Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor explores a cry for help from within the galaxy’s largest retailer – Kerblam – in the seventh episode of her debut series as the Time Lord.
And what a gem of an episode it is, mixing the familiar with new twists. There’s so much to see here for fans of the show – literal tips of the hat to various episodes – and Doctors – over the years but the plotting is also decent.
After receiving a package from Kerblam! The Doctor is compelled to investigate after a cry for help is found on a packing slip – mirroring various real life stories about dubious labour practices at big retail mega-corporations.
There is slow build-up, while the Doctor investigates the thinly veiled Amazon-type company which is 90% staffed with creepy looking robots.
The remaining humans are only there because of local labour laws that keep 10,000 people in a job.
It certainly looks like the story is going down a well trodden path but there’s twists ahoy and also some Sunday evening levity courtesy of Lee Mack while the other guest actors – Julie Hesmondhalgh, Callum Dixon, Leo Flanagan, and Claudia Jessie add some depth and pathos to the story.
The Doctor and her allies do well in a typically Whovian investigation of the issue – with all three of her friends working well together with the Doctor in piecing together the puzzle with added dramatic waving of her Sonic Screwdriver to speed things along nicely.
All in all, it’s a solidly entertaining episode with the right amount of humour mixed in with some real jeopardy with an emotional third act, although there’s still not been anything to match the emotional highs delivered during some of the very best Steven Moffatt penned episodes.
And while this might have been the most Doctor Who-ish story of the season so far I’m now starting to miss the impact of a classic villain on the stories.
It’s a pity we didn’t get to see an extra scene which I expected as a coda to the final scene otherwise the show delivered (sorry, had to get that one in!) on the promise of the plot.
Next week we’re back in to a Witchfinder General historical episode set in 17th Century Lancashire.