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Posts Tagged ‘Let’s Kill Hitler’

I have friends with whom I used to play First Person Shooter videogames. These basically involve chasing each other around a maze with a variety of weapons, the winner being the one who manages to slaughter the other most frequently within the time limit decided upon. I was moderately all right at this, but one of my friends was, frankly, worryingly good. In the end we hit upon a method of handicapping him whereby everyone else was equipped with shotguns, flamethrowers, automatic rifles and so on, while he was only allowed a modestly-sized piece of wood.

Even so this made very little difference. No matter how tentatively we crept about the maze, weapons cautiously brandished and hair-triggers lightly gripped, taking care to avoid walking blithely into terra incognita, sooner or later would come a staccato patter of approaching feet from somewhere behind you, a swish and a thwack, a message you’d taken a nasty hit and then a corresponding patter as our assailant would retreat out of sight before we could bring any of our high-tech mechanisms of destruction to bear.

It was a slightly frustrating, alarming, and deeply disorienting experience, as you can probably imagine, and one which – believe it or not – came somewhat to mind while watching the most recent episode of Doctor Who. So what’s the story about this time? I think it’s going to be about this – Whack. Ouch. Oh, okay, it’s going to be about this instead, then. Hang on, where’s the story gone? Whack. Ow. That’s starting to get a bit irritating – still, at least now I’m pretty sure that the story is about – Whack. OUCH!!!!

Is this necessarily a bad thing? By no means, but I do wonder how well Let’s Kill Hitler will stand up to repeat viewings once you know all of the surprises crammed into it. I suppose there will be some pleasure to be derived from revisiting it just to appreciate the cleverness of Steven Moffat’s plotting and dialogue, as usual, but the fact remains that prior to transmission I (and I suspect I’m not alone) was expecting a story that was, er, you know, actually about Hitler, and the episode itself will almost certainly be remembered as the one which is fundamentally River Song’s origin story.

Two icons meet. (But only briefly.)

As you’d expect, this was well-written, involving and funny, although once again I get a strong sense of the series becoming consumed by the intricacies of its own ongoing storyline. I appreciate the fact that in many ways this story couldn’t exist anywhere else but in the world of Doctor Who – although the bizarre Terminator-meets-the Numskulls subplot, replete with authentically wobbly monsters, was surely pushing it a bit even by Moffat’s standards – but at the same time I also really enjoyed the way the series used to sidle into a new world with its own atmosphere and set of challenges every story, and that doesn’t seem to happen any more. Doctor Who is starting to be unmistakable throughout as anything but Doctor Who, and I’m not sure that’s a good thing.

Oh well. Final thoughts, in no particular order:

  • The flashback sequence initially threw me, as for some reason I thought post-the rebooting of the universe no-one remembered the Doctor prior to Amy’s wedding. But, this would of course make the entirety of the current plotline complete nonsense. Everyone remembers the Doctor in the reboot. So at what point pre-wedding did Amy and Rory forget him?
  • The plotline about Amy’s best friend might have been even more effective if she’d appeared prior to this point. Then again, this would have meant even more recurring characters and ongoing plot points, so maybe not. Hmm.
  • Matt Smith’s new (great)coat: jury still out in the attic. Is this a sign of Moffat succumbing to the baleful influence of the Frock Coat Dogma? Hmmm.
  • List of materials impervious to damage by regeneration energy includes: nylon and most other fabrics used in clothing.
  • List of substances subject to damage by regeneration energy includes: TARDIS interior architecture. Hmm.

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