Carried away by a Moon Disc Shadow…
Chris Boucher’s name elicits a round of applause from Sue.
Sue: Thank God for that.
Me: Don’t get too excited. You didn’t like Chris Boucher’s Doctor Who episodes very much.
This episode begins with two tramps (Bek and Hanna) who are being taunted by a Bond villain named Largo (what are the chances of that?) with jellied treats made by Heston Blumenthal. Or at least that’s what it says in my notes.
Sue: He’s famous.
She’s pointing at Karl Howman.
Sue: I recognise his voice. Who is he?
Me: Karl Howman.
Sue: That doesn’t help.
Bek and Hanna turn the tables on Largo and they escape with a big bag of tasty Heston treats.
Bek: You stupid murdering scumball.
Sue: He’s a Space Cockney! Come on, Neil, pause the DVD and tell me who that is.
Me: I’ve already told you – it’s Karl Howman. OK, do you remember a BBC sitcom called Brush Strokes? Theme tune by Dexys Midnight Runners (also missing an apostrophe, by the way). He played a cheeky painter and decorator. Late eighties. A bit shit.
Sue: Never heard of it.
It must have been the way I described it, because she remembered it quite fondly when I loaded up the title sequence on YouTube.
Sue: Oh yeah, he was quite dishy in that. Has he been in anything else?
Me: Well, he was in a long-running series of TV adverts.
Me: What? No.
And then she listed practically everything that has ever been advertised on British television, including dog biscuits, toilet paper, Tango, toothpaste, and crisps. And then she gave up.
Me: Flash cleaning products. Remember?
She does when I fire up YouTube:
Sue: Oh yeah. Him. I wish I’d never asked now.
While Bek and Hanna consider their next move, the Liberator can be seen through the window behind them.
Sue: That was a nice touch. I really liked that. It gives the place a sense of scale. The direction is a lot better already.
The action switches to the Liberator‘s flight deck.
Sue: Now that’s how you light a set. And isn’t it nice to see them all together in the same shot like that.
Me: Yeah, they’re one big happy family.
Sue: I like the way Blake gets the comfy seat.
Zen: All systems functioning. Status is firm.
Sue: Too much information, Zen.
Blake: So, that is Space City.
Vila: Also known as the satellite of sin.
Sue: Or Las Vegas in Space. Am I right?
Vila’s costume raises an eyebrow.
Sue: Has Vila been fencing?
Me: Not the sort you mean, no.
Meanwhile, on Space City, Bek and Hanna are arguing over a drug-addled corpse.
Sue: This is a bit bleak. Where are the dancing girls and roulette tables?
Me: This isn’t Las Vegas in Space, it’s an Edinburgh Housing Estate in Space.
Vila desperately wants to visit Space City.
Sue: Vila’s sideburns are enormous. I bet Space Elvis is playing at Space Vegas tonight and Vila’s a big fan. That’s why he can’t wait to get over there. By the way, I don’t rate the actor who plays Vila. He’s over the top.
Me: I love you to bits, Sue, but you are completely wrong about Vila. Just so we’re clear on that.
Cally sees through Vila’s pathetic attempt to get off the ship.
Sue: Anyone would think she was a telepath.
So Vila persuades Orac to operate the teleport instead.
Vila: Don’t start sulking again, or I shall switch you off and throw away the key.
Orac: Soon, that will no longer be a problem.
Sue: Orac is going to take over the ship! I knew you couldn’t trust him. And Vila didn’t notice because he’s too busy thinking about Space Elvis. Oh dear. This won’t end well.
On Space City, Blake, Avon and Jenna are bargaining with an amused Largo, who claims that the drug-running Terra Nostra are a myth.
Sue: You can’t bribe the Mafia with paperweights, Avon. Everybody knows that.
To illustrate this point, Largo takes Blake and his crew hostage.
Sue: You can’t really argue with that. Blake is very naive. I’m surprised that Avon agreed to go along with this stupid plan.
Orac has been a very naughty boy.
Zen: The one called Orac is not concerned for the safety of the Liberator.
