Sarah Jane Adventures: Eye of the Gorgon
(2 episodes, s01e03, 2007)

 

That moment when Alan Jackson gets stoned.

At the Lavender Lawns retirement home, a group of women claims to see a mysterious ghostly nun. Clyde tells Sarah Jane and Luke about this phenomenon as they go to investigate. While Sarah Jane interviews Mrs. Randall and the staff, Luke encounters Bea Nelson-Stanley, a woman with Alzheimer’s. She gives Luke a talisman that glows green but is unable to explain what it does or why she has it. Mrs. Gribbins, one of the caregivers, watches the exchange with interest. The trio leave, unaware of a creepy nun skulking amongst the trees.

Meanwhile, at the Jackson home, Chrissie decides to move back in with her ex-husband. In short order, she’s at odds with Maria over the Smiths and being abandoned. Alan tries to talk with Maria, but she storms off to Sarah Jane’s house in anger. Alan confronts Chrissie about her effect on him and Maria.

Sarah Jane and the boys return to her house and consult Mr. Smith about hauntings. The supercomputer detects the talisman and determines that it is an alien device. Sarah Jane takes Maria with her to follow up with Bea, taking the opportunity to have a heart-to-heart.

The nun, Sister Helena, disapproves of Bea passing the talisman to Luke and takes Mrs. Gribbins to a hooded woman in a wheelchair. There’s some screaming and such. Sister Helena then traces Luke and Clyde to Bannerman Road in search of the talisman. She nearly attacks the boys but Alan stumbles by in search of Maria and offers a donation to her cause. Sister Helena leaves and the boys decide to return to Lavender Lawns. While en route, the sisters kidnap Luke and Clyde alerts Sarah Jane.

Bea tells Sarah Jane tales about Sontarans – “the silliest looking race in the galaxy” – and the Gorgon, part of adventures with her archaeologist husband Edgar. He unearthed the talisman in Syria and Bea protected it to keep the Gorgon at bay. Sarah Jane and Maria return to Bannerman Road to research the myths of Medusa and the Gorgons.

Sarah Jane tracks the nuns to St. Agnes Abbey while Clyde and Maria sneak around back. Sarah Jane is reunited with Luke and the kids as the nuns spring their trap, bringing the Gorgon before the team. The Gorgon is the last of an original group of three, and after 3,000 years, she wants to use the talisman to open a portal to her planet and return home. The boys are left at the abbey and the ladies are escorted back to Sarah Jane’s house. Sarah Jane threatens to use her sonic lipstick to destroy the talisman, but Alan arrives at the wrong time and ends up turned to stone as the nuns snatch the talisman.

The nuns retreat to the abbey as Maria lashes out at Sarah Jane in anger. Sarah Jane comforts her and offers a promise that everything will be okay. After consulting with Mr. Smith, it seems that reversal is possible but not entirely realistic. Maria returns to Lavender Lawns to talk to Bea while Sarah Jane returns to the abbey.

Meanwhile, Luke and Clyde do some research at the abbey and find a secret passage. It leads them out to the garden where they find a large collection of statues. The nuns return and start their work to open the portal, intent on allowing the Gorgon species to invade Earth. Luke and Clyde stage a distraction and steal the talisman, soon rescued by Sarah Jane before being surrounded by chanting nuns and tossed into the cellar. The nuns return for Sarah Jane with the intent of making her the new vessel for the Gorgon’s essence.

Faced with a difficult task, Maria eventually breaks through to Bea. The elderly woman was once petrified herself, but was able to survive through the power of the amulet. She offers Maria a mirror for her quest to defeat the Gorgon.

While everyone is away, Chrissie skulks around Sarah Jane’s house and mistakes Alan’s petrified form as an object of obsession over her ex-husband. After Chrissie bares her soul to the “statue,” it sheds a single tear as she walks away.

Luke fashions a lockpick from a garden spade and the boys escape from the cellar. They find Sarah Jane and the nuns as the portal opens and the Gorgon tries to transfer into Sarah Jane. Maria bursts in and uses the mirror to reflect the Gorgon back at its vessel, turning it into stone. She pulls the amulet and closes the portal, and the team rushes back to Bannerman Road to save Maria’s father.

Alan doesn’t remember the incident and Maria makes amends with both of her parents. Chrissie tries to reveal the statue to Alan, but without evidence, she has nothing to claim. Chrissie returns to her own home and bids her daughter farewell, both of them promising to look out for each other.

Maria and Sarah Jane speculate about the power of the amulet and wonder if it can save Bea from her Alzheimer’s. They return to Lavender Lawns and give it a try, but all the device can offer is a last word from Edgar: “I will always love you, Bea.” Bea smiles and thanks Sarah Jane and Maria. They pair leave Lavender Lawns with the knowledge that Bea has found peace, intent on returning home in time to watch the Viszeran Royal Fleet pass through the solar system.

After all, despite taking only a few seconds, it is the most magnificent light show this side of the galaxy.

 

Purely paint-by-numbers, this adventure was entertaining enough. It introduced a new enemy based on classic myths, as well as calling back to Sarah Jane’s early adventures with the Sontarans. Remember that her first adventure with the Third Doctor introduced everyone to the Sontarans, and she encountered them again in her extended first adventure with the Fourth Doctor.

Otherwise, the characters and story were straight down the middle of the road average. We get a nice bundle of references to Star Trek and 1964’s The Gorgon, but no callbacks to the Medusa-like encounter back in The Mind Robber.

 

Rating: 3/5 – “Reverse the polarity of the neutron flow.”

 

UP NEXT – Sarah Jane Adventures: Warriors of Kudlak

 

The Timestamps Project is an adventure through the televised universe of Doctor Who, story by story, from the beginning of the franchise. For more reviews like this one, please visit the project’s page at Creative Criticality.