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Space Fall

Avon calling…

Space FallYou’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?

Me: No.

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.

Space FallSue: 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.

Raiker: Questions?

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?

Space FallRaiker 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?

Space FallOn 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.

Space FallAvon: 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?

Space FallWhen 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.

Space FallThe 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.

Space FallSue: 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.

Space FallLeylan 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.

Space FallSue: 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.

Jenna: Beautiful!

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.

Space FallSue: 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.

Space FallThe 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?

The Score:

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.

8/10

Sue: Can we watch the next one now?

Me: No.

Next Time:

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135 comments

  • Visit site
    January 7, 2014 6:20 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Peter Lack

    “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?”

    Has Sue been reading the Radio Times listings for that week?

    Great stuff, as ever!

  • Visit site
    January 7, 2014 6:30 pmPosted 3 years ago
    James Coleman

    I understand Sue’s impulse, it’s going to be difficult not to rush ahead of the schedule… but I really want to follow the blog with the show. Still, it really is pretty great so far.

  • Visit site
    January 7, 2014 6:35 pmPosted 3 years ago
    John Williams

    “Rapists, murderers and now scrap dealers. Is there anything these people won’t do to avoid their real jobs?”

    🙂

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      January 8, 2014 5:45 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Dave Sanders

      If by ‘real jobs’ Sue means ‘act a bit Ray Galton and Alan Simpson’, the answer is no, probably not. 🙂

  • Visit site
    January 7, 2014 6:49 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Harriet

    I’m glad the tunnel made such a good impression.

  • January 7, 2014 7:09 pmPosted 3 years ago
    encyclops

    “Sue: I still think Paul Darrow would have been a great Doctor. Scary, but great.”

    Can Glen please include Paul saying “reverse the polarity of the neutron flow” on a future trailer? I get chills just thinking about it.

    “Sue: I think I’m going to enjoy Blake’s 7 a lot. I already love Avon. He’s very funny. Very dry.”

    Awesome.

    “Sue proceeds to tell me all the ways Raiker should have died. None of them are very pretty.”

    What a tease! Is at least one of them fit to print?

  • January 7, 2014 7:25 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Jason

    “…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?”

    I took it that the charges dropped would’ve been for their attempt to take over the prisoner ship, not their original sentence.

    Liking this show a lot, and surprisingly so is my girlfriend.

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      January 7, 2014 7:29 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Harriet

      Actually, what’s been puzzling me about the responses to the blog so far is that so many of them have been from men. I mean, I do know quite a few men who like Blake’s Seven, but I’ve always thought of it as an overwhelmingly female fandom.

      • January 8, 2014 12:47 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Doc Whom

        I don’t remember girls being that interested in it during the 70s. It was mostly boys. Maybe retrospectively.

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          January 8, 2014 1:03 pmPosted 3 years ago
          John Miller

          It’s interesting this. I remember with Doctor Who, it seemed like it was a Boys’ own show. Then I read a female fan from the USA said that more American fans(they call themselves ‘Whovians’, ugh) are female than male.(Of course these days the target market for Who is 13-year-old girls.)

          Same thing with Blakes 7. It always seemed to be a male’s show. I was very surprised to read Harriet’s comment.

          • Visit site
            January 8, 2014 7:08 pmPosted 3 years ago
            Angela Reilly

            Apparently, Blake’s 7 first-run viewership was tilted much more to the female than 70s/80s Doctor Who. It also had a significantly older demographic. So we are talking about older female fans rather than kids. I blame Avon myself!

            Apparently in the 70s and early 80s the main B7 fanclub and also the B7 magazine, had a majority of female subscribers (markedly so for the magazine). The more active B7 fans certainly seem to have been women since they were more involved in producing B7 fanzines, newsletters etc than male fans.

            Maybe male scifi fans, at least as far as the U.K. goes, were more likely to gravitate towards active Doctor Who fandom, which was very male-dominated? Nevertheless, I strongly suspect that male fans were always in the majority as far as passive fans go.

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            January 8, 2014 11:18 pmPosted 3 years ago
            The Grouchybeast

            I was born in 1971, and as I remember it, pretty much everyone at school watched Doctor Who, girls and boys. One of my best friends was a huge Adric fan — I remember her crying when he was killed off.

            I didn’t want Blakes, though, when it first aired. I suppose my mum and dad thought I was a bit too young.

        • Visit site
          January 8, 2014 5:47 pmPosted 3 years ago
          Dave Sanders

          Series 3 was broadcast in 1980, so yes; both of you would still be right. 😛

        • Visit site
          May 10, 2014 3:55 pmPosted 3 years ago
          Fiona

          Girls watched it to look at Avon! Look at Avon: get drawn into story. Perfect.
          And now I am a grown woman and am watching Blake’s 7 to look at Avon and also pause the video (not possible in 1978) to look at him some more.

      • Visit site
        January 8, 2014 7:35 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Angela Reilly

        It may be relevant that I first heard about this blog when lurking on Gallifrey Base. So something to do with male and female “spaces” and word of mouth possibly. I haven’t seen the blog mentioned on tumblr or livejournal (until today!).

        • Visit site
          January 9, 2014 8:48 amPosted 3 years ago
          John Williams

          I went to a Doctor Who convention in 2004. It was a fairly standard mix of people for a Who event from that time, i.e. overwhelmingly male with just a handful of women. A few months later I went to a Blake’s 7 convention in the same hotel and the mix was almost exactly the reverse. It was really striking.

          Both great conventions – Paul Darrow turned up to both.

  • Visit site
    January 7, 2014 7:25 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Steph Adams

    One of my favourite episodes. My lasting memory is the first view of the ship with the electronic fanfare. I loved Avon’s line about Blake’s men “bumble around looking for someone to surrender to.” When I re watched this as an adult (on VHS as soon as it was released) I can recall being so amused that I started using the word “bumble” Paul Darrow was genius in this and clearly relished playing the role. I did think Sue might comment about the crewman choking on toothpaste as he came out of the tunnel but she was probably too absorbed by it all. Great recap – can’t wait for ep 3 and the great BB!

