Doran is a moron…
Sue: Ben Steed. Why does that name ring a bell?
Me: He wrote The Harvest of Kairos. You know, the story you refused to give any marks to the other week. You must remember it.
Sue: I’m still trying to forget it.
I neck a glass of single malt whisky (a Father’s Day present from Nicol).
Sue: The Liberator looks like it’s just been through a space ship version of a car wash.
Vila: We’ve been following Servalan for twenty-seven days…
Sue: Eh? What?
Yes, our intrepid heroes are currently chasing Servalan’s giant space crocodile.
Sue: That’s a turn-up for the books. I thought they were supposed to run away from her? That’s how this show is supposed to work. What’s changed?
Avon thinks his arch-nemesis is heading for the planet Calcos.
Tarrant: What would Servalan want with a penal colony?
Sue: I could think of a few things…
Me: Penal colony, Sue. Penal.
Sue: Oh. Sorry.
Servalan’s ship approaches the so-called Outer Darkness, but Avon is determined to follow her. When Vila protests, the crew turn on him.
Sue: Vila is the only person who’s making any sense. It’s the annoying way he does it that rubs people up the wrong way.
Servalan’s ship suddenly disappears from view.
Sue: Did they run out of special effects, or did the vision mixer fall asleep in the middle of a wipe?
The Liberator ends up bouncing off an invisible planet, which results in Vila performing a spectacular cartwheel.
Sue: (laughing) Excellent. I’ll give him 9.5 for that, the daft sod.
On the planet Sardos, two women have noticed the Liberator‘s near miss.
Sue: I’m guessing that Poola is a futuristic version of Paula, and Chesil is their version of Shazza. I’m also guessing that this is one for the dads.
I knock back another whisky, resisting the urge to wolf whistle at Chesil as she walks away from us in her skin-tight trouser suit.
Sue: Steady on, Neil.
Sardos is surrounded by an energy field that makes it impossible to both see or penetrate the planet. Not that it stopped Servalan from landing there.
Dayna: We should have killed her when we had the chance.
Sue: Which chance is she talking about? There’s been so many.
The Federation control Sardos, and they aren’t very happy with Poola’s decision not to report a strange object bouncing off the stratosphere. A mysterious voice seals her fate.
Moloch: Give her to your men.
Sue: Dear me. I don’t like the sound of that.
Servalan has arrived on the planet at the request of Section Leader Grose.
Sue: Is she Tony Blair to his John Prescott?
Me: Yes, he does look a bit like John Prescott.
Sue: And she’s committed loads of war crimes.
When Poola is handed over to Grose’s men, she is referred to as a “present”. I pour another double and brace myself.
Sue: And I thought The Harvest of Whatsit was sexist bollocks. I almost don’t know what to say. ****ing hell, Neil.
Chesil (aka Katy Perry) is violently assaulted when she tries to intervene.
Sue: Can I have a whisky?
Tarrant decides to hitch a ride on a transport ship that’s heading for Sardos, but he has to take Vila with him because he’s the only member of the crew who knows how to open a door.
Sue: I’d rather ask Dayna to blow the door open than take Vila with me. Vila will get Tarrant killed… On second thoughts, he should definitely take Vila with him.
Vila and Tarrant teleport to the transport ship, where a party is already in full-swing.
Sue: Are pirates singing behind that door? If they know any songs from The Pirates of Penzance, Tarrant won’t be able to resist.
Vila and Tarrant have teleported on opposite sides of a bulkhead door and it’s up to Vila to find a way through it.
Sue: So Vila’s found the ship’s glory hole. Now what?
Vila is interrupted by one of the ship’s passengers and Tarrant is forced to open the door himself.
Sue: We’d better make ourselves comfortable, we could be here a while.
Tarrant’s progress with a laser cutter is agonisingly slow, but the director is happy to stick with it anyway. And then John Prescott slaps a woman’s arse.
Sue: Am I allowed to give minus scores?
Me: It didn’t stop you when we watched Doctor Who.
Sue: How low can I go?
Servalan discusses the whereabouts of her battle fleet over cheese and coffee.
Sue: At least she arrived there dressed for dinner.
Me: She’s always dressed for dinner.
Servalan gives Grose a good dressing down.
Servalan: Section Leader, after your court martial, I shall give you an hour to get your personal effects together.
Sue: That was one hell of an annual appraisal. Nice canapés, though.
Grose isn’t perturbed by this reprimand and he wants Servalan to see something.
Grose: This is no ordinary planet.
Sue: It’s a rapist’s paradise.
On the planet’s surface, a group of men are singing while they march.
Prisoners: (singing) It’s great to be free! It’s great to free!
Sue: (singing) If you’re a man on this planet, it’s great to be free!
Vila has befriended a convict named Doran.
