Archive for July 2014
Oggy! Oggy! Oggy! (No! No! No!)
Sue: Animals… I hope Pink Floyd do the music.
Tarrant is ferrying Dayna to the planet Bucol Two so she can visit an old teacher (and I do mean old).
Tarrant: Will he remember you?
Dayna: I should hope so.
Dayna smiles knowingly. I tut loudly.
Sue: What’s wrong?
Me: What’s wrong? Dayna is supposed to be sixteen, or thereabouts, I think, and she was even younger when she made a big impression on her teacher, if you know what I mean.
Sue: Don’t be so bad-minded, Neil. Maybe Dayna was an A-star student, and that’s why her teacher will remember her. Don’t be so quick to judge.
Dayna teleports to the planet and meets a strange creature covered in fur.
Sue: It’s a cross between a Yeti and a hatstand. Is that her teacher? Does he train all the local Jedi?
The Scorpio is ambushed by Federation pursuit ships.
Sue: It’s absolutely fine. Tarrant can outrun them with his super-duper new engine.
The Scorpio is hit by a plasma bolt.
Meanwhile, Dayna finds herself surrounded by furry animals.
Sue: They’re cute. They look like horny Ewoks.
Dayna shoots one of them in the face.
Sue: What the ****? What did she do that for? He only wanted a cuddle!
The Scorpio suffers several direct hits and Tarrant is lucky to escape with his life.
Sue: Avon is going to be furious when he finds out.
Slave: Main teleport system is damaged to a degree as yet unspecified. Navigation systems register first warning of malfunction. Main detectors show fifty percent is functional. Further damage is under assessment.
Sue: They’ve only just got the bloody thing working! If only Slave had spotted those ships a little earlier. They need better radar. That’s their next upgrade – better radar.
Dayna, who is now stranded on the planet, is being chased by the titular animals.
Sue: Stop ****ing killing them!
She is rescued by a man in his early fifties. His name is Justin.
Sue: Justin time! Sorry. I won’t do that again, I promise.
Justin is extremely pleased to see Dayna.
Justin: Here, let me look at you. My little pupil Dayna, lovelier than ever.
Sue: Er… I beg your pardon?
Me: I did try to warn you, Sue. I’m really sorry, but this is going to get very rough, very soon. Why do you think I’m cradling a bottle of Jim Beam? Here, do you want some?
Sue: No, that would be cheating.
Justin: You look quite beautiful…
Sue: Oh my God, this is really dodgy.
Dayna: I think it’s disgusting.
Sue: Join the ****ing club!
Dayna isn’t referring to Justin’s advances, she’s talking about her mentor’s experiments on some animals he’s bred – the loon! – the most intelligent of which is called Og.
Sue: What kind of name is Og? Is he taking the piss or what?
Dayna tells Justin about her gang, and how they are currently scouring the galaxy, recruiting experts to help them in their never-ending war against the Federation.
Sue: Well, that’s certainly news to me. When was that decided?
However, Justin isn’t interested in joining a rag-tag band of terrorists.
Justin: Of course, if you wanted to stay on your own, that would be different.
Sue: Will somebody please call the police! Or Operation Yewtree! Anybody!
Oh look, it’s Commissioner
Sue: What happened to her giant space crocodile? Her new spaceship looks like a Bingo hall.
A Federation captain delivers a classified report on Bucol Two.
Sue: How can he possibly read that thing? It’s just shapes! And why is Servalan fondling a thermostat? Why is she even in this episode? Still, things must be bad; I’m sure this is the first time I’ve seen her wear the same thing twice.
Back on Bucol Two, the animals are revolting.
Sue: I feel sorry for them. They’re bloody terrible singers, though.
Justin is still trying to get into Dayna’s pants.
Justin: You came here expecting more, a young love resurrected.
Sue: Oh, for God’s sake. Stop it!
There was a time when the Federation wanted to use Justin’s animals as shock troops.
Sue: The enemy would get a shock all right. And then they’d die laughing. This is preposterous, Neil.
Justin: Those animals can go into any of the devastated sectors of the war zone and the radiation won’t kill them. They can work on simple projects already.
Sue: Now if only we could get them to stop flinging their own shit at each other, I’m sure they’d be brilliant.
Justin’s work is almost complete.
Sue: Never trust a man with thin lips. And his top lip is so thin, it’s practically invisible.
Tarrant limps back to Xenon base in a battered and bruised Scorpio.
Sue: That’s the last time Avon will give Tarrant the keys to the car. He’ll ground him for this.
Sue used to be a hairdresser, which probably explains why she’s drawn to the sculptured hairstyles which seem to be all the rage within the Federation’s ranks.
Sue: That’s one hell of a graduated bob. Is that what all the fashionable vampires are wearing these days? Graduated bobs?
Me: I don’t even know what that means.
Sue: Is Servalan still pretending to be somebody else?
Me: **** knows.
Sue: But it’s ridiculous. It would be like Margaret Thatcher faking her own death and coming back as Mrs Hatcher, hoping no one would notice as she became Prime Minister again. She hasn’t even dyed her hair!
Justin bitterly regrets turning Federation deserters into furry animals with silly names.
Sue: Those animals are the least of your crimes, mate.
When Justin says he wants Dayna all to himself, Dayna breaks into a huge, self-satisfied grin. Which is weird because you’d think she’d throw up.
Sue: What the ****?
Servalan arranges to meet Ardus, an ex-Federation officer who knows everything there is to know about Bucol Two. The poor man lost his eyes during the war.
Sue: He’d have to be blind to leave the house wearing glasses like that.
I pause the DVD.
Me: Don’t you recognise him? I’ll give you a clue: “Paaaaaacker…”
Sue: Oh yeah. He’s been in Blake’s 7 before. Is he playing the same character?
OK, I lied. This episode’s got enough problems without me telling the truth.
Ardus eventually recognises Servalan’s voice.
Sue: It took him long enough. I thought he was deaf as well as blind.
Ardus immediately regrets mentioning Servalan by name.
Sleer: Very well. I await your information.
Sue: Sorry, I mean (in a gruff, deep voice) Very well. I await your information.
Ardus tells Servalan everything she needs to know about Justin.
Sue: Doesn’t anybody know his surname?
Back on Bucol Two, Dayna offers to talk to the Og on Justin’s behalf.
Dayna: If he won’t trust you, perhaps he’ll trust me.
Sue: Yes, he’ll trust you because you killed his friends – right in front of him! Has Dayna been taking the stupid pills?
Justin fondles Dayna’s hands.
Sue: I think I’m going to be sick.
Justin: I’ve been on my own on this planet so long now…
Sue: Oh dear. He’s been shagging all the animals. He basically just admitted it.
Back on the Scorpio, Vila prepares to drown himself in a tank full of shit.
Sue: This has nothing to do with the other plot. They are just killing time until that other pile of steaming shit finishes. What Vila’s doing here is a metaphor for what we are going through right now.
Sue trusts Justin as far as she can throw him.
Sue: Justin isn’t everything he seems.
Me: He’s exactly what he seems. That’s the ****ing problem, Sue!
Dayna extends the hand of friendship to Og. She promises Og that he won’t be hurt if he returns to Justin’s loving arms. Og points to his head.
Dayna: Not hurt. Not your head. Not hurt.
Sue: It’s all right. You can tell me. Show me where the creepy old man touched you.
Just as Dayna believes she’s about to make a breakthrough, Og throws her over a cliff.
Sue: Wow. She was even more wooden than usual. Anyone would think they threw a doll over that cliff instead. Actually, what the hell has happened to Dayna? I used to really like her. Now I can barely stand her.
Meanwhile, in the other shit-stained plot, Soolin places a blue box next to Orac.
Sue: Is that Orac’s girlfriend? She doesn’t say very much. Still more animated than Soolin, though.
The Scorpio blasts off again.
Sue: Avon should sit down when they take off. It can’t be safe to stand up like that, especially the way Tarrant drives.
Dayna is interrogated by Servalan. Every time Dayna lies to her, Servalan presses a button on her chair and Dayna is subjected to a very intense orgasm.
Sue: I don’t know what Servalan is doing to her, but it looks all right to me.
Servalan asks Dayna if she loves Justin. Dayna denies it, but Servalan’s magic chair can detect the horrible truth. I swallow a bit of sick.
Sue: There should be a caption at the bottom of the screen: ‘My Teacher Molested Me And Now I’ve Fallen In Love Him’. Seriously, though, this episode is giving me the creeps.
Servalan offers to support Justin’s research, on one condition:
Servalan: That I use the animals in the way I think fit.