  • Visit site
    January 7, 2014 7:48 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Rob

    After discovering this blog today, i felt a strong need to head on over to ‘bargain’ online store iTunes in order to download Blake’s 7 but all i could see were some dodgy looking audio plays with that Sherlock bloke. What a travesty that i can’t legally purchase some digital Blake to go with this fabulous blog. i did however come away with a digi copy of ‘Adventures With The Wife in Space’ instead.
    Looking forward to more B7 instalments and i agree with Sue, you should both be watching 5 episodes a week…

    • Visit site
      January 7, 2014 9:25 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Richard Parker

      try amazon!

      • Visit site
        January 7, 2014 10:29 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Rob

        i got rid of the telly years ago – just me and a lovely Apple Mac now 🙂

        • January 7, 2014 10:33 pmPosted 3 years ago
          encyclops

          Does anyone know if there’s an official region 1 Blake’s 7 DVD set in print? I looked a while back, but maybe one’s become available since then.

          • Visit site
            January 10, 2014 2:37 amPosted 3 years ago
            Rob

            I can only guess that the reason why B7 isn’t on iTunes is in some way linked to why there is no region 1 DVD. Very frustrating and the Nation Estate need to step in and sort this out. I would have happily download the entire series from iTunes so that i could watch it in time with this fab blog.

  • Visit site
    January 7, 2014 7:51 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Mycroft Badger

    I found Paul Darrow captivating when I was a kid. I always wanted to be Avon rather than Blake. To this day, I still don’t know why!

    • Visit site
      January 7, 2014 9:13 pmPosted 3 years ago
      jsd

      It’s the old Luke Skywalker/Han Solo thing – you know you should want to be Luke because he’s good and pure, but secretly you really want to be Han because he’s dark and dangerous. Or if you prefer, Blake is the ego and Avon is the id. It’s a classic formula any way you slice it and the B7 series really milks it for all its worth.

      • January 8, 2014 2:33 amPosted 3 years ago
        Iain Coleman

        Except that in Blake’s 7, Blake really is a much bigger bastard than any of them.

        • Visit site
          January 8, 2014 8:54 pmPosted 3 years ago
          Angela Reilly

          As a Blake fan, I firmly believe in standing behind the biggest bastard 😀 Blake isn’t Luke Skywalker, he is Avon for politics/history nerds!

          So.. on to Star One! ;D

        • Visit site
          January 8, 2014 9:10 pmPosted 3 years ago
          wyngatecarpenter

          Blake was written as a straight hero in Season 1 (this is Terry Nation) but yes, arguably is a bigger bastard in Season 2, although this seems to go over a lot of people’s heads.

          • Visit site
            February 21, 2014 9:29 amPosted 3 years ago
            Robert Dick

            >Blake was written as a straight hero in Season 1

            Not always he wasn’t. Not in Bounty, for example.

        • January 10, 2014 1:10 pmPosted 3 years ago
          Doc Whom

          Yes, doesn’t Avon accuse him at one stage of being prepared to wade through the bodies of millions in order to free those millions.

          I always preferred Avon to Blake but then I always preferred the Emperor to Luke. Give me whoever has all the best lines and morality can go hang for all I care.

          • Visit site
            May 10, 2014 3:58 pmPosted 3 years ago
            Fiona

            Yeah, Blake is essentially a Bolshevik, killing you in order to save you.

          • May 11, 2014 10:08 pmPosted 3 years ago
            Elizabeth Lang

            Fiona “Yeah, Blake is essentially a Bolshevik, killing you in order to save you.”

            Yes and no. Save some people within his own narrow interest group, but everyone else? I have never believed Blake had any noble or heroic intentions to save people in general.

    • Visit site
      January 8, 2014 1:59 pmPosted 3 years ago
      django

      Same here! In fact, I think it’s due to the effect both Avon and Orac had over me as an impressionable 7 year old, that I now work in IT!

      Thank Blakes 7 for leading me to a profession I enjoy! 😀

      • January 10, 2014 1:12 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Doc Whom

        Given that Orac gets described as giving you either too little information or too much information but never exactly the information you need, I conclude that you must work for the people who provide our IT service helpline at work. 😉

  • Visit site
    January 7, 2014 9:24 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Richard Parker

    Sue seems shocked by the implied rape.

    Has she forgotten episode 4 of The Keys of Marinus so soon???

    • Visit site
      January 7, 2014 9:29 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Richard Parker

      Or, for that matter, The Romans

      • Visit site
        January 7, 2014 9:48 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Frankymole

        Not to mention The Time Meddler…

        • Visit site
          January 7, 2014 9:55 pmPosted 3 years ago
          Richard Parker

          Just can’t imagine that in Doctor Who these days, can you? Amy and the abducted child was close to the bone.

          • Visit site
            January 8, 2014 6:31 amPosted 3 years ago
            Gareth M

            What about the Master and Lucy Saxon? There’s definite abuse going on during the Year That Never Was. Before that how consenting was she?

          • Visit site
            February 21, 2014 9:30 amPosted 3 years ago
            Robert Dick

            The old bloke in Dinosaurs in a Spaceship makes it very clear what he’s planning to do to Nefertiti.

  • Visit site
    January 7, 2014 9:24 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Richard Parker

    “That sounds a bit Geordie to me. I’m Gan and Nova the toon, pet.”

    Genius.

  • Visit site
    January 7, 2014 9:34 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Gaston Mazzacane

    I think, on balance, I like it more than Doctor Who too. Is that blasphemy?

    • Visit site
      January 8, 2014 6:35 amPosted 3 years ago
      BWT

      Yes. You should all be burnt. Except Sue: she can finish the blog first.

  • January 7, 2014 9:38 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Doc Whom

    “You’ll be pleased to know that Sue can almost sing the theme tune now (she still struggles with the ending).”

    It’s Blake’s 7. We all struggle with that ending.

    • Visit site
      January 8, 2014 12:43 amPosted 3 years ago
      Shan

      I don’t know, in my opinion if it ended at Series 3 like everyone (makers and cast included) thought it would, I think it would probably be fondly remembered but the ending of Series 4 pushed it into legendary status (after all, we still all remember it don’t we, also it was more definitive and conclusive than “Terminal”.

      Some people have talked about such shows as Battlestar Galactica being darker than usual fiction but it had nothing on this show, especially the ending.

      • January 8, 2014 1:00 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Doc Whom

        Just a pity that we also got everything in between the end of S3 and the end of S4. With the honourable exception of “Orbit”.

