The Sarah Jane Adventures 2.9-10 – The Temptation of Sarah Jane Smith (parts one and two)

It’s not as though every installment of Doctor Who and its spin-offs can proudly boast their originality. Never mind the frequent homages to other fiction, the show repeats itself sometimes. So you get a Peladon story that’s a whole lot like the previous one, only longer, and you get Terry Nation writing the same Dalek adventure about three times, and you get this, which is the Christopher Eccleston story “Father’s Day” again.

In its defense, the Trickster remains an interesting opponent, and the clothes in 1951 are nice. But this story doesn’t have Shaun Dingwall to carry the emotions and Sarah Jane has to be written as breathtakingly, criminally stupid to fall for this. It’s a badly-timed story anyway, coming as it does right after Clyde dealt with his abandonment issues in the previous adventure. The direction by Graeme Harper is as good as ever, but this isn’t Gareth Roberts’ best script, and it’s definitely the weakest of the three with the Trickster.

Although there is a little moment I found interesting. A year previously, some critics complained about a scene in Roberts’ “The Shakespeare Code.” Then, Martha was reluctant to leave the TARDIS in the 1600s, fearing the racism and bigotry of people in the period, but two women of color walk by in nice clothes and that settles that. The past just isn’t racist for forty-five minutes and she didn’t have to deal with anybody being ugly toward her color until “Human Nature” later in the season. Here, Rani walks into the all-white village fete and every head in the building turns, leaving her to dismiss them as quickly as she can by saying “yes, ethnic person in the 1950s,” and trying to get down to business. I like “Shakespeare Code” much better overall, but this scene feels much more honest.

Our kid, again, wasn’t very thrilled. It’s too simplistic to just say “he’s seen it all before,” but that’s a big part of it. He’s seen enough to know – from “Father’s Day,” from Star Trek, from Stargate SG-1 – that Sarah Jane should not be interfering in her past. So he shook his head and he scowled and rolled his eyes with an “oh, no” a few times. That’s three in a row that he didn’t enjoy, which I didn’t expect. Hopefully this run will end on a high note for him!

Advertisement

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s