Unearthly Times

The Sarah Jane Adventures

Enemy of the Bane


N.B. there might (or might not) be spoilers in this article!

If The Temptation of Sarah Jane Smith explored what it was like for our heroine to have lost her parents, Enemy of the Bane explores what it means to Sarah Jane to be a parent.

“The Bane are not usually the perpetrators of intrigue.”

Mr Smith Enemy of the Bane, Part One

The return of Samantha Bond as Mrs Wormwood from the series’ pilot allows the show to consider the nature versus nurture concept when raising children. Insomuch as Luke could be considered born, the Bane villainess is the closest thing to a natural mother he has, but Sarah Jane remains Luke’s Mum – a fact that none of Mrs Wormwood’s temptations can disabuse him of.

(One of my favourite expressions of the complexity of this kind of dual relationship came in crime drama Shetland where Duncan explaining his and Perez’s relationship to daughter Cassie. “I’m her father. Jimmy’s her Dad.” But I digress.)

“In my day, we took on Daleks, Cybermen, Autons, Zygons and all manner of space-thuggery, and it doesn’t get more hostile than that.”

The Brigadier Enemy of the Bane, Part One

Not only does Enemy of the Bane take us back to the show’s first episode (with no mention of Kelsey Cooper I notice), but it also ties in with the opening episode of Series Two, with shamed Sontaran Commander Kaagh returning to take part in what Mrs Wormwood calls ‘the sweetness of revenge’.

All of which would play into this being the big series finale Russell the Davies has become fond of, but Enemy of the Bane‘s trump card is actually a little less bombastic: the return of Doctor Who‘s favourite old soldier Brigadier Sir Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart. Nicholas Courtney lifts every scene he is in – even getting his own back-in-my-day moment – proving also that, like Sarah Jane Smith, the Brigadier is ‘not past his sell-by date yet’.