"All irregularities will be handled by the forces controlling each dimension. Transuranic heavy elements may not be used where there is life. Medium atomic weights are available: Gold, Lead, Copper, Jet, Diamond, Radium, Sapphire, Silver and Steel. Sapphire and Steel have been assigned."
IN THIS ONE... First appearance of Silver. He's there to help Steel get into the time capsule. Meanwhile, Sapphire has been transported to the rural study zone.
REVIEW: David Collings joins the cast as Silver, an aristocratic, suave time element who plays it light and openly flirts with Sapphire, to Steel's jealous distress. Hammond obviously didn't fail to note the show's intro put Silver in between the two stars, and translated that idea in their actual relationships. Steel bristles at Silver's easy manner, and obviously, as a precious stone, Sapphire seems "closer" to Silver. Steel may be right to be jealous. Silver is apparently the master of machines, appearing perhaps not coincidentally framed with a TV antenna. He's uniquely suited to getting into the family's "time capsule" and crafts glowing door knobs that can "illuminate" a secret passage to its interior. He also fixes the lift Steel sabotaged in the previous episode, making what seemed like padding then truly pointless. So that's an issue.
This episode has its own padding of course, as the time elements explore two similar floorplans in real time. The interplay between the two boys at least provides interesting content for their sections. Sapphire doesn't have that luxury, nor does she expound on the feeling of "endless pain" she experienced when she was teleported away.
Meanwhile, inside the capsule, there are more manifestations of time gone wrong, including a glass transformed into sand. So what happened to the human beings in the other houses? Aged to dust or reverted to sperm and ova? Brrr. These manifestations are represented by the sound of ripped pants, accidentally amusing like the previous episodes' floating pillows. More effective is their creepy son, turned into a tall, gangly, big-haired adult, scored by a dissonant version of the baby's lullaby. But a mother knows. What danger does he represent? A flash when he touches his mom doesn't tell us much, but as he's being directed by the time crystal entity, we can trust it won't be anything good.
ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE VORTEX: David Collings memorably appeared on Doctor Who a number of times, in The Robots of Death as Poul, and in Mawdryn Undead as Mawdryn. He also played an alternate version of the Doctor in Big Finish's Unbound series of audios.
REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High - The pacing is still problematic, but Silver's first appearance is inherently fascinating. Collings brings a lot to the team's dynamic.