Sapphire & Steel #12: The Railway Station Part 6

"You asked me once, remember? You asked me to sit and talk with you. Well I sat, and I talked. On MY terms for a change and not yours."
TECHNICAL SPECS: First aired Nov.1 1979.

IN THIS ONE... Steel interrogates Sapphire's spirit, if that's her, and gets caught in barbed wire.

REVIEW: The Railway Station continually asks us to reevaluate what's happening, a trend that continues in Part 6. Here, though everything seems to point to Sapphire's soul having been divorced from her body and recruited by the Enemy and his phantom soldiers. She's an apparition, her body a catatonic shell. But has she been turned as well? Like the other ghosts, she's awfully resentful, but then, she'd been more than a little critical of Steel's methods in the previous couple of episodes. The tense conversation the two have masterfully plays with long silent beats, highlighting the fact they no longer seem to share telepathic contact. The moment is almost too good for the relatively weak revelation that makes faux-Sapphire show her hand - the lingering question of who's the body in the other room. Some personal detail she got wrong would have been so much better, especially since it's preceded by a speech about how well they know each other. Steel even says he loves her; but what that means for time elements isn't clear. If this ISN'T Sapphire's soul, then where is it, and can it be recovered?

Steel is quietly spooked by all this, but a more frenetic mood intensifier is provided by Tully, desperate to leave, but also to protect Sapphire, short of breath and blocked at every turn by the great Darkness overtaking rooms and doors. Very effective as a simple visual, but as hyperventilating soundscape as well. If there's a theme at work in Part 6, it's the idea of tables being turned. Steel is suddenly at odds with Sapphire, or a Sapphire, while Tully becomes her protector. Faux-Sapphire tries to make us believe the ghosts and the Darkness aren't the Enemy after all, and that they should leave the Assignment unfinished. He finds her cryptic, which is how they both sound to us humans. Tully, who wanted to stay, now wants to leave. And Sam Pierce the soldier is now the one interrogating, or at least making speeches at, Steel, who takes the dead soldier's place, gruesomely tangled up in barbed wire. Sam is late to his war, but Steel's is only beginning. It's Sam who's cold, nasty and ruthless. It's Steel who needs help. The Enemy is reversing or trying to reverse everything. The theme points to the idea of the dead switching places with the living, reality upended.

ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE VORTEX: Steel's war... is it a Time War, by any chance? ;-)

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High - When I have complaints, they're generally about a couple of lines. The stand-out moment ends with just such a line, but getting there, and what happens after it, is quite strong nonetheless.

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