This Woman’s Work…
Sue bloody loves the Scorpio.
Sue: It’s a spaceship that looks like it means business. It wouldn’t snap in half if an asteroid slammed into it for a start. I mean, look at it – it’s fantastic!
She’s actually watching the CGI animation that precedes the menu screen on the Series 4 DVDs.
Sue: It’s hardly dated at all…
I bring her back down to earth with a bump.
Sue: Well, it just proves that they should remake Blake’s 7 today. I don’t know why they haven’t got round to it yet. What are they waiting for?
The new title sequence, on the other hand, still fails to impress.
Sue: What does FAC mean?
Me: It means Peter Saville designed the title sequence. Look, Sue, it’s your favourite writer.
Sue: Ben Steed… That name rings a… Oh, ****.
The episode begins with Vila, Tarrant and Dayna staring at a locked door while Avon is chased by hairy bikers armed with crossbows.
Sue: Shit. He’s out of ammo and he only fired one shot. Are you sure their guns aren’t supplied by Hewlett-Packard?
Me: It’s your favourite genre: medieval sci-fi. You love medieval sci-fi, Sue.
Me: Are you sure you don’t want a whisky? I’ve got plenty.
Just a reminder before we get into this: minus scores are available to Sue. (I sense a protest on
Dorian’s apartment is connected to Scorpio‘s landing bay.
Sue: So Dorian was a bit like John Travolta, then.
Sue: John Travolta built a runway next to his house as well. It’s basically the same thing. Oh, and they both worship supernatural alien beings, of course.
When Avon is captured, his teleport bracelet is removed and destroyed.
Sue: They’ve gone digital. Well, the straps have gone digital, which is something, I suppose.
Avon is taken to the leader of the Hommiks.
Sue: Are they supposed to be Saxons?
Me: I think they might be Saxon’s road crew.
The Hommiks’ chief has, to quote Avon, a fetching way with women.
Gunn-Sar: Well, don’t just stand there, woman! Bring meat!
Sue: Here we go again. OK, I’ve changed my mind. Pass me that bottle; I won’t need a glass.
Me: Stop staring at Gunn-Sar’s moobs, Sue.
Sue: Like I have a ****ing choice!
Avon tells the chief that he was looking for crystals on the planet’s surface.
Sue: He wants to start his rock collection again. He can’t let it go.
Gunn-Sar doesn’t trust Avon.
Gunn-Sar: You smell like a man.
Sue: Old Spice or Brut? What do you reckon, Neil?
Me: Hai Karate. Obviously.
Vila is still trying open the door that leads to the Scorpio‘s landing bay when he’s interrupted by a pretty lady in a dress. – Damn it, the Steedism is catching! – She’s a Seska named Pella.
Sue: Vila always pulls when he’s on the job.
Me: When he gets his big tool out, the women always come running. I just don’t get it.
Gunn-Sar is still interrogating Avon, but Sue only has eyes for the chief’s wife, Nina.
Sue: Is that Germaine Greer?
Me: I very much doubt it.
When Gunn-Sar threatens to smash Germaine’s face in, calling her a ‘snivelling sack of offal’ in the process, Sue sighs loudly.
Sue: Germaine would have kicked him in the balls.
Avon challenges Gunn-Sar to a fight.
Sue: Is it just me or has Avon lost the plot? It’s almost as if he doesn’t give a shit any more. He hasn’t been the same since the series came back. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but he’s acting a bit weird.
Pella tells Vila that Dorian used to say a code word every 48 hours to stop a nuclear compression charge from destroying the base.
Sue: There’s a lot to do on that base. Feed the supernatural entity, say a keyword every 48 hours… Hang on a minute… this is ****ing Lost!
Avon and Gunn-Sar prepare to fight to the death. Gunn-Sar makes a right pig’s ear out the opening declaration, which amuses Sue and Avon no end.
Sue: This is very funny. It is supposed to be a comedy, isn’t it?
When Avon is told to choose a weapon, he chooses a neutron blaster.
Sue: He’s going to do a Han Solo.
Sue: He’s going to shoot the other guy with the sword.
Me: Oh, you mean Indiana Jones.
Sue: Do I? I thought you lot were always banging on about Han Solo shooting first? Now I feel silly.
