Episodes 1.11-12 Writer: Phil Ford Director: Joss Agnew
THE ONE WHERE Tom’s mum comes back to life! Except that she’s really a clone, created by the Nekross as part of a plan to reproduce magic for them to feed…
VERDICT During the run of this show we’ve generally been avoiding comparing it to Doctor Who; despite its associations. But with this two-parter it’s hard to avoid calling “Snap!”. “The Last Day” falls squarely into the New Who habit of wringing every drop of emotion from a scenario that involves losing a loved one… and while Who usually gets away with it, Wizards Vs Aliens doesn’t.
Don’t get us wrong; the return of Tom’s mum is beautifully played, with some lovely acting from the cast (old and young) and a real lump-in-the-throat double goodbye at the end. But it fails because it’s not really what this show’s about, is it? Wizards Vs Aliens is about silly fun, cracking schemes and colourful hijinks, not deeply emotional drama. While it’s well-presented and does pack a punch, it feels massively out of place in this series, resulting in a grand finale that’s not a failure by any means when viewed on its own, but seems bizarrely out of kilter with everything that’s gone before. Picture yourself watching a slapstick-filled Marx Brothers movie that ends with one of them dying and that’s pretty much the vibe we’ve got there.
However, that said, “The Last Day” is still enjoyable, if lacking in the show’s usual daftness. (You realise just how much of that daftness comes from the Nekross when they fail to show up until 19 minutes into episode one.)
Jennifer Hennessy makes a big impact as Tom’s mum, wielding her magic powers like a boss (and totally showing up her mum, Ursula, and her son, who usually wield them as though they’re afraid of getting a paper cut). Her reunion with Tom is very touching and her eventual goodbye even more so – both when her clone dies, unable to live for very long, or when her spirit returns in full Obi-Wan Kenobi glowy mode, complete with a flowing robe!
IS IT JUST US, OR… Was anyone else left wondering how the clone of Helen escaped from the Nekross in the first place? Was that scene cut? Or did we miss it?
BIT HARSH, THAT Tom and Benny go off and investigate where Helen has been held prisoner before they go back home and tell her husband and mother that she’s alive. Priorities, guys! Don’t you think they’d have wanted to know as soon as possible? Oh well, at least it meant they had the full story by the time they did get around to telling them…
HOBGOBLIN LOVE We haven’t said much about Randal Moon over the course of this series, so here’s a mention of him just to throw some love to actor Dan Starkey, who’s done a solid job wearing the prosthetics across 12 episodes. Moon’s basically Dobby from Harry Potter, true, but he’s also part of the family in a way Dobby could never be (mainly because Dobby always looked quite smelly, and Moon doesn’t).
BLESSED BE! “FROM NOW ON, THIS IS WARRRRRR!” yells Brian Blessed’s Nekross King this week. The concussion blast from his barbaric howl caused such a shock that you may have noticed our moon slowly growing smaller in the night sky ever since – it’s been blown away, Space 1999-style.
TAKE THE RED PILL, TOM The room full of clones in the Nekross warehouse is very reminiscent of The Matrix. Or the giant warehouses full of ready-packed humans in V. Either way, that’s a whole lot of Helen Clarke.
JUST TO SAY… Not having a go at Wizards Vs Aliens on its own as much as all filmmakers here, but they REALLY need to stop doing that thing where a character spots someone and then they either look away, blink or someone walks in front of them, and that person is suddenly gone. It’s so cliché it’s wearying. Do something different!
A PLOT HOLE FIXED! One thing that’s been apparent since the show began was that if the Nekross ate the magic from all the wizards on Earth, they’d starve to death afterwards because Earth is the last place in the universe to have magic. Their plan to clone wizards, and thus have an unlimited supply of the stuff, has finally remedied that flaw in their logic. Yay!
YOUNG LOVE It’s quite sweet that Tom and Katie are finally getting over their “awkward” stage and may soon start dating… particularly because this show is very male-heavy and it would be nice to have a young female character doing more. Guess we’ll find out in series two whether Katie gets to hear Tom’s secret or not.
DON’T MESS WITH HER Helen goes into protective mode when the Nekross threaten her son and Benny, yelling, “Get away from those boys, you squid-headed monsters!” while firing up an impressive spell. Her similarity to Ellen Ripley saying, “Get away from her, you bitch!” can’t be a coincidence.
FAB FX The probe which kills Tom’s mum in the flashback sequence is very impressive.
TRUE COLOURS We mentioned in our last review that Tom wears a lot of primary colours, reflecting his magical tastes, while Benny sticks to earth tones because he represents science. We have absolutely no idea why Katie is wearing these lurid shades, though. Does she represent psychedelic drugs?
Benny: “They’re cloning your mum… over and over again!”
Wizards Versus Aliens series one has finished airing on CBBC