My memory of ‘Let’s Kill Hitler’ was that it was terrible. Mostly because of River. And upon rewatch, that much remains true. ‘Let’s Kill Hitler’ is terrible.
It’s also amazing.
I had entirely forgotten about the Tesselecta, which is ridiculous given that it’s practically the one redeeming feature of the entire storyline. It’s a great sci-fi concept, gorgeously and humorously executed – ‘powered by miniature cross people’ – with an absolutely delightful recurrence at the end of the season. Everyone aboard the thing is great. The antibodies are a bit silly, but since the episode establishes that the machinery is not at peak in any case, it works.
The acting is also amazing. Karen Gillan as both Amy and terrifying ‘Terminator 2’ Tesselecta Amy is spectacular. Alex Kingston is a joy to watch even when the lines she delivers tear the last remains of a wonderful character to bloody shreds. And Rory is amazing in every way – even to the point of acknowledging the ridiculousness of how amazing he is. ‘It’s been that sort of day.’
While I despise Mels, the growing-up scenes are kind of cute – especially the ‘penny drops’ scene. Mostly however that’s due to Amy/Amelia and Rory. It’s also kind of cute the way it shows Amy and Rory ‘raising’ their daughter, even if the entire concept is completely stupid.
It remains, however, that brainwashed psychopath murderer River is a terrible idea and a terrible character. I hate it. All of her agency, everything that made her interesting as a character is torn away in favor of propping up the Doctor. Worse, she’s weight- and size-obsessed, as she never is anywhere else. This obsession, and her sudden sexualization, even if in keeping with the character under the circumstances, is disgusting coming from Moffat’s pen. It’s the largest single piece of DW-related evidence so far that the man is a lecherous old creep who should not be allowed anywhere near television for
Obviously this episode bothered me. It’s too bad, because like I said it’s also great, but the ick sticks while the good stuff fades away. Next time I watch I’ll try to remember to skip over River’s scenes: no matter how wonderful Alex Kingston is, the ravaging of her character contaminates the entire story.