Nicol accidentally joined us for this one.
Nicol: Oh dear, it’s a Terry Nation.
Sue: Actually, that’s a very good omen, Nic.
Nicol: What have you done to my mother, Neil?
The Liberator has been hijacked by Federation troopers. They are led by Captain Del Tarrant and Section leader Klegg.
Sue: With a name like that, I hate him already.
Sue is too old to remember Michael Sheard as Maurice Bronson from Grange Hill (and Nicol is too young), but she fails to recognise him from his many appearances in Doctor Who, too, which is a bit of shame. Anyway, Avon provides the Federation with a fake name and Tarrant admits that he’s having trouble flying the ship.
Tarrant: Our guess is that before Blake and his crew abandoned ship, the computer was instructed only to respond to recognised voice prints.
Sue: He’s a bit posh. I like him, though. He reminds me of a younger, thinner Michael Ball.
Sue and Nicol can’t Klegg seriously.
Sue: Is he supposed to be South African?
Me: Cockney, I think.
Nicol: He’s way over the top. The way he slapped his arm as he brought his gun up just then: ridiculous.
Tarrant cracks Avon over the head – which is bad enough – but when he does the same thing to Dayna – guess what? That’s right: Sue doesn’t like it. Even Nicol gasped. Actually, I think she was reading an interview with Alan Pardew on her mobile phone at the time.
Sue: Michael Ball can **** right off.
Avon and Dayna are carried off to a cell as the Liberator intercepts an emergency transmission.
Vila: It’s very lonely where I am, wherever it is. I’m cold and I’m miserable and I’m hurt and I’m hungry.
Sue: You forgot “And I’m pathetic”. Cos you are.
Vila has landed on an alien planet. Alone and afraid, he tries to convince the natives that he commands a huge army. A friendly native named Lom isn’t convinced.
Lom: You do not need to explain to me about communicators; I am quite familiar with them.
Sue: Ha! That was very clever. Hey, it’s really good, this. I wasn’t expecting that at all.
Vila has broken his arm, but Lom can fix it.
Vila: I’m not very good with pain. It’s not that I’m a coward or anything. It’s just that I have a very low pain threshold. Hardly a threshold at all, actually.
Nicol: That sounds like you, Neil.
Sue: You use that line every time you visit the dentists or the doctors. I knew that Vila reminded me of somebody.
Me: But you hate Vila.
Sue: I know. Troubling, isn’t it?
Dayna apologises to Avon for not saving his arse earlier.
Sue: Avon should be the one apologising. He made a right pig’s ear of that escape attempt.
Avon flirts with Dayna as he picks the lock to their cell.
Sue: There’s definitely some sexual chemistry between these two.
Me: Like that’s ever stopped you before.
Sue: They make a good team. Dayna should become a full-time member of the crew.
When Avon and Dayna escape from their cell, they find a Federation trooper with a knife sticking out of his back.
Avon: That’s a difficult way to commit suicide.
Sue and Nicol roar with laughter.
Avon and Dayna hide in one of the Liberator‘s access ducts.
Sue: It’s the ship’s darkroom. And I’m talking about photography here, not the other sort of darkroom. Although knowing this programme, it’s probably got one of those as well.
Nicol: What are you talking about, mother?
Sue: Ask your Uncle Gary.
Elsewhere, on another spaceship…
Nicol: Oh look, it’s the Yellow Submarine, if the Yellow Submarine was orange. It’s the Orange Submarine.
It’s a hospital ship and Cally is one of its patients.
Sue: Is Cally a welder now?
The nurses are dressed in green and blue uniforms.
Sue: Maybe they were going to chromakey them in later.
Nicol: They remind me of the Umpa Lumpas.
The hospital ship touches down on a planet so it can pick up another survivor from the recent war.
Nicol: That was a terrible special effect.
Sue: Compared to what we usually have to put up with, Nicol, that looked like something out of Star Wars.
The survivor is none other than –
Sue: OH NO! Not again! How the hell did she get there? Of all the ships that could have picked her up, it had to be the one with Cally on it. Terry ****ing Nation!
Nicol: But I thought –
Sue: Oh, it’s complicated, Nicol.
Servalan: If you would be good enough to tell your captain I would like to see him. I have a great deal to do and very little time.
Sue: She isn’t even poorly!
