Monday, 11 April 2011

The Sarah Jane Adventures: The Gift

Part One

“I was about to thank you. A break from the dog is most appreciated.”

“Bit annoying, is he?”

“I couldn’t possibly comment…”

I love the way we start this episode at what would be the end of a normal story, with our heroes on the verge of foiling a Slitheen plot, only for our expectations to be thwarted by the arrival of the Blathereen. Sadly, it’s one of very few cool things about this unfortunate episode. It’s a nice plot, but The Claws of Axos did it better.

There are a lot of old foes in SJA, aren’t there? It’s not long since the Trickster was back, and now it’s the Slitheen again. At least this is a new twist on them from new writer Rupert Laight (who he?). And there’s a nice early bit of education for the kids as we’re old how diamond is just compressed carbon and that. But this is very slow and talky- surely the kids must have been bored. I know I was. At least we get a nice bit of fanwank, though. Apparently Raxacoricofallapatorius, Clom, Clix and Raxacoricovarconpatorius (gotta love subtitles) are part of something called the Raxas Alliance. Well I never.

Things get worse, though. Clyde using K-9 to cheat in a school test is both silly and out of character. And how did he manage to lip a massive robot dog into the classroom, anyway?

Part Two

“How dare you! We’re nothing like the Slitheen. We’re much, much worse!”

Come to think of it, it looks as though this entire clumsy and out-of-character plot strand of Clyde using K-9 to cheat in a test is there mainly to ensure K-9 is able to save Clyde and Rani from the exploding Rakweed. Sigh.

The conclusion seems to go through the motions. The school bell destroying the Rakweed is too much of a coincidence. In an episode which I otherwise like I could be forgiving (The Seeds of Death uses water in a similar way), but this is one piece of clumsiness too many. And the Blathereen want to use Earth as a farm for growing Rakweed, which seems to be narcotic, in a cack-handed attempt to draw parallels with the hard drugs trade. Sigh again.

It’s an unfortunate ending (1/5) to what was otherwise an excellent series. The only surprise for me was that the whole “Chandra family do The X-Files” angle from Prisoner of the Judoon wasn’t followed up. Perhaps next season?

Phew! First Torchwood, now I’ve got to the end of The Sarah Jane Adventures. If we, er, ignore the entire season which has aired since the Marathon officially ended, that is! Just sixteen episodes of Doctor Who to go for me. Then I just have to catch up on the post-Marathon stuff and I’m up-to-date…

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