Doran: When they dragged me into that prison cell, they said, “Look at the sun! Look at the sun! Because as long as you live, you’ll never see the sun again.” And I haven’t. In fifteen years, I’ve never seen the sun.
Sue: He’s talking about Page 3, you know.
Doran: Or a woman.
Sue: I ****ing knew it. This is horrible, Neil. I never thought I’d see Terry Scott like this. June won’t like it.
Me: That isn’t Terry Scott, but never mind.
Vila loves his new mate and he doesn’t like it when Tarrant tries to break them up.
Sue: This episode just went back into positive score territory because Tarrant fell over. If they kill him off, I’ll give this episode 11 out of 10.
Tarrant pulls a gun on his so-called colleague…
Sue: He just stepped over the line. I’m sorry, but you can’t do that. What a ****.
Avon wants to teleport Vila and Tarrant back to the Liberator before things get out of hand.
Sue: Paul Darrow is trying to make this sound really exciting, even though it clearly isn’t.
When Tarrant attempts to contact the Liberator, a man armed with an impressive-looking weapon appears behind him.
Sue: Is that a rocket launcher? For God’s sake, FIRE!
Tarrant is shot. I punch the air.
Me: 11 out of 10! There you go! You can’t go back on your word, Sue. 11 out of 10! Unbelievable!
Sue: EH? WHAT?
Me: You just got your wish. Tarrant’s dead.
I demolish another whisky.
Avon: Tarrant is not as important as the Liberator.
Sue: Yes, but even so, that was still a bit of a shock. I sort of knew they were going to kill him – they were setting it up nicely for him to die – but the way they actually did it was –
Me: Tarrant isn’t dead, Sue.
Sue: I know that, stupid. I’m getting my own back. You must think that I was born yesterday, you dick.
The man who shot Tarrant retrieves a card from a machine, which he then flaps around in the air.
Sue: Has he taken a Polaroid selfie next to the corpse to prove to his Facebook friends that he killed the mighty Tarrant?
Grose is still threatening to show Servalan something interesting.
Grose: You want to see something extraordinary? Very well then, Madame President – something extraordinary.
Sue: It’s his pornography collection. It really is extraordinary.
Doran opens up to his new friend, Vila.
Doran: My problem was always women.
Vila: You like them?
Sue: Right. So one of the so-called good guys is a rapist. Wow. Unless the Federation have made him think he’s a rapist when he isn’t actually a rapist. You know what the Federation are like.
Me: Nah, I’m pretty sure he’s a rapist, Sue.
Grose demonstrates a very special machine to Servalan.
Sue: It’s a 3D printer. So what?
The machine can replicate anything. Even Earl Grey Tea.
Sue: Just think, if they had a bigger box, they could stick the Liberator in it and make hundreds of copies.
Servalan has walked into a trap. Grose only wanted her ship so he could transform it into a fleet of giant space crocodiles.
Sue: Oh, I was so close. Do you know something, Neil? This is getting interesting…
When Servalan demands to know how Grose plans to operate his new fleet, he places a mouse in the replicator.
Sue: They’re going to pilot their ships with mice?
But the mice don’t work.
Sue: That’s a shame. I would have paid good money to watch mice shooting at the Liberator. That would have been brilliant.
Grose introduces Servalan to Colonel Astrid.
Sue: What the hell is that? It looks like a troll doll in a nappy. Urgh, make it go away!
It looks like Servalan’s time is finally up.
Moloch: Give her to your men.
Sue: I think I’m going to be sick.
I don’t think it’s the whisky.
Servalan: You will suffer for this, Grose.
Sue: Has there ever been a more aptly named character in a TV show? I’m actually on Servalan’s side this week. Sort of. I want Avon to swoop in and save her.
Doran has a “present” for Vila.
Doran: I promised you a woman.
Servalan has been chained up in a tent.
Doran: Go on!
Sue: Terry Scott is channelling Blakey from On the Buses now. What the hell am I watching, Neil?
Servalan persuades Vila to join her. No, not like that.
Dayna and Avon teleport to Sardos and it doesn’t take them very long to find the replicator.
Sue: Wouldn’t it be funny if Avon opened the box and he found Tarrant’s decapitated head in there.
Avon finds an apple instead, which he eats enthusiastically. Meanwhile, Servalan and Vila are still searching for a way off the planet.
Sue: If this planet generates its own light, you’d think they’d turn it up a bit. I can’t see a thing.
They stumble upon a rapist building a fire. Vila tries to surprise him but he makes a right pig’s ear of it. Sue can’t help but laugh when Servalan rolls her eyes and intervenes.
Sue: Why use a heavy rock when there’s a gun right there? She’ll break a nail.
Servalan ends up shooting the guard anyway.
