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Mission to Destiny

An Avon calls…

Sue continues to have a complicated relationship with the theme music.

Sue: It reminds me of The Onedin Line. It’s much too horny for me.

Me: I beg your pardon?

Sue: Too many trumpets, so don’t get any funny ideas. ‘Mission to Destiny’, eh? Sounds like the title to a bad seventies disco album.

She doesn’t mention Terry’s name any more. She simply sighs.

Mission to DestinyThis episode begins on:

Sue: The starship Ann Summers.

This starship is piloted by a very familiar face.

Sue: He’s familiar.

Me: He’s best known for playing a serial killer in Coronation Street, but you wouldn’t know about that because you didn’t watch it. I wouldn’t allow it.

Sue: What I do know is that he definitely had a crafty sniff before he said his line. He must have a really bad cold. Or a drug problem.

The Ortega‘s pilot attends to his duties.

Sue: Is that a Dot-to-Dot puzzle?

The pilot is bludgeoned over the head by an unseen assailant, who then smashes the Ortega‘s controls to pieces.

Sue: If we were watching Doctor Who, we wouldn’t have seen any blood.

Me: Unless you count those episodes of Doctor Who were we saw some blood, of course.

Sue: It’s a lot more adult than Doctor Who. It’s trying to be edgy and shocking. But it’s mostly shocking.

The Liberator stumbles across the stricken starship.

Blake: How long before we’re in teleport range?

Zen: That will depend on speed as yet unspecified.

Mission to DestinySue: Can’t they download a different voice for Zen, like you can with your Sat-Nav? You know, so he doesn’t sound quite so arsey all the time.

Zen: Confirmed.

Sue: Because every time Zen says “Confirmed”, all I hear is “**** you”.

Avon, Cally and Blake teleport to the Ortega.

Sue: This is nice and bijou. At least it isn’t just an empty room. There’s a nice selection of board games, too.

Blake can smell trouble.

Avon: Could be the change of atmosphere, a different recycle system to that of the Liberator?

Blake: No, it’s more than that. I can’t place it…

Sue: Whoever smelt it, dealt it.

Sue approves of Avon’s new look.

Sue: I like the different shades of grey. I guess it’s supposed to represent Avon’s character. That’s clever, and it also explains why Vila is dressed like a dick.

Blake and Cally search the Ortega‘s cabins, which contain the ship’s unconscious crew.

Sue: Did Blake just stifle a yawn? I know this is tedious, but even so.

Mission to DestinyCally suddenly succumbs to the arms of Morpheus and Blake has to snap her out of it.

Sue: (groggy) I can’t. It’s… a… Terry… Nation… script…

It’s gas, actually.

Blake: It’s Sono Vapour. Tranquilizing gas.

Sue: So the pilot didn’t have a cold or a drug problem after all. It makes perfect sense now.

Blake closes the cabin’s ventilator.

Sue: He pulled the knob off! It just bounced across the floor.

Blake finds Avon in the part of the ship where the crew grows their marijuana.

Sue: They had a heavy night on the spacey super skunk. They’re sleeping it off.

Cally continues to investigate the ship.

Sue: Either someone is playing an old silent film with a tinkly piano soundtrack in that room, or Dudley is taking the piss.

Mission to DestinySpeaking of film…

Sue: Why have they switched from video to film all of a sudden? Did they have some old stock they needed to use up?

Me: They must have gone on location to film this room.

Sue: What a waste of money! It’s just a panel with a thing sticking out of it! Did they really have to leave the building to film that? They could have shot that anywhere. I would have murdered the producer for that. And it’s really grubby film as well. If this was a Doctor Who DVD, it would look a lot better than this. This is worse than VHS.

Avon finds the gas cylinder which sent the crew to sleep.

Me: Maybe it was a weird sex game that went horribly wrong.

Cally finds the dead pilot, and then, when she’s sure she’s safe, she holsters her gun.

Sue: What a clart on! What kind of holster uses velcro? If there’s a gunfight, that velcro will get her killed, you mark my words.

The crew find a vital clue on the Ortega‘s flight deck: a series of numbers have been scrawled in blood.

Avon: Five four one two four. Whatever that might mean.

Blake: Could be anything. Call sign, transmission frequency, navigation index, anything.

Sue: Maybe it’s the date? I still don’t know when Blake’s 7 is supposed to be set.

Mission to DestinyOne of the Ortega‘s crew members, Sara, wakes up and screams the place down.

Sue: Auditions for Doctor Who are in the studio next door, pet.

When the rest of the Ortega‘s crew wakes up, everyone convenes in the ship’s games room. They all look as if they’ve been date raped.

Sue: Miserable bunch, aren’t they. They could give Blake’s crew a run for their money when it comes to seething resentment and barely disguised hatred for one another.