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          January 8, 2014 11:21 pmPosted 3 years ago
          The Grouchybeast

          With the honourable exception of the last five minutes of Orbit. The rest of the episode is awful.

          • Visit site
            January 10, 2014 2:42 amPosted 3 years ago
            Rob

            Your kidding surely? Orbit is one of the finest television scripts ever written in my honest opinion. it is full of quotable dialogue. Admittedly I am a huge fan of much of Season 4 from espy 7 onwards so i might be slight biased 😉

          • January 10, 2014 1:17 pmPosted 3 years ago
            Doc Whom

            Orbit is utterly fantabs. And includes the one moment when Servalan being nasty (instead of making you think how deliciously camp) almost makes you poo your pants. The “it’s just a box of flashing lights” line. It’s always good when Avon and Villa are off on a mission alone together and so neither has to put on an act for other people. i.e. Avon doesn’t have to keep putting Villa down and Villa doens’t have to keep acting the idiot.

          • Visit site
            January 18, 2014 2:46 pmPosted 3 years ago
            wyngatecarpenter

            Orbit is easily the best Blakes 7 episode, despite a desperate attempt to sabotage it by Paul Darrow and his terrible Season 4 ham acting.

          • Visit site
            February 21, 2014 9:35 amPosted 3 years ago
            Robert Dick

            Oh tush.

            All of Orbit, Sand, Gold, Rescue, …

            And Headhunter is very funny. Miles away from The Way Back, of course, but entertaining in a different way.

            Only Stardrive, Animals and Warlord are dreadful.

  • January 7, 2014 9:50 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Doc Whom

    If Sue loves Avon already, the next few months are going to be a ball for her.

    Interesting that in these opening episodes, the brutality (rape, kiddie-fiddling and murder) are shown in a very bleak way. Later on, there’s an operatic campness to the insanity which makes it much less bleak and, I find, easier to take. Four seasons of bleakness like this would put anyone off.

    Can’t wait for the episode where I burst into tears on first broadcast. And no, it’s not the one where Avon switched from studded leather to softer fabrics.

  • Visit site
    January 7, 2014 9:53 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Russell Hillman

    At some (appropriate) point, please show Sue Blake’s Junction 7.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wWuTeR7xCU4

    • Visit site
      January 10, 2014 12:30 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Mark P

      At some (appropriate) point, please also show Sue Star Maidens. The 1976 British-German science-fiction tv series with Gareth Thomas that ran Sept’76 to Dec’76 that many (some?) would (may?) have seen prior to B7 in Jan’78

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jUPhF0ENjA

  • Visit site
    January 7, 2014 9:59 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Richard Parker

    They’ve been talking about a remake for years. For me, if they did it, they should set it about 100 years in the future. Basically, the present day, but with a few earth colonioes and spaceships. Which would really drive home the paedophilia, terrorism, rape etc.

    Bring on the bleakness, I love the bleakness. The sci fi aspects distract from it, which is sad. “The Way Back” is an astonishing script. I’d love a contemporary remake.

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      January 8, 2014 12:37 amPosted 3 years ago
      Shan

      I hope they do the same thing as Doctor Who and make it a continuation as opposed to a reboot. Why waste a perfectly good established universe with all its complexities and moral ambiguity you see in the real world as opposed to the clear cut good guys and bad guys?

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        January 8, 2014 8:25 amPosted 3 years ago
        John Miller

        I really wish they wouldn’t do either. Blakes 7 still stands up, and some of its issues are more relevant today than they were when the show first aired. The Season 2 extras have a Swap Shop where a child phones in and asks whether they think something like the Federation could exist in the future, and it’s met with a laugh.

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          January 8, 2014 9:13 amPosted 3 years ago
          BWT

          Some could argue that something like the Federation exists already: the Federation of Corporations. 😛

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            January 9, 2014 12:48 amPosted 3 years ago
            Frankymole

            There’s also the Federation banking cartel that Avon tries to steal from. Clearly the global hegemony of the bankers was then a distant fantasy…

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          January 10, 2014 12:21 amPosted 3 years ago
          Shan

          If we inevitably had to end up with one or the other, I’d prefer continuation over reboot provided they didn’t try to retcon the ending.

      • January 10, 2014 1:22 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Doc Whom

        I really don’t think that there’s enough of interest in the B7 universe to support a continuation. There are umpteen dystopian societies in TV sci-fi. What was interesting was the characters. If one is going to write a show with great characters, why set it in the B7 universe? Set it somewhere new and give us new ideas. It’s not like Star Trek where there are interesting alien races. Those muppets with giant horns are about the only aliens in B7.

    • January 8, 2014 1:01 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Doc Whom

      There’s an interview with Paul Darrow on (I think) the S4 box-set where they ask him if he thinks B7 will ever be remade and he answers that they’ve already remade it…as “Firefly”.

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        January 8, 2014 6:13 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Richard Lyth

        I’ve always thought Farscape was closer to B7 than Firefly was, as it had the whole “convicted criminals on the run from an evil empire” premise, only with more puppets. They even brought in a Servalan lookalike towards the end just to make it even more blatant.

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    January 7, 2014 10:54 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Grant M

    Some great interplay between characters there; Terry F***ing Nation did a good job with the script for once. Avon steals every scene he’s in, but then he does get most of the best lines. Much love for Vila throwing his gun down after Gan shouts “Drop your weapons”.

    There seemed to be a never ending supply of the Group 4-in-space guys. What do they all find to do during the long journey to Cygnus Alpha and back? If the company really wanted to cut its overheads, rather than go to all the trouble of dumping the prisoners out of an airlock and faking the log, why don’t they consider making a few redundancies? The bearded borderline psycho should definitely get his P45 pronto.

    “I bet she was shocked when she found out that you wanted to watch a programme about criminals, child molesters and rapists.” Isn’t that basically the plot of Coronation Street anyway?

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    January 7, 2014 11:00 pmPosted 3 years ago
    James Armstrong

    If the lovely Sue commits heresy again (“prefer this to Doctor Who” indeed!) then she must be made to watch all of The (original) Tomorrow People.

    In one sitting.

    • January 10, 2014 1:26 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Doc Whom

      True about TTP but one of the best theme tunes ever.

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    January 8, 2014 12:01 amPosted 3 years ago
    DPC

    Loving these reviews!

