The Odd Couple…
Blake’s 7‘s 50th episode is written by Robert Holmes. (Sue thinks Gold should have been the 50th episode, but what the hell does she know.)
Sue: Come on, Robert!
She must have forgotten the 2/10 she gave to Traitor…
Sue: You know you are in for a treat when you see Robert’s name at the start. Bring it on!
Scorpio is orbiting the planet Malodar.
Sue: I’ve only just noticed that the flight deck is modelled on the Sydney Opera House.
Malodar is a little on the chilly side.
Sue: At least it isn’t another sand pit. They should count themselves lucky.
Two men named Egrorian and Pinder have been anticipating the Scorpio‘s arrival.
Sue: OK, so we’ve got two mad dentists who think they’re in The Hills Have Eyes. I think I can go with this…
Egrorian is a wanted criminal, but as Vila says, aren’t they all?
Sue: Is Soolin a criminal? When did that happen?
Me: Last week when she shot all those innocent mine workers to death.
Sue: Oh, OK. Fair enough.
Vila doesn’t believe that Egrorian is hiding on Malodar.
Vila: What is the point of having money if you have to exist on a hole like that!
Sue: Every planet in this universe is a hole like that. I still haven’t seen a planet with more than five people living on it.
Vila warns Avon that Egrorian’s invitation to meet for a chat could be a trap.
Avon: Why do you think I’m sending Tarrant?
Sue: I knew it. Avon wants Tarrant out of the way as soon as possible. I wouldn’t put it past Avon to set him up. I really wouldn’t.
Egrorian wants to make a deal with Avon. After certain conditions are agreed, Avon demands to see Egrorian’s face on the Scorpio‘s viewer screen, much to the scientist’s dismay.
Sue: If I looked like him, I wouldn’t want to show my face either.
Avon decides to bring Vila to the meeting on Malodar.
Avon: After all, you always say you feel safe with me.
Sue: Did Avon just clip Vila round the ear?
Vila begs Avon to take one of the women instead. Egrorian might have forgotten what they look like, and Vila thinks they could help grease the wheels, so to speak.
Sue: That might work if Soolin or Dayna were blindfolded, I guess.
Scorpio leaves a small shuttle in its wake.
Sue: That was a lovely bit of Chroma. Simple but effective. I don’t know why they don’t do that sort of thing more often.
Avon puts his feet on the shuttle’s dashboard.
Sue: He’s got chewing gum stuck to his boots. Oh well, at least Avon seems to be enjoying himself this week. Is this what happens when you go round the bend, Neil?
Me: Why are you asking me?
There’s a rumour going around that Egrorian absconded from the Space Research Institute with help from a Federation insider.
Sue: I wonder who that could be…
Sue: REALLY? DO YOU THINK?!
When they arrive on Malodar, Avon and Vila are subjected to a security screening.
Sue: Does the mad scientist want a sample? Do they have to piss in that urinal?
Egrorian and Pinder’s relationship is strained to put it mildly.
Sue: They remind me of Basil Fawlty and Manuel. And I don’t know why Avon or Vila would need a gun; Vila could take these two on his own. Oh God, look at the stains on his coat. That’s disgusting.
When Pinder greets his visitors as “Ma’am”, Egrorian explains that his assistant doesn’t understand the difference between men and women.
Sue: That’s a clue. They must have met Servalan recently. It’s hardly a twist, though, is it?
Egrorian butters Avon up.
Sue: This is very funny. I could watch these two all day. The make-up on the mad scientist is fantastic. It is make-up, isn’t it?
Egrorian eventually cuts to the chase.
Egrorian: Now, then, Avon. What would you say if I offered you mastery of the galaxy?
Avon: Oh, I would say thank you.
Sue: Ha! This is brilliant.
Egrorian introduces Avon to his Tachyon Funnel.
Sue: Is that a Tachyon TV? Is this where you got the name for your old website, Neil?
Avon: What does it do?
Sue: It tells crap jokes.
Me: OK, you can stop that now, love.
Egrorian demonstrates his funnel’s immense firepower with the destruction of a small moon.
Sue: That must have ****ed the planet it was orbiting. This has taken a very dark turn. This was funny a minute ago, and now it’s a bit grim. It’s classic Robert Holmes, this.
Avon could destroy the Federation with a weapon like that.
Sue: Hang on a minute… We’ve only got his word for it that it does what he says it does. They could have been watching anything on that TV screen. They’re far too trusting.
Egrorian makes Pinder vacate his seat so Vila can sit down.
Sue: They’re like an old married couple.
Me: So which one are you?