Me: Do you recognise anyone in this room?

Sue: They all look vaguely familiar. Are they Play School presenters?

I pause the DVD and point at John Leeson.

Me: Well that’s K9 for a start.

Sue: Like I’m going to recognise him! He looks nothing like K9. Is this what the actor did when K9 couldn’t appear in Doctor Who because the floors wouldn’t support him, he did some Blake’s 7 to keep himself busy?

Sue would rather spend some quality time with the regulars.

Mission to DestinySue: You’ve got six characters and a grumpy computer to deal with, so the last thing this show needs is another six characters! What was Terry thinking? And their collars are ridiculous. Are they a travelling band of court jesters?

No, they’re racing home to the planet Destiny with a cure for a nasty fungal infection that will wipe out the planet in a couple of months.

Sue: Blake should ask them to join his crew. They don’t like the Federation very much, and they are definitely mardy enough. It could be Blake’s 12, that way he would have a few in reserve, just in case anyone buggered off or died.

Blake offers to take a precious neutrotope to Destiny – it will take the Liberator four days to make the trip, as opposed to five months in the crippled Ortega. Avon and Cally agree to stay with the Ortega‘s crew until Blake returns.

Sue: Why don’t they take them all home at the same time? There’s plenty of room on the Liberator. No furniture, but plenty of room.

Cally: We must help these people.

Avon: Must we? Personally, I don’t care if their whole planet turns into a mushroom.

Sue: Avon gets all the best lines. They should have given him his own series.

Cally heads to the ship’s stores to find some laser transfer linkage, whatever the hell that is.

Mission to DestinySue: Cally is painfully thin. She needs some mince and dumplings inside her.

Cally explores the stores with a very large torch.

Sue: It’s a shame their guns don’t light up. After all, their guns do look like giant light filaments.

Cally opens a cupboard, which results in a man rolling off the top of it onto the floor.

Me: That’s Stuart Fell.

Sue: Of course it is. Who else could it be? I was thinking about him only the other day. And before you ask, yes, Stuart fell very well.

Avon calls everyone to the ship’s drawing-room.

Sue: It’s turned into Midsomer Murders in Space. I don’t like it.

Avon: I know – we all know – that one of you is the murderer.

Dr Kendall: In the meantime, you will all resume your normal duties, and anything that you see or hear that seems unusual, report to me at once. Thank you.

Sue: And whatever you do, try not to get killed!

However, not everyone shares Avon’s suspicions.

Mission to DestinyGrovane: There could be somebody else on the ship, somebody we don’t know about, a stowaway!

Sue: Yeah, it could be the alien catheter cock monster out for revenge! Anything’s possible. And probably better than this.

Meanwhile, Blake is racing to Destiny with some life-saving anti-fungal cream.

Sue: I don’t understand why they didn’t all get on the Liberator and go there together. There are only so many board games you can play before boredom kicks in.

A meteorite storm is blocking the Liberator‘s path, but going around it will add several days to their journey.

Vila: Let’s go round.

Sue: Oh **** off, Vila.

A member of the Ortega‘s crew, a man named Sonheim, kills some time by flirting with Cally.

Sue: He’s the worst actor to appear in Blake’s 7 so far, and I’m counting that shit Ewok with the wild staring eyes. He’s dreadful.

Back on the flight deck, Avon is jumping to conclusions.

Cally: So who do you think it is?

Avon: Mandrian.

Sue: Which one is Mandrian again? I can’t keep up. They need name badges. Either that or just say “the one with the beard” or “the one with the lazy eye” – that’s the only way I’m going to keep up.

Mission to DestinyMeanwhile, the Liberator is flying through a meteorite storm.

Sue: Asteroids would have been very popular in pubs right about now, so that makes sense.

The Liberator makes it out of the meteorite storm just as its force wall runs out of power.

Sue: They sold that scene with face acting, a piece of string, and no special effects. I don’t know whether to applaud or boo.

I can tell that Sue’s attention is beginning to wander when she fixates on Avon’s clothes again.

Sue: There are typewriter keys glued to his tunic. What’s that all about?

Me: Maybe you press them and they heat up his vest. I don’t know.

Sue: They are driving me mad. I just want to go up to him and press his buttons.

Me: Yes, I bet you do.

Avon finally solves the case.

Avon: Right from the start, we thought that those were numbers. They are not, they are letters.

Cally and Sue: Letters?

Avon: Rafford was dying. It’s difficult to be neat under those circumstances. Let’s start with the one and the two.

Avon connects the dots to form a word: SARA.

Sue: So the Dot-to-Dot puzzle was a massive clue all along!

Mission to DestinySara holds everyone at gunpoint.

Sue: It’s either a gun or a torch. It’s difficult to tell.

