Sapphire & Steel #5: Escape Through a Crack in Time Part 5

"But there are no places to hide down here!" "No, no places. But there are ways!"
TECHNICAL SPECS: First aired Jul.24 1979.

IN THIS ONE... Rob is taken by a being that looks like his father.

Some of the torpor of the previous episode extends into this one, with more people and alien patches of light moving around the set in real time. Somehow, it's oddly compelling when the lights do it. Sapphire, Steel and Lead are taking their Enemy's pieces away, burning books and storing away paintings that might be "triggers", and cleaning up the mess left by the previous episode's nursery rhyme storm (in... real... time...), so it's the Enemy's turn to take something away. Specifically: Rob. The boy is visited by what looks like his father and taken out of the present into a moment in time that's out of phase with the other characters. He takes some convincing, but this is a devil he's dealing with - despite the scientific trappings, everything in this story can be understood in supernatural terms - and the devil takes him to hell. Or the cellar, which might as well be the underworld.

This devil can hide in time, if not space, and has a mesmeric effect on Rob. Obviously, he tries to throw suspicion on the time elements, and Rob is forced to choose between his father (or is it?) and strangers who have invaded his home (or have they?)­. The "father"'s story doesn't make sense - why would the parents hide from Sapphire and Steel, but not bring their children along? - but it's a kind of fairy tale logic where children are always left to fend for themselves, usually in the woods. And these beings tap into that kind of thing to make themselves manifest. The episode also inverts the protagonists and antagonists' roles. Rob is now asking questions and getting information from the Enemy, and the cliffhanger, with Lead knocking the cellar door off its hinges, is threatening only for that Enemy. That's an interesting choice, and not the "mistake" it might otherwise have been. But if the tables have turned, how should we interpret the Enemy's ability to now penetrate the youngest room in the house? It's grown in power, but it's unclear whether the heroes have as well.

Walking around a space, out of phase to it in TIME, really reminded me of the Doctor jumping time tracks in The Space Museum.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium - Takes a long time for something substantial to happen, but what's there continues to intrigue.


LiamKav said...

In today's "No-one outside of the UK will get this" comment, the dad in that image really looks like Richard Madely of Richard and Judy fame. It's creeping me out.


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