Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

The ninth story in a row to feature zombies.

The throwaway excuse for their presence this week, "Playtime keeps her occupied," might just be the weakest yet.

It's something of a weight, because the rest of this story is great.

Rani's now an old woman in the year 2050. She relates in flashback the case that, years ago, led to the disbanding of her old group of friends. She got a bit annoyed with them, and as a result they were wiped-out of existence by a race that can see, and wipe, timelines.

Those timelines turn out to be both one of this story's strengths, and one of its flaws.

On the one hand, we get a great recap of Sarah Jane's life, eerily similar to one I suggested in my review of Whatever Happened To Sarah Jane?, right down to the same episodes, same shots, and in one case the same frame. I guess that qualifies the suggestion as valid. Even Sarah Jane's involvement in The Five Doctors seems to be back in history again, after School Reunion had suggested otherwise.

We also get to glimpse her future, in which the Doctor returns once more, although that really isn't such a big deal these days, for us or Sarah Jane. Luke has some fairly generic flash-forwards to his graduation, which is all good.

But Rani's future? Hers is of the version of the future in which Sarah Jane and Luke don't exist, which is therefore inconsistent with the futures that they get shown. It makes the rest of the alien's predictions somewhat worthless if some of them might not actually happen after all. I can do that. It's going to rain tomorrow. Go worry.

On the other hand, I guess you could argue that all of these futures ultimately come to pass, in the long run.

Top marks have to go to the cast of this story. The phrase "child actor" has a real stigma to it, but one which SJA has fairly consistently managed to overcome.

This script also required an older actress to play Rani, yet they beat the usual cheesy pitfalls associated with that sort of casting too. Souad Faress had me utterly convinced throughout.

This is a great fluffy story, with a happy ending, and its coolness about the larger legend that surrounds it is a refreshing one. Even K-9 returns at the end, to hilarious disdain from the computer who's been reading his lines for the past two series.

Mr. Smith: "It's good to see you, K-9. Will you be staying here now?"

K-9: "Affirmative."

Mr. Smith: "Ohhhh... good."

It's all rather positive for the future. Looking forward to it. Please don't mess this up.


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