Meanwhile, Blake suddenly realises that he’s left the precious neutrotope on the Ortega.

Sue: You should have checked before you left, you moron! It’s the first thing I tell my students when they take video equipment out of the building: always check the box before you leave! Oh, that makes me so angry…

At least Sue finally knows who Sara reminds her of; it’s been bugging her for ages.

Sue: I’ve got it! She’s Leslie Ash before Leslie Ash turned into a fish.

Avon punches Sara in the face. Sue is shocked and appalled.

Avon: I really rather enjoyed that.

And that line tips her over the edge.

Sue: Please tell me that didn’t happen.

She boos loudly at the screen.

Blake returns with the Liberator, which is just as well because another ship is on its way to blow the Ortega to pieces.

Sue: Hang on a minute. Did they have to go back through the asteroids again? How could they do that without their force whatsit? If they went round the asteroids, that means Avon has been sitting around for days. Terry Nation doesn’t understand time, does he?

Mission to DestinySeconds before Blake can teleport everyone to the Liberator, Sara tears off her bracelet and throws it across the room.

Me: That’s another one they’ve lost. The rate they’re going, they won’t have any bracelets left soon.

The episode concludes with Blake taking everyone back to Destiny.

Sue: WHY DIDN’T THEY DO THAT IN THE FIRST PLACE? ARGH!

Cue credits.

The Score:

Sue yawns, and I don’t think the Sono Vapour is to blame.

Sue: What a boring place to set a story – a square space ship. So dull. Avon was the best thing in it by a mile, but I’m not sure about him becoming a space detective. It doesn’t suit him at all. And punching women in the face? He can **** right off. If he does that again I’ll have to switch to Team Blake. Apart from that, what can I say? It was pointless. And where the hell are Travis and Servalan?

3/10

Next Time:

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79 comments

  • Visit site
    January 24, 2014 10:14 amPosted 3 years ago
    Shan

    Highlight of my internet surfing week (well, this and the free weekly Crossed comic) …

  • Visit site
    January 24, 2014 10:35 amPosted 3 years ago
    django

    Great comments, however disapointed that it scored so low. I loved this episode when I saw it as a child and I still love it now! I especially loved how the answer is right in front of you all the time!

  • Visit site
    January 24, 2014 10:41 amPosted 3 years ago
    Dave Sanders

    Admission of Desperately Running Short Of Ideas.

  • Visit site
    January 24, 2014 10:46 amPosted 3 years ago
    Dave Sanders

    If Sue thinks Tudders sounds arsey *now*….

    Yeah, we’ll be here all damn year if every episode’s going to prompt an ‘if Sue thinks X is Y now, wait till Z’ response. 😛

    • Visit site
      January 24, 2014 11:19 amPosted 3 years ago
      John Miller

      Confirmed.

  • January 24, 2014 11:05 amPosted 3 years ago
    John Callaghan

    Another witty instalment. Are you going to do video commentaries, too? (If so, I nominate Gambit.)

    A chum of mine tells me that the show had a film budget for every episode, unlike Who which could spread its budget across stories. I’m sure your well-informed commenters can tell me if that’s true. It would explain why from time to time they appear to travel to a location of an unfurnished room with a bucket in it, or something.

    • Visit site
      January 24, 2014 12:40 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Lettered

      The filming would have been at Ealing for this one, so really just another studio rather than an outside location.

      • January 24, 2014 5:39 pmPosted 3 years ago
        John Callaghan

        Thanks, Lettered. Although it’s clear I’ll have to make the wry irony in my comments more explicit in future!

    • Visit site
      May 11, 2014 4:30 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Fiona

      Saw a little Making Of documentary on youtube and they said yes, they did have a budget per episode…and it was 50 quid. It’s what they said! they said it was not a legend.
      50 quid!What does one explosion cost? And nearly all the episodes were set in the same quarry and a disused power station.

  • Visit site
    January 24, 2014 11:10 amPosted 3 years ago
    Dave Sanders

    “Zen, give me a complete audio analysis of the transmission signal.”

    “Confirmed. Preliminary analysis detects progression of aural tones in a repeated regular series. This series is both artificial and archival in origin. Logical deductors suggest two functions; to provoke an atmosphere of suspense in scenes of people sitting around talking, and the purpose of budgetary efficiency.”

    “Stock music.”

    “Confirmed. Further analysis reveals an encrypted code phrase triggered by the pattern of visual and audio stimuli. Decrpytion and translation is as follows:”

    Suelin: “Is this a Camfield?”

    (Blake collapses to his knees clutching his temples)

    “RENOUNCE! RENOUNCE DUDLEY SIMPSON AT THAT PARTY!”

    Glen Avon: “Ooh dear, he’s off again. That’s next time on Adventures With The Wife & Blake.”

