In Review: Doctor Who – Kerblam!

A mysterious message arrives in a package addressed to the Doctor

Synopsis: A mysterious message arrives in a package addressed to the Doctor, which sends the gang on an expedition to the home of the galaxy’s biggest retailer

Review: This episode was somewhat slow to start with but the twist near the end and the climax were brilliantly done. Jodie Whittaker proves very Doctor-y in this outing. I thought the scene where 13 stood up to Jarva was very Doctor like, as was her joy at the arrival of the Kerblam! man on the TARDIS. I absolutely LOVED seeing the 13th Doctor wearing a fez. This was exactly the right way to call back to the series’ past. I really liked the twist of Charlie being the true enemy and not the system itself, and I thought that Leo Flanagan showed Charlie’s vulnerability and desperation when the Doctor confronted him really well. He was so convincing as the nervous youngster with a crush on his co-worker that the twist came completely out of left field and impressed me a lot. There were some great Doctor moments throughout the episode such as when the Doctor inveigled her way into the Kerblam! workforce and her moment of uncertainty as to how to stop the bombs being delivered which makes her such fun to watch. It does feel though as if the writers are still trying to convince us that Jodie Whittaker is the Doctor as all of the Doctor things that she does while well acted feel somewhat generic. This reviewer would like to see the 13th Doctor put a more personal spin on the way she does things and be a bit more self assured. Against that I really liked the 13th Doctor’s interaction with Charlie when he was about to deliver the bombs.

There were some great human moments throughout this instalment. I really liked the small role that Lee Mack played here and I thought it was a lovely touch that Yaz wanted to deliver Dan’s daughter’s package to her in person as thanks for saving her life. I was not that impressed by Claudia Jessie’s Kira although I did like the moment where she said “That’s the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me.” in response to the Doctor. Bradley Walsh continues to get some great lines and moments in this series. I loved when Graham fell asleep on his bucket when the Kerblam! robots were explaining his job to him and I really liked his and the others’ reactions to Charlie’s crush on Kira.

The theme of villains using guns is continued here when Callum Dixon’s Jarva grabs a gun. I thought his obnoxious manager was somewhat cliched although he was proven not to be the main threat which was a nice touch. I adored 13’s use of Venusian aikido and I thought that Julie Hesmondhalgh showed a great range in her scenes. I didn’t like how long this episode took to set up what Kerblam! was and I thought some of the scenes went on for too long but there were some great visuals of Yaz and Dan in the ill lit warehouse with some good accompanying music. The Kerblam! robots put me in mind of the Smilers from the Matt Smith episode The Beast Below and I loved when Ryan, Yaz and Charlie went down the chute and onto the conveyor belts. I thought that the bubble wrap actually being explosive was a great invention and very Doctor Who in that something innocuous was actually a deadly weapon.


Overall, a great episode with a slow start.

Doctor Who - Kerblam!
  • Story
  • Acting
  • Incidental Music
  • CGI

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