brainwashed to murder, and have been mentally programmed as Melody was, do just go from murdering psycho to normal and back again at the drop of a hat, even if you know nothing about the real world examples of this, it’s so common in Thrillers, sci-fi and fantasy that I can’t believe the reviewer could be unaware of it, it’s just looking for something to be complain about.

    Honestly I think alot of this is, despite the reviewers claim to have watched all of Who, the fact they apparently aren’t British would explain alot of why they don’t get something that is quintessentially British, and is meant to show my cultures ideals at their finest. You might like it, but no, the fact you had so many problems with the episodes, which displays so much of the heart and soul of what Doctor Who can be at it’s very best, shows that no, you don’t get it.

    This episode was fantastic, Moffat understands Who, and how complex and brilliant and whimsical and just good, gripping drama it can be.

    Doctor Who has never been better than it is right now, if you don’t like it, you have bad taste.

    Adam
  17. Well, if it makes you feel better to insult a total stranger’s intelligence and culture for daring to have a different reaction to a single episode of a sci-fi TV show than your own, I won’t stand in your way. Enjoy yourself. :)

    ARNOLD T. BLUMBERG
    • You are amazing Mr. Arnold T. Blumberg and good for you.

      Bria
  18. The show is now just for younger kids.

    They
  19. I disagree with much of the review, but so what, disagreement is enjoyable when it’s articulated as well as this.

    I do agree with your point about unrealistic parental reaction – and I agree that the emotion has to be right even/especially in a fantasy. (Actually I get really irate with people who think “fantasy” is an excuse to not bother to get things right, but that’s another issue.)

    But the title. Keep in mind it wasn’t “The Hitler Hunters” or “The Reich Rewriters” or “The Adolf Annihilators”. If it had been one of these, we could have reasonably expected the episode to be devoted to an attempt to change history – and to a counter-attempt to keep history on track, and to debates about whether keeping history on track was more important than averting the suffering of millions. But it wasn’t called that. The title was clearly a line of dialogue, one we would not associate with Amy, Rory or the Doctor. When we finally got to see the episode, we saw that it was a line uttered on a whim by a teenager (or someone with a teenage mindset) who had just got hold of a time machine. So we were clued into the idea that the episode was going to be about the teenager, and not a re-enactment of the “do I have the right?” scene.

    My biggest problem with Steven Moffat is that he has picked up on a few basic SF tropes, and he seems to think that nobody else is aware of them – even after he has used the same one over and over and over and over again (the closed-loop paradox, known to physicists as the djinn, apparently).

    Like you, I have experienced every TV-broadcast episode of Doctor Who, including soundtrack of lost episodes, and I even dimly recall seeing lost episodes when they were first broadcast. (I am 7 months older than Doctor Who.) In some ways, I find it a lot easier to buy into SM’s non-linear storytelling than, say, Sarah Jane being captured, about to be sacrificed, rescued, captured again, about to be sacrificed again and so on in The Masque of Mandragora, or the Sylvester Doctor escaping from Richard Briers dressed up as Hitler by pretending to read from a rule book in a shameful ripoff of my favourite J.G. Ballard novel.

    Anyway, thanks again for your excellently expressed views.

    Paul Beardsley
  20. How does the doctor not know about these time traveling avengers, is he not a timelord? What was the point of the timelords if these people are running around “giving people hell”. There was no point in the setting for this episode as it was just random because moffat could care less. How people actually like this mess is beyond me…Now that I think about it, everything that Lawrence Miles has said about moffat and his writing skills are true.

    Neon
  21. Excellent review, Arnold. Such a shame that the series is like this at the moment… and, as the comments show, you’re not alone. I’ve no worry that you’d get wound up by the “burn the heretic!” crowd, but still chin up. There are a lot of us just hoping that Stephen Moffat will start to actually write drama, instead of this bland, meaningless and unemotional series of poorly linked and drawn set pieces.

    (Phew! That feels better. Time for some cocoa.)

