The Box of Delights…
A very sweaty Gan walks through a door on the Liberator.
Sue: I’d leave it ten minutes if I were you.
Gan is feeling unwell.
Sue: It’s probably the space curry he had last night. And is it just me or is Gan always ill?
Avon is summoned to a private meeting with Blake.
Sue: Oh no, Avon is wearing his circus costume again. This is not a good start.
Blake tells Avon about their most recent adventure.
Sue: Yes, he knows. He was there.
Blake’s recap includes clips from the last episode.
Sue: Does Zen film all their adventures for them?
Blake also tells Avon about Orac.
Sue: They didn’t have the iPlayer back in the 1970s, so I can see why it’s taking them five minutes to get everyone who didn’t see the last episode up to speed, but you’d never get that today. They didn’t have a recap at the beginning of Series 2 of House of Cards and it took three episodes for me to remember what the hell was going on.
Jenna isn’t feeling well, either.
Sue: She’s far too young to be getting hot flushes, so it has to be the space curry.
Blake and Avon watch a replay of Ensor’s ship exploding in Deliverance.
Zen: The explosion registered one point three. Disturbance peaked at one one five.
Sue: The weirdest thing, which they haven’t mentioned yet, is that you can see smoke rising up. In space.
Cally – who Sue now regards as the Liberator‘s resident doctor – discovers that Avon, Vila, Gan and Jenna are all suffering from radiation sickness.
Sue: I’m glad.
Me: That’s a bit heartless.
Sue: They said the planet was radioactive – Zen made a big deal out of it last week – so I’m glad they followed up on that. I don’t want them to die. Well, not all of them anyway.
The Liberator heads to the planet Aristo in the hope that Ensor’s father possesses some space drugs. Vila throws up.
Sue: The Liberator must reek of vomit and diarrhoea this week. I hope the furniture is stain resistant.
On Aristo, an old man is tending to his fish.
Sue: I hope he isn’t Orac. You can’t have a geriatric terrorist on top of everything else.
It’s Ensor Snr. and he’s not feeling very well.
Sue: Do you think Terry was suffering from IBS when he wrote this. Everybody is sick. I can imagine Terry writing this episode on the toilet.
Sue fails to notice Professor Yaffle in Ensor’s lab, mainly because she’s too busy staring at an old man’s naked chest.
Sue: He’s basically a decrepit Tony Stark, and he needs someone to jump-start him.
Ensor communicates with an unseen “colleague”, but Sue isn’t listening to him. She’s listening the background hum.
Sue: I suppose he needs a bee to pollinate his plants, but that would get on my tits if I had to work there. I’d want to swat it.
The voice belongs to Orac.
Sue: He sounds like he could be dishy. When do I get to meet him?
Servalan and Travis have arrived on Aristo to steal Orac.
Sue: I can’t help it, but whenever I see Servalan, I always think of Marc Almond.
Avon is familiar with Ensor’s research.
Avon: He engineered and developed a lot of radical new concepts in computer technology, so that even the most advanced computers are based on his work.
Sue: He’s Bill Jobs.
Me: Yes, Sue. That’s exactly who he is.
Avon and Gan are saving their energy by reclining on the Liberator‘s deck chairs.
Sue: Where are they anyway? Is this the Liberator‘s spa room?
The planet Aristo has seen better days.
Zen: The level of the oceans is constantly rising and they now virtually cover all traces of the cities built by early civilizations.
Sue: A bit like southern England right now.
Zen: Life is evolving in the oceans. An amphibian species have begun to develop.
Sue: I bet it’s full of Sea Devils.
Back in the teleport room, Sue notices that the crew are running low on bracelets.
Sue: Lesley Judd should knock up some replacements.
Yes, we watched Blue Peter‘s ‘Make Your Own Blake’s 7 Bracelet’ extra on the Series 1 DVD before we started this episode. Sue thought the piece was charming, and Lesley was a consummate professional when it came to handling sticky-backed plastic and silver foil, but she also thought the relationship between the two programmes was a little odd to say the least.
Sue: I don’t see how the BBC can target a show about a convicted child molester turned terrorist to children. Or maybe that’s just me. What’s next? Peter Purves shows you how to make a sawn-off shotgun from The Sweeney out of a washing-up bottle?
Blake and Cally teleport to the surface of Aristo.
Sue: They made a right mess of the Ready Brek effect. You’d think they’d be getting better at that, not worse.
Blake and Cally run straight into a force field.
Blake: It’s a force barrier. The question is are we on the outside unable to get in or….
Cally: On the inside unable to get out.
Sue: It’s a bit like Under the Dome, only less shit.
Travis and Servalan are deep underground.
Sue: I hope Servalan has stocked up on Vanish, because she’ll need it when she gets out of here. But why is she here in the first place? Why didn’t she just send Travis to sort this out with an army of space vampires. You wouldn’t see M chaperoning James Bond like this. Travis must be even more incompetent than I thought.
Travis explores a gap in a rockfall while Servalan waits nervously for him to return.
Sue: (singing) And now I’m all alone in bedsit land…
Servalan is groped by a lizard. Travis shoots it in the face.
Sue: Servalan had a little wobble, there. I’m surprised by that. First, Travis has a heart, and now Servalan shows her vulnerable side. What an odd scene.
Servalan crawls over the rocks, but the next time we see her she’s…
Sue: Completely spotless. Unbelievable.
Meanwhile, Blake and Cally are twiddling their thumbs on a beach when they are suddenly confronted by…
Sue: An Angry Bird.
The flying object instructs Blake and Cally to follow it, but not before it has demonstrated its firepower.
Sue: So far, Blake’s 7 has predicted Walkmen and Attack Drones. That’s not bad, actually.
