And maybe we’ll come back to Earth, who can tell?
Sue: Terry ****ing Nation! No, wait. I liked Terry’s last episode. I’m sorry, I just couldn’t help myself.
It’s all kicking off on the planet Albian…
Sue: This is a good start. Not only are there large explosions, they’ve paid for some extras to run around as well. Ouch! That must have hurt!
Major Provine reminds us of several people all at once. Sadly, none of them are Paul Shelley.
Sue: He’s an Elf from The Lord of the Rings.
Me: It’s Matthew Parris.
Me: No, wait, it’s Mark Heap.
Me: Or maybe an evil Spock. But without the beard.
Sue: No, he’s definitely Sheldon’s dad.
The Federation have armed a device that spells doom for the planet’s inhabitants.
Sue: That’s probably the best action sequence I’ve seen in Blake’s 7 so far. Just when I thought the programme was incapable of exciting me any more, it comes up with that.
Rebels have entered the Federation base.
Sue: He’s famous.
It’s Tom Chadbon as the mercenary Del Grant.
Me: “Bye bye, Duggan!” Does that ring any bells, Sue?
Sue: Oh yes. He likes to punch things.
Unfortunately, Del didn’t arrive in time to stop the countdown.
Del: I won you a battle, but I lost you a war.
Sue: Well, that was a great start. I can’t complain about that. Terry’s back in charge and everything suddenly makes sense again.
The Liberator is in orbit around Albian.
Avon: Approximately six million.
Sue: You won’t meet more than six of them.
Cally and Jenna locate the best place to teleport their comrades.
Sue: What do Jenna and Cally actually do these days besides sit at that bloody desk? Are they glorified secretaries now? I can’t remember the last time Jenna left the ship.
Blake wants Vila to accompany him to Albian.
Avon: Doesn’t it make you feel good to be wanted?
Vila: I’ve been a wanted man all my life. What I need now is to be unwanted.
Sue: (singing) Don’t you want me, baby? Don’t you want me, ahhh-ahhh-ahhhh!
Me: Please, don’t.
Sue: They remind me of The Human League a bit. They’ve got two girls who do **** all for a start.
When they arrive on Albian, Avon suggests that they proceed with caution.
Avon: It would be stupid to be shot up by our own allies.
Vila: Not only stupid, painful.
Me: What’s wrong?
Sue: Vila is a walking punchline again.
Me: I thought you’d warmed to Vila?
Sue: He’s one-dimensional. He’s only exists to crack jokes and act daft.
Me: That’s why I love him.
Sue: I need to see more depth from him. I want to take Vila seriously, but I can’t.
Our heroes discover a rocket silo with a retractable roof.
Sue: They’ve actually spent some money on this. I’m impressed.
Major Provine slaps a female rebel named Ralli into next week.
Sue: Has anyone ever been slapped into unconsciousness like that in real life? Or does it only ever happen on television? I can’t imagine anyone slapping me hard enough to knock me out like that. Although I bet there are plenty of people who’d like to try.
Me: Maybe she hit her head on the polystyrene cabinet as fell over.
Sue: It looked a bit pathetic to me.
The countdown reaches 585.
Sue: Is this episode taking place in real-time, like 24?
Me: I think so. I’ve never seen this episode before.
It dawned on me recently that the reason I don’t have any childhood memories of Series 2 is because I was living in New Zealand at the time.
Sue: But you’ve had these DVDs for ages.
Me: Erm, yes, well… I, erm…
Sue tries to convert the countdown into minutes and seconds, but that’s abandoned as soon as the characters start talking about the effects of a Solium bomb.
Avon: You could wipe out a whole population and still leave the buildings and the installations intact. In less than a day there is no trace of any radiation.
Sue: Terry Nation doesn’t understand how radiation works.
Me: I wouldn’t like to say. I’m no expert when it comes to radiation.
Sue: Neither is Terry Nation. Trust me, it’s bollocks.
Someone will probably tell us that it’s feasible in the comments below, but Sue remains unconvinced. Then again, she thinks snogging your first cousin’s face off is a bit weird, so what does she know?
