Now completely spoiler-free…
Sue: The title sequence hasn’t changed. That’s disappointing.
It’s not the only thing that remains the same.
A cushion bounces off my face.
Sue: TERRY ****ING NATION!
Me: I told you that Terry didn’t write all the scripts for Series 2. I never said he didn’t write any of them.
Sue: I really hate you sometimes.
Blake is still watching the Series 1 cliffhanger.
Me: I didn’t mention this at the time, but as John Williams pointed out in the comments, it was the first time a television drama series ended on a cliffhanger. Impressive, eh?
Sue: That is quite interesting, I suppose. Shame I can’t read the comments.
This gave me pause for thought, because even though it doesn’t affect Sue – she reads these posts before I publish them – if anyone has decided to follow us and is watching Blake’s 7 for the first time, they can’t participate in the discussion below without being spoiled. Sometimes, the comments are about anything but the episode we’ve just seen! So from this point on, I’ll be moderating the comments for spoilers. Any comment that mentions a future episode, or even hints at a future development, will be edited or removed.
Sorry about that. It’s my fault for not implementing a spoiler policy in the first place.
Right, where were we?
Sue: How long has Blake been waiting for the Liberator to explode?
Me: I have no idea.
Sue: Give John Williams a call and find out.
Cally is doing some maintenance work in the teleport section.
Sue: Cally’s had her hair cut, so quite a lot of time must have passed between this one and the last one. The only other explanation is that Cally thought to herself: “Imminent destruction? I know, I’ll get my hair cut!” And that would be silly.
Me: What do you think of her new hair style?
Sue: I like it. It suits her. She needs to put some weight on, though. I worry about her health.
Everyone has decided to change into something more comfortable while they wait for certain death.
Sue: Blake has dressed for a fishing trip, Jenna is off night-clubbing again (nice boots by the way), Gan has joined the priesthood and Avon is heading for a session in the ship’s sex dungeon. I’d love to see the Liberator‘s wardrobe – I bet it’s mental.
Relations between Avon and Blake are extremely frosty.
Sue: (as Blake) For the last time, Avon, could you at least try to dress as a good guy. Black leather sends the wrong message, and you look like Travis from behind.
Me: I thought I told you to stop shipping.
Avon tells Blake to watch the Series 1 cliffhanger one more time.
Sue: They are definitely getting their money’s worth out of this special effect. And I’m convinced that several months must have passed between this episode and the last one.
Me: What makes you say that?
Sue: Because Blake has lost weight. His clothes don’t fit him any more. Look at his jacket flapping about. Maybe he put Gan’s costume on by mistake.
Avon explains that the Liberator can’t explode if they never visit the exact position in space where the explosion occurs. And then an explosion occurs and Blake and Avon are thrown to the floor.
Sue: Avon gave Blake a sneaky cuddle, there.
The Liberator is under attack.
Sue: Nothing important will happen in this episode. I can just tell.
Sue: It’s going to be one of those ****about episodes. You know, where they get distracted by pointless nonsense for 40 minutes. And the direction is appalling. It’s so flat. Everything is shot straight on. Douglas Camfield directed a scene like this once and it was brilliant. This is hopeless.
Blake: Zen, identify the hostiles.
Sue: And put a microphone on Gan while you’re at it. I can’t hear a word he’s saying.
Zen suggests that they head for a nearby planet.
Sue: Look at the muck on this film. I can barely see anything. And why didn’t Orac predict this? What is the point of Orac if he can’t predict this?
Sue grumbles when the action on the Liberator keeps switching from video to film, and when we are on video, she complains that it’s over-lit.
Sue: I can’t get into this. Did Terry find a spare script in the bottom of a drawer? This is just more of the same. I expected Series 2 to be better than this. In fact, you promised me that Series 2 was better than this.
At least Vila and Avon provide some light relief.
Vila: When you get Zen working, ask him to prescribe something for a headache, will you? I’ve got this shocking pain right behind the eyes.
Avon: Have you considered amputation?
Sue: Poor Vila. This is basically workplace bullying. Funny, though.
Avon: Those ships should have been able to knock us out completely. Why didn’t they?
