Written By Russell T Davies
Broadcast on 25th and 26th October 2010
Well I wasn't expecting this. For the second year running, the Doctor has made a guest appearance in the spin off, the Sarah Jane Adventures. Now I can only see this as detrimental to the show's own identity. But hey, I'm not complaining.
Basic plot, UNIT turn up on Sarah Jane's doorstep (poorly parked) with the news that the Doctor is dead. Firstly, Sarah has always been most careful not to let on to UNIT what she does. Also we have the most unconvincing and overly glamourous UNIT boss ever. What's beautiful is Sarah Jane's denial over the fact the Doctor has died. But didn't she believe he was dead for years?
I'll not lie, a UNIT funeral is the perfect setting. But why in some big budget base, not good old UNIT house, it wouldn't have killed them, I mean discretion. Even if they do have a sign of the commanding officer at the front gate.
What's neat is the subtle references to the past, Liz Shaw's absence, she's apparently on the moon. As for the Brigadier, I am sick of him being stuck in Peru, he'd fit in perfectly here, even for the last 5 minutes. Instead we have a memorial with random "soldiers". Not even Sergeant Benton.
The Shansheeth are.... rubbish. They're like molting muppets, that's all I have to say on the matter. Apart from the idea that their purpose is to comb the battlefields of space looking for lost heroes, to return home.
The memories scene is beautiful, visually and audibly. Though David Tennant might not be too pleased with the amount of exposure he gets. But then, icing on the cake, the 4th Doctor, in that famous "I walk through eternity" scene, then an awful poor quality shot of the 3rd Doctor from Death to the Daleks, a shot of his cheeky grin or even his regeneration would have been much better. Enter Jo Grant! She seems to have gone a bit bonkers, spouting all this drivel about tribes and stuff. This continues through the whole story, a lot of the time, just padding.
Padding which takes away from what could have been with Jo and Sarah getting to know each other. Instead they seem to have heard of each other. But anyway, straight off, they seem to strike up a great relationship, they could make a great double act. Also this is easy to miss but when Jo mentions Metebilis III, Sarah visibly remembers, what happened. Then they share their experiences of Peladon... this hugging thing is starting to get a bit irritating.
The Santiago boy besides having an incredible name is pretty good, a fine young actor I reckon, and experienced.
There is even time to clear up that business about the untelevised adventure referenced in Timelash. But as they go on to speak names from the past as a fan I am loving this.
BOOM incoming 11. The new face takes some getting used to for everyone involved, but for Sarah and Jo it's surprisingly unemotional. As for the Doctor's meeting Jo for the first time in centuries... nope nothing. It has none of the emotional impact of School Reunion. Jo even seems to know about regeneration.
Cliffhanger, why are the Shansheeth determined to kill the Doctor? You'll see when you discover their ultimate goal.
Anyway, part 2 is where things start to get interesting, the Doctor, Jo and Sarah, together on an alien planet.
Ah, the Shansheeth want the TARDIS, don't tell me they want the key.
Things get more and more satisfying between the Doctor and Sarah, talkin' 'bout regeneration. Jo gets her look in, appropriately so. She left to get married, even though the Doctor is travelling with Amy and Rory now, she must feel a bit cheated. The Doctor never came back, even though he said he would, "come and visit us sometimes.". Though she's been traveling, he couldn't find her. But what's so sweet is that he knows what she's been doing, when he visited past companions in the End of Time, he say EVERYONE. Not just the new kids on the block, everyone.
Now there are some shenanigans in a ventilation shaft.... which lead to the revelation that the Doctor can change colour, but also he can regenerate 507 times.... what a load of crap.
Yes the Shansheeth want the TARDIS key. From Jo and Sarah's memories.... but 1 thing, the Doctor changed the locks, while Sarah was traveling with the Doctor it was the special prop. I was hoping this would be a plot point but no, completely overlooked.
More clips of the TARDIS! 4 Doctors no less, memories of the TARDIS, the old girl. More memories, friends and foes long since gone, the Doctor, the Daleks, the monsters, the Master.
In order, the Doctor meeting Sarah Jane again in School Reunion, Bellal, Exxilons and the Root from Death to the Daleks, The Daleks Sarah almost drove into from Journey's End, a priest from Masque of Mandragora, Masked Hiehronymous from Masque of Mandragora, Alpha Centuri, the Aggedor Statue and Ice Warrior from Monster of Peladon, The Doctor repairing K9 in School Reunion, Osiaran Head, Mummy and Sutekh from Pyramids of Mars, Harrison Chase from the Seeds of Doom, The Anitimatter Monster from Planet of Evil, T Rex and the Brigadier from Invasion of the Dinosaurs, The Fourth Doctor and Harry in Bessie from Robot, Eldrad's Hand and the glowing eyed Eldrad and man Eldrad from the Hand of Fear. The Zygons from Terror of the Zygons, Two shots of Davros and a shot of the Daleks from Genesis of the Daleks, Androids, The Fourth Doctor and Styggron from Android Invasion. Dalek, Spiradon, Dalek ship, Dalek army and Dalek Supreme from Planet of the Daleks, Cronos from the Time Monster, two shots of Sea Devils, the Dinosaur, Drashigs, Pertwee with Sonic and Explosions from Carnival of Monsters, Harry, well the Captain from Carnival also and finally Shirna. No wait, there's more, Bok, the Master and Azal from the Daemons, The Third Doctor from the Mutants, An Ogron from Frontier in Space, Mutants and Fat guy from the Mutants, Dranconian, Daleks and the Master from Frontier in Space, Alpha Centuri, Ice Warrior and King Peladon from Curse of Peladon. Aaaaaaaaaand BANG! A load of Sarah Jane clips but I don't really care about that, Jo a load of David Attenborough clips. That scene was truly incredible, an incredible celebration of Doctor Who's past.
And then.... Sarah and Jo.... they think they're going to die. That is delightfully tragic, oh wait, the coffin. But what about the Rocket?
Mona Lisa... City of Death reference?
Anyway, home time. The TARDIS looks suspiciously at home in the attic. As Jo and Sarah look quite at home in the TARDIS! This has been a long time coming, please just one trip. But also, they actually get some different angles in.
Time Lords, touchy subject. Oh if only they were around.
It's somewhat tragic that he ultimately has to leave, and the final goodbyes are a bit brief, not like Russell T Davies' usual style.
As for Santiago, I keep thinking he's about to become a regular.
Jo's goodbyes are rather exuberant but it seems wrong, Sarah and Jo are made to be a double act. I hope they return. But all the other companions, Tegan, Ben, Polly, Harry, Dorothy (Ace), Ian and Barbara Chesterton, married, never aged... bizarre. But Harry, it seems wrong to assume he's still alive.
I have to say, this story at times has been more Doctor Who than Doctor Who itself, a real celebration. It would have been the icing on the cake if K9 and the Brigadier had been there but you can't have it all. Though it does raise questions about SJA as a vehicle, it's seriously in danger of losing its identity within this intertextuality. I mean there have been more flashbacks in this story than all of series 5, though it's relevant for a story about memories, that's why it's so befitting. I've really enjoyed this story, but I can't help but feel it's going to be a little lost on some of SJA's normal viewers.