The weekend they didn’t play golf…
This episode’s title causes some concern.
Sue: I hope nobody gets raped.
Me: I hope Dudley knows how to play the banjo.
A space ship is heading for the planet Cephlon.
Sue: We’ve definitely seen that space ship before. Am I supposed to remember that? Ooh, that was a nice camera move into the cockpit. Very ambitious.
Meanwhile, on a space station somewhere…
Sue: And this is Servalan’s space station. Do I get a prize for knowing that?
Servalan is eight minutes behind schedule, but she couldn’t care less.
Sue: Shouldn’t the stars in that window be moving if the space station is revolving? How hard would it be to set up a roller with some stars on it. Come on, pull your bloody finger out.
Sue gets her first good look at the space ship’s pilot, Ensor Junior.
Sue: Oh yes, he was in EastEnders. It’s Fat Pat’s husband, Ray.
Me: Roy, actually. Or Tony Caunter to his friends.
Sue: His co-pilot looks like Prince Joffrey. I’d better keep my eye on him, just in case.
The ship is caught in Cephlon’s gravity well and Ensor struggles to maintain control.
Sue: The director is really trying here. There’s a sense of urgency that’s been missing from some of the other episodes. It’s not Douglas Camfield, but it’s close.
Just when Ensor believes that the worst is over, an explosion tears through his ship.
Sue: Aww, they went through all that rigmarole for nothing. Exciting, though.
This crew of the Liberator witness this catastrophe first-hand.
Avon: She’s entering the atmosphere. Beginning to burn up.
Sue: Avon has changed back into his sensible clothes, thank God. I thought he’d gone permanently insane.
Two escape capsules jettison from the stricken ship.
Sue: Are the capsules made by Samsonite? Have they diversified into this sort of thing in the future?
Servalan is extremely pleased with herself when she’s informed about Ensor’s “accident”.
Sue: She’s gorgeous. I bet Servalan had a huge gay and lesbian following.
Me: Straight men fancied her too, you know.
Avon prepares to teleport down to the surface of Cephlon.
Sue: It’s oven-ready Avon. But at least he’s getting involved in the action for a change, so I shouldn’t complain. I bet Avon had a big gay following as well.
Me: Yes, and straight men fancied him too.
I think I’ve said too much.
Avon, Gan, Jenna and Vila teleport to the surface of Cephlon to find the escape capsules.
Sue: Imagine how slow Blake’s 7 would be if they couldn’t teleport anywhere. Actually, that doesn’t bear thinking about. It’s not exactly racing along as it is.
When Sue spots one of the planet’s hirsute natives, she pulls out her virtual banjo.
Sue: Dinga ding ding ding ding ding ding ding.
The Federation space surgeon named Maryatt didn’t survive the journey, but Ensor did. Just about.
Avon: There’s nothing we can do for him here. We must get him up to the Liberator.
Vila: Will he live through the teleport stress?
Sue: Why don’t they just teleport the capsule back to the Liberator?
Me: Because you can’t wrap a bracelet around that capsule.
Sue: But what if they daisy-chained lots of bracelets together? Would that work?
Me: It’s a nice idea, but they’ve only got four bracelets left.
This week’s alien planet is covered in a light dusting of snow.
Sue: Do they ever go anywhere sunny in Blake’s 7? It’s a very cold universe so far.
Me: It’s probably a metaphor for something. Or they filmed this in the winter. You choose.
The planet’s natives appear to be restless.
Sue: They had better not make Avon squeal like a pig, that’s all I’m saying.
Jenna retrieves Maryatt’s ID from the wreckage.
Sue: I like Jenna, but she’s a boring character. She never seems to do anything, even when she’s actually doing stuff, she doesn’t really seem to do anything. Does that make sense? She’s just there. Terry can’t write for women. Actually, he can’t write for men, but you know what I mean.
Speaking of women who have nothing to do, Cally is chilling out on the Liberator with her Space Walkman.
Sue: Cally’s listening to Big Band Swing. There’s hope for her yet.
Avon, Gan and Vila teleport back to the Liberator with a badly injured Ensor. It takes a while for them to notice that they’ve left Jenna behind.
Sue: That’s the second time they’ve done that. How can they fail to notice when one of the seven are missing? I know that Jenna is a kitten fart in a parka, but that is ridiculous. It’s like that time you stranded all those students in Whitby because you couldn’t count them back onto a bus. It’s unprofessional at the end of the day.
The natives have knocked Jenna out.