Sue: Anyway, they should stop all this idle chit-chat and they should concentrate on disarming the bomb. There isn’t enough urgency in this scene.
Major Provine throttles another rebel.
Sue: I’m surprised he didn’t slap him to death.
Me: Are you still going on about that slap?
Sue: It makes no sense to me. And you can’t say they did it to make the programme less violent, because there’s plenty of gratuitous violence in this episode already.
Me: I can’t believe that you want to see a woman punched instead of slapped. It’s a bit of a turnaround.
Sue: He’s the bad guy. I expect that sort of thing from the bad guy.
When a rebel named Arrian catches Provine trying to escape in a rocket, the major bargains for his life.
Arrian: You think I could live, knowing I’d helped a man who’d murdered an entire world? No, Provine, you’re not going anywhere.
Sue: Good for him. I thought he was going to go along with it for sure, so that was a nice twist. And I finally know who the bad guy reminds me of.
Sue: Derek Nimmo.
Vila has cracked the Federation’s safe.
Me: See! Vila is important!
The safe explodes.
Sue: Everything that Vila says and does should be accompanied by a parping trombone.
The safe contains coded data cards.
Blake: I want all that stuff run through Orac.
Sue: Just put Orac in charge of everything. The episodes would only be ten minutes long, but that’s all right.
A semiconscious Ralli crawls into the room.
Sue: It must have been one hell of a slap, that’s all I’m saying.
Blake is still searching for Control (see Pressure Point) – and he believes that Provine knows where it is.
Sue: So they actually have a plan now? A proper plan? OK, I can get behind that. They managed to keep it quiet, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.
As luck would have it, Avon and Del Grant are old enemies.
Sue: This is a very tense scene. I’ve never seen Avon look so uptight.
Orac has traced the Solium bomb to one of Albian’s frozen poles. Avon and Del volunteer to teleport over there and disarm it.
Blake: (to Del Grant) If anything happens to Avon, I will come looking for you.
Sue: Aww. Blake really loves Avon. That’s Blake’s best quality, you know.
Before they teleport, Avon gives Del a gun.
Sue: What are they going to shoot when they get there? Polar bears?
The mismatched pair teleport into the polar installation.
Sue: Someone has blu-tacked a calculator to the wall to make the place look more futuristic, and they’re just about getting away with it. I like this episode. It’s quite tense. Plus it’s very easy to follow; the mission is straightforward and it actually makes sense. Come on, Terry, please don’t **** it up.
Avon and Del search for the installation’s central heating system.
Sue: That’s right. Make yourselves comfortable before you disarm the bomb. There’s no rush.
The bomb is encased in ice.
Avon: Get a space heater started.
Sue: That doesn’t make any sense because we aren’t in space.
Blake offers to teleport a few rebels off Albian if everything goes asparagus shaped.
Sue: Get Lesley Judd to knock up some more bracelets. And surely there must be some children they can save with the bracelets they have in the time they have left. They could have saved dozens of people by now.
The ice is melting, and Sue mistakes the sound of dripping water for Dudley Simpson banging away on the bongos. Bless her.
Del: The main roof beam’s cracked… resting on the ice. If it melts any more, it’ll cave in.
Sue: Quick, turn a Space Fridge on!
Avon and Del remove the bomb from the ice.
Sue: Oh look, it’s Orac’s twin brother.
Del guides Avon through the wire-cutting stage of the procedure.
Del: Right next. No, no, wait! I’m opposite you now. Left is the next in sequence. Your left.
Sue: Just say, “Cut the green wire”, you idiot!
Del: Hadn’t we better turn the heaters off?
Avon: It depends which you prefer: being crushed or frozen to death?
Sue: You aren’t staying the night! Get a bloody move on!
Vila realises that Provine is in the rocket silo. He asks Ralli for directions.
Ralli: The junction off corridor eleven A, fifty-one B.
Vila: Eleven A, fifty-one B…
It isn’t long before Vila becomes hopelessly lost.
