Dawn of the Gods
Do Not Pass God…
The episode begins with a quick game of Space Monopoly.
Sue: They’ve definitely given up on Blake and Jenna if they’ve got enough time to play games like this. On the one hand, I’m happy that they are chilling out together, but on the other hand, haven’t they got anything better to do? Like saving the universe, or something like that?
It isn’t all bad news: Avon is wearing a pair of tight red leather trousers this week.
Sue: I was playing tennis with my doubles-partner, Helen, today. And when I told her that I had to watch Blake’s 7 tonight, she screamed “AVON!” at me. I told her to keep her hands off him. He’s mine.
The Liberator isn’t heading where it should be heading.
Sue: The set is knackered. It’s falling to bits. If Avon leans on that console, the whole thing will probably give way. It’s a bit sad, really.
Tarrant: Vila, Cally, Dayna. A full manual check on all systems, weapons, force wall, everything.
Sue: Hang on a minute. Who put posh boy in charge? Avon is in charge; everybody knows that.
Tarrant believes that the Liberator is in the grip of a tractor beam. Avon isn’t convinced.
Tarrant: Just because you don’t know how to build a high-energy traction beam doesn’t mean that no one else knows how to build one.
Sue: It’s as if Blake never left. What a dick.
Tarrant believes that Cally’s people, the Aurons, could be responsible for their sudden change in direction.
Dayna: Do they all have your telepathic powers, Cally?
Cally: Some, to a degree, but our powers are limited.
Sue: You said it, love.
At least the director, Desmond McCarthy, is doing is best.
Sue: Ooh, that was a very nice focus pull. And not just because we’re now focusing on Avon. That would have been a difficult shot to pull off in that studio. I’m impressed.
According to the sensors, the ship is falling into a sling shot orbit.
Sue: Their sensors are playing the theme from Psycho. Turn it off! Argh!
Tarrant: But there’s nothing there.
Avon: Three guesses, if you need them.
Sue: It’s a black hole.
Vila: A black hole. My god.
Sue: Yeah, it isn’t rocket science. Actually, it probably is, but you know what I mean.
But if the black hole doesn’t surprise Sue, something else does.
Sue: Bloody hell, Vila was quite good in that scene. He didn’t crack a pathetic joke; he looked genuinely upset. There’s hope for him yet.
Avon: If it is a collapsed white dwarf star, gravitational distortion will tear the Liberator apart. Our remains will spread out over the entire surface adding a thickness of a few atoms to its diameter.
Sue: The man from Cosmos (she means Neil deGrasse Tyson) would tarted that up so it sounded more cheerful.
While the crew ponder their imminent death, Sue is distracted by something else.
Sue: Why is the top right-hand corner of the screen flashing?
Me: That’s Zen.
Sue: Oh. I thought an ad break was coming.
And the reason why the Liberator is falling into a black hole? Yes, you guessed it: Orac.
Orac: I have noticed that the occupants of this spacecraft have a lamentable lack of interest in the more fascinating aspects of the universe. You must excuse me, I have many observations to make.
Sue: I don’t believe it. Look, if Orac is that interested in black holes, open a window and throw him into one. No one will miss him. He’s useless.
The Liberator is hit by a large sheet of Mirrorlon.
Sue: What the hell is Avon doing? Is he trying to hide under a blanket?
No, he’s trying to put a space suit on so he can do a runner.
Sue: And where is he going to go, exactly? He hasn’t thought it through.
A large eye fills the screen.
Sue: And that must be Servalan’s eye. I was wondering how long it would take her to show up.
The ship has taken one hell of a beating; most of the power has been drained.
Sue: They should light the ship like this all the time. It hides the chipped paintwork.
Tarrant isn’t impressed with Avon’s talent for self-preservation.
Tarrant: One day, Avon, I may have to kill you.
Sue: I’ve gone right off Michael Ball. He’s just Blake with a tighter perm.
Orac has been a very naughty boy.
Orac: It has been necessary for me to assume control of the ship. Excuse me. I have many observations to make.
