Sunday, 21 November 2010

The Sarah Jane Adventures: The Last Sontaran

Part One

“I thought I told you two to stay out of the woods!”

“I know, but... did you really think we would?”

We have a short introductory sequence between Sarah Jane and Maria to quickly establish the set-up for new viewers and, of course, to foreshadow Maria’s departure, something which is nicely handled throughout by writer Phil Ford. The scene between Maria and Alan with the letter arriving is brilliantly written and performed, and Sarah Jane’s initially cold response is very in-character.

Meanwhile, at a conveniently nearby radio telescope, there’s a parallel father / daughter relationship, and funny goings-on of the extra-terrestrial kind. The effects are great; the semi-invisible creature in the woods reminds me of Predator. Soon the gang gets involved and it becomes clear that the baddie is a Sontaran. Of course, Sarah Jane immediately recognises the ship from her two previous encounters, and nicely builds up our sense of threat by declaring that this is too big for them and UNIT needs to be called in. Ooh.

There’s some nice dialogue between the Sontaran, Commander Kaagh, and the gang to round off the episode. We’re given a brief info-dump of the Doctor’s latest go at defeating the Sontarans (“I bet that must be quite annoying.”), and Kaagh, Styre-style, intends to perform experiments on Clyde. Naturally, having been in orbit and out of control when the Sontaran mothership blew up the only place he could possibly have landed is southern England within reasonable driving distance of Bannerman Road. Where else?

Part Two

“Your mum saved the world. She wouldn’t have a clue.”

“Believe me, it’s better this way. We’d never hear the end of it.”

Oddly enough, this very story came up in conversation in the pub last Friday (the regular Leicestershire fandom drinking session) and there was talk of this story consisting mainly of running around with very little in the way of plot. Unfortunately the second episode tends to bear this out, however much the b-plot of Maria’s impending departure may be the real story.

And that’s the heart of this episode, as Maria calls in Alan and Chrissie saves the world with a shoe, finally coming to understand and accept what’s been going on at the very end. It all feels quite moving and satisfying.

Kaagh, meanwhile, is allowed to go. That’ll turn out well. 3/5.

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