    Glad Sue likes Paul Darrow as Avon. Even in series 1, there is much greatness coming up with his character. And, yup, Darrow would have (and still would!) make a great Doctor!

    Paul Darrow has the same effect on me as he had on Sue, hehe!

    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?

    Me: Hehe…

    Blake was never a child fiddler, though – but it’s interesting how real criminals and people framed as criminals develop a bond over time.

    I tried showing B7 to a couple friends, who loved Firefly BTW, and they hated the first three episodes. With Sue enjoying this show so far, and her reaction to characters, she is definitely going to love some of what’s coming up over the remaining 50 episodes…

    Minor spoiler:

    Terry Nation’s first season would be script edited by Chris Boucher, who is on par with Terry Nation with understanding the show, but adding in his own strengths to sweeten the show over the next few years.

    • January 8, 2014 12:47 amPosted 3 years ago
      encyclops

      I tried showing B7 to a couple friends, who loved Firefly BTW, and they hated the first three episodes.

      That’s because Firefly’s characters are all screaming LOVE ME LOVE ME LOVE ME at the top of their lungs, and those on Blake’s 7 couldn’t care less what you think of them. 😉

      • January 8, 2014 1:04 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Doc Whom

        Could that be the difference between the US and UK in a nutshell?

        • January 8, 2014 4:44 pmPosted 3 years ago
          encyclops

          It’s certainly the difference between Joss Whedon and Chris Boucher.

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    January 8, 2014 12:35 amPosted 3 years ago
    Shan

    Really looking forward to this, especially when certain key events happen and particular actors turn up. The acting at its best was exceptional and the show really went to some very dark places. It really drove home the point that the special effects and the budget really didn’t matter at all if the actors and script were first rate, which it frequently was.

    Where would everyone recommend the best place to buy the whole series on DVD would be?

    • January 8, 2014 1:07 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Doc Whom

      Got mine on Amazon. They’re only £15 per season on Amazon UK which isn’t bad for 13 episodes each. The extras are a bit thin on the ground alas. I don’t think they ever did make a Region 1 version.

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      January 8, 2014 8:18 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Angela Reilly

      If you are considering buying dvds, you may want to note that there are often both Dutch and British region 2 dvds for sale. The Dutch ones, which tend to be cheaper, are barebones with only Dutch subtitles, while the British ones contain the extras, commentaries etc., such as they are, plus English subtitles. I think the Dutch dvds have pictures of the cast on the front of the boxes, while the British ones have a B7 logo.

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    January 8, 2014 4:11 amPosted 3 years ago
    Mutt'n'Bear

    A great Episode, neither Mutt nor I remember seeing this originally….
    Love the way Jenna says the sealent sets rock hard in seconds and then proceeds to play with it for the next minute or so!!!
    And Avons head is so hard it crushes the Carpet rolls that have been hung around the set in the computer room fight…..

    And very impressive that they built the ‘Londons’ control room on a gimbel so the whole thing could move and shake the flasks off the control desks! What a shame they for got to join the walls and things together though so that they end up all moving in various wobbly directions!!

    Loving the Blog and Sue’s comments already…. is there to be a counter for everytime we see a Teleport Bracelet get crushed accidentally?? LOL

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    January 8, 2014 6:36 amPosted 3 years ago
    Gareth M

    The foam sealant they use on the London always struck me as a great idea. It neatly shows that there’s holes in the ship and they’ve got something in place to patch it up. It does seem like a bit of overkill to fill a whole section with the hardening foam.
    Also that Avon messes around with it, isn’t he worried it’s going to set on his hands.

    Gan doesn’t really develop much beyond his Big John character here.

    “They’ve taken three steps forward and three steps back again.”
    That’ll pretty much describe a lot of the plots in the future.

    No mention of Vila’s magic tricks? And the guard who falls for them?

    I had forgotten about the time scale, that there’s still 4 months to go to get to Cygnus Alpha.
    I’m so used to watching a couple of couple of episodes at a time where you don’t think about the timing so much.
    On the London it’s covered fairly well, but on the Liberator the timeline seems a lot shorter.

    Is it actually called ‘the bridge’? On the London?
    I thought they didn’t use ‘bridge’ in Blake’s 7. It’s the “flight deck”.

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    January 8, 2014 6:45 amPosted 3 years ago
    BWT

    Awesome. I always almost wish “The Way Back” to over double-quick time when re-watching the series, so that we can get to “Space Fall”: with this episode, thanks to the magnificent Avon, BLAKES 7 really arrives.

    Yes, it’s brilliant. Yes, it’s bleak. Yes, it’s psychological. But…

    …better than DOCTOR WHO? Nope. Sorry. Especially now that I’m imagining Paul Darrow as the Doctor…

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      January 8, 2014 5:53 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Rob

      I personally always preferred Blake’s 7 over Dr Who (particularly as the Graham Williams era was so so weak). I would’ve been a very happy chappy back in late 1981 if the BBC had done a sudden u-turn and axed Dr Who instead of B7.

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        January 8, 2014 9:03 pmPosted 3 years ago
        wyngatecarpenter

        “particularly as the Graham Williams era was so so weak”

        (Adopts a Graham Crowden as Soldeed voice) What-are-you-talking-about?!

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          January 10, 2014 2:48 amPosted 3 years ago
          Rob

          Hehe 🙂 I do however think that ‘The City at The Edge of Death’ is absolutely terrific. John Cleese really elevates it to ‘classic’ status:)

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            January 18, 2014 2:50 pmPosted 3 years ago
            wyngatecarpenter

            You are right about City Of Death but you misunderstand, I think Horns Of Nimon is easily one of most entertaining Dr Who stories.

  • January 8, 2014 10:35 amPosted 3 years ago
    Matthew Kopelke

    Gotta say, am so pleased Sue is enjoying the show. “Blakes 7” has always held such a soft spot for me, coming a very close second after “Doctor Who” for my all-time favourite TV show.

    And I must also say that until tonight I did not even pick up on the implied rape subtext with Raiker’s character. I had just always assumed that the Captain’s line about treating her discreetly was due to issues around going to the loo and showering with a ship full of men!

