Yesterday was an "exhaust myself with exercise" day featuring another 3 miles of biking + 3.5 miles of walking on 5 hours of sleep until the combined efforts sent me into blissfully happy rest from 6 PM until past 8 AM. Today was an "immerse myself in this fandom for one more shining day until it resumes hibernation until series 5" kind of day. For once, a successful weekend!
The Sarah Jane Adventures, "Lost in Time"
Tears of joy over how good that was. Tears.
Tears of heartbreak, too, but mostly joy. Each half felt like it took about five minutes, literally; when I hit the end of part 1 I was shocked it was already over because I hadn't noticed time passing at all. The only time I paused to check the time was when Sarah Jane came back without the key, and I was baffled as to how they were going to wrap up and wondered if it was going to be continued again. Five seconds later, the crisis had resolved itself in the tidiest resolution ever. All good!
The Clue In the Antique
Trunk Shop, part 1: Antique stores: like museums with free admission. Can I have fifteen minutes (better yet, an hour) to wander around that set and look at everything? I saw a neat stuffed bear and a pretty dollhouse, and that doesn't even account for the time I would need to spend admiring the live parrot.
I love how this hour was so jam-packed with stories that we not only didn't get to see the house this week, but we barely had time to set it up before we were off and away. Although, can I just point out, for someone who was all "I don't know what you're looking for! Just do it fast!", it seemed like he could have guessed from the really distinct shapes in his little velvet-lined box just what they might have been looking for.
I don't usually like when the group is split up, but in this case, the people they encountered more than made up for it.
(p.s. "time window" my butt. I think the word you are looking for is "anomaly.")
Clyde + George, 1941, Germans: Although the least entertaining of the three, that's only because the girls' adventures were so great. What this did remind me of was the kind of adventure you'd read in a book written for boys around this time period, and it succeeded well in the themes of excitement, a dash of danger, and clever kids saving the day and taking down bad guys without any help from grown-ups. I really liked George. I rather hope Clyde goes by sometime to see him in the present day (look, if the Doctor and Martha can pop back into the life of Tiny Tim, albeit from a distance...). In fact, it is now my personal canon that they become friends and Clyde interviews him when assigned a WWII-themed research project for history.
Rani + Queen Jane Grey, 16th century, Tower of London: Ah, Lady Jane. I did a report on her once, as the Tudor era is my favorite part of English history, but since it was a presentation (an utterly useless method of learning) I didn't remember much beyond the fact that her reign was brief. I also couldn't quite remember what had happened to her until I went on Wikipedia, and then realized I had pretty much blocked it out its sadness.
Digression over, excellent work on this tale! Casting gets kudos for picking a spectacular Jane (the gorgeous long red hair sold me), the actress deserves credit for the heartbreaking way she played her, seeming at once wise beyond her years but also very much 16, and the costume department deserves shiny gold stars for the pretty necklace and especially for that intricate gold design over Rani's braided bun. Mesmerizingly pretty.
Ragging on Rani is my usual coping mechanism for this show, but apparently if you have her strike up a friendship with a girl her own age she will turn into my favorite person. From the moment the queen opened the music box, I couldn't get enough of this storyline. I liked the appearances by the older woman quite a bit too, but it was mostly the friendship that got to me. Especially when Jane decided she was an angel at the end. Show, whatever you are doing, you are doing it exactly right. That would be the first point at which tears started welling up...
Sarah Jane + Emily, 1889, Quasi-Haunted House: The only way this even slightly edged out the above as my favorite was because it starred Sarah Jane and Emily was such a delight and they were in an old house where spooky things were happening. Oh, I see that the show is still bound and determined to insist that ghosts have never ever existed and there's no such thing, but whatever they give us in the ghosts' place tends to be just as wonderfully spooky, so it's like they haven't said it at all. Besides, until the granddaughter showed up, I was positive there was an element of The Others happening here. That little boy definitely saw a ghost, let's put it that way (unless he later convinces himself it was a guardian angel, which is equally acceptable).
[sidebar: that is officially the WORST BABYSITTER EVER. Who thinks it is OK to leave kids in the house by themselves for even ten minutes? That is, in fact, the entire point of getting paid to babysit. Otherwise parents would just go out and save themselves the expense. Duh-doi? What happened to the good old days when bad babysitters just sneaked their boyfriends in?]
