Thu, 1 September 2011
reprinted from wikipedia with thanks and respect
"Let's Kill Hitler" is the eighth episode of the sixth series of the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, and was first broadcast on BBC One, Space and BBC America on 27 August 2011. It is the second episode of a two-part story, continuing stories from "A Good Man Goes to War". It features alien time traveller the Doctor (Matt Smith) and his companions Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) and her husband Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill), plus their daughter and the Doctor's sometimes-assistant River Song (Alex Kingston).
On 15 August 2011, the BBC released a short "prequel" to "Let's Kill Hitler", written by Steven Moffat. This procedure had previously been done earlier in the series to give a short introduction to "The Impossible Astronaut", "The Curse of the Black Spot" and "A Good Man Goes to War". In the prequel, Amy calls the Doctor and leaves a message for the Doctor on the TARDIS' answer phone, begging him to find her child, Melody. Though Amy knows Melody will grow up to be River Song, she does not want to miss seeing her grow up. As she ends her message, it is revealed that a very upset Doctor was listening but did not pick up the phone, even though Amy had pleaded for him to.
In modern-day Leadworth, Amy and Rory create a crop circle to gain the Doctor's attention. He arrives with his TARDIS, but they are soon joined by Mels, Amy and Rory's childhood friend who knows of Amy's "raggedy Doctor" and was responsible for Amy and Rory's relationship; Amy had subsequently named her daughter Melody after Mels. On the run from the police, Mels brandishes a gun and coerces them to escape in the TARDIS and "kill Hitler". Inside, she fires the gun, hitting the central console which fills the time machine with a poisonous gas and sends it out of control.
Back in 1938 Berlin, "Justice Vehicle 6019", a Teselecta robot manned by a human crew from the future miniaturised inside it and able to take on the appearance of other humans, is seeking to deliver justice on war criminals like Adolf Hitler. They do this by using the Teselecta's weapons to torture the criminal, near the end of their timeline. Having taken on the appearance of a Wehrmacht officer to meet with Hitler, they are surprised when the TARDIS crashes into Hitler's office. Hitler, already panicked, fires on the Teselecta, but his aim is poor and strikes Mels. As Rory locks Hitler in a cupboard, the TARDIS crew finds Mels regenerating, becoming the woman they know as River Song—Melody as a grown woman. River, having been trained by her captors to kill the Doctor, makes several attempts but the Doctor has taken precautions to nullify these. Instead, River kisses him and before disappearing into the streets of Berlin, reveals that her lipstick is a poison that will kill the Doctor within the hour and prevent his regeneration. The Doctor orders Amy and Rory to follow River, passing her his sonic screwdriver, while he returns to the TARDIS to try to discover a cure. The Teselecta, aware that the Doctor's death on 22 April 2011 is a "fixed point in time" ("The Impossible Astronaut"), instead follow Amy and Rory in chasing down River, having identified her as their most wanted war criminal, responsible for the Doctor's death.
Amy and Rory chase River to a café at the Hotel Adlon, but the Teselecta arrives, bringing them aboard as allies, and takes on Amy's appearance, allowing the robot to get close to River to attack her. Before they can complete the attack, the TARDIS materialises; the Doctor, spurred on by the TARDIS' "voice interface" hologram of Amy's younger self, Amelia, has found time to dress for the period and stops the attack, now aware of the Teselecta's nature. The captain speaks to the Doctor, informing him that River has been trained to kill him by the Silence, a religious order that believes that "when the oldest question hidden in plain sight" is asked, silence will fall across the universe. When the crew refuse backing down from attacking River, Amy uses the sonic screwdriver to turn the robot's "antibodies"—its security robots—against the crew. The crew power down the robot and are teleported away by a mothership, leaving Amy and Rory to face the antibodies.
The Doctor finds himself too weak from the poison's effects to pilot the TARDIS to rescue his companions; River is inspired by the Doctor's sympathy, and finds herself guided by the TARDIS itself to pilot the ship, and rescues Amy and Rory in time. On returning to the café, the Doctor whispers something in River's ear before he passes away. River asks Amy who River Song is; Amy uses the Teselecta to show River her form stored in the robot's database of who she is to become. With this, River sacrifices her remaining regenerations to bring the Doctor back to life, and passes out. The Doctor, Amy, and Rory take her to a hospital in the far future, leaving the TARDIS-shaped diary as a gift by her bedside, and depart. Later, River is shown becoming an archaeologist so she can find the Doctor herself. Aboard the TARDIS, the Doctor has discovered the date of his death from the records aboard the Teselecta, but does not reveal this knowledge to Amy or Rory.
