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The Head of People tears the Heads of Robots in this unexpectedly divisive episode

Doc gives up trying to do the impossible – outrun capitalism – and surrenders to its all-consuming pursuit, receiving from a congenial rictus-grin dubbed the Kerblam! man the gift of a fez, some innocuous bubble wrap, and a packing slip cry for help. Whereas Ryan would rather bet on it being a prank and risk someone’s death than go back to work, the others decide to investigate.

Thank the Nimon, because it turns out all is not well among the organic tenth of Kerblam!’s workforce – folks are going missing, right under the noses of the garrulous Head of People and odious Warehouse Executive, the only two suspects out of this flesh-count of 10,000. Just what have these monsters incorporated in their immeasurable conveyor system behind closed doors?

Here's what we think of N151 Kerblam!

We rate Doctor Who stories on a scale from 0.0 to 5.0. For context, very few are excellent enough to merit a 5.0 in our minds, and we'd take a 0.0 Doctor Who story over a lot of other, non-Whovian stuff out there.

Leon | @ponken

2.1

Drew | @drewbackwhen

1.9

Here's what we think of N151 Kerblam!

We rate Doctor Who stories on a scale from 0.0 to 5.0. For context, very few are excellent enough to merit a 5.0 in our minds, and we'd take a 0.0 Doctor Who story over a lot of other, non-Whovian stuff out there.

Leon | @ponken

2.1

Drew | @drewbackwhen

1.9

Here's what you think 8 Responses to “N151 Kerblam!”
  1. Andy Parkinson | @caffreys71

    Hi Gang!

    Kerblam delivers (sorry!) a great package of a Doctor Who episode. In a blatant swipe at Amazon style working practices, it gives us an epic mystery to solve.
    In a series of misdirects that Agatha Christie herself would be proud of, we are bounced around trying to guess who the actual villain is.
    Featuring some cracking performances from all the supporting cast as well as the regulars the story rattles along nicely.

    Likes
    The Kerblam robots look epic. Robots haven’t looked this good since 4th Doctor story Robots of Death
    The scene with The Doctor sticking up for Kira and telling off Slade
    Charlie and Kira’s relationship, the awkwardness with each other is something I can relate to!
    Doc uses some Venusian Aikido on Slade

    Beefs
    The Doc is very quick to believe Slade when he says he didn’t do it
    How come Yaz, Ryan and Charlie can hear Kira, but she can’t hear them yelling not to open the gift?
    The Doctor straight up murders Charlie, whether he deserved it or not, why not get the Kerblam men to deliver to a deserted planet then blow themselves up rather than risking all the people in the Kerblam centre?

    Altogether, despite a couple of plot problems, it’s a fun episode with some lovely witty dialogue. There’s no weak links in any of the cast and it’s a great Doctor Who type story.

    I award this 4.0 vats of dissolved humans out of 5

    Andy Parkinson
    @caffreys71

  2. Sam Dunmall | @samdunmall (insta)

    Hi Team!

    It was great to see Pete McTighe have a go writing this episode and he did pretty well. This was the first time that I’d watched the episode again since it’s air and I was quite surprised at how much I liked it.

    The details dropped in were very clever, such as the foreshadowing at the start of the episode when Ryan goes to pop the bubble wrap, as well as the use of the gift to lure Kira into the bunker room. Why they have a bunker, I don’t know.

    I thought the companions had their moments, however, there were some bits that seemed unnatural. Graham had a dark moment this episode, when his first reaction to seeing liquidised people was not shock, but asks for a tissue. I appreciated the callback to Ryan’s disorder, but his explanation to Charlie before the jump into the chute was a little too long for my liking.

    Doc also had her awesome moments, showing her empathy to Charlie at the end of the episode, featuring Matt Smith’s compassion, and some of Capaldi’s tough love, which I ADORED!

    Finally, I loved Charlie, and his relationship with Graham and Kira was entertaining, but I hated the reveal at the end of the episode, as it didn’t make complete sense.

    Because of this, I rate this episode a 2.1

    Thanks for reading,

    Sam :)

  3. GP Haynes

    Hey Everyone!

    Here is my mini review for “ Kerblam!”

    Well this was a fun episode!

    Jodie’s first season continues to impress with another great production and fantastic supporting cast, with a solid all round effort from the entire regular cast

    I’m not going to apologize, this was impressive. The CGI, sets, costumes and robots were great!

    The robots in particular were downright creepy, in a way not dissimilar to that excellent 4th Doctor adventure, “ The Robots of Death”,
    ( One of very few serials or episodes I would rate as a 5 )

    Lee Mack was great as Dan, and both Julie Hesmondhalgh and Claudia Jessie were excellent cast choices.

    The conveyor belt scene in particular was fantastic, and the use of CGI for the robots at the end was almost seamless.

    Jodie has really hit her stride now, and this story in particular I feel she really nails like The Doctor. Her enthusiasm for the Kerblam! Man at the start, and later to work at the factory, shines through in a wonderful performance.

    All in all a great story, thoroughly entertaining.

    My favourite episode of Whitakers so far.

