Well, that affected me more than I thought it would. I knew Jo would be leaving but I didn’t think it would be as sad as it ended up being. I won’t lie; I teared up a little. Only the departures of Rose and Donna have made me this sad.
The Green Death is my favorite story of this season. I was never once bored and I felt the story built up slowly over the course of six episodes. It is also an ambitious story and though those ambitions don’t always pan out (some really bad CSO and that awful giant fly) I appreciate that they tried to go big.
This is really Jo’s story as it shows how far she has come since first meeting the Doctor. She stands up for what she believes in here and tells both the Doctor and the Brig that she is going to stop the pollution coming from the Global Chemicals company no matter what.
That first scene between Jo and the Doctor where Jo declines to go with the Doctor to Metebelis III was the first gut punch. The Doctor could tell that Jo was growing up and that his time with her might be nearing an end.
I’m undecided how I feel about Cliff. He seems like a genuinely good man who wants to save the planet but he also comes across as rather naïve when talking to the miners. It is all well and good for him to tell the miners to turn down work from GC when he has wealth and isn’t worried about making ends meet. I also think he treats Jo rather poorly in several scenes, calling her dumb and getting upset when she knocks some things over. I realize her knocking things over was a callback to her introduction but I still didn’t like the way Cliff treated her.
Their rushed engagement at the end was rather odd as well. Cliff just announces that they are to be wed before they leave for the Amazon without even asking Jo. She says yes obviously and it is a sweet moment but the presumption made by Cliff that Jo would marry him speaks to his entitlement.
That ending. That ending. Ooof. I’ve seen a lot of companions leave but Jo’s departure has to be one of the most bittersweet. She is getting married and heading up the Amazon with Cliff, leaving behind UNIT and the Doctor. The Brig, Yates, Benton, and several others throw them an impromptu engagement party. The Doctor wishes Jo well and says he will see her again. He then downs his glass of wine and slips out alone, last seen driving down a lonely road with the sun setting behind him. It was such a melancholy ending but beautifully shot and acted.
I know I haven’t seen how the Doctor interacts with Sarah Jane yet but I think I can safely say that Jo is this Doctor’s Companion. Jo tempered this Doctor’s pomposity. Their familial like relationship was played wonderfully.
I am going to miss Jo. When she was written well she was a sweet but strong willed young woman who kept the Doctor down to Earth and wasn’t afraid to get in the thick of things. She didn’t let the era’s attitude towards women keep her from doing what was right. She placed herself in danger many times, and even saved the world when the Doctor proved incapable.
The Doctor finally makes it to Metebelis III which leads to a comedic series of events as he is chased and/or attacked by a variety of life forms. I laughed several times during these scenes. It was just so unexpected.
It is a good thing he went though since the crystal he took ends up saving his life when it breaks the brainwashing done to Mike.
Speaking of, this is probably the most Yates has been given to do since The Daemons. Sure he has been in most of the Earth based stories and has gotten to do a few cool things but he hasn’t had the spotlight in a while. Here he goes undercover as a government bureaucrat to spy on Global Chemicals from the inside. This leads him to getting brainwashed, almost killing the Doctor, and then getting captured.
I love his reaction to the Doctor dressed as the cleaning woman. Heck, all of the Doctor’s costumes were pretty good.
I loved BOSS. I was afraid he would be your typical unemotional, logical computer intelligence but instead he was completely insane. A bonkers computer that liked listening to classical music as it put its final plan into motion and also liked to taunt its main henchman, Stevens.
The maggots were better than I was expecting and quite creepy in several scenes. They don’t always work and the CSO is terrible in some scenes (like when the Doctor and Jo are trying to escape the mine on the cart) but overall they are an effective menace.
It is sad to see Jo go not just because she is leaving but also because it marks the beginning of the end for the UNIT family era. After this there is only one more season where UNIT plays a large role (as far as I am aware, anyways) so that means we are going to be saying goodbye to the Brig, Benton, and Yates rather soon.
This was a strong, bittersweet story that ended the season on a high note. It gave Jo a proper send-off and utilized the UNIT family well.
I bought the DVD of this story and it includes the two The Sarah Jane Adventures episodes where Jo returns. I have never seen those episodes since I stopped watching SJA after the first season. When I do watch them I will post my review here.