Sarah Jane Adventures : The Mad Old Woman in The Attic
It was only a matter of time before Rani got an story for herself and this week she finally got her story. The basic premise of this story is to be careful what you wish for as it turned out in this story that the reason why she grew up to be The Mad Old Woman of Bannerman Road was all down to a decision she made when she was in a bit of a strop during this episode where she felt like she was being left out of the loop by the others.
This was also the first time that Rani seemed to feel a bit left out by the mere mention of Maria, which seems a little odd as I am sure they must have mentioned her before. I guess Rani must just have woken up on the wrong side of bed that morning as she really seemed to take it to heart. In every other respects Maria is in the past and Rani is well and truly part of the gang, so she must just have been having one of those days that day.
What was refreshing about this story was the fact that there was no threat in the end but for the majority of the story this just didn’t seem to matter as for the first episode at least there certainly seemed like there was a possibility as a threat which in the end turned out to be a complete red herring. The second episode presented a moment for all the people watching who aren’t even close to the target audience (of which I am one) with clips from a few of her Doctor Who stories and a little taster of something to come later on in the series.
There was even a very thinly veiled reference to the Time War by the character of Eve, basically a teenage alien who just wanted to have friends and not be lonely, and a nice little nod to the Superman mythos with Eve being sent away from a planet in a spaceship as a baby and then crash landing on the Earth. Eve’s people are time sensitive and were destroyed, probably by the Daleks due to the fact that she used the word exterminate, during the war but not before she was sent out in a ship by her parents to forge a new life on a new planet.
It was noticed how similar the characters of Adam and Tom looked in the story but the reason why they looked so similar was not at all obvious to this reviewer until the moment when it was explained why they did at the end of the second episode. I just thought that it was because most kids of that age seem to look the same anyway. I bet there isn’t many more times that Delta and the Bannermen will be used as an influence in either this or the parent series.
Elisabeth Sladen’s actual husband, Brian Miller, made a guest appearance in this story as Harry the caretaker of the now defunct amusement arcade in Danemouth and even got a few scenes with his wife and managed to come out of the part not chewing the scenery. Anji Mohindra was very good in this story and gave her best performance as Rani since she joined during the second series in the first story where she was pretty much the most important character as far as the story was concerned.
Probably the single most exciting moment in the episode for a lot of viewers would be the site of the TARDIS materialising in Sarah Jane’s attic and, not forgetting, the return of K9 to the series. It also seems like Mr Smith and K9 will have a rather spiky relationship as he certainly didn’t seem happy to see K9 at all. This rather begs the question that now K9 is back is there going to be much of role for Mr Smith now as he fulfilled the same role that K9 is now surely going to take for the rest of the series?
The Mad Woman in the Attic was an enjoyable story but I suspect that the best is yet to come.