Sapphire & Steel #22: The Man Without a Face Part 2

"The smell... It's like a cupboard that's been shut for 200 years."
TECHNICAL SPECS: First aired Jan.29 1981.

IN THIS ONE... Sapphire summons the faceless man and discovers he's from every picture ever taken.

REVIEW: A touch padded, but at least we learn something important about the monster. It's apparently/possibly (Steel does leap to some conclusions here) been a part of every picture ever taken since the very beginning. Sapphire's evaluation seems to suggest he's a humanoid figure in every shot, or just behind something, but that's as maybe. If he's some force, he need not have a human form. They call him a picture of nothing, after all. Trying to summon him up makes every pic in the place grow warm, and though loose in our world, he can return to any picture to hide. Further, the episode reveals that the objects in the pawn shop may be triggers after all, since they are in the pictures. Antiques and old pictures of those antiques when they were new exerting pressure on the space-time continuum. And the missing people have apparently been sucked into old photographs as well. It CAN go both ways. An interesting creature to be sure, one the time elements can't quite categorize it. It's not a "manifestation" and it's not a "likeness". Man... Hammond should put out a book that explains all this stuff. It'd be fascinating.

When I say it's a padded, I really only mean that I find any scene with the smirking Liz irksome. She's too bullish for her coquette act to work, a performance not in my eyes redeemed by her being under the faceless man's mesmeric influence. Unlike other guest characters we've met to date, she has absolutely no reason to let two strangers walk around her building and her rooms. Why can't she go to work at her club and not come back? She's done everything the plot really needs her to do, right? Ok, ok, I'll admit she throws some good emasculating barbs at Steel, telling him he can't do anything compared to Sapphire, and wondering if Sapphire is trying to be as creepy as Steel.

As the episode wraps up, the faceless man and his street urchins - very Dickensian, all this - grow bolder, and Steel is again frozen inside a moment, while Sapphire is again threatened by an umbrella (well, a parasol). Threats to the eye will always make me squirm a little bit, but both of these things happened in Part 1 as well. Time to change things up.

The idea of some monster present in every moment of our lives that we just can't see has been Moffat's bread and butter on Who, best exemplified by the Silence. However, the pawn shop and the idea that the Enemy might have gotten in through the very first picture taken took me back to Warehouse 13 instead.

- Still can't stand Liz, but the nature of the Enemy is cool stuff.



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