Sue: She’ll probably skin them and turn them into a nice dress.
Dayna refuses to cooperate with Servalan.
Sue: She’s holding out for one more orgasm.
Servalan switches to Plan B. By the time she’s finished with her, Dayna will hate Justin with every fibre of her being.
Sue: Is there anything that chair can’t do? If you sat in it, Neil, could I make you love me more?
Me: Give it a rest, love.
Justin is so distraught when he discovers that Dayna has disappeared, he briefly considers suicide before hitting the bottle.
Sue: SHIT! That was the Fairy Liquid!
Servalan’s aversion therapy has been a complete success – Dayna now hates Justin as much as we do. Good for Servalan.
Servalan: You really hate him now, don’t you?
Sue: Remember that Maths lesson, when you were only fourteen and he –
Me: Stop it, Sue.
Dayna: I hate him.
Sue: I’m fairly sure this isn’t what the writer intended. I think we’re actually supposed to feel sorry for the old pervert.
I feel it’s only fair to tell Sue that this episode was originally written for Cally.
Sue: That’s no excuse. They should have realised the implications as soon as the problem presented itself. Soolin would have been just as bad – even though it would have given her something to do – so they should have sent Tarrant instead. That would have been much more interesting. But either way, they should have ditched the randy teacher routine. It just isn’t right.
Servalan storms Justin’s base with three snowmobilers equipped with graduated bobs. She tells the women that they can wing Og if they have to – but they can’t kill him.
Sue: Are they allowed to snap one of its horns off?
Avon, Tarrant and Soolin teleport to Bucol Two. It’s pissing down and they are drenched in seconds.
Sue: Paul Darrow’s hair gel is dripping into his eyes. This is not a good look for him. It looks like his head is melting… And now he looks like David Ginola from that angle. And not in a good way, either.
Servalan’s troops find and restrain Og.
Sue: Poor Og. The next time we see him, he’ll have a graduated bob.
When Avon blasts his way into Justin’s base, he… well, let’s just say it’s worth watching again. And again. And again.
Sue: Wow. What a recovery. Paul Darrow almost ended up on his arse but he remained super-cool. What a professional. That takes real talent, Neil.
Me: It serves him right for kicking that ****ing chair!
Sue: Rosie didn’t have anything to do with this shambles, did she? No? Oh, thank God for that.
When Justin agrees to Servalan’s demands, Dayna is taken to the magic chair again.
Servalan: You love him, Dayna. You love him, Dayna. You love him. Dayna…
Sue: I feel like I’ve been sat in that chair for years. “You love Blake’s 7, Sue. You love Doctor Who, Sue. You love
Og has been tied to a stump in a field.
Sue: Aww, he reminds me of that Shetland pony I see on the common on the way to work. He can only walk around in circles as well, poor thing. It always makes me sad when I see him.
Me: Og is basically Li’l Sebastian. Aww.
When Avon, Tarrant and Soolin mount a rescue mission, Og is killed in the battle.
Sue: Damn it. Og was the best thing in this stupid mess!
Servalan’s ship blasts off.
Sue: **** me. What a brilliant shot! What’s a brilliant shot like that doing in a pile of shit like this?
Justin didn’t make it either, and the episode ends with Dayna weeping buckets of tears for her dead teacher/mentor/mad professor/lover/abuser (take your pick).
Sue: MAKE IT STOP!
Sue: **** me, that was shit!
It’s official. Animals is as bad as Trial.
Sue: I’m only giving it a mark for that crane shot at the end. It was seconds away from a big fat zero. What a load of shit.
Mad Max Factor…
We watched this episode straight after Traitor. I think we both knew that if we didn’t keep going it would have taken weeks before we plucked up enough courage to return to the task in hand.
Oh, and we watched this double-bill on our 15th wedding anniversary. I am a very bad man.
Sue: I’ve got a Star Driver. It’s a screwdriver made by Philips. It’s got a star-shaped head and it’s ****ing brilliant. Sorry, Neil, I’m rambling.
The Scorpio roars into shot, a bit like the Star Destroyer at the beginning of Star Wars. Only smaller. And slower. And browner.
Sue: Why don’t they just put some writing on the ****ing screen and be done with it?
The crew are on a mission.
Sue: Soolin is a very bonny girl, but she’s completely wasted in this. I don’t see the point of her. At least Cally got taken over by aliens every week. I can’t believe I actually miss that.
Me: Soolin is one of the few things that I remember from this period of the show, so she must become important later on.
Sue: Oh, I wouldn’t bet on it. Like I said, she’s a very bonny lass. I think she’s done enough to lodge herself in your brain, Neil.
It’s about now that I suspect watching two episodes of Blake’s 7 back-to-back is probably a bad idea.
Sue: Do you know what really annoys me? It’s the part of the set that they haven’t glued down properly. It’s been doing my head in for ages and they still haven’t fixed it. Look at it! They need some hot glue – it would only take them a few minutes to sort it out. It drives me crazy.
Me: Rosie should have spotted that.
Sue: Did Rosie work on this episode? Oh well, at least the location will be nice.
Avon wants to sneak up on an asteroid so he can use it to shield the ship from the Federation’s prying eyes. Yes, this plan is as crazy as it sounds.
Sue: Just because Avon has a Millennium Falcon doesn’t mean he can fly like Hans Solo (sic). What’s he playing at?
As if to prove her point, the Scorpio slams straight into the asteroid.
Sue: (laughing) They should have been blown to bits! What a farce. Avon has gone completely mad. I don’t know how I feel about Avon any more. Even his hair has lost the plot.
Me: Don’t worry. There’s always Tarrant.
Sue: I admit it, he’s grown on me. To be honest, I think it was the documentary that finally swung it. He’s a really nice bloke.
Avon orders the crew to check the ship’s systems for damage.
Sue: I don’t think Avon is in a position to give any orders after that fiasco. Put Tarrant in charge. Or give the work experience girl a chance. You never know, she might actually be good at something.
The Scorpio is left with a whacking great hole in its hull.
Sue: Thank God they didn’t try that manoeuvre with the Liberator – they wouldn’t have stood a chance.
Vila staggers onto the flight deck, drunk as a skunk. He makes a play for Soolin.
Sue: Vila is a walking sexual harassment case. Even the theme music is creepy. It’s the ‘Creepy Sexual Predator’ version of the theme tune.
Dayna: Sometimes, Vila, you can be quite disgusting.
Sue: At least you know that I’ll never fancy Vila, Neil. I’d rather sleep with Orac.
Their predicament reminds Vila of the time an asteroid hit a penal colony ship he was travelling on. The crew fixed the problem by generating an atmosphere inside its force wall. Avon immediately seizes upon this as a solution to his own ineptitude.
Me: Avon only loves Vila when he’s drunk.
Sue: I love the way he doesn’t even bother to thank him.
If only they hadn’t left Orac back at home…
Sue: Can’t they get him on the phone and ask for his advice? And does this mean they have fly home again when it’s past their bed time? That’s a bit limiting. And what are they trying to achieve this week, anyway?
Me: They’re searching for crystals to turn into fuel.
Sue: I expect this is the closest I’ll get to any crystals during our crystal anniversary.
Me: Yeah, I planned this in advance. Happy anniversary, Sue.
Sue: How romantic.
Me: Give it rest, love. I wrote a book about how bloody lovely you are. (Still available from all good bookshops, by the way.) What more do you want?
Sue: There’s only so many times you can use that line, Neil, and it expired about six months ago.
Vila was only pretending to be drunk, mainly so Avon wouldn’t ask him to volunteer for the dangerous bit.
Sue: Clever Vila. He has his moments. When he’s not being a lecherous sex pest, obviously.
Tarrant and Avon head to the main drive chamber to fix the hole.
Sue: It’s pretty good, this. It’s a massive improvement on the last episode. This is what I want to see: Tarrant and Avon fixing stuff.
Avon seals the breach with a hand-held tool. Tarrant stands back and watches.
Sue: Now that’s what I call a glue gun. Now take it back to the bridge and fix the set.
While they wait for their hole to cool down, the Scorpio runs into a routine Federation patrol.
Sue: Thank God for that. I was beginning to worry that they didn’t have a window to look out of. It’s tiny but it’s better than nothing, I suppose. God, I miss Zen.
Avon suggests that they record the enemy ships’ movements. As luck would have it, as soon as they hit the record button, the ships mysteriously explode.
Sue: They should put that on YouTube. It would probably go viral.
The Scorpio returns to Xenon base.
