‘This is where the adventure ends.’ While it still has inadvertently upsetting elements (particularly Sarah Jane’s farewell video), this largely focuses on Ruby executing her plan. Julie Graham is superb, oozing insincerity as she comforts Rani and condemns Clyde to a death in space. It’s the kind of existential crisis that demands the entire team come together – and sure enough, Luke and K9 return to help take down Ruby (Luke now rocking a cool Freshers hairdo and scarf). Even Gita gets a redemptive moment, as she shores up Rani’s belief in Sarah Jane at the crucial moment. If only they’d somehow found a way to crowbar in Kelsey (and I guess Maria), this would be The Sarah Jane Adventures’ own Stolen Earth.
Though there’s a truncated fifth series to come, this was the last episode to air before the death of Elisabeth Sladen. She went out on a high: the fourth series is the most consistently good. I think this is partly because, as the parent show is now in Moffat’s hands and Torchwood long ago went in a very different direction, this feels like the last standard bearer for RTD’s vision for Doctor Who – child friendly not childish, slyly witty, packed with enough emotion to splurge a Qetesh. Even this year’s crossover episode feels like the show now being big enough to comfortably incorporate the Doctor. Goodbye, Sarah Jane Smith – no one is ever going to forget you.
Sarah Jane will return in Sky
Next Time: A Christmas Carol