    Another thing that I am liking about this re-watching is the fact I am getting to watch the show on a freakin’ massive TV, the result of which is I noticed so many extra details on the Liberator flight deck set I’d never noticed before. RML really did a bang-up job on that set. A shame it gets treated so poorly over the 3 years (usual BBC issue of sets being struck after each filming session, I guess) and those nice details get lost over time as things break.

    While these early episodes are great, I am looking forward to seeing Sue’s reaction to the B7 universe as it builds – including characters and tech we all know and love. 😉

  • January 8, 2014 11:00 amPosted 3 years ago
    Paul Greaves

    My podcast (TimeVault) has been covering Blake’s 7 for a little while now and I’ve always tended to watch The Way Back and Space Fall as a feature-length opener, as it certainly seems to have been written that way. Therefore in my own fannish way, I mark them as one episode. Which gets them an 9/10. A very strong opening to this series and almost entirely different from what follows!

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    January 8, 2014 1:16 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Marc Taylor

    The London had adequate toilet and washing facilities 😉

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/8empw048z1v3rzi/3-3-5-7-C16_Convict_Ship.png

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      January 8, 2014 8:50 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Vera

      2Marc Taylor
      Could you please tell where did you get those schematics for London?

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        January 18, 2014 4:23 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Frankymole

        That’s from the Horizon (Blakes 7 Appreciation Society) Technical Manual. Published in three parts, with lots of similar schematics for ships and weapons. and also costume designs. I think its still available for sale.

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          January 22, 2014 8:26 amPosted 3 years ago
          Marc Taylor

          I think it’s only still available if you find one on e-bay.

          They only ever made 3 parts sadly – despite promising plans for Xenon Base and so on….. 🙁

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            January 22, 2014 7:37 pmPosted 3 years ago
            Frankymole

            I made my own Xenon Base plans 🙂 It wasn’t a hardship paying close attention to Season D… especially with Soolin running round in it.

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    January 8, 2014 5:26 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Dave Sanders

    Sue will be regretting the ‘space garage’ remark before we’ve seen the last of Terry Nation. 🙂

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    January 8, 2014 6:32 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Jazza1971

    “He’s put his finger in Avon’s mouth! Who fights like that? What kind of sick future is this?”

    Love it!

  • January 8, 2014 8:56 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Stevie Carroll

    This is fun. Can’t wait to see the comments for Cygnus Alpha.

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    January 8, 2014 9:00 pmPosted 3 years ago
    wyngatecarpenter

    “This is much better than Doctor Who. ”

    Easy to say that while watching Space Fall and presumably with Time & The Rani reasonably fresh in the memory, but just you wait!

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      January 10, 2014 2:50 amPosted 3 years ago
      Rob

      I will be absolutely shocked if Sue rates ‘Harvest of Kairos’ or ‘Moloch’ or ‘Power’ or…

      • January 10, 2014 7:35 amPosted 3 years ago
        encyclops

        The thing is, those are surprisingly entertaining episodes. It’s easy to see why they invited the guy back; the characters and relationships are all really engaging, for better or for worse. We all know what the problems are, of course, and they’re impossible to ignore, so I think you’re right. It’s going to be interesting when we get there.

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          January 10, 2014 10:31 amPosted 3 years ago
          John Miller

          I’m most looking forward to Sue’s views on a certain episode with the words “city”, “edge” and “world” in it.

      • January 10, 2014 1:30 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Doc Whom

        That was Neil’s chat up line when he first met Sue. “Woman, you’re beautiful”.

        Actually, it was more the other way round.

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    January 9, 2014 1:02 amPosted 3 years ago
    Ruth

    Sue shows impeccable taste.

  • January 9, 2014 8:53 amPosted 3 years ago
    Kal

    I’m glad B7 has new fans. There are a few things that I wondered if you had noticed though, things which bothered me about Blake.

    Blake just met Avon. He has no idea who he is and yet, he clearly tries to insinuate to everyone that Avon is going to try to collude with the crew to kill them all. On no evidence at all. Not only this, he even more clearly does this after Avon leaves the table, i.e. he conspires against him behind Avon’s back.

    Just think about this. When we next see them converse, four months have passed. Can you imagine? Four months with Vila, and Blake, knowingly and maliciously spreading poisonous insinuations about Avon on a ship full of murderers, thieves and psychopaths? Does anyone think that Avon has had a wonderful time the last four months or he has most likely been treated not only badly but his life has been in danger. And no, the drugs wouldn’t have prevented it because the prisoners seem to have no problems resisting Blake and we know for a fact, from the way he treats Vila, that Blake has a tendency to bully people when he doesn’t get his own way.

    So, think about this four months later. How would Avon’s relationship be like with the rest of the prisoners because of Blake’s malicious insinuations and Vila’s poisonous gossip. Remember Vila suggested that they kill Avon and we don’t see Blake try to stop him.

    I imagine Avon has lived a very precarious life the last four months and has most likely been attacked repeatedly. This may explain why Avon isolates himself after four months when at the beginning, he didn’t. In their first meeting, Avon is quite helpful and sociable and now four months later? Avon seems determined to resist Blake, (but unfortunately he needs Blake’s group in order to get to the computers) and he shows a marked hostility towards Vila. The kind we won’t see from Avon until halfway through the show when even Blake recognizes that Avon really, really hates Blake.

    Plus, though Avon seems to be cold-blooded in suggesting they sacrifice the prisoners, and being treated badly is no excuse for that, we also need to remember what happened when Avon was first sent into the tunnels by Blake. The ship suffers damage and we see sealing foam filling one of the tunnels. They know that this will kill anyone caught in the tunnels and the danger still persists that makes this a high probability. Blake definitely knows this because he yells at Vila when Vila suggests it’s too dangerous to continue. Blake is using this danger to occupy the crew so that his plan will work. Sound familiar? This is similar to what Avon says in the computer room. Blake seems to have no qualms about sending Avon into certain death, (nor Nova later who dies), and notice no one else lifts a finger to suggest that they shouldn’t put Avon into this kind of danger because it is a horrific death being contemplated.

    None of these people cared about risking Avon’s life, why should he? Not that it excuses it again, but I think Avon had more than enough reasons to have the attitude he did.