Sue: Not only are they ripping-off the spaceships from Star Wars, they’re ripping the ****ing wipes off now as well. Have they no shame?
There’s something strange about the video footage of the exploding pursuit ships, but Orac won’t tell anyone what it is.
Sue: Threaten to drop him in a bath. That should loosen his tongue. I don’t know why they put up with him, I really don’t. At first, I didn’t understand why they left him at home – shouldn’t they take Orac with them wherever they go, just in case? But I wasn’t thinking straight. They can’t bear to be in the same room as him. It. Whatever. And who can blame them?
Thanks to Orac’s stubbornness, the crew have to take it in turns checking the video footage, frame by agonising frame.
Sue: **** me! Soolin just pressed a button. That’s the most exciting thing she’s done in four episodes. Hallelujah!
The recording reveals a Space Chopper speeding past the pursuit ships just before they explode.
Sue: I had a Raleigh Chopper. It was orange and I loved it to bits. Gary gave it to me – it must have been a hand-me-down. He could do no wrong in my eyes for a whole week after that.
Avon suspects that the Chopper must have been fitted with a new form of main drive unit.
Sue: That’s handy. That’s just what they need to turn their rubbish spaceship into something half-decent. They may as well have put an advert in the paper.
They zoom into the pilot’s helmet.
Sue: Now that’s what I call HD!
It’s a Space Rat. Vila warns everyone that the Space Rats are obsessed with speed.
Sue: Is that speed speed or speed speed?
Me: Both, I think. It’s been 33 years seen I’ve seen this. And it’ll be another 33 years before I see it again – and when I do, it’ll be Alzheimer’s kicking in.
Sue: I’ve seen a lot worse, Neil. About thirty minutes ago to be precise.
Soolin offers to turn the lights back on.
Sue: Calm down, love. You don’t want to over-do it.
Avon instructs Dayna to accompany Vila to the surface of the planet Caspar, planet of the Space Rats, so probably not a very friendly planet after all.
Sue: Oh, come on! Send Soolin instead. Let’s see what she’s made of.
Dayna and Vila teleport to Caspar. Dayna arrives in one piece. Vila, on the other hand, is stuck on a rock formation.
Sue: Soolin can’t even work the teleport properly. I’m sorry, Neil, but besides looking pretty, she’s ****ing useless.
Vila is lying face down over the edge of a cliff.
Vila: Dayna, I’m stuck! Oh oh. I’m stuck!
Sue: He can definitely pull his arm free, so what’s stuck, exactly? Actually, I don’t want to know…
The Space Rats approach the same rock formation.
Sue: Oh, I get it. It’s Mad Max on tricycles. I can see where they’re going with this. It’s Star Wars meets Mad Max meets Star Trek. I like it.
Avon has allowed Vila and Dayna to walk into a trap so they can get their hands on a new space drive.
Sue: What’s Avon got against Dayna all of a sudden?
In a high-tech laboratory on Caspar – which has a lovely tiled floor, according to Sue – Doctor Plaxton is developing a new space drive with some help from her friends.
Sue: It looks like they’ve employed two punk rockers on a YTS scheme. Could this episode be any more eighties?
The Space Rats have an attitude problem are ordered to leave.
Sue: Don’t forget to duck on your way out the door. Your hair will snap in half if you don’t.
The Space Rats’ leader is a crazy loon named Atlan.
Sue: He’s basically Gary Glitter crossed with Gene Simmons and Sid Vicious.
Atlan: What are you doing hanging around? Do you wish to join us?
Me: Does he want some jalapeños with that lizard he’s eating?
Sue: I’ve seen that sofa before! They can cover it up as much as they like, but I never forget a sofa.
Vila and Dayna find the entrance to the Space Rats’ base.
Sue: I’m sorry, Rosie, but this location isn’t really doing it for me. We’ve seen this a million times before: a desolate shit hole on a windy day, with a whacking great door in side of a cliff. Boring.
Avon, Tarrant and Soolin have also arrived on Caspar.
Sue: Finally! Soolin’s actually left the ship!
Our heroes survey the planet’s surface.
Sue: They look like they’re posing for an album cover. Was this episode directed by Anton Corbijn?
Avon, Soolin and Tarrant pose for more some photos in a shallow valley. If only they could find some Joshua trees.
Sue: What a bunch of poseurs! It doesn’t even make any tactical sense. They are standing around in the open! (Five minutes later) How long is this going to go on for? This location isn’t interesting enough to dwell on it. I’m sorry, Rosie, but it really isn’t.
There’s still time for one more pose.
Sue: Get a ****ing move on!
Dayna and Vila are captured by the Space Rats and Avon watches as his colleagues are escorted to an adjacent door in a cliff.
Sue: I don’t believe it. They’re posing for another album cover! This is hilarious.
Atlan threatens Doctor Plaxton with a game of tonsil tennis if she doesn’t complete her new space drive.
Sue: More violent kissing. This series must have put Blake’s 7 fans off kissing for life.
You can insert your own joke here, if you like.
Dayan battles the Space Rats. She gives as good as she gets, but she’s eventually thwarted by a crafty bum-bump. Watch it again if you don’t believe me.
Sue: I bet that’s the most action that sofa’s ever seen.
Avon, Soolin and Tarrant are still trekking across the surface of Caspar.
Sue: Just one more shot, darling, before we lose what’s left of the light. That’s it, Tarrant, stick your leg out a bit more. Cock your hip, Soolin. That’s it. Lovely.
Me: That’s the back of the 12-inch sorted.
Plaxton’s Stardrive can reach speeds of 15!
Sue: **** me, even I know that’s fast.
Oh, and Atlan isn’t a Space Rat after all. No siree! Not that it makes a blind bit of difference, of course.
Sue: His hair is as fake as his accent. He looks like he’s just stumbled out of a face-painting tent at a village fete.
Me: A face-paining tent on the border between Switzerland and Mexico.
Doctor Plaxton’s Stardrive is designed to work on a proper spaceship.
Plaxton: This drive was intended to be installed in a real spacecraft, not in toys driven by a bunch of murderous psychopaths.
Sue: It’s perfect for a large ship driven by a bunch of murderous psychopaths, though. Ta very much. So far, this series is basically one long episode of Pimp My Ride. First they had to get the teleport working, then they had to fix the stereo, and now they’re going to upgrade the engine. They’ll have Go-Faster Stripes and a new spoiler by the end of it.
Vila and Dayna are taken to Atlan. He tells his Space Rats to “bend them”.
Sue: Bend them? Did he just say “bend them?” It’s difficult to tell with that accent. Nah, he couldn’t have said that…
Tarrant begins burning his way through an adjoining wall in the Space Rats’ garage.
Sue: They could use this shot of Tarrant for the limited edition picture disc, I suppose.
Atlan is completely oblivious to Tarrant’s rear entry.
Sue: This is a bit stupid. I’d like to think that if someone was burning a hole in the wall behind me, I’d notice the ****ing smell. God, he’s so thick.
Just when we think everything’s under control, Atlan uses Soolin as a hostage so he can escape.
Sue: I’ve changed my mind. She should have stayed on the ship.
Doctor Plaxton wants to do a runner with Avon.
Sue: She could be their engineer. Yeah, she could be their posh Scotty.
Our heroes hijack an eight-wheeled dune buggy.
Sue: Do you remember the Banana Splits, Neil?
Me: Yes. Why do you ask?
Sue: No reason.
Soolin holds the approaching Space Rats at bay with some impressive gunslinging.
Sue: That God for that. I was beginning to worry that Soolin was all mouth and no trouser suit.
The gang escape in the buggy, with the Space Rats in hot pursuit.
Sue: You can see what they are trying to do – Mad Max in space. And it is quite exciting, if I’m honest.
Avon sets off some mines, which causes the Space Rats to tumble off their bikes.
Sue: Finally! Avon is cool again. Well, as cool as he can be with hair like that.
Our heroes race back to their ship.
Sue: Quick! Back to the Millennium Falcon!
When they reach the Scorpio, Avon decides to have a roll call.
Me: Blake? Shit, no wait, he’s dead.
Sue: Cally? Shit. Damn it.
Me: Gan? Oh, **** it.
Slave has some bad news:
Slave: I’m sorry to have to report, Master, that three Federation ships are approaching on an intercept course of zero-three-zero-zero-seven.
Sue: Slave reminds me of C-3P0. He was an arse-licker as well, wasn’t he?
Doctor Plaxton says it will take her 50 minutes to attach her Stardrive to the ship.
Sue: Sorry, pet, but you’ll have to do it in five!
