Sarah Jane and the Temple of Eyes was the first short story published in The Day She Saved the Doctor: Four Stories from the TARDIS.
In Ancient Rome, the Fourth Doctor educates Sarah Jane Smith on the origins of the phrase "Caesar's wife" before he accidentally opens old wounds by mentioning blindness, Sarah redirecting the conversation to the Bona Dea cult, a movement lost to history on account of all the ancient Roman historians being men. As they discuss investigating the cult, Lucilla, the wife of Titus Fabius, stumbles into the Doctor, claiming to Sarah to have only recently gone blind and suffering from amnesia. After Sarah gets rid of a greedy crowd seeking to claim her husband's reward for information, Sarah is able to get information from Lucilla that something happened to her in the harbour of Ostia. After Fabius comes to take Lucilla away, the stallholder, after being given two golden Delphonian mega-dollars, directs the Doctor and Sarah to other wealthy women who have suffered like Lucilla.
After meeting with several women, all wives of merchants, but unable to determine the cause of the blindness, the Doctor and Sarah return to the stallholder whom the Doctor annoys enough for information on the next likely victims. Their being four, the Doctor and Sarah each head off to two of the women.
Meeting with Marcia, wife of Aulus Pumidius, Sarah has her warnings laughed off but realises that she and the Doctor overlooked the fact that all of the victims are women, heading off to the nearby temple of the Bona Dea. Across town, the Doctor meets with Caelina, wife of Sextus Icilius, who informs him that the wealthy wives, those who have been going blind, often meet, leaving the Doctor wonder if the blindness is but an attack on the women's husbands.
As Sarah stumbles her way through the unfamiliar streets, a sharp pain erupts in her stomach before the sounds and smells of the harbour assault her. Fearing that she is the next one to go blind, Sarah is dragged away in a crying panic.
Arriving too late at Marcia's house, the Doctor extracts information about her meeting with Sarah from Marcia's slave who reveals that Marcia slipped some herbs into Sarah's drink. Making his way to the Bona Dea temple, the Doctor feigns illness but is refused access to the temple grounds.
Awakening, Sarah discovers that she can still see, finding Marcia standing in front of a machine several thousand years ahead of Ancient Roman engineering. Quickly finding the exits, Sarah feigns unconsciousness until her captors turn away from her only to find that her body is still fighting off the drugs when she tries to run. The blind priestess, Orbiana, reveals to Sarah that the gods, considering that female was the knowledge of personification, approached the women and gifted them the machine, a scrying device to see through the eyes of mortals.
Deducing that the "gods" were nothing more than advanced aliens, Sarah forces Marcia to confirm this. The aliens died from an Earthly plague. The last of them asked Marcia to use the memory harvester to extract the instructions from their brain and repair Orbiana's eyes. Too ambitious, Marcia used the machine to extract information from the wives of her husband's business rivals. As Sarah ponders on the historical prejudice and inequality of women, a commotion is heard from the next room, the Doctor has found his way inside.
With her captors distracted, Sarah finds her body healed, breaking her bonds and donning a disguise to observe the Doctor only to reveal herself when she tries to spare him from vipers. At wit's end, Sarah offers her own memories, to show the women that the Doctor is not someone to fear. Despite Marcia's protests, Orbiana agrees.
Before the process can begin, the Doctor pulls out his sonic screwdriver and fixes the machine so it won't blind Sarah. Connecting it to Sarah, the Bona Dea cult is shown all their adventures, the Doctor providing Orbiana a memory crystal for her consumption. Convinced, Orbiana allows the Doctor and Sarah to leave, the latter fearing what her life will be when she will have to leave the Doctor. Before departing, the Doctor asks encourages the Bona Dea to use the machine to instil greater independence in women, holding up Sarah Jane as a worthy example.
After musing that the blind women should be alright, Sarah asks if it's alright to leave advanced alien technology in Ancient Rome. Convinced that the lack of records on the Bona Dea cult will clean everything up, the Doctor sees no issue. After all, if a group of women cannot be trusted with the secrets of the universe, then who can be?
to be added
- The Tenth Doctor would later again enter a Roman temple exclusive to women, also upon the capture of his companion by the cult in question. (TV: The Fires of Pompeii)
- Sarah recalls being temporarily blinded in a recent adventure. (TV: The Brain of Morbius)
- The Doctor questions whether Sarah is scared of Daleks, (TV: Death to the Daleks, Genesis of the Daleks) Sontarans, (TV: The Time Warrior) or giant spiders. (TV: Planet of the Spiders)
- The Doctor notes that he is not "that sort of doctor". (TV: An Unearthly Child)
- Sarah regards the Doctor as her best friend. (AUDIO: The Paradise of Death)