    Jim
  22. While I agree with almost all of your review, I have one tiny disagreement:

    I watched this episode in light of “A Christmas Carol.” In other words, the reason we had never heard of Mels before was that *she wasn’t there before.* When we have seen Amy’s and Rory’s lives, we have seen a previous timeline, where their daughter hadn’t traveled back in time to grow up with them. (“Your memories are going to change, you’ll get the hang of it.”) I didn’t take it as the writers trying to pull a Nikki-and Paulo and make us accept that she was there all along even though we’d never heard of her before, but that we were supposed to understand that she WASN’T there all along until she was sent back in time by the Silence and looped into their lives in a new timeline.

    xq
  23. “How does the doctor not know about these time traveling avengers, is he not a timelord?”

    The Doctor doesn’t know everything. The reason he likes travelling all over space and time is to experience new things. He mentions this in the episode, just after they crash into Hitler’s building.

    Rory: “Where are we?”

    Doctor: “A room!”

    Amy: “What room?”

    Doctor: “I don’t know what room. I haven’t memorized every room in the
    universe yet. I had yesterday off.”

    John Abreau
  24. For god’s sake it’s all about entertainment and this episode was as entertaining as I’ve ever seen from Doctor Who. Clearly many people just cannot deal with having their heads messed with and having to think rather than having everything handed to them on a plate. Why, for example, should we see every little detail of interaction between Amy, Rory and River post “I am your daughter” revelation? I think its much much more interesting to leave more to our imaginations than to stick rigidly to linear, soapy storytelling tropes. Moffatt is creating a brilliant, epic truly mindbending saga which I and anyone I know who watches the series is enjoying immensely. It strikes me as just plain lazy to write off the bits that you don’t understand / want to like as poor writing / Moffatt on an ego trip when clearly it’s providing such excitement and intrigue to so many. Long may Doctor Who continue in this infinitely more interesting vein.

    Brian
  25. Totally agree. For me the real loss is that this was such a waste of Hitler’s Third Reich as a setting for a show about time travel. Exactly the same thing happened last season with Churchill’s wartime London – they were just incidental in a ridiculous non-story that was seeminly written purely to introduce redesigned Daleks (which, by the look of them, were redesigned purely to make the toys easier to manufacture). A show which has as it’s premise time travel should do better than this – it’s puerile, and frankly insulting to the millions who died on Hitler’s orders to portray him in so light-hearted a manner in a piece of drama. It just makes the show (and, I’m afraid, Mr Moffat) seem ludicrous.

    Kevin
  26. I just finished watching it myself and I have to agree with everything you said, Arnold. I don’t know what I’m watching anymore, but it just seems tired, confusing and pointless. Gone are the days of interesting plots, exciting stories and adventure. Now we get nothing but cryptic nonsense and flash. Sad.

    Scott
  27. I have to say I agree with this review, and also apply the comments to the general direction of this season. It is messy and poorly written, and jumps about way too much; get that it’s time travel, but it does need to make sense at some level. Also agree too many unanswered plot lines. Bring back Russel T Davies – unlike some comments here I don’t think it just coincides with Matt Smith taking the role, but I do think it is down to Stelphen Moffatt!

    Robbo
    • This is exactly what me and my friends think. Matt Smith is a brilliant actor who can shine so much more if the story wasn’t so… well, story focused (never thought I’d say that about a TV show).

      Stephen Moffat can be quite brilliant if he isn’t stretching himself all over the place and just focuses on one self-contained story (“Blink” and “The Girl in the Fireplace” are great examples), but seeing some of his work over this season and last season just makes me cringe.

      Lisa
  28. What a crystally clear, nail hitting review. I have been saying the same thing since season 6 began. Moffatt and his team have taken a successful concept ( the emotionally wonderful season 5 offering us some of the revamped series’ best ever episodes , 1 4/5 and 12/13) and totally dropped the ball. The aren’t we clever smugness shines through this emperor’s new clothes season. Matt is SUPERB, Arthur has come on in leaps and bounds whilst Kaen Gillan is now a cypher. Shame on the team for dropping them in such lame plots

    Mark Hevingham
  29. The best point you make here is that in a narrative universe that’s not our own, you need *something* to recognise and engage with, and that should be the people. Or otherwise there’s nothing to engage with but pretty pictures, and the whole thing’s turned into a firework display. The show’s currently not got any characters, it’s got people who act as one-liner machines and sitcom mouthpieces. What they’re therefore up to doesn’t involve me at all. Good review.

