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Headhunter

How To Get Ahead In Terrorising…

HeadhunterSue: Is it called Headhunter because that’s what Avon does now? He’s basically a recruitment consultant in space, isn’t he?

Me: Er, sort of. I don’t know. I’ve never seen this episode before. I think the last one put me off watching the series for a while. In fact, I can’t remember a single thing about the next three stories. So whatever you do, don’t ask me to explain the plot to you.

The Scorpio is flying through space…

Sue: It’s a different colour every time I see it. It was brown last time. Now it’s orange.

Me: Nicol is going to bake a Scorpio-shaped cake when we finish the blog. She’ll probably use orange-flavoured sponge cake covered in chocolate.

Sue: Good luck with that, because it’ll probably look like a giant dog poo. I’m sure it will taste nice, though.

Slave rouses Vila from his slumber as the ship nears its destination.

Sue: Is it just me or is Slave in a sarky mood this morning? This isn’t like him at all.

Tarrant is snoozing on the flight deck, too.

Sue: So their ship is basically a camper van. I bet the toilet is just a hole in the floor.

Tarrant and Vila have been tasked with taxiing Avon’s latest expert – a cybernetics genius named Muller – back to Xenon Base. Vila has been banished from said base in a desperate attempt to stop him from interfering with Muller’s ‘lady’.

Sue: More proof that Vila can’t control himself when it comes to women. That was probably funny in the 1980s, but now it just seems inappropriate.

HeadhunterBack at base, Avon is entertaining Muller’s lady friend, Vena.

Sue: Oh, it’s whatshername… thingy… the rubbish Helen. You know, after she regenerated in All Creatures Great and Small. She was in Doctor Who as well, but don’t ask me who she was.

Me: It’s Lynda Bellingham.

Sue: Of course it is. “Hmm… Bisto!”

Me: Not quite, but close enough.

When we return to the Scorpio, Sue becomes very animated indeed.

Sue: Oh look! They’ve finally glued down that bit of the set that was doing my head in. Hooray!

Tarrant teleports to Muller’s laboratory at the Robot Development Cartel. There’s a dead body under the table but Tarrant isn’t overly bothered by that.

Sue: The new teleport effect has really grown on me. I don’t miss the old one at all. I like the new teleport handle as well – it’s chunky.

These words will come back to haunt Sue in a minute.

Sue: There’s something not quite right here. I bet that’s Muller’s body under the table. No one knows what anybody looks like in this programme, so I bet Tarrant has picked up Muller’s killer instead. It’s just the sort of thing he’d do.

Sue struggles to pin down exactly who (or what) Muller reminds her of, but she finally settles on a cross between a Beefeater, a druid, and a playing card. So that’s that settled, then.

Sue: He’s going to be trouble. I can just tell.

HeadhunterTarrant gives Muller a teleport bracelet.

Sue: Ha! He can’t get it over his hand. That’s hilarious. I take it they didn’t bother with a dress rehearsal?

Muller safely teleports to the Scorpio. However, when Tarrant brings a sealed black box back with him, Muller goes bat shit mental.

Sue: He’s pulled the handle off the teleport thingy!

Muller: That box! Send it back. Send it back!

Sue You can’t teleport it back – you’ve broken the ****ing handle!

I didn’t believe her at first, but watching the scene again…

Muller gives Tarrant a big bear hug.

Sue: He could have offered to buy him dinner first.

Vila whacks Muller over the head with a space spanner and accidentally kills him.

HeadhunterSue: Avon isn’t going to be very happy about this. There’s definitely a theme developing here: the kids are sent on a mission, they completely **** it up, and then Avon tears his hair out.

Vena is mildly upset when she discovers that her lover has been killed.

Sue: I know you shouldn’t go by looks, Neil – I married you, after all – but Lynda Bellingham could do a lot better, especially with cleavage like that. She must be wearing one hell of a bra.

Soolin comforts Vena, who really is put out by the whole thing.

Sue: I like what Soolin’s done to her hair. Still, it’s not as if she’s got anything else to do with her time, is it?

It turns out that the body in Muller’s lab has been decapitated – and the head is missing.

Sue: I knew it! They picked up the killer instead. The idiots.

Me: Forget that. Why didn’t Tarrant slip over in a pool of blood when he arrived?

Sue: Ooh, wait… I think I’ve worked it out. Oh no, that’s horrible – Muller’s head is in the box! How sick is that?

HeadhunterMe: It’s Blake’s 7, with the emphasis on Seven.

Slave is still being difficult.

Sue: He’s been spending far too much time with Orac. He’s a bad influence on him.

The Scorpio experiences a dramatic power surge.

Sue: Is it going to rain?

Avon: Tarrant, what have you got up there apart from yourself, a half-wit and a corpse?

Sue spits out her tea.

Sue: Avon’s finally back on form!

When Vila attempts to open the box, the flight deck .

Sue: Is the box haunted? Is there a haunted head in that box?

HeadhunterSlave is behaving like such an arse, Tarrant has no option but to take him off-line.

Sue: Aww… Poor Slave. Maybe he’s just fed up with being treated like shit all the time? They never made Zen call them Sir.

Tarrant will have to fly the Scorpio back to base on manual.

Sue: Why can’t Orac fly it back over a Wi-Fi connection? The way he carries on, you’d think he could do anything.

What Orac does do is dispense some advice. He suggests that Tarrant and Vila should be kept in quarantine until they figure out what has gone wrong with ship.

Sue: If they did this every time something went wrong, they’d never step foot off the ship.

Tarrant manages to bring Scorpio back home.

Soolin: Scorpio, your approach is one-six-zero by three-three-zero, standing by.

Sue: Look, Neil! Soolin’s doing stuff! She’s reading out numbers and things! And is that a fruit machine I can see in the background?

HeadhunterSoolin: Scorpio, preset retro sequence at four seconds at maximum thrust.

Sue: I’m sorry, love, but that countdown isn’t in seconds. They obviously couldn’t get the computer to display the numbers quickly enough. It took Soolin seven seconds to count down from four.

No one can put their finger on the Scorpio‘s problem.

Vila: It’s to do with that box. It must be!

Sue: Really? Do you think? I take it all back, Vila. You’re a ****ing genius.

Tarrant starts pushing buttons at random.

Sue: It sounds like the ship has been infested with crickets.

And the bad news doesn’t stop there.

Slave: All life support systems have ceased to function.

Sue: Shit. That can’t be good… Hey, this is really exciting, Neil. It reminds me of Apollo 13, but with a severed head in a box.

HeadhunterI glower at, her but she’s too wrapped up in the story to notice.

Orac is adamant that Tarrant and Vila should be left on the Scorpio to die.

Sue: Don’t listen to him, Avon. **** Orac!

Avon chews it over. The scenery, I mean.

Avon: Oh, you’ll have to do better than that, Orac, if you expect me to kill them.

Sue: He won’t do it. Avon’s got a conscience.

Avon: (suddenly yelling) Restore the teleport!

Sue: (half off the sofa in excitement) Yes! You ****ing tell him, Avon. It’s brilliant, this.

Soolin and Dayna change into their rescue suits.

Sue: Soolin’s helmet barely covers her head. Won’t the air escape through the gap between her chin and her neck? Why are you laughing, Neil?

Me: I’m laughing because THEY LOOK RIDICULOUS!

HeadhunterSue: They do look like children pretending to be astronauts. It’s cute.

Tarrant and Vila are taken to the base’s medical unit.

Sue: Now I understand why they are determined to keep this place. It’s full of high-tech toys.

Me: And working toilets.

When Orac starts playing silly beggars with Soolin, she refuses to take any shit from him.

Sue: Soolin’s actually been given some decent lines to say this week – and she’s great.

Avon and Vena prepare to teleport to the Scorpio.

Sue: He can’t possibly be checking her helmet for leaks, can he? Because that would be a bit silly.

Me: This is way past silly, Sue.

Orac is convinced that humanity will be enslaved by their new cybernetic overlords, so he begs Soolin to turn him off.

Sue: What’s got into Orac? Is he having another one of his premonitions?

HeadhunterOrac asks Soolin to hide him.

Sue: If Orac was that worried about this threat, he’d tell her to take a hammer to him. A couple of sturdy whacks should do it.

Muller has teleported to Xenon base and attacked Dayna.

Sue: This is really good, so far. The direction is really good, too. Why are you shaking your head, Neil?

Vena rushes to greet her lover, who isn’t dead after all.

Sue: She’s going to get a shock when she realises he isn’t Muller… Oh, wait. She recognises him. Wait a minute – WHAT?

