Doctor Who #770: Eye of the Gorgon Part 1

"Unfortunately Mrs. Gribbins always was something of a useless old fossil."
TECHNICAL SPECS: First aired Oct.1 2007.

IN THIS ONE... Medusa-worshiping nuns look for a talisman in an old ladies' home.

REVIEW: Well, I'm certainly happy that not every story will take place in that Ealing school as if the kids were weirdness magnets, but Clyde is still instrumental in getting Sarah Jane involved in a mystery taking place at a retirement home where a friend of his gran's is housed. And desperate to be part of this world, it makes sense that he would enthusiastically bring "cases" to the group. And sting when he's benched. We get into the plot as a character beat, and so Phil Ford's story proceeds. Luke is given an alien talisman because he's a good boy who happily talks with old ladies. He's later kidnapped because Clyde can't stand to be left behind and they set off on their own adventure. They're sitting out in the first place because Sarah notices Maria's blue and might need a chance to talk. And Alan is turned to stone because he's actively looking for Maria who ran out upset. That's a well constructed episode.

Even foreign elements in the plot inform the personal stories of the characters. Mrs. Nelson-Stanley is very much an older Sarah Jane, clued in on the truth of aliens (including Sarah's first, the Sontarans), and who used to travel with a brilliant man (her archaeologist husband), fighting monsters and exploring the world. It's perhaps why Luke was drawn to her, and certainly why Sarah can trust her. As another nod to the past, for classic Who fans in the audience, Sarah has nothing much to say about Clyde's ideas about putting his brain into a robot so he'll never die, shades of The Brain of Morbius. That was also a story about a Sisterhood, though here, it's about trading on the schoolboy fear of nuns (did Ford go to Catholic school?). As with many Sarah Jane Adventures, the villains are pretty obvious and two-dimensional, so there's little question as to who wears the black habits. And if you think that's a bad joke, you should hear the one THEY make about the "trouble with Maria". The characters do invite the use of some beautiful locations, raising production values considerably.

But my highest marks go to Maria's subplot, treating the recent divorce of her parents, amiable though it was, with a great deal of realism. Thoughtless Chrissie has a tiff with her current beau and runs to Alan's house, but this has consequences and disrupts the household. Chrissie IS a comic character, just this side of caricature, but we can understand the jealousy she feels towards Sarah Jane, this replacement mother figure. In many ways, Maria is the adult in this relationship, but she's still a young girl, and Chrissie gets a well-deserved tantrum from her daughter. And Alan is made to understand the divorce has taken a toll on Maria, and that she can't help but feel rejected by her mother. The latter's return to the household is a mixed message of the worst kind. Good stuff I didn't think would be dramatized in a kids' adventure show.

- Though the show can't seem to get away from cardboard villains, the characterization of the regulars is tops, and the plot is in their service, not the other way around.


Blog Archive


5 Things to Like Activities Advice Alien Nation Aliens Say the Darndest Things Alpha Flight Amalgam Ambush Bug Animal Man anime Aquaman Archetypes Archie Heroes Arrowed Asterix Atom Avengers Awards Babylon 5 Batman Battle Shovel Battlestar Galactica Black Canary BnB 2-in1 Books Booster Gold Buffy Canada Captain America Captain Marvel Cat CCGs Charlton Circles of Hell Class Comics Comics Code Approved Conan Contest Cooking Crisis Daredevil Dating Kara Zor-El Dating Lois Lane Dating Lucy Lane Dating Princess Diana DCAU Deadman Dial H Dice Dinosaur Island Dinosaurs Director Profiles Doctor Who Doom Patrol Down the Rabbit Hole Dr. Strange Encyclopedia Fantastic Four Fashion Nightmares Fiasco Films Within Films Flash Flushpoint Foldees French Friday Night Fights Fun with Covers FW Team-Up Galleries Game design Gaming Geekly roundup Geeks Anonymous Geekwear Gimme That Star Trek Godzilla Golden Age Grant Morrison Great Match-Ups of Science Fiction Green Arrow Green Lantern Hawkman Hero Points Podcast Holidays House of Mystery Hulk Human Target Improv Inspiration Intersect Invasion Invasion Podcast Iron Man Jack Kirby Jimmy Olsen JLA JSA Judge Dredd K9 the Series Kirby Motivationals Krypto Kung Fu Learning to Fly Legion Letters pages Liveblog Lonely Hearts Podcast Lord of the Rings Machine Man Motivationals Man-Thing Marquee Masters of the Universe Memes Memorable Moments Metal Men Metamorpho Micronauts Millennium Mini-Comics Monday Morning Macking Movies Mr. Terrific Music Nelvana of the Northern Lights Nightmare Fuel Number Ones Obituaries oHOTmu OR NOT? Old52 One Panel Outsiders Panels from Sheena Paper Dolls Play Podcast Polls Questionable Fridays Radio Rants Reaganocomics Recollected Red Bee Red Tornado Reign Retro-Comics Reviews Rom RPGs Sandman Sapphire & Steel Sarah Jane Adventures Saturday Morning Cartoons SBG for Girls Seasons of DWAITAS Secret Origins Podcast Secret Wars SF Shut Up Star Boy Silver Age Siskoid as Editor Siskoid's Mailbox Space 1999 Spectre Spider-Man Spring Cleaning ST non-fiction ST novels: DS9 ST novels: S.C.E. ST novels: The Shat ST novels: TNG ST novels: TOS Star Trek Streaky Suicide Squad Supergirl Superman Supershill Swamp Thing Tales from Earth-Prime Team Horrible Teen Titans That Franchise I Never Talk About The Orville The Prisoner The Thing Then and Now Theory Thor Thursdays of Two Worlds Time Capsule Timeslip Tintin Torchwood Tourist Traps of the Forgotten Realms Toys Turnarounds TV V Waking Life Warehouse 13 Websites What If? Who's This? Whoniverse-B Wikileaked Wonder Woman X-Files X-Men Zero Hour Strikes Zine