Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

It's the third story of this series, and as I watched it, I couldn't shake a certain sense that we might be getting these in the wrong order.

The preceding programme revealed that the Doctor would be returning at some undisclosed point in the future. Now they've pulled that trigger in the very next episode. Nothing actually wrong with that, I just thought they might milk it a bit longer than a mere six days.

Also, Clyde's intergalactic grounding in Prisoner Of The Judoon, which went unmentioned on the spaceship in last week's The Mad Woman In The Attic, is now back in Sarah's memory again.

I guess the real surprise is that the Gareth Roberts-credited story with 'Sarah Jane' in the title, that features the Trixster, and ends with the guest-actor considerately agreeing to die in the past, is usually broadcast fifth. (cf. Whatever Happened To Sarah Jane? and The Temptation Of Sarah Jane Smith)

But hey - there's no reason why that story shouldn't go out third just for a change.

As the title suggests, the plot revolves around Sarah meeting this guy and getting engaged to him. But the engagement ring, heh-heh, you'll never see this coming, heh-heh-heh, turns her into a zombie.

Well, I guess it has been almost a fortnight now since this last happened to her. Ramping-up the transmission-schedule to two episodes a week isn't doing this show any favours.

However I should be more reasonable. Sarah's zombification in this one is not total. The glowing ring convinces her to make one or two minor changes in her life, specifically giving up all her dealings with aliens, closing-down her super-computer Mr Smith (there's now a risky lever on the wall for that) and, most hard to find a reason in the story for, lying to Peter.

One of the big problems that I had with this tale is that Sarah begins making out-of-character decisions before she puts-on said ring. She gets engaged to a guy who she's only known for a short time. She then agrees to marry Peter without having told him what she spends her life doing.

Not only is this behaviour nothing like her, but for a kids' role model it sets a poor example.

The other regular characters go along with events as best they can, but they're not given much motivation for accepting Sarah's unlikely decisions either. Luke especially accepts his sudden dad to the point of arguing with Clyde over it.

I guess the really big flaw here is that such a huge emotional curve has to convincingly happen in the space of just one episode. The production team's biggest success in this endeavour is the inspired casting of Nigel Havers as Sarah's intended. Havers has both the charm and integrity, and it's hard to think of anyone else with a better chance of making this rushed storyline work.

Given that the Doctor made it to Sarah's wedding (he wasn't sent an invite - they must have lost his number since The Stolen Earth), it is a bit of a shame that the Brigadier didn't. I was hoping for a line excusing Brendon too, but that's just me.

Without having seen the rest of this season yet, I do think that this tale would have worked much better as the final one. If Peter had featured throughout this whole series, then he would have had a proper chance to win-over Sarah Jane, her son, her friends and the audience as well.

Not to mention how much more powerful his sacrifice in the final episode would have then been.

Otherwise, I decided to just let it be fun. Great to see David Tennant's Doctor in the show for a couple of episodes, Haresh and Gita are a great double-act as Sarah's neighbours, and the other regulars get to enjoy it too.

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