Muller kills Vena with a massive bear hug. We know she’s dead because Dayna can’t detect a pulse, even though she’s standing on the other side of the room. And then the penny finally drops…

Sue: I think I’ve worked it out. It’s a robot and it’s stuck Muller’s head on top of its body. How clever is that? So that must mean it’s a cyborg. Like the Terminator.

Avon leaves Vila in charge of the mysterious box.

HeadhunterVila: Where are you going?

Avon: I’ll be back.

Sue: Even the dialogue is ripping-off The Terminator.

Me: The Terminator wasn’t released for another three years.

Sue: Really? Wow. This is way ahead of its time, then. I’m surprised the writer didn’t sue James Cameron.

Me: There was a queue.

Soolin finds Vila hiding in a closet.

Vila: We’ve been looking for you.

Soolin: (pointing in the closet) In there?

Sue: Soolin is very dry.

Dayna blows up a corridor and Muller is buried under the exploding rubble. But this doesn’t stop him, which can only mean one thing…

Sue: I guessed the twist ages ago, but it’s still really good. Wait a minute… Is it just me or is he even taller without his head?

HeadhunterMe: Just a bit.

Sue: It’s a shame. You can tell what they are trying to do, but it does look a bit silly.

The android’s real head is in the box. But the android doesn’t want its real head – it wants Orac.

Android: Where is Orac?

Sue: OK, let me get this straight: is the robot going to use Orac as its head? That would explain the massive shoulder pads. He can rest Orac on top of them.

If the android unites with Orac, it will become a God.

Sue: That’s a bit of a leap. And I’ve just realised something else: if the robot hasn’t got a head, how can it see and talk?

Me: Its brain is situated in its arse.

Avon’s gang escape from the android in the most shambolic way imaginable.

Sue: The robot will never catch them. They’ve got a head start.

Me: Let’s knock the head puns on the head, Sue.

Sue: They should head him off at the pass. Sorry. That’s the last one, I swear.

HeadhunterThe only way to disable the android is to place its real head on its shoulders. But who’s brave enough to attempt such a crazy thing?

Avon: It will be Vila, or it will be me.

Vila: It’ll be you!

Sue: Brilliant. This is what we want to see. It’s just like old times, this.

Soolin retrieves Orac from a cupboard.

Sue: It looks like Orac is supposed to be heavy, which isn’t very believable. If only they could convince Orac to shrink himself down to the size of a packet of tabs. How handy would that be right now?

Orac taunts Soolin as she hefts him up a flight of stairs.

Orac: Join us, Soolin. We can fulfill your every desire.

Soolin: You wouldn’t know where to start.

Sue: Ha! Where has Soolin been hiding for the last five episodes?

Orac and Muller will rule the galaxy together as father and box.

Sue: And how are they going to do that, exactly? I’m not convinced they could run a cafe together.

HeadhunterDayna and Tarrant engage the dam’s generator, which disables the android. After a titanic struggle, Avon eventually secures the android’s head to its neck.

Sue: Never let it be said that Avon doesn’t give good head.

Me: Sue!

Sue: Sorry.

Avon is knocked unconscious by an electrical discharge. Orac believes there’s only one course of action left for them to take.

Sue: Soolin will have to give Avon the kiss of life. Lucky Soolin.

Me: Lucky Avon, you mean. Two can play at that game, Sue.

Dayna blows the android to smithereens, which renders the exciting bit with the head a bit pointless in retrospect.

Sue: Avon is going to be furious when he wakes up!

Me: Those pesky kids have ****ed it up again!

She’s right, of course: Avon flips his lid. And then Orac makes things worse by giving him some lip.

HeadhunterAvon: Shut up!

Orac: Yes, master.

Sue: Brilliant. Now leave him outside – let’s see how he gets on when it rains.

Cue credits.

The Score:

Sue: I really enjoyed that. It was way ahead of its time, even if the robot did look a bit shit. I didn’t mind that much. That was probably Avon’s best story in ages, too. Even Soolin had something to do. And no Servalan, too. Bonus!

7/10

Me: Wow. I wouldn’t have given that episode more than a two. It was Muller Shite.

Sue: Nobody cares, Neil.

Me: I’m sorry, but I have to say something. I mean, come on, Sue! How the **** did the android get Muller’s head to work? Just think about that for a second. It cut off a man’s head, stuck it on top of its neck, and then it ****ing talked out of it. Even the ****ing eyes moved! How the actual ****? It didn’t even have a proper neck! And as for the –

Sue: Shut up!

Next Time:

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139 comments

  • Visit site
    August 2, 2014 3:46 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Spike

    I agree with Sue here, this, Rescue and the final episode whose name we shall not speak are my favourites for season 4. The head on the robot doesn’t worry me, so you can buy all the other nonsense science and plot contrivance in Blake’s 7 but a robot being able to control a head is crossing a line? Enjoy it for the silly sci fi soap it is and rejoice!

    • Visit site
      August 2, 2014 4:45 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Frankymole

      Muscles are worked by electrical impulses, aren’t they? Child’s play for a machine that can take over Slave and cause electrical storms in Scorpio!

      • Visit site
        August 2, 2014 4:54 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Dave Sanders

        Actually keeping the head from falling off is a somewhat different matter.

        • Visit site
          August 2, 2014 5:09 pmPosted 3 years ago
          Frankymole

          Force field. Next!

          • Visit site
            August 2, 2014 9:12 pmPosted 3 years ago
            dpc

            Has anyone ever told you that you rule? 🙂

          • Visit site
            August 4, 2014 4:10 pmPosted 3 years ago
            Ramiste

            +1

            One of my most remembered episodes… But if you’re watching it for the very first time and you’re older than 7, then it probably won’t have the same impact… (the same goes for all the episodes, of course 😉

          • Visit site
            August 5, 2014 8:11 amPosted 3 years ago
            Nick

            Nice one, Franky! Either that or there’s thousands of synthetic (or possibly cloned, partly-cybernetic ) nerural connectors which mesh with the head’s own organic nerves, muscles and bones.

            Hey – it’s B7 sci-fi! Why not?

      • Visit site
        August 2, 2014 4:55 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Dave Sanders

        Slave isn’t being take over, he’s getting all stroppy witnessing the stupidest thing he’s ever seen in his life.

        • Visit site
          August 5, 2014 6:28 pmPosted 3 years ago
          Anniew

          Oh come on Dave. Spock’s brain?

  • Visit site
    August 2, 2014 3:51 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Rad

    Apart from the terrible dummy I didn’t mind that episode. Wouldn’t rate it higher than a 5 or 6 but still the best in series 4 so far, and much better than that Operation Yewtree thing last time.

    • Visit site
      August 2, 2014 9:21 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Lawrence McIlhoney

      That’s no way to talk about Vila.

  • August 2, 2014 3:54 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Chris Allen

    “It’s Blake’s 7, with the emphasis on Seven”

    I’m surprised Neil didn’t call this installment “What’s in the box?”

    I’m still not 100% convinced by leafy English woodland Xenon. it doesn’t really tie in with the model shots of the base. And even less so with the CGI intro on the DVDs, with it’s brooding red sky.

    • Visit site
      August 2, 2014 8:53 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Dan

      It’s nice that Xenon has a bit of variety in its landscape. Those doors to the outside seem to be Galactic standard too. Bet Servalan had investments in that monopoly.

      • Visit site
        August 5, 2014 10:57 amPosted 3 years ago
        Fiona

        After all Earth has variety. Surely the Federation wouldnt have engineered every planet to look like a quarry or a car park …in every single corner.

  • Visit site
    August 2, 2014 4:07 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Vilahoop

    Will anyone not from the UK appreciate the Bisto gag? Made me spit out a mouthful of wine, but it was worth it

    • Visit site
      August 2, 2014 5:05 pmPosted 3 years ago
      jsd

      Nope, I don’t get it. Feel free to explain.

      • Visit site
        August 2, 2014 6:07 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Smile

        Lynda Bellingham later did adverts for Bisto, a variety of gravy.

        • August 2, 2014 6:30 pmPosted 3 years ago
          Neil Perryman (Author)

          OXO.

          • Visit site
            August 2, 2014 7:37 pmPosted 3 years ago
            Dave Sanders

            We love you too Neil. 🙂

          • Visit site
            August 2, 2014 7:45 pmPosted 3 years ago
            Smile

            I knew it was something like that.

          • Visit site
            August 5, 2014 8:12 amPosted 3 years ago
            Nick

            BANGERS!

