Kapow!

Kerblam! was one of those Doctor Who episodes which took something ordinary, and mundane, and turned it into something deadly dangerous in this case it was bubble wrap turned into a highly explosive material by a young man angry at the automation of almost all job roles in the future, a topic that is always mentioned every now and again when these new fangled devices are unveiled which can do things much quicker than a human being can.

The Doctor recieves a parcel from Kerblam! the biggest store in the universe (which is so obviously not meant to be a dig at Amazon or other similar retails at all, No siree, Bob!) which has its own moon as their warehouse, with the world help printed on the back of the packing slip.

Naturally this sort of mystery is like red rag to a bull for the Doctor, so she takes them to Kerblam! headquaters where they go undercover at the warehouse to find out what was going on and try to help where they can. This was effectively  a normal day for Ryan as he usually worked in a warehouse, albeit not one on a moon in outer space.

We meet a couple of the members of staff and learn a bit more about Kerblam! itself and find out that about 90% of the workforce is automated and that they have a small core of organic staff mostly in picking, packing, janitorial and management it would seem, but they do seem to be quite keen of having that small core of organic workers even to having a head of people on the management team.

After chatting to some of their fellow organic workers including Kira in the packing department, Dan in the picking department and Charlie in the janitorial department they find out that there is something afoot in Kerblam! as various members of staff have gone missing and never been heard of again.

Like the majority of warehouse work the workload at Kerblam! is no different and is as mundane and boring as an other warehouse would be. You cannot stand still for more than a second without being told that you need to carry on working, or even take a toilet break without permission, or probably even breath without permission either. This I can vouch for having previously worked in a warehouse situation where you were monitored for almost everything, but not by robots in this case, although the robots are likely to have more humanity in them than most middle management in warehouses. I can only guess that the writer of the episode Pete McTigue has worked in such a place before as you would only know this if you had been in that situation and had been on the receiving end of these jobsworth types.

The direction by Jennifer Perott was also impressive particularly in showing how big an operation that Kerblam! is which, would not have looked out of place, in a big budget feature film. It was amusing watch Ryan and Yaz follow the route of a parcel to the delivery depot in the warehouse and that was well directed and rather exciting.

Once again I like the fact that Ryan always seems so out of breath whenever he does anything resembling vigorous exercise as that is exactly how I am, so I can totally relate to it. Having said that warehouse work is so deathly dull that you can sort of see why people might do this sort of thing, if only to relieve the tedium of the work.

I also loved the fact that poor Graham was relegated to the job of a cleaner but also the fact that they originally meant the Doctor to do that job before she performed jiggerypokery to switch job roles with Graham. Still it would not have been the first time that the Doctor had pretended to be a cleaner (see The Green Death).

For old school fans the Kerblam! man did look a bit like the bus conductor from the season 24 story The Greatest Show in the Galaxy crossed with the autopilot from Airplane! Go on have a look. I dare you.

 

 

 

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