Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Land of the Lost: Season Three (Episode Five: Medusa)



Season One: Part One, Two, and Three.
Season Two: Part One and Two.
Season Three: Part One, Two, Three, and Four.

Episode 5: “Medusa”

This episode provides more evidence for the Alternate Reality Theory, while also letting us know that some things are still the same between the two versions of the Land of the Lost. Holly and Will have built an outrigger to take them and Cha-Ka down the river, hoping it will help them find a way home. Obviously, the first season episode “Downstream” never occurred for them. At least, not in the way it happened for the other Marshalls, but more on that later. On the other hand, Will plans to do some fishing on the trip and recalls his unpleasant experience fishing with Cha-Ka in Season Two’s “Nice Day."

While Will and Cha-Ka cut fishing poles, Holly sits in the boat and is accidentally carried downstream by a sudden increase in the current. The reason for the change is that a green-skinned, snake-haired Gorgon in a toga has opened a hole in a small dam downriver. We don’t yet know why, but we do get a demonstration of her powers when she turns a praying mantis to stone for “daring to offend Medusa” by crawling over her foot.

Will and Cha-Ka hear Holly’s distress cries, but choose to run and get Jack instead of immediately helping her. It's a stupid, disappointing choice meant simply to keep the plot moving.

After the break: Holly meets Medusa and sees an old friend from Season One.

Downriver, Medusa – in harmless, human form now – rescues Holly. She gently instructs Holly to be more careful in the future, saying that King Neptune is very strict with those who use his waters. She introduces herself as Meddie and insists that Holly come home with her. It’s going to be dark soon and she refuses to let Holly wander alone through the jungle at night. She’s very nice about it and explains that if they leave the boat on the bank, then Holly’s family can track her to Meddie’s home from there when they come looking for her. That makes sense to Holly and she agrees.

Meddie’s place is a fenced garden in the middle of the jungle. It's filled with statues and sentient plants. Meddie tells Holly that she can explore all she likes, but should stay on the paths to avoid being attacked by the vegetation. She then excuses herself to freshen up, which she does in a weird way. She has a little vanity table in another part of the garden and talks to herself in the mirror as she puts on perfume and has a glass of wine. We learn that her motivation for destroying the dam was to bring Holly downstream for the specific purpose of turning her to stone and adding her to the garden. She’s delighted though that she’ll also get to add Jack, Will, and Cha-Ka when they arrive.

Which raises the question of who Medusa really is and what she’s doing here. Is her reference to Neptune a religious belief or does he really exist? Medusa was Neptune’s lover in Greek mythology, so it seems more than coincidental that she brings him up. He’s never mentioned again in the episode though, so we can’t know for sure. The most reasonable explanation is that she and the other Greek gods exist, but that she was pulled alone into the Land of the Lost. That leaves a big question about what really happened between her and Perseus in our world, but figuring that out is an exercise for another day.

More interesting is the matter of all those statues, most of which are human-shaped. With all the random time portals opening in the Valley, you’d think that there’d be more captives here. Some of them, like the Revolutionary War soldier from Season One’s “Follow That Dinosaur,” probably died through lack of survival skills, but Medusa’s a good explanation for the rest. Especially since she actively seeks out people to trap. It’s curious why she’s just now attacking the Marshalls, but maybe she’s had her eye on them for a while and finally saw her chance when they built the outrigger.

Holly enjoys Meddie’s hospitality at first, but starts to suspect something’s wrong when she sees the stone form of a triceratops in the same spot where she was frightened by a live one earlier. She explores some more and finds a statue of a Civil War soldier with a cannon.

When Meddie finds her looking at it, Holly explains that it reminds her of another soldier she used to know who was always making noise, “shooting off cannons and shouting orders.” That sounds like Jefferson Davis Collie from “Downstream,” but that’s impossible because if “Downstream” happened in this reality, why don’t the Marshalls already know that the river loops around on itself? The only explanation is that Collie did exist in this reality, but the Marshalls met him in a different way. And obviously, Medusa eventually met him as well.

After the Collie statue, Holly suspects enough to know that she needs to leave. She tries to excuse herself just as Jack, Will, and Cha-Ka show up, having tracked her there as Medusa planned. Before they can announce themselves to Holly though, Medusa’s plants attack them. They escape, but not before Meddie spots them and ushers Holly to another part of the garden, saying that her family is likely already on its way to come get her. Free of the attack plants, Cha-Ka scouts ahead of Jack and Will to find out where Meddie and Holly went.

Meddie leaves Holly alone long enough for her and Cha-Ka to have a conversation when he finds her. Holly tells him her suspicion about Meddie’s powers and Cha-Ka returns to warn Jack and Will. Holly, Cha-Ka later explains to the others, is afraid to move or Meddie will turn her to stone.

Jack puts Meddie’s name with the description of her powers to figure out who she really is. He also realizes that they have to destroy her or risk her coming after them later. He volunteers to distract Medusa while Will and Cha-Ka rescue Holly, but Will and Cha-Ka jump the gun and Medusa traps them and Holly before Jack can get into place. While she’s threatening them, Jack discovers the vanity table and steals the mirror. He knocks over a glass jar in the process and reveals himself, so while Medusa goes to investigate, the kids escape.

Unfortunately, Jack doesn’t do the full Perseus and cut off Medusa’s head. Instead – probably to avoid scarring Holly for life – he uses the mirror to reflect Medusa’s power back at her, turning her to stone. On their way home, Holly pauses to make a lame, non sequitur observation about the perils of vanity.

2 comments:

Wings said...

Gonna have to go with your theory on them have similar but not always identical experiences as the "other Marshalls." Weird episode, though.

Michael May said...

Yeah. One of the weirdest.

The next episode's one of my favorites though. Looking forward to talking about the fire-breathing dimetrodon.

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