            And we’re back to Lynda Bellingham… 😀

      • Visit site
        August 2, 2014 6:34 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Anniew

        Lynda Bellingham did a series of adverts for Oxo , a stock cube. Sue remembers it as an advert for Bisto – a similar product. Like Headhunter itself, too close analysis destroys the joy.

        So a police box can travel through space and time, is bigger on the inside than the outside and it’s occupant can regenerate into someone who looks completely different and is of a different age to the last ….huh?…huh….?

        • Visit site
          August 2, 2014 6:37 pmPosted 3 years ago
          Anniew

          Implausibility does not destroy enjoyment or life time devotion.

          • Visit site
            August 3, 2014 1:21 amPosted 3 years ago
            Dave Sanders

            Spoken like a true Orac. 🙂

          • Visit site
            August 3, 2014 1:19 pmPosted 3 years ago
            Ann worrall

            Glad I hit a appropriate gnomic tone! I practise in front of the mirror. Much like Avon. probably.

        • Visit site
          August 3, 2014 1:10 amPosted 3 years ago
          Dave Sanders

          I’d have less problem with it if it was an episode of the broader ‘science-fantasy’ of 21st-century Who (well maybe I wouldn’t, it would be a Journey To The Centre Of The TARDIS one but never mind that). ‘Making sense’ comes in different flavours – logical sense, where the plot all hangs together; aesthetic sense, where it all looks and feels ‘right’; and conceptual or metaphorical sense, where as long as what you’re doing fits the tone and internal consistency of the show and the viewer ‘gets’ it, there’s a lot you can get away with. Spods like me focus on plot-logic a lot, but as well as being the most difficult to pull off, it’s actually the least important of the three (or Genesis Of The Daleks wouldn’t be held as the classic that it is).

          The upshot of this is; the bloodless decapitation, batshit scheming and philosophising and sheer over-the-top poncing around is something you’d expect from say, Mark Gatiss pastiche-Who. It fits that model well. But Terry Nation pitched B7 to be more grounded in reality via contemporary metaphor. The episodes where sheer campiness is a side effect rather than an intent appear by and large to be the less popular ones. A piece of bibble like Ultraworld can be seen to be having a go at Star Trek, but Headhunter isn’t taking the piss out of anything but itself; the aesthetic sense isn’t there for me.

          • Visit site
            August 3, 2014 9:26 amPosted 3 years ago
            Anniew

            Ah interesting. How about psychological consistency? I think it’s episodes that get the group dynamics right that are popular and this one does whereas Animals didn’t. Also those dynamics shift as they do in real life, unlike say Star Trek or even Dr Who when the characters have fixed ‘heroic’ traits ( unless under alien possession or uncontrollable biological processes) . Whose going to come out on top this week and who is going to screw up? ( even who is screwing who) Who will control the increasingly unhinged leader? This is consistent with the original premise of ‘ dirty dozen in space’.

          • Visit site
            August 5, 2014 11:12 amPosted 3 years ago
            Fiona

            Yes, it is true. the best episodes are the ones where the group dynamics work as Annie says. (Maybe, as they say, women like people more? And men like stuff?) Which is why to me, after Powerplay (and so far in series 4) the group dynamics havent worked. There arent any, really.
            In Powerplay, it looked like Avon and Tarrant had really clicked and together with Dayna were going to have a new thing going. All sorts of stuff could have been done. Tarrant and Dayna: Avon’s new Young Team, full of enthusiasm for adventure. Tarrant more experienced, ruthless in a way Avon would like to be himself, in fact provoking Avon to be more ruthless and Dayna, the idealist, still really young and unworldly and getting more disillusioned as time goes on. Dayna falls for Avon badly, bringing her into conflict with Cally. Cally and Vila are the world-weary, saddened and exhausted Old Team, put out by the Young Team. Vila starts going to bits: Cally covers for him so Avon wont see….Avon starts falling for Dayna, and then the Anna thing happens and he knocks her back and there’s tension to burn….
            Wouldn’t that have been interesting! I would have liked it anyway. But instead, they decided to replace one curly-hair leader with another, so by the next episode, Tarrant was throwing his weight around, ordering everyone about and acting like he owned the place. Like Blake. It didnt work.
            There wasnt any set-up, unlike The Way Back and Spacefall, which introduced and steadied the characters into a perfect whole. There’s just an ill-fitting scrappy bunch with no purpose.
            And ever since, the only character with depth is Avon and the others sound empty and shrill. What do they feel and think about anything?Maybe Avon seems heavy-handed trying to play against this backdrop.
            Remember when Blake and Jenna and Travis an the Mutoid were fighting and Avon went to bed and Gan said Avon didnt care, and avon said you dont need to to be be irrational to prove you care…Vila wondered if he’d missed something and Cally said he had. So Gan didnt get Avon, Vila partly got him and Cally understood. Beautiful.

  • Visit site
    August 2, 2014 4:08 pmPosted 3 years ago
    JarrickA

    I’d give it a 7 too Sue’s commentary was great especially about Avon being pissed at the kids screwing up. It is like he got promoted to middle management and finds his staff is just not up to the job and he has to fix everything. Neil is right you really have to suspend your belief as to how the android moved the face and got Muller’s head to talk. There is really not a good way to come up with a convincing logical way to explain it and put it in the plot. Season 4 is really hit or miss. Assassin is ok. Games a bit better. Gold is average. Sand is not bad. But you can tell something was missing with these stories overall in this season despite the good performances.I find that the best episodes are spread out over the first three seasons and Season 4 eps are not that heavy in my rewatch rotation.

    • Visit site
      August 4, 2014 12:08 pmPosted 3 years ago
      The Grouchybeast

      It is like he got promoted to middle management and finds his staff is just not up to the job and he has to fix everything.

      Avon is the TV version of every programmer who bitched and moaned and complained endlessly about how terrible the people in charge were, and how he could do a better job than any of them…and then got promoted to management and was terrible at it. It’s one of my favourite things about him.

      • Visit site
        August 4, 2014 4:42 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Fiona

        To be fair, Avon’s idea of ‘being in charge” was to take the ship all by himself and run far away.

        It’s interesting to imagine what actually would have happened to him if he’d abandoned the crew on Horizon and run off with Orac and Zen for company.

        • Visit site
          August 6, 2014 3:25 pmPosted 3 years ago
          The Grouchybeast

          Nah, Horizon was just Avon doing the equivalent of that kid thing of packing up his favourite plastic dinosaurs and a peanut butter sandwich, and declaring that he’s going to run away from home, he really is, he’s running away RIGHT NOW. He needs an audience around to tell him how amazingly clever he is, and Orac won’t do that, while Zen doesn’t care.

          • Visit site
            August 7, 2014 7:02 pmPosted 3 years ago
            Fiona

            lol.
            And the ‘three Federation pursuit ships” were the equivalent of his mum saying “you can go if you want, but its Alphabetti Spaghetti for tea”.
            “I would have gone, if it wasnt for that. I would have”.

  • Visit site
    August 2, 2014 4:15 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Steve Manfred

    I’m still giggling at “rule the galaxy as father and box.” 🙂

  • Visit site
    August 2, 2014 4:34 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Dave Sanders

    A gigantic robotic error
    Has Orac doomscrying in terror;
    It sounds like a winner,
    Turns out a dog’s dinner,
    As nuanced as Hanna-Barbera.

  • Visit site
    August 2, 2014 4:40 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Dave Sanders

    Ehhhh… it’s not exactly Blade Runner, is it? Headhunter doesn’t contain a single braincell in its own empty skull. For a start, Orac was created to be an extension of Ensor’s personality. What’s Muller’s excuse? The android isn’t built in his own image; he isn’t a world-dominating psychopath (so we’re told). But the android’s self-aware ambition has to have come from somewhere. Basically Muller has uploaded his own background history and experiences into the android, he’s deliberately programmed the thing to recognize the limitless potential of this dangerous knowledge, but he’s installed the robot’s intelligence in a completely separate place from the safety switch that would stop that intelligence going berserk, and in that condition the thing has been activated before it can be rendered harmless. The only way this can *possibly* make any sense is that under duress he’s taking his revenge by giving the robot cartel exactly what they want in the worst form possible, and plans to take the inhibitor head as insurance and get the fuck right out of there before the carnage starts. But this implies that he knows full well what he’s created, and is happy to let it rampage wherever it wants to go to fulfill its own destiny. Alerting your rescuers and your wife to the probable danger when the getout plan is initially put in motion would have been nice, too.

