Doctor Who season 11, episode 7 recap: Kerblam!


Doctor Who teaches us that even bubble wrap can be dangerous–but how does one resist?

Doctor Who is on a roll this season and while this week’s episode, “Kerblam!” doesn’t surpass or live up to last week’s, “Demons of the Punjab”, there’s still something to be said about the creepy robots that were lurking around every corner.

The episode begins with the Doctor getting a package from a company called Kerblam! that is like a futuristic version of Amazon complete with delivery via teleportation. In the package was a fez (ahhh, we miss you Matt Smith!), but what stood was a message inscribed on the slip asking for help from Team Tardis.

They head off to the Kerblam! warehouse where they meet the woman in charge of people, Judy. She’s super excited because Kerblam! has the biggest human workforce in the galaxy (which is at about 10% of the total force). To get into the company, the team pretends to be a group of new workers starting their first day, thanks to the Doctor using the screwdriver to manipulate the system.

Each of them was scanned to determine what job position they would be given. Yaz was teamed up with a man named Dan who only got to see his daughter two times a year in order to save up money for her education. When Yaz is directed to collect something from a shady part of the warehouse, Dan refuses to let her and goes in her place.

Yaz follows him and after hearing his scream, finds out that he has disappeared, and presumably dead. Meanwhile, the Doctor and Ryan were teamed up together with a girl named Kira in packaging, who informed that many of the employees had gone missing recently. Lastly, Graham was working in janitorial services with a boy named Charlie who was smitten over Kira.

The Doctor Who mystery continues as the Doctor tries to get to the bottom of why employees have gone missing and she confronts Judy and the main boss, Jarva. Ryan and Yaz help her sneak into Jarva’s office and they come across papers that have documented all the disappearances.

Because they all have tracking anklets on, Judy ends up finding them in the office, and while they assume she is against them, she proves her allegiance when one of the robots tries to attack Charlie, and she rips its head off.

I know I already mentioned it before, but the I-Robot/Westworld robots were so jarring and freaky with their bright eyes and big smiles. Well done, Doctor Who. Things got crazier when Kira was lured to a room under the context of winning an employee of the day award. At that moment, Judy received a notice saying that Kira was missing and the signal of her last known location happened to be where power was being drained from.

On a quest to find Kira, Yaz, Ryan, and Charlie teamed up and went flying down a magical chute and landed onto a conveyor belt, which was just one of the hundreds in the room they were in. Can we take a moment to ship Yaz and Ryan because them working together this episode was everything we never knew we wanted.

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Through communicating with a Kerblam! robot named Twirly, the Doctor was able to hook it up to the system and figure out who sent the message to her and the team.

They were alerted down to the dispatch area where they found an army of Kerblam! robots all holding packages and learned that the power was being drained because it was going straight to the bots so they could do deliveries at the exact same time.

If anyone was wondering what inanimate object Doctor Who would make threatening next, you got your answer in this week’s episode. Bubble wrap. Yes, that’s right.

Within each package was bubble wrap (not surprisingly), but since every human can’t resist popping the bubble wrap as soon as they get their hands on it, someone had designed into a bomb as soon as a bubble was popped.

Unfortunately, Kira met her end when she opened a package and found only bubble wrap inside. As soon as she went to pop one of the bubbles, well, you know what happens. As Kira was opening the package, Charlie was screaming from the outside telling her not to which gave away that Charlie either knew or had something to do with it.

As this season of Doctor Who has been doing, there was a deeper message to this week’s, “Kerblam!”. Charlie was the one behind everything that happened because he was frustrated that robots had essentially replaced the need for humans and that only 10% was not fair. He wanted to prove to humans that automation was their enemy, but in the end, it was that same system that was trying to help him.

Before things got out of hand and Charlie succeeded in his plan, the Doctor changed the delivery addresses to the location they were in and made it so the bots would pop the bubble wrap instead. She managed to get everyone out of there via teleportation but Charlie wouldn’t leave and died alongside all the bots.

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The episode certainly felt like a nod to society’s increasing dependence on automation, and may or may not be a glimpse into the future that awaits us. Who knew Doctor Who would have us thinking about the days ahead in a realistic manner or about the emotionally jarring past of our history?

Doctor Who airs every Sunday on BBC America at 8 PM EST!