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TV REVIEWS: FTN Reviews Doctor Who Season 11 Episode 7: Kerblam!

November 19th, 2018 by Todd Black Comments

Say what you will about Doctor Who, but when it comes to being totally ridiculous yet absolutely fun, it often excels, and “Kerblam!” was exactly that. For here, a mysterious package from the galactic version of Amazon (come on! You were all thinking it!) led the Doctor and team on a mission determined to find out who needed help.

And oh, what a mission it was! For here, we saw a very different kind of work force, one that was fully automated…but people powered. Well…10% of it that is. Apparently, the people in this galaxy had to fight for their work rights, which sounds very familiar…

Anyway, we got to see the different departments here, and meet some very interesting people. True, some of it was obvious that they were going to die, but it didn’t hurt any less. The death of Kira was actually a very sad death, which shows how good her character was developed by the end.

In the process, it was fun hearing about Ryan in his “past life”, and how comfortable he was in a factory setting despite hating the job itself. And The Doctor was of course a bucket full of laughs. Jodie Whittaker’s ability to shift on a dime between “fun-loving and friendly” Doctor to “I’m trying to save you all!” Doctor is very well done, further proof that she is the right actress for the job for this “return to form” in Doctor Who.

I will say this though, while the episode was fun and intriguing, and did pull some good twists, this is now the third or fourth episode with a rather strong political message. “Rosa” and “Demons of Punjab” were justified in their political commentary. But here? Eh…

Don’t get me wrong, the idea of technology and automated systems not being the problem, but rather the people who control, use, and abuse them being the problem is fair and accurate. But it was kind of forced in with Charlie at the end. Sure, that was supposed to be the “twist” of it all, but having him be the mastermind, then die by his own creations was a little heavy-handed. Also, how did “the system” know how to contact The Doctor?

The other big question is that of the seasonal plot, if there is even going to be one at this point. We’ve gone episodes without even a hint of one. Could they just be planning an impactful season finale and that’s it? Guess we’ll have to see.

Before I go, I LOVE the two references to past lives via the Fez hit (is it still me?) and the off-handed storytelling about how she knew Agitha Christie.

In the end, “Kerblam!” was a funny yet a little rushed episode, and with no preview of the next episode just yet, I’m very curious to see how this episode ends.

4 out of 5 nerds

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Todd Black is reader of comics, a watch of TV (a LOT of TV), and a writer of many different mediums. He's written teleplays, fan-fictions, and currently writes a comic book called Guardians (guardians-comic.com). He dreams of working at Nintendo, writing a SHAZAM! TV series, and working on Guardians for a very long time!