Even though Gunn-Sar attacks Avon before he’s had a chance to ready himself, he still can’t finish the job.
Sue: How has he survived this long? He’s ****ing hopeless.
After a half-arsed fight, which bores Sue senseless, Avon is knocked unconscious and held by the Hommiks.
Sue: Sounds painful.
Vila, meanwhile, is still worried about his imminent death.
Vila: Have you ever seen a nuclear compression charge go off? Everything gets sucked in. It’s like a mini-black hole. Looks good. From a distance.
Sue: Vila’s really good in this episode. He’s getting the best lines and he’s actually doing his job for a change. And now they’re talking about a bloody hatch. I’m telling you – this is Lost.
The Seska are rounded up by the Hommiks. Bags are placed over their heads and metal collars are clamped around their necks.
Sue: You can’t call something sexist just because it features sexist characters and situations, but I think I’ll make an exception for Ben Steed. He’s obsessed. He clearly has some deep-rooted problems with women, which reminds me: Where the hell is Glynis Barber? They mentioned her at the beginning, and then nothing. Did they forget to tell Ben Steed that Soo existed?
Me: Please don’t call her Soo, Sue.
Pella and Avon end up in a cell together. Pella offers to heal Avon’s injuries with some magical ointment.
Sue: I bet Avon points to his groin injury. I wouldn’t put anything past Ben Steed.
Avon and Seska escape, only to find Nina happily working for the Hommiks.
Sue: That’s definitely Germaine Greer.
Me: The resemblance is uncanny. It’s as if the casting is intentional.
Sue: So the Seska are feminists, but all Germaine needs is a proper man to set her straight. Is that it? It is, isn’t it?
Nina isn’t a Seska – she’s a Woman (hear her roar).
Sue: Right, let me get this straight: now she’s a real woman, she can be a man’s slave. That is ****ing it, isn’t it?
Avon is forced to put Pella in her place. Hang on… Did I just write that?
Sue: Avon likes a little pain. She’ll have to do better than that. This is an average Saturday night for Avon.
Despite Pella’s best efforts, Avon keeps coming back for more.
Avon: You see, Pella, it’s your strength, and however you use it, a man’s will always be greater. Unfair, perhaps, but biologically unavoidable.
Sue: Avon obviously hasn’t met you, Neil.
Sue is momentarily lost for words.
Me: It’s the same reason women don’t play five sets at Wimbledon. Ouch! That ****ing hurt!
And then Sue goes off on one.
Sue: There’s no excuse for this. It’s the eighties! I just can’t accept that… Oh, the chief is doing some needlework… OK, now I’m really confused.
Nina and Gunn-Sar are happily married; all the wife-beating was just for show.
Sue: I think they really love each other. He’s just pretending to be a macho dickhead, because he’s as soft as shit. Hmm… I think I may have jumped to a massive conclusion about this episode. In fact, Vila – who’s a man (sort of) – is the weakest character by far, in a way. So what does that say about the men, eh?
Avon kills his Hommik captor with a crossbow arrow, right in the middle of a conversation.
Sue: I know Avon’s gone a bit crazy over the last couple of episodes, but what the hell did he do that for?
It was Pella who pulled the trigger. With the power of her mind.
Sue: She’s got the Force.
I swear to God, despite all evidence to the contrary, Sue has seen Star Wars.
Pella drops a keyboard on Avon’s head.
Sue: Ooh, slow motion!
Me: That’s just Paul Darrow acting, love.
Sue: I shouldn’t laugh, but that was hilarious.
Gunn-Sar is relaxing at home when he’s interrupted by more unwelcome visitors.
Sue: Their version of pool looks really difficult.
Dayna challenges Gunn-Sar to a duel.
Pella: The black woman must win.
Sue: As opposed to the white woman standing next to her, you mean? Oh wait, there isn’t one. What the ****?
As Dayna and Gunn-Sar fight, the Hommiks’ encourage their leader to get stuck in.
Hommiks: Get in there, Gunn-Sar! Kick her head in, Gunn-Sar!
Sue: They sound like Chas and Dave. One of them just said, “Gertcha!” I’m sure of it.
