The Thunder Child
Science Fiction and Fantasy
| Science Fiction in The Saint
All 118 episodes deal with crimes of some sort - from tracking down stolen paintings and jewelry to assisting the British intelligence services to rescue hijacked airplanes or scientists.
Below lies Spoilers
But of those 118, only three dealt with fantasy or science fiction themes along with the crime. (I'm not counting those in which the missing/defecting scientist was working on something "science fictional," such as "Island of Chance" in which a scientist is developing a serum that will end all illness - but to that end is allowing gold smuggling on the island - and it is the gold smuggling that is the plot-driver of the episode.
The Convenient Monster - November 4, 1966Most of the b&w episodes of The Saint were based on novels or short stories written by Leslie Charteris, most of the color episodes were not. However, "The Convenient Monster" was based on such a story.
In the end, it turns out that Eleanor had been responsible for the deaths, as she'd intended to blame the Monster for the murder of her husband. Simon foils her plan, and she flees in a rowboat out into the middle of the Loch, just as the fog comes up.
Suddenly, the water around the boat begins to bubble...and then Eleanor starts to scream...
Personally, I preferred the short story written by Charteris. In that, Eleanor has removed the shells from her husband's shot gun. Then, after it is revealed that she is the criminal and flees, she is attacked by the monster on dry land. Her husband fires into the monster point blank, but with no effect. A classic example of the "biter bit."
Presumably, the episode's budget did not extend to creating a realistic-looking Loch Ness Monster, which is why they had to settle for bubbles in water, obscured by fog.
The House on Dragon's Rock - November 24, 1968Also based on a story written by Leslie Charteris, this story is set in Wales. Simon journeys to a small village called Llanfairtraws Sychnant, just in time to help the natives search for a lost shepherd. When they find him he is white and shaking and speechless with fear.
Simon has been sent for by the village doctor, Davis, who is a friend of his. The doctor tells Simon that unusual things have been happening over the last six weeks - trees uprooted, a heavy lorry turned over, and so on.
Dr. Sardon, when challenged by the nervous Armstrong about the events happening in the village, reveals himself to be the typical amoral scientist: "To enlarge the boundaries of science, it's sometimes necessary to sacrifice a few lives."
So dedicated is Dr. Sardon to this end that he is willing to sacrifice the lives of his assistant, his niece, as well as the villagers, in order to ensure that his creation - a giant ant queen who has laid eggs which - will survive. But Simon is able to kill the ant with a rifle, and burn the eggs.
Unlike "The Convenient Monster," the monster in this episode, the giant ant, is seen. Twice. Each time the same shot is used. There are two shots of a giant ant seen face on, and then there are two shots of the ant from the rear, as someone fires a rifle at it from the front.
The Man Who Gambled With Life - January 26, 1969Simon has driven out to the country to have a picnic in blissful solitude, when he is approached by a group of men in funereal garb, and a beautiful blonde who is dressed in a shirt that matches his. She presents him with a white mouse called Mimi.
Vanessa and Stella are the daughters of millionaire Keith Longman, both working with a group of men called "the blue team," to follow his orders. It unfolds that Longman has a bad heart and could die within a day or a month. In order to prolong his life, he intends to freeze himself until such time as medical science can come up with a cure for his heart illness.
Simon is approached to freeze himself first, for only 24 hours, but refuses, so Longman intends to force the issue. However he has a heart attack and decides there is no more time. By the time Simon and the second daughter - who has fallen in love with him - return to the house. Longman is in suspended animation.
This is a rather poor episode, as there's no real reason for Simon to be involved, (or for the initial mystery to be fostered, for that matter). Longman is a man in his fifties, with a bad heart. In order to ensure that the freezing process would work - surely he should be going after a man with similar health problems - not a superbly healthy man such as Templar - to freeze and then re-animate to ensure that the process works.