Weird scenes inside the gold mine…
The episode begins with what looks like a high-speed spaceship chase.
Sue: They’ve got loads of room, why don’t they just overtake?
Scorpio docks with a pleasure cruiser.
Sue: Oh look, it’s the Russians… Why don’t they just teleport over there. Is it broken?
Avon has arranged to meet an old acquaintance.
Sue: Oh dear. Tarrant can’t get his gun to stay in his holster; it’s the story of his life. And I wish they would soundproof their ship. I can’t understand a word they’re saying when they clump around the set. Clang – clang – clang. What did Dayna just say?
When Avon, Tarrant, Soolin and Dayna cross to the Space Princess, they are met by a man named Keiller.
Sue: Is he supposed to be the ship’s Redcoat? Is this Hi-de-Hi in space?
Me: Yes, it is a bit. Don’t you recognise him?
Sue: Of course I do. He’s a very famous comedian who’s been in loads of things. I just can’t think of any right now.
Me: Is that the best you can do?
Sue: His name is on the tip of my tongue. It will come to me eventually. I definitely know who he is. He’s really good.
Keiller lets the crew in on his plan to steal a consignment of gold that’s due to be transported from the planet Zerok disguised as a shipment of fruit.
Sue: Is this episode going to be a heist movie? Excellent. It’ll be like Ocean’s 7. You know, a bit like Ocean’s 11, but there’s only 7 of them. Actually, it’s probably more like Ocean’s 5 –
Me: You’ve cracked that joke before, Sue.
Sue: Have I? How many episodes of Blake’s 7 have we seen now?
Me: This is our forty-ninth.
Sue: Well then.
Keiller chose his old friend for this heist because Avon has a reputation for mischief.
Keiller: You’re getting to be big news.
Sue: Avon will love that. He wants to be notorious. It’s an ego thing.
Keiller has come up with a cunning plan to steal the gold, but there’s a snag (or if you’re Avon, snaaaaag): they have to nick the booty before it can be processed into black gold, which is completely worthless.
Sue: This is an excellent way to start the episode. I wonder how Servalan is involved…
Keiller can’t keep his grubby paws off Soolin.
Sue: What a pervy bastard. Wait! Rory Kinnear! That’s it! He’s Rory Kinnear.
Me: Close. It’s Rory’s dad, Roy Kinnear.
Sue: That’s what I just said.
Keiller, Avon, and Soolin arrive at Zerok’s vegetable reprocessing plant, which acts as a cover for a secret gold mining operation.
Sue: The person who designed the logo for this company must have been a frustrated comic book artist.
Me: I bet all their stationary uses Comic Sans.
The mine’s security guards patrol the area, their faces hidden behind black visors.
Sue: Is this guy a welder?
A guard is murdered by Soolin.
Sue: Now we’ll never know if he was a welder or not.
Tarrant and Dayna teleport to Zerok a few minutes behind Avon and Soolin.
Sue: Why didn’t they stick together? You know, safety in numbers. Is it because they can only teleport two at a time these days, or is this part of the plan?
Keiller speaks into a computerised lock and then, after what seems like an eternity, the door to the mine finally opens.
Sue: They should get that seen to. Just imagine if there’d been a toilet behind that door and he desperately needed to go. He’d have pissed himself.
Another guard is murdered, this time by Avon.
Sue: What is the point of those masks? Is it so they can use the same stuntman over and over again? I bet it is. Or maybe one of the guards will turn out to be Servalan. Yes, that’s it: keep your eyes peeled for a security guard wearing high heels.
As Avon, Soolin and Keiller make their way to the mine’s processing plant, somebody sounds the alarm.
Sue: Just think, twenty years from now I won’t be able to hear that frequency. I think this is probably the first time that I’ve actually prayed for old age.
Security guards are swarming all over the plant, which means Dayna and Tarrant have a fight on their hands.
Sue: This is very exciting, but if they don’t turn off that smoke alarm, I’m going to have to kill somebody. And you’re the only person here, Neil.
A huge explosion goes off in the mine and Avon and Soolin are presumed dead.
Sue: Of course they are. Why are they pretending that it’s even possible? Blake’s 7 is better than this.
Back on Scorpio, Keiller insists that he had nothing to do with the ambush.
Sue: Roy is such a good actor, you want to believe him.
Avon (who isn’t dead by the way) has realised that the guards’ guns weren’t standard issue, which points to a third-party being involved. But who could it possibly be?
Sue: Um… let me see… No, I couldn’t possibly guess.
Me: Maybe it’s the dwarf from Dawn of the Gods.
