Sapphire & Steel #13: The Railway Station Part 7

"You mean we've been shunted forward in time?"
TECHNICAL SPECS: First aired Nov.6 1979.

IN THIS ONE... Sapphire, Steel and Tully have been shunted 12 days forward in time.

The Darkness has won. It's shunted Sapphire and Steel 12 days ahead, out of the way, when the station is no longer haunted, when presumably, its army of souls has departed and is out there, conquering the world. What's a train station but a means to go somewhere else? Narratively, it means both of our heroes' predicaments are dispelled through deus ex machina, but since it creates another puzzle to solve, it doesn't feel like it. There's something satisfying about the image of Steel barbed wire predicament exchanged for cobwebs, a completely different manifestation of time, from a memory to signs of decay. Sapphire simply wakes up, her soul apparently having rejoined her body, but Steel can't immediately trust her. She must be tested. After so many episodes where the two are at odds, either because they don't agree with each other's plans or Sapphire's image is being possessed, there's a surprising reconciliation here - a kiss! It's quick, it's on the cheek, but for someone like Steel, it's a huge demonstration of affection. It's all they have time for, but it shows his relief that his Sapphire has been returned to him. Lovely.

Tully is taken to N+12 as well, but we see him appear, leading us to question his existence. The program wants to confuse us, make us question, keep us on our toes. It's yet another moment of osmosis between the living and the dead, where one acts like the other. Gerald James puts in a nice performance as the ghost hunter, now completely vulnerable, his faith shaken by all he's seen. He's like the ghosts, in that he's believed a lie that's spelled his doom. The power of the Darkness has made him question God, or perhaps even "goodness". He trusted the ghosts, but it seems he was wrong to. Mistrusted Sapphire and Steel, who have both been kind to him. He's a broken man, and that's somehow brought out Steel's empathy. And yet, why DID the Darkness displace him to the future if he was about to leave and wasn't a threat? There's still a personal connection there, I feel sure of it.

Can the three of them get out of "storage" in time to stop the Dark army from taking a ghost train to parts unknown? It will all come down to making a deal with a literal Devil. Sapphire glows like a jewel, her namesake, the flame the Enemy might be drawn to, its antithesis. All will be revealed... maybe.

- It's nice to see Sapphire as herself again, and Steel's reaction to her return, but I'll be damned if the guest star doesn't still the show in the second half.



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