Anyway. Spooky chills, some more tears ("Why did it stop so suddenly?" / "I guess...because that's where it ends for those children." I'm easy today), bonus hugging -- this adventure just has everything! Including an extremely neat time-crossing thing that just should not be possible even on a show that routinely stretches the limits of the fantastic. Of course Emily didn't want Sarah Jane to go, everyone loves Sarah Jane within five seconds of meeting her. Nice touch.
The Clue In the Antique
Trunk Shop, part 2: One, despite the total lack of explanation we get on Spooky Guy With A Parrot, I thought he was really interesting. Two, even more hugs! Three, at this point the tears had switched over to joy at how absolutely perfect and completely, 100% without fail this was. And four, now I get to think about the fun conversations that will ensue between Sarah Jane and Angela Price. I'm extremely invested in having Sarah Jane strike up a boatload of new friendships now that Luke is not around, apparently.
In conclusion: Easy season favorite that I'm not sure even the previously most-anticipated finale can top, and series highlight across all four years.
Goodbye, Sarah Jane Smith
Well, that's not a heartbreakingly prophetic title at all.
After seeing this, I am extremely glad there are still three bonus adventures to go. It would have been a more than fitting tribute of a permanent sendoff if there weren't, but I am selfish and need absolutely as much Sarah Jane time as possible. I have no idea how it will really end, but I suspect and hope that there will be no hint of any tragedy, and despite that I cannot help imagining there will be, or at least what it would be like if there were. There's still this giant ache that tugs at me every time I think about Elisabeth Sladen really being gone, and this episode did a lot to combine reality with fiction and basically turn me into a festival of waterworks for the entire first half.
Or: "I am sorry. You are very ill indeed." = the point at which I pause and come up with 183521 ways this is no alien trickery but a real and untreatable medical ailment, because Sarah Jane is only human and not invincible by any means. Tragedy is inevitable, the only question is when you'll know it's real. And how much worse if it's sooner than expected? These are the kind of things I would normally get a ton of mileage thinking about, except that's exactly what happened and apparently I still can't deal.
I should also point out that for the first 40% of the episode or so, I got so wrapped up in this that I completely forgot every possible bad thing on this show...unless it involves one of the kids moving away...is always a fakeout that will be resolved right before the end credits roll on part 2. Let's pretend it's to the show's credit for being so good as to make me forget about formula, rather than my own silliness.
SHAKING THIS OFF, let's focus on the good stuff like Surprise Unexpected Luke! I only pay attention to this show for about two weeks of combined time throughout the year, so once I've done one round of hitting up the internet for information (usually before airdates are announced), I have no idea what's going on as far as casting or story arcs. For example, I spent the whole month I was watching worrying that one of the new kids we met was going to permanently replace Luke.
tl;dr, seeing Tommy Knight again made my day, and I think maybe just for that this was my second favorite of the season.
Other Things, In No Particular Order
* Sarah Jane coming thisclose to getting the kids killed for real, and that brief moment where she grabs onto Rani and says Luke's name just about killed me (not for real).
* Couldn't stand Ruby from the get-go -- and I was taking her at face value like Rani did. (I r gullible!) Only possible detraction for the adventure.
* "No one's irreplaceable," in combination with Rani heading off for driving lessons with Ruby = the point at which I sink even deeper into my contrived misery and curl up in a miserable ball under metaphorical covers, because isn't this what Sarah Jane's life was once going to be -- all alone and independent? Ought to be prepared for it, right? But this was why, then -- getting close to people and losing them is so much harder.
* And just when you think I cannot get more miserable, and even when the show has finally (forcibly) pointed out that Something Is Up -- saying that she doesn't want to be a burden on Luke just puts me right over that edge, because now she's Future Me, making ridiculous and secretly self-pitying reasons to disappear from anybody you have left.
* Greatly enjoyed Clyde's explosive reaction, especially that quick and subtle but hard-hitting reference to Sarah Jane being gone just like his dad. It's harder to articulate their relationship than the easy mother/son or female-bonding ones, but it's an attachment I very much
* Also enjoyed Rani crying miserably on the couch, allowing Gita to be non-hateful for the first time since I turned on her at the
beginning of s.3.
* Continuing the theme of Sarah Jane breaking my heart and capitalizing on my interest in damsels in distress even if there are no dashing men, per se, to rescue them -- I loved everything having to do with her being overpowered (I say that like there was a struggle) and being held prisoner. Especially the feeble demands for Ruby to leave Clyde alone, and crying in vain not to listen to the surprisingly convincing recorded message** - "That isn't me!"
