Sapphire & Steel #18: The Creature's Revenge Part 4

"I suppose you'd like something a little less decorative, mm? Something more... coldly efficient."
TECHNICAL SPECS: First aired Jan.15 1981.

IN THIS ONE... The trio of time elements gets into the main capsule. The grown child makes Silver disappear.

REVIEW: The serial is really shedding characters, and where they might've gone is anyone's guess. The implication, based on all the glass disassembled into its constituent parts, Rothwyn, her husband, and by the end, Silver, should be dead or have never existed. In the latter case, that would be a huge loss. In these past two episodes, Silver has been a fun and intriguing presence. Pulling "techno-magic" tricks with a smile and a wink, and definitely in some kind of relationship with Sapphire. He's flip and believes he's never wrong - although Sapphire at first agrees, it turns out to spell his doom (he might have been confused by the time crystal's controlling nature, as it's a machine of a kind - but also a bit of a coward. He's a "technician", not an explorer, suggesting that Sapphire and Steel are generalists where he (and, we can assume, Lead) is a specialist, not equipped to adapt to the needs of a mission. His attitude and bond with Sapphire means Steel is forced to childishly compete with him, and is rather more unsettled than usual. I like that dynamic. Steel is even isolated in the story, winding up in a different place when they all go through the trippy time tunnel. But have we really seen the last of Silver? We don't know what would happen to a "time element" if he or she were to be regressed in time.

There's no dearth of mysteries in The Creature's Revenge. Just what happened to the missing people is merely one. Another is what happened to the other capsules, because the family in the rural or provincial house hasn't vanished, but rather died, possibly by their own hands. We now know there's only one "time crystal", residing in the modern flat, but likely controlling the others' functions. What effect did it have on the others? Almost certainly, it didn't have a puppet like the artificially grown baby skulking around those places. And for those who want to codify the show's mythology, there's the question of why the time elements would find it disastrous if they were sent 1500 years into the future. I understand that 12 days was a problem in The Railway Station, but I'm wondering how they intervened on the Mary Celeste if they're not actually time travelers. Perhaps they're just long-lived and don't think a few centuries is all that long ago.

The pacing is still problematic. Because the family and our heroes have been isolated all this time, Sapphire, Steel and Silver essentially discover things we already know about. Useful on a weekly television schedule, perhaps, but taken as a whole, it means there's a lot of repetition. Necessary for the characters, obviously, but tedious for the audience. I can recommend the music, however. Sapphire walking through the country house is accompanied by funereal tones that take on their full meaning when she finds dead children in their room. The only funeral she's able to give them is to draw the curtains closed. In the modern flat, the theme is that of the corrupted lullaby, an oddity when what we're looking at is a tall, hairy adult.

- Padded out with repetition, but Silver is always fun, and the direction serves a good dollop of pathos.



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