With the help of the Seskas’ telekinesis, Dayna kills Gunn-Sar before he can kill her. Nina mourns for her dead husband, at which point Sue makes the most inappropriate comment imaginable:
Sue: Germaine Greer’s costume would make for one hell of a cosplay outfit. You know, if it ever came to it.
Me: How the hell do you know about cosplay?
Nina wants to leave this old world behind so she can start a new one.
Sue: A world where men and women are equal, and you don’t have to melt your metallic bra or write a book to prove it.
Back at the Xenon base, time is running out…
Sue: Forget all that. Where the hell is Glynis Barber?
The Seskas arrive, offering help. There are only two of them left.
Pella: Last week we were five. This morning, three. And now we are two.
Me: As much as five? That’s practically a city in Blake’s 7.
Sue: One of them will join the crew. They need someone who can do things with their mind to replace Cally. They could take both of them, I suppose, but that would mean no Glynis Barber, so one of them will have to die. At least we’ll have some equality on the ship: three men, three women and a computer. Perfect.
Avon returns to the base just in time to alert everyone that Pella wants to steal Scorpio from under their noses.
Sue: In that case, the other one will have to join the crew.
Pella threatens to kill Dayna if Avon doesn’t cooperate.
Avon: That’s an interesting choice of hostage.
Sue: That means she fancies Avon; she’s jealous of Dayna because she’s a threat, just in case you didn’t get that, Neil.
Pella shoots her fellow Seska and escapes in the ship.
Sue: I bet you anything that Soolin is on the ship. She’s been there all the time. She’ll sort it out.
Orac tracks the Scorpio as it leaves the Xenon base. Orac has even hacked into the ship’s computer, Slave.
Sue: This definitely reminds me of Thunderbirds, what with the secret base and everything.
Me: And the computer that sounds like Parker.
Sue: If Parker was a Brummie.
With a little help from Orac, Avon successfully teleports to the ship.
Sue: I don’t know if I like the new effect or not. It’s a lot more Star Trek than the last one. Plus it looks like sparkly tumble dryer.
Avon shoots Seska dead.
Sue: No remorse whatsoever. Avon’s a lot colder this season, if that’s possible.
Avon delivers Ben Steed’s message to the masses:
Avon: You can have war between races, war between cultures, war between planets. But once you have war between the sexes, you eventually run out of people.
Sue: Is Ben Steed trying to say that we should work together as equals, do you think? Smash the glass ceiling and create a new utopia where we don’t follow prescribed gender roles. If you want to do needlework, do needlework, man!
Me: I think he’s telling the feminists to get back in the kitchen where they belong. But what do I know? I’m a Hommik.
Dayna and Tarrant teleport to the Scorpio.
Sue: Can they only teleport two people at a time? It will be interesting when they have to escape in the nick of time and there’s five of them stuck on a planet.
They are immediately followed by Vila and Soolin.
Sue: About bloody time! Where the hell has she been hiding? And, more importantly, who’s going back for Orac?
Me: Orac stays at home and answers the phone.
Sue: It’s a shame he can’t hoover and dust while they’re out doing whatever it is they’re going to do this season.
Soolin has the skills to pay the bills.
Sue: So she’s the ship’s gunslinger?
Me: Looks like it.
Sue: But we’ve already got one of those. Her name’s Dayna. And you can put your tongue back in now, Neil.
Me: Oh, so you can lust after Avon every bloody week but I can’t… erm… never mind.
Sue: Let’s not fall out over it. Hasn’t Ben Steed taught us anything?
Sue: I enjoyed that… Why are you looking at me like that?
Me: But… but…
Sue: I’m no expert, but you could read that as a feminist text, if you squinted at it really, really hard.
Me: Are you taking the piss?
Sue: No. It’s definitely more complicated that it first appears. I think. And it was very funny and quite exciting – especially the idea of the base about to explode at any moment. Even Vila was pretty good in that one. Yes, I enjoyed it, although the whisky probably helped.
Yes, that’s a SEVEN. If you don’t like the answer, you shouldn’t have asked the question.
Sue: I should watch it again to work out what it was really trying to say, but we both know that’s never going to happen, so I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt.
There’s only one update this week. We’ll be back next Tuesday. Until then…