Monday, October 12, 2009

My Review of The Sarah Jane Adventures 2x06: "Enemy Of The Bane"

Written by Phil Ford
Directed by Graeme Harper

Sarah Jane: “Do you see, Mrs Wormwood? Luke is my son because I have cared for him and looked after him. Because I love him. You don’t understand love. People who understand love don’t want to crush planets or take over the universe. Those people aren’t people at all, they truly are monsters.”

Having the return of the Bane was a brilliant idea for the finale. The Slitheen had their moments but they’re not the kind of monsters worthy for a season ender. Mrs Wormwood on the other hand was perfect, given her personal history with Sarah Jane and Luke. After all, she introduced them to each other.

Targeting Gita was a good way of getting the right amount of attention. Poor Gita’s too trusting for her own good. I know Wormwood pretended to be a client to get close to Gita but you don’t have to be a genius to detect something sinister from Wormwood. It was also a way of introducing Rani to Wormwood as well.

Gita was as easily found as she was snatched in the first place. This story had moments where bitchiness came to the front. The moment where Wormwood talked to Rani about Maria could’ve been a personal jibe if this show had gone down the Rose/Martha route with Rani/Maria. It was nice to see Rani not rise to the bait.

And then there was reunion with Wormwood and Sarah Jane. It could be assumed that during any circumstances, neither woman would give the other the time of day. Wormwood clearly hated the idea of asking Sarah Jane for help when it was revealed that her kindred had turned on her. Geez, alien races aren’t that loyal, huh?

It could’ve been a way to have felt sympathetic towards Wormwood but I’m rather glad that her constant sniping at everyone prevented me from doing that. Outside the Trickster, Wormwood is the best villain the show has produced and certainly an endearing threat to Sarah Jane.

There were some unsubtle parallels to both women as well, giving them an almost Doctor/Master type of vibe. Both women had empty lives, both have big connections to Luke and both of them think in the same lines when it came to defending themselves. Wormwood even joked about their matching sonic weaponry at one point.

Luke however is the biggest connection to them all. Wormwood may lack maternal instincts but she’s still clever enough to try and play on Luke’s need for belonging. Throughout the story she accused Sarah Jane of stunting his potential by keeping him Earthbound and even tried to get him to become her prince.

Luke for the main part did seem good at resisting her. Even though he talked about not dreaming and showed levels of frustrations, Wormwood’s attempts of playing on his insecurities didn’t work her way completely. It probably also didn’t help her that she had Kaagh as her partner in crime as well.

Wormwood was enough to give this finale a satisfying threat along with the Bane hunting her but I really did love the addition of Kaagh. If I have to vote for the best use of a Sontaran, then I think this story is very much going to get my vote. Wormwood and Kaagh made for a very interesting team.

Both of them were disgraced and exiled from their kind, both wanted power and both hate Sarah Jane with a burning passion. If those reasons weren’t good enough for collaboration, then what would be? Plus they were not the only familiar elements of this story.

If we couldn’t get The Doctor to fight alongside Sarah Jane, then having the Brigadier is definitely a fantastic alternative. Like many viewers, I do love the Brigadier and despite his advancing years, Nicholas Courtney proved there was a lot of life in the Brigadier yet.

It was the Brigadier that gave both Sarah Jane and Rani the chance to take a look into the Black Archives at UNIT to get the Tunguska Scrolls for Wormwood and it was also the Brigadier who was able to dispatch of Kilburn as well when the latter paid a home visit to casa de la Smith. Like anyone was surprised that Kilburn was a Bane in disguise.

As for the main scheme between Wormwood and Kaagh – opening up Horath so they could rule. Well, it was certainly more apocalyptic than the Slitheen plot in “The Lost Boy” and it lead to some wonderful scenes. It might have been nice if both of them hadn’t turned on the other but that was to be expected.

Kaagh’s sexism towards Wormwood certainly didn’t do him any favours and she wasn’t impressed when he nearly killed Luke. Wormwood did make one fleeting effort to get Luke to join her side. The big surprise of the story was Kaagh sacrificing himself and Wormwood in order to save the world. Sarah Jane wasn’t the only surprised to witness that. Though I suppose it might have been more shocking if a Dalek did it next (apart from Dalek Caan’s epiphany in “Journey’s End”).

Also in “Enemy Of The Bane”

Gita runs a flower shop called, ‘Bloomin Lovely’, which when you think about it, it’s sort of appropriate in relation to her personality as well.

Mrs Wormwood: “Hello Rani.”
Rani: “How do you know my name?”
Mrs Wormwood: “Oh, I’ve been watching you. You’re taller than your predecessor.”

Like Maria, Rani was one of the 2% of people unaffected by the Bubble Shock drink. Wormwood mentioned that her people were going to eat her alive. And I thought Slitheen punishment was bad enough.

Mrs Wormwood (to Sarah Jane): “So, this is from where you save the world. How comfortingly unsophisticated.”

Sarah Jane (to Clyde): “Haven’t I taught you there are better ways of dealing with aliens than guns?”
Rani: “What do you expect? He’s a boy.”

Clyde and Luke had an interesting discussion in relation to parenting. Clyde’s comments on his father were certainly memorable.

The Brigadier (to Kilburn): “In my day we took on Daleks, Cybermen, Autons, Zygons, all manner of space thuggery and it doesn’t get more hostile than that.”

Mrs Wormwood: “Is that why you wanted to talk? Do you hate me for giving you life?”
Luke: “I enjoy my life but this world is complicated, however clever you are.”

When the Brigadier was mentioning all those monsters, how come the Master didn’t get a mention, given the amount of times the Brigadier has encountered him?

Mrs Wormwood: “Saving human lives is becoming a bit of a habit with me, Miss Smith. I do hope we can conclude our business together before I am scarred for life.”

Kaagh: “No one comes between a Sontaran warrior and his prize of vengeance.”
Mrs Wormwood: “Expect you’re no longer a warrior, are you? Kaagh the slayer? Kaagh the shambles more like. Now, do we understand each other?”

How did Wormwood get out of the force field Mr Smith had her trapped in?

Sarah Jane: “One thing I never expected to see was the universe being saved by a Sontaran.”

Chronology: A few days since “The Temptation Of Sarah Jane Smith”.

When I first watched “Enemy Of The Bane”, I found it pretty good but a few more viewings and it got better and better for me. It even came pretty close to the big scale type of finales so common on Doctor Who nowadays but overall, this is how you do a finale folks.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

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