Sue: Why are the Neanderthals searching her pockets? What are they looking for? Extra-strong mints? Her credit card? What?
While Ensor recovers in the Liberator‘s medical bay, Blake and Cally search through his possessions.
Cally: What are those?
Sue: They’re contact lenses in a jumbo-sized matchbox, obviously.
Cally and Blake examine Maryatt’s ID.
Cally: According to his ID he was a Space Surgeon in the Federation Medical Corps. He’s got a double-A security clearance! He’s got a pass for any area in Space Command!
Sue: If Roy is working for the Federation, they should let him die.
Me: That’s a bit harsh.
Sue: There’s a war on. Blake needs to toughen up.
Ensor: Tell him… Federation have agreed… all terms. Will pay… one… hundred million credits for… Orac.
Sue: Right. I know that Orac is the last of the seven because you named a hedgehog after him, so this is quite exciting now.
Me: What are you expecting Orac to be like?
Sue: I think Orac will be the galaxy’s greatest bounty hunter, and the Federation will hire him to kill Blake, because Travis isn’t up to the job, and it’s going to cost them a fortune. But Orac will betray them and he’ll join Blake’s crew. There, that’s what I think will happen. What do I win if I’m right?
Avon, Gan and Avon teleport back to Cephlon to search for Jenna.
Me: Oh, that reminds me – Jenna is pregnant.
Sue: Oh no, what’s Gan done now.
Me: No, the cat is pregnant. Nicol’s been doing some research and Jenna is showing all the signs.
Sue: That means Blake is the father. That doesn’t feel right.
We think Jenna will give birth in the middle of Series 2, so stay tuned for that, and feel free to suggest names for the litter while you’re waiting.
Meanwhile, in Blake’s 7, Ensor has recovered enough strength to take Cally hostage.
Sue: You ungrateful sod. After everything she’s done for you. I knew they should have left him to die. The IRA would have kneecapped him by now.
Ensor instructs Blake to break orbit.
Ensor: Do it!
Sue: It’s like that time he got really angry and told Pat that her earrings were shit. He’s quite a good actor, actually.
Back on Cephlon, Vila laments the fact that the Liberator has buggered off without them again. To be fair, it is becoming a habit.
Avon: That’s largely academic at the moment. Let’s hope they’re back on station when we find Jenna.
Sue: Paul Darrow’s monotone is incredible. His delivery of those lines should be ridiculous, but somehow it’s electrifying.
And then Travis turns up.
Sue: Things must be serious if old leather pants is involved. Servalan fancies Travis so much, she –
Me: STOP IT!
Travis’s handling of the Blake affair has resulted in a demotion for the former Space Commander.
Sue: He probably has to deal with space traffic these days. It’s a bit of a come down.
Servalan lets Travis into her latest wicked scheme.
Servalan: Ensor showed me plans of his father’s creation – Orac. It is a brilliant achievement. There is nothing else like it in the universe.
Sue: Hmm. It sounds to me that Orac could be a robot. Like Data in Star Trek, or a Cylon in Battlestar. That could be interesting. And is Servalan drinking crème de menthe?
Servalan kicks back on her couch.
Sue: She’s like Don Draper, lying on a sofa, drinking on the job in the middle of the afternoon, plotting and scheming. It’s Mad Ma’am.
Servalan: It occurred to me that if Ensor didn’t get back in time, then in a very little while his father would die. So I took the precaution of placing a small explosive device in his ship.
Sue: What a bitch! She’s actually getting off on this. She’s definitely tipsy.
Servalan and Travis make a pact to claim Orac for themselves.
Sue: It’s like that time Michael Moon and Janine Butcher got together. Pure evil.
But even Travis has second thoughts when he learns that the space surgeon Servalan sent to their death was responsible for replacing Travis’s bionic space eye.
Sue: I knew Travis had a heart, deep down inside. He’s not all bad, you know. I know exactly how this will end: Travis will change his mind, he’ll save Blake’s life – killing Servalan in the process – and then he’ll join the crew. That’s what I would do if I was writing this.
The indigenous cavemen attack our heroes with a ferocity that borders on the comical.
Sue: This is a bit lame. It’s very Monty Python, don’t you think?
Me: They’re being stoned to death by the Time Bandits.
Our heroes find their way into an underground bunker, where a woman in blue dress bows down before Avon. Her name is Meegat and she has been expecting him.
Avon: Are you alone here?
Meegat: Yes, Lord. Everything is as it was written. One waits.