    Besides, if the cartel intends to monetise a device that can fry or disrupt any system it feels like (and it must do, otherwise why would it ever have been built under these circumstances), then by design Vinnie from Death-Watch – an android that believes and can pass itself off to be human, while able to perfom superhuman feats – would have a thousand times the effectiveness as a military or espionage unit than one that’s two bolts short of a Frankenstein’s monster. Who’s funding this cartel, the Umbrella Corporation? It looks like clairvoyance is another of the android’s unnecessary talents to know that Vila would try to subdue it and thus allow it to play dead for a while in a cryosleep capsule. But since human eyes, brains and recognition of body language aren’t subject to the same disruption effect as medical sensors on a ship, how does this walking Uncanny Valley manage to fool *anyone*? How is it capable of working or emoting the head? The episode would be over in ten seconds if David Collings had been in it. Speaking of which, their definition of ‘seconds’ is way overlong too.

    Sooooo…. not just you, Neil.

    • Visit site
      August 2, 2014 5:07 pmPosted 3 years ago
      jsd

      Brilliant analysis!

    • Visit site
      August 2, 2014 9:04 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Anniew

      I thought the point of the Robot was that it was designed to connect with Orac so that together they could disrupt any system. Presumably in that case there would be no need to be subtle and make it look human but an inhibitor head would be necessary so it would only disrupt the systems it was told to disrupt. I assumed he and Avon had been in touch ( perhaps exchanging scientific papers ) about this . I haven’t watched it recently so I may have got it wrong!

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        August 4, 2014 10:04 amPosted 3 years ago
        Anniew

        Just re watched the beginning of Headhunter. Actually I just watched it. Feeling silly now as it’s clear Avon hasn’t spoken to Mueller. Mueller and Ensor were an item though so the robot was obviously designed as an upgrade. Walking because the Robot Cartel Company could send it to other groups who could use it hands free. Maybe a proto type and Mueller hasn’t got round to designing a human looking head? O who am I kidding – hoary plot device but I still love Headhunter – yes Dave for the ‘wrong’ reasons -I’ve always just bleeped over the dodgy science bits in any scifi show I’ve watched or just failed to realise they were dodgy. (Slinks back to gravy perfecting)

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      August 2, 2014 9:15 pmPosted 3 years ago
      dpc

      That’s all true but it can’t stop me from enjoying the story. 🙂

      B7 never had big arcs, as forgetting about Blake in series 3 proved. Each episode is, oddly, in its own universe…

      A reboot would do some good, but the show’s premise would likely be trashed in the process…

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      August 3, 2014 7:07 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Fiona

      wow brilliant assessment Dave.
      Also I noticed the long seconds. I was saying “one marshmallow….two marshmallow…” and it was not long enough. Filler like the quarry/pose for album covers last time?
      Often and often I think it should have been a 40 minute show. Half-hour just too short and 50 minutes just too long.

      I had some questions of my own. Namely, why is it that nobody ever remembers that Orac can miniaturize? Second, why is he/it so heavy? It’s transparent plastic. Thirdly, why do the helmets have giant crests…utterly ridiculous and fourthly, I know when they lost the Liberator they lost the wardrobe along with the treasure, but still, they are wearing the same outfits every week…did Blakes 7 lose the wardrobe budget?

      If they have no clothes, are they broke? Seems like a good time to become a Pirate Crew and make money the goal. After all, 4 of them are of a materialistic bent, only Dayna might want an ideal to follow, so she can be over-ruled democratically, as if democracy counted with Avon.

      so it was Oxo, eeh, that will learn me to read the comments first. Still cant remember why the meal was served on the tabletop and dont find it on youtube.

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        August 5, 2014 6:58 amPosted 3 years ago
        Anniew

        Possibly a protest serving because the family were not doing their share by washing up and they’d run out of clean plates? Either that or she’d been on the sherry.

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      August 4, 2014 4:49 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Fiona

      So the cartel cant possibly have ordered such a thing. Muller must have pulled off one of those ‘dont disturb: Genius at Work’ to keep them partly at bay.

      Does it need to fool anyone? If it can take over and subdue all other circuitry? Like Skylab on Terminator, becoming self-aware?

      Isnt it fascinating how since pretty much the dawn of technology, humans have feared our creations getting our intelligence without our conscience and running rampant? How come the creatures in these stories never figure out, what with the intelligence and all, that the major reason for conscience is so everyone can play nicely together, not just wipe each other out because no-one trusts anyone (I’m looking at you, Avon. Perhaps his comment about Cally being more human than him means more now). You cant get anything done without some trust. Its bad enough working in Asia.

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    August 2, 2014 4:47 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Dave Sanders

    No Sue; October 1981 would have made Headhunter a little over twelve years behind the times, ie. the first transmitted episode of Scooby-Doo.

  • August 2, 2014 4:52 pmPosted 3 years ago
    John Callaghan

    Another fun review! I haven’t watched s4 since transmission. I’d probably feel differently now – well, possibly – but Headhunter was the last B7 story I remember really enjoying (although Sand was nicely weird). Glad Sue liked it too.

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    August 2, 2014 5:03 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Rob

    ‘Headhunter’ is wonderful fun especially if you compare it to all that dreary nonsense Christopher H Bidmead was inflicting on us with Dr Who back in 1981. I thought Sue would enjoy this one and what a very enjoyable read this blog update was – well done to the two of you 🙂 The next eppy I would give a 5 or a 6 but after that, it’s mostly classic after a classic.

    As a few others have already said, Season 4 was well ahead of its time even after a very shaky start.

    8/10 for means Soolin is now the coolest woman in space.

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      August 2, 2014 8:56 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Dan

      Very different opinions coming out on the last few episodes of Season 4, which is confusing. But then, some people think that this was worse than Animals!

    • August 2, 2014 11:53 pmPosted 3 years ago
      encyclops

      all that dreary nonsense Christopher H Bidmead was inflicting on us with Dr Who back in 1981

      Bit of a typo there — I think you meant “all that awesome television Christopher H Bidmead was bestowing on us”

      HTH!

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        August 3, 2014 9:35 pmPosted 3 years ago
        DPC

        It’s possible to like Bidmead’s works, or dislike, while liking or disliking B7. There is nothing exclusive, mutual, or exclusively mutual going on.

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    August 2, 2014 5:03 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Dave Sanders

    No Neil, don’t shut up. Do go on please, I want to hear more.

  • August 2, 2014 5:06 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Chris Allen

    “I’m surprised the writer didn’t sue James Cameron”

    I’ve never seen it but in “Saturn 3” (1979) doesn’t “Hector”, the Demigod robot put Harvey Keitel’s head on it’s body?

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      August 3, 2014 1:51 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Steve Desmond

      I certainly had a Saturn 3 vibe while rewatching this. Now there’s a film I haven’t seen in a long time!

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    August 2, 2014 5:07 pmPosted 3 years ago
    jsd

    Nice review, I lol’ed a few times. Terrible episode though, I’m with Neil.

  • August 2, 2014 5:23 pmPosted 3 years ago
    encyclops

    I’m troubled by the fact that “Stardrive” scored one better than this, but 7/10 seems quite reasonable. I’m glad Sue enjoyed it, and for many of the same reasons I did. The “computers take over the world” idea isn’t one I’ve ever found super compelling — even in Terminator and The Matrix — but for some reason I found it properly scary in this. I get a little tense even now just hearing “WHERE IS ORAC?” in my head. Just me, maybe. Perhaps because it’s one of the only times we ever see Orac this out of control and this worried. When your unflappable supercomputer is scared, you’d better be, too.

    Speaking of unflappable, this is the episode where I officially fell for Soolin. Fantastic dialogue, some of which you’ve quoted above. She’s pretty good in the next episode too, as I recall — shame she didn’t get more time in the spotlight.

    I love “Headhunter.” I really don’t care that it doesn’t make any sense. I STILL don’t know what the hell was going on in “Terminal” but that didn’t stop me liking it too.

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    August 2, 2014 7:23 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Richard Lyth

    This is just what the show needed to perk itself up after a run of terrible episodes, a daft fun romp with lots of great lines. You wouldn’t want the show to be like this every week, but it’s good to know that it can be. And best of all, no Servalan for a change!

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    August 2, 2014 7:32 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Anniew

    All around my ship
    I’ll evade the headless robot.
    Yes all around the ship
    For at least an hour or two.
    And if any body asks me
    The reason for its interest.
    It’s all about Orac who the robot wants to woo.

    Everywhere in space
    They wonder how I did it.
    Place a human head
    On my cybernetic bod.
    To me a greater mystery
    Is Avon’s urge to change his clothes
    In the middle of a chase, but I guess he wanted to.

    All through sci fi circles
    The serious are trashing it.
    “Headhunter is rubbish
    Does my head in” they all say.
    But if anybody cares,
    The reason that I love it
    Is nothing I can justify. I just really do.