Sue: This has been on the cards for a while now. Orac will be the death of them.
Cally has been knocked unconscious, so the crew take her to a resuscitation chamber. A voice calls to her telepathically. Hey, I’ve just noticed that Cally’s name is in the word ‘telepathically’. Terry Nation, you card!
Thaarn: I am the Thaarn.
Cally: The Thaarn?
Sue: What is it with this show and thongs?
Me: Not thong – Thaarn. You’ve got thongs on the brain.
Sue: I haven’t got a ****ing clue what’s going on in this episode, that’s for sure.
Back on the flight deck, Sue is distracted by something else.
Sue: I’m pretty sure that Dayna just fell down the stairs. She just looked at the camera as if to say, “Are we OK or are we going for a another take? I think I’ve broken my ankle.”
Two more distractions made it practically impossible for Sue to concentrate on whatever it is the crew are waffling on about: namely the interminable ‘clacking’ sound in the background and Vila’s decision to join the Hare Krishnas.
To cut a long story short: the Liberator is outside normal space, and Vila will have to leave the ship to check it out.
Vila: Oh no. Not me. Not a space suit. Nothing, absolutely nothing in the whole galaxy can or will persuade me to wear one. Not a chance.
Cut to Vila in a space suit.
Cut to Sue’s impression of a trombone.
Sue: Give me strength.
When Vila leaves the ship, he finds himself on solid ground.
Vila: We must be on the surface of a planet. It’s hard, and even, like it’s artificial.
Sue: Like a studio floor painted black.
The voice of Thaarn contacts Cally again.
Thaarn: Cally. Come to me. Come to me, Cally. I need you. Need you.
Sue: This has to be the weirdest obscene phone call ever. Maybe if he cut back on the heaving breathing, it wouldn’t be quite so creepy.
Vila explores the outside world.
Sue: This reminds me of Alien. Even the space suit is similar. It’s quite eerie, this.
Like a facehugger launching itself from an egg, Sue’s next statement takes me by surprise:
Sue: Vila is actually quite good in this.
Vila is blinded by some lights, and for a moment, it looks like it could be the death of him.
Tarrant: I’ll go and fetch him. We can deep freeze his body until we’re back into space, where we can give him a decent star orbit burial.
Sue: They don’t seem that bothered. Still, it was Vila.
Well, that didn’t last long, did it.
A clawed machine is attempting to turn the Liberator into scrap metal.
Sue: So it’s basically WALL-E.
Avon, Tarrant, Cally and Vila decide to investigate further.
Sue: That shot would make a great album cover. The story is a bit rubbish so far, but at least the director is making an effort, especially when you consider what he’s been given to work with.
Desmond McCarthy has been given a bumper car to work with.
Sue: OK, this is officially a bit mental now. And shit. Really, really shit. Have they run out of money already? We’re only four episodes into the season. Oh dear, this is dreadful.
Just when we believe that things can’t get any weirder, the Caliph of Krandor turns up.
Sue: Why is Willy Wonka in this?
The Caliph apologises for the dodgem car. Well somebody has to.
Caliph: We usually use this for rounding up runaway slaves. Oh, quite inappropriate in this instance, but it was the nearest at the time. I do hope you understand.
Sue: And when we aren’t using them for rounding up slaves, we use them as ghost trains.
The Caliph wants to know where Orac is.
Dayna: There is no person of that name aboard this ship, and never has been.
Sue: And that’s why you shouldn’t count Orac as part of the seven. Although that’s the least of the title’s problems. I don’t even know why I’m still thinking about it.
The crew are locked in a cell, and Cally passes the time by telling everybody a story.
Cally: The story goes back to the mists of Time, to the Dawn of the Gods… blah… blah… million years… blah… blah… rage…blah…blah… chariot… blah… blah… terrible vengeance.
Sue: I bet it took her days to learn all that. And I bet nobody could be bothered to follow it.
Krandor’s senior technician, Groff, makes an appearance.
Groff looks like he’s been supervising a card game in a Western Saloon.
Sue: Did wardrobe deliver the wrong costume by mistake or something?
