‘Every one of my friends has been turning against me.’ This is more like it: as dark and disturbing as anything this show has done, as a curse turns Clyde’s friends and family against him, until he has nothing left. What’s impressive is how brutal it is – none of it’s played for laughs, there’s a real viciousness in Sarah Jane and Rani’s hatred of Clyde, and resigned, determined disappointment from his mother. Clyde can’t joke his way out of it, or appeal to his friends.
There’s an undercurrent of “there but for the grace of God” in this, as earlier in the episode Clyde has dismissed a beggar as ‘a scrounger’ – even while he equivocates ‘it’s probably not her fault.’ But it also plays on an ongoing idea of Clyde’s own insecurity and abandonment issues. Aside from the hokey “Native American curse” angle, you could easily see this as an episode of Torchwood – it’s as thematically adult. There’s not much space for Sky in this – she’s started to remind me a bit of Dawn in Buffy, an intrusion into the lives of the main characters – but her first day at school rumbles along in the background, and there’s a nod to An Unearthly Child in Clyde’s history book.
Next Time: The Curse of Clyde Langer – Part Two