The Temptation of Sarah Jane Smith
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|11 – The Temptation of Sarah Jane Smith|
|The Sarah Jane Adventures story|
|Directed by||Graeme Harper|
|Written by||Gareth Roberts|
|Script editor||Gary Russell|
|Produced by||Matthew Bouch|
|Executive producer(s)||Russell T Davies|
|Production code||2.9 and 2.10|
|Running time||2 episodes, 25 minutes each|
|First broadcast||17 November 2008|
|Last broadcast||24 November 2008|
In the story, Sarah Jane Smith is emotionally manipulated by a malicious chaos-causing entity called The Trickster into preventing the accidental death of her parents in the past, in order to open a fault in time and bring chaos upon the Earth.
A child, Oscar, from the 1950s walks into a time fissure and is transported to the current year. Unbeknown to Sarah Jane, who takes him back, he did it deliberately under the command of The Trickster. She notices a milestone, which indicates that the village she can see in the distance is Foxgrove, the village where she was born. When Luke inquires about her odd behaviour, she shows him a photograph of her parents and tells him of how they abandoned her as a baby by the side of the road before being killed in a car accident, leaving her to be looked after by her aunt.
Though realising that the time fissure was a trap and initially refusing herself the opportunity to go back in time to find out the reason why her parents abandoned her, that evening she does so, but accompanied by Luke who had anticipated her actions. Rani and Clyde ask Mr Smith where they have gone, and realise that she has gone back to when her parents were alive. Then the puzzle box (from the serial Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane?) suddenly lights up. Sarah Jane and Luke spot her mother at the village fete carrying Sarah Jane as a baby. When they shake hands with Sarah Jane's father, they introduce themselves as David and Victoria Beckham. Luke spots the child they "helped" earlier and follows him. Sarah Jane has a conversation with her mother, who reveals her plan is for Sarah Jane to have siblings. Sarah Jane leaves before she is forced to hold herself in baby form, which would have created a paradox. Upon seeing the date on a newspaper, Sarah Jane realises that "today" is the day when her parents are about to abandon her. Ignoring Luke's warning that changing time is not a good idea, she sabotages her parents' car with her sonic lipstick to prevent them from leaving. The child, Oscar, reveals that he is in fact a Graske. Sarah Jane and Luke go through the time fissure again and discover that present-day London has been destroyed. The Trickster then appears before Sarah Jane and mockingly thanks her for all she has done for him.
Sarah Jane demands to know how saving her parents could have altered time so drastically, to which The Trickster explains the village was built on a fault in time. Sarah Jane's tampering with a fixed point in time opened this fault, allowing The Trickster to physically enter their reality and ravage Earth for the last half century. Sarah Jane and Luke go back through the fissure as The Trickster gloats he has already won.
Meanwhile, Clyde and Rani explore the ruined London, reduced to rock formations and worked by human slaves who are led by The Trickster's Graske. The slaves are being made to mine resources so that The Trickster may create a ship and extend his reach to the rest of the universe. Clyde and Rani implore the Graske to help them restore the original timeline but he explains that if he did The Trickster would punish him; years ago the Graske had nearly died in space, but had been saved by The Trickster in return for eternal servitude. Clyde promises the Graske that if he helps them, they will give him the puzzle box to free him from The Trickster. The Graske agrees and reopens the fissure so that Rani can tell Sarah Jane the new information.
In the past, Sarah Jane's parents come to realise who she is and what she was trying to prevent. However, their touch now instantly withers any organic life they hold and they realise it is their destiny to drive off this day. After telling their daughter how proud they are of her, they both enter the newly repaired car and drive off. The Trickster begins to fade, unable to see how the timeline could have been restored. Sarah Jane proudly states that The Trickster's plan never considered that her parents would willingly sacrifice themselves to save the world. The Trickster vanishes, howling with rage.
Back in the modern day, the timeline is restored around the Graske and Clyde, who gives the alien the promised puzzle box. The Graske teleports away, beaming over its newly returned freedom. The fissure reopens as Sarah Jane, Luke and Rani return.
Later at home, Sarah Jane reminisces over her parents. Although she could not save them, she finally knows why they left and is incredibly proud of them. Mysteriously, the camera pans to an old piece of paper reading "Mr Smith, I Need You" on Sarah Jane's desk.
- The Trickster is a returning villain. He targeted Sarah Jane in series one's Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane? and (by proxy) the Doctor via Donna Noble in the Doctor Who episode "Turn Left".
- Flashbacks to the events of "Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane?" are shown and Yasmin Paige makes an uncredited archive footage appearance in these as Maria Jackson. The Trickster appears again in The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith, opposite the Doctor.
- By going back in time, Luke meets his young maternal grandmother and infant mother, just as Ace McShane had done in The Curse of Fenric. Also similarly, their respective grandmothers hurry off in automobile, and their maternal grandfathers' deaths are described.
- By going back in time, Sarah Jane meets her infant self and young father, just as Rose Tyler had done in "Father's Day". Also similarly, their respective fathers voluntarily die in automobile collisions to correct the timeline.
- Sarah Jane refers to how many innocent people have accidentally been abducted by random time fissures and rifts. This situation was previously explored in the Torchwood episodes "Out of Time" and "Adrift". When recounting all the people she has saved, she mentions the events of the Doctor Who serial The Monster of Peladon and the series one premiere "Invasion of the Bane". Clyde also recounts various adventures he has had, including Revenge of the Slitheen, The Lost Boy, The Last Sontaran and Warriors of Kudlak.
- Sarah Jane's infancy in 1951, coupled with her statement in 1974 that she was 23, indicate that the Third and Fourth Doctors' stories with UNIT took place more-or-less contemporaneously to their original broadcasts. But see UNIT dating controversy.
- The TARDIS is mentioned for the first time by name on the show. In part 2, Sarah Jane encounters a genuine police box and briefly mistakes it for the Doctor's TARDIS. During this sequence, the Doctor's Theme was also played. The Eleventh Doctor himself mistakes a police box for his TARDIS in "The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe".
- Sarah Jane is aware of the paradox effects that may occur if she held herself as a baby. This was further explored in the Doctor Who stories Mawdryn Undead and "Father's Day".
- As she periodically did in 1973–1976 episodes of Doctor Who, Sarah Jane mentions having been brought up by her aunt, Lavinia Smith, who appears on-screen only in 1981's K-9 and Company. The description she gives of Lavinia, "never in one place long enough to lick a stamp", is the same description that Lavinia gave of Sarah Jane herself. Sarah Jane and Clyde each periodically imply in the series that Lavinia Smith is deceased; Sarah Jane explicitly says so in the 2002 Big Finish audio drama, Sarah Jane Smith: Comeback.
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