Sarah Jane Adventures: The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith
(2 episodes, s03e03, 2009)
Till death do they part.
Sarah Jane sneaks out of the house for a “traffic report meeting”. It’s the fifth time this month that she’s made an odd excuse like that, so Luke summons the gang and uses Mr. Smith to track her whereabouts.
She stops at a house and freshens her lipstick, nearly using her sonic instead. The gang follows her while K9 is left to verbally banter with Mr. Smith. What they find is a date in progress, but as they leave, they hear the straining engines of the TARDIS.
Sarah Jane returns home to find the gang acting strangely. Mr. Smith and K9 spill the beans and Sarah Jane is angry at first, but happily explains that she’s seeing Peter Dalton. She forgives the gang as she ushers out of the attic, briefly consulting K9 before saying goodnight to Luke. She jokes that she might have to tell Peter about aliens and her adventures, which was her barrier to finding love before.
As the lights go out, Luke hears the TARDIS engines again, but has no idea what it means.
Three days later, Peter stops by to meet Luke. Rani, Clyde, and Gita spy on the meeting as the gang saves her from an awkward parcel. The parcel opens to reveal a mischievous multi-eyed creature, and as K9 runs to wrangle the alien, Luke passes if off as a toy.
Sarah Jane, Luke, and Peter head to dinner. Rani and Clyde call for help with the alien – a Travast Polong – and Sarah Jane directs them on how to have Mr. Smith transmat the being home before returning to the table. Luke and Peter bond quickly.
Two days later, Clyde and Rani investigate Peter and find his home virtually deserted. Meanwhile, Peter proposes to Sarah Jane in a restaurant and she accepts. As the patrons applaud, the engagement ring glows red.
Clyde and Rani try to convince Sarah Jane that something is wrong, but the ring glows as Sarah rationalizes the information. She places Mr. Smith into shutdown as the computer detects an anomaly. She placates the gang as she starts planning. After all, the wedding is only two weeks away.
She shuts the door on the attic, perhaps for the final time, as a sinister laugh echoes.
The wedding day arrives and the guests assemble except for Maria, Carla Langer, and the Brigadier. Luke wonders why none of Peter’s family is in attendance, but Peter says that he has no living relatives. Sarah Jane arrives in a white limousine, bridesmaid Rani as her escort, and Luke walks her inside as the TARDIS chitters around them.
Clyde asks K9 to scan the area, which angers Luke because the robot dog should not be there. As the wedding commences, the officiant asks if anyone objects.
As the TARDIS lands, the door bursts open and the Doctor yells, “Stop this wedding now!”
The room shakes and spins as the Trickster arrives in angelic robes. As the Doctor protests, Sarah Jane, Peter, and the Trickster dematerialize. The assembled guests vanish moments later.
Luke, Clyde, and Rani regain consciousness and meet the Doctor. Along with K9, they are the only people left in the hotel. They have been left in a temporal bubble at precisely 15:23:23, with that one second repeating over and over again. They rush to the TARDIS, which is trapped between universes in a temporal schism and unable to materialize.
They’ve been left there to stop them from helping Sarah Jane. To use them to leverage against her.
The Doctor explains that the Trickster is the personification of the Pantheon of Discord, a group of aliens from a different universe thriving on chaos and trying to break into this universe. He starts following temporal traces as his sonic screwdriver starts blipping.
Sarah Jane wakes up with Peter, who asks her to say, “I do” so they can be together. She quickly realizes that the engagement ring has been controlling her and tosses it aside. She searches for the Doctor and discovers that the temporal bubble is split into two seconds. Sarah Jane and Peter are trapped in the other half.
As the inhabitants of both seconds run in search of each other, Peter explains that the Trickster came to him as an angel when he had been fatally injured after falling down the stairs at home. The Trickster offered him his life and the love he never had, but it was a ploy to capture Sarah Jane. If she marries Peter, she’ll forget her entire life in exchange for a life of paradise. If she doesn’t, she and her allies will remain in the void forever.
The Trickster returns to the other second. Shortly after, the TARDIS partially materializes and the Doctor is able to get aboard before it vanishes again. In that moment, Clyde is charged with artron energy, which the Doctor explained can be used to fight the Trickster.
Clyde summons the Trickster and promises to join him. It’s a ploy, of course, which enables Clyde to attack the Trickster with his new power.
The TARDIS partially materializes in Sarah Jane’s second, and the Doctor confers with her. He reminds her that there is only one way to end the deal, and tells Peter that he is a good man. And that he’s sorry.
The Trickster and Clyde appear, and Sarah Jane takes advantage of her weakened enemy to plead with Peter. Although it will cost him his second chance at life, he needs to break the deal to save them all. It’s the same thing that happened with Andrea Yates.
Peter withdraws his agreement, throwing the ring at the Trickster and vanishing in a shimmer of light. As the temporal schism merges with the normal timeline, the Doctor vanishes as Sarah Jane and the Bannerman Road Gang return to the exact moment that they left. With Peter gone, Sarah Jane cancels the wedding with tears in her eyes.
The gang assembles in the attic to console Sarah Jane. The Doctor joins them, allowing everyone a look around the TARDIS, as he reminds Sarah Jane just how important she is to the universe.
She asks if this is the last time that she will see him. He doesn’t know, but asks her not to forget him.
She says that no one ever will.
This story was beautiful. It was fantastic to see Sarah Jane in love, even if it was all a dirty trick. While the gang tried their best to save her from yet another Trickster temptation, when it comes to temporal traps, you call in the Doctor.
The teenagers were still instrumental in saving the day, which is good because the last thing you want is the guest star sucking all the oxygen out of the room and dominating the story.
Of course, this being a story from 2009, it’s part of David Tennant’s farewell tour, so it lays hints about the road ahead while questioning if this is the last time that Sarah Jane and the Doctor will cross paths. The reflection on their first parting was beautiful.
Sure, the solution was a re-use of the first Trickster story, but the story itself more than made up for it.
Rating: 5/5 – “Fantastic!”
UP NEXT – Sarah Jane Adventures: The Eternity Trap
The Timestamps Project is an adventure through the televised universe of Doctor Who, story by story, from the beginning of the franchise. For more reviews like this one, please visit the project’s page at Creative Criticality.