Avon programmes the main drive circuit to kick in as soon as the Doctor makes the final connection. Dayna reminds him that this will kill her instantly. Avon says the Doctor is dead either way.
Sue: You can’t kill Scotty! You ungrateful…
The Doctor makes the connection, the ship’s Stardrive kicks in, and the poor woman bites the dust.
Sue: Ooh… That’s evil.
At least the Scorpio can do the Kessel run in less than twelve parsecs now.
Dayna: What about Dr. Plaxton?
Avon and Sue: (together) Who?
Sue: (laughing) What a ****!
Sue: That was more like it. I really enjoyed that. Things happened. Compared to the last one, it was a rollercoaster ride of non-stop excitement. Yes, it was a bit silly – especially the bad guy – and the best bits were cheap knock-off of lots of other things I’ve seen, but at least they tried to make it entertaining. Even the album cover moments made me laugh. Give me stupid nonsense like that any day of the week.
Me: Have you lost your mind?
Sue: No. Shall we watch another one?
Me: That settles it. You have lost your mind.
Don’t worry. We didn’t.
Sue: Robert Holmes. Thank God for that. I wonder which one of them will turn out to be the traitor… My money’s on Vila.
On the planet Helotrix, a Federation Colonel named Quute is interrogating an insurrectionist named Igin.
Sue: Travis is alive and he’s got a brand new face!
I break it to her that Christopher Neame wasn’t cast as Travis Mark III, although that would have been effing brilliant.
Sue: Why are the Federation obsessed with eye patches? They must think they’re pirates or something… He’s very camp. I like the way he wiggles the tassels on his jacket like he’s an evil majorette. And what in God’s name is he doing with his lips?
Sue doesn’t recognise Christopher Neame from Shada or – and this is even worse – Babylon 5.
Me: “Why did the Minbari surrender at the Battle of the Line?” No? Oh, come on, Sue, you must remember him. He’s Christopher Neame!
Sue: Did he give birth to the blonde one from Peep Show? Because he looks just like him.
Thanks to Dudley Simpson’s incidental music, Sue is disappointed when the rebels don’t turn out to be French.
Sue: I keep expecting them to break into song. I feel like I’m watching a science fiction sequel to Les Mis.
At least the location gets the thumbs-up.
Sue: All the planets were beginning to look the same to me, but this one is weird enough to be truly alien. I really like it.
Meanwhile, on the Scorpio, Avon admits that he’s tired of running away.
Sue: How does he know that he’s still a wanted man? Servalan is supposed to be dead, the Federation have had a big war, so most of their records were probably destroyed, and they certainly haven’t got a ship that’s worth stealing any more. I mean, has anybody come looking for them recently? Avon could just change his name and move somewhere quiet if he really wanted to. What trouble could he possibly cause? And why would he bother? Why would any of them bother?
Back on Helotrix, Colonel Quute plays a game of chess as he casually wipes Igin off the face of the planet.
Sue: That rebel was just a pawn in his game, right? And they’re playing chess, right? Can you see what they did there, Neil? Can you? Can you? ….(sighing) Are you sure this was written by the Robert Holmes?
A little later, Quute entertains a Federation General (Roger Federer’s mad uncle, according to Sue) in the same location.
Sue: So they eat, drink, play chess and kill people in one single room. Does he sleep in there when his shift is over? Has he got a sofa bed tucked away somewhere?
The Federation aren’t the only ones who’ve had to downsize recently: the Scorpio is a bit on the pokey side, too.
Sue: At least the Liberator had more than one set. They’ve just rammed everything into one location to save money, haven’t they. And now they’ve realised that it’s impossible for any of the cast to speak to each other when they’re facing in the same direction, so they’ve had to cobble this ridiculous shot together. It looks weird.
Me: I did say all this two weeks ago.
Sue: And is Soolin just paid to lounge around looking pretty? Because she’s done sod all up to now.
When Avon discovers that Orac has delegated the problem of upgrading the Scorpio‘s engines to another computer, he erupts into maniacal laughter.
Sue: It’s official: Avon has completely lost the plot.
Back on Helotrix, the rebels’ leader, Major Hunda, prepares to launch his latest assault on the Federation.
Sue: I’m sorry, Neil, but this is really boring. I expected a lot more than this from Robert Holmes. It’s just people talking about stuff that I don’t really care about or understand. Blah blah Magnowhatsit Terminal blah blah blah. It’s rubbish!
We are introduced to Leitz, who has been sent by commissioner Sleer to be His Excellency President-Elect Practor’s liaison officer. Did you get all that, because I’m pretty sue Sue didn’t.
Sue: He’s a cross between Nick Cave and the bad guy from The Matrix films. I don’t trust him and I don’t understand his job description. either.
Leitz, General Federer and President-Elect Practor discuss the problem of the rebels and how best to deal with them.
Sue: Yak yak bloody yak. With Robert Holmes you usually get some decent lines but this is tedious, Neil.
Hunda swims into the city under the cover of night.
Sue: All because the Federation love Milk Tray…
Oh, and I think Sue’s love affair with the Scorpio is well and truly over.
Sue: I’ve suddenly realised what it reminds me of: it’s the Millennium Falcon crossed with the big spaceship at the start of the film – the one that Darth Vader flies around in – except it’s really, really slow.
Dayna and Tarrant teleport to the surface of Helotrix and immediately lose contact with the ship. Slave suspects it’s an audio malfunction.
Sue: The name Slave makes me feel uncomfortable. They should change it.
Me: Really? What would you suggest?
Sue: Zennie. The kids would have loved that.
Me: This is supposed to be an adult drama, Sue.
Sue: Oh yeah. I forgot. Anyway, I don’t like him. He’s too mechanical, he’s too subservient and he isn’t Zen. Plus you can’t call a cat “Slave” – that would be ridiculous. Which reminds me, Tarrant let me stroke him the other day.
The President-Elect is shown to his quarters, where a painting of the Supreme Empress hangs on one of its wall.
Sue: The only surprising thing about this is that it took this long for Servalan to show up again.
Me: It’s only a painting.
Sue: Of course it is, Neil. You must think I’m stupid.
On Helotrix’s surface, a strangely familiar voice orders the planet’s citizens to assemble at the city’s concourse.
Sue: What were all those people doing out there in the first place? Were they having a fag break? That would explain the smoke, I suppose. And why is Orac telling them what to do? Is Orac the traitor? That wouldn’t surprise me at all.
Hunda’s army battle some ‘adapted’ Helots.
Sue: I like their guns. They’re a cross between shotguns and lasers. They’re the best guns we’ve seen in Blake’s 7 so far. Everyone should have one.
Twenty minutes later…
Sue: Yes, this is a very nice location for a fight, but I’m losing the will to live now. Oh look, a soldier just fell into a pond. How many is that now? Fifty? And do you know what, Neil? I can tell you that it wasn’t Stuart Fell who fell. That’s what you’ve done to me – I can recognise Stuart Fell stunts. And these aren’t Stuart Fell stunts. They aren’t even in the same league.
The Helots are no match for the rebels.
Sue: They walk straight at you like zombies, and you don’t even have to shoot them in the head. They’re a piece of piss!
The Helots are swiftly dealt with.
Sue: That was the best part of the episode so far, and that’s only because they stopped talking.
Avon is fiddling with the Scorpio‘s teleport systems.
Sue: That’s definitely a sonic screwdriver he’s using there. I bet he sat by his phone waiting for his agent to call when Tom Baker left. He would have been perfect.
Me: Better than Peter Davison?
Sue: Peter Davison could have been Paul Darrow’s companion. Imagine that…
A Federation guard pacifices a Helot. The poor sod is left with a creepy grin on his face.
Sue: The Federation’s new weapon is great if they want to create an army of spaced-out morons. They’ll probably have to solve the ‘Munchies’ problem first, though.
Avon refuses to leave Tarrant and Dayna to their fate, which prompts a visibly annoyed Vila to claim that Blake would have been proud of him.
Sue: Vila’s got a point. Avon is just as crazy as Blake used to be, if not more so. At least Blake had a reason to fight the Federation, after everything they did to him. I don’t see what Avon is getting out of this. He should be out robbing banks.
A mysterious figure kills the President-Elect in cold blood.
Sue: It’s Servalan. Why are they trying to hide it? WHO ELSE COULD IT POSSIBLY BE?
Tarrant disguises himself as a Helot.
Sue: He looks like he’s raided Avon’s wardrobe. If they both start wearing black leather, I don’t think my heart will be able to take it.
Me: Are you saying you fancy Steven Pacey as well?
Sue: Erm… He’s… erm… Well… erm… Yes.
