Saturday, 30 April 2011

The Sarah Jane Adventures: The Vault of Secrets

Part One

“So where’s Will Smith?”

At last, we have a Men in Black episode! The pre-titles teaser is good fun, with a nice old-fashioned sprained ankle adding to the fun. But we then learn that the person trying to infiltrate this big building is in fact our old friend Androvax, Destroyer of Worlds.

I love the early scene inside the attic, with a brief cameo of Luke and Sarah Jane sabotaging the NASA Mars probe- while hinting at a pyramid from an alien civilisation (Ice Warriors?). The series and the characters have developed by now to a point where we can have lots of nice little scenes like this.

There are some more nice comedy scenes with Haresh and the lovely Gita, using Mina Anwar’s considerable comic talents to the full. Their UFO obsession from last season continues as Gita drags the long-suffering Haresh to a kind of Aliens Anonymous grouping called BURPSS.

After some amusing scenes involving Haresh and some greenery we discover that Androvax has actually come to Sarah Jane for help in reviving his people. But apparently he’s dying, having been bitten by a snake n a rather nasty Devil’s Island-style tropical prison world.

We soon discover that the Vault is run by some sinister android Men in Black, part of a sinister alien conspiracy to “confiscate” alien tech from Earth and wipe peoples’ memories. Bet Torchwood would have got on with them famously. I like the title “Alliance of Shades”. Shades are cool.

Things start to heat up, as brave Clyde agrees for Androvax to take over his body, and then it all kicks off. This is an ok script from Phil Ford, with some nice characterisation of the regulars, but it’s all a bit ho-hum so far.

Part Two

“Your associates have been Clyde-inated. Nice shades, though.”

Ah. So, if the Vault is opened, then bye bye Earth? That changes things a bit, and gives the story a shot of adrenalin. This is a fast-paced, exciting episode with a lot of running in it. There’s also a bit of excitement surrounding the lovely Gita- Androvax takes her over at the start so she certainly has to find out about the Scoobies- how’s this going to play out?

Also interesting to see Rani and Clyde briefly holding hands- I think this is going to slowly develop. Aah!

There are some nice moments- Clyde tricking two Men in Black into shooting each other, and Elisabeth Sladen again showing what a great actress she was by giving her very different performance where possessed by Androvax. Amusingly, after all the misdirection over Gita having to be told about what’s going on, she blurts out how she can’t wait to be in the news and ends up having all things alien wiped from her memory. Not sure about the ethics of this, really, especially with the lovely Gita!

It’s a nice ending, with Androvax’s people surviving. After a slow part one, this ends up as quite a decent story.

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