Lom warns Vila about the hunters who roam the planet Chenga.
Lom: They live to the north. They come to the forests to search for us.
Vila: Yes, but why?
Sue: It’s a shame that the actor who plays Vila can’t act.
Me: You must be joking.
Sue: I bet he never acted again after this.
Me: He’s the vicar in EastEnders!
Nicol: Oh yeah, so he is.
Sue: That isn’t even a part-time job. It’s a part-part-part-time job at best.
Don’t listen to her, Michael. You are bloody brilliant and my wife is insane.
Sue: Oh look, it’s the Mysterons!
Meanwhile, back in the Liberator‘s access ducts…
Sue: I bet it stinks of fixer in there.
A Federation trooper named Harmon thinks he’s found Avon and Dayna.
Sue: He looked straight down the camera lens as he walked off the set. The acting from some of the bad guys is a bit dodgy this week.
She’s right, you know:
Another Federation corpse is found in an access shaft.
Sue: Something weird is going on here. Why couldn’t Terry write episodes of Doctor Who as good as this? Did he have more time or was he just paid more?
The lights in the forest aren’t the Mysterons, after all. They belong to the hunters.
Sue: These so-called hunters aren’t very stealthy, are they. They should try creeping up on people with their flashlights switched off. You can see them coming a mile away.
Vila follows Lom and his friend Mall (aka Geoff Capes) to safety, but he soon gets lost.
Sue: Vila, you numpty bar!
Vila runs into two hi-techs, or if you’re Sue:
Sue: One half of ABBA.
Nicol: Why do their guns look like giant mice?
Sue: Oh dear, this is a bit silly.
Back on the hospital ship, Cally is trying to contact Vila with her mind.
Nicol: What’s that all about?
Me: Cally is telepathic. Well, sort of. She can send thoughts but she can’t receive them.
When the hi-techs set Vila’s broken arm, Cally feels his pain.
Nicol: Are you sure about that?
Sue: It depends on who’s writing the episode. I don’t think anybody knows for sure. She’s definitely good at yoga, though.
Servalan spots Cally hiding beneath her welding mask.
Servalan: What a delightful coincidence.
Sue: You should know, you’re the Queen of Coincidence.
Servalan is determined to get the Federation back under control.
Sue: Send her home to her spinning house. She shouldn’t be running around the galaxy like this. It’s demeaning.
Avon has a theory about the murderer who’s currently roaming the Liberator.
Avon: There’s someone else on this ship that neither they nor we know about.
Sue: Is it Travis?
Me: Travis is dead.
Sue: I don’t believe you. (pause) Is it Blake?
Me: Wait and see.
Nicol: Alan Pardew hasn’t got a clue.
Me: I thought you were going to watch this with us, Nicol?
Nicol: I don’t know who any of these people are. How you expect me to follow it?
Sue: We don’t know who they are, either. And this is a really good episode. You’re missing out.
Avon is still tracking down his crew.
Avon: Have you anything on Blake’s whereabouts?
Zen: His last voice transmission reported that he is safe and well and en route for the planet Epheron.
Sue: I like the fact that Avon’s got something to do. Getting the old gang back together gives him a purpose in life. It’s a bit risky for them to let their leading man disappear for a couple of episodes, but I understand what the producer is trying to do.
The planet Chenga looks nice.
Sue: The location reminds me of High Force.
Me: It’s filmed in a gorge in Harrogate. It’s just down the road. We could drive down there tomorrow and re-stage scenes from the episode if you like.
Sue: Let’s not.
Vila has definitely fallen for the hi-techs’ charms.
Sue: Vila is so gullible. He’d agree to anything if he was surrounded by beautiful women. You’d be exactly the same, Neil. Actually, I think you are Vila.
Me: I’ll take that as a compliment.
Harmon catches Avon sneaking about on the Liberator.
Harmon: Stand! Face that wall! Put your hands against it!
Nicol: GET IN THE BACK OF THE VAN!
Tarrant says he recognised Avon as soon as he clapped eyes on him.
Tarrant: An innocent stranger wouldn’t question who was in command.
Avon: A stupid lapse of concentration on my part.
Tarrant: I imagine you’ve been under considerable stress.
Avon: I had hoped for a more inspiring epitaph.
Me: I think that’s my favourite line in Blake’s 7 so far.
