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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

Sapphire & Steel: Escape Through a Crack in Time (Part 4) Sapphire & Steel
Assignment 1:
"Escape Through a Crack in Time" Part 4
Writer: P.J. Hammond
Director: Shaun O'Riordan
Original air date: July 19, 1979


Another elemental, Lead, arrives to assist Sapphire and Steel in their investigation of the Jardine house.


Read the episode summary at the Sci Fi Freak Site or Watch it at Shout Factory


Characters appearing or mentioned in this episode



Robert Jardine

Helen Jardine



Jet (mentioned only)

Copper (mentioned only)

Silver (mentioned only)


Didja Notice?


At the end of this episode's teaser, Helen Jardine screams as she sees the ghostly soldiers come through the hallway and the scream melds into the music of the opening titles. Listen: scream.mp3


After Steel freezes the ghostly soldiers to prevent them from harming Sapphire, Sapphire tells Rob that Steel reduced his temperature to -273.1° and Rob exclaims that's near absolute zero. Absolute zero is the lowest limit of thermodynamic temperature in the universe, -273.15° C (−459.67° Fahrenheit, zero on the Kelvin and Ranine scales).


Rob asks Sapphire if there are others like her and Steel and she responds, "There are 127 of us." But then, Steel says, "There are 115 of us. You must never rely on the transuranics." This seems to be a reference to the periodic table of elements, though the normal periodic table we know of has only 118 elements. Transuranic elements are elements with atomic numbers greater than 92; such elements are inherently unstable and radioactive, transforming into other elements. So, why does Steel say there are 115 when anything over 92 is a transuranic element, which he also says must not be relied on? It may well be that he is counting chemical compound molecules (not elements) such as those mentioned in the preamble of each episode, Jet, Diamond, Sapphire, and Steel (and, presumably, others).


Twin Peaks note: Lead makes his first appearance in this episode and is referred to as a "giant".


When Lead approaches Steel in the kitchen of the Jardine home, a hollow clicking sound begins to be heard. Is this an indication of radioactivity, like the sound heard from a Geiger counter? Some isotopes of lead are radioactive. But why hear the clicking only in the presence of Steel?


Lead remarks that Steel needs insulation and should not be doing any below-zero stuff without him. The element lead is used in making insulation for power cords and cables.


At 14:37 on the DVD, what appears to be a six-pack of Pepsi-Cola is seen on the Jardine kitchen table as Lead sits down to a meal.


During his meal, Lead tells Steel that Jet sends her love. This may imply a partnership between Lead and Jet like the one between Sapphire and Steel.


Lead asks Sapphire if this is a difficult job in the house and when she responds yes, he tells her there's another difficult one waiting for the three of them when they're finished here. What job was that? Was it ever chronicled? The next TV story to be presented was the 8-part "The Railway Station", certainly a difficult job for Sapphire and Steel, but Lead was not involved.


At 15:32 on the DVD, behind Robert, Helen appears to be flipping through the pages of a black-and-white comic magazine.


At 15:51 on the DVD, Helen is carrying a stack of books down the stairs. Visible in the stack are For All Girls, Boy to Boy, and Every Boy's Book of (something). There appears to have been a series of books published in England titled Every Boy's Book of...from around the 1950s. The other books seen here I haven't been able to track down, but I assume they are actual children's books published in England at some point in the 1970s or earlier. A couple minutes later she carries down another stack, including Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes illustrated by Arthur Rackham and Sportsview Grandstand, both of which are real books published in the UK, again around the 1950s. Arthur Rackham (1867-1939) was quite well-known as a British book illustrator. Later books seen in the house while Sapphire is preparing to burn them are The Story of a Red Deer by J.W. Fortescue and a book about the Wild West. The Story of a Red Deer is a real book first published in England in 1897.


When Lead meets Steel outside the barricaded door of Helen's bedroom, the spirits can still be heard chanting the "upstairs and downstairs" words from the "Goosey Goosey Gander" nursery rhyme Robert mistakenly taught them in "Escape Through a Crack in Time" Part 3.


    Lead reveals that he was also a part of the investigation with Sapphire and Steel aboard the ship they sank as mentioned in "Escape Through a Crack in Time" Parts 1 and 2. That ship, we now learn, was the Mary Celeste, a real world ship that was involved in an unexplained mystery. The ship was a merchant brigantine found deserted and adrift in the Atlantic Ocean in 1872 with all crew missing and no sign of why they should have abandoned ship. The ship was salvaged after discovery and continued sailing until 1885, when the captain deliberately wrecked and sank it off the coast of Haiti as part of an insurance fraud scheme that failed.

    Lead's remark that he thought the ship was named Blue-something refers to the "Celeste" part of the name, which is a name for a shade of blue, sky blue (from the Latin celestis, celestial).


At 20:35 on the DVD, the Mother Goose book flips itself open to a page that shows the nursery rhymes "The North Wind Doth Blow" and "There Was a Crooked Man".


At 21:08 on the DVD, a copy of Tiger comic magazine is seen on the kitchen table among a stack of other magazines. The comic was published in England by Fleetway from 1954 to 1985.


Memorable Dialog





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