The problem that Sapphire and Steel have come to solve is, as ever, to do with time. At the service station, there is temporal bleed-through from earlier periods: images and figures from 1925 and 1948 keep appearing, so that, as Sapphire and Steel’s colleague Silver puts it ‘time just got mixed, jumbled up, together, making no sort of sense’. Anachronism, the slippage of discrete time periods into one another, was throughout the series the major symptom of time breaking down. […] In this final assignment, the anachronism has led to stasis: time has stopped. The service station is in ‘a pocket, a vacuum’. There’s ‘still traffic, but it’s not going anywhere’: the sound of cars is locked into a looped drone. Silver says, ‘there is no time here, not any more’. […] Hammond said that he had not necessarily intended the series to end there. He had thought that it would be rested, to return at some point in the future. There would be no return – at least, not on network television. […] Eternally suspended, never to be freed, their plight – and indeed their provenance – never to be fully explained, Sapphire and Steel’s internment in this café from nowhere prophetic for a general condition: in which life continues, but time has somehow stopped.

Mark Fisher, Ghosts of my Life (The Quietus)


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