Doctor Who #769: Revenge of the Slitheen Part 2

"Sarah Jane. I've done something really stupid. A really bad social mistake. I told the Slitheen how to destroy the world."
TECHNICAL SPECS: First aired Sep.24 2007.

IN THIS ONE... The Slitheen turn off the sun and Sarah Jane's gang sorts it all out.

REVIEW: Part 2 isn't as interesting as Part 1 because it necessarily gets down to resolving the plot, with fewer opportunities for pure character moments. There are still some good ones, the lion's share of which belong to newcomer Clyde. It's fun to see how the "veterans" put him on Ignore during the crisis, and yet, not once but twice, it's his suggestion that gives Sarah Jane and Luke (the brain boxes) the answer. And while his enthusiasm for the alien-busting business can be off-putting to the rest - to him, aliens aren't people, he's got a video game mentality in that respect - he does win his place in Sarah Jane's inner circle through his curiosity, just like Maria did. Now if Mr. Smith can keep from zapping him too hard (I'd forgotten or not noticed the computer's foreshadowed darkness). And he's the best socialized of the group, proving it when he encourages Sarah to let Luke call her "mum", something he does on his own to her shock, surprise and delight.

Though the Slitheen are monsters, Sarah Jane IS moved to let the 12-year-old go, showing the natural empathy she exhibited on the old show. It's good to know the years haven't turned her to stone despite a more standoffish attitude. I also like how she reacts to Clyde thinking her life is cool, it must be a little like recapturing one's youth when the kids think you're still hip. She gets to lovingly talk about the Doctor, which can be cheesy, but here puts forward the show's mission statement, and calls it the Doctor's legacy. I like that. As for the other female lead, Maria, she gets a little sidelined, mostly bouncing off her parents, including Chrissie, that absolute comedy egotist who thinks she's the star of the show, but does get to participate in the action as effectively as the boys.

The plot continues to mirror that of Aliens of London/World War Three, with the characters deducing the Slitheen's weakness in an inferior version of the "narrows it down" scene, and this time the children being complicit in the death of a sentient creature. It's played as gross-out humor, but looking at it too closely may make you uncomfortable. The Slitheen, out for revenge for the disappearance of their family members (a nice little reference to School Reunion reminds us how Sarah would know what they're talking about), basically plan to destroy the world and sell it off for parts, as their brethren were about to. This new attempt at an apocalypse goes for broke, turning off the power of the sun until we die. It's pure nonsense. Not only is the blue-shifted sun scientifically wrong, but any power drain that would extinguish candles, batteries and the sun would also turn off human biology. And of course, whenever people talk about the various apocalypses Earth has faced in the recent past, nothing from SJA ever makes the list, so it's always a bit of a glitch when the show goes epic (not that I don't want it to). And being epic offers Sarah Jane the opportunity to call UNIT and name-drop the Brigadier. Fun!

The plot is nonsense, and the climax a little screamy, but once again, the regulars are a winning bunch.



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