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‘Doctor Who’ recap: 11×07 “Kerblam!”

Doctor Who recap: Season 11, Episode 7, “Kerblam!” Aired Nov. 18, 2018

After last week’s heavily emotional episode, it’s nice to have something a little lighter. Doctor Who loves to make us scared of everyday objects, and this episode was no exception. I might be a tad wary of bubble wrap this holiday season. Plus, of course, there was the comment on technology taking over human jobs. This episode was pretty fun, and it caught me off guard a couple times. I’m impressed.

Let’s get to the recap! Pick it, click it, Kerblam it!

“It’s a Kerblam man!”

Doctor Who Kerblam 11x07

Following a call for help, Team TARDIS poses as Kerblam employees to search for the distressed soul. Kerblam is 90 percent robot workers and 10 percent “organic” workers. The robots are pretty creepy and seem to get creepier the more we see them. Kerblam uses constant random monitoring, and there’s been a recent trend of organics going missing. The place is run by the sweet Head of People, Judy, and seemingly evil boss Jarva Slade.

Doctor Who Kerblam 11x07 Robots The System Creepy

Kira and Charlie

Doctor Who Kerblam 11x07 Kira and Charlie workplace crush

The Doctor and Ryan work with packing slips in their attempts to find the worker who sent the call for help. They meet co-worker Kira, the most lovable soul. Meanwhile, Graham starts work as a janitor, where he meets fellow cleaner Charlie. Kira and Charlie are obviously into each other, and I totally ship it. She gets clumsy when he’s around, and he can’t concentrate on anything when he sees her. It’s all sickeningly sweet, and I’m living for this.

Doctor Who Kerblam 11x07 Charlie the cleaner Kira I ship it

Post-watch addition: I feel a touch betrayed. Thanks, Doctor Who.

Deadly bubble wrap

Doctor Who Kerblam 11x07 Thirteenth Doctor Jodie Whittaker heroic moment

When Kira goes missing, Ryan, Charlie, and Yaz go to find her. They take a trip on the package conveyor belt, which ends up being like lots and lots of terrifying slides. While they watch Kira die by bubble wrap, The Doctor takes apart a robot to get it to help Team TARDIS. Twirly the robot reveals that the system, not a person, sent the original message. Oh, and seemingly evil Jarva Slade actually isn’t evil at all. Didn’t see that coming.

“No one questions a cleaner”

Doctor Who Kerblam 11x07 Twirly the robot

The system sent the message to The Doctor for help because the whole thing was Charlie’s plan. Charlie is the one who was picking off workers. Enraged by the 10 percent minimum organic workers decision, Charlie is trying to show people that technology is the problem by setting up the robots. To do this, he arms them with bubble wrap that is actually a sheet of bombs, which he plans to send to Kerblam customers. Using Twirly, The Doctor is able to get the robots to blow up the bombs themselves, saving the customers but taking Charlie down with them.

All the references to past Who!

Doctor Who Kerblam 11x07 Thirteenth Doctor Eleventh Doctor Jodie Whittaker Matt Smith Fezzes are cool fez

First, The Doctor gets a package she doesn’t remember ordering. She opens the box to find a fez! Of course, the fez comes with a note reading, “help me,” which kicks off the episode. Regardless, I think the fez is absolutely still her!

Doctor Who Kerblam 11x07 Thirteenth Doctor Jodie Whittaker Tenth Doctor David Tennant Agatha Christie

And just when I thought we reached peak canonical reference, The Doctor mentions her day with Agatha Christie. I love when The Doctor mentions past adventures, and it’s even better when they’re adventures we’ve actually seen!


That was a bit of a roller coaster, and I was completely thrown off by who was behind it all. Overall, I think that was a fun, enjoyable episode. Next week, we deal with witches. I’m pretty excited for that. The Doctor could get into all kinds of trouble in a town that hunts witches. Have a great Thanksgiving, American Whovians! Talk with you next Sunday!

Next week:

What did you think of “Kerblam!”? Let us know at @PureFandom on Twitter!

Doctor Who airs Sunday nights on BBC America at 8/7c.

(Image: BBC)


Jordan Alperstein

Jordy has a degree in English literature and communication studies. When she isn't attending concerts, she's watching way too much TV for her own good and fangirling over fictional characters. Jordy is a self-proclaimed optimist and bookworm, and she's a sucker for fantasy, superheroes, and good old-fashioned villains.

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