Vila: Five A, eleven one B…
Sue: This is me shopping in Ikea. I can actually relate to Vila in this scene.
Avon and Del get to work on the bomb.
Avon: Waste any more time and you won’t get any older. Give me the extractor. Now.
Sue: Relations between these two are so frosty, I’m surprised that anything is melting.
Avon tells Del everything he wants to know about Anna Grant.
Sue: Now that’s an episode I want to see. Poor Avon. And what a wonderful performance from Paul Darrow. It’s good, this.
Avon: I need to hold this flap back. Get your hand in here.
Sue: You know, if I was the sort of person who noticed sexual tension in scenes where it doesn’t exist, I’d have a field day with this.
She didn’t actually say that. She had a field day with it.
Me: Look, Vila is doing important stuff again!
Sue: He’s just running up and down a corridor. Any fool could do that.
Provine corners Blake in the rocket silo.
Sue: They should make this bad guy the new Travis. He’s scary and he gets things done. He’d be a brilliant arch-nemesis.
Vila arrives at the rocket silo as a gun goes off.
Sue: For a second there, I thought Blake was dead. That was cleverly done. It’s the oldest trick in the book, but it still fooled me.
Blake interrogates the dying major.
Blake: Where is Control, Provine?
Provine: Star One. It’s called Star One now.
Sue: You’ve been to Star One, haven’t you, Neil?
Me: That’s impossible. No one knows where Star One is. No one at all!
Sue: It was a convention in a hotel in Stockton. You made me take you there in the car. And I had to pick you up again. Twice. It’s just off the A19.
Me: Star One becomes very important later on.
Sue: At least they’re actually aiming for something, I suppose. It makes for a nice change of pace. And they shouldn’t have killed Derek Nimmo. He was proper scary.
Back at the pole, Avon prepares to drill into the bomb’s trigger mechanism.
Sue: The holes have already been drilled. This must be the second take and they ran out of plastic tubing.
Me: Maybe the drill is so fast it distorts time?
Sue: Or maybe the director is rubbish. What do you think?
Avon inserts a rod into the first chamber.
A second rod is slotted into place, but then Del runs off to take shelter from some ice water that’s raining down on him.
Sue: What worries him the most: keeping himself dry or saving the entire planet? Because I know what I’d be concentrating on right now. He was much better in Doctor Who. Oh dear, the ceiling is coming down. It’s quite exciting, this.
Del and the bomb are trapped behind a fallen girder.
Avon: I think I can still get at it. I’m going to have to crawl in over you.
Sue: Just reach over and pick it up. The direction is completely at odds with the script, here.
Del tells Avon that he should leave him there to die.
Sue: Tell you what, why don’t you chat about this AFTER YOU’VE DISARMED THE SODDING BOMB! ARGH!
Avon stops the countdown with a second to spare.
Sue: They should have stopped the countdown at 7, to remind us that this programme is called Blake’s 7. Or maybe 6 would be more appropriate… Or is it 5 now? I can’t remember.
Del: Why did you help me?
Avon: Perhaps because Anna was your sister.
Sue: Isn’t Avon lovely? I thought the other guy was Anna’s husband, so Avon isn’t a home-wrecker after all, which is nice. Unless he was Anna’s brother and her husband; it is Blake’s 7.
She’s joking. I think.
Later, on the Liberator, Del and Avon bid each other farewell.
Sue: He should come back later in the series. He’ll always have that bracelet, so you never know.
Before Del leaves, Avon shakes his hand.
Sue: Aww, that was sweet. I love Avon even more now.
Blake asks Avon to explain his relationship with Anna.
Avon: You wouldn’t understand.
Sue: She isn’t related to you.
Sue: I really enjoyed that. It feels like we’re back on track again. I can’t believe I’m saying this but Terry Nation definitely writes the best episodes of Blake’s 7. The direction was bit rubbish – yet again – but the stunts were great. And Avon was fabulous. Oh, and Star One sounds exciting, too. Is Star One the title of the next episode?
Before we go, here’s an extra special treat from 1979:
Warning: Glen’s trailers may include minor spoilers for the next episode.