There’s a nice moment in this episode where Sarah Jane, thinking only one man in the universe can fix her problems, spots the TARDIS and goes looking for the Doctor. Only it isn’t the TARDIS but an actual police box with a bemused cop inside of it.
But if the world has been destroyed, what can Sarah Jane or any of her allies do about it? Well, she and Luke can double back through the gate to 1951 and try to stop whatever it is the Trickster is doing, and Clyde and Rani, the only humans who remember what happened before the world went wrong, go looking around and find the last humans on Earth, including Rani’s normally bubbly mom Gita, are slaves to that short alien that keeps helping the Trickster.
Now, you’d think Sarah Jane would have learned her lesson, but it turns out she thinks she can still save her parents and the world. She and Luke go back to ask the people of the village if they’d seen anything weird but can’t say more than that. See, the Trickster plans to come through to that time and absorb all kinds of stuff that will leave the Earth a desiccated husk, and the little guy can rule the planet afterwards.
As it is, the Trickster kinda sucks. Oh, his plan is working. It’s just no one gets what they really want from the guy. Rani and Clyde, after learning what happened from an emotionally distant Gita, actually negotiate with the short alien. It seems the Trickster stole him away from a crashing spaceship once, and he’s as much a victim as anyone. He’ll send Rani, and only Rani, back to 1951 to warn Sarah Jane, in exchange for the puzzle box so he can maybe fix his own timeline. Clyde, agreeing, stays behind.
Man, it sure was useful that Gita knew exactly what went wrong with Sarah Jane. That’s a well-informed slave.
As it is, Sarah Jane does find the point where the Trickster will come into reality, but there’s a catch. Sort of. See, her mother came along to provide directions, and Sarah Jane’s mom isn’t stupid. Likewise, her father followed Rani there, and her father isn’t stupid. They figure out what happened, see Sarah Jane as their adult daughter, feel a lot of pride and love for her, something Sarah Jane appreciates, and then they go off to fix time themselves.
You know, by dying in a car crash.
And yes, they knew that was what would happen.
Sarah Jane’s parents are in the same ordinary and heroic mold that she is, it seems. Likewise, Sarah Jane got to know them, so while she is sad they died, that did fill a hole in her soul or something along those lines. And the Trickster lost, but he’s a dick and deserves it.
Now, maybe that short alien can use the puzzle box to fix his own timeline and that will be that.
Better Call Saul “Coushatta”
The X-Files “Duane Barry”
Killing Eve “It’s Agony And I’m Ravenous”