Avon and Soolin examine the Space Princess‘ computer files.
Sue: The ship’s computers are infested with rattlesnakes.
Me: I think you cracked that joke in Series 1, Sue.
Sue: Shut up, Neil.
Avon realises that the pleasure cruise is a sham, and the passengers are given chemical help to help overcome that fact.
Sue: Sounds fantastic. Where do I sign up?
Me: Chemical help, otherwise known as the bar on a P&O ferry.
Avon discovers that Keiller has links to a Federation president. But which president?
When Avon returns to Scorpio, Keiller tries to explain.
Keiller: They blackmailed me, said they’d use my record against me. I’ve got a criminal record, you see.
Vila: Hasn’t everybody?
Sue: Ha! Brilliant. The script is very funny and Roy is wonderful. You can’t take your eyes off him.
It appears that Keiller’s associates have discovered a way to launder the black gold through Zerok’s banking system.
Sue: This is very clever, Neil. Zerok equals Zürich. See?
The crew stand to make billions if they can steal the gold.
Me: You could buy hundreds of Oracs for that.
Sue: One Orac is more than enough, thanks.
Keiller wants to join Avon’s gang.
Sue: Please take him with you. He brightens the place up.
But Orac has some bad news: they can’t teleport the black gold off the pleasure cruiser.
Orac: The processed gold will have undergone a subneutronic overlap shift. If subjected to the teleport process as well, it will reduce to dust irrevocably.
Sue: That’s convenient, but what the hell. It’ll be much more exciting the other way.
The pleasure cruiser leaves Zerok with its precious cargo.
Zerok Control: Space Princess, this is Zerok Control. Do you copy?
Sue: Hey! Zen’s back!
Me: He isn’t.
Sue: He bloody is! He just said, “confirmed”. Zen escaped from the Liberator and now he’s working for an air traffic control company somewhere. Brilliant.
Me: Whatever makes you happy, love.
Keiller assures Avon that a drug they’ve given to Dayna is completely harmless, but she’ll need it if she hopes to fool the ship’s doctor. Sue pretends to understand what he’s talking about.
Sue: You can’t trust him. He’s setting them up. And Avon is growling his lines. He’s about to explode.
Tarrant wanders around the pleasure cruiser, pretending to be drugged.
Sue: This is hilarious. Tarrant’s obviously never taken any drugs in his life before.
All the passengers are loved up.
Tarrant: I’m beginning to wish I was eating the same food as them. They seem to be having a good time.
Sue: I’m guessing that the drug makes the passengers feel horny. That way they stay in their cabins and don’t notice that they’ve missed all the sights. Not that Tarrant needs a drug to make him feel horny. Just ask Servalan.
When Avon and Keiller reach the cruise liner’s hold, Avon murders the solitary guard.
Sue: The guard’s hockey mask really helped when Avon shot him in the balls.
When Keiller opens the crate containing the black gold, tiny explosives attach themselves to the purser’s jacket.
Sue: It’s bloody good, this. Dudley’s music is very tense, too. I like the way they keep switching between the Muzak on the ship and the exciting bits in the hold. It’s very effective.
Keiller’s plan appears to be working.
Sue: I’m sorry if I’m not saying very much, Neil, but I’m enjoying this too much. Even the model shots are great. Look at that spaceship… Beautiful.
Dayna’s self-induced illness convinces the ship’s captain to put out a Mayday call, which just happens to be intercepted by Vila on the Scorpio.
Sue: Genius. This might actually work.
The ship’s doctor nearly scuppers their plans, but some quick thinking from Keiller puts them back on track.
Keiller: I told you it would work. We’re going to walk off this ship and no one’s even going to try and stop us.
Things inevitably go tits up, which results in a mad dash to the Scorpio‘s airlock before the doors can close. Sue is biting what’s left of her nails.
Sue: Hurry up! Run!
Avon provides cover for the crew. It looks like he’s having a whale of a time.
Sue: He’s taking the piss!
The airlock closes before Avon can make it across.
Sue: Serves you right for taking the piss!
As the airlock begins to disengage, Avon roars down his teleport bracelet:
Avon: Vila, I need teleport now, Vila. NOW, VILA!
Sue: Wow. That was incredible. That has to be the most exciting moment in Blake’s 7 so far.
Keiller is told to contact his associates so they can sell the black gold. The planet they choose for this exchange is Beta Five.
Sue: It’s the same planet they always go to; it’s only the names that change. It isn’t a very diverse universe, is it?
A vehicle containing several hooded figures approaches the rendezvous point.
