Review: The Sarah Jane Adventures 2×8

A touch of the blue meanies

Sarah Jane Adventures Beserker

Go on. Go to after the jump. If you don’t, I’ll make you and then I’ll turn blue. You won’t like me when I’m blue.

Last week, Sarah Jane was on an alien-hunting holiday and everything went pear-shaped. Rani found a blue pendant that gave the wearer the power to control people but which turns you a bit blue. She left it lying around, which was a problem because Clyde’s absentee dad returned from Germany, just in time to pick it up and use it to tell Clyde to forget all about his friends.

This week, Daddy Clyde and Clyde go on a crime spree all over very obvious bits of CardiffLondon, with Daddy getting bluer and bluer and Clyde’s memory getting progressively more and more Sam Becketty as daddy tells him to forget everyone and more or less everything.

That leaves Rani and Luke to try to sort things out by themselves, without getting their own brains wiped. Thanks to the power of the Internet, they’re able to get hold of Maria and Cool Dad in the US, who are able to hack UNIT for vital information, and give Rani and Luke a mobile phone tracing program to track Clyde with.

Eventually, Rani and Luke find Clyde, but they don’t have much of a plan. Thankfully, Maria and Cool Dad have told Sarah Jane where they are and Sarah Jane is able to talk Daddy Clyde back to normality.

Was it any good?
It was definitely better than last week’s slight snooze fest. Certainly, the presence of Maria and Cool Dad enlivened things considerably, although unfortunately it only made Rani and her family look deeply dull in comparison.

The obvious metaphor of the power of an absent parent to hold sway over a child carried on obviously again, and was resolved in a surprisingly heart-warming and touching way for one of the oldest clichés in the sci-fi book that dates back to The Quatermass Experiment in the 50s. And the subtext – that it’s very hard to unmess relationships that you’ve messed up and you can’t control things people without destroying the things you like about them – was reasonably well handled and indeed quite adult: more the teenage end of the spectrum than the six-year-old target of Last of the Sontarans say.

It’s just a shame that the whole background to the control medallion made little sense – beserk warriors who like to fight but like talking better? – and they couldn’t be consistent about how it worked – you take it off and your orders stop working, so how come Clyde’s mum has now forgotten everything she’s seen, even though Clyde’s thrown the medallion away?

Probably the second best of the series so far. Next week: it’s returning villain time, as the Trickster and the Graske send Sarah Jane to meet her dead parents.

PS Acting for all Clyde’s family was pretty awful, so clearly it’s genetic.


  • Rob Buckley

    I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.

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