Sue: Ask Orac. I thought Orac was supposed to be the answer to all their prayers. All he’s done so far is make everyone paranoid.
Elsewhere, on Spaceworld…
Sue: It’s a jumpgate from Babylon 5.
A woman in a skin-tight blue Lycra bodystocking is, er, I’m not quite sure. I got distracted.
Sue: This is your favourite episode, isn’t it, Neil.
I fidget uncomfortably in my seat.
Sue: Even Kate Bush would think twice about wearing that. Nice arse, though.
Blake has lost control of the Liberator, so he heads to the subcontrol room to sort it out.
Sue: What a stupid place to put a gear stick.
Blake is threatened by some sentient wiring.
Sue: It’s like The Abyss, but with electric instead of water.
Me: I think you mean it’s abysmal.
Sue: No, it’s all right. It’s quite scary. I like the idea of the ship turning on them. I just don’t understand why it’s taken so long.
Zen is no help at all.
Sue: Is Zen in a huff because he’s jealous of Orac? I bet that’s it. He hasn’t been the same since they turned Orac on.
Cally replaces a computer component on the Liberator‘s flight deck.
Sue: They’re trying to turn Cally into Romana. They’ve even given her a sonic screwdriver. Has Terry forgotten which programme he’s writing for?
The component shorts out.
Cally: It’s rejecting the replacement.
Avon: It’s more fundamental than that. We are the cause. It is rejecting us.
Sue: Maybe it was something you said? Perhaps if you promised to clean the toilets more often, the ship will let you off with a warning.
Avon arrives in the subcontrol room to help Blake.
Avon: The ship is working against us. From now on we are just passengers.
Blake: The question is, where to?
Sue: They’re going to the one place they can’t go, obviously. Maybe Orac is doing this to prove himself right. I trust Orac about as far as I can throw him, which is probably quite far, but you know what I mean.
Avon distracts the computer and Blake escapes. When the door slams shut on Avon, Sue gasps.
Sue: For a second there, I thought Blake had locked Avon in that room on purpose. I honestly thought Blake was using that opportunity to get rid of Avon. You wouldn’t get that on Star Trek.
Meanwhile, Gan has buggered off somewhere.
Cally: He tried to reconnect one of the servo links and it burned his hand.
Sue: Typical Gan. Always on the sick.
Gan is ambushed by unwelcome visitors in the teleport room.
Sue: They’re using the same guns as Blake. Wait a minute… I know what’s happening. Either the BBC have run out of money and they’re recycling props, or this lot have come back for their ship.
Me: Are you excited that you’ll find out who built the Liberator?
Sue: I couldn’t care less. I hadn’t given it a second thought.
At least the Liberator‘s supply of bracelets has been replenished.
Sue: Lesley Judd’s been busy.
Cally searches for Vila, who went missing searching for Gan.
Cally: Vila? Vila!
Sue: Cally – the only telepath who needs to shout.
The Liberator‘s walls are splattered with blood.
Sue: It’s turned into The Texas Chainsaw Massacre now. Listen! you can hear a chainsaw starting up.
Me: That’s Dudley’s maracas, love.
Sue believes that Blake should give the Liberator back to the aliens.
Sue: Well it is their ship. Maybe if they asked nicely, Blake would give it back. He’s a very reasonable terrorist.
Blake switches Orac on.
Sue: Finally! What took you so long?
Blake: Orac’s systems are entirely independent of the Liberator‘s.
Sue: So Orac is basically a laptop. If they made Blake’s 7 today, you’d fit Orac in your pocket. And you could probably play mp3s on him, too.
Sue didn’t notice that Orac’s voice has changed between series, but she has noticed that the same actor voices Zen as well. This doesn’t surprise her.
Sue: Anything to save a bit of money.
The Liberator‘s flight deck is taken over by aliens, and Blake is subdued with a gun-nozzle to the face.
Sue: So Terry Nation invented the taser. I bet they didn’t know their guns could do that, which is funny when you think about it.
The Liberator is taken to Spaceworld.
Sue: I like it when the women are in charge. Although if these women were really in charge, the men would be the ones walking around in skin-tight cat suits.
Sue is impressed by Sheila Ruskin’s screen presence.