  • Visit site
    January 24, 2014 11:15 amPosted 3 years ago
    Rob

    I did think that Sue would really struggle with this one particularly with the punch (though it hints that Avon is something of a live wire which we see more of later on).
    I always tend to skip this one but ‘Duel’ is next and it’s an absolute gem of a espy 🙂

    • Visit site
      January 24, 2014 11:22 amPosted 3 years ago
      John Miller

      I wonder what Sue is Gorn to think of it Duel?

      • Visit site
        January 24, 2014 12:39 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Dave Sanders

        The ghost of Gene Roddenberry is now thinking ‘where’s the Gorn gorn?’

  • Visit site
    January 24, 2014 11:21 amPosted 3 years ago
    John Miller

    Maybe it was because I was a lot younger when I first saw it, but did anybody else think “Jo Grant” when they first saw Sara?

    • Visit site
      January 24, 2014 12:41 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Lettered

      That hadn’t occurred to me before, but now you mention it, there is a resemblance…

    • Visit site
      January 24, 2014 11:27 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Mat Dolphin

      Yep, she does have Jo Grant hair.

  • Visit site
    January 24, 2014 12:11 pmPosted 3 years ago
    The Grouchybeast

    > Terry Nation doesn’t understand time, does he?

    No, he really doesn’t. Or distance. Or the difference between a solar system and a galaxy. Bless him.

    > Avon punches Sara in the face. Sue is shocked and appalled.

    And this is before we get to any scripts by Robert Holmes, who can’t write women, or Ben Steed, who won’t stop writing about them.

    • Visit site
      January 24, 2014 12:20 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Dave Sanders

      I think there’s a difference between ‘can’t write women’ and Gambit, where he really, really, really doesn’t want to.

      • Visit site
        January 24, 2014 1:56 pmPosted 3 years ago
        The Grouchybeast

        Okay, I’ll concede Robert Holmes might be able to write women, but from Blakes 7, it’s frankly very hard to tell. As well as Gambit, there’s also Killer, where Jenna the experienced space-farer stands there for a couple of minutes while Blake lectures her about space ship design, and then she and Cally vanish for the rest of the episode. Oh, and Orbit, which is Avon, Vila, and the guest characters.

        I like a lot of things about Robert Holmes’s episodes, but it always seems like he just isn’t interested in the regular cast, especially the female regular cast. He just wants to play with The Doctor — sorry, Blake and/or Avon — Vila the companion, and his own characters.

        • January 24, 2014 8:31 pmPosted 3 years ago
          encyclops

          A short list of my favorite Robert Holmes women would include:

          * Liz Shaw
          * Jo Grant
          * Sarah Jane Smith
          * Leela (in Talons, but in everything else too obviously)
          * Romana
          * Chessene o’ the Franzine Grig
          * Servalan (in Traitor and Orbit, and probably a few others we’ll come to)

          I could say more, but you get the general idea. I’d agree with Dave that it’s clearly a matter of choice on Holmes’s part.

      • Visit site
        January 26, 2014 4:00 pmPosted 3 years ago
        wyngatecarpenter

        I blame Terry Nation, who definitely couldn’t write women, judging by the fact that Jenna and Cally are both a bit bland in comparison to the male characters (ignoring Gan). I think Robert Holmes tended to focus on the characters that he thought were most interesting , ie Avon and Vila. You could hardly accuse him of sidelining Servalan.

    • Visit site
      January 24, 2014 4:52 pmPosted 3 years ago
      solar penguin

      To be fair, he has known the difference between a solar system and a galaxy ever since Daleks’ Masterplan.

      MAVIC CHEN: As you say, I am Guardian of the Solar System. But that is nothing more than a part, however influential, of one galaxy. Would you be satisfied with just a part of a galaxy?

      And Terry will prove he knows it again, when we get to Star One. It’s just the simpler ideas of time and distance that confuse him.

      • Visit site
        January 24, 2014 4:58 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Frankymole

        That’s what a script editor is for…

        • Visit site
          January 24, 2014 5:48 pmPosted 3 years ago
          The Grouchybeast

          And, sadly, the script editor is about to have a lapse of concentration when he gets to Duel.

          TRAVIS: “Blake. The other patrols have pushed him into this galaxy. I knew it, I knew it! This time I’ve got him.”

          • Visit site
            January 26, 2014 1:34 amPosted 3 years ago
            Dan

            Though it was established in the first episode that the light speed limit has been broken.

          • Visit site
            January 26, 2014 3:03 pmPosted 3 years ago
            Frankymole

            Just as well that ships travel faster than light, otherwise it’d take at least 5,000 years to get to Cygnus Alpha and back – Captain Leylan’s bonus probably wouldn’t cover the inflation.

