Sapphire & Steel #11: The Railway Station Part 5

"Sam Pierce, I reckon you'll be late for your own funeral."
TECHNICAL SPECS: First aired Oct.30 1979.

IN THIS ONE... Sapphire calls up the spirit of the soldier's lover, but is left catatonic when the psychic circle is broken. A darkness starts to invade the station.

REVIEW: We've been used to seeing the Enemy work through vessels, both dead and possessed, so it's a little shocking when it finally manifests as a great shadow falling on the station, gobbling up all light. Eleven episodes in (that number IS important), and it's our first indication that there really is a guiding hand behind these ghostly and/or demonic invasions. The ghosts have agendas of their own, but they get their "help" from this presence. They want to be alive again, or get revenge on the living, but for the Enemy, it's perhaps enough that reality is compromised. It probably doesn't matter what the ghosts want so long as it disrupts the space-time continuum. So some very effective atmosphere once again, and a terrifying monster represented by lighting cues. That's impressive.

Sapphire, still in medium mode, brings forward the mind/soul of a school teacher who knew the phantom soldier Sam Pierce, and again, it's a chance for Lumley to give an interesting performance. Through this summoned character, we'll discover Sam Pierce's name, and details about his life, including the fact he had a summer romance with his former teacher, 12 years his senior, cut short when he died in the war. No, not IN the war, but 11 minutes after the 11h 11/11 Armistice had been signed. Was this the mathematical anomaly that pieced the universe? If young men sign up to die in war, what makes these ghosts so restless is that they SHOULDN'T have died. Sam was killed AFTER the cease-fire, a mistake. The submariners weren't soldiers, but died at sea. The pilot went on a mission he wasn't meant to undertake. The injustice of this is what fuels their return to our world. But there are forces potentially stronger than resentment and revenge, and Sam is taken out of uniform, reliving happier moments (nature boy goes on a bit; I wish he'd been channeled too), when his lover is brought to the fore. Love trumps hate, which may be the way out of this.

Of course, Steel isn't exactly made of love. He pushes the school teacher too far, and later goads the soldier with hurtful things. Tully and Sapphire have had the best results to date, but Steel seems unable to follow their lead. And because he doesn't listen to them, he mismanages the seance and Sapphire's own mind/essence is trapped on the platform with the other souls, her body an empty vessel. Did the school teacher's mind even return from whence it came? Or is it trapped somewhere between the past and the present, between reality and the dimension where our minds' echoes are recorded? I spend a good deal of my time thinking of scientific explanations for the supernatural phenomena seen on this series, but in the end, it's all about the unknowable. And I wouldn't want to make Steel's mistake and let my arrogance make fall prey to the Enemy.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High - The Railway Station has yet to feel padded, with new information and understanding offered with every episode. Sam's monologue isn't the most interesting piece of writing, but Part 5 makes up for it with a terrifying "look" at the enemy, and another good performance from Lumley.



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