Spoiler Level: High
The last story of Series 4 of Sarah Jane Advent- ures, can you believe it? This is The Little Show That Could. Story #24, episodes 46 & 47. (I love that they do that, by the way; it's like recapturing the old serialized format that Doctor Who used to have. Maybe someday we'll get some stories that runs longer than 2 episodes.)
So, it's the end of the season, and the title of the last story is "Goodbye, Sarah Jane Smith." Which is a great concept for making one think that this might be the send-off for the entire show... if they hadn't announced that they've already filmed part of the next series!
The story itself holds up to the usual high quality of the rest of the season, albeit with a few somewhat large holes in logic towards the end. Sarah Jane & crew meet up with Ruby White, another alien hunter who's just moved into the area. After a shaky start she begins to fit in nicely with the group, while Sarah Jane starts to have memory lapses. You know something's up when she asks Luke "And how's... oh, what's his name... the metal dog?" And Sarah Jane continues to fall apart, to the point where she's ready to hand it all over to Ruby.
There's some very good developments in the second half; Luke comes back to try to help, so it's nice to have him back. Unfortunately, even though he knows something is so radically wrong that he races on the scene cursing "What the hell is going on?!?" he didn't think to actually bring K9, so they have to consult him via videophone. That's the first of those big gaps in logic I mentioned. Perhaps in this case they couldn't actually get the K9 prop to the set, so his scenes had to be literally phoned in? Maybe it was a requirement by Bob Baker to keep K9 from being over exposed on both his own show and Sarah Jane adventures? Beats me. But it sure came across as odd.
It turns out Ruby is an alien that feeds off of extreme emotions such as excitement and despair, with the energy going into a very large stomach that's kept outside of her body. She intends to help out the alien invaders that Sarah Jane usually stops, which will raise the emotional level of the world, which she'll feed off of until the Earth is used up. "Want to colonize the Earth? Pick a continent!" she shouts with glee. Okay, so far so good. So Luke hatches the plan to use a hologram system to make it look like the entire Earth is being bombarded with asteroids, which will raise the excitement level of the entire world at once and send Ruby into overload.
Umm, see the logic problems here? Rich and I each saw a different one. Rich pointed out that Luke has intentionally sent the entire world into a panic. This means that at the very least, there are going to be people dying from heart failure, if not auto accidents, suicides, what have you. And I pointed out, umm, didn't Ruby just say that letting the Earth get attacked was part of her plan?!? What was she planning on doing, saying "Yeah, could you please not all attack at once? I can't take that. Only attack one continent at a time, thanks!" So really, what was Luke thinking?
The final bit of trouble is when she's banished back to her orbital prison cell. They send Ruby back, but not her external stomach. Wouldn't that mean she would keep getting powered up from the people of Earth?
So yeah, some big holes in the plot in the last half, but it was nice to see Luke and K9 again. When things start to work out Luke blurts out, "Rani, I love you!" which might be intended in the vein of "You rock!" ...or might be intended to set up a love triangle, as Clyde and Rani were definitely clashing in this episode over Sarah Jane's leaving. With all the set up they did for Clyde & Rani, I'm surprised that it didn't culminate in anything in this story, so I can't believe that Luke's comment wasn't intentional.
Sarah Jane Adventures will return in 2011, and I'll be looking forward to them.