And thanks to the twice-a-week scheduling this year that's it, the end of this year's Sarah Jane Adventures
Oddly understated for an SJA
episode title, "The Gift." Oddly paced first episode as well, with a big action opening, then a change to a gentler, slightly surreal comedy scene as the regulars have a dinner party with the Blathereen, before we can get into the story proper, a bit of a Little Shop of Horrors
homage as the titular gift is a plant intent on taking over the world. Why exactly the Blathereen went to all that bother to start the invasion from SJS's attic is a bit dubious, since all they needed to do was leave the Rackweed pretty much anywhere overnight and let it do its thing. Maybe the satisfaction of having Sarah Jane's wish for glory be the beginning of the end was worth the fuss for them, but considering she never seemed that thrilled about anyone knowing of her involvement I don't think that counts as a success in any case.
Of course this year's episodes were shuffled around, and clearly this is nowhere near as strong a finale as "The Wedding..." would have been. At least it works as a conclusion of one of the third series' ongoing themes, namely Sarah Jane's fears of losing Luke, here taken to the extreme as she thinks he's going to die this time. The return of K-9 hasn't been as awkward as I'd feared, he's mainly been used sparingly and very well, with frequent acknowledgement of the fact that he can be annoying. Best gag of the two-parter has to be Mr Smith encouraging Clyde to steal K-9, just so he can get a break from *insert tone of utter contempt* The Dog. Although I also loved everyone's nonplussed facial expressions after they'd been gunged by the exploding Blathereen (and once again in this scene Alexander Armstrong's voice acting as Mr Smith brings so much comedy and personality to proceedings.) But once again Lis Sladen does a moving job of portraying Sarah Jane - she may still not look like a woman in her sixties but her character is taking on a bit of a grumpy old woman vibe that's been quite fun to see creeping in there. Ultimately as a finale this was horribly full of plot-holes but it was a fun way to go out.
Overall I think this year's been better than Series 2, nearly as good as Series 1. There's only been one stinker (the haunted house gubbins) and the rest of the stories have been pretty strong. Apparently a fourth series has been commissioned but not announced yet, so it's just as well the show still seems to have legs.