I see something in the stars. It’s… that you’re going to have to wait until after the jump before I talk about this episode.
We’re back in slightly dappy territory after the last two-parter led us into slightly more family areas. This time round, Russ Abbot alternates between a relatively reasonable performance and massively over-the-top silliness as the one astrologer in the world who actually knows what he’s talking about. Trouble is, that’s because he’s channelling the power of the stars from a previous universe in which astrology did work and now that power wants to take over the world. I don’t know why.
It’s quite admirable of the show to avoid the fuzzy "it’s fantasy so we can say things like this work" in favour of teaching the kiddies that astrology is BS and doesn’t work. My problem with the episode, other than the extreme haminess of Abbot and most of the guest casts (and Rani’s mum, as per usual) was that it was a bit slow and talky. Team Sarah Jane go to the theatre to investigate the new astrologer and talk about him a lot, then do some more talking, before taking a little break for some more talking. And Luke’s upset because he doesn’t have a proper birthday, so they talk about that as well.
A bit more action would have been nice, since it did seem to drag a lot. And if I felt it dragged, you can bet a load of kids were thinking that, too.
Still, enjoyable enough although Rani and co could do with a bit more depth now, since Luke seems to be getting all of that at the moment. Better than Last of the Sontarans, but not as good as The Day of the Clown so far.
For continuity buffs, there was a great big pile of happy moments, with references to Draconia (Frontier in Space) and a clip of David Tennant and Sarah Jane from School Reunion. More importantly, there is the lingering suggestion that maybe the Mandragora Helix from Masque of Mandragora might be behind all of this, although I’m sure that’s probably not going to turn out to be the case in the next episode.