      • Visit site
        January 26, 2014 4:02 pmPosted 3 years ago
        wyngatecarpenter

        I hate to be pedantic….actually that’s wrong, I like being pedantic. Star One was written by Chris Boucher

  • Visit site
    January 24, 2014 12:27 pmPosted 3 years ago
    BWT

    “Sue: Avon gets all the best lines. They should have given him his own series.”

    Yes. Yes, he does. And he is always the best thing in it. Another episode I don’t remember much of. Will have to re-watch it again. Or, on second thoughts, not.

    • Visit site
      January 24, 2014 12:42 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Lettered

      “Sue: Avon gets all the best lines. They should have given him his own series.”

      Which they kind of did a little further on…

      • Visit site
        January 24, 2014 2:01 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Harriet

        Which they kind of did a little further on…

        And look how well that turned out.

  • Visit site
    January 24, 2014 1:26 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Gareth M

    ‘Too horny’ is not how I’d describe anything in Blake’s 7, even the theme music.

    I don’t understand the reference to the “starship Ann Summers”.

    Thinking about it, there’s a lot of not-tablet use in Blake’s 7. Maybe Apple could retroactively sue the BBC for using their idea for they came up with it.

    I like Zen’s attitude, it’s much better than other spaceship computers.

    It’s a very Doctor Who attitude, when the knob comes off Gareth Thomas and Paul Darrow just keep going with the scene as though it was meant to happen, lest they do a retake.

    “Sue: Miserable bunch, aren’t they. They could give Blake’s crew a run for their money when it comes to seething resentment and barely disguised hatred for one another.”
    This is what Blake’s 7 does so well, there’s lots of seething resentment acting in every episode.

    I kinda thought the reason they didn’t all go off in the Liberator is that while their spaceship is crippled, it’s still a spaceship. They’ve spent all this cash on the neutrotope, and they don’t want to abandon a spaceship that’s (mostly) okay, especially if the bank’s empty.

    I think it was good, if questionable for Avon to punch out Sara. She had already killed someone by this point and was willing to sell out a whole planet.

    I actually quite enjoy Mission to Destiny. It’s a murder mystery in space, don’t think about it too hard and it all makes sense. The numbers that are letters is something things like Jonathan Creek exploit, Midsomer Murders has probably done it as well (admittedly I’ve never watched a whole episode). I like that it’s Avon and Cally together on the Ortega, and that Avon doesn’t give a shit what happens to their mushroom filled planet. The shot of the Liberator flying through the asteroids is quite good, as is the Liberator flying up to the Ortega that’s slowly going around in a circle.

    • January 24, 2014 3:10 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Neil Perryman (Author)

      I don’t understand the reference to the “starship Ann Summers”…

      http://bit.ly/1g8uj2t

      • January 24, 2014 7:20 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Glen Allen

        That’s not only dry but quite clever. If only there was a google link so I could find out how to do it 🙂

      • Visit site
        January 25, 2014 9:37 amPosted 3 years ago
        Gareth M

        Thanks.
        I did that before posting and couldn’t work out what lingerie and sex toys had to do with spaceships.

        • January 25, 2014 11:36 amPosted 3 years ago
          Neil Perryman (Author)

          Lucky you.

          • Visit site
            May 5, 2014 8:29 pmPosted 3 years ago
            Mark

            Ah, the innocence!

        • Visit site
          January 25, 2014 11:47 amPosted 3 years ago
          Frankymole

          Maybe they’re to do with the horny music 🙂

  • Visit site
    January 24, 2014 1:40 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Tony T

    My biggest problem with this one is that Kendall shows Blake how the neutrotope is stored in a safe that only he has the key and combination to, and then in the next scene says “Sara, go and get the neutrotope, please,” and she CAN.

    • Visit site
      January 26, 2014 3:15 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Sam

      I fanficced this episode once to show that Kendall and Sara were actually in cahoots and this was the key piece of evidence 🙂

  • Visit site
    January 24, 2014 4:39 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Sean Alexander

    Dull, dull, dull, dull, dull. I think Nation had seen Chris Boucher’s ‘The Robots of Death’ and thought ‘I can do that!’

    The only highlights – and this is becoming a cliche now – are Avon playing Columbo and, as mysoginistic as it was, the one-liner after punching Sarah. Sorry, Sue!

    A sign of how dull this was I was ticking off the Who guest stars: Leeson, Carl ‘Nimrod’ Forgione and the recently departed Barry Jackson. Which only reinforces the Midsummer Murders vibe.

    Richard Hillman got out while the going was good.

    • Visit site
      January 24, 2014 11:21 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Rob

      I do the same when i watch some of the duller Who stories, always punctuated with: ‘oh that actor was brilliant in Blake’s 7’ 🙂

  • Visit site
    January 24, 2014 4:53 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Frankymole

    I know I watched this as a child because I always remembered the bit where Stuart Fell fell off the cabinet. And that’s the entirety of my memory of it until the videos came out. Says a lot!