    Plus, Blake didn’t give up after the first prisoner was killed, did he? He pursued his agenda and insisted on talking to the captain knowing Raiker was serious. It wasn’t until after the second prisoner was killed that Blake relented. But given his lack of conscience about sending Avon and Nova into certain death, one wonders if it was moral or compassionate reasons that stayed his hand with the execution of more prisoners.

    Also, when they break out of the detention quarters, who takes the gun to protect himself, leaving the others defenceless and thus causing the death of 7 of them? That was Blake. And he deliberately sends them en masse to find the armoury when they had no idea where it was. In the narrow corridors where none of them could hide if the crew discovered them and where the crew was bound to discover them. Hard to hide a horde of people traipsing around, something the experienced rebel Blake would have known. So why do we think he did that?

    It’s one of the reasons why B7 has been a fascinating series for me. Paul Darrow’s portrayal of Avon is delicious, but there is something about the way he portrays him. It’s not as straight forward as Avon makes it appear on the surface. And Blake, he is not the straight forward ‘good’ guy he appears on the surface either, not if we take a close look at his actions as compared to his manner.

    A complex show, even at its worst.

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      January 9, 2014 8:23 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Frankymole

      An interesting analysis. My opinion of Blake actually went up when he turned out to be a manipulative so-and-so, as it put him on a par with Avon and made him more of an active force than a victimised milksop like most SF leads had been before.

      Avon was always pretty shifty though – what was that piece of paper he kept reading and suspiciously claimed was “nothing” (putting it away) whenever anyone asked him about it?

      • January 9, 2014 10:12 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Kal

        “Avon was always pretty shifty though – what was that piece of paper he kept reading and suspiciously claimed was “nothing” (putting it away) whenever anyone asked him about it?”

        I guess it depends on what your bias is towards Avon’s character. Just like mine toward’s Blake is very negative and became increasingly negative as the show progressed and we saw him pull his stunts.

        I never thought Avon as being shifty. There are many things that piece of paper could be, some positive and some negative possibilities.

        For myself, I doubt if it was anything negative, especially not in a facility full of thieves like Vila. Avon is in no way stupid. If it was anything that could possibly taint him, he would not be pulling it out constantly to stare at it. Plus what would he be taking out to look at so often. Not a technical diagram or some kind of proposal. The number of times and amount of time he spends looking at it, if it were, he would have memorized it by then. But what else would someone stare at constantly and be touchy about, especially someone as private as Avon. Couldn’t it be even more likely that it was something personal, such as a picture or something private from someone he cared about, such as Anna or his family, i.e. the brother whom he has such a strong reaction to later when they’re sent into the ship and face the security measures? Of course he would say it was nothing. He is intensely private and wouldn’t want anyone to pry.

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        May 10, 2014 4:53 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Fiona

        I felt that paper was just another of Avon’s self-isolating devices. We first see him sitting alone, coolly observing the Jenna-Raiker business, expressionless. Next he sits at the table with his paper and essentially tells Jenna to fuck off when she sits opposite and tries to make conversation. Jenna gives him a very hard look: well, fuck you then, mate. Then as the others congregate around him and Blake tries to find out more about him, Avon gives him dismissive answers: “Why all the questions, or is it simply a thirst for knowledge?” and finally stands up and walks away to sit alone again apparently working out how to get them all killed.
        He uses that paper to seem absorbed in something important so he doesn’t have to make eye contact with anyone.
        All this argues that Avon really is trying to figure a way to do a deal with the crew, keeping himself from forming any friendships that could derail him, plus as we later find out, Avon is a Man Betrayed, afraid to trust.
        Is he fighting that inner Galahad that always trips up his outer villain, or is he really trying to find a way to not get killed by the crew?
        What a character. Shakespeare himself could have hardly done better.

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      January 10, 2014 3:00 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Angela Reilly

      Blake wanted to show off his big gun to Jenna 😉

      And why does Avon call attention to himself and his skills in the first place? He doesn’t have to talk to Blake and co, after all. Unless, despite appearances, Avon is actually keen to provoke a revolt himself…

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      January 11, 2014 6:36 amPosted 3 years ago
      Lettered

      The main significance of the scene where Avon is introduced to Blake is to establish that he is a computer expert, and therefore of potential value to any escape plan, as he’s the only one with those skills.

      This has two possible sides. It gives Avon a lot of potential leverage over them, as he has an advantage they lack. One possibility is that he could possibly either try to benefit himself alone with it, or another is that he could agree to help the others with his skills. Which means that in fact they have very good reasons for keeping him both alive and well, and to try to stay on good enough terms with him.

      There is no good reason to assume that Blake, Vila or anyone else spends several months subsequently trying to badmouth him, which would be contrary to their interests, for reasons given above. They may discus their suspicions among themselves and consider every possibility, which, in the circumstances, sensibly cautious. Avon himself is not the kind of person to trust anyone without good reason, and he is also quite prepared to keep in mind the possibility of anyone he meets having base motives.

      It’s also stated that only the comparatively small numbers of prisoners involved in the attempted sabotage have been avoiding the suppressants in the food and drink, meaning that it’s extremely unlikely anyone has physically attacked Avon in that time, as the other prisoners’ aggressive instincts will have been checked. Moreover, Avon proves quite effective in a fight with the technician in the same episode, he shows no signs of bruising, injuries or the like after the four months have apparently passed, and furthermore he himself also has an obvious counter if anyone did try anything. Given that Blake has been convicted of child molesting charges – and if Vila knew of Avon’s crime, it’s unlikely that no-one there knows of Blake’s reason for being there, especially as Raiker mentions it when speaking to Blake as the others go into the living quarters – then that would be a very obvious riposte, should Blake try to give him a bad name amongst the other prisoners. Of the two of them, Blake would be in a far more dangerous position, if only for those reasons.

      In addition to that, if anyone had been trying to make life difficult for Avon, then it’s more likely that he would have tried to act on his plan at some stage in the intervening months and take his chances that way, rather than simply put up with it.

      The fact that he has this advantage makes him indispensable to any plan Blake might have to escape. Avon knows this, and can utilise it as a bargaining counter. The idea is that it gives his position some valuable weight.

      • January 11, 2014 5:50 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Kal

        “There is no good reason to assume that Blake, Vila or anyone else spends several months subsequently trying to badmouth him, which would be contrary to their interests, for reasons given above.”