It appears that Leitz has been helping the rebels all along.
Sue: OK, so he’s the traitor. Is that it? Is it over yet?
Leitz suggests that the rebels storm the city via an abandoned monorail system.
Sue: I bet he’s a double-traitor. It’s so obvious I can barely keep my eyes open.
Something has hacked into the Federation’s database, which sets off all sorts of alarms.
Sue: This what happens when you sub-contract. The real Orac would have covered his tracks better than that. That’ll teach him to be so unhelpful.
Leitz confers with a mysterious, gravely voice over an intercom system.
Sue: It’s obviously Servalan, even if it does sound like she’s underwater. Maybe she’s in the bath?
Sue still isn’t sure about Leitz.
Sue: Maybe he’s a triple-traitor…
Me: Wouldn’t that bring him back to being just a traitor?
Sue: I’m over-thinking this, aren’t I? Sorry, I’m bored. It’s taken them ages just to get to this point. How much more of this is there?
Tarrant and Dayna encounter a mad professor in a wheelchair, which certainly livens things up a bit.
Sue: It’s a shit Davros.
Me: Mein Führer! I can walk!
The man’s name is Forbus and he has a score to settle with the Federation.
Sue: He’s even trying to do the Davros voice. It’s embarrassing.
Forbus plans to blow himself and Commissioner Sleer to bits, the first chance he gets.
Sue: It’s a bit like Breaking Bad. He’s going to blow himself up with explosives hidden in his wheelchair, taking the bad guy with him. Oh, and there are some drugs in it as well. Yeah, it’s pretty much exactly the same plot.
Avon decides to take the Scorpio below cloud level to avoid detection. Vila protests.
Sue: We’ve seen this a million times before. I’m bored with this dynamic. Why can’t they just act like they actually enjoy each other’s company for a change? Why does everything have to end in a row?
Commissioner Sleer shows her face. Have you guessed who it is yet?
Sue: I’m almost received to see her. I think I’ve got Stockholm Syndrome.
Tarrant and Hunda fight the Federation.
Sue: This is pretty bad. The fight, the wobbly scenery, the music, the fake rocks, the fact that this on video instead of film, the music. Did I mention the music? Blake’s 7 is better than this, Neil. This is shit.
Sue is also adamant that this episode drops the C-word before the watershed. I’ll let you make your own mind up about that:
Avon is told that Servalan is still alive.
Sue: Don’t put this on the blog, Neil, but Avon’s definitely getting a stiffy as it dawns on him that she’s still out there, waiting for him.
Servalan quickly dispenses with Forbus.
Sue: She looks like she’s on her way to a Goth disco.
Me: She looks like she’s dressed as a crow.
Leitz threatens to reveals Servalan’s awful secret unless she agrees to give him what he wants.
Sue: How is it possible that people wouldn’t recognise her? She was the ****ing President of the Galaxy, not some faceless backbencher. She ruled planet Earth, for God’s sake. She must have been one of the most famous people who ever lived. If she wants to pretend to be somebody else, she should grow her hair and stop dressing like a ****ing Diva.
Servalan and Leitz kiss, but before Leitz can catch his breath, Servalan stabs him in the back.
Sue: What is it with this show and violent snogging? It happens all the time. One minute you are snogging somebody’s face off, the next minute you are lying on the floor in a heap.
Avon is secretly pleased that his arch-nemesis didn’t die on the Liberator, after all.
Avon: I didn’t want her to die like that. I need… to kill her myself.
Sue: After he’s snogged her, of course.
Sue: Well that was shit. Worse than that, it was boring shit. I’m really shocked that Robert Holmes put his name on that crap. What else do you want me to say? It was shit. Oh no!
Me: What is it?
Sue: I used to know the Production Manager – Rosie Crowson. She taught me everything I know about TV production. She was lovely. Oh God. I hope she doesn’t read this…
Sue: The only good thing about that episode was Servalan. That’s how bad it was. At least it gives Avon something to do. Now if only they could do the same thing for Soolin… Oh, and the location was very nice. Rosie would have been responsible for that.
This Woman’s Work…
Sue bloody loves the Scorpio.
Sue: It’s a spaceship that looks like it means business. It wouldn’t snap in half if an asteroid slammed into it for a start. I mean, look at it – it’s fantastic!
She’s actually watching the CGI animation that precedes the menu screen on the Series 4 DVDs.
Sue: It’s hardly dated at all…
I bring her back down to earth with a bump.
Sue: Well, it just proves that they should remake Blake’s 7 today. I don’t know why they haven’t got round to it yet. What are they waiting for?
The new title sequence, on the other hand, still fails to impress.
Sue: What does FAC mean?
Me: It means Peter Saville designed the title sequence. Look, Sue, it’s your favourite writer.
Sue: Ben Steed… That name rings a… Oh, ****.
The episode begins with Vila, Tarrant and Dayna staring at a locked door while Avon is chased by hairy bikers armed with crossbows.
Sue: Shit. He’s out of ammo and he only fired one shot. Are you sure their guns aren’t supplied by Hewlett-Packard?
Me: It’s your favourite genre: medieval sci-fi. You love medieval sci-fi, Sue.
Me: Are you sure you don’t want a whisky? I’ve got plenty.
Just a reminder before we get into this: minus scores are available to Sue. (I sense a protest on
Dorian’s apartment is connected to Scorpio‘s landing bay.
Sue: So Dorian was a bit like John Travolta, then.
Sue: John Travolta built a runway next to his house as well. It’s basically the same thing. Oh, and they both worship supernatural alien beings, of course.
When Avon is captured, his teleport bracelet is removed and destroyed.
Sue: They’ve gone digital. Well, the straps have gone digital, which is something, I suppose.
Avon is taken to the leader of the Hommiks.
Sue: Are they supposed to be Saxons?
Me: I think they might be Saxon’s road crew.
The Hommiks’ chief has, to quote Avon, a fetching way with women.
Gunn-Sar: Well, don’t just stand there, woman! Bring meat!
Sue: Here we go again. OK, I’ve changed my mind. Pass me that bottle; I won’t need a glass.
Me: Stop staring at Gunn-Sar’s moobs, Sue.
Sue: Like I have a ****ing choice!
Avon tells the chief that he was looking for crystals on the planet’s surface.
Sue: He wants to start his rock collection again. He can’t let it go.
Gunn-Sar doesn’t trust Avon.
Gunn-Sar: You smell like a man.
Sue: Old Spice or Brut? What do you reckon, Neil?
Me: Hai Karate. Obviously.
Vila is still trying open the door that leads to the Scorpio‘s landing bay when he’s interrupted by a pretty lady in a dress. – Damn it, the Steedism is catching! – She’s a Seska named Pella.
Sue: Vila always pulls when he’s on the job.
Me: When he gets his big tool out, the women always come running. I just don’t get it.
Gunn-Sar is still interrogating Avon, but Sue only has eyes for the chief’s wife, Nina.
Sue: Is that Germaine Greer?
Me: I very much doubt it.
When Gunn-Sar threatens to smash Germaine’s face in, calling her a ‘snivelling sack of offal’ in the process, Sue sighs loudly.
Sue: Germaine would have kicked him in the balls.
Avon challenges Gunn-Sar to a fight.
Sue: Is it just me or has Avon lost the plot? It’s almost as if he doesn’t give a shit any more. He hasn’t been the same since the series came back. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but he’s acting a bit weird.
Pella tells Vila that Dorian used to say a code word every 48 hours to stop a nuclear compression charge from destroying the base.
Sue: There’s a lot to do on that base. Feed the supernatural entity, say a keyword every 48 hours… Hang on a minute… this is ****ing Lost!
Avon and Gunn-Sar prepare to fight to the death. Gunn-Sar makes a right pig’s ear out the opening declaration, which amuses Sue and Avon no end.
Sue: This is very funny. It is supposed to be a comedy, isn’t it?
When Avon is told to choose a weapon, he chooses a neutron blaster.
Sue: He’s going to do a Han Solo.
Sue: He’s going to shoot the other guy with the sword.
Me: Oh, you mean Indiana Jones.
Sue: Do I? I thought you lot were always banging on about Han Solo shooting first? Now I feel silly.
Even though Gunn-Sar attacks Avon before he’s had a chance to ready himself, he still can’t finish the job.
Sue: How has he survived this long? He’s ****ing hopeless.
After a half-arsed fight, which bores Sue senseless, Avon is knocked unconscious and held by the Hommiks.
Sue: Sounds painful.
Vila, meanwhile, is still worried about his imminent death.