    David Anderson
  30. Needs to make sense? It made perfect sense to me. But then, I have read a LOT of science fiction, including non-linear time travel stuff. Compared with, say, Robert Silverberg’s “Up The Line”, LKH was a breeze

    I definitely don’t want to see RTD back. Having a billion trillion Daleks defeated in the last five minutes by the use of something hitherto unmentioned is not my idea of making sense. It’s more like the bad old days of Lionel Fanthorpe churning out stories.

    Paul Beardsley
  31. Completely agree with the review. Yes, it provided answers…but it didn’t provide a story. As a result of this, the only people who will enjoy this are those that have spent huge amounts of time pondering the “mystery” of River Song. For people who are actually more interested in story and don’t care for the character, it’s found wanting.

    Moffat has mistaken “complicated” for “clever”. I understand perfectly the ins-and-outs of convoluted time paradoxes, what I don’t understand are puzzling character motivation and flash-forwards for no reason other than to make the audience go “huh? but what about…”.

    I can understand why some people love this kind of arc, but I’d prefer the parts of it to satisfy individually- away from this grand scheme that Moffat has in his head.

    Vash
  32. Sad to say, but D.W is now just plain silly. Storylines too vague & fragmented , characters ‘not for real’.
    Come back Christopher Ecclestone & Russel T Davies.

    Bazza
  33. Thanks Arnold–well said–the lack of emotional depth is not new either. When Amy encounters herself aged 8 in the Big Bang, she has nothing like the awe and amazement that one would exect if you had the opportunity to meet yourself as a child–she is flip and uninterested and moves on immediately. It would not have taken much time to show a reaction shot from which she could gather her emotions again.

    Vanessa
  34. My biggest problem with the ep was the number of ontological paradoxes. I consider those lazy timetravel writing. If you have to keep making events their own cause, then you’re likely to cause yourself many problems. For example, if Mels was her own cause – causing Amy and Rory to finally get together, being the isnpiration for the name Melody – then how did everything happen up to the point where we left last season, if she wasn’t in theri time loop before?

    See? Don’t like ontological paradoxes.

    Also don’t like the deus ex alien stuff, where “oh, by the way, a tiemlord can use their remaining regens to save another timelord, even though we haven’t really mentioned that before” (unless you really want to stretch and pull out some Keeper of Traken-ish explanation, but that’s a reach). That’s unfortunately become a hallmark of the new series (hey did you know the doctor can de-age if everyone thinks about him at the same time, and he can absorb the time vortex with a kiss, and…) so I guess I can’t complain too much.

    I do like Moffat’s dialogue, though. He’s always been good at the zippy banter, but I think he tends to get overheated with the actual plots of a lot of his episodes.

    Eric
  35. I completely agree with this review, except for the part about Matt Smith being good. The show has been in a steep decline ever since RTD and Tennant left.

    I don’t have any hope that it will improve as long as Moffat is in charge.

    Mulva
  36. Although I understand some of what you say, there are some things which Steven Moffat has done in the past which may be relevant here.

    For instance, in the last Xmas special – he went back in time to change the present. So his change of clothes may well be relevant in that he may have gone back to Amy’s wedding to change the future by finding Mel. (He is wearing the same clothes but we will only know later in the series for sure).

    re “Any parent would be holding the Doctor at gunpoint, commandeering the TARDIS when he attempts one of his condescending jokes as he tries to rush them off to a new adventure, and demanding that they find their baby NOW.” – er.. didn’t you watch the clips where Amy was shown trying desparately to contact the DR demanding to know if he had found her daughter yet.?

    re – he stuck Hitler in a cupboard and then forgot about him. – Isn’t this an appropriate way of treating him? Surely thats the best way of showing what you think of him?

    and finally – just remember what RTD has done last in SF – we could be having a ‘miracle day’ Dr Who right now.