  • Visit site
    January 24, 2014 4:59 pmPosted 3 years ago
    solar penguin

    I always thought the reason they didn’t all go off in the Liberator is that they didn’t trust Blake. There’s no way they’re going to let him kidnap them and take the neutrotope too. That’s why they stay behind and keep Avon and Cally hostages.

    • Visit site
      March 3, 2014 10:20 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Graeme

      Also, with an unexplained death on-board and a couple of crew members willing to cut each others throats, I don’t think Blake would want his hands full keeping this lot down for 4 days.

  • Visit site
    January 24, 2014 6:41 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Nick Mays

    “Cally suddenly succumbs to the arms of Morpheus and Blake has to snap her out of it.

    Sue: (groggy) I can’t. It’s… a… Terry… Nation… script…”

    Absolutely Grade ‘A’ classic! 🙂

  • Visit site
    January 24, 2014 7:01 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Richard Lyth

    The problem with murder mysteries is they really need a decent group of interesting characters full of hidden secrets to delve into, which seems to be somewhat beyond Terry Nation’s skills to pull off. The revelation that the ‘numbers’ really spelt out ‘Sara’ was pretty clever though (wonder which Agatha Christie novel he nicked that from?) and Paul Darrow does well in the role of detective – he could have made a good Sherlock Holmes, as Avon’s already basically a high-functioning sociopath. Hope the episodes get better soon, if only for the sake of Sue’s sanity…

    • Visit site
      January 26, 2014 4:20 pmPosted 3 years ago
      wyngatecarpenter

      “The problem with murder mysteries is they really need a decent group of interesting characters full of hidden secrets to delve into, which seems to be somewhat beyond Terry Nation’s skills to pull off.”

      Nail on the head. They also need more than 50 minutes in which there are also te regular crew to fit in. Doesn’t help that the Ortega crew are asleep for about a third of the episode either. The numbers/letters twist is pretty good, probably best thing about the episode.

      “Hope the episodes get better soon”

      Briefly before a swift decline towards the end of Season 1. Season 2 is much better imho.

  • January 24, 2014 8:38 pmPosted 3 years ago
    encyclops

    Sue: Because every time Zen says “Confirmed”, all I hear is “**** you”.

    Splendid. I look forward to Sue’s commentary on later computers.

    I remember enjoying this one when I watched it recently, though it’s full of really dumb moments like the missing neurotrope. I’m a sucker for a murder mystery, even a terrible one.

    As for the punch (justifiable) and the sadistic one-liner (less so): as much as we love a charming sociopath in our fiction, the reality is that sooner or later they’re not going to be OUR sociopath anymore. By definition they’re going to get around to doing something that we don’t like. Be careful how attached you get.

  • Visit site
    January 24, 2014 9:32 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Mike

    Neil,

    Are you going to tell Sue next episode is a Camfield?

  • Visit site
    January 24, 2014 11:34 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Mat Dolphin

    I like this one, but I seem to be in the minority…

  • Visit site
    January 25, 2014 12:29 amPosted 3 years ago
    Jo

    That the Ortega people show so little suspicion of Blake’s people feels a bit odd. Waking up from a drugged sleep to find one of the crew dead and the ship crawling with strangers, I know who I’d demand some alibis from first. Particularly when they start offering to *help* transporting the valuable cargo…

    I’m a bit surprised at the outrage over Avon punching a WOMAN. Wouldn’t it be a lot more sexist (not to mention stupid) if he *had* hesitated to hit her simply because she happened to be female? He’s in a fight with a known murderer, not having a domestic with his girlfriend.

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      January 25, 2014 5:10 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Beth

      Yeah, I agree with you Jo – I think Avon was totally justified in punching Sara because she wants to kill all of them. The comment afterwards is maybe a little too far – but I think it actually says stuff about Avon that’s interesting. It’s not that Avon’s a mysoginist who wants to hit women (except when written by Ben Steed but Ben Steed couldn’t write himself out of a wet paper bag) it’s that he’s intensely practical and possibly more violent than he’d like to think he is.

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        January 25, 2014 7:53 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Dave Sanders

        Don’t ask what that paper bag is wet *from*.

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        January 25, 2014 8:25 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Jo

        Yes. Or more violent than he’d like to be, at least. “Brains, not brawn,” and all that.