Vila: Have you ever seen a nuclear compression charge go off? Everything gets sucked in. It’s like a mini-black hole. Looks good. From a distance.
Sue: Vila’s really good in this episode. He’s getting the best lines and he’s actually doing his job for a change. And now they’re talking about a bloody hatch. I’m telling you – this is Lost.
The Seska are rounded up by the Hommiks. Bags are placed over their heads and metal collars are clamped around their necks.
Sue: You can’t call something sexist just because it features sexist characters and situations, but I think I’ll make an exception for Ben Steed. He’s obsessed. He clearly has some deep-rooted problems with women, which reminds me: Where the hell is Glynis Barber? They mentioned her at the beginning, and then nothing. Did they forget to tell Ben Steed that Soo existed?
Me: Please don’t call her Soo, Sue.
Pella and Avon end up in a cell together. Pella offers to heal Avon’s injuries with some magical ointment.
Sue: I bet Avon points to his groin injury. I wouldn’t put anything past Ben Steed.
Avon and Seska escape, only to find Nina happily working for the Hommiks.
Sue: That’s definitely Germaine Greer.
Me: The resemblance is uncanny. It’s as if the casting is intentional.
Sue: So the Seska are feminists, but all Germaine needs is a proper man to set her straight. Is that it? It is, isn’t it?
Nina isn’t a Seska – she’s a Woman (hear her roar).
Sue: Right, let me get this straight: now she’s a real woman, she can be a man’s slave. That is ****ing it, isn’t it?
Avon is forced to put Pella in her place. Hang on… Did I just write that?
Sue: Avon likes a little pain. She’ll have to do better than that. This is an average Saturday night for Avon.
Despite Pella’s best efforts, Avon keeps coming back for more.
Avon: You see, Pella, it’s your strength, and however you use it, a man’s will always be greater. Unfair, perhaps, but biologically unavoidable.
Sue: Avon obviously hasn’t met you, Neil.
Sue is momentarily lost for words.
Me: It’s the same reason women don’t play five sets at Wimbledon. Ouch! That ****ing hurt!
And then Sue goes off on one.
Sue: There’s no excuse for this. It’s the eighties! I just can’t accept that… Oh, the chief is doing some needlework… OK, now I’m really confused.
Nina and Gunn-Sar are happily married; all the wife-beating was just for show.
Sue: I think they really love each other. He’s just pretending to be a macho dickhead, because he’s as soft as shit. Hmm… I think I may have jumped to a massive conclusion about this episode. In fact, Vila – who’s a man (sort of) – is the weakest character by far, in a way. So what does that say about the men, eh?
Avon kills his Hommik captor with a crossbow arrow, right in the middle of a conversation.
Sue: I know Avon’s gone a bit crazy over the last couple of episodes, but what the hell did he do that for?
It was Pella who pulled the trigger. With the power of her mind.
Sue: She’s got the Force.
I swear to God, despite all evidence to the contrary, Sue has seen Star Wars.
Pella drops a keyboard on Avon’s head.
Sue: Ooh, slow motion!
Me: That’s just Paul Darrow acting, love.
Sue: I shouldn’t laugh, but that was hilarious.
Gunn-Sar is relaxing at home when he’s interrupted by more unwelcome visitors.
Sue: Their version of pool looks really difficult.
Dayna challenges Gunn-Sar to a duel.
Pella: The black woman must win.
Sue: As opposed to the white woman standing next to her, you mean? Oh wait, there isn’t one. What the ****?
As Dayna and Gunn-Sar fight, the Hommiks’ encourage their leader to get stuck in.
Hommiks: Get in there, Gunn-Sar! Kick her head in, Gunn-Sar!
Sue: They sound like Chas and Dave. One of them just said, “Gertcha!” I’m sure of it.
With the help of the Seskas’ telekinesis, Dayna kills Gunn-Sar before he can kill her. Nina mourns for her dead husband, at which point Sue makes the most inappropriate comment imaginable:
Sue: Germaine Greer’s costume would make for one hell of a cosplay outfit. You know, if it ever came to it.
Me: How the hell do you know about cosplay?
Nina wants to leave this old world behind so she can start a new one.
Sue: A world where men and women are equal, and you don’t have to melt your metallic bra or write a book to prove it.
Back at the Xenon base, time is running out…
Sue: Forget all that. Where the hell is Glynis Barber?
The Seskas arrive, offering help. There are only two of them left.
Pella: Last week we were five. This morning, three. And now we are two.
Me: As much as five? That’s practically a city in Blake’s 7.
Sue: One of them will join the crew. They need someone who can do things with their mind to replace Cally. They could take both of them, I suppose, but that would mean no Glynis Barber, so one of them will have to die. At least we’ll have some equality on the ship: three men, three women and a computer. Perfect.
Avon returns to the base just in time to alert everyone that Pella wants to steal Scorpio from under their noses.
Sue: In that case, the other one will have to join the crew.
Pella threatens to kill Dayna if Avon doesn’t cooperate.
Avon: That’s an interesting choice of hostage.
Sue: That means she fancies Avon; she’s jealous of Dayna because she’s a threat, just in case you didn’t get that, Neil.
Pella shoots her fellow Seska and escapes in the ship.
Sue: I bet you anything that Soolin is on the ship. She’s been there all the time. She’ll sort it out.
Orac tracks the Scorpio as it leaves the Xenon base. Orac has even hacked into the ship’s computer, Slave.
Sue: This definitely reminds me of Thunderbirds, what with the secret base and everything.
Me: And the computer that sounds like Parker.
Sue: If Parker was a Brummie.
With a little help from Orac, Avon successfully teleports to the ship.
Sue: I don’t know if I like the new effect or not. It’s a lot more Star Trek than the last one. Plus it looks like sparkly tumble dryer.
Avon shoots Seska dead.
Sue: No remorse whatsoever. Avon’s a lot colder this season, if that’s possible.
Avon delivers Ben Steed’s message to the masses:
Avon: You can have war between races, war between cultures, war between planets. But once you have war between the sexes, you eventually run out of people.
Sue: Is Ben Steed trying to say that we should work together as equals, do you think? Smash the glass ceiling and create a new utopia where we don’t follow prescribed gender roles. If you want to do needlework, do needlework, man!
Me: I think he’s telling the feminists to get back in the kitchen where they belong. But what do I know? I’m a Hommik.
Dayna and Tarrant teleport to the Scorpio.
Sue: Can they only teleport two people at a time? It will be interesting when they have to escape in the nick of time and there’s five of them stuck on a planet.
They are immediately followed by Vila and Soolin.
Sue: About bloody time! Where the hell has she been hiding? And, more importantly, who’s going back for Orac?
Me: Orac stays at home and answers the phone.
Sue: It’s a shame he can’t hoover and dust while they’re out doing whatever it is they’re going to do this season.
Soolin has the skills to pay the bills.
Sue: So she’s the ship’s gunslinger?
Me: Looks like it.
Sue: But we’ve already got one of those. Her name’s Dayna. And you can put your tongue back in now, Neil.
Me: Oh, so you can lust after Avon every bloody week but I can’t… erm… never mind.
Sue: Let’s not fall out over it. Hasn’t Ben Steed taught us anything?
Sue: I enjoyed that… Why are you looking at me like that?
Me: But… but…
Sue: I’m no expert, but you could read that as a feminist text, if you squinted at it really, really hard.
Me: Are you taking the piss?
Sue: No. It’s definitely more complicated that it first appears. I think. And it was very funny and quite exciting – especially the idea of the base about to explode at any moment. Even Vila was pretty good in that one. Yes, I enjoyed it, although the whisky probably helped.
Yes, that’s a SEVEN. If you don’t like the answer, you shouldn’t have asked the question.
Sue: I should watch it again to work out what it was really trying to say, but we both know that’s never going to happen, so I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt.
There’s only one update this week. We’ll be back next Tuesday. Until then…
Fifty Shades of Dorian Gray…
Sue makes it through the title sequence without uttering a single word. When the redesigned logo appears on screen, I hit the Pause button.
Sue: What do you want me to say? I thought they might cut away from the boring computer display to something more exciting, but they didn’t, so it’s crap.
Me: Still no apostrophe in the title.
Sue: Still no Avon in the title.
I press Play.
The episode begins with Avon and Dayna approaching the spaceship left to them by Servalan at the end of Terminal.
Sue: Servalan must be around here somewhere. She can’t have teleported very far.
However, Servalan has booby-trapped the spaceship, and when Dr. Cornelius sticks his head inside the door, it explodes.
