I’d already been warned about the Doctor not appearing till the very end of the first episode, and with the whole wedding obviously a setup, I was intrigued to see how it played out over the 20-or-so minutes. I was pleasantly surprised how genuinely it was done and how successfully over such a short space of time. You really got a good look at the growing relationship between Sarah and Peter and it all felt quite genuine. It was only once Sarah put on the engagement ring that things got forced, but up until then I was really impressed that the script had done such a good job on a relationship that was obviously being manipulated from the get-go.
Of course, everyone was waiting on David Tennant’s appearance, and he certainly didn’t disappoint. We’ve not had any new Doctor Who since Planet of the Dead, and here he really was firing on all cylanders, however cleverly the script didn’t let the Doctor dominate the proceedings too much.
It would’ve been the easiest thing in the world to have the Doctor waltz in and save the day, however the script walked that fine line brilliantly, by having the Doctor team up with the kids, and putting them (or specifically Clyde) into the position of saving the day. While the Doctor is still a force to be reckoned with, the show didn’t forget that he was just a guest star. In many ways, the 10th Doctor found himself very much in the position of the 9th, empowering others to take action, rather than sorting things out himself.
There were a couple of really nice little stand out moments for me . Firstly was probably the near-delight in K9’s voice when the Doctor disrupts the wedding. That was quite a sweet moment. But mainly, there was Luke, Clyde and Rani getting to see around the TARDIS console room. It was a brilliant wish-fulfillment moment and also gave us a great look around the console room. A moment that I can’t help but find especially powerful knowing that that particular console room will shortly be on its way out. Since we know this story was the final thing filmed by David Tennant, it also felt like a last-hurrah for the console room as well, and a nice little tribute to it.
It has to be said that this series of Sarah Jane Adventures is really at the top of its game. With the gap year leaving us without a regular series of the parent show this year, its great to see the spin-offs doing so well. Its perhaps just a pity Sarah Jane Adventures wasn’t shown earlier to avoid the shadow of Waters of Mars hanging over it.