Me: Who was that, Sue?
Sue: That was Stuart Fell, Neil. Not his best fall, I must say. He should have done a cartwheel. He could have shown Vila how it’s done.
Avon and Dayna find the man in tank.
Sue: That would have ****ed me up if I’d seen that as a kid. It’s horrific – and shit at the same time. Didn’t it traumatise you, Neil?
I sink another whisky and shake my head.
The people of Sardos decided to predict what their race would look like in two million years time. It dawns on Avon that this machine could bring their prediction to life.
Sue: Why would anybody want to do that? What would be the point? Idiots.
Grose’s men take Avon and Dayna prisoner.
Sue: This is what happens when you don’t watch the ****ing door. How long have they been doing this sort of thing? Rule Number One: watch the ****ing door!
Servalan blasts several rapists to death with her sidearm, before grabbing two pilots and escaping in a space ship. It’s just a shame that this happens off-screen and it’s left to Tarrant to summarise the events.
Sue: I knew he wasn’t dead. I just don’t understand why.
The sadistic Grose decides to torture Avon, beginning with his injured wrist.
Sue: Paul Darrow’s startled sigh just then suggests to me that the bad guy wasn’t grabbing his wrist.
Doran bumps into Katy Perry.
Sue: Oh no. Please, God, no.
Me: They offered this part to Arthur Mullard, you know.
Sue: Please don’t. I feel queasy enough as it is.
Doran misses Vila terribly.
Sue: You know, this would be sweet if he wasn’t a serial rapist. But he is a serial rapist, so I’m finding it hard to give a ****.
But there’s a method to Ben Steed’s madness: the convicted rapist and murderer decides to trust the Katy Perry look-a-like with the tight-fitting trouser suit and revealing cleavage. You know, instead of just raping and killing her. Can you see what he did there?
Sue: Need more whisky.
Tarrant, Vila, Doran and Katy Perry join forces to storm the computer room. A tense stand-off ensues.
Sue: It’s turned into Reservoir Dogs. But with demented rapists instead of bank robbers.
Doran starts shooting the place up.
Sue: Yay for the convicted rapist!
Doran is killed a few seconds later, along with Katy Perry.
Sue: I can’t believe they didn’t get their own spin-off.
Moloch finally reveals himself.
Sue: Oh my God. It’s a hairy Dalek!
Moloch is basically a Muppet with delusions of grandeur.
Sue: I told you it was a bloody stupid idea.
And then she roars with laughter and points at the screen.
Sue: Look at the bracelet dangling from its wrist! How ridiculous is that? He should have put it round his waist!
So what does Moloch want? I’ll give you three guesses…
Moloch: The Liberator. A perfect vehicle through which to express myself. Servalan was merely the bait to bring you here.
Sue: Did you catch any of that?
Me: I think he said, “Swerverling was merely the babe to bring you here.”
Tarrant tells Moloch that Cally will never teleport him to their ship.
Moloch: She will… She will… She will… She will…
Sue: He’ll take her over. The episode has almost finished and Cally hasn’t been taken over yet. There’s still time.
Moloch impersonates Tarrant’s voice and she promptly teleports him up.
Sue: To be fair to Cally, Tarrant’s voice is unique; no one sounds like Tarrant.
Me: I reckon Matt Berry could get pretty close, but he was only a small child when they made this and his voice wouldn’t have broken yet.
Avon has a brainwave.
Sue: They should copy hundreds of bracelets before they leave. It’ll give Lesley Judd a nice break.
Me: Lesley was killed in the war.
Sue: Oh yeah. The war.
Moloch dies as soon as he leaves his life-support system, which just goes to show that in two million years time, humanity will be as thick as two short planks.
Sue: It looks like one of Buffy’s old toys, the one she used to chew the life out of. You know, the one that looked like a chicken. Well, there it is, Neil. There it ****ing is.
Zen detects three alien spacecraft in a hostile formation, so the crew rush to the flight deck, leaving Moloch on the floor, all tattered and torn.
Sue: Don’t zoom into it! We don’t want to see it again. It’s rubbish!
Servalan’s ships are bearing down on the Liberator.
Dayna: Do we fight?
Avon: Certainly not. We run.
Sue: Finally, things are back to normal again. This is what they should have been doing in the first place. Just think, Neil, if they’d been running away at the start, none of that would have happened.
Sue: That was really bad but it wasn’t that bad. I liked the idea behind it, but it was ruined by a thoroughly pointless appearance from Servalan, that ridiculous cuddly toy and the horrendous sexism. Did we really have to root for a rapist? Ben Steed has some serious problems. But Paul Darrow was really good in it, so I’ll have to give it some marks for that.
I’ll repeat what I said last week: Sue’s high scores are really beginning to worry me…