Sue: Avon always gets the best lines. It must be written into his contract or something.
Avon accuses Harmon of being the murderous traitor. Tarrant shoots his own man in the back, and then he a confession to make.
Tarrant: He didn’t kill those men.
Sue and Tarrant: I did.
Sue: I knew it!
Me: No you didn’t.
It appears that the medical facilities on Chenga have been funded with corporate sponsorship.
Sue: At least Mercedes-Benz are still going in this messed-up version of the future.
The hi-techs escort Vila to the nearest Chenga Walk-in Centre.
Sue: Just as Vila is about to get his end away, he’ll teleport back to the ship. Just you wait and see.
Nicol: There’s something very sinister about this. It’s too good to be true.
Vila bids the hi-techs farewell.
Nicol: Has Vila pooed himself?
Me: Quite possibly.
The hi-techs smile knowingly at each other as Vila disappears from view.
Sue: Thank God he’s gone. He stank!
Nicol: They fixed his arm but they couldn’t do anything about his explosive diarrhoea.
Cally is admitted to the hospital on Chenga.
Sue: This isn’t sinister at all. Vila and Cally have really landed on their feet. I wasn’t expecting this.
Nicol tuts loudly. Is it Sue or Pardew who provokes her ire? Again, I’m not entirely sure.
Tarrant confesses everything to Avon.
Sue: Hang on a minute… Is Tarrant joining the crew? Blake won’t like that. You won’t be able to tell them apart from the back.
Tarrant opens up to Avon about his shady past.
Tarrant: I had no choice but to bluff it out and pretend I was Federation. The man I got the uniform from outranked Klegg and I trained as a Federation Space Captain so it wasn’t too difficult.
Tarrant doesn’t realise that one of Klegg’s men is eavesdropping outside.
Nicol: So these metal doors are equipped with hi-tech locks but they aren’t sound-proofed. Right.
Klegg takes Dayna hostage. If Avon doesn’t come out alone and unarmed, Dayna will die horribly.
Klegg: You’ve got five minutes.
Sue: That’s very generous of him. He should have given them five seconds. Now they’ve got plenty of time to come up with a plan, you idiot.
Back on Chenga, Vila and Cally are awaiting treatment.
Sue: Are they supposed to be chilling out in an aviary? What is that noise?
Servalan uses the clinic’s visiting hour to spill the episode’s beans.
Servalan: Unofficially the staff call this place the slaughterhouse. It’s an organ bank.
Sue: They made a film about this, once.
Me: Yes, it was called Coma and it was released a year before they made this episode.
Sue: Naughty Terry.
Back on the Liberator, Avon is about to sell Tarrant out to Klegg.
Sue: Avon won’t do it. Never in a million years.
Thirty seconds later:
Sue: No way! Avon sold him out!
And ten seconds after that:
Sue: Oh, thank God for that. Avon had me worried there for a second.
Avon and Tarrant take a back seat while Dayna breaks Klegg’s neck.
Sue: You know, I’m not sure how I feel about that. She’s a strong, assertive character – and I love that – but that was a bit vicious. Still, that’s what they do in Blake’s 7; I should be used to it by now.
Vila and Cally are teleported back to the Liberator in the nick of time. Avon makes the introductions.
Avon: That one’s Cally. I’ll introduce her more formally when she wakes up. This one is Vila. I should really introduce him now, he’s at his best when he’s unconscious.
Sue: Brilliant. I love it.
The episode concludes on the Liberator‘s flight deck.
Sue: Blake’s back! Oh, sorry, he isn’t. It’s just Tarrant from behind.
Tarrant and Dayna’s voice prints are added to Zen’s databank.
Sue: Are they full-time members of the crew now?
Me: Looks like it.
Sue: It’s going to be awfully crowded on that ship when Blake and Jenna get back.
Sue: I really enjoyed that. It was exciting, surprising, nicely directed, and the script was great. Well done, Terry. The stuff in the hospital was really creepy and grim, and even if the idea wasn’t anything new, they did it quite well. It’s almost a 10/10 for me but I’ll have to knock at least one mark off because Vila was in it a lot, and Servalan is getting on my tits. Why was she in that episode? I don’t get it.
Nicol raised an eyebrow and sighed. Alan bloody Pardew. Probably.