The Caliph wants to know where Orac might be hiding.
Caliph: How tall is he? (Tarrant raises his hand a couple of feet from the floor) A dwarf?
Tarrant: We never think of him as one.
Caliph: What is the color of his hair?
Tarrant: He hasn’t got any. A bald dwarf shouldn’t be too hard to find.
Sue: That’s my favourite line in Blake’s 7 so far. Genius.
In Krandor’s gravity generator room, Avon and Tarrant are given some maths homework to do.
Tarrant: Graphite writing stick? I’ve never seen these things outside museums.
Sue: I’ve been to a pencil museum. It’s in Keswick. Fascinating place.
Sue’s mind is definitely beginning to wander. But then something happens that takes her breath away.
Sue: NO! You can’t do that!
The Liberator‘s flight deck is being dismantled for scrap.
Me: You said the ship had seen better days. Maybe it’s for the best.
Sue: Are you mad?
Thankfully, Orac and Zen generate a defence mechanism that stops the salvage crew in their tracks.
Sue: And why have we never seen anything like that before? That could have been really useful loads of times in the past.
Meanwhile, Cally is splayed out on a fur rug.
Sue: Now that’s what I call a cell.
The Thaarn tells Cally his plan.
Thaarn: And the great universal force that controls the universe, is gravity. The orbit of the planets, the slow turn of the galaxies. I have built a machine that can generate gravity. When it’s complete, it will be powerful enough to move planets, and stars. He who controls gravity, controls everything.
Sue: My favourite song is about gravity.
Me: (trying to sound interested because I know what’s coming) Is it really?
Sue: Yes. I think you should make all our readers listen to it. I have to watch Blake’s 7 twice a week, so the least they could do is listen to the song.
Me: Very well, if you insist…
Sue: He should sing this to her if he wants to get into her pants.
Me: I’ll try to remember that.
The Thaarn wants Cally to rule the universe with him.
Sue: If I were Cally, I’d be asking him three questions at this point: 1) What do I have to do? 2) What are the hours like? and 3) Can I have a look at your face, please?
Cally manages to trick the Thaarn into turning off the cell’s energy isolators. She blasts the room with her gun and all hell breaks loose in the gravity generator room.
Groff: The energy isolators have been switched off! Get back to your ship! Quickly!
Tarrant: What about you?
Groff: I’ll be alright, get going! But if you could tell them, my family, they were always in my thoughts.
Sue: Just leave with them, you fool! Why are you staying there? YOU DON’T MAKE ANY SENSE!
Avon decides to leave Cally behind.
Sue: She just saved your lives! The way this lot carry on, I’m surprised there aren’t five new crew members every couple of weeks. They go through crew members like they go through bracelets.
Cally gets to see what the Thaarn really looks like.
Sue: So the bald dwarf was hiding in that room all the time!
Our heroes rush back to the Liberator, but Vila is caught in the headlights of an oncoming bumper car.
Me: Scream if you want to go faster!
With everyone safely on board, the Liberator re-enters normal space. Sue tuts loudly.
Zen: Detectors indicate that a small spacecraft has left object centered on main screen and is flying on a reciprocal course.
Cally: That must be the Thaarn. I should have killed him.
Sue: If that bald dwarf turns out to be the next Travis, there will be trouble. I don’t know how many jokes about Ian Hislop I can make.
Tarrant switches Orac off.
Sue: Now throw his dongle away and stick him on eBay.
Sue: That was dreadful. I’ll give it one mark because Servalan wasn’t in it, and another mark for the direction, which wasn’t that bad, considering. The rest of the episode was a mess.
There will only be the one blog update this week. I’ve got a man flu and writing this up has almost finished me off. Plus, we are both heading for the Guernsey Literary Festival this weekend, where I will be giving an after dinner talk dressed as Matt Smith. Yes, I know! Follow us on Twitter if you want to see how that pans out.
We’ll be back next Tuesday. But before we go, here’s a trailer for a new interactive computer game starring Paul Darrow.
Sue: He’s still got it.