Eye of the Gorgon

Roots: The Greek legends of Perseus, Medusa, and the Gorgons.We hear the songs On a Slow Boat to China and Goodnight Sweetheart.

There are references to The Gorgon and its stars Christopher Lee and Barbara Shelley, Agatha Christie and Miss Marple, The Times, and the song 'How do you solve a problem like Maria' from The Sound of Music.

Goofs: Sarah doesn't believe actual in ghosts, despite having encountered actual ghosts in The Ghosts of N-Space. [Perhaps she's blanked it from her memory. I wish I could.]

It's not technically a goof, but why on Earth do the nuns drive a hearse rather than a normal car?

The gorgon paralyses Alan more-or-less instantly, yet the same effect trying to possess Sarah is so slow that Maria can open the door, see what's going on (and isn't petrified by the effect), and run across the room before it gets there. [The possession effect needs to be deliberate, and so travels more slowly.]

The abbey is only a short walk away from the rest home where the talisman is. This seems to be a staggering co-incidence. [They only moved there after discovering that Bea had retired there.]

Technobabble: The projection of energies imprinted on psychic-assimilating matter. Massive molecular transmutation. Trans-dimensional occlusion.

Dialogue Disasters: Alan to a nun: “You could say it's a good habit of mine.” Groan.

Continuity: Chrissie took the Jackson home apart six months ago. She has begun Salsa lessons and Ivan took exception to her friendship with the teacher. She and Alan are formally divorced.

Sarah has several fake press IDs. They include Bunty Mansfield of Plush-Press, Victoria Williams of the South East Press Agency, Felicity Barnet (no agency stated, but Sarah uses this one and says she's from The Times), and one more that's not entirely visible on-screen. Her sonic lipstick does not work on the lock to the abbey [there may be a bolt as well as the lock.]

Mrs Pittman is Clyde's history teacher at Park Vale.

Whilst Sarah and Mr Smith do not believe in ghosts as actual spirits of the dead (see Goofs), they do believe that events can be psychically recorded and played back under certain circumstances.

The gorgons are parasitic lifeforms, that need hosts to survive. The host's gaze petrifies somebody. If a victim is blindfolded, then the effect can be for the gorgon to transfer to a new host. A well-placed mirror can reflect the effect back on the gorgon, and petrify them. Gorgons can also mentally control a number of human beings. If the gorgon dies, the mind-controlled victims appear to loae their memories of the time they were controlled.

Three gorgons arrived on Earth 3000 years ago. One was killed in events that inspired the legend of Medusa. They have been protected by a female religious order (which changed religions at least once) since then. The second was killed 50 years ago, in an incident involving Edgar and Bea Nelson-Stanley. The third has been possessing the Abbess of the order of St Agnes for the last 200 years.

The talisman was unearthed in a dig in Syria. It can reverse the gorgon petrification process if it is placed in contact with a body within 90 minutes of the start. It can also be used to open a portal to the gorgons' home planet, which is 100,000,000 light years away [and so is in another galaxy].

The Viszeran Royal Fleet consist of 600 ships. When they pass through a solar system it creates the most magnificent stellar light show this side of the galaxy for a few seconds.

Links: There are references to the Sontarans (The Time Warrior , The Sontaran Experiment), and the Yeti (The Abominable Snowmen, The Web of Fear, Downtime – it is most likely to the organic Yeti briefly mentioned in the latter, rather than to the robotic ones).

Sarah mentions aliens have been coming to Earth for thousands of years, referring to several different adventures (The Time Warrior, Terror of the Zygons, Pyramids of Mars, The Seeds of Doom, The Masque of Mandragora, The Hand of Fear).

Location: Bannerman Lane, Lavender Lawns rest home, and St Agnes' Abbey. Probably a couple of weeks after Revenge of the Slitheen.

Unrecorded Adventures: Bea's first encounter with the Gorgons. Her late husband Edgar also encountered Sontarans, though Bea was not present at the time. The couple also danced to Goodnight Sweetheart in the palace of the Sultan of Ishkanbah, who had seen the Yeti.

The Bottom Line: 'Those melodramatic Greeks. They never could resist embellishing a story.' There's a strong plot with a really effective emotional core. This may be made for children, but there's a genuinely adult exploration of the consequences of broken families and of the emotional impact the life Sarah lives would have on somebody.

Discontinuity Guide by Stephen Gray

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