I am detecting an exceptionally high oscillation of beta brainwaves suggesting intense anger
I have missed entirely too many days in the last month, and I missed yet another yesterday on New Year's Day. I fully intended to get up and work out, but in the end I decided to go to Urgent Care instead and be treated for a middle ear infection. Tomato, tomahto. This morning I started back at work after nearly three weeks off for the holidays, and I drug myself out of bed too late to be able to do my sit-ups so only did the treadmill while I watched the next-to-last Sarah Jane Adventures episode. Hoo boy, it was a good'n.
The Curse of Clyde Langer - Parts 1 & 2
(TARDIS Data Core recap)
I am not at all surprised to learn that today's story won the 2012 Writers' Guild of Great Britain's Best Children's TV Script Award. The story, in which (as the title asserts) Clyde Langer is beset by an alien WhateverCurse, has poor Clyde rejected by almost everyone (including his own mother) and winding up living rough on the streets. The problem of homelessness is dealt with head-on and with surprising frankness for a children's program, and conveys just how terrifyingly easy it is for someone to fall of the edge of society.
The curse comes from an ancient totem pole that has trapped some old god, and in order for said god to escape his prison, he must completely isolate Clyde as his chosen vessel. As such, anyone who hears or reads the name Clyde Langer instantly has an irrational hatred of him. Even his own mother turns him out of the house. Literally the only two people who do not shun him are Sky (who, being alien, is apparently immune to the curse) and a teenage homeless girl named Ellie. (Or, at least, she says her name is Ellie but that turns out to be as much a fiction as when Clyde tells her his name is Enrico Box so that she won't hear his actual name and get all hate-ey.)
Ultimately Sky figures out how to subvert the curse and get Sarah Jane and Rani to quite hating on Clyde and actually rescue him. No shocker there. The real shocker is that, during the climax of the story, Clyde is forced to leave Ellie without saying goodbye and ends up losing her forever. When he goes back to find her, he realizes he doesn't even know her real name, and that she has hopped a shipping truck out of town and could be literally anywhere in Europe with no way for him to ever find her again.
It is an uncharacteristically dark ending for this show, and is all the more resonant because of it. I thought the themes were handled very well, never tipping over into a glurgy Very Special Episode kind of hell. If I have any criticism at all, it is that Ellie looks remarkably healthy and is startlingly clean and well-groomed for someone who has been living on the streets for two years. But then again, for the target viewership age I think they needed to walk a fine line between depicting homelessness without it being an all-out horror show.
I suspect that, had the show not come to an untimely and abrupt end, Ellie would have shown up again later in the season (or possibly the next). It's a real shame that this is a plot thread that would never be pursued, as actress Lily Loveless was quite good. I see that she has continued to get regular acting work (most notably in Skins), so that is nice. I may have to check out some of her other work.
Well. Tomorrow is it, the end of The Sarah Jane Adventures. I am really going to be sad to see this one go.
Featuring: Sarah Jane Smith, Sky Smith, Clyde Langer, Rani Chandra
Episode(s): The Curse of Clyde Langer - Parts 1 & 2
Steps Walked: 7,508 today, 4,216,429 total
Distance Walked: 3.92 miles today, 2,207.14 miles total
Push-ups Completed: 0 today, 9,500 total
Sit-ups Completed: 0 today, 2,665 total
Weight: 260.84 lbs (five day moving average), net change -45.92 lbs