The Sarah Jane Adventures episode 10: The Lost Boy – Part One (12/11/2007)
‘It seems you’ve got powerful friends, Miss Smith.’ This one definitely has an end-of-season-finale quality to it, which is quite impressive for a CBBC show. Maria coming clean to her dad about her involvement in Sarah Jane’s adventures is a neat recap of events in Series One to make sure that anyone who missed it knows about the Slitheen. The opening suggests the story is going to go in one direction, with Alan reacting badly to learning his daughter’s battling monsters and aliens, but pretty quickly it turns into a different kind of parent trap as Luke’s “real” parents make a tearful appeal on TV and Sarah Jane’s new life is upended.
Clearly this was never going to be a tragic life story drama, but the sequences of the Staffords tearfully reunited with their son “Ashley”, pointing fingers at Sarah Jane as she’s driven away in the back of a police car have a genuine frisson. The script taps into one of my own universe of terrors, the horror of official bureaucracy turned onto the individual. Sarah only manages to escape thanks to her UNIT connections. Sladen is great at playing Sarah’s reversion to her Invasion of the Bane persona: guarded, brittle, stand-offish, pushing away Maria and Clyde because she doesn’t want to be hurt again, and throwing herself into a new investigation: telekinesis at Floella Benjamin’s Pharos Parascience Institute.
Meanwhile, Luke has his own horror to face as he’s trapped in a life he doesn’t recognise, with parents who are literally monsters. Clyde, who hasn’t had a huge amount to do since the Kudlak episodes, finally gets a plot at the end of this one as his earlier encounter with Mr Smith turns out to have been a warning – the computer is an evil Xylok. As the whole Bannerman Road fam falls apart, the stakes are raised for the final episode. This is great.
Sarah Jane will return in The Lost Boy – Part Two
Next Time: Time Crash