Meanwhile, on the Liberator…
Sue: Avon is projecting liquid out of every orifice right now. At least he’ll never wear that silly costume again. He’ll never get the smell out.
A groaning noise is coming from behind the empty bracelet dispenser.
Sue: Gan just evacuated his bowels again. This is bleak.
Back on Aristo, Blake and Cally step into a transporter, although it does take them five minutes to find the entrance.
Sue: This is just padding. The script must be under-running for them to piss about like this. JUST GET IN THE BLOODY THING!
Me: It’s a portaloo, for christsake, not the monolith from 2001!
Travis and Servalan avoid more lizards in the tunnels.
Sue: That one looked really good, actually. When they don’t move and the camera doesn’t dwell on them, and you can barely make them out, the monsters aren’t that bad.
Blake and Cally meet Ensor.
Sue: The water in that fish tank is filthy. He needs a filter. What kind of computer genius doesn’t invent a filter for his fish.
Cally tells Ensor that his son is dead.
Cally: I’m sorry. He tried desperately to reach you. He did everything he possibly could.
Sue: (as Cally) Including trying to blow my head off.
Ensor gives Blake his supply of anti-raditation drugs.
Ensor: Can’t stand them, myself. Filthy things, drugs.
Sue: That’s why he’s growing space ganja: for medicinal purposes.
And then, the moment we’ve all been waiting for – Orac arrives. On a trolley.
Sue: So Orac is a massive Raspberry Pi. Well, I wasn’t expecting that.
Ensor bigs up his box of flashing lights.
Ensor: Orac has access to the sum total of all the knowledge of all the known worlds.
Blake: You mean it can draw information from any other computer without a direct link?
Sue: So it’s got wireless. Big deal. And if Orac is a computer, what does ORAC stand for?
Me: Orac doesn’t stand for anything. But you can stand things on Orac.
Travis and Servalan are still navigating Aristo’s tunnels.
Sue: If Servalan had any sense, she would have killed the son and brought the power cells directly to the old man, just like Blake has. She could have rang the door bell, walked it, and took it. Job done. She made this far too complicated for herself.
Travis blasts his way into Ensor’s base. Blake goes to investigate while Cally and Ensor beat a hasty retreat with Orac.
Sue: Orac is basically Wikipedia in a box.
Cally: Can you help me carry this?
Sue: (as Ensor) Yes, love. I’m having a massive heart attack but I’ll help you carry this massive box. Why the **** not.
For the record, Sue didn’t notice anything unusual during the infamous “missing Travis” scene. But as soon as we finished this episode, we watched the extra feature where Vere Lorrimer and Stephen Greif explain just what the hell happened.
Sue: I thought the whole episode was badly directed, so I didn’t notice. Sorry.
Avon drags Vila out of his sickbed/deck chair. Vila smacks his head on a door. This gets the biggest laugh of the series so far.
Sue: That was brilliant. Poor Vila.
Avon snaps at Vila, when he really should be snapping at the person responsible for continuity, because an unconscious Gan keeps moving around the set.
And then Vila’s foot teleports into a puddle.
Sue: Avon and Vila make a great double act. I can actually see the point of Vila, now.
Ensor warns Cally about the lizards in the caves, but he doesn’t think they will harm them.
Sue: Yeah, but they will want to hump your leg. Just go with it and try not to shoot them in the face. It puts them off their stride.
Ensor drops dead. It was probably carrying that heavy box that did it.
Cally: Just a little longer and we might have saved you.
Sue: Come and see what you could have won.
Blake and Cally leave Ensor’s corpse behind.
Sue: That’s right, let the giant lizards eat him. That’s nice.
Me: They have to save Avon, remember.
Sue: OK. Fair enough. Run!
Blake and Cally reach the surface, but Travis and Servalan are waiting for them.
Me: When I was eight years old, this was the most exciting thing I’d ever seen. And I’d seen Star Wars.
Sue: You were very easily pleased back then. Actually, nothing much has changed.
Me: I definitely knew that this was the final episode of the series, and that meant that anything could happen. I have incredibly vivid memories of this episode. Especially this bit.
Avon shoots Travis’s hand off.
Blake: Good shot, Avon.
Avon: I was aiming for his head.
Sue: That’s the best line in Blake’s 7 so far.
Travis’s hand is left in tatters. Again.
Sue: It’s back to space traffic for you, Travis. They’ll probably replace your hand with a large ‘Children Crossing’ sign.
Back on the Liberator, the crew prepare to switch Orac on.
Sue: Zen won’t be very happy about this. He’s seething with jealousy in the background.
Orac is even more unhelpful than Zen on a bad day, and after an exasperating conversation that goes round in circles, Avon throws Orac’s key away.
Sue: That’s 100 million credits down the drain. Well done. Still, it was worth it to see Avon smile.
But Orac has predicted that the Liberator will be destroyed.
Sue: What’s Orac basing this on?
Me: The scripts for Series 2.
The crew watch helplessly as the Liberator appears to explode on their scanner screen. Sue yawns.
Sue: Oh, sorry, was that it?
Sue: That didn’t do anything for me. Some of the performances were nice, and Avon was brilliant as usual, but what was it about? Terry just banged that out. Yet more filler.
Me: Are you mad? That was the season finale!
Sue: You try telling Terry that. I mean, what actually happened? They found another unhelpful computer, they let Travis off with a warning, and they got some half-arsed premonition about something they’ll definitely avoid next time. So what?
This weekend, we’ll take a look back at Series 1 and I’ll publish the results next Tuesday. If you want to ask Sue a question, you’ve got until Saturday morning to do so. Just don’t ask her which member of the crew she would like to see die first. We’ve had lots of those. The best question will win a signed book and postcard. Thanks.
Series 2 will then begin on Friday 28th February, so there’s plenty of time to catch up with the series if you want or need to.