Sue: What a bitch. She’ll regret that when she realises she’s stranded there with them.
When the complex beneath Terminal explodes, Vila thrusts his crotch into Tarrant’s face in order to shield him from the flaming debris.
Sue: Thank God he didn’t try to save Cally like that.
We’ll never know if Cally would have preferred Vila’s thrusting crotch to death because she’s, erm, dead.
Sue: No ****ing way! Just like that? Off-screen? Doesn’t anyone stick around long enough to say goodbye on this bloody show? Don’t get me wrong – I’m glad she’s gone – but that was a really disappointing way for a character to leave a series. This isn’t a very good start, Neil.
Sue does a quick head count.
Sue: Orac must be dead as well. He couldn’t have survived that explosion. So that’s two cast members who didn’t renew their contracts.
Meanwhile, on a spaceship we’ve never seen before…
Sue: Is this the Liberator‘s replacement?
Me: You tell me.
Sue: I think they’ve spent some serious money on it and they’re showing it off, so I guess it must be. I like it.
Me: You like it? Are you insane?
Sue: It’s a proper spaceship. It’s clean for a start. And silver.
Me: You’re actually telling me that you prefer this bland box to the Liberator, one of the most interesting designs for a spaceship ever seen on television?
Sue: Yes. I don’t like the exterior that much, though. It looks like someone’s wrapped a spaceship in brown paper.
The ship belongs to a man named Dorian.
Sue: Is he Cally’s replacement? There’s going to be a lot of testosterone on that ship if he joins the crew. That’ll annoy Dayna and Vila.
Dorian’s ship is equipped with an obsequious computer.
Sue: This must be Zen’s replacement. He sounds like the miserable robot from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Is he from Birmingham? Who’d programme a computer to sound like it came from Birmingham?
Back on Terminal, Avon tells Tarrant that Cally is dead.
Sue: No one gives a shit. I know Cally didn’t do very much, besides getting taken over by telepathic aliens every week, but the lack of tears is a bit harsh. Even Avon doesn’t care and he slept with her!
She eventually realises that Avon is fiddling with something between his legs.
Sue: I don’t believe it! So he went back in there for that stupid bloody computer but he couldn’t be bothered to recover Cally’s body so they could give her a decent burial. I don’t know how I feel about that. Actually, I do know how I feel about that – I’m pissed off!
Sue seethes in silence until Vila walks over the edge of a cliff.
Sue: What a dick!
Dorian comes to the rescue.
Sue: Why haven’t we got a cat called Dorian?
Me: Because then we’d have a cat called Dorian.
Sue: Fair enough.
Avon forces his way onto Dorian’s ship.
Sue: Why don’t they just ask him for a lift? He just saved Vila and Dayna from being eaten by a Triffid, so why is Avon is treating him like he’s just pissed in his tea?
Dorian says he’s an intergalactic scrap dealer.
Sue: If he is a scrap dealer, they should have hired a cockney, or someone from the North. Does this show really need another posh boy?
Not for the first time, Vila invades Dayna’s personal space.
Sue: No wonder Dayna can’t stand Vila. He can’t keep his hands off her.
Me: I think Dayna hates Vila almost as much as you do.
Sue: I don’t hate Vila, he just irritates the hell out of me.
The crew prepare to lift-off as a volcano erupts around them.
Me: You can buy those chairs from Staples, you know.
Tarrant buckles up his seat-beat. Clunk-click every space-trip.
Sue: Does the ship come equipped with air bags as standard?
Me: Yes, although you do have to pay extra if you want the built-in tape deck.
When Scorpio blasts off from Terminal we are treated to another exterior shot.
Sue: I’ve got to say that shit-brown isn’t a great colour for a spaceship. And are those car headlamps? Is the ship going backwards?
Dorian bangs his head on a corrugated box during take-off, which renders him unconscious. However, before his accident, he pre-programmed the flight computer to take him home, which makes Vila extremely nervous.
Vila Any friend of Dorian’s is unlikely to be a friend of ours.
Sue laughs her head off.
Dayna explores Dorian’s gun cabinet.
Sue: At least they look like proper guns. If you pointed that at someone they wouldn’t go, “Eh? What? You want to curl my hair?”
Dorian’s guns have been adapted to fire a wide variety of projectiles.
Dayna: Laser, plasma bullet, percussion shell, micro grenade, stun, drug –
Sue: They look like printer cartridges. If they cost half as much to replace as printer cartridges, they’ll only kill people when they really, really have to.
The ship even comes with its own (non-functioning) teleport system.
Sue: What are the chances of that? Of all the ships they could have ended up on, it had to be one with a talking computer and a teleport thingy. Yeah, right. Like that’s going to happen. Does the ship come with its own telepath as well?
The ship is heading for the planet Xenon.
Sue: Aww, I bet Zen would have loved that.
Vila is worried about Dorian’s associates. Dayna tells him to cheer up – he’s surrounded by clever associates as well.
Vila: Oh yeah? Name six.
Sue: Seven, surely? Oh **** it – I don’t care any more; the title of this programme only ever made sense for a fortnight.
On the planet Xenon, a woman is trying to establish radio contact with Dorian.
Sue: I bet you wish she was a regular character on Blake’s 7, don’t you, Neil? Eh? Eh?
The spaceship is called Scorpio.
Sue: I don’t like the name. They’ll have to change the name.
Scorpio enters the Xenon base.
Sue: Wow, this is fabulous. It’s like Thunderbirds meets James Bond. It looks amazing. Are these new effects, Neil? Were they added to the DVD later? No? Bloody hell. I’m impressed.
After some gentle prodding, Sue eventually recognises Glynis Barber.
Sue: Either I’m experiencing déjà vu or she’s been in Blake’s 7 before.
I remind her of the conversation we had during Project Avalon.
Sue: Is she playing the same part? Is she still a space vampire?
The woman’s name is Soolin and she’s the fastest gunslinger in the Western spiral arm of the galaxy. She serves a mean glass of wine, too.
Sue: Do they call her Soo for short?
When Dorian leaves his guests to freshen up, he does so with a noticeable limp.
Sue: Either he hurt his leg when he fell over on the ship, or he can’t hold his drink and he’s pissed.
Avon congratulates Dorian for his impeccable taste in wine and women.
Sue: Cally’s corpse isn’t cold and he’s already thinking about another man’s girlfriend. Bloody hell, Avon. Show some respect.
Dorian pays a visit to the planet’s basement. He appears to have aged considerably.
Sue: What the actual ****? I haven’t got a clue what happening any more.
Me: Haven’t you worked it out yet, Sue? What other work of fiction features a character called Dorian, who tries to stay young in spite of their age?
Sue: I don’t know. Birds of a Feather?
Vila, Dayna and Tarrant change into some fresh clothes.
Sue: Vila looks like he’s the new poster boy for Man at C&A.
The next time we see Dorian he’s young and virile again.
Sue: Did he cut himself shaving or are his sideburns supposed to look like that?
Dorian isn’t who he says he is.
Vila: There’s something very suspicious about a man who keeps his booze under lock and key.
Sue: That must be a clue. If this story doesn’t hinge on a bottle of wine, I’ll eat my hat.
Me: It’s Chekhov’s carafe. And no, that wasn’t a reference to Star Trek, Sue.
Dayna and Tarrant explore the planet’s basement. When they come to a dead-end, Tarrant decides to return to the surface, mainly because he’s worried that Avon will leave without them.
Sue: Still no trust, I see. I don’t understand why they insist on staying together. They should call it a day and split up. Avon should start again from scratch.
Dayna finds a secondary staircase that leads deeper underground. When she reaches the basement she’s threatened by a monster lurking in the shadows. Dayna freaks out.
Sue: Just run back up the stairs, love.
When her gun refuses to fire, Dayna chucks it at the monster instead.
Sue: I’m beginning to think that they should have ended Blake’s 7 after the last episode, Neil. This is dreadful.
Soolin removed the gun’s cartridges while Avon was bathing.
Sue: Hey! Why didn’t we see that scene? I feel cheated.
Dorian entertains Avon in his swanky subterranean pad.
Sue: It reminds me of a hotel foyer. And Dorian reminds me of Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer – only posher and even more camp. He is easy on the eye, though.
Dorian has lived for more 200 years.
Sue: I knew it! He’s a vampire. Glynis Barber bit him on the neck and now he’s a sodding vampire. It all makes sense.
Vila knocks back some more wine. I wish I could join him.
Sue: I’ve got it! The wine isn’t really wine – it’s blood. Cursed blood that turns you into a vampire. Vila’s ****ed!
