pisode Seven, and this week it's almost as though we’re being treated to a “what if” story. What would happen if someone over at Amazon decided to kill its customers? Kerblam borrows plot points from two past Doctor Who serials and this does seem to be an ongoing theme now with the series, in particular, the series we’ve currently been given; which has left the fandom divided.
The episode begins with Team TARDIS receiving post after trying to outrun an oncoming object within the space/time vortex itself, now this hasn’t been the first time that post has been delivered to the TARDIS whilst in flight. Previous the Doctor received “mail” in the 2011 episode The Doctor’s Wife but the stylization of the scene in Episode seven, in particular, was very much familiar to that of the 1988/89 serial The Greatest Show in the Galaxy.
In the scenes featuring the benevolent Time Lord, receiving mail is what triggers the story. The TARDIS arrives and the rest, as they would say, is history. The monster of the week, a grinning robot, also known as the “Kerblam Man”, was very reminiscent to that of the Conductor Android from The Greatest Show. Both are suited and have a murderous rage due to being reprogramed by someone in plain sight.
Secondly, another plot point that was borrowed from another Classic serial of the show was the phrase “Robophobia,” mentioned in The Robots of Death in 1977. Robophobia/Grimwade’s Syndrome is a well-known condition throughout the universe where sentient beings have created or reprogramed robots to become independent.
For me, the overall story of Kerblam was that of The Robots of Death, like Arachnids in the UK I was reminded of a serial from the 1970s and feel that borrowing the plot line from The Green Death, and with the constant use of borrowing ideas from past stories, is going to make the fans who grew up with the show find it predictable and switch off from the show.
However, the story’s antagonist doesn’t want the death of humanity. He merely wants humans to turn on Robot-kind so that more jobs will become available for living beings. The direction the show is going feels political and to an extent, I can see why the fandom is divided.
I am one of the members of the fandom that is missing the lack of alien creatures and that at the moment the only monsters I seem to be getting from the show is humanity. There seems to be hardly any creatures from the depths of space who want to eradicate humanity out of the skies.
I am enjoying the TARDIS Team though, the Doctor, Yaz, Ryan and Graham are a good bunch. I've enjoyed the character development for Yaz and Ryan. However, I am still waiting to see some development of Graham and maybe, just maybe Ryan will hurry up and start calling him Grandad. You can certainly see that Graham is desperately trying to connect with his Step-Grandson. I think Ryan's going to need a big kick up the backside in the shape of Tzim-Sha.
Overall an OK story, predictable in places and seemed to be crammed full of plots from two Classic Doctor Who serials. I will, however, say that the one moment of this episode I did like and thought that it was very Classic Who was the idea of bubble wrap being the threat. Doctor Who has made us apprehensive about mannequins, statues, shadows, coal mines and now bubble wrap. Is anything sacred?
Doctor Who continues on Sunday at 6:30 pm in Episode 08: The Witchfinders.