    Paul
  37. I feel your pain, Mr B. Pretty much got it in a nutshell. There’s a peculiar disconnect to the show at the moment, & that may be Moffat’s deliberate intention – to depict the queer ambivalence of time-travel. But it does rather resemble clumsy reverse-engineering & on-the-hoof gerrybuilt saga-ing. I like bananas on bananas sometimes, but a little goes a long way, & in amongst all the neat little ideas that Moffat displays, there’s a rather heartless indulgence at the core. I’ve been up & down about the show all my life – & like yourself, I’m a lifer & not about to throw my hand in – but… right now, I. Just. Don’t. Get. It. Never been so nonplussed by it. Gah! But thank you for articulating it all so entertainingly.

    no touch pod
  38. It was awful. Make it stop. Please.

    Jaywalker
  39. I both completely agree and somewhat disagree (which aren’t even opposites but, well…) I think the more thy go into River the more they are losing me. Mels was weird but cool and gotta love “you named your daughter after your daughter”. I hated that this had nothing to do with Hitler, I’m bothered by what this means for Amy and Rory losing their kid but they didn’t lose her and it seems very disjointed right now BUT being a Joss Whedon fan I’m also a believer if you trust the creator, Moffat, in this case, you sit back and try to enjoy and watch. it’ll be pulled together and you will be happy again. I don’t see how they can go back to fun adventures with the baby missing but want them too. So, I agree but think this will somehow all work out by the season’s end. and there were some wonderful moments in this ep. I think River realizing she was the person the Dr held so highly changed her mind. and/or that programming shut off. we’ll see where this goes.

    lhoopie
  40. I liked it. The title being sensationalist? Well, maybe, cos it was at the start of the series; But most people would recognise it as the answer to the playground question “what would you do if you had a time machine?”. Before you discover William Hill and your priorities change, or they teach you about Stalin and Hirohito and Tojo and you realise you’ve gotta kill ‘em all, and that still doesn’t change the increasing nationalism or AntiSemitsm of the period…

    As for Rory & Amy being all unemotional – Don’t you remember Amy saying something to the Doctor along the lines of “You’ve had 6 months where’s my ffing daughter?” then her friend turns up and holds the Doctor at gunpoint then they save one of history’s worst tyrants fron certain death wizard of Oz style then all this other relelatory stuff happens in much the same manner as this sentance and I forget what Rory said but it was kind of along the lines of “Still processing…”. The whole thing was a big stupid ride from start to finish, one thing after another, rapid fire. They could’ve got a whole half a series out of some of the ideas here, it showed balls throwing them away like that. I hope it’s balls and not Hubris…

    Also liked the use of Newport town hall? as the Reichchancellery or whatever. It’s by the same architect as a civic building local to me, and I always thought it resembled one of Speer’s monstrocities.

    arch9enius
  41. Oh, and bung in a potential way to get around the timelords’ 12-+ regeneration limit as well. Assuming they don’t just completely ignore it.

    arch9enius
  42. Totally agree with you. Doctor Who is now too confusing, too self-satisfied, and far too much for children to understand. It’s not Doctor Who anymore, I don’t know what it is.

    The BBC have had their licence fee frozen – they’ll have it cut completely if this show continues its sad decline.

    Aoin
  43. Far too much for children? During the first half of the Season 6 run, I was travelling to work on a train. A bunch of school children sitting a short distance away were talking enthusiastically about the latest developments, River Song meeting the Doctor out of order, and so on.

    They were not confused. They got it.

    I expect they will have got Let’s Kill Hitler too.

    I have several fairly major criticicms regarding some recent episodes, but on the whole, I feel we’ve never had it so good. We’ve certainly never had 21st Century Who as good as Moffat’s run.

    Paul Beardsley
  44. Thanks for this. This review summed up perfectly what I’d been feeling. I really get the sense Moffat’s so concerned with blowing our minds all the time that he’s twisting everything into knots. The biggest reason ‘GITF’, ‘Blink’ and the WWII first-parter from S1 worked so damn well is that the twists were actually very simple. Now it’s like he’s venturing into M. Night country and I can’t move for red herrings and misdirection.

    What I was hoping for was an ep. where The Doctor had to do the whole ‘Hitler must be saved, fixed point’ stuff BUT Rory and Amy would find this just too much to go along with and be like, “well then, you’re on yer own, mate!” and bugger off, leaving him on his own. Maybe they’d be angry that, instead of looking for their baby, he’s protecting this figurehead of evil. You can ask a Companion to risk their life but ask them to assist in protecting Hitler? That would have been interesting for me, anyway. But they don’t make the show for just me. Worst luck. :-) I have to admit, I’m aching for a serious Doctor/Companion clash of morals. I know in ‘TFOP’, he and Donna argued but I’d love to see a no-holes-barred fight where he and the Companion are separated for most of the ep cos the Companion strongly disagrees with The Doctor and is completely disgusted with what he has to do. And The Doctor GETS why they’re disgusted but, hey – a Time Lord’s gotta do what a Time Lord’s gotta do.

