Sarah Jane Adventures : The Mark of the Beserker
This pair of episode were written by Joseph Lidster and were his second television scripts after the episode of Torchwood he wrote last year. The story is Sarah Jane lite as she leaves early on in the first episode and doesn’t appear again till the latter half of the second episode, so Rani, Luke and Clyde take centre stage. We also see an appearance by Maria and her Dad in the second episode when Luke gets in touch with them to help after he was unable to get in touch with Sarah Jane.
Not only is this episode Sarah Jane lite it is also Mr Smith lite as he doesn’t make an appearance in the story apart from an answerphone style message left my Mr Smith saying that Sarah Jane had shut him down while she was away. Basically Maria and her dad fill in the role of Mr Smith in the second episode of this story with their input which, to all intents and purposes, saved the day.
I did think that Maria might be a bit more jealous of Rani than she appeared to be here, or even Rani being a bit put out that Luke had got Maria involved when she was part of the team. In this story there is a pendant with an odd design on it which allows the wearer to make people do whatever they want.
This starts off in little ways such as making a school bully shut up, or making your dad hop on one legs or do press ups, which most people would love to have the power to do, but can also do more lasting damage such as making people forget friends and loved ones with just a single sentence. It seems that the more that you use the powers afforded by the pendant the more you want to use it and Rani quickly learns that it is not good to have after nearly making her Dad believe that she wanted him dead, even though that was not what she said. So pretty scary stuff I am sure you will agree and most people would try and get rid of it as soon as possible, so long as you had a moral compass that is.
In this episode we also find out a bit more about Clyde such as that he lives with his mother and that his dad left the family a number of years before. I wasn’t aware of this fact until I saw this episode and am not sure if it was mentioned before. Clyde’s mum is played by Jocelyn Lee Esien better know for her rather hit and miss comedy series My Name is Jocelyn on BBC3, and his dad is played by Gary Beadle best known for playing Paul Trueman in Eastenders.
Now Clyde’s mum, Carla, seems like a nice woman who is just trying to bring up her son in the best way possible and his dad, Paul, is a bit of a bastard who ran off with his wife’s sister and is pretty much only ever thinking about himself and what he wants to do. It is therefore not suprising that Carla wants him nowhere near Clyde or herself.
It is not said why Clyde’s dad chose that particular time to come and pay him a visit at first but the reason behind it is explained at the end of the story in kind of mirror of what had happened with Clyde himself. In an attempt to impress his Dad, Clyde boasts about how many times he has saved the Earth with Sarah Jane, Luke, Rani and Maria and takes him to Sarah Jane’s attic where (unbeknownst to Clyde) the pendant enticed Clyde’s dad to take it and as soon as he realised the power that it gave him he thought I’m gonna have a bit more of it. Perhaps the pendant is drawn to bad people with lack of will power in particular as Rani found it quite easy to get rid of it after she had only used it the once, unlike Clyde’s dad who used it the once before deciding that he could whatever he wanted and that nobody could stop him.
The action really cranks up in the second episode as Clyde’s dad goes on the rampage with the pendant, using it to blag a flash car for free, buy Clyde lots of presents to make up for not being around for years and, most evil of all, making Clyde forget about this mother. It was almost heart breaking when Clyde’s mum gave him a hug and then was pushed away by Clyde who genuinely didn’t know who she was, which must be every mother’s nightmare, and even if you aren’t a parent you can imagine how it would feel if you blanked your own mother like that. Luckily for everyone Clyde’s dad didn’t really know about Sarah Jane Smith, or consider her a threat, so that she was able to turn up right at the end to put things right with the world. In this story there was another mention of Sarah’s past, such as the fact that her parents died when she was baby, which appears to be a nice lead into the next episode where the Trickster and the Graske return.
These episodes did a lot for Clyde’s character and he really is quite a sensitive soul despite all of the bravado and the cheek that he displays to the people around him (although not it seems to his mother who, along with Sarah Jane seems to be one of the few adults that Clyde trusts), which really do him a lot more credit than he seems to think they do.
I had been a little bit disappointed in the first few episodes of this second season but it is more than back on track with this story.