How To Get Ahead In Terrorising…
Sue: 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.
Back 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.
Tarrant 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.
Sue: 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?
Me: 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?
Slave 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?
Soolin: 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.
I 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!
Sue: 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?
Orac 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.
Vila: 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?
Me: 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.
The 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.
Dayna 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.
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.
Avon: Shut up!
Orac: Yes, master.
Sue: Brilliant. Now leave him outside – let’s see how he gets on when it rains.
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!
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!