Monday, October 12, 2009

My Review of The Sarah Jane Adventures 2x05: "The Temptation Of Sarah Jane Smith"

Written by Gareth Roberts
Directed by Graeme Harper

Barbara (to Sarah Jane): “Look at you. Older than us.”
Eddie: “And you came all this way to see us.”

The phrase, ‘been here, done that’ is succinct to this story. We already saw on Doctor Who the dire consequences of trying to save a dead parent. Rose Tyler nearly created a permanent world of disaster and Sarah Jane even did the same.

The problem is that Rose was reasonably naïve when she made the decision to save Pete back in 1987. Sarah Jane’s had enough time travel and life experience at this point that she should be able to avoid making the same kind of mistake.

Of course, it’s always going to be an easier said than done thing. Anyone who has lost a parent, especially in Rose and Sarah Jane’s cases where you grew up entirely without them is going to think rationally. The Trickster knew this when he set the trap in motion. Sarah Jane even guessed that she was being set up. That didn’t stop her though.

Oscar was the catalyst into her seeing 1951. When she realized that the young boy belonged to that time, she had no choice but to learn more. It was good that Luke probed her about her parents. It was also good that he opted to go with her. When the fissure closed both of them were trapped.

The 1950’s were a time of rations and fetes and seeing both Barbara and Eddie in full communal swing gave Sarah Jane food for thought. She thought her parents abandoned her at three months. This went to prove that she was utterly loved by her folks.

Barbara and Eddie were a fairly likeable duo. Both of them greeted Sarah Jane and Luke reasonably well. There were some lovely moments in particular with Sarah Jane and Barbara. Sarah Jane must have been dying to find out how her parents met and Barbara was happy enough to fill her in.

Happiness aside, Sarah Jane’s rationality went out the window though. Luke took on something of a Doctor-esque by trying to tell his mother to leave but Sarah Jane couldn’t. She even went as far as to put Eddie’s car out of business so him and Barbara wouldn’t drive off to their deaths.

By saving her parents, Sarah Jane gave the Trickster exactly what it wanted – existence and ruler ship of the Earth. Much as I enjoy the Trickster returning, it’s a shame that he isn’t used as a finale villain. He’s definitely threatening enough to be one and this story had a reasonable apocalyptic feel to it.

As hellish worlds go, this story won’t win points for originality. It’s every bit as hopeless and demoralizing as the parallel universe that was created around Donna in “Turn Left” as Rani had the misfortune to see her mother and a few other unlucky survivors become a tired workforce for the Graske. Not remotely fun, huh?

Rani and Clyde by themselves did make for an effective team, I will give you that. Clyde was the one to realize that the box from “Whatever Happened To Sarah Jane?” was enough to protect them from the Trickster and it was Clyde’s quick thinking that got the Graske to switch teams.

Rani caused a bit of a stir in the 1950s but her main faux paus was letting Eddie and Barbara know who Sarah Jane really was. Some top notch acting from the actors behind the Smiths and also from Elisabeth Sladen when Sarah Jane was finally able to be honest with her parents.

Barbara and Eddie driving off to their deaths was exactly like “Father’s Day” and certainly ignited the same response. Sarah Jane didn’t have to persuade her parents to sacrifice themselves but it certainly stopped the Trickster in his tracks as well. Surely with two defeats under his belt, he’s going to want to even the score just that little bit more?

As for the Graske escaping, does that mean he’ll have changed a new leaf or will he be smart enough to cause chaos in places where neither The Doctor nor Sarah Jane can stop him? Perhaps not. The Graske wasn’t exactly empathetic of the human race, even if he was revealed to be a prisoner of the Trickster.

The last scene with Luke telling Sarah Jane about how lucky he is to have her will undoubtedly tug at the heart strings. It’s a nice scene and a further reminder of how full Sarah Jane’s life is; even she doesn’t have her parents in it. Still, at least she uncovered the truth about the day they died.

Also in “The Temptation Of Sarah Jane Smith”

The start of the story almost gave the impression of Autons with the mannequins there. I wonder if Autons could be used on this show.

Sarah Jane: “You see it in the movies. You go back, change one thing and there’s terrible consequences.”
Rani: “But you’ve traveled through the TARDIS.”
Sarah Jane: “With The Doctor, who knew what he was doing. Most of the time. This is different and I’m closing it up forever.”

For a brief second, I actually thought we’d see David Tennant in this story with the police box/TARDIS moments. Bloody teases.

Sarah Jane: “Think about it, it’s all too convenient. It could be a trap.”
Luke: “Or a coincidence.”
Sarah Jane: “No, it must be a trap. Which is another reason for not going.”

Clyde: “We’ll make a list of all her enemies.”
Rani: “Great idea. Shouldn’t take us more than fifteen years. Mr. Smith, I need you.”

Because of the Trickster, this story earned another Maria mentioned as well as some footage from the Trickster’s first appearance.

Oscar/Graske: “So stupid, humans.”
Clyde: “Really did not like where that sentence ended up either.”

Trickster (to Sarah Jane): “Do you not understand? The battle is over. You have already lost.”

There a Planet Of The Apes feel to the way the first half of this story ended. We even saw Big Ben in ruins.

Sarah Jane: “Doctor, it’s me. Doctor.”
Police Officer: “Won’t find a Doctor in here, my love. What do you want?”

Graske: “Graske never enslaved.”
Rani: “Then why do you work for him? What do you get out of it?”

Haresh didn’t exist in the parallel world set up here. Also, how come the Reapers didn’t come here? Did the Trickster manage to keep them away from proceedings?

Rani (to Mrs. King): “Yes, hello, ethnic girl in the 50’s. Hi.”

Sarah Jane: “I tried so hard to resist the temptation. I knew the dangers but I couldn’t stop myself. I had to see you.”
Barbara: “I’m so glad you did.”
Sarah Jane: “So am I.”

Barbara and Eddie’s notes, the last one we saw said, ‘Mr. Smith, I need you’.

Trickster: “You have defeated me.”
Sarah Jane: “I did nothing. That was my mum and dad saving the world. Something we Smiths can’t help doing.”

Chronology: Mainly 1951 and Present day.

“The Temptation Of Sarah Jane Smith” may be a rethread but for some reason, I enjoyed it more than I did “Father’s Day”. Not sure why though but overall a terrific story.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Reapers showed up in "Father's Day" because having two time-travelling sets of the Doctor and Rose made that point in space-time especially weak. They don't appear every time that history is changed.