THIS STORY TAKES
PLACE BETWEEN THE
TV STORIES "THE
TEMPTATION OF SARAH
JANE SMITH" AND "FROM
PATORIUS WITH LOVE."
'THE COMPLETE SECOND
SERIES' DVD BOX SET
IN NOVEMBER 2009.
Sarah Jane MEETS an
unwelcome face from
the past: Mrs Worm-
wood is being hunted
by the Bane, and she
needs Sarah Jane's
help stop them using
an ancient alien
power to take over
Meanwhile, Gita has
vanished, and Sarah
Jane seeks help of her
1ST DECEMBER 2008 - 8TH DECEMBER 2008
The culmination to the first season saw the Slitheen return in perhaps the series’ most ambitious plotline to date. The second season’s finale goes two better – we have not just one, but two returning alien foes; and even more thrilling still, we have the first televised appearance of Nicholas Courtney as Brigadier Sir Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart in almost twenty years.
“So is this it? The day Clyde Langer finally hooks up with UNIT?”
I’m sure that I’m not the only one who feared that we had seen the last of the Brigadier on television. Even when Doctor Who was revived in 2005, the chances of Courtney being brought back seemed slim to say the least. However, a nod and wink in The Sontaran Stratagem later and here he is. Courtney has played the Brigadier for so long that he
slips straight back into the character effortlessly, and it is a real joy to see him again.
The first episode of Enemy of the Bane in particular really gives the Brigadier the deference that he warrants. Phil Ford scripts the character’s first scene marvellously, setting him up as UNIT’s rather discontented ‘Special Envoy’ and really hammering home the old soldier’s disdain for the kind of ‘Homeworld Security’ organisation that UNIT is fast becoming.
“You alien chaps never get the message, do you?”
However, I must admit to being a little saddened by the amount of screen time allotted to the character, particularly in the second episode. Whilst I appreciate that Courtney is pushing eighty years old and is probably not up to any HAVOC set pieces (though the gun disguised as a walking cane was a nice accessory!), I would liked to have seen more of him. Even a decent send-off would have been nice, instead of just a “cheers Brig, seeya.”
Turning to Ford’s main storyline, whilst it is exciting enough it’s not quite as grandiose as I had perhaps expected. I really enjoyed seeing Samantha Bond’s returning Mrs Wormwood and Anthony O'Donnell’s Sontaran Kaagh teamed up together, but the whole ‘Horath’ angle did not really work for me at all - it all felt a bit too abstract to really carry any weight. Mrs Wormwood’s attempts to lure Luke to the dark side were bit on the lame side too – at times it was like watching a girly version of The Empire Strikes Back!
“Join me, my son.”
The climax of the story, on the other hand, is absolutely dazzling. Visually, the black hole in the middle of the stone circle looks incredible, and dramatically having Kaagh save the day was an absolute masterstroke. Who would ever have thought it?
All told, Enemy of the Bane is far from being the breath-taking blockbuster that I expected it to be, but even so it is still certainly one to watch, if only to see a Sontaran save the universe and the Brigadier back in the field one more time. Let us just hope that it was not the last time that we will see the character on television…
Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2009
E.G. Wolverson has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
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