Sue: Hark at Zen! “The one called Orac!” Zen’s nose has definitely been put out of joint. I can’t wait to see Zen and Orac bickering with each other. It’s bound to happen sooner or later. And is Cally going to a medieval banquet tonight or what?
Cally makes radio contact with Vila.
Vila: (off-screen) What do you want, Cally?
Sue: Cut to Vila in a Space Brothel, surrounded by Space Prostitutes.
Cally: I want you back here. Get ready to teleport.
Vila: (off-screen) You’re wasting your time, Cally. I’m not wearing a bracelet.
Sue: He’s not wearing anything, Cally. Unless you count his sideburns.
Blake, Avon, Gan and Jenna have been imprisoned in Space City with Bek and Hanna. Bek isn’t impressed with Blake’s decision to employ Gan as his lookout.
Bek: I mean, he’d really blend into the background, wouldn’t he? What did you do, put up a sign?
Sue: The script is a big improvement on the rubbish we usually get. This is shaping up nicely.
Largo tests Blake by asking him how many shuttle craft he has on the Liberator, and then he puts the same question to Cally on the flight deck.
Sue: If she was a proper telepath, she’d know the answer to that.
Cally extracts the answer from Blake with her telepathic powers.
Sue: Bloody hell! They remembered that Cally is a telepath! This gets better and better.
Cally threatens to blast Space City to smithereens if they don’t release her friends. Space City think she’s drunk, so she blows up one of their ships.
Sue: Proper terrorism for a change. About time.
The crew teleport back to the Liberator, leaving Bek and Hanna behind.
Sue: (as Blake) Thanks for your help and everything but we’re off. Try not to get killed. Bye!
A few seconds later, Blake comes back for them.
Blake: I changed my mind.
Sue: Aww, bless.
The Liberator leaves Space City in its wake.
Sue: I really enjoyed that. That episode flew by.
Me: We’re only half-way through.
Sue: Oh. Bollocks.
Vila is recovering from the mother of all hangovers, so Avon has to resort to insulting Gan instead.
Gan: Can’t find Orac. Even tried calling his name.
Avon: Oh, I’m sorry I missed that. It’s the kind of natural stupidity no amount of training could ever hope to match.
Sue: I don’t know why they put up with him. I mean, I love Avon to bits but you have to ask yourself: why don’t they throw him off the ship? His main function seems to be putting people on edge and winding them up.
And then Avon takes the piss out of Blake’s decision to intimidate the Terra Nostra with force.
Avon: Law makers, law breakers, let us fight them all. Why not?
Sue: Because it’s stupid?
Cally searches for Orac, who is playing hard to get.
Sue: You can’t count Orac as one of the Seven if he’s a baddie. This has completely ruined the title of the programme again.
The next thing we know, Cally is trapped in a metaphorical box.
Sue: What the ****? Has Cally been on the Shadow? Is this what Shadow does to you? The last thing they need is a drug that makes them more paranoid than they already are.
Cally is in a catatonic state, but Blake isn’t bothered by that. He’s too busy planning his takeover of the Terra Nostra’s supply of Shadow.
Sue: He’s going to do a Heisenberg. It’s turned into Blake-ing Bad.
The Federation are in cahoots with the Terra Nostra.
Sue: That’s interesting. I like it when the Federation are involved. I feel like we’re actually getting somewhere. I have a lot more faith in this programme now that Terry’s left.
Me: It’s only been thirty minutes!
Sue: I feel like I’m watching a completely different programme.
Cally is trapped in Orac’s head. Or as Sue so eloquently puts it:
Sue: What the ****?
Orac: Obviously, she’s insane.
Sue: First he can predict the future – or so he says – and now he makes one of the crew go mad. I’ll ask you again: what the ****?
Blake, Jenna and Avon prepare to teleport to Zondar, the planet where Shadow is grown and harvested.
Sue: (as Blake) But let’s have a quick fencing tournament, first.
Once on Zondar, Sue remembers where’s she’s seen Blake’s pyjamas before.