        I love the general consensus on Ben Steed in these comments. Almost makes me feel sorry for him (but only almost.) But while Steed’s episodes give an overtly sexual and/or misogynic context, there’s nothing in Avon’s comment that says it must be interpreted that way. I suspect most people have had to suppress a desire to slug someone at one time or another, regardless of their gender, and would have loved to have a legitimate reason to follow through on the impulse. Come to think of it, I could easily imagine Avon expressing similar satisfaction had he ever got the chance to punch *Blake* in the face… 🙂

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      January 25, 2014 8:04 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Dave Sanders

      I imagine Sue will get really torn about the issue when we reach Assassin.

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    January 25, 2014 12:52 amPosted 3 years ago
    Dave Sanders

    “And punching women in the face? He can **** right off.”

    Sue will want to punch *everyone* by the time she finishes Power, but especially Ben Steed. Again.

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    January 25, 2014 2:07 amPosted 3 years ago
    Heath Belden

    This is the episode in which someone left a white styrofoam coffee cup sitting on a set wall right behind Avon’s head in the drawing-room scene, isn’t it?

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      January 25, 2014 11:49 amPosted 3 years ago
      Frankymole

      The Liberator crew use Styrofoam cups (with a silver sticker round them), clearly they’re very popular amongst spaceship crews in the New Calendar… lightweight so don’t damage the Styrofoam walls 🙂

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        January 25, 2014 8:06 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Dave Sanders

        But you wouldn’t want to leave a dirty cup on one. Styrofoam doors are particularly susceptible to coffee cup Myrkas.

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      January 26, 2014 12:49 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Nick Mays

      Maybe in the Second Calendar intact styrofoam cups (which don’t decay easily) are very prized antiques!

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    January 25, 2014 11:19 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Marionette

    I’m not sure that Avon punching Sara is misogynistic. I mean she is the villain and she has a gun. It shows that he considers her a credible threat. What was he supposed to do? Immobilise her by lightly holding her upper arm? That would be the standard for Doctor Who of the period and it’s massively patronising.

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      January 26, 2014 12:47 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Nick Mays

      Would it have been better if Cally or Jenna had slugged her? Or shot her?

      Hell, if Leela had been on board she’d have knifed her!

      Having Avon punch her to immobilise her and save lives is far more realistic. Indeed, it might have been more realistic if he’d shot her.

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      March 3, 2014 10:26 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Graeme

      Quite right. Sara was armed. Avon disarmed her. She struggled and elbowed Avon in the chest. Avon decked her.

      As Soolin would say “You don’t me to kiss her, do you?”

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    January 26, 2014 12:29 amPosted 3 years ago
    DPC

    Avon always makes the episodes more watchable.

    Can’t wait to read Sue’s responses to “Duel”.

    The good news is, series 2-4 are coming. Chris Boucher typically impressed me with his level of character detail…

    “Mission to Destiny” feels like pure filler. Using a trite trope, no less. It wants to be clever, but the rapid handling of the meteor storm the Liberator had to pass through before realizing they were duped and having to go back (then back again) is just numb…

    “The Web” was sadly better…

    Ben Steed – yeah, his B7 scripts are typically horrible… with one arguable exception…

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      January 26, 2014 1:40 amPosted 3 years ago
      Dan

      Are the next three seasons better? I just read a comment somewhere claiming that S4 was worse than 1-3.

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        January 26, 2014 2:30 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Frankymole

        A matter of taste, there’s no objective measure of what’s “better” – one man’s Orbit is another man’s Harvest of Kairos!

        • January 26, 2014 3:23 pmPosted 3 years ago
          encyclops

          Likewise, one woman’s “Gambit” is another woman’s “Animals.” 🙂

          Actually, in preparing that rejoinder, I had a hard time narrowing down one particular B7 episode I loved, and a similar time narrowing down one I hated. There are a handful I’m not fond of, and quite a few I really like, but on the whole I find it’s a surprisingly consistent series.

          For me that includes Season 4, which somehow ended up being the only one I’d managed to record as a kid when they showed them on PBS, and as a result it’s the one I’ve seen most often by a factor of at least four. There are some really crap episodes in Season 4, and a few really amazing ones depending on your criteria. In that respect it’s like every other season. I think it’s a little more colorful, bleaker, and uglier all at the same time, none of which is a condemnation.

          I’d say seasons 2 and 3 are where the heart of the series is, but I don’t dislike 1 and 4 at all. The downside to all this consistency is that it’s going to be tougher to get a 10 out of Sue. I can really only think of a few episodes that seem to have a shot, but at the moment I have no idea what she’ll warm to and what she won’t. It’s exciting!

  • January 26, 2014 3:23 amPosted 3 years ago
    Doc Whom

    I can’t see why anyone would object to punching a murderer who’s trying to sell out her whole people for a profit. Or why anyone would object to the puncher enjoying it.

    Can it be anything other than that it’s a man punching a woman. Which is a pretty sexist attitude.

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    January 26, 2014 4:14 pmPosted 3 years ago
    wyngatecarpenter

    ” Avon gets all the best lines. They should have given him his own series.”

