The Sarah Jane Adventures episode 20: The Temptation of Sarah Jane Smith – Part One (17/11/2008)

‘What if this is it? My reward?’ Father’s Day for Sarah Jane, as she’s offered the chance to travel back to 1951 to meet – and save – her parents. Except, of course, it’s all a ploy by the Trickster to tempt her into changing history and gifting the future to him.

By its nature, this gets pretty dark, dealing with the death of parents and the end of the world. But then, this second series is relatively hard-hitting for a CBBC drama, having already addressed Clyde’s father’s philandering, sinister clowns and televangelist cults. It’s a chance for Elisabeth Sladen to explore aspects of Sarah Jane that Doctor Who barely touched, although I do like how it builds on her occasional human fallibility – like urging the Doctor to commit genocide on Skaro or legging it from Sutekh and returning to 1980. Here, she gets to have a petulant moment just as the 10th Doctor will in The End of Time, practically stamping her feet at the unfairness of meeting her parents on the day they died and talking about her ‘reward’ as if she’s entitled to one having saved so many people through time and space.

This leaves Luke having to fill the role of responsible adult that Sarah Jane has abdicated, and it’s probably Tommy Knight’s finest hour so far, urging his mother to do the right thing while she plays with the notion of putting aside all she learned from the Doctor. Rani and Clyde, left behind in the present day, start to give us the double act Big Finish will presumably exploit in their forthcoming audios. They get one great scene as the Graske is unmasked just before time unravels around them and they find themselves in a post-apocalyptic wasteland (the series’ best special effect to date).

Oh, and the Edward Tattsyrup reference was great.

Temptation Sarah Jane 1

Next Time: The Temptation of Sarah Jane Smith – Part Two

One comment

  1. Pingback: The Sarah Jane Adventures episode 19: The Mark of the Berserker – Part Two (10/11/2008) | Next Time...

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