Sue: He’s come dressed as Luke Skywalker. They’ve even landed on Tatooine. Off-season by the look of it. Why didn’t George Lucas sue them?
Me: He was too busy suing Battlestar Galactica.
Gan has been left on the Liberator to sulk.
Sue: Gan is pissed off because they don’t have any cream pyjamas in his size.
Gan: All system are functioning normally. Status is firm.
Sue: Seriously, that is too much information!
Blake, Avon and Jenna explore Zondar’s surface.
Sue: Blake isn’t afraid to show off his chest. Avon, not so much. That is a shame.
Me: Jenna’s nipples are enormous.
Sue: I beg your pardon?
Me: The cat. Her nipples are enormous. You know, because she’s about to give birth. Actually, I don’t know why I felt the urge to say that.
Sue: I can take a bloody good guess.
The planet is populated by Moon Discs.
Sue: They look like wood-turned oyster boxes.
Me: We’ll just have to take your word for that.
Meanwhile, Orac is still driving Cally (and Sue) mad.
Orac: Listen to the voice of Orac. Remember the touch of hands and laughter and the warmth of open minds. Remember these things for they are gone. You are alone.
Sue: OK, now I’m really confused.
Blake discovers a series of reflecting mirrors in the sand which provide shade for the Moon Discs.
Blake: All we’ve got to do is plant these sensors in some form of rough circle. The battle computers will put together a complete picture of what’s there.
Sue: Sensors? They’re tent pegs!
The Shadow gardens are patrolled by men dressed in what Sue describes as the best example of restricted vision on a helmet ever. And there’s plenty of competition for that title on Blake’s 7. Blake makes short work of them, probably because they can’t see him.
Sue: What a bunch of Space Jesses.
Meanwhile, back on the Liberator, Orac is going nuts.
Sue: Quick! Pour some coffee over him!
Cally teleports to the surface of Zondar, and it isn’t long before she’s rolling around in the sand, surrounded by Moon Discs.
Sue: This planet would be a great place for a spa. You could train the plants to work as hot stones.
Sue: At least there’s no blood for them to clean up. All that scrubbing and rinsing…
The Liberator is going to crash on the planet below.
Sue: Blimey, it’s all go. I don’t know what’s happening, but I think I’m enjoying it.
Cally sorts it out, and then she has a lot of explaining to do. It appears that Orac was taken over by a creature from another dimension, and Cally used the Moon Discs to repel it. The Terra Nostra were unavailable for comment.
Cally: Their telepathy gave me courage. Perhaps it gave me strength, too.
Sue: So the drugs do work. And you’d have to be on drugs to make sense of that. I mean, what the ****?
Blake promises to return for Bek in three years.
Sue: I bet he bloody doesn’t.
Before they leave Zondar behind, Blake offers Bek a way to avenge Hanna’s death.
Blake: Bek, that button burns the President’s garden. It won’t hurt him much, but it’ll sting a bit.
Me: Blake does all the hard work so you don’t have to.
Bek moves to press the button. Cue credits.
Sue: So they murdered all the telepathic plants. The plants that helped Cally. Well there’s gratitude for you.
Sue: That was a step in the right direction. The dialogue was a massive improvement, the acting was pretty good, and everything Avon said was hilarious. It was still a bit of a mess, though. The Space Mafia were interesting but they didn’t go anywhere with it. I could have done without the Cally subplot completely. It didn’t make any sense. And I wanted to see more of Space Vegas. I wanted to see Space Craps.
Sue: And I don’t trust Orac.
Me: It wasn’t Orac’s fault. He was possessed.
Sue: Hmm. I’m not convinced. That was Orac’s first attempt at a hostile take-over. Quantum space monster my arse.
Warning: Glen’s trailers include mild spoilers for the next episode.
Jenna has given birth!
Jenna and her five kittens are doing well. I’m a nervous wreck but they’re fine.
We’re trying not to get too attached to the kittens because they will be re-homed in a few weeks, but for now we’re calling them Alta 1, Alta 2, Alta 3, Alta 4 and Gan.