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    August 2, 2014 8:09 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Robert

    Sue 1 Neil 0. She’s bang on with this one.

    It’s so breezy, entertaining and fun I couldn’t give a toss if it all hangs together.

    And I LOVE the panicked ‘legging’ it shot where they realise there’s naff all they can do but get out of there.

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      August 3, 2014 9:36 pmPosted 3 years ago
      DPC

      Ditto.

      Yes, there are logic problems (no pool of blood, etc). Had this been made in 1985 with Eric Saward, every wall and ceiling in the place would have been dripping red.

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        August 4, 2014 1:40 amPosted 3 years ago
        Frankymole

        Maybe 31st century robots have discovered the hoover? Mutoids had no trouble draining bodies.

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    August 2, 2014 8:40 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Anniew

    It’s nagged at me for years what or who Mueller reminded me of and at last Sue has solved it for me. He’s exactly like an animated playing card!

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    August 2, 2014 8:51 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Amethyst

    This episode is funny on so many levels.

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    August 2, 2014 9:33 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Lawrence McIlhoney

    I loved Soolin here too. She even looks physically different. Don’t know if it’s a different makeup artist or what, but she’s the sassiest woman in Space 1981™. And you can’t fail to love Lynda Bellingham at her best. Every time I watch this, I want to marry her.

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      August 2, 2014 11:33 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Anniew

      Ah the lure of exceptional cleavage and the promise of meaty gravy.

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        August 3, 2014 7:09 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Fiona

        It’s a complete package, really, isnt it? Men are so simple.

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    August 2, 2014 9:37 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Karyl

    Let’s face it folks, the entire fourth season was absolute crapola. The heart of it was gone; the writers were either on strike, doing dope or using ghostwriters; the actors were more than a bit tired of doing the same old shit; and even the fans were going “WTF is going on here?”

    I hated the ENTIRE fourth season, mostly due to Cally’s death, because she was the ONLY one to keep Avon on an even semi-even keel, and her death, with Servalan’s subliminal conditioning sent him so off kilter, he never managed to get back.

    This episode really bugged me, because the android was SO FUCKING FAKE!!! Christopher Lee as the Mummy moved faster than it did, and HE was playing a two thousand plus year old cursed corpse! Yeesh!

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      August 3, 2014 12:02 amPosted 3 years ago
      Rob

      Can’t agree with a single word you’ve typed Karyl. Season 4 takes more risks creatively then the previous three and to have the ‘freedom fighters’ resorting to get rich quickly schemes and failing at every attempt to stop the Federation was and is inspired. Plenty of other sci-fi shows have weak resolutions and predictable outcomes, not this series which i guess is why Season 4 was pulling in 9 million viewers every week against Corrie. The finale is the perfect ending and fitting closure.

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        August 3, 2014 1:04 amPosted 3 years ago
        Frankymole

        1) What “Servalan’s subliminal conditioning”??

        2) Yes, the 18-month break seemed to do the cast and crew good. Change is as good as a rest, and they got both!

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          August 3, 2014 9:08 amPosted 3 years ago
          Smile

          They didn’t actually get an 18 month break. Finished recording Season 3 in March 1980 and started filming for Season 4 in February 1981. If it had been on the same schedule as previously they would probably have started around July or August 1980, so they got an extra seven months or so, but still slightly less than a year.

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            August 4, 2014 1:41 amPosted 3 years ago
            Frankymole

            Okay, eleven months’ rest then. My point still stands.

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        August 3, 2014 9:39 pmPosted 3 years ago
        DPC

        Agreed!

        The early episodes clearly have a rushed feel to them, we all know the behind the scenes reasons for that.

        “Gold” is a very decent “train robbery in space” story.

        Besting Coronation Street was no easy task, though ratings are overrated…

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        August 5, 2014 10:28 amPosted 3 years ago
        Fiona

        So you have to wonder what happened to all those other resistance groups Blake was always teaming up with. Avalon’s bunch, for example, plus didnt Cally say “Are we fanatics” and there was talk of a lot of people killed?
        Blake was pulling it all together until the war, so where are the rest of them? What can Avon do with his team of experts? Its even more doomed than Blake’s crusade, which actually wasnt doomed at all.
        Perhaps the other groups just dont trust Avon. “Werent you the one, right, where Blake would always bring his pilot along when he was coming to team up, in case you flew off with his top ship? That was you, right?”

    • August 3, 2014 11:52 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Andy Luke

      I hated both Seasons 3-4 but the re-watch is turning out some good stuff and I’ve had to reappraise my view. There’s promise to Avon’s 7, of a different structure, although sadly it’s too much in the background or in comments to things going on off camera.

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    August 2, 2014 10:33 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Sean Alexander

    Very silly but actually rather exciting in a way Blakes 7 hasn’t been since Terminal. The elephant in the room is the robot/android/playing card that balances a severed head on its neck and still manages to convince his fiancé he’s the real deal (Star Trek’s ‘What Are Little Girls Made of..?’ achieved something similar fifteen years previously). But after a run of episodes that were so dull they couldn’t even elevate themselves to silly this is at least replete with the the kind of cod sci-fi trappings that allow you to forgive the more obvious failings. Darrow’s back on form too and this crew as a whole appear to have finally gelled into something vaguely likeable. The inimical relationship between Muller-Robot and both Orac and Slave shows a hint of thought behind things too and the absence of Serv…Sleer is hardly felt. This isn’t vintage Blake by any stretch, but is certainly illustrative of some attempt to rise above the mundanity of a post-cancellation creative coma and deliver some fun and excitement. With just seven episodes left I was starting to wonder if Blakes 7 could still manage even that.

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    August 2, 2014 11:04 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Sally M

    I’m with Sue, I really like this one, silliness and all (god knows, after Power and Animals silliness is the LEAST of our problems 🙂

    Soolin started developing a personality late, but from here on I love her.

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    August 2, 2014 11:22 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Katie c

    Muller’s robot they thought was a doozie
    Til it cuddled to death his space floozie
    Tarrant said “WTF!
    Dayna quick blow it up,
    While Avon is still a bit woozy”

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    August 2, 2014 11:31 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Anniew

    I think season 4 was very brave because it showed things unravelling rather than the gallant little band winning out each week against impossible odds. Just surviving became the name of the game rather than winning. The show’s imagination exceeded its technical grasp but the episodes were seldom bland. How cool to have a super computer begging for human help to escape a super robot that could take over its programming and force it to destroy.

    • Visit site
      August 3, 2014 9:40 pmPosted 3 years ago
      DPC

      Especially the budget, but the “surviving vs winning” aspect nails it.

      Good synopsis of “Headhunter” as well.

  • Visit site
    August 2, 2014 11:33 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Katie c

    Spare us the technical details about the robot (I know its a bit stupid) but I love Headhunter, Avon is back on form and throwing trolleys and guns (and himself) dramatically, everyone has great lines and actually look like they’re enjoying themselves. Love Avon’s paddy at the end too. Great review Sue!

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    August 2, 2014 11:54 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Tim Pieraccini

    Back in 1981 this was the first episode that made me sit up and really take notice after a very dreary start to the season. Soolin/Glynis shows her mettle (and looks fabulous, as she will continue to do), and there’s some actual tension and drama! I grant you it’s very implausible, but, as with many others here, I don’t care.

    Is no one else charmed by the idea of the Muller Android and Orac running a café?

    • August 3, 2014 1:03 amPosted 3 years ago
      John Callaghan

      I am! They could serve Carte D’Orac!

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        August 3, 2014 9:27 amPosted 3 years ago
        Anniew

        Yes!!!!

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    August 3, 2014 1:14 amPosted 3 years ago
    Harriet

    I like what Soolin’s done to her hair.

    Yes!!! Sue’s noticed!

    I really have nothing more to say about Headhunter.

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    August 3, 2014 12:34 pmPosted 3 years ago
    azure711

    Chris Allen I concur regarding Saturn 3….( great film though oddly, I never made the Headhunter connection before). Sue I’m glad you enjoyed this (50 minutes of fun) episode 🙂

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    August 3, 2014 12:47 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Mycroft Badger

    I have many fond memories of this one; as a child, the headless robot, wandering around calling Orac’s name scared the shit out of me. Today, I still find it entertaining and very watchable, safe in the knowledge that the headless robot wandering around calling Orac’s name now scares the shit out of my son…

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      August 3, 2014 5:08 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Dave Sanders

      If Terrence Dicks had written Headhunter his way in the seventies when I was eight, everyone would be loving this today for the right reasons. In fact he did. Fang Rocks fall and everyone dies.

