The Terrible Impotent Heart Of Watching The Crystal Maze

“Physical. Me.” he says — as team leader he’s sure of himself — no one else could do this task like he is going to. No one can be as sure of his ability to take on this physical task more than he after all.

And then this happens:

No, there was no way Ian could have known that he was going to put in the performance of his life.

Watching that, we were all joining the team in their desperate pleading with Ian. You can hear the desperation slip into their voices one by one. They move quickly from encouragement, actions, ideas, discussion to accepting that they’re not getting another crystal, and Ian must return to the group with his life-on-the-telly in tatters.

We’ve all suffered like Ian — especially in having watched him fail so terribly.

Ian’s trial was torture to watch maybe because of how sure, how serious he was when he took the challenge himself. It’s sad because all know what it’s like to fuck up.


Lorraine suffers a more terrible fate:

It’s like watching a dying bumble bee, with a broken wing, desperately smash its face against the window. It flails. It flails in a different way — you think it might even make it out of the window — to what sad fate you’re not sure, but at least it would be less futile.

You want it to get out — you mistake it’s random flailing as trying out different things, making choices, refining logically and it will eventually escape, obviously…

But it’s too hard to watch, you leave the bumble bee, and when you return you find it dead on your windowsill.

The bumblebee is dead, unable to escape, Lorraine is soaked and crystal-less.

What a sad end each meets.


Apparently this is someone called Cad. Cad does not seem to have a good time with stairs.

You’re in for a bad time Cad, this is pseudo-ancient-Egyptian/Aztec-whatever bullshit here — and the only thing everyone knows about these ancient and probably totally reasonable people is that the liked making things with lots of steps on them.

This is how you die Cad, probably.

Maybe this is why Cad is so scared of steps. He once went to a local fayre and had his future read by a mystic looking woman who had probably once tried pilates. She said this is how he would die. The cards did anyway, you don’t get the step ladder, the tower and the flip-flops without reading something into it.

Maybe he read into it too much, maybe I am.

Speaking of missing the point. Next:

U3. Push U3.

I like this one particularly because of the way our beloved host Richard O’Brien has to involve himself at the end. He can’t resist, he broke the wall between weirdo host and the completely frustrated viewer.

Maybe that’s why it’s so good — an existential crisis where the host, the one person trying to keep an illusion of narrative going, has to give up and interject.

It’s like the sequel to Don Quixote or something.

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