Doctor Who #828: Prisoner of the Judoon Part 2

"The only truth of the universe is destruction."
TECHNICAL SPECS: First aired Oct.16 2009.

IN THIS ONE... Androvax-Sarah programs nanoforms to build a spaceship and destroy the Earth.

REVIEW: The main draw of this story is definitely Lis Sladen's physical performance as Androvax's host. Wow. She's better at it than the actor actually playing the alien criminal! It's a very dark turn for the actress usually playing the kids' mum/cool aunt, given that Androvax is such a nihilist. His position is so extreme that it may well justify all that "the universe is such a wonderful place" speeches at end. Man, they come hard and fast when you watch these series is close proximity to each other.

But while Androvax and his possession of Sarah Jane explores some dark themes, writer Phil Ford balances it out with welcome comedy, understanding correctly that the Judoon are silly. The gags are the same as in Part 1, with (now multiple) Judoon following Earth rules too literally, and pulling guns out in reaction to the least little thing, but now adding "hide the space Rhino from the parents" to the mix. The Chandra family do meet the aliens, and it seems normal people in the Whoniverse accept this as something that happens. Gita is exciting (she's Gita) and Haresh is shaken, but they take it in their stride like you might a surprise encounter with a movie star. A story to tell people are unlikely to believe. But your kids paling around or fighting aliens? Better not blow their minds completely.

The kids are quite resourceful in this, but then they need to be with Sarah out of commission. Luke talks a bomb out of exploding (and forces Androvax to leave his mother's body), Clyde comes up with cool solutions to fighting the killer iron filings, and Rani keeps the Judoon on track. It's all good, if a bit plotty. I could have used a character-building breather somewhere in there. Oh, and did you spot the Dreamland reference? The ship Androvax has the nanoforms build him is the Roswell ship from the then-upcoming Doctor Who animated story. I hadn't realized.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium - A good action/adventure story, with comedy balancing an edgy, creepy performance from Lis Sladen. It's just that it's ONLY that.

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