(**well, if she were going to leave with nothing but a ridiculous message -- say, if it were the sort of thing she'd record in the event of imminently passing away -- I imagine that's pretty much how she'd say it. Although in this case, I might have suspected someone was standing off to the side with a gun, making threats.)
* Clyde's goodbye speech wasn't half bad, as far as imminent-death speeches go. RS approves this message, as well as the continuing theme of rendering Clyde unconscious/unresponsive
* Loved Luke in a rare fit of temper, laying blame and demanding answers from Rani. Though am decidedly unclear why he did not bring K-9 back home with him, other than reasons of plot contrivance
* Post-danger hugging! I would have preferred a bit more hugging, seeing how close we were to actual death and Luke having been away for quite some time and all, but I'll take what I can get.
I am in a melancholy mood and this just popped up on the Sentient Windows Media Player. The tune perfectly fits the sentiments I have felt all afternoon:
Oh, THIS HELPS. (I say that with an edge of sarcasm, because: *bawl* I still haven't been able to make myself look at any of what I'm sure are beautiful video tributes)
In conclusion: yeah, all I'm really going to remember from this one is the heartbreaking stuff, due to my poor life choice to delay watching it until after April. Seeking masochistic, soul-punching AU fic now...
[edit: or possibly the masochism will be a result of simply plunging willy-nilly into the options on fanfic.net because it's easier than combing through LJ. MY EYES. THE BADNESS. But I suffered through until I found a couple of good ones, and after paging through a few months worth of soniclipstick posts, I ended up with a mini rec list:
The Final Farewell - LisaT
Sarah Jane is dead, but her team are determined to find a way to say their last goodbyes.
A poignant look at the aftermath of Sarah Jane dying saving one of them. Even if I do have to put up with The Impostor.**
[**Absolute worst thing about his existence? Now I have to put up with him standing in for the Doctor in not only all "goodbye" stories but ALL of the Doctor-inclusive stories until such time as we can get him replaced. Which I'm hoping is never, as I just want the show to curl up and quit ASAP so that Henry Ian Cusick can be my Twelve for the next hundred years or so. In the meantime, I'm getting quite a kick out of using this nickname.]
End of Days - BritishAlien
A mere snippet, but so exquisitely worded -- a short and fitting coda to the end, whenever and wherever it may be.
Carbon, Earth and Stardust - kaffyr
She'd been to the stars and was now of the earth. Luke Smith waits for the world to start again.
Another touching goodbye, cancer version.
Then there's this, which I would edit my 4x01 post to include, but unfortunately attempting to edit old posts made in the Rich Text Editor now causes a total loss of paragraph formatting and makes you want to kill yourself, so:
Six Reasons - boro-girl
"I know that when I'm gone you're going to wonder what to do with yourself. So this is your guide to how to live a Luke and K9 free life."
In which Luke leaves the sweetest video for Sarah Jane to find after he leaves, and which would have made me feel a whole lot better if this had existed and I'd seen it in December.
The A to Z of Sarah Jane Smith - boro_girl**
What do I love? Short, efficient vignette scenes tied together with a theme. So here are 26 of them featuring one prompt per letter of things relevant to Sarah Jane's life.
(**...oh, now, what are the odds? Not only these two but apparently also the previously-recced Rest In Peace, all of them found independently of one another, and I didn't realize until just now were all by the same person. Girl is good. And now I have to read everything else she has ever written, as it will obviously delight my brain to the highest degree.)
And on a slightly different note, another lovely post-ep for Journey's End, featuring little things that got lost:
One Shining Moment - ice_connoisseur
Relevant A/N: I loved Journey's End. Nothing makes me happier than a full circle. But there were bits I wanted to see (Jack and Rose's reunion) and bits that still infuriate me (that bloody Dalek at the end of Stolen Earth) and reactions that weren't explored (Martha to Rose) and meetings that didn't take place (the Doctor and Luke) and a resolution that needed more (Donna), and these spawned from those thoughts.
And on that happy note, I depart to find other things to do, content in the realization that SJA has finally flared back to its full, brilliant, original fandom strength. I wasn't quite there the last time I posted, just a lot closer. Now it's my everything, ready to consume all my waking thoughts until it recedes naturally behind newer and shinier options.