        Except that we know for a fact that Vila is a gossip who has no trouble mouthing off and loudly for all to hear. That is his character so far. There is no reason to believe that he will not continue to do so.

        No one in that table is whispering and many prisoners are nearby. Blake very clearly and loudly tells everyone that Avon is thinking of killing them all. Let’s not pretend that he’s doing it in secret and privately among themselves when there is no attempt to do so.

        We are clearly shown this behavior from Blake and Vila. Slanderously poisoning everyone against Avon. Not once do we hear Blake whispering or lowering his voice when he does this. Unless we want to assume that all the other prisoners are deaf.

        “Avon himself is not the kind of person to trust anyone without good reason, and he is also quite prepared to keep in mind the possibility of anyone he meets having base motives.”

        Except that Avon doesn’t trust Blake and definitely not Vila. We are shown this clearly in their second conversation when Avon begins by being extremely resistant to anything Blake says. Hardly the kind of behavior that indicates that he trust Blake and Avon’s hostility towards Vila shows very clearly that he doesn’t trust Vila at all. So why does Avon go along with them after awhile if he doesn’t trust them? Avon needs to get to the computer room. In order to do that, he needs help. Blake has effectively turned everyone against him. Avon doesn’t have any possibility of help because of Blake. So the only chance he has to access the computers is with Blake’s help. Even enemies can work together sometimes if they have the same goal. I think Avon realized Blake gave him no choice.

        “it’s extremely unlikely anyone has physically attacked Avon in that time, as the other prisoners’ aggressive instincts will have been checked”

        I highly doubt it curbs protective instincts if they think someone is trying to kill them. Unless they’re stupid. And we know it doesn’t entirely curb aggressive instincts because they all exit the prisoner area when the doors open, knowing full well aggression is waiting on the other side if they encounter the crew which is an inevitability. So they have at least that level of aggression, enough to escape against the rules.

        And, physical aggression is hardly the only avenue of hostility that can be practiced. They could make Avon’s life very uncomfortable and perilous without violence.

        ” Moreover, Avon proves quite effective in a fight with the technician in the same episode, he shows no signs of bruising, injuries or the like after the four months have apparently passed, and furthermore he himself also has an obvious counter if anyone did try anything. ”

        Sorry, but that fight shows very well that Avon is no fighter. That was a fight of desperation, not skill. He fights like someone who has no experience in fighting and we know from the way Avon waits and waits when he sees the tech in the computer room that his first instinct is not towards violence. And when he feels he has no choice, he jumps out of his hiding place and tries to attack the tech and he’s not very effective in this even though he has the drop on the man because the tech isn’t knocked out and fights back.

        He shows no signs of bruising or injuries. Did we get a naked view of Avon that I missed? Cause we are never given any view of Avon which indicates whether he has injuries or not that are obscured by the clothing that covers most of him. Pity that.

        “Given that Blake has been convicted of child molesting charges – and if Vila knew of Avon’s crime, it’s unlikely that no-one there knows of Blake’s reason for being there, especially as Raiker mentions it when speaking to Blake as the others go into the living quarters – then that would be a very obvious riposte, should Blake try to give him a bad name amongst the other prisoners. Of the two of them, Blake would be in a far more dangerous position, if only for those reasons.”

        Hmm. Blake is a child molestor vs a man who is a present threat who will help the crew kill you any day now.

        Blake in more danger than Avon to the prisoners? Not sure of that logic there unless we have some children among the prisoners.

        Plus everyone knows Blake’s reputation as a rebel leader captured by the Federation. How many people would believe these trumped up charges from a government probably well known for lies and propoganda. These are jaded, cynica criminals, not innocents. How many would actually believe that he’s a child molestor?

        “In addition to that, if anyone had been trying to make life difficult for Avon, then it’s more likely that he would have tried to act on his plan at some stage in the intervening months and take his chances that way, rather than simply put up with it.”

        Your negative Avon bias is fairly clear. You’re assuming that Avon is that kind of man. That he would commit mass murder just because he doesn’t want to put up with other people’s negative attitudes towards him. Except that we know for a fact that Avon never stoops to mass murder. After Blake leaves the show and Avon decides to fight the Federation, he never once uses any act of mass murder to attain his goals, unlike Blake for whom it is a matter of course. In fact, except for the case of Shrinker, for which he has provocation, or under Blake’s orders, Avon never commits an act of violence that isn’t direct self-defence or in defence of someone else. I challenge people to watch the show again and note every instance Avon kills because it is very interesting to see what Avon does and does not do and under what circumstances, and do the same with Blake, because I think some people will find it very surprising.

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          January 12, 2014 10:57 pmPosted 3 years ago
          Lettered

          “Except that we know for a fact that Vila is a gossip who has no trouble mouthing off and loudly for all to hear. That is his character so far. There is no reason to believe that he will not continue to do so”

          And we also know, from both this and other episodes, that he is frequently not generally taken that seriously by the others, certainly when it comes to gossip or talking about others. What we do not know is whether anyone encourages or allows him to continually say the kind of thing he exclaims in the televised scene, and if it’s the case that there is a relationship of mutual dependence between Blake and Avon on this occasion, as you argue, then it is as valid to postulate that that neither party makes any further move to antagonise or undermine the other in this time. Effectively the maintenance of an uneasy peace. Avon has some leverage supporting his position, which gives the others a vested interest in being able to call upon his skills, as indeed is attempted the next time both characters are seen together. If Blake also has some leverage that would be to Avon’s advantage, it means that this kind of relationship is mutual.

          ‘No one in that table is whispering and many prisoners are nearby. Blake very clearly and loudly tells everyone that Avon is thinking of killing them all. Let’s not pretend that he’s doing it in secret and privately among themselves when there is no attempt to do so.’

          It does not follow from that that everyone in that room is engaged only in that conversation – those not involved would be talking to each other about other subjects. Also, Blake’s opinion is just that, an opinion. His thinking that does not equate to everyone who hears it automatically assuming he must be right. What gives his opinion more weight than anyone else’s? And why is it unlikely that he is going to spend the next four months repeating this opinion to everyone else? Because, if Blake believes that there is a prospect of this, then it would obviously be in his own self-interest to ensure that does not happen. Trying to antagonise the other prisoners against him would not only achieve nothing, it would, at least from his estimation, make it less likely that Avon would be willing to collaborate them, and more likely that he would be prepared to act against him, in whatever way.

