Let’s Kill Hitler Review Roundup
Since the screener on Monday, the press reviews for Let’s Kill Hitler have been coming in thick and fast. Here’s a selection with some choice cuts.
Spoilerphobes should note that some minor plot details are discussed.
A crop circle outside Leadworth (Amy and Rory’s home village) leads on to Hitler’s HQ in Berlin 1938, but how? Certainly look out for Amy’s new bezzie mate. Played by Nina Toussaint-White (formerly Syd in EastEnders), she’s a dazzling addition to the cast and may mean that RT’s bookazine The Companions already needs an appendix.
Fans of Rory – you know who you are – will be delighted that he bags the best lines and some knockout action. The Doctor again gets spruced up in top hat and tails, like Fred Astaire only with a dead leg. Plus there’s a shape-shifter and, as you’ll have gathered, one or two Nazis… So where does River Song figure in all this? Don’t fret. She gets plenty of screen time and is playing with fire.
If things seemed confusing before, rest assured the pieces come together nicely in this first episode, and whilst there are still lots of questions to be ironed out (and possibly more as a result of this episode- isn’t it always the way), I am now more confident on the direction of this series.
Without giving too much away, the story starts with the doctor meeting Amy and Rory in a field, only for an unexpected companion to turn up and send the TARDIS back to Hitler’s personal office in 1938. But it soon transpires that the Doctor and his companions aren’t the only ones in this time period, with a bizarre race of futuristic miniature people walking around in a robot on a mission to deliver justice to the universe. Not to mention a certain other new ‘companion’ to deal with…If Let’s Kill Hitler is anything to go by, we’re in for a fantastic end to series six of the time traveller’s adventures.
Let’s Kill Hitler hits the ground running, and doesn’t let up the breakneck pace. Jokes and action come thick and fast, as the Doctor and friends are hijacked by a new character and crash-land in 1938 Berlin, where they come face to face with a great evil… and Hitler’s there too. It’s a romp rather than a history lesson: Inglorious Time Lords for Saturday tea-time.
The episode evolves into something much deeper, too. Despite the energetic opening scenes, acrobatic twists and fizzing comedy, the story is driven entirely by the relationships between the characters we know and love.
And if you’ve ever wanted to see Amy in a school uniform or Rory punch a Nazi, you’re in luck.
Let’s Kill Hitler does leave questions, as it should, and it leads nicely into the remaining episodes of series six. But it also does justify that series break, and it brings Doctor Who back onto our screens with considerable style.
Let’s Kill Hitler doesn’t waste time easing the audience back, but rather pushes them down a mine shaft with a couple of kitchen sinks for good measure. Not a criticism, you understand – we’re back with a deafening bang.
New faces, familiar faces, new familiar faces – even a fresh companion (sort of) – any expectations are firmly locked away within the first ten minutes. What follows is a rewriting of what you thought you knew, and a few things you didn’t. From nods to the recent past to more than a touch of foreshadowing of the inevitable future, to say more would spoil, but those signature moments Moffat’s Who does so well are present in abundance.
The first half of Let’s Kill Hitler is bursting with wonderful moments and fizzing with action, introducing then detonating red herrings with a mischievous cackle, firing laugh-out-loud lines and slapstick silliness with delirious abandon.
It’s packed with crowd-pleasing moments: a breathless montage of Amy, Rory and a mysterious third party as kids; River’s best entrance yet — topped almost immediately by another one; and Rory punching out Nazis, like Captain America if he took on Hitler without bothering to beef up. There’s a proper unashamedly sci-fi concept about the responsibilities of time travel that’s then crossed with a Beano comic — and rendered with a gorgeous and cleverly-employed special effect. There’s a menacing fleet of robots that manage to be both truly threatening and genuinely funny — all while looking endearingly wobbly in authentic Who style — and at least one genuinely horrifying moment.
I can’t tell you anything about Let’s Kill Hitler. I can’t tell you about the nature of Hitler’s role in it. I can’t tell you about who gets left in the cupboard. I can’t tell you who thinks who is gay. I can’t tell you about the miniaturisation ray. I can’t tell you about the best friend we’d never heard mention of before. I can’t tell you about the things with the tentacles. I can’t tell you about the crop circles. And I definitely can’t tell you about what Doctor Song (as I am refusing to stop calling her) does next. Saying anything at all gives it all away. It’s the way with Moffat’s intricately plotted scripts.
All I can tell you is that it’s really rather good. And after my underwhelmed reaction to A Good Man Goes To War and all its kitchen sinks, it makes for a strong, standalone, character-based episode that manages to carry the weight of the entire series, while making perfect poetic sense. The series is heading in a bravely “hard sci-fi” direction for sure – the inevitable chat will be what the fabled “casual viewer” will make of it all. Yet as Moffat also pointed out: “Assuming an intelligent audience is a good idea and judging by our ratings, it’s been a successful idea.” (He also said he never goes online to read about the show, something else we know to be a lie.)