Sue: And now it’s turned into The Life of Brian.
Jenna has been taken prisoner by the natives.
Sue: Jenna has been kidnapped by Ronnie Wood. It’s not good, this. She’ll probably sprain her ankle, next.
Avon shows incredible self-restraint for a man who is being worshipped as a god.
Sue: Captain Kirk would have shagged her by now.
Me: Are you disappointed or relieved?
Sue: As long as he doesn’t punch her in the face, I’m happy.
The underground bunker houses the controls for a rocket that contains the race banks of Meegat’s people.
Sue: So it’s a giant sperm bank in space. Right…
Sadly, Jenna doesn’t get a look-in while this is going on.
Sue: Avon has been sidetracked by a beautiful woman, and now he couldn’t care less about the other beautiful woman he’s lost. Unbelievable.
Avon prepares to launch the rocket.
Sue: Has Avon actually checked that Jenna isn’t trapped in that rocket? I know she isn’t, but he doesn’t know that, and she could have wandered in there by mistake. You know what this lot are like.
Avon decides to continue his search for Jenna.
Meanwhile, back on the Liberator, Ensor is losing the will to live.
Ensor: I’ve put the energizer onto automatic. If I let it go, it will spring back and the gun will fire. If I pass out, the gun will fire by itself. Now you make certain that I don’t go to sleep.
Sue: I’d stop talking if I were you, Blake; that’s bound to send him off. Ask Zen to pipe some Big Band Swing through the ship. That will keep him awake.
Avon and Meegat have a very special relationship.
Sue: They’re holding hands! Aww, that’s sweet. Although you could argue that Avon is taking advantage of someone who is obviously not quite right in the head. It’s a tricky one.
Gan warns Avon that he can’t get involved in Jenna’s rescue.
Gan: If it comes to killing, remember my limiter implant.
Sue: WHAT IS THE POINT OF YOU, GAN?
Even Vila gets stuck in while Gan looks meekly on.
Sue: Gan is the biggest member of the crew, and yet he can’t do shit. They should ditch him the first chance they get. Just drop him off at a space circus. They’ll look after him.
Gan only gets involved when all the hard work has been done and Jenna is safe.
Sue: He’s giving these two cavemen a big drunken bear hug. “I really, really, really love you, mate!”
Limiter or not, the natives are easily overcome.
Sue: They’re so useless, I bet they couldn’t even make a pig squeal like a pig.
Gan finally makes it back to the bunker.
Sue: I thought he was going to bang his head on the door on his way in. That may have helped him, actually. It could have dislodged the chip in his head that makes him such a waste of ****ing space.
Back on the Liberator, Ensor drops dead. But before he shuffles off this mortal coil, he makes his last, and somewhat curious request.
Ensor: The microcells… get to father…
Sue: **** you, mate! Blake should sell those cells to the highest bidder, and then he should dance on his bloke’s father’s grave, because he’s a **** and Blake is a terrorist. So there.
Blake: Zen, direct route for the planet Cephlon. Maximum speed.
Sue: What is maximum speed? Have we ever established that? I feel like I should know, but I don’t and it’s driving me mad.
Avon prepares to launch the rocket. According to Jenna, Avon is about to become a legend.
Sue: Don’t be daft. Avon was a legend long before he landed on this shit hole.
The rocket is launched, and then Avon instructs Zen to scan for suitable planets for it to land on.
Sue: Don’t you think he should have done that before he launched the rocket into space? For all he knew, he could have been firing it into a black hole.
Meegat is nowhere to be seen.
Sue: Where the hell is she? They didn’t even say goodbye. What a load of rubbish. TERRY, YOU ****!
Blake asks Avon what it was like to be a god.
Avon: Don’t you know?
Blake: Yes. I don’t like the responsibility, either.
Sue: I wouldn’t be too sure about that, Blake. I think Avon loved it. I’d watch my back if I were you.
Sue: That was pretty good, then it was awful, and then it was quite good again, and then it was just irritating. Basically anything that involved the cavemen was rubbish, and anything that involved Avon and Travis was all right. I didn’t understand the plot with the rocket at all. It felt as if the episode was a set-up for something else, and Terry was treading water. I’m looking forward to meeting Orac, though. I hope he’s dishy.
We’ve nearly reached the end of Series 1, and I want to evaluate how Sue is coping with the series so far. So if you’ve got a question you’d like to ask her about this series, or the next, please send it via our contact form. The best question will win a signed book and postcard combo. Closing date: Tuesday February 18th.