Sue: (scratching her chin) Now, then. Who could this possibly be?
Me: Well, I don’t see any dwarves…
The camera focuses on the occupants’ feet as they exit the vehicle.
Sue: Look for the heels… Wait for it… Yes, there they are. What a surprise.
Keiller’s associates line up in front of the crew.
Sue: They’ve come to sell them life insurance. They’re the Black Widows, you see.
Me: I’m pretty sure you’ve already done the Black Widow gag…
Sue hits me with a cushion.
Avon wasn’t fooled for a moment. He knew it was Servalan all along.
Avon: It wasn’t hard to work out. But it wasn’t meant to be, was it?
Sue: It’s as if they’re ashamed of their own twist. And who can blame them?
Avon believes that Servalan wanted him to come running to her.
Sue: Or she fancied another go on Tarrant.
Avon pities Keiller’s decision to trust Servalan.
Avon: He doesn’t know you as well as I do.
Servalan: Who does?
Sue: Tarrant does for a start…
Avon moves in for a snog that never comes…
Sue: They are destined to be together. They should run off and rule the galaxy as husband and wife – they’d be unstoppable. That’s how I would end it, anyway.
Avon decides to leave Keiller behind. He just can’t trust him.
Sue: Oh come on! You don’t trust anyone and it’s never stopped you before. Take him with you.
Avon teleports back to Scorpio with a suitcase full of cash.
Sue: Check the case before you leave, you idiot! Oops, too late… I bet it’s full of fruit.
Keiller begs Servalan for his life.
Sue: Aww, this is really sad. Yes, he was a conniving bastard, but I really liked him. They should make a prequel series – The Adventures of Keiller and Avon: The Early Years. I’d watch it.
Me: Maybe they could ask Rory Kinnear to star in it.
Sue is shocked when she discovers that Avon’s suitcase really is full of money, after all.
Tarrant: I’ve never seen currency of that size.
Sue: The first thing they’ll need to buy are some new wallets. Those notes are ****ing enormous.
Me: You should see Zerok’s coins – the size of plates.
Tarrant isn’t very pleased when Avon tells him that he knew Servalan was behind the heist all along. In fact, you could slice the atmosphere with a laser probe.
Sue: If looks could kill, Tarrant would be dead now. Do you think Avon knows that Tarrant and Servalan shagged yet? He isn’t stupid, you know.
Yes, we watched this episode before I wrote up the last one and discovered that we inadvertently missed the bit where Tarrant practically admits his crime but doesn’t want to talk about it. So the underlying tension that Sue has detected in this scene isn’t the underlying tension that actually exists in this scene. Oh well.
The next time we see Keiller, he’s lying face down in the mud.
Sue: They put him out of his misery. That’s really tragic. There was no need for that, Servalan. What a cow.
Orac has more bad tidings for the crew: Zerok has ceded to the Federation, which means Servalan can profit from the black gold after all. But it gets even worse:
Orac: The Federation banking system will now take over that of Zerok. All bank notes drawn by the Bank of Zerok will be declared invalid within seven days and all private transactions will be illegal.
Sue: Orac actually laughed when he told them that. He actually laughed! The cheeky bastard.
It turns out that the crew risked their lives so Servalan could get rich. The look on Avon’s face says it all.
Sue: That’s it. Avon’s finally snapped.
Sue: That was brilliant. It was a little bit confusing at times, but I didn’t really care because it was such a good ride. And Roy Kinnear was fabulous. I wish they hadn’t killed him off; he could have come back and redeemed himself. Anyway, great script, good direction and a wonderful guest star. Yes, Blake’s 7 is definitely ending on a high.
A few days later…
Me: Sue, I need to tell you something: I think I accidentally broke the blog.
I break it to her that Avon definitely knows about Tarrant’s tryst with Servalan, but we missed that bombshell because we were too busy yakking over the episode and I forgot to hit the pause button; actually, I blame the cat. Anyway, this means Sue thought the crew were disgusted with Tarrant because he didn’t shoot their arch nemesis in the head, when in actual fact they were imagining their arch nemesis giving Tarrant head.
Sue: You idiot. What else have I missed because of you? I knew I should have done this with a Blake’s 7 expert.
Me: Don’t worry, I’m very familiar with the next three episodes. It won’t happen again.
Sue: Well, this changes everything. Avon must be biding his time, then. He’ll murder Tarrant when he least expects it, probably while he’s sleeping. It also explains why Avon has finally lost his mind, so thanks for that. Idiot.
There will be two updates next week, on Tuesday and Friday. Thanks.