  • Visit site
    August 3, 2014 1:11 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Tim

    One of the better reviews this one, maybe if you do a third of these you should choose something neither of you have seen? Crossroads perhaps lol

    ” Lynda Bellingham could do a lot better, especially with cleavage like that. She must be wearing one hell of a bra.”

    And what image is on the page? One of Bellingham looking as if someone just found a lump in her gravy… tut tut..

  • August 3, 2014 2:42 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Alex Wilcock

    In an exciting twist, Neil and Sue have swapped heads this time – she’s the one bigging up the episode, while he gets all the best snarky lines. Especially
    “It’s Blake’s 7, with the emphasis on Se7en.”
    and
    “There was a queue.”
    Though other Sue still wins with
    “You wouldn’t know where to start.”
    Having started, the production team didn’t know how to continue, but imagine how fabulous this series could have been had they followed Bob Holmes’ example and alternated episodes of ‘Avon’s Two’ with ‘Orac’s Soo’. It might be the finest hour for both of them: Orac entirely in character, not wanting to rule the Universe because it’s too much work, and Soolin finally getting a character (Avon’s, mainly).

    I loved this review – the building anticipation as Sue works it out bit by bit, waiting for the other head to drop, and then the blissfully unexpected twist when Sue actually liked it rather than throwing a cushion. I can’t help loving Headhunter in all its bat***t-craziness too. Maybe it’s because it was such a relief after the most infamous episode of the series (well, infamously bad, as opposed to still more infamous in a different way that’s still to come…). But then I have a soft spot for all Roger Parkes’ unsteady but interesting scripts.

    Obviously, most people fall down at the two laughable elements to do with the head, the visual and the conceptual, but to me it’s just like an episode of a cheap horror anthology series like Tales of the Unexpected, Tales From the Darkside or Tales of Increasing Desperation where the twist often both looks and sounds utterly ludicrous but has such shameless fun in telling it. It’s an attempt to do something different with the series, and throwing every sort of haunting cliché at it to see what sticks is a hugely entertaining left turn. A strange new twist on the living dead; the circuit influencer itself a form of possession; doing the haunted house several times over, even with the crack of thunder; all with a paper-thin veneer of sci-fi justification to cover up that it’s a great big horror story in an unexpected setting.

    Well, that’s how I watch it, anyway, always a mix of uncanny thrills and laughing my head off.

    • August 3, 2014 6:00 pmPosted 3 years ago
      encyclops

      Several episodes this season seem even less abashed about being horror than usual. “Rescue” and “Headhunter” for me match up with D7, D9, and arguably D11 and D12 for being situations where “home” systems fail and the crew themselves are hunted by often inhuman forces. This isn’t an unusual theme for Blake’s 7 — count the number of times the Liberator is infilitrated or compromised, see “Sarcophagus,” and of course they’re always being hunted by the Federation — but there’s something impersonal about it this time around, accidental almost even when it isn’t. It’s hard to explain, but definitely a vibe of doom, helped I suppose by knowing it’s the last season and the visible step down from the Liberator and Zen to Scorpio and Slave. This is their last chance and one misstep could blow it. In this respect it reminds me a lot of season 18 of Doctor Who — the entropy increasing up to Logopolis. Something’s gotta give. Someone’s gotta die.

    • Visit site
      August 4, 2014 12:11 amPosted 3 years ago
      Anniew

      Yep!!! And didn’t you love the reference to space spanners- so much cooler than their terrestrial cousins. ( I mean Neil’s reference – its a trick the script writer sadly missed).

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    August 3, 2014 3:10 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Tim Pieraccini

    I feel it’s worth mentioning that as a late replacement for Cally, Soolin was, as far as I know, deliberately introduced very gradually. I think her character throughout is pretty consistent; it’s just that we don’t see much of it until this episode. It seems a reasonable way to go about things – we shall sadly never know if it would have worked to have had her fully involved right from the end of Rescue. I certainly wouldn’t have minded that.

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      August 3, 2014 5:02 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Dave Sanders

      A pretty bad move in any case for a show that knows it’s on reprieve and likely to wrap up just seven more episodes later.

      • Visit site
        August 3, 2014 10:24 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Rob

        I don’t think they knew for sure that this would be the final series when they began planning and shooting series 4, and there was no reason to when earlier repeats of season 3 were still attracting millions of viewers. Most viewers certainly had no idea either until the Daily Mirror revealed the ending on the day the finale was transmitted.

        • Visit site
          August 5, 2014 10:22 amPosted 3 years ago
          Fiona

          No way! did the Daily Mirror do that? do you mean, they revealed it would be the ending…or did they actually spoil the whole thing?

  • Visit site
    August 3, 2014 5:41 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Fiona

    Isnt Lynda Bellingham the one from the Oxo ads? No, not Oxo. An ad where she served all the food directly onto the table because it was so clean. and yet it is still saying Oxo to me. That cannot be right.
    I am trying not to just go and Google stuff. Apart from anything its become the death of conversation.

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    August 3, 2014 7:26 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Fiona

    I liked this episode although they always seem a bit too long, so they tend to lose pace. I do like the way they never have any sentimental lingering over anything…always, it’s time to go! and they go. I mean, Cally dies, they dont even light a candle. Dayna’s cracked on the head, Avon pretty much jerks her to her feet…he didnt even say Dayna! as he took off his ridiculous Roman helmet. Are they fighting Spartacus?

    Plus, love the way Avon left the girls to manhandle…womanhandle…two full-grown unconscious dead-weight men onto waist-high stretchers. “Medical unit!” and off he goes, not even, let me get the door for you. He’s a one for giving orders, isnt he, while stopping at the desk. Also, how did they bring him round when he got electrocuted? Its like there was a frame or two missing.

    Loved Avon(double gorgeous, except for stupid jousting gauntlets, why?) saying Orac would have to give him a better reason to kill Vila and Tarrant…took me right back to Horizon: “I am asking for the odds” (of surviving alone)..he had the same agonized look. Great when kicked off Restore Teleport! and even though Orac was supposedly right..in fact, was right… and the whole systems fail was a trick, what else could Avon have done?

    If Avon had followed Orac’s directives…then what? Vila and Tarrant die? And what, they abandon the ship? Then what, stuck on Xenon? I suppose it’s leafy, they could grow stuff to eat. If they could find seed corn. Orac didnt seem to have thought of the next step. They need Scorpio…or they forget the whole thing and settle down to mate. Avon plus Dayna and Soolin.

    I’d watch it.

    • Visit site
      August 4, 2014 12:04 amPosted 3 years ago
      Anniew

      There’s a hydroponic plant somewhere and a solar energy farm so survival would be a doddle but..this is Blakes 7. Dayna and Soolin would fall in love and the rejected Avon would feed them to the mysterious room in case they ganged up on him. He and Orac would then recycle the metal in the Hommick fortress and build a simple space craft and together they would fly the skies – a futuristic Flying Dutchman able to indulge any…….appetite….. Hang on. …Lucifer Revelation?

      • Visit site
        August 4, 2014 4:52 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Fiona

        Still need seeds. I also have grave difficulty seeing Avon in the fields. Feel Avon would likely prefer to die.
        Conical hat and ripped denim knee shorts, plucking off the caterpillars. Not even Avon could pull that one off.

        Sounds like Lucifer Revelation is good, then?

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          August 4, 2014 7:05 pmPosted 3 years ago
          Ann worrall

          The science is dodgy but I really enjoyed it.

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    August 3, 2014 11:56 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Anniew

    Aha just worked out what bothered me about Neil’s comments. If the robot had killed Mueller first (poison, electrocution, hugging?) a day before decapitation, then his blood would clot. If it then surgically removed the head there would not be massive blood loss for Tarrant to slip on.

    It could then ( thanks Frankie) keep the head connected to its shoulders by a force field and stimulate the relevant parts of the brain electronically to move the head. ( some reports if decapitation report that the head functions for a period after death with eye and mouth movements – so … Simples)

    I should definitely be spending my time dusting and perfecting gravy rather than on this nonsense but this is more fun!

    • Visit site
      August 4, 2014 2:26 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Dave Sanders

      Now all you have to do is explain how Muller’s death could be hidden from cartel security for twenty hours, given how used to constant surveillance future society is in this show.

      • Visit site
        August 4, 2014 7:07 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Ann worrall

        Back view. Turnip. Hood .

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        August 5, 2014 8:48 amPosted 3 years ago
        Fiona

        Come on Dave. He put it under a table. Foolproof.
        It’s where my cat hides when its time for laxative medicine.

