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.
This 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.
Sue: 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.
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.
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…
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.
Speaking 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.
One 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.
Sue: 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.
Sue: 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.
Grovane: 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?
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.
Meanwhile, 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!
Sara 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?
Seconds 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!
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?