This episodes alludes to several previous elements of the River Song character, several which include ontological paradoxes. River reveals herself as the young girl seen regenerating at the end of "Day of the Moon" before she became Mels, short for Melody; Mels' name would used in turn by Amy to name her daughter. River's ability to regenerate is a result of being a "child of the TARDIS", from the infusion of Time Lord DNA into Melody during her conception aboard the TARDIS on Amy and Rory's wedding night as described in "A Good Man Goes to War". Later, when regenerating into the form of River Song, she learns of this name from the Doctor and Amy. River's TARDIS-coloured diary, which the Doctor and his companions have seen in River's relative future, is given to her anew by the Doctor. The Doctor further introduces River to the concept of "spoilers" of her future timeline, a phrase River has used in previous adventures. River's aptitude with flying the TARDIS, taught to her by the machine itself, is alluded to from "The Time of Angels" where River explains she "had lessons from the very best" (which the Doctor has assumed referred to himself).
During the moments after her initial regeneration into the River Song form, River reenacts the iconic scene between Mrs Robinson (Anne Bancroft) and Benjamin (Dustin Hoffman) from the movie The Graduate, calling out to the Doctor "Hello, Benjamin". The Doctor likens River to Mrs Robinson in "The Impossible Astronaut". The Teselecta crew consider River a wanted dangerous criminal; River has been shown to be imprisoned in her personal future in "The Time of Angels" for killing "the best man she ever knew". In the episode's epilogue, River is shown asking Professor Candy of Luna University to become an archaeologist as to find the Doctor; previous episodes that take place later in River's personal timeline show that she has acquired these degrees. Both the professor and the university appeared previously in Steven Moffat's 1997 Doctor Who short story Continuity Errors, which showed Candy as having himself conducted research concerning the Doctor.
The concept of "fixed points in time" has been explored before, including the episodes "The Fires of Pompeii" and "The Waters of Mars". The supposed "state of temporal grace" within the TARDIS was previously alluded to by the Fourth Doctor during The Hand of Fear. Like River giving up her remaining regenerations for the Doctor, the Doctor has been shown prepared to do this to save his companions during the Fifth Doctor serial, Mawdryn Undead.
While bringing up the voice interface aboard the TARDIS, the Doctor is shown holograms of his former companions Rose Tyler (Billie Piper), Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman) and Donna Noble (Catherine Tate). He rejects these, as they all cause him guilt, eventually settling on the young Amelia. She also appears in flashback scenes from Amy's past interacting with a younger Mels and Rory, revisiting the various toys and props Amelia created of her "raggedy Doctor" shown throughout series 5. The Amelia hologram refers back to "fish fingers and custard", a phrase used between Amelia and the Doctor during "The Eleventh Hour" and "The Impossible Astronaut".
The Silence are revealed not to be a species as shown in "The Impossible Astronaut" and "Day of the Moon", but a religious order who believe silence will fall when "the oldest question in the universe" is asked. They are also revealed to be responsible for training Melody to assassinate the Doctor.
The Eleventh Doctor wears his secondary jacket, a long dark-green military overcoat, for the first time in this episode.
The read-through for "Let's Kill Hitler" took place on 21 March 2011. The opening scene in the cornfield were the last shots filmed of the series on 11 July 2011. The Temple of Peace in Cardiff used in the episode for the German dinner party, was also used for Karen Gillan's first Doctor Who appearance, when she played a Soothsayer in "The Fires of Pompeii". Exterior shots of the Hotel Adlon were filmed outside Southampton Guildhall.
One scene involving the Teselecta (disguised as a German soldier) chasing Amy and Rory on motorcycles through Berlin was cut from filming due to budget issues. AT&T, who wanted to advertise in the United States broadcast of the episode on BBC America as a tie-in to their "Rethink possible" slogan, brought the idea of using a motion comic to create a bridging scene within the advertising break where this scene would have been placed. AT&T and BBC America worked with Moffat and Senior to create the 60 second scene, which was animated by Double Barrel Motion Labs. The scene will be included in all international home video releases of the episode, though lacking the AT&T branding used on the initial broadcast.
