|Land of the Lost|
|Season 3, Episode 5|
|Air date||October 9, 1976|
Holly is at a river inviting Cha-Ka to test out a new boat that apparently the Marshalls had just built. Cha-Ka refuses, claiming that no one who ventures down that river ever returns.
Will joins them, and suggests that since no one ever returns, the river might well be a way out of the Land of the Lost. Will invites Cha-Ka to join him as he fishes for their lunch, leaving Holly alone to gather up their gear.
Meanwhile downstream, someone in traditional garb of ancient Greece (seen only from the knees down), is using a stick to clear backed up silt and mud from a small dam which normally allows the stream to flow over it. As the unidentified woman continues to clear the blockage, a large, green, mantis-like insect is seen approaching the woman's sandaled foot. As the camera pans upward, the woman's sinister voice is heard, saying, "Nasty, little insect..." The camera finally pans to her face, deep green in color, with writhing green snakes, each around a foot long, growing from her scalp in place of hair.
"You dare offend Medusa?" the creature says with a malevolent laugh. At her feet, the insect transforms into immobile stone, which Medusa contemptuously kicks away.
Upstream, Will and Cha-Ka are cutting down bamboo rods to use as fishing poles. Will is trying to explain the concept of fishing to Cha-Ka (who, as a Paku, is primarily vegetarian) when they are interrupted by Holly's cries for help.
Inexplicably, Holly's boat is suddenly moving swiftly down the once languid stream, carrying Holly with it. Downstream, a striking, blond woman appears, dressed in a peplos identical to Medusa's, carrying a coiled rope-like vine. She calls out to Holly and throws one end to her, which Holly catches. The woman then pulls her to safety.
Holly thanks the woman, who introduces herself as Meddie, then states she must leave as it's a long way back to her family. Meddie is insistent that Holly remain, pointing out that the jungle is much too dangerous for a young girl to be traveling alone, and suggests that Holly instead wait with Meddie for her family to come, as they are certain to be looking for her.
Holly seems reluctant, perhaps put off by Meddie's excessive physical contact, solicitude and flattery, but agrees.
Will and Cha-Ka have found Jack and alerted him to Holly's disappearance. After evading Lulu, they venture further downstream, finding Holly's abandoned boat. Jack discovers that the dam has been cleared, which explains Holly suddenly being swept downstream. Cha-Ka notes Holly's footprints and observes another set of footprints with Holly's.
In Meddie's garden, which she calls her Garden of Eternity, Meddie grants permission for Holly to explore as she likes, but warns her not to stray too far from the paths, as the garden is protected by animated vines. Meddie then excuses herself to "freshen up a bit," leaving Holly alone, gazing with horror at the sinuous movement of the vines.
Nearby, the exceedingly vain Meddie is touching up her makeup at a mirror, revealing to her reflection (which is autonomous, able to move independently of Meddie and speak to her) her plans to turn Holly and the rest of her family into stone. Meddie's reflection, who is as malevolent as Meddie, is pleased and proposes a toast. As they prepare to share a drink, Holly is heard, calling to Meddie for help.
Meddie arrives at Holly's side as she's confronted by a triceratops. Holly has thrown a stick at it, which the triceratops picks up and begins to eat. Meddie directs Holly to run, saying she will distract the creature. After Holly moves out of sight, Meddie transforms into her Gorgon form and petrifies the triceratops. She then reverts to her human form.
As Jack, Will and Cha-Ka continue following the tracks toward Meddie's garden, they come upon a stone figure. Jack and Will assume it is merely a pristine piece of sculpture, not knowing of Medusa's presence and that the 'statue' is almost certainly one of Medusa's victims.
Back in Meddie's garden, Meddie is showing off her wardrobe to Holly, who is very impressed by Meddie's beautiful clothing. As Holly continues to peruse Meddie's collection of gowns, Meddie returns to her mirror. Her reflection chides her for turning the triceratops to stone where Holly might have seen her, then suggests that Meddie give Holly her pink robe to wear. Meddie protests that the pink is her favorite, as it sets off her "captivating eyes." The reflection argues that the robe will look very nice on Holly once she's transformed to stone. Meddie relents and tells Holly to put on the pink robe, then, suggests she go out and play, oblivious to her own patronizing tone.
The reflection sarcastically accuses Meddie of having a "heart of stone." Meddie counters by calling her reflection "repugnant." Clearly offended, Meddie's equally vain reflection suddenly disappears.
Nearby, in Meddie's garden, Holly happens upon the spot where she had seen the triceratops that had frightened her earlier, and discovers that the triceratops has been transformed into stone, its mouth still holding the stick she had thrown at it.