    But like Arnold, I do want to be on the other side of the couch. And I hope I am soon. What does bother me though is, online anyway, it seems you can’t breathe a critical word about Moffat without getting told you’re an idiot. Hey, I enjoy his stories and think he’s extremely talented but nobody gets it right 100% of the time. It’s alright to not love every single thing the man puts his name to. It doesn’t make you stupid or thick or that you didn’t ‘get it’. I honestly think that RTD doesn’t deserve all the crap he gets and Moffat doesn’t deserve all the fawning he receives either. (Bet I get flamed for that!)

    Li
  45. Apart from ‘Amy’s Choice’ 2010′s season was a frantic amount of arm waving involving people we couldn’t care about. They toy-ified the Daleks, revealed that the Weeping Angles, after establishing that turning into stone upon seeing them was ‘written into their biology’ COULD actually move if they THOUGHT you couldn’t see them. See what they did there? eh? took a concept and broke it, plus established that the Angles unseen ‘form’ is exactly like their seen form – removing any mystery or fear from them.

    This year’s (apart from the time-filling ‘the black spot’) was genuinely scary. The concept of the Silence replaced the Angles as a creepy monster with the simple-yet-effective defence mechanism, the eye patch lady, and the very personal aspect of the danger that faces the trio really raised the stakes and I cared again, more than ever before. I was even willing to let go of the cameo-fantastic aspects of ‘A good man goes to war’ and go with the ride because I was involved again.

    But no – what do we get after the wait? Comedy-antics in a wheat field, and a new character dropped in to fill a place for no reason. ‘Mels’ was so edgy I nicknamed her ‘Roy/Poochie’ after the Simpsons name-sake. I was genuinely glad she didn’t stick around a a new crew member. I hope we see a return to form of the first half of 2011, because I’ve seen how good Doctor 11 can be, and I know how bad.

    thom
  46. “So in summary, then, it wasn’t written by RTD and so it was rubbish. The End”.

    In Rose Tyler, Russell invented the idea of the Doctor being the second fiddle to the showrunner’s Mary Sue and it was popular with the audience and so either Moffat or the BBC have clearly decided this is how modern Doctor Who should be presented.

    I haven’t clicked the link for the exclusive interview with Moffat, but I assume it’s about telling him how he’s rubbish and that his era of the show is all about River Song and lacks emotional punch, because if it doesn’t then obviously that would be a bit hypocritical.

    Penny Woosnam
  47. So glad to see that others too that River Song was wrong in this latest episode.

    Moffat did get this one wrong. I really expected a young River Song, who you would fall in love with. Her slight problem was that she was programed to kill the Doctor.

    What happened to what I saw as a great set up?

    So while I agree with the review I still enjoyed the episode.

    Yes River was annoying and the Time Lord Robot Policeman was forced into the Doctors world with a sledgehammer. Yet there have been other episodes just as bad and they still got back on track.

    I don’t know how they will make it all work but it should be fun finding out

    James
  48. Thank you, Mr.Blumberg, for putting into excellent words all the things that have been troubling me since Moffat took over. I too have been so utterly disappointed by the plot-for-plot-look-how-clever stories and the complete lack of grounded characters. I was hoping to like the Eleventh Doctor and looked forward to more River Song, but to my eyes they have been totally messed up. This is no longer a show I enjoy. I’m so, so sorry.

    Nina
  49. Pingback: Doctor Who: Series 6, Episode 9–Night Terrors | Simon's incoherent blog

  50. I agree with the review on every level.. Matt Smith does have a lovely new coat.

    It’s funny how hard it is to give an honestly critical reiview of something that we are all dying to love.

    Hope the weather changes soon :)

    James
  51. Pingback: Childrens Clothing | Auburn-area calendar of events | Sept. 7

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