Wednesday, November 10, 2010

My Review of The Sarah Jane Adventures 4x05: "Lost In Time"

Written by Rupert Laight
Directed by Joss Agnew

Clyde (to Miss Wyckham/German Soldiers): “People like you disgust me. You hate and you fear anyone who isn’t the same as you but we’re British and we will fight you every step of the way.”

And for this week only, we get not one but three stories all together. Who needs a TARDIS when you’ve got a mysterious shopkeeper, his parrot and a time window at the ready? The only thing now would be getting Sarah Jane, Clyde and Rani within touching distance of the time window but even there, the Shopkeeper was clever by using a local alien story to lure the three of them into his domain.

I think the most surprising thing about this entire story is actually the Shopkeeper himself. Every story has an alien menace and whilst this guy is alien (or possibly human with alien technology); he’s never villainous within both parts of the story. That in of itself has to be a record for the series.

He might have been slightly underhanded in the way he got Sarah Jane, Clyde and Rani’s attention but points to him for at least giving them all a purpose while sending them to three different time periods – objects to prevent the destruction of Earth via the time vortex itself. It just would’ve been nicer if had given them a choice in their places of travels.

I didn’t exactly envy Clyde being sent to 1941 in order to get his object but on the other hand, there aren’t that many shows aimed for children that are willing to deal with Nazis invading England and while the dialogue could’ve gone into preachy mode, it’s actually kept well in check by Rupert Laight and Daniel Anthony alike.

Clyde befriended the young George Woods and managed to locate the item in question and even when they were both captured twice during the story; both of them used their wits to get Clyde’s desired object for the Shopkeeper. The German soldier characters were a little on the one dimensional side but even I was a little surprised by Miss Wyckham turning out to be a spy for them.

Clyde’s own courageousness in this story ended up having a detrimental effect on George towards the end but it’s interesting that he was also the first person to successfully complete his task as well. Okay, Rani might have acquired her object before Clyde managed to get his but she stayed somewhat longer than needed for the mission.

Speaking of Rani, she possibly won out for the best of the three storylines given that she had the honour of becoming Lady Jane Grey’s lady in waiting and somewhat angel in the process whilst in 1553. Yes, Rani’s always had a lovely quality about her but now it’s officially canon that she’s otherworldly. Okay, I’m joking but I don’t blame either Lady Jane or servant Ellen for thinking that Rani wasn’t human.

Every time we meet an established historical figure or are thrown into historical events, there’s a blazing reminder that fate cannot be changed. Pompeii still had to fall, Vincent Van Gogh would still end up taking his own life and of course, Lady Grey through no fault of her own would also end up dead.

Rani knew that she couldn’t alter the fact but it didn’t stop her from preventing Lady Matilda’s ill conceived attempts of martyrdom for Jane and it didn’t stop her from comforting the nine day Queen either. It was nice to see Rani doing her best to give the tragic queen some comfort even if she was powerless to change the poor girl’s fate at the same time.

However it did seem that Sarah Jane was able to change fate through her own companion, Emily in this story when she stuck in 1889. Emily definitely fitted the role perfectly and while Sarah Jane’s dismissive attitude towards ghosts wasn’t helpful at the start, it was nice to see the both of them working as a team and figuring out that the voices from the future were belonging to an errant babysitter and two tragic kids doomed to die.

I’m not exactly sure why or how Sarah Jane was able to prevent their deaths but I guess even for this show, it might have gotten away with two kids dying in a fire. Plus I also enjoyed the twist of Emily using her granddaughter, Angela to give Sarah Jane the last object at the very last minute in the present.

Now the only real mystery of this story was – who the hell was the Shopkeeper and was that parrot really his superior? Also we didn’t know why exactly it was those three objects that were key into stopping the Earth from being destroyed either but given that the series is due for a fifth series, there’s a good chance that the Shopkeeper might make a return visit to Bannerman Road.

Also in “Lost In Time”

Clyde seemed to be dressed more grown up in this story. Then again, it’s not improbable for some 17 year olds to own a leather jacket.

Sarah Jane: “How do you know my name?”
Shopkeeper: “Oh, I know a great many things.”

The objects were a hammer/weapon of sorts for Clyde, a dagger for Rani and a key for Sarah Jane.

Emily: “There are ghosts in this house. Everybody says so.”
Sarah Jane: “Just because everybody says so, it doesn’t make it true.”

Lady Grey: “How is this possible?”
Rani: “They’re dead clever where I come from.”

More hints this week on Clyde and Rani when Lady Grey pressed the latter over any males that she might fancy.

George: “We need to escape, don’t we?”
Clyde: “If you hadn’t noticed, we’re both tied up and locked in.”

Matilda (to Rani): “Lady Jane has not been saved. You’ve condemned her to die like a common traitor, forgotten and alone.”

The Doctor’s met Lady Grey in a story called “Nine Day Queen” beforehand. Emily became a doctor as she grew up and George specialised in radar development.

Emily (to Sarah Jane, re mobile phone): “I knew Mr Bell’s invention would catch on but a wireless telephone? The future must be very exciting.”

Lady Grey: “Are you truly of this world?”
Rani: “Don’t be daft, of course I am.”

Shopkeeper (to Sarah Jane): “I’d love to stay and chat but duty calls.”

Chronology: November 23rd 2010, seven days after this season ends, funnily enough.

Interesting story. “Lost In Time” gave us three nice little trips and whilst the time window looked similar to something from another show, I have to admit that Rupert Laight pulled off a superb story this week. Definitely one of the strongest from the series.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

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