More suspicious than ever of her new 'friend' Meddie, Holly wanders to another part of a garden. She then happens upon a statue of a man in a confederate uniform with a nearby cannon. As she looks at the statue, she is startled by Meddie. Holly tells Meddie that the statue reminds her of a soldier she once knew, "always making noise, shooting off cannons and shouting orders," undoubtedly a reference to Jefferson Davis Collie III.
Holly then asks Meddie what happened to the triceratops. Meddie is evasive, simply stating that it won't be bothering them again.
Holly then returns Meddie's robe and insists she must leave, just as Jack, Will and Cha-Ka arrive and see Holly talking to Meddie. But before the three can approach, Meddie's animated vines suddenly attack. Meddie tried to persuade Holly to stay, as the rest of her family must be on their way, and Holly, her uncle and brother can enjoy a pleasant visit in her garden, but Holly is more distrustful than ever.
Nearby, Jack and Will have produced their hunting knives and cut the vines off themselves and Cha-Ka. Jack suggests one of them do some scouting to learn more about this place before approaching any closer. Cha-Ka volunteers, arguing that he's the best choice for the scouting mission as he's the smallest and least easily detected.
Meddie, unsuccessful in persuading Holly to remain, then tries to detain Holly by asking her to wait as she goes to retrieve a gift for Holly before she leaves. Meddie then returns to her mirror where she confides to her reflection that Holly has become suspicious. The reflection advises Meddie to turn Holly to stone right away, but Meddie insists that she still needs Holly as bait for her uncle and brother.
As Holly waits, Cha-Ka whispers to her from his hiding place. Holly tells Cha-Ka about Meddie and suspects she has the power to turn things to stone. Cha-Ka hurriedly leaves to inform Jack and Will.
At Meddie's mirror, Meddie's reflection is vehemently insisting that Meddie transform Holly to stone at once, but Meddie refuses. Frustrated at Medusa's unwillingness to heed her advice, the reflection calls Meddie, "vain and selfish and stubborn and foolish and anything else I may have forgotten." Unmoved by the tirade, Meddie calmly responds by telling her reflection to mind her own business. The reflection then disappears, much to Meddie's distress.
Cha-Ka has returned to Will and Jack and reveals what he has learned: that the woman's name is Meddie, and that Holly is afraid to leave, believing Meddie will turn her to stone if she tries. He has also observed Meddie talking to herself in the mirror. Jack suddenly realizes that Meddie is Medusa, a creature in Greek mythology with a green face and snakes for hair. Will also adds that Medusa can change her form and anyone who looks at her in her Gorgon form will be turned to stone.
Jack then sends Will and Cha-Ka to find Holly, with the warning that if they see Medusa beginning to change form, they are not to look in her direction. As Will and Cha-Ka rescue Holly, Jack will attempt to distract Medusa.
Meddie is at her mirror, apologizing profusely and begging her reflection to return. Her reflection finally reappears, still insistent that Medusa transform Holly at once.
Meanwhile, Will and Cha-Ka have found Holly and are attempting to flee with her, but Meddie has found them before they can escape. Realizing that they know who she is, Medusa has her vines seal her gates. Confident that they will not escape, Medusa begins contemplating aloud where she will put Holly and Will once they are transformed into stone.
Jack, in the meantime, has found Medusa's mirror and manages to detach it from the vanity, accidentally knocking over a perfume bottle in the process. Hearing the bottle break, Medusa goes to investigate. With Medusa distracted, Will produces his knife and quickly cuts through the vines securing Medusa's gates, escaping with Holly and Cha-Ka.
Medusa has discovered that Jack has taken her mirror and is visibly dismayed at its loss. She calls out to Jack, demanding its return. Discovering that Will, Holly and Cha-Ka have escaped, she blames the animated vines. She then assumes her Gorgon form, wrathfully turning her vines into stone. Hidden nearby, Will, Holly and Cha-Ka cover their eyes as Medusa transforms.
She then assumes her human form, and, absurdly, tries to invite the Marshalls to a picnic in her garden. When this offer produces no takers, she then offers to forget everything if they will just return her mirror. Discovering Jack hiding behind a pillar, averting his eyes, Medusa resumes her Gorgon form and asks Jack to come out, using the more pleasant voice she uses in her human form.
With his eyes still averted, Jack comes out from behind the pillar, holding Medusa's mirror before him with its face to her. As her gaze is reflected back at her, Medusa cries out, "I've been tricked!" as she transforms to stone. Meddie's reflection, still in her human form, appears in the mirror and remarks dryly, "You never could do anything right." The mirror then shatters.
