"How else do humans destroy one another?" "Oh, they have so many ways."
IN THIS ONE... Annabelle is killed. Sapphire and Steel take her husband Felix into their confidence. They penetrate de 1980 office. And Felix is killed by McDee's plague.
REVIEW: The irony is becoming clear. George McDee is a good, honorable man, so he's the one history has decreed must die. As must everyone who is the least bit sympathetic. Annabelle, electrocuted on a door. Her husband Felix, perhaps a womanizer like everyone else in the guest cast, makes a jolly recruit for Sapphire and Steel, but still dies a horrible death when McDee absentmindedly slaps viral cultures in his face... Okay, McDee might be a good man trying to do good, but he's a rather careless fellow. A careless fellow surrounded by fools and unscrupulous people. This world's taint of evil is represented in the direction, with plenty of hellish smoke - there's a fire coming, don't you know? - and extreme dutch angles as we reach the tipping point.
Felix's recruitment is one of my favorite bits of the episode. Since he's the next to go by virtue of his age, Sapphire and Steel let him in on what's really going on (as it's understood). Once he's shown that neither his wife nor the other murdered characters are actually dead, merely floating outside time, looking in (Sapphire manifests the younger McDee the way the Enemy has often done), his spirits improve and he becomes enthusiastic about helping the time elements. He even demands a codename like theirs, and Sapphire nicknames him "Brass". He likes it, and yes, it's the perfect monicker. They even give him the gift of telepathy so they can communicate with him. He proves only slightly useful, keeping tabs on the butler in case he did it (the Enemy is surely not above cliché), but Steel only really wants to distract him and keep him out of his way. It's clever. The Enemy tries to distract them with a murder mystery, so they have someone else carry on the investigation while they're being time elements. Except it might prove a fatal move. Felix's detective work brings him to McDee's lab where he might well become patient zero. Our heroes also let him think (because I'm done trying to pin down who they are exactly versus who they say they are) they're extraterrestrial members of an interstellar police force. I mean, yes, but what does that mean exactly?
Sapphire and Steel go into that room too, but in 1980. Another good sequence. Steel gently taunts Sapphire to see if she can make the modern door appear, then uses the old-timey radio to simulate the remote control frequency. He has little luck getting information from Mullrive's secretary however, so a second attempt uses Sapphire's social talents to cause a diversion after which, shockingly, the secretary calls her a bitch. I wasn't expecting that kind of language. A little out of place maybe, but if I have to complain about something, let it be the bridge sequence instead. I've never played bridge, and I just don't get the jokes. Are they jokes? Goes on a while and right over my head, too.
ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE VORTEX: An electrified door that works only once? The Enemy's been poaching ideas from the Tomb of the Cybermen!
REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High - If there's leftover aristocratic tedium, they compensate for it with some fun interplay between the two stars and their new recruit.