Sue: She has a very nice voice. She reminds me of Diana Rigg. She’s got a nice arse like Diana Rigg, too.
Me: I would have got a cushion in the face for that.
Orac makes a funny noise.
Sue: Orac sounds like a kitten begging for a cuddle.
Armed guards escort Blake’s crew into the depths of Spaceworld.
Sue: What is it with this programme and fetish gear? Why do all the bad guys look like they’re on their way to a sex dungeon? Avon must think that all his Christmases have come at once.
Blake is interrogated by the System.
Sue: This is all Blake needs. Now he’s got two sets of bad guys to worry about. That doesn’t seem fair.
Alta 1: State the circumstance by which you came to be aboard Deep Space Vehicle II.
Sue: What a boring name.
Alta 1: State the astral location in which you found DSV II.
Sue: What sort of name is DSV? They don’t deserve the ship if that’s the best name they can come up with.
Me: What if they called it spaceQuest DSV, would that be any better?
Blake is sentenced to death, so he fights back. He even manages to disable Alta 2.
Sue: You can punch her in the face if you like – she’s a robot. At least I think she’s a robot. Although why you’d make a robot with a nice arse is beyond me.
I say nothing.
Blake shoots at a guard on a gantry above him.
Sue: That was an incredible fall. Was that Stuart Fell?
Me: I don’t know.
Sue: Text John Williams.
Blake finds himself in a dead-end.
Sue: I’m sure this is a map on Call of Duty.
A slave provides him with an escape route.
Me: It’s Roy Evans.
Sue: Oh no, not again.
Me: No, it’s the real Roy Evans this time.
Sue: He’s no spring chicken, but I bet he’s still a thousand times better than Gan.
Vila frees Jenna and Avon from Spaceworld’s cells, but not before Avon accidentally punches Vila in the stomach.
Sue: I don’t care what you say, Avon enjoyed that. This is just a regular Thursday night on the Liberator.
Avon: Come on!
Sue howls with laughter when Avon growls “Come on!”
Avon, Jenna, Gan, Cally and Vila run for their lives.
Sue: (as Avon) Come on!
A System guard fires on them.
Sue: I’m surprised they were allowed to set off explosives in a gas works. The risk assessment for this episode must have been a nightmare.
At least Roy Evans can shoot straight.
Sue: Taxi for Gan!
But Roy doesn’t make it – he’s shot in the back.
Sue: No! You can’t do that! He’s the best thing in this!
System guards teleport to the Liberator, armed with grenades. But they are teleported back to Spaceworld before they can throw them and the hapless guards end up attacking their own base. Sue laughs so much she spills her tea.
Sue: They make the Federation look good.
The Liberator escapes from Spaceworld.
Sue: That looks like an airport runway at night. Oh wait… it is an airport runway at night. Hang on… where are the Liberator‘s wheels?
The System sends a ship after them.
Zen: Sensors register secondary launch, a space vehicle in pursuit. Speed Standard by Fourteen.
Sue: Speed Standard by Fourteen? **** me!
The Liberator‘s sister ship is destroyed by Orac. His prophecy came true after all.
Sue: What a cop out. At least they didn’t drag it out for a whole season, I suppose.
Blake congratulates Orac.
Sue: Orac is the most useful member of Blake’s crew and he’s strapped to a ****ing trolley.
Blake tells Zen to take them back to Earth sector.
Sue: About bloody time.
And then he tells Avon to return to his post.
Sue: If looks could kill, Blake would be having an aneurism right now.
Sue: I struggled with that. I couldn’t get into it at all. The direction was horrendous, and did we really need another group of jackbooted villains? Hasn’t Blake got enough on his plate? And I bet we never see the Sisters again, so what was the point?
Sue: Sisters. System. Whatever. The episode was a complete waste of time. Avon was good, and the end was quite exciting, but this is still really, really cheap. I’m sorry, but that was disappointing.
When it was all over, I showed her this video by Gareth Roberts and Clayton Hickman. Embedding is disabled by request, the swines.
Sue: Very clever, and a massive improvement on the original.
Warning: Glen’s trailers can spoil specific plot points in the next episode, so please play with caution.