Sapphire and Steel: Assignment 5 Episodes 5 and 6


Episode 5

You can read my original post about this episode here.

I am particularly struck by the status of Emma and Felicity in this assignment (my impressions have been particularly strong in both these episodes): neither of them is actually treated as an adult in her own right. At one point point Arthur tells Emma that she can't have an affair because there would be a scandal (in episode 6). This is of course far more in accordance with 1930s mores than 1980s mores, however she is an elderly woman who has presumably spent the last fifty plus years under the thumb of a man. Of course much of the point of this assignment is that the respectable facade is just that and in reality they're all at it like rabbits. However it is also very clear that the men look down on the women, who despite being shareholders in the business are seen as incompetent and incapable of understanding.

I'm also going to return to the reaction I didn't talk about the first time I blogged about this assignment, which is that Felicity irritates me beyond endurance. No matter how bad I feel about this every time she starts making that revolting noise when she cries I want to scream shut up at her. I am honestly surprised that I would have this reaction, and feel very bad at it.

I feel a bit better in this episode because it isn't just Felicity being irritating, Emma is also having a good go at being really irritating as well. God, I'm a horrible person, aren't I. When they have the conversation about cocoa I really wanted to slap both of them. 

I wonder whether this sensation of irritation is my own idiosyncratic reaction to the events of this episode which are clearly intended to be completely ridiculous and elicit a reaction. Not to put too fine a point on it, if your concern is for the tablecloth after a murder in your dining room, regardless of who you are that's not right and you're going to get some sort of a reaction. You're all mad is of course the reaction we see, and it's entirely reasonable. 

Of course it might just be that I'm making out the show wants a strong reaction to make myself feel better for my own reaction, which is to want to slap both Felicity and Emma. I then feel bad about this because they're both just following the script and Time is messing with me, which isn='t their fault.

But really, Nan Munro should have turned up for her lessons in crying at acting school so she actually cried rather than making that revolting noise.

If nothing else you now know how much I don't write on this blog....

Episode 6

You can see my original post about this episode here.

This episode actually contains one of my favourites sequences in the whole of Sapphire and Steel, which explains why this assignment is one of my favourites. It's the one where the characters live the various scenarios to create a possible future, and ironically it's the downtrodden Emma who does it by who she shoots.

You already know that I was very annoyed by Felicity and Emma screaming like banshees and waving their arms in their nighties after the lab bursts into flames. Just get out and stop making a fuss, what is the matter with you.

Even though I love this assignment for its atmosphere, the way it shows Sapphire and Steel's natures in relation to human nature, and for the clever way it pits an Agatha Christies story against a Sapphire and Steel, I think there is a flaw in the plot. This is that it is too tidy to have the flow of time just return to normal at the end and have Sapphire and Steel leave while the house party returns to the weekend they should have had. The whole point of the judgement theme of And Then There Were None is that you have to have a collection of perceived crimes at the beginning and a collection of corpses at the end. In this assignment they're all sleeping with each other and are a seething mass of emotions, so you have the perceived crimes, but it's way too tide just for everything to end up nice and tidy at the end. I would see this as a weakness rather than a terminal flaw, but you would have to watch this one for the Time side of the plot and would be disappointed if you were hoping for the murder side of it to be resolved.

After all that has happened it's rather dissatisfying to have the weekend party proceed as planned, although I suppose from Sapphire and Steel's point of view that's the desired outcome. So since another theme running through this assignment is about Sapphire and Steel's world as opposed to human life and vlues, you could see this assignment as doing this on a larger scale. It's not just about table manners and what love means. It could be that what we would perceive as a murder mystery would be perceived by Sapphire and Steel quite differently, as a rent in time. 

Honestly, if this is what they do for a living, they would get no work satisfaction at all.

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