You’ll be pleased to know that Sue can almost sing the theme tune now (she still struggles with the ending), but you’ll be less pleased to know that she thinks the title sequence looks a bit, well, cheap.
Sue: Does Terry Nation write every episode?
Sue: So this is the second-part of a two-parter. Is that it?
The episode begins with the prison ship, London, engaging its hyperdrive, which leaves a thick plume of smoke in its wake.
Sue: Its rear-end has gone. They should pull into a space garage before it’s too late.
I tell her that Blake’s 7 didn’t have a big budget.
Sue: You don’t say.
I tell her that Blake’s 7 had the same budget as an average episode of Softly, Softly, a programme she remembers fondly, even though it wasn’t as good as Z-Cars.
Sue: The BBC can be their own worst enemy, sometimes.
With the London on auto-pilot, the crew turn their attention to more important matters.
Sue: He’s playing Sudoku, and he’s trimming his ear hair. Nice.
There then follows an exchange between the ship’s captain, Leylan, and his first officer, Raiker, that makes Sue almost spill her tea:
Leylan: There’s a female prisoner on our manifest.
Raiker: I’ve noticed that, sir.
Leylan: Yes… well… er, be discreet.
Sue: Bloody hell! In other words, when you rape her, don’t make a big song and dance about it. Unbelievable.
Raiker introduces himself to the prisoners.
Raiker: I’m Sub-commander Raiker, and I think there are a few things you should know.
Sue: One: I’m a serial rapist. Actually, he looks like a thin Brian Tilsley from Coronation Street.
Me: I’m saying nothing.
Raiker informs the prisoners that their journey to Cygnus Alpha will take eight months.
Sue: They’ll get piles if they have to sit like that for eight months. That’s a bit grim.
Sue: Yes, what happens if you need a wee?
Much to Sue’s relief – and theirs – the prisoners are shown to their living quarters. All except Blake, that is.
Sue: Facing the wrong way on a space ship isn’t that severe a punishment, is it? Is it supposed to annoy you that you can’t watch the in-flight movie without getting a crick in your neck?
Raiker shows Blake who’s in charge.
Raiker: Something of a comedown for a leader of men, isn’t it? Molesting kids?
Sue: They’re still doing the child abuse sub-plot. No wonder Blake’s 7 went out in January. This is incredibly depressing.
According to Sue, you can cut the sexual tension in this scene with a knife.
Sue: I think Blake is in more danger of something discreet happening to him than Jenna is.
Raiker informs Jenna that the prison ship doesn’t cater for female prisoners.
Sue: Why? Don’t women commit crimes in the future? I’m mildly annoyed by that.
Raiker tries his luck with Jenna, but the smuggler quickly puts the sub-commander in his place.
Sue: Thank God for that. For a moment there, I thought Jenna was a bit of a floozy. You know, like our cat. I hope she gets to kick him where it hurts, later.
Vila introduces Blake to Avon.
Sue: I know him. That’s Paul Darrow. Ooh, I’m really looking forward to this.
Paul Darrow doesn’t disappoint.
Sue: I still think Paul Darrow would have been a great Doctor. Scary, but great.
Blake begins to formulate an escape plan.
Sue: Aren’t they bothered that the bloke who’s offering to lead them is a convicted kiddie fiddler?
On the London’s bridge, a man named Artix – who Sue describes as a cross between Eric Idle and Richard O’Sullivan – notices something strange on the scanner. The crew can’t work out what it is.
Raiker: I’ve never seen anything like that before.
Sue: I have. When we got a Binatone game system. It was nothing like real badminton.
Blake convinces Avon to work with him.
Sue: They look like they’re sitting in a barber shop, waiting to get their hair cut.
Blake persuades Avon to rally to his cause because the alternative is even worse.
Blake: A private deal with the ship’s crew to fake the running log? You’ve had four months to think about that. And it didn’t take you that long to work out that they would have to kill you afterwards to keep you quiet.
Sue: Hang on a minute. They’ve been living on this ship for four months? In the same clothes? The ship must stink to high heaven. I wonder how many of them have copped off with each other.
The ship is suddenly rocked by space debris.
Crew Member: Section Four. The outer hull has been punctured astern.
Sue: He doesn’t sound that upset. He made it sound like they’d just ran out of milk.
Blake uses this distraction to assemble his gang together.
Avon: You’ve got an army of five, Blake.
Sue: Blake’s 5. We’re finally getting somewhere. What are the names of the two new members?
Me: Gan and Nova.
Sue: That sounds a bit Geordie to me. I’m Gan and Nova the toon, pet.
Blake’s gang has all the bases covered:
Sue: There’s a smuggler, a thief, a computer expert, a strong man, a camp man, and a convicted kiddie fiddler. What could possibly go wrong?
Avon breaks into the ship’s computer room.
Sue: Paul Darrow is very easy on the eye. There’s something about him… I can’t quite put my finger on it but I can’t take my eyes off him.
Me: Stop drooling, love. Thanks.
Meanwhile, back in the prisoners’ quarters, a guard is handed today’s Sudoku challenge. And that’s when Sue notices that something is terribly amiss.
Sue: Hang on a minute. Where’s Dennis Waterman gone? He couldn’t stop shouting his mouth off in the last one, so where is he now?
When Vila backs out of Blake’s plan to disable the ship, Nova volunteers to take his place.
Sue: I like Nova. Vila is a bit of a dick.
Nova is killed shortly thereafter.
Sue: What? They can’t do that! We’re back to Blake’s 4 again. Bloody hell.
Me: I’m relieved. He cried like a baby.
