So, I was going to make a joke about how this serial was, like, the last time that K9 appeared, or that this would be the annual appearance by the Trickster but he isn’t in this one, but then I learned this was the last serial to air before Elisabeth Sladen passed away, giving the title a somewhat ironic double-meaning.
She did, apparently, finish three more two-parters, but I’ll cover those sometime later. For now, let’s see what this one is all about.
What it’s all about may be even more ironic considering Sladen’s death as it deals with Sarah Jane’s perhaps looking for someone to take over for her. She, Rani, and Clyde are out one day to neutralize potential germs on a meteor when they find someone else got there first, a woman a lot like Sarah Jane only younger and a bit more rude.
Like, really rude. She calls the three amateurs, gets rather snappy when the trio (more or less by chance) find the house she’s moving into in the neighborhood, refuses to answer too many questions, and won’t even give Sarah Jane a handshake when the older woman offers one. But, her name apparently is Ruby White. Clyde found that name by reading it off her mail.
As it is, Mr. Smith seems to think she is on the up-and-up, so there’s always room for someone else to do good. Maybe. But then an invasion is on the offing, and Sarah Jane does a few uncharacteristic things as she takes the kids out to deal with a scouting party. First, she gives Clyde a gun. Second, she forgets the sonic lipstick. And third, once there, she really forgets everything else as her mind seems to wander away.
Fortunately, Ruby shows up to save the trio, and she’s much friendlier now, even with her own portable AI that the kids dub “Mr. White”.
Well, since she’s friendly now, Sarah Jane takes Ruby back to see Mr. Smith, and the kids like her. Everything seems to be going more or less well, so you know this has to be a trap.
Especially as Sarah Jane starts to get very forgetful, even forgetting Luke is away at university.
Mr. Smith even confirms she’s got some neurological issues. The only thing to do, then, is ask Ruby to take over. When Sarah Jane can’t even remember the Doctor’s name, that’s bad.
So, it sure was convenient than Ruby got a lot less rude later, wasn’t it?
Huh. Maybe Sarah Jane shouldn’t imprint Mr. Smith to Ruby’s voice.
Wait, she really shouldn’t as Ruby says that she gets everything now: Mr. Smith, Rani, Clyde, even Luke. Sarah Jane is helpless, so if you guess Ruby isn’t human…she isn’t. She takes Sarah Jane to her own house and locks the older woman in the basement with her alien stomach, there to suck out the life from Sarah Jane, finishing the job Ruby already started by taking out the most interesting person on Earth before moving on to everyone else.
So, really, having a serial about Sarah Jane being sick and looking for a replacement…yeah, this one went somewhere that it maybe didn’t intend to.