        • Visit site
          August 5, 2014 11:35 amPosted 3 years ago
          Anniew

          Hiding the murder Dave? One of those loop things sci fi is so fond of which shows pics from the day before the murder. Security voice sounded mechanical so easily fooled and Robot Mueller should have no difficulty in setting it up. Prior announcement ‘genius working’ no interuptions.
          Sorry Katie I can’t resist the temptation to speculate.
          Actually – more of a troubling plot hole – how did Mueller’s lady get to Xenon? All the explanations I can think of are a bit wasteful on fuel, or did she have her own transport and if so where is it?

    • Visit site
      August 4, 2014 4:36 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Fiona

      Oh that is good thinking, Annie. Of course, that android was killing everyone by hugging.
      and its interesting people saying, how can it see without eyes and talk without a mouth…but its an android. No reason it should have same circuits as humans. Perhaps it ‘sees’ by a kind of sonar.
      I read about a blind kid whose mother refused to send him to blind school, just didnt ever tell him he was lacking anything and result was, kid developed a kind of bat navigation…he makes these click sounds and as they bounce off objects his brain configures them into shapes just as bats do. He never crashes into anything and can cross the road no problem. But kids raised to be ‘blind’ dont develop this sense, as they think they are missing something and they learn to use the white stick.
      Perhaps the android navigates like that.

      Didnt Tarrant think there was something funny when “Muller” didnt obligingly take off his glove to facilitate putting on the teleport bracelet?
      Also I thought the head/body connection was a big magnet. It looked like one.

  • August 4, 2014 12:03 amPosted 3 years ago
    Andy Luke

    Yeah, that went down well with me. Although…how many episodes now with Dayna rolling her head about on the floor?

    ‘Take Slave offline Tarrant.’ Yes Yes yes! Good thing they can trust Orac. Absolutely no bother there.

    And later, that scene were Avon and Orac are arguing… phenomenally tense! My favourite B7 moment in a long time.

    “Accept your domination Soolin. Surrender to your god!”

    This stuff had me in stitches, picturing Orac reading out bible verse in the street, or maybe warning Tarrant of estimated range and number of door missionaries. Time I tried the rhyming.

    Oracs gone all biblical-tronic
    After the slow clock delivered no tonic
    Countdown on Judgement Day
    5…………4………..Hey!
    Stop the clock Carol, it’s not working today

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    August 4, 2014 12:16 pmPosted 3 years ago
    The Grouchybeast

    Aww, nice score, Sue! I’ve always had a soft spot for Headhunter — great Soolin, fun plot, some scary bits. More of Avon’s terrible bad luck with experts.

    I loaned my B7 vidoes to a guy a work sometime in the early 2000s, and he said the special effects didn’t bother him, because he just pretended it was all local theatre. Muller’s robot is definitely one of the times when that’s a handy lens to watch through.

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      August 4, 2014 1:33 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Frankymole

      I’m possibly lucky in that my inner 11-year-old has never died; makes watching archive TV really easy!

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    August 4, 2014 4:06 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Rob

    ‘I loaned my B7 vidoes to a guy a work sometime in the early 2000s, and he said the special effects didn’t bother him, because he just pretended it was all local theatre.’

    Great way of looking at it 🙂 I love all this old multi-camera TV where actors had long scenes and often only one chance of getting it right before the studio lights were turned off at 10pm – it all adds to the tension. B7 would work very well as a theatre performance I think. I also love the fact that most of the time, the actors are actually reacting with physical effects (even if its the comically ‘headless’ Muller). None of this green screen nonsense and flash editing that we get nowadays.

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    August 4, 2014 4:12 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Ramiste

    Can we find out if the Unabomber ever watched this episode…?

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    August 4, 2014 9:45 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Katie c

    Don’t even try to explain to them Annie! Anyway there is very little blood spattered about the entire 4 series of Blakes 7. Amazing with all the violent deaths. The exception is in the “episode that must not be named.”

    “Local theatre” is I agree a great way of looking at it. Anyway who needs special effects when you’ve got Avon.

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      August 5, 2014 7:00 amPosted 3 years ago
      Anniew

      Thank you Katie – at least someone understands ( sobs)

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      August 5, 2014 9:21 amPosted 3 years ago
      Fiona

      Yeah, Avon is a very special effect. Or creates very special effects…wait, I wont go there.

      Actually, local theatre is a good way of looking at it..I would have enjoyed Rumours of Death a lot more if I’d seen it that way.
      The language too is very stagy, and the complete disregard of logic…it doesnt really matter if a play begins with a guy in a prison cell waiting for the Number 1 Torture Specialist to come and get him because you dont need the background. Its like a short story. So is it possible to see Blakes 7 as something really unique: A series of Play For Today but sort of with a vague link and with one character undergoing serious development?
      If that’s true that Paul Darrow was able to develop Avon then he did a good job, over-acted or not. Look at all those US shows like Law and Order where the characters never change for years and years.
      I’d like to have seen Vila become less chirpy and develop – through drinking more – into a snarling curmudgeon, unpredictable and maybe even a bit dangerous, and perhaps varied with those self-pitying complaints. Maybe start to lose his touch because his hands are shaking.

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    August 4, 2014 10:03 pmPosted 3 years ago
    wyngatecarpenter

    I’m with Neil! It’s better than the last two episodes but it would have to be Dawn Of The Gods not to be. The plot’s ok (a don’t casre if a plot doesn’t make sense as long as it’s watchable enough for me not to notice for at least 5 viewings) but it just doesn’t work onscreen – a prime example of B7 trying to be Dr Who and failing. In Dr Who they had time to build up the tension. Darrow really has lost the plot by this point. A mate of mine’s theory was that Darrow realised this would be his only ever big role so just decided to go for broke in the ham department. The trouble is he’s not particularly good at it.
    Soolin feels a bit like a generic B7 female crew member. Not Glynis Barber’s fault, it feels as if because she was introduced in a hurry that they hadn’t thought of a distinctive character for her.
    So far the only decent episode this season is Traitor.

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      August 4, 2014 10:37 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Rob

      ‘B7 trying to be Dr Who and failing’ – clueless comment if i’m honest. Dr Who had *very* little tension between 1978-81 and I can’t think of any Dr Who story that is remotely like ‘Headhunter'(?)
      As for your friends theory regarding Darrow’s ‘ham’ acting – utter nonsense again unless he was talking about Colin Baker? 😉

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        August 5, 2014 11:43 pmPosted 3 years ago
        wyngatecarpenter

        Did I say Dr Who 1978-81, or did I just say Dr Who? You know, base under siege, killer robots chasing people down corridors (slowly) with the ultimate aim of taking over the universe, gothic overtones. Does that sort of thing ring any bells? So no I don’t think my comment was clueless. Dr Who 1978-81 had very little tension but overall (with the exception of Underworld on the Dr Who side of the equation and the brilliant Orbit on the B7 side) was more entertaining than B7 season 4.

        Although Season 4 of B7 in turn was far better than the Colin Baker years in Dr Who. And yes the observastion probably does apply to Colin as well.

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    August 4, 2014 10:07 pmPosted 3 years ago
    wyngatecarpenter

    On the other hand it’s a much better week for Darrow-watch (the last episode was Avon-lite and didn’t throw up much although “Get your things” was delivered a tad overdramtically for a simple instruction. Spoiled this week: “MULLER!!!” “SHUT…UP!!” and “It’s superstitious halfwits like you….” were all considered but I would put forward “RESTORE – THE -TELEPORT!!!”

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    August 5, 2014 7:05 amPosted 3 years ago
    Anniew

    That’s psychology! Avon is fighting his own survival instincts and nearly losing the battle to listen to his conscience. Hence the angry ‘just do it before I change my mind’ delivery.
    Sheesh don’t you boys understand anything about—-ACTING.

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      August 5, 2014 11:45 pmPosted 3 years ago
      wyngatecarpenter

      I thought it was just Darrow shouting! Alas I don’t think we’ll ever agree about Darrow in Season 4

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        August 6, 2014 9:38 amPosted 3 years ago
        Anniew

        I agree it’s an acquired taste but be honest, if he’d underplayed it, would we still be talking about the series? Patrick Stewart couldn’t over play it if he tried and William Shatner was as subtle as a warg strangler but it was he who came out in top in the battle of the Captains in Star Trek Generations. Sometimes the subject matter demands operatic or melodramatic delivery for emotional impact. It’s the bat crazy beneath the veneer of logical control that makes Avon compelling.

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    August 5, 2014 8:17 amPosted 3 years ago
    Nick

    Funny thing is, like Neil, I’ve never seen this epsiode. I missed the original transmission and the 1981 repeat… somehow I didn’t feel like I missed out.