Meanwhile, in the basement, Avon, Tarrant, Dayna and Soolin are told that they will be transformed into a Gestalt entity. Be honest now – who didn’t see that coming?
Sue: This is more supernatural than science fiction. I don’t like it. This is too far-fetched – even for Blake’s 7.
A monster staggers out of the mist.
Sue: It’s a Sea Devil… What the **** is a Sea Devil doing in this story, Neil?
Me: That’s one of Blake’s 7 greatest mysteries, Sue.
She doesn’t fall for it.
Sue: I bet they ran out of money so they had to raid the BBC’s cupboards for second-hand monster props. Yeah, that explains it. They spent all the money on the new spaceship. The producer should be fired for that.
Avon kills the Sea Devil and Dorian crumbles to dust.
Sue: He’s making a meal out of this. I just don’t care any more. Oh, that special effect was quite good.
Now that Dorian is dead, the Sea Devil reverts to its original human form.
Sue: Hang on a minute… That means he explored that cave in his pyjamas!
The episode is so ridiculous, Vila promises to stop drinking.
Vila: It’ll be pink asteroids next.
Sue: Only if you steal them from Doctor Who, you cheapskates.
Sue: Damn it. I was really looking forward to that.
Me: Do you like the new music?
Sue: No, I bloody don’t. It’s lift muzak.
Me: It’s as if Blake’s 7 has won an award, and the house orchestra have struck up an easy listening version of the theme tune as the producer heads to the stage to collect it. That what it sounds like to me.
Sue: If Blake’s 7 ever won an award, Neil, it wouldn’t be for that episode. No, it reminds me of those Top of the Pops records from the seventies; you know, when you couldn’t afford the real thing and you had to make do with a cheap cover version. I don’t like it.
Me: I suppose a dance is out of the question, then?
Sue: What are those three lights leaving the screen supposed to represent?
Me: That’s Blake, Jenna and Cally running in the opposite direction.
Sue: That was disappointing. It started off OK but it went down hill as soon as they landed on the planet. I didn’t get that at all. Even Servalan would have been preferable to that. Where is she, anyway?
Sue: Still, I liked the spaceship, so it wasn’t a complete waste of time. Do they get to keep Dorian’s house as well?
Sue: Does this mean they’ll have to feed the supernatural entity in the basement every week? Is the supernatural entity a member of the crew now? Is it any good at telepathy?
Aftermath: Probably the best episode of Blake’s 7 so far. – 9/10
Powerplay: Well done, Terry. – 9/10
Volcano: I’ve seen worse. – 4/10
Dawn of the Gods: That was dreadful. – 2/10
The Harvest of Kairos: Irredeemable sexist crap. – 0/10
City at the Edge of the World: I’ve changed my mind about Vila. – 9/10
Children of Auron: Michael Troughton wasn’t in it enough. – 8/10
Rumours of Death: I can’t fault it. – 10/10
Sarcophagus: Paul Darrow was amazing. – 9/10
Ultraworld: That was fun. – 8/10
Moloch: Did we really have to root for a rapist? – 3/10
Death-Watch: Brilliant. – 10/10
Terminal: ****ing brilliant. – 10/10
Nicol has done the maths and Sue gave Series 3 of Blake’s 7 a mean average score of 7/10, which is an improvement on the last series again, so things are still improving.
And now, without any further ado, here are the best seven questions asked by you, our readers:
Annie Worrall: Jarvik. Bayban. Vila. Snog. Marry. Shag.
Sue: Starting as we mean to go on, I see. It’s not much of a choice, is it? Why isn’t Avon included on that list? Even Tarrant would be preferable to Vila. And I’m sure one of those choices should be ‘Avoid’. Oh God. Very well then, if you insist: I’d snog Jarvik first to get it out of the way (actually, I’d snog him and then I’d call the police), I’d shag Vila (he’s good at it, apparently) and I’d marry Colin Baker.
Me: Colin Baker wasn’t an option. It’s Bayban. Bayban the Butcher. The homicidal maniac.
Sue: I’d still choose him over Vila. Anyway, he’d probably get killed by another homicidal maniac and I could claim on the insurance.
Umeir Khan: Who was your favourite guest star in Series 3 and why?
Sue: It’s got to be Colin Baker, I suppose. No, wait. I’ve changed my mind: Tarrant’s brother.
Me: I don’t think you can class him as a guest star. Not technically.
Sue: I don’t care. He was brilliant. And he ain’t coming back any time soon. Yeah, it’s got to be him.
The Grouchybeast: If Paul Darrow had written a script, what do you think would happen in it?
Sue: He’d find Blake – the real one this time.
Me: Blake’s dead.
Sue: Ah, but is he really? We’ve only got Servalan’s word for that. Anyway, Avon would rescue Blake and together they would clear Blake’s name back on Earth by hacking into another big computer (he’s still a convicted child molester, you know). That way, Avon will have paid his dues to Blake, which means he can leave him to his crusade with a clear conscience. Avon then lives happily ever after on a tropical planet with loads of money. Something like that.
Rebecca Carlton: What do you want to see happen in the last season?
Sue: You know what I said a minute ago? That.
Me: You can’t give the same answer to both questions.
Sue: OK, that would the last episode, but before we got there, here’s what I would like to see: Avon and Servalan should get married…
Sue: Servalan isn’t dead. She’ll be back.
Me: That isn’t why I said WHAT? In fact, I’ll say it again: WHAT?
Sue: Servalan should carry Avon’s child and –
Me: Sue, this is Blake’s 7 we’re talking about here, not Knots ****ing Landing!
Sue: OK, right. Let me think about it.
One hour later…
Sue: OK, I’ve thought about it. I want more worthy missions, like them saving Earth, or something important like that. None of this drifting around in space bumping into things nonsense. I want to see Avon and Servalan work together; I want her to redeem herself by saving Avon. Maybe they get stuck on a planet and they have work together to get off. I want less Tarrant and less Cally. What is Tarrant doing there anyway? He has no purpose! Cally should find a quiet place to live; I don’t really care. I’d also like to see Orac and Vila have a big adventure together; they could go to that planet where all the hedonism take place. Oh yeah, and I want more explosions.
Me: Do you think they’ll get a new space ship?
Sue: It’s either that or they’ll have to get space taxis everywhere they go. So yes, they probably will.
Me: Any thoughts on that?
Sue: They’ll get a cloned version of their old ship. It’ll look exactly the same and they’ll call it Liberator 2, or something boring like that. The BBC wouldn’t get rid of all their old models. That would be stupid.
Sarah K: What would Ben Steed (or any of the writers) have to do to get a minus rating?
Sue: They would have to kill Avon.
Chris Orton: Having studied the series carefully like myself (I’ve co-written a book about it you know!) would you agree with me that everything is basically Tarrant’s fault?
Sue: Absolutely not. Look, it’s all Blake’s fault. Or at least it was Blake’s fault. Now it’s Avon’s fault – it’s his fault they haven’t got a space ship any more! After Avon, it’s Vila’s fault. Then Orac, probably. Tarrant’s just a spare part, filling in for Blake. You can’t blame him, really.
Arianne: Are you fan of any specific TV series, Sue? If yes, would you like to do an experiment with Neil where you watch it with him and then share his comments with the net?
Sue: Yes, I’d like Neil to watch every episode of Norm Abram’s New Yankee Workshop with me. There are only 284 episodes.
Me: It would be a very niche blog, and it would basically consist of me saying, “I can’t do that”, “I can’t do that”, “I’d hurt my fingers doing that” over and over again. It’s never going to happen.
Sue: All the episodes exist…
Me: I don’t care.
Sue: We could always watch the new series of Doctor Who.
Me: There’s more chance of us doing The New Yankee Workshop than there is of us doing the new series of Doctor Who. Or anything else for that matter.
Sue: I’ll buy the domain name later.
Sue decided that the best question was posed by The Grouchybeast. Congratulations, erm, Grouchybeast. we’ll be in touch soon. Thanks to everyone who took part. Even Derrick.
Me: Are you ready for Series 4?
Sue: No, there’s a World Cup semi-final on soon.
Me: Tomorrow, then?
Sue: Yeah, go on then.
We’ll be back with ‘Rescue’ on Friday July 11th, so there’s still plenty of time to catch up with the series if you need to. And if you don’t have enough time to catch up, just stick Terminal on instead. Trust me, it’s fine. Anyway, we are still on course to finish the blog in August. How exciting is that?
Until next time, here’s Part 3 of Kevin Jon Davies’ fabulous Making of Blake’s 7 documentary. There is no Part 4. Sad face.