Sue: (ignoring me) And now he’s making a move on Vila. His boyfriend doesn’t like that one little bit. Aww, bless him.
Sue adores Pinder.
Sue: This is what Peter Capaldi will look like when he stops making Doctor Who.
Sue has it all figured out:
Sue: The old guy will try to kill Vila because he’s jealous. Or he’ll give Vila away to Servalan to get his own back. Yes, that’s probably it.
Pinder and Egrorian have been playing chess, which means Pinder must know the difference between a King and a Queen.
Sue: I said it was a clue. I just wish the clue wasn’t pointing to you-know-who.
Egrorian tortures Pinder when he catches him cheating.
Sue: He’s horrible. This isn’t funny any more, Neil.
Avon agrees to exchange Orac for the Tachyon Funnel. When they take the shuttle back to Scorpio to pick up the supercomputer, Vila spends the entire journey imagining what he’ll do when he finally rules the galaxy.
Vila: I’ll have an imperial palace with solid diamond floors, and a bodyguard of a thousand handpicked virgins in red fur uniforms. Vila’s Royal Mounties.
Sue: Vila, you sick bastard.
Me: Forget Vila-world – that sounds like Benny Hill-world to me.
But Avon is suspicious, especially as he’s got Servalan on the brain.
Sue: His left eye just twitched. He’s turning into Michael Murray.
Guess what? Yes, Egrorian and Servalan are working together. And because Egrorian has the serious horn for the President/Supreme Commander/Commissioner/Whatever the hell she is this week, he’s literally throwing himself at her.
Sue: (as Servalan) It’s not you, it’s me. Honest.
Egrorian sinks to his knees and declares his undying loyalty to Servalan.
Sue: He’s well over-the-top but this is very entertaining. They should have made more comedy episodes like this one. The look on Servalan’s face is priceless.
And then Egrorian advances on Servalan a little too eagerly…
Sue: Ooh, that wasn’t supposed to happen. I bet they daren’t risk another take, though. This is probably the eighteen take as it is. I don’t know how they’re keeping a straight face through this scene.
Let’s take a look, shall we?
Egrorian has a proposition for Servalan:
Egrorian: A connubial partnership, Servalan. Why not?
Sue: Does that mean what I think it means? It does? Bloody hell! His funnel had better work, that’s all I’m saying.
Safely back on Scorpio, Vila is bragging to Soolin and Dayna.
Vila: Unlike some people around here, I don’t boast about my abilities. I keep them hidden.
Dayna: Oh, you certainly do.
Sue: The banter is brilliant today. Everybody is getting their fair share of funny lines. Good old Robert Holmes. Does he write any more episodes, Neil?
Me: No. In fact, this is the probably last Robert Holmes story you’ll ever see, Sue.
Sue: Oh. That’s really sad.
Me: We could always watch The Caves of Androzani after this.
Me: I was joking.
Sue: So was I.
Tarrant has visited Wikipedia and discovered that Pinder is only twenty-eight years old.
Sue: He must have got his head stuck in that funnel. It’s the only explanation I can think of. Maybe he’s still got the body of a twenty-eight year-old under that coat. Wouldn’t that be sad.
Egrorian prepares for Avon’s return.
Sue: Never trust a man with big hands. That’s all I’m saying.
As Avon travels to Malodar with Vila and Orac in tow (Sue loves the special effects, by the way), he admits that Servalan is never far from his thoughts.
Sue: Especially late at night, when he’s all alone and Orac has gone to bed.
Even Tarrant is convinced that Servalan is behind it all.
Sue: If only they communicated with each other, they’d all be on the same page for a change.
Avon hands Orac over to Egrorian.
Sue: That’s never Orac. Never in a million years. He’s too light. You can’t carry Orac with one hand, can you? Soolin could barely shift him a few weeks ago.
Avon’s suspicions are exacerbated when Egrorian accidentally mentions Servalan by name.
Egrorian: I was told she had assumed a new identity. One never knows what to believe these days!
Sue: She changed her name, I’ll giver her that, but her identity is exactly the same as it’s always been. She’s hardly made any effort at all, really.
Me: I think Robert Holmes is taking the piss.
Egrorian runs a test on Orac and the computer correctly identities the subject of his degree, as well as its grade: Beta-Plus. When Pinder laughs, Egrorian pinches his ear.
Sue: These two are a brilliant double-act. You can tell that they had a good time making this. It really comes across on screen.
Egrorian goes ballistic when Orac tells everyone that Egrorian’s degree was rescinded for gross misconduct.