 Broadcast and reception
"Let's Kill Hitler" was first broadcast on 27 August 2011 on BBC One in the United Kingdom. Internationally, it was broadcast in America on sister station BBC America on 27 August as well as on Space in Canada. Overnight ratings showed that the episode was watched by 6.2 million viewers on BBC One, the second most viewed show of the day behind The X-Factor and the second most-viewed Doctor Who episode in Series 6 behind "The Impossible Astronaut". The episode also came in a number one on the BBC iPlayer service the day after it aired. The episode also received an Appreciation Index of 85.
 Critical reception
The episode received generally positive reviews from critics. Dan Martin, writing for The Guardian, was more pleased with "Let's Kill Hitler" as an opener than "A Good Man Goes to War" as a finale, and said it was "an energetic, timey-wimey tour de force with with gags and flourishes like the car and the crop circles that still maintained a strong sense of what it was about". He also commended Alex Kingston's performance, saying that "she got to steal her every scene even more completely than usual, masterfully swerving the episode into a properly emotional final act". Michael Hogan of The Daily Telegraph gave the episode four out of five stars, praising it for being "jam-packed full of ideas, twists, turns and wibbly-wobbly time-bending stuff" and "giddily thrilling entertainment, albeit rather exhausting". He also praised the way it allowed Rory to "finally find his niche".
Writing for The Independent, Neela Debnath praised the lighter mood and "great slapstick moments". Though she thought the identity of Mels was "obvious to everyone but the characters", she said that Toussaint-White was "excellent" and that "it was shame that she regenerated so early on because she brought a different energy to the character". Radio Times reviewer Patrick Mulkern, unlike Debnath, admitted that Mels' true identity "took [him] completely by surprise". He thought that a plot hole was generated in terms of what Melody did in between regenerating in 1969 and joining Amy and Rory, still as a child, 20 years later, but said that "the episode moves too fast for such quibbles to stick, and it is hilarious". Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly called it "a marvelously energetic, funny, clever, noble mid-season start" and praised the acting of Smith, Gillan, Darvill, and particularly Kingston, as well as the emotion that developed in the episode.
IGN's Matt Risley gave the episode a score of 9 out of 10, saying that it was "arguably Moffat's most unashamedly fun Time Lord romp yet". While he praised the humour, plot, and character development, he was critical of the Teselecta; though they "score[ed] high on the sci-fi kitsch factor" they were "anything but memorable". SFX magazine critic Richard Edwards gave "Let's Kill Hitler" five out of five stars, thinking it "has to rank among the cleverest Who episodes Moffat has ever written". While he praised Kingston's performance, he wrote that "it's Matt Smith who steals the show, in one of his finest performances as the Doctor...he's utterly magnificent, whether acting the joker, or living out 32 minutes (ish) of death scene. The mix of optimism...and sadness is a tricky thing to pull off, yet Smith does it in a quintessentially Doctor way". Keith Phipps of The A.V. Club graded the episode as a B+, saying that he was "a bit divided". He praised Moffat's River Song arc, which made "the mind [reel]...in a good way", as well as the dialogue and "big concepts". On the other hand, he did not think the Teselecta's mission was developed and "as characters they seem kind of bland". What "really [troubled]" him was that it did not have the "impact" of some previous episodes and he thought it unlikely that Amy and Rory were willing to quickly accept that they were meant to raise their daughter as a school friend.
Gavin Fuller of The Daily Telegraph said the Moffat "delivered a pacy romp" and praised the concept of the Teselecta, but was disappointed with the "wasted opportunity" of the setting. He thought that the setting offered "great dramatic potential" but was "little more than window dressing for the story". He thought that using Hitler as a comic relief "struck a wrong note given the nature of the man and the regime he led" and that it was "an odd way to treat such an historically significant character". He was also critical of Moffat's "seeming keenness to kill the regular cast in some way, shape or form". Entertainment Weekly's Tucker thought that it "didn't need Hitler to be an excellent [Doctor Who] episode".
Assignment X gave a negative review of the episode: "Matt Smith is wonderful as always and I love his new coat. And there ends the positive part of this review." Jim Shelley of The Daily Mirror also was negative about the episode, especially towards Alex Kingston, who appeared to be acting while "the rest of the cast play their parts perfectly naturally".