    Season 3 & 4 – turned out to be not such a good idea after all. In fact I think this episode is the forerunner – Avon as the lead, forcefully dealing with evil women.

    Sue’s on top form here, but then there is much to mock. I once read an interview with Terry ****ing Nation where he suggested this may have been his favourite B7 episode, that it proved you could do a whodunnit in space (didn’t prove it was a good idea though), and that he really should have saved it to use as a film script. The man was clearly deluded and anyway, why didn’t he pitch is as a film script anyway if it was that good? Were Hollywood execs likely to turn round and say “Hang on , wasn’t this a Blakes 7 episode?” It’s not as if he didn’t recycle the same old ideas and again and again and again.
    Why does Avon not only turn his back on Sara when he’s exposing her as the murderer, but also let everyone else do the same thing. Not as clever as all that is he?

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    January 27, 2014 2:20 amPosted 3 years ago
    Lauren

    I actually quite enjoyed this one – Avon’s turn as Poirot was the moment I fell in love with him. My only gripe would be that the murderer was too obvious – I thought Sara’s scream was so annoying and so sexist that it couldn’t possibly be real.

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    January 28, 2014 2:53 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Chris Allen

    “I can’t. It’s… a… Terry… Nation… script…”

    For me this is one of the most forgettable episodes of the lot. Despite having seen it several times over the years I still struggle to remember whodunnit.

    3/10 was generous.

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    January 29, 2014 8:37 pmPosted 3 years ago
    wyngatecarpenter

    The story title was presumably a product of Terry Nation’s Random Story Title Generator

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    March 3, 2014 9:57 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Graeme

    “Sue: Is that a Dot-to-Dot puzzle?”

    Yes, Sue. They’ve graduated from Sudoku, here!

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    May 11, 2014 4:25 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Fiona

    I actually liked Avon punching the girl. Avon is absolutely unafraid to be completely bang out of order and disobey all the rules.
    There’s a later episode where Avon was called on to shoot a guard and the director told Paul Darrow to tell the guard to turn around, English-style, give him a sporting chance, confront death, etc. And Paul Darrow wouldn’t do it. He said Avon wouldn’t do that. It isn’t rational. He would just shoot the guard in the back. He insisted.
    And he also said he really enjoyed playing Avon, he felt sorry for Blake, because Blake couldn’t punch girls in the face and shoot people in the back …”and I could, and did”.
    and yet, he’s meant to be such a nice man…

  • May 12, 2014 1:49 amPosted 3 years ago
    Elizabeth Lang

    ” it also explains why Vila is dressed like a dick”

    LOL Love your eloquence, Sue.

    “Miserable bunch, aren’t they. They could give Blake’s crew a run for their money when it comes to seething resentment and barely disguised hatred for one another.”

    Glad I’m not the only one who sees that about the Blake crew. Some seem to think it was roses and party time and that everyone loved Blake during his reign as leader.

    “Avon: Must we? Personally, I don’t care if their whole planet turns into a mushroom.” And then he says that he’s only interested in the mystery.

    Love Avon’s lines too. Especially when his actions don’t actually match his words. Even though he says these words, he spends almost all his time helping the Ortega crew fix their ship while it’s Cally who traipses around the ship trying to figure out the mystery. If Avon really was only interested in the mystery and not the crew, it would have been the other way around. Plus, it’s Avon later who risks his life going after Sara who has already proven murderous.

    This episode is one of my favorite because of the wonderful interaction between Avon and Cally. They already act like a team that’s been together a long time and it’s cute how they seem to finish each other’s sentences during that meeting where they discuss the strange goings on.

  • May 12, 2014 1:56 amPosted 3 years ago
    Elizabeth Lang

    This episode also contains one of the scenes I like the least, the one at the very end when Blake sneak-blows up the ship that is docking with the Ortega without first finding out who they are or if they had anything to do with Sara.

    There is no scene or mention of Blake or his crew trying to contact the docking ship. Nor are we shown Sara contacting them, though she is happy when she hears shooting sounds, which is her assumption, unless we want to think she has real telepathy or has x-ray vision.

    And the claim that who else could it be, what is the possibility that someone accidentally finds the Ortega in space. Except…the Liberator did already so I think the chance is not all that out of the question.

    I love how Dr. Kendall has a shocked and sad look on his face when he realizes what Blake did.

    Kendall and the Destiny folks so far seem to be the only truly moral people in that universe. They would have brought Sara (and by extension, her cohorts) back for trial. And note that AVON agreed with this, Avon who has no problems saying cynical things.

    And those who claim Avon was only agreeing with them because he was acting ‘nice’ because his life was in their hands…er…then why doesn’t he act that way with the Liberator crew or the people on the London?

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