Sue: I’d like to see how you’d react if you were drowning in shaving foam, Neil. And it can be arranged, you know. Poor Nova. I’ll miss him.
Avon sets to work on the ship’s computer.
Sue: Look at the size of his sonic, Neil. I suppose I should make an ‘Avon calling’ joke here, just to get it out of the way. No, on second thoughts, I won’t. You’d have to be pretty desperate to make a lame joke like that. Forget I said anything.
Avon is sidetracked by a “realistic but shit” fight, so Gan gently persuades a guard to open the doors instead.
Sue: Gan is basically Big John, isn’t he? If Robin Hood was a paedo, I mean.
The fight in the computer room has spiralled out of control.
Sue: He’s put his finger in Avon’s mouth! Who fights like that? What kind of sick future is this?
Meanwhile, Blake gets into a gunfight.
Sue: Is it really wise to fire guns in a space ship? It’s already got holes in it.
And then Gan mispronounces Vila’s name.
Sue: He’s had four months to get that right. They obviously haven’t copped off in the shower yet. Is there a shower? Please tell me there’s a shower.
Gan and Vila head for the armoury, but in an act of unbelievable stupidity, Vila drops his gun when Gan orders the guards to drop theirs. It’s a mess, frankly.
Sue: Oh, come off it! I told you Vila was a dick.
The rebellion is quashed, leaving Blake, Jenna and Avon locked in the computer room, their options running out. Raiker executes a prisoner to force Blake’s hand.
Sue: What an absolute ****. I’m shocked by that.
Avon implores Blake to sacrifice the prisoners.
Sue: I’m even more shocked by that. I didn’t realise that Avon was such a git. I still like him, though. But I like Blake, too. It’s complicated. Which one does Jenna go for? Does it turn into a messy love triangle? I bet it does.
Blake ignores Avon’s pleas and they surrender. Raiker is told the good news.
Sue: I bet he shoots another prisoner anyway. He’s that type of ****.
Raiker shoots another prisoner anyway.
Sue: I told you! What did I tell you? If you want to guess what’s going to happen in Blake’s 7, just think of the bleakest thing possible. It’s as easy as that.
The prisoners are rounded up and Raiker gives Jenna one of his looks.
Sue: This is relentless. After all that murdering, it’s time for a quick rape before dinner. Jesus.
Avon taunts Blake for failing to see their hijack through.
Sue: I think I’m going to enjoy Blake’s 7 a lot. I already love Avon. He’s very funny. Very dry.
But it isn’t over yet: the London has found a derelict ship floating in space.
Sue: This must be important because it’s in the title sequence. I’m guessing that Blake and his gang steal it, and they run away in it. That makes sense, because, let’s face it, the ship they’re on now is rubbish.
Leylan wants to salvage this mysterious alien ship so he can pocket the reward.
Sue: Rapists, murderers and now scrap dealers. Is there anything these people won’t do to avoid their real jobs?
The London docks with the mysterious ship.
Sue: Nice bit of six-inch ducting, there.
Leylan sends two of his men into the ship to investigate.
Sue: Seriously, though, where is Dennis Waterman?
Me: This is the only thing I remember from 1978. This tunnel.
Sue: It’s a very nice tunnel. Considering the budget they had to work with, this isn’t bad at all.
Me: This would have been up against Coronation Street, and I know my mum watched Coronation Street, and we didn’t have a second telly, so she must have let me watch Blake’s 7 as a special treat.
Sue: What a lovely mum. Although I bet she was shocked when she found out that you wanted to watch a programme about criminals, child molesters and rapists.
Leylan loses radio contact with his men. So he sends another man in after them.
Sue: What an idiot. I was beginning to feel sorry for him, but he’s a terrible captain. They should send the rapist in. I can’t stand him.
Raiker has a much better idea: send the prisoners in. They choose Blake, Avon and Jenna for this dangerous mission, and it appears that you can have your child molesting charges against you dropped if you agree to salvage a space ship on your way to prison. Who knew?
Our heroes walk onto the bridge of this strange, new ship.
Sue: That looks pretty good.
Sue: Don’t push it, love.
But something’s wrong…
Sue: It’s an automatic defence system, silly. Is everyone completely thick?
Blake, Jenna and Avon are hypnotised by strange visions.
Sue: What the hell are we watching now? It looks like a bloody snuff film.
Blake breaks free of the illusion, which sends Avon flying backwards over a couch, but Sue is too wrapped up in the drama to notice or care.
Sue: It’s good, this.
Blake asks Jenna if she can pilot the ship.
Sue: Are they leaving Vila and Gan behind? Are we back to Blake’s 2 again? They’ve taken three steps forward and three steps back again.
Blake finds Raiker heading down the docking tunnel towards them. A shot rings out.
Sue: If this was Doctor Who, that would have been the cliffhanger.
But Blake isn’t dead; he’s just bruised his shoulder (we think). Raiker is sucked out into space.
Sue: On a piece of string. I’m not very happy about that. I wanted him to suffer.
Sue proceeds to tell me all the ways Raiker should have died. None of them are very pretty.
The episode ends with Blake revealing the next stage of his plan.
Blake: Follow the London to Cygnus Alpha. Then we can free the rest of the prisoners.
Sue: Yay! … Wait a minute. What are they going to do for the next four months while they’re following them?
Sue: That was even better than the last one. I like it because it doesn’t feel rushed. I’m very impressed. This is much better than Doctor Who. It’s more psychological, and I feel like I’m really involved with the characters. I can’t wait to see how this turns out.
Sue: Can we watch the next one now?