Doctor Who 6.8 – Let’s Kill Hitler

“Let’s Kill Hitler” is hugely disappointing to me, but the biggest surprise is that the hour doesn’t use the medium of television to its advantage. Here is a production that can definitely show, not tell, through the use of flashbacks and old footage, but it’s really just people talking and talking. They talk about brainwashing, but we never see the little girl in the astronaut suit, they talk about regenerating into a toddler and they don’t show it. They talk about Melody being programmed to kill, but they don’t explain when she became a combat expert and got hold of lipstick with alien poison in it. Did they teach all this to the little girl and entrust her to hold onto this unlikely weapon for decades, or did they train an adult and then regenerate her into the astronaut suit girl? Is the Alex Kingston body Melody/River’s third or her fourth?

They also talk about how the baby Melody became their good friend Mels and they don’t show any emotion at all over it. Amy and Rory have been agonizing over their missing baby for an entire summer and there isn’t a tear to be seen; they just accept that the puzzle’s been solved. Last time, it was the big rousing finale that the Doctor was going to rescue the infant, and there’s no emotional payoff to the revelation that he can’t. It feels so hollow that Amy and Rory don’t feel human anymore.

I wonder whether Steven Moffat had figured out how the Silence business was going to play out. This is the second hour in a row where somebody could have said something simple and direct like Madame Kovarian could have last week: “We can’t stop you after you get to Trenzalore, so we’re going to war with you now.” That creates a mystery and gives motivation to the villains. Instead we get gobbledygook about the oldest question in the universe being asked. That’s also a mystery, although it’s going to feel like an incredibly dumb one when it shows up five episodes down the line, but it’s not a comprehensible motivation.

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