    Rating: 4.6 Bubble-wrapped packages especially delivered

    GP Haynes
    Australia

  4. Daniel McGinley

    Hi gang
    “MAX 250 OR IT WILL GET OUT OF HAND”. Big congratulations to anyone finding that many words to say about this slice of banality.
    Some thoughts:
    – Enjoyed Graham saying to Doc – “you’re just making sounds now”
    – The writers membered that Ryan has problems with coordination. Well, he says he does, but nothing he does shows this. At least it was referenced though.
    – Was it my TV or is the Home Zone totally over-saturated with colour?
    – Enjoyed the reference to wasps and Agatha Christie, doubly good as it took me away from this chuff to thinking about a story I have a great fondness for.
    – Kerblam has the greatest use of bubble wrap in sci-fi since the Tension Sheet in Red Dwarf. It’s a niche category to be fair.
    – Moralising lecture count is 4, season total 16.
    – To sum up in the form of a rating: This was awesomely clever, satirical and well observed. I give this episode of Black Mirror 4.2 /5. Oh wait, it’s Doctor Who, so in that case 1.8/5.
    PS WBW – Can I carry over my unused word count over for a more interesting story?
    Daniel

  5. Justforwhoo

    Kerblamoooooo (see what I did there?) we’re at episode seven and what have we learnt friends? To recap:

    1. The writers remembered that Ryan has dyspraxia and decided to remind us of that several times
    2. THE GODDAMN FEZ MADE A COMEBACK!! Is this the same Fez that the eleventh doctor talked about buying in the Big Bang ? HMMM
    3. Yaz was fine she got to do a bit of police work I suppose? And you know Graham spoke to people like he normally does

    My issues with this episode;
    1. The fam pop the bubble wrap at the beginning of the episode and don’t die and yet they’re hesitant to pop it at the episodes conclusion ?
    2. Characters written in just to be killed (this seems to be a common thing with Chibbs). I get that you can’t help who you like but goddamn it Charlie, don’t shit where you eat – stop trying to awkwardly flirt with your coworker the robots are watching !
    3. The “bIg” reveal felt anticlimactic because of the cast size I mean, the doctor and Charlie are having a conversation and you can see Ryan at the back with his hands in his pockets just doing fuck all?

    Other than that – it was an okay episode.

    BEST BIT: “oh you two, that’s robophobic”
    WORST BIT: having all of the fam there, maybe drop Ryan and Graham back in Sheffield for this one doc.

    I’d rate this a 2.8/5.0.

  6. Tracey from America | @yecartniatnouf

    Ah yes, it’s Kerblam! Following in the tradition of being afraid of blinking and breathing, now we can also be afraid of bubble wrap.

    Name drops:
    Roger Wilco
    Agatha Christie

    The story action is balanced well, with good pacing and music to match the rising tension. I cared about the guests of the week. And it’s always nice when team TARDIS splits up and gets right to the business of sorting out the mystery.

    The Doctor is smart and resourceful; a commanding presence.

    However, the premise is muddled. A population scrambling for limited jobs must have a high number of people struggling in poverty. Rather than being indicative of an over abundance of technology, which generally improves quality of life, this actually relates to corporate greed and the wealth gap. If jobs start to dwindle because of labor saving technology, you can shorten hours without changing salaries, and give everyone more leisure. Or you can be a greedy corporate jerk. The “50% human workers” solution is a patch on the tire. Someone is still sitting on all the resources here. That’s who Charlie should have been trying to take down with his make-Kerblam-look-bad scheme, and that’s who their society will still have to deal with after the Doctor and fam have gone.

    Rating: A donut covered in tiny sugar circuit boards

  7. Maxwell Rayner | @thetruemisty

    Apology for not being there the past two reviews. You really drop kicked the first one like yas did with the pting and the second one was N150 but not worthy of my review.

    N151 Kerblam
    Who Back When Podcast Release Date ( 19 June 2022)
    BBC Broadcasting Date (18 November 2018)
    Directed By: Jennifer Perrott
    Written By: Pete McTighe

    The doctor receives a mysterious message on the back of a packing slip. The first thing she does is go undercover as a worker instead of talking to the people incharge. If she had done that first then the episode would be over quicker. I did like the twists of who was the main villain of this story and truly felt bad when Kira died. Dan, I don’t care for him. Bubble wraps a doctor who first it could have been worse *Cough* Closing Time *Cough*. I liked when the doctor said “Talking of wasps, did I ever tell you about me and Agatha Christie”. When the doctor uses the sonic she stretches her arm so far it’s like she is trying to reach the top shelf at her favourite store.

    The delivery bot v1 was so cute and I loved it when Graham said “You’ve made it nervous”. One thing that annoyed me was why is the delivery place on the moon, couldn’t it be put on the planet, then you wouldn’t need the teleporter. Also the power drain happens often enough to be a normal thing. If there is something I have learned from Dr Who it’s that power drain equals bad things. Also wanted to point out that they said you are assigned your job role by physical fitness, so why was the doctor put on janitor first, is it because of her age cause that still makes zero sense. And all of this happens because the 11th doctor couldn’t keep it in his pants about fez’s. I give this episode a 3.5/5 late packages from 6 seasons ago.

  8. Michael Ridgway | @bad_movie_club

    Likes:

    • Killer bubble wrap! Sadly a missed opportunity for an Auton villain.
    • A nice bait-and-switch twist. It was the damn human all along! Me and my robophobia. (Although, to be fair, robophobia is somewhat justified in the history of this show).

    Beefs:

    • An intriguing mystery, creepy robots, an Amazon satire – how can this not be awesome! I guess by being super duper dull. The first two thirds are about as interesting as I imagine working in an Amazon warehouse. And listening to Ryan’s life is so (yawn) interesting.
    • Great outcome. More humans will have remedial jobs. Yay. And, erm, terrorism, wins?
    • The Doctor is a total apologist for the Kerblam robots when they murder Kira. Next thing she’ll be siding with some ‘misunderstood’ giant man eating mutant spiders. Get the Brigadier into Kerblam with a flamethrower and torch the lot, just to be on the safe side.

    Rating: 1.7/5 human suckers vaporised by bubble wrap. Ha Ha Ha.

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