As the Marshalls make their way home, Jack reveals that according to the Greek legend, "the hero" (Perseus, the demigod who decapitated Medusa) used a mirror to watch Medusa in safety. Will imagines what Medusa's thoughts must have been once she realized she would remain a statue forever trapped in her hideous Gorgon form. Holly remarks that the problem with vices such as Medusa's excessive vanity is that you never know if you're going to get stuck that way.
The four continue making their way home.
"Appearances can be deceiving."
- Ron Harper as Jack Marshall
- Wesley Eure as Will Marshall
- Kathy Coleman as Holly Marshall
- Philip Paley as Cha-Ka
- Marion Thompson as Medusa (credited as Marian Thompson)
- While the creature with snakes for hair and a petrifying gaze can only be Medusa of Greek mythology, there were some inconsistencies between the Medusa of legend and Medusa as depicted in the Land of the Lost:
- Contrary to Will's assertion, the Medusa of Graeco-Roman mythology could not change her form. While there are conflicting accounts as to how she incurred the wrath of the goddess Athena, either for daring to compare her beauty to Athena's or an affair with Poseidon, once Athena transformed her into a Gorgon, she remained in that form and could not assume any other.
- Medusa and her Gorgon sisters, Stheno and Euryale, also had wings, either of gold or brass (the myths vary, according to sources) and could fly. Medusa's wings are not seen in this depiction.
- There is no reason to believe that Medusa's gaze, reflected back at her, would transform her into stone. For one, Perseus was able to look at Medusa's reflection in safety. He used the polished surface of his shield as a mirror when using his sword to decapitate her. Thus, it is shown that her reflection cannot petrify; only her direct gaze can do that. For another, since Medusa lived with her Gorgon sisters, also having a gaze that would turn onlookers to stone, looking at either one of her sisters would have petrified her; therefore it is logical to conclude that the Gorgons were immune to the effects of their own gaze.
- While the myths sometimes describe Medusa (in addition to having snakes for hair) as having boar's tusks and long tongue hanging between fanged teeth, there is no description of her as having a green face. (But artistic renditions also take extended liberties with the description, such as those by Carravagio and Bocklin, leaving out her tusks, tongue and fangs. The only consistent element seems to be her serpentine hair and petrifying gaze.)
- It should also be noted that the myth claims "looking upon Medusa turned people to stone" while modern accounts make it sound as if this is a power under her control. This would suggest she could be defeated by sneaking up on her from her blind spot as Perseus did (and Uncle Jack did). Perhaps she had no control over it in the myth, but she later realized how she could exploit it by merely turning to face anyone she deemed a threat to herself, "Gaining power over it." That this is power under her control seems corroborated by the fact that she was able to turn her animated vines (which have no apparent visual organs) into stone.
- Medusa alludes to "King Neptune," the Roman version of the Greek god Poseidon. It is possible that she is from the Roman Empire.
- Jack blames Medusa's clearing of the dam for the placid river suddenly moving so swiftly as to sweep Holly and her boat downstream. However, given the tiny area that Medusa cleared, it is patently absurd to assume that clearing such a small area could affect the much larger river so extremely. (The only alternative is that this was a Altrusian dike from before the Sleestak and by unblocking caused more water to flow by her than before.)
- The Marshalls repeatedly refer to Holly's boat as a "canoe." It is not. The boat that Holly uses is a minimalist pontoon boat, more closely resembling two canoes secured together with struts.
- Medusa recognizes Cha-Ka as a "Pakuni," indicating she has some familiarity with the residents of the Land of the Lost. Cha-Ka is actually a Paku, "Pakuni" being the plural form. However, this rule is not strictly observed; even Cha-Ka sometimes refers to himself as a Pakuni. This is likely because the language of the Pakuni is still in its infancy with grammatical rules not firmly established. (How she learned of the existence of the Pakuni is never revealed, but she seems familiar enough with them to consider Cha-Ka's arrival to be unremarkable. Perhaps there are statues of Ta and Sa somewhere in Medusa's Garden of Eternity.)
- The statue which Holly recognizes as Jefferson Davis Collie III actually bears little resemblance to him. Collie had a full beard, absent in the statue. Collie was also very unkempt and wearing only a partial uniform when last seen alive, while the statue wore a neat, full Confederate uniform. A plausible explanation is that Medusa wished to help Collie look his best before turning him to stone. This would be consistent with Medusa's character, as she made a gift of her favorite pink robe to Holly, intending Holly to wear it when she turned Holly to stone.