    I still don’t!

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    August 5, 2014 10:08 amPosted 3 years ago
    Fiona

    Ok some of these episodes have blended together…which was the one where Avon sent Dayna and Tarrant? was it? into a trap? The stories have made no impression on me at all.

    But Annie, love the interpretation! It makes sense Avon would be as obnoxious as this, after the loss of Blake, and the terrible Anna thing, better to make everyone dislike you, never take such a risk again.
    Poor old Avon pouring his heart out to Anna’s brother and she is a Federation agent all along.
    “But I always loved you Avon!”
    “No, can’t get past the Federation agent thing, sorry”. Has to be a deal-breaker forever that one.

    However, Annie, consider: you are saying, Avon is allowing conscience to get the better of rationality and yells restore-teleport, damn-your-eyes, Orac! in case he changes his mind against his now unbelievably complex self. (More layers than Andrex this one).

    But, what if…now look at the shot again, Dayna and Soolin are clinging to each other, hanging on his every word, in helpless thrall to him…funny how they have no independent action, as Jenna and Cally would have had….and bear in mind that in episode-I-cant-remember (and I really went and looked) he sent people into a trap, (not imagining that am I, they really have just blurred) what if that is, as it were, acting? For their benefit? Because it isnt good to have a leader who will do stuff like send you into a trap.
    To state the bleeding obvious. Wouldnt this get them on side again and convince them he cares? Especially if he didnt actually think there was a genuine danger? After all, Avon who will send you unwittingly and helplessly into a trap will surely be Avon who will leave you on a ship with no oxygen on the say-so of a brain in a flashing box, right?
    And therefore Soolin and Dayna would have to think of killing him while he slept, or it will be them next.
    Maybe Avon will be happy then.

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      August 5, 2014 11:26 amPosted 3 years ago
      Smile

      Stardrive, do you mean? Avon sends Dayna and Vila there without either realising that they’re there as bait.

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        August 6, 2014 12:28 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Fiona

        yeah, thats it, thanks. Even synopses didnt mention that.

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      August 5, 2014 4:56 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Anniew

      I think the only reason they follow is because he’s older, more experienced and has ideas about how to solve problems which might work if he just had a bit more luck. Okay he lost Liberator but he has now provided a ship with stardrive and teleport. Not many could do that. Also I don’t think Avon ever cares about what other people think of him. Anyone who goes around in thigh high leather boots has got to be pretty comfortable in their skin. I think when he says He wants to be free of Blake he means free of that irritating habit Blake has of awakening his conscience so that he risks his life for others. Remember he plays the percentages as well: Tarrant Villa suffocation/ unleashing unknown danger? O hell doesn’t compute. Yells.

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        August 5, 2014 9:57 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Smile

        ‘Okay he lost Liberator but he has now provided a ship with stardrive and teleport. Not many could do that.’

        Although it would be fair to say that it was mainly Dorian, Orac – for the teleport, and that was building on earlier attempts – and Plaxton who supplied those. Avon did help to resolve the situation in Rescue when Vila gave him the gun, and he did also take action to sort out what was going on at the end of Power, although the intervention or assistance of, respectively, Vila and Orac was also important on those occasions. While he has indeed contributed in different and significant ways to getting them re-established, it was very much out of their hands that anyone landed on Terminal in the first place. Had no-one gone there, they’d probably still be stranded.

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          August 6, 2014 12:13 amPosted 3 years ago
          Anniew

          Yep but it was Avon’s vision and interpretation of Orac’s stuff that got those things. None of the rest of the crew had the experience or know how or courage to have done this except maybe Villa and he always chose to follow. Even if they had been stranded on Terminal, Avon had the skills and determination to survive. I think he might even have enjoyed a kind of frontier life existence and I bet he’s the only one who would remember the formula for and find the ingredients for bomb making, though Dayna would have made the bullets and weapons, Tarrant hunted and Vila would be the cook. Of course they’re a team but they need him to lead.

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            August 30, 2014 11:19 amPosted 2 years ago
            Smile

            Mind you, if we try retracing what would probably have happened in Rescue if we were to take Dorian and the Scorpio out of the equation, Dayna and Vila might well have been killed by the snakes or whatever they were that were attacking them by then. By the time that Avon and Tarrant had gotten back to where they’d left them and Orac they might only have found two corpses, and of course, shortly after that, there’s an earthquake and volcanic activity, so they would both have had to ensure they could find somewhere safe from the lava flow…

            Lucky for them all that Dorian turned up really, on the whole, wasn’t it? 😉

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            August 30, 2014 12:38 pmPosted 2 years ago
            Smile

            BTW, apologies for the late reply, I’d only just found the post in question.

            Considering it afresh, it’s probably, as much as anything a matter of temperament and personality, insofar as most of the rest of the crew don’t really think of themselves as possible leaders anyway. Vila certainly wouldn’t, he’s by far the most passive of them, the others would never seriously, and it would probably never occur to him in the first place. Dayna’s too young and relatively naive, in that she had a very isolated upbringing. She’s more of a fighter or killer than a leader. Soolin is also more of a freelance mercenary, and the fact that she’s only recently joined probably gives her a somewhat junior status among the group. Tarrant is the only one who might think of himself as potential leadership material, but his various attempts at challenging or rivalling Avon in S3 tended not to work out well. Harvest of Kairos doesn’t really do his reputation any good, and when he tries to defy or face up to Avon in Sarcophagus and Terminal, he ends up more or less backing down. By the last series, he seems to have mostly given up on this and more inclined to let Avon take on most of the responsibility and calculation. Given that they may feel they have few options elsewhere, and they mostly don’t aspire to leadership, Avon dominates by default, and the only way to change that would be if he either left, or was killed, or permanently separated from them by some means.

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        August 6, 2014 12:29 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Fiona

        Calf-length, Annie. Be fair. Calf-length boots. Thigh-highs have a quality of nightmare. Drag-queen Avon…no, no

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          August 6, 2014 1:45 pmPosted 3 years ago
          Anniew

          Thigh high in Shadow. Check it out. Hooker boots.

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            August 6, 2014 6:35 pmPosted 3 years ago
            Fiona

            NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!! computer is calling it a day!!! I wont be able to watch the end of the series now, the sound has gone all weird and shaky and I really cannot afford to buy a new Mac now!!
            Oh God that is just so depressing. Has anyone else ever had this issue.
            I love this blog I love watching along and commenting. I suppose I could watch on my phone, but I was somewhat hammered and I fell asleep on the bus and dropped it and cracked the screen.

            There’s the Kindle I guess.

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          August 7, 2014 6:59 amPosted 3 years ago
          Katie c

          He’s got them on in Horizon too Fiona. Not in Gambit though which was disappointing.

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            August 7, 2014 7:09 pmPosted 3 years ago
            Fiona

            Oh God, why did I go and look. That scene with Avon discussing the percentages of running with Orac is one of my very fave scenes. I didnt notice the boots. They blended with the trousers.
            Oh my God, they are heinous. Now I will never unsee them.

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    August 5, 2014 3:22 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Robert Rowles

    I’m with Neil, Dave and Wyngate: this one sucks big time. The concept and the appearance of the headless robot are both embarrassing. Also, the hydroelectric generator that appears out of nowhere to resolve the plot, seems really clunky. Still, it doesn’t have me pulling my hair out like Assassin: where both Avon and Tarrant (more so) are shown to be monumentally, and implausibly stupid. You know, based on the evidence of the first six episodes of this season, and the fact that the series never captured my affection quite like DW, I might have cancelled it. But then…there’s Orbit, Warlord and Blake to come: sublime in different ways, some of the best drama (in any genre) I’ve ever seen.

    • August 5, 2014 6:27 pmPosted 3 years ago
      encyclops

      I dunno about “Warlord,” dude. When I rewatched it recently I was surprised at how much more overwrought it was than I’d remembered. Tarrant is pretty frustrating in it, too. But it’s certainly not dull.

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      August 5, 2014 10:47 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Robert

      WARLORD???

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      August 5, 2014 11:48 pmPosted 3 years ago
      wyngatecarpenter

      I thought Assassin was ok when I watched the VHS release – I watched it again recently – ouch! I would be waiting with dagger ready on Friday but I’ll be away.
      Orbit , despite it’s faults, is still the best B7 episode full stop.

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        August 6, 2014 1:48 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Anniew

        I’ll do it for you. Darrow watch ‘Mon..aaaay’. Plot holes. Performances even more hammy than Avon. Duff fights.

        Still love it though.

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