Sue: He’s so hysterical, he makes Avon look normal. In fact, I think Paul Darrow has given up trying to compete with him.
Tarrant almost jumps for joy when Avon’s shuttle leaves Malodar.
Tarrant: Well I’ll be damned!
Me: (as Steven Toast) Launch the NU-CLE-AR WEAPONS!
Avon tells Vila that he made a fake Orac in his spare time, and that’s what Egrorian’s got his hands on.
Sue: Do you think Avon was sniffing the glue when he put that model together. It would explain a lot.
And then the real Orac (who’s safely stowed away on the shuttle) informs Avon and Vila that they won’t reach escape velocity.
Sue: I knew it was too good to be true. It always is in this programme.
Egrorian has it all worked out: the shuttle will crash in a swamp 200 miles away. Orac and the Tachyon Funnel will survive the impact, but Avon and Vila won’t.
Sue: Part of me wants him to succeed. Does that make me a bad person?
Avon switches to manual and pushes the shuttle to its limits.
Sue: That was a nice touch, pushing Orac across the table like that to give the impression they are flying at an angle. It’s funny, too.
Vila is convinced that they are both going to die.
Sue: This is very exciting all of a sudden. I wasn’t expecting this at all.
Things don’t look good, and Scorpio‘s crew can’t intervene.
Sue: Just point the Tachyon whatsit at them and threaten to kill them with it if they don’t sort this out. Simple. That’s if the bloody thing does what it says it does, and I’m not convinced that it does.
Servalan and Egrorian discuss a future without Pinder, but Pinder overhears their plans.
Sue: That’s settled, then. Pinder will save Avon’s life to spite them both.
Avon and Vila jettison the Tachyon Funnel in an attempt to reduce the shuttle’s weight.
Sue: What a complete waste of time. This happens every week – they always end up empty-handed. I don’t know why they bother any more. And the bad guy is completely screwed now, too.
But it isn’t enough – the shuttle is still seventy kilos overweight.
Sue: I bet that’s what Vila weighs…
Orac: Vila weighs seventy-three kilos, Avon.
Sue: No, wait. I was only joking.
Avon’s heart and mind are locked in combat as he considers Orac’s words. Unfortunately for Vila, Avon’s mind wins and he picks up a gun.
Avon goes in search of his ‘friend’.
Vila is nowhere to be seen, probably because he knows Avon better than anyone.
Sue: Shit. Shit. Shit! Is this really happening, Neil?
Avon: Vila? Vila, are you here? I need your help.
Sue: He couldn’t be more suspicious if he tried. If he didn’t want Vila to know what he had planned for him, he should be yelling at him with contempt, you know, like he usually does. Avon is never this friendly to Vila.
Avon advances on his prey.
Sue: Is Vila crying? Shit, he is. This is horrible. Make it stop, Neil. I don’t like it.
Avon finds a fragment of a neutron star embedded in a cube of high tensile plastic. After lots of huffing and puffing, he single-handedly jettisons it out of the airlock.
Sue: Unbelievable. Avon was really going to kill Vila – there’s no two ways about it. They can’t just pretend that didn’t happen.
When Vila crawls out of his hiding place, he’s an emotional wreck.
Sue: I’m not Vila’s biggest fan, as you know, Neil, but he didn’t deserve that. I’m shocked. And Orac can **** off as well. How much did he weigh, eh?
Thanks to Avon, the shuttle successfully reaches its escape velocity.
Sue: The floor manager has forgotten to poke Orac across the table with a broom. He should have slid onto the floor by now.
Egrorian’s plan is in tatters, so Servalan leaves the scientist with nothing but a masturbatory fantasy and an old man for company.
Sue: Pinder will have to kill him now. It’s the humane thing to do.
Pinder bathes the laboratory in Hoffal’s radiation and Egrorian ages to death in a matter of seconds.
Sue: Gandalf! I tell you what, Neil, he doesn’t improve with age.
Me: As a wise man once said on Twitter, that’s another reclusive genius dead.
Sue: Serves him bloody right.
Back on Scorpio, Avon tells the crew that he disposed of the neutron star fragment without any assistance from Vila.
Vila: It’s a trip I won’t forget, Avon.
Sue: There’s no coming back from that. Their relationship must be over now. Vila will never be able to trust Avon again. And after everything they’ve been through… I’m shocked. And a bit upset.
Sue: Wow… Well, it doesn’t get any better than that. I can’t fault it. Can I give it 11/10?
Me: No, it will bugger up the graphs.
Yes, that really is Marcus Bentley! Well done, Glen, and thanks to you both!