Sarah Jane Adventures: Enemy Of The Bane Part 2
'Nice one, Mrs.W' as Clyde and Luke
are smothered in exploding Bane matter when Wormwood blasts her assailants. The gang realise that UNIT are
also on the trail and hide out in Gita's flower shop with Mrs. Wormwood and
Lethbridge-Stewart. It's here that Sarah Jane asks the very pertinent
question, around which the whole story is built, 'Don't you have any
children of your own...?' This aimed at someone who gives herself the
title of 'Mrs'. Again, we have some very accomplished playing by Sladen
and Bond as the two women sensitively discuss...well...their barreness. Of course it then flips over into bitterness as Wormwood takes a pot shot
at Sarah Jane's new found sense of purpose as a result of her surrogacy
of Luke. There's a hint at ancient myth and Biblical symbolism with the
story positioning both Sarah Jane and Wormwood as barren women, with
Luke perhaps indicative of some form of immaculate conception. It's
again telling that Wormwood bitches to Sarah about the sonic lipstick
being 'very female' and demands 'a more masculine influence' as they go
for handbags at dawn in the shop. Of course, the male influence is
revealed as Kaagh and the pair of them are double crossing the Bane in
order to revive the 'creation figure' of Horath.
Kaagh becomes Wormwood's fawning eunuch which is a rather demeaning role for a former warlord of the Sontaran race and a further reference to Wormwood's power representing a suggestion of anxiety about male castration. Little man syndrome, indeed. Samantha Bond caresses that scroll a little too sensuously for my liking and I'm pretty sure she has cottoned on to what exactly is going on and is camping it up for all it's worth. When Luke asserts himself and stands up to Wormwood she again gets rather aroused and wants to possess him. Her ownership of Luke comes from the need to break the mother/son bond between him and Sarah Jane. However, their passionate declaration of their familial love for one another is something that Mrs. Wormwood would never understand. She simply sees her relationship to Luke as one of sexual and intellectual possession.
...a mother bequeathing her son with the power of life and death
dear. Bloody Gita's back, sticking her nose in again. Except, she
stumbles across a rather oddly behaving Major Kilburne and it's at this
moment that it becomes apparent that Kilburne isn't what he seems. Not
someone you'd invite in for a quick cuppa then, Gita. Meanwhile Luke is
dragged off to another desolate factory location where he rejects
Wormwood's aspirations for him to be her concubine. Tommy Knight is
exceptionally good, getting across Luke's antipathy for the woman's plan of
galactic revenge. Bond also gives superb value, managing that tricky
balance between sincerity and ham that all good villains need to
achieve. Luke establishes that Horath actually isn't a living creature
and that he/she/it is a cyborg computer capable of
reshaping the universe and 'can destroy worlds and give birth to them
in a blink of an eye'. Some sort of interstellar father/mother then, a galactic cradle/grave to which Wormwood compares herself. And with
that she hands her 'prince' the glowing dildo of Horath, a mother
bequeathing her son with the power of life and death.
Brilliantly, that scene sucks the audience in and just for a brief second you think Luke's fallen under her spell. And then he legs it. What a fantastic twist to a carefully built scene. After a bit of a chase, a couple of explosions and some gloating, Kaagh decides to finish Luke off. However, Wormwood puts him firmly in his place, completing her castration of the warrior and reducing him to the status of slave. Whilst this life/death struggle is played out, Clyde gets all 007 (the look on Lethbridge-Stewart's face is priceless) and the gang have to deal with Major Kilburne. Kilburne is, of course, Bane. But Nick Courtney rises to the occasion and obviously relishes the scene where Lethbridge-Stewart promptly shoots the creature with his walking stick gun! Pity about that appalling 'slimy creep' gag from Sarah Jane, though.
...he simply says, 'I don't want to be a God' when she offers him the universe on a plate.
climax to all this running around is Horath's dildo opening a big hole
in time and space at a neolithic stone circle. Hang on, let me read
that again....yeah, that's about the right level of innuendo. And holes
are very important symbols when it comes to fertility rites and
fertilising power and representing the 'opening' of this world
into other planes of existence. Oh, whilst we're at it, it might be
useful to flag up that the herb wormwood is often used as a tea to give
to pregnant women to ease labour pains. When she prepares to insert the
scroll in the hole (I'm sorry, I can't help it) Wormwood even gets a
solicitor joke in when Kaagh reminds her of their partnership. But
ironically, only the human Luke can enter the circle and open the
gateway. I love that moment where he simply says, 'I don't want to be a
God' when she offers him the universe on a plate.
It's the culmination
of a very strong character arc that's been developing for Luke over the
series. And Bond's reaction when Sarah Jane arrives and Luke runs to
her with a shout of 'Mum!' is beautifully played. She's defeated by
very simple human emotions, especially unconditional love, and that
resignation is there in her desperate pleading for him.
Kaagh does the honourable thing and with a shout of 'Sonta-ha!' he pulls himself and Wormwood into the black hole. The episode ends on a delightful coda that embraces true friendship, including Sir Alistair of course, and the series de rigeur visual motif of star-gazing wonderment at the universe. A great conclusion to the story and a script that gets the series on track again after a run of uneven stories that took liberties with character development at the behest of recycled ideas. Clyde and Luke did get some terrific episodes, Sarah went somewhat out of character in the penultimate story and I'm afraid Rani and her family ended up as the major casualties this year. Rani is great but there needs to be some serious work done to make Gita and Haresh more appealing. But at least this is a high note to end this series on.