          ‘Except that Avon doesn’t trust Blake and definitely not Vila.’

          Quite so, I agree, he doesn’t. But then I don’t think he fully trusts anyone ultimately, or hardly anyone at least, either in this episode or in the others. That is not a criticism of his personality. He, and the other characters, exist in a world where no-onw can really afford to do that.

          ‘So why does Avon go along with them after awhile if he doesn’t trust them? Avon needs to get to the computer room. In order to do that, he needs help. Blake has effectively turned everyone against him. Avon doesn’t have any possibility of help because of Blake. So the only chance he has to access the computers is with Blake’s help. Even enemies can work together sometimes if they have the same goal. I think Avon realized Blake gave him no choice.’

          He goes along with them because, as you say, he needs help, and because it represents a possible way out. Again, I agree that the relationship is an entirely calculating one. None of the characters have anything much in the way of choice at this time.

          ‘Sorry, but that fight shows very well that Avon is no fighter. That was a fight of desperation, not skill. He fights like someone who has no experience in fighting and we know from the way Avon waits and waits when he sees the tech in the computer room that his first instinct is not towards violence. And when he feels he has no choice, he jumps out of his hiding place and tries to attack the tech and he’s not very effective in this even though he has the drop on the man because the tech isn’t knocked out and fights back.’

          If the fight indicates that Avon is unpractised in physical combat, that could also imply that no-one has picked any fights with him while on the flight.

          ‘I highly doubt it curbs protective instincts if they think someone is trying to kill them. Unless they’re stupid. And we know it doesn’t entirely curb aggressive instincts because they all exit the prisoner area when the doors open, knowing full well aggression is waiting on the other side if they encounter the crew which is an inevitability. So they have at least that level of aggression, enough to escape against the rules.’

          One character expressing their opinion of him, and another believing him, is not proof that the entire complement of prisoners believe it.

          Furthermore, it doesn’t logically follow, that even if they did all believe he was prepared to leave them all dead, that this would inspire them to make his life difficult in whatever way, whether physical or otherwise. On the contrary, it could actually afford him some protection, as they would want to be sure he didn’t act on this implied threat. If he has a key to whether they live or die, then it would be extremely stupid to simply give him more reasons that might bias him toward the latter.

          In addition to that, the fact that the attempted breakout fails so badly could be in part due to the fact that most of them have had their aggressive instincts blunted.

          ‘He shows no signs of bruising or injuries. Did we get a naked view of Avon that I missed? Cause we are never given any view of Avon which indicates whether he has injuries or not that are obscured by the clothing that covers most of him. Pity that.’

          If the makers of the series had intended to imply he had been physically attacked, they would have had some indication of it, either visually or in dialogue. That they didn’t would confirm that it was not their intention to imply it.

          ‘Hmm. Blake is a child molestor vs a man who is a present threat who will help the crew kill you any day now.

          Blake in more danger than Avon to the prisoners? Not sure of that logic there unless we have some children among the prisoners.’

          People in prisons who are believed to have abused children are usually recognised as being among the most vulnerable to attacks.

          ‘Plus everyone knows Blake’s reputation as a rebel leader captured by the Federation. How many people would believe these trumped up charges from a government probably well known for lies and propoganda. These are jaded, cynica criminals, not innocents. How many would actually believe that he’s a child molestor?’

          Quite possibly none or few do. Indeed, to repeat the line of argument I was talking about earlier, the fact that there is no evidence on screen of anyone having attacked Blake or seemingly tried to make his life difficult in the same way could also apply here. It also appears that Jenna, Vila, Avon, Gan and the others don’t believe it either.

          ‘Your negative Avon bias is fairly clear. You’re assuming that Avon is that kind of man. That he would commit mass murder just because he doesn’t want to put up with other people’s negative attitudes towards him. Except that we know for a fact that Avon never stoops to mass murder. After Blake leaves the show and Avon decides to fight the Federation, he never once uses any act of mass murder to attain his goals, unlike Blake for whom it is a matter of course. In fact, except for the case of Shrinker, for which he has provocation, or under Blake’s orders, Avon never commits an act of violence that isn’t direct self-defence or in defence of someone else. I challenge people to watch the show again and note every instance Avon kills because it is very interesting to see what Avon does and does not do and under what circumstances, and do the same with Blake, because I think some people will find it very surprising.’

          We do know for a fact that he is prepared to allow others to die if it is convenient for his purposes. He indicates it in this very episode, when he insists on letting Raiker carry on killing the other prisoners, so as to call his bluff and allow them to retain the upper hand. He also wants Jenna to abandon all the others on Cygnus Alpha so that they can keep the Liberator for themselves. He is willing to consider leaving the others on Horizon. He is quite prepared to have any number of non-Federation guards shot in attempting to heist to get some gold, and seems to seriously consider getting Vila thrown off the shuttle over Malodaar.

          My point about what he would do in these circumstances is based on the fact that he is clearly motivated by a strong instinct of self-preservation. If anyone was making life difficult for him on the London, then he would take whatever course of action necessary to extricate himself from it. Whether this involved the deaths of any other people or not would be less important than whether it would amount to a successful escape for him. He is pragmatic to a degree which can be ruthless on occasion.

          I don’t consider any of this to be demeaning to the character. I don’t think his body language, his attitudes, the way he talks to Blake in the subsequent scene, where the former is trying to talk him into helping them, imply, or are intended to imply, that he has been suffering at the hands of any of the other prisoners. He is, as he often is, confident and assured, partly because he knows he is in a strong bargaining position, and is able to warn him “Don’t try to manipulate me”, so the relationship between them is, certainly here, one of mutual convenience.

          Avon, to me, is someone who is well able to look after himself in most situations, and I don’t simply mean in terms of how good he might be in a fight, but in how well he is able to turn a situation to his advantage. In this case, he has been able to establish that the others need him, and this is his trump card.

          One other consideration. Both characters agree in effect during this discussion that any attempt at the putative plan could just as easily have led to the crew also killing Avon to cover their tracks, and that such a conclusion was one that would have been reached very early on.

          If this was the case, that would mean that for the duration of the non televised four months, both men have been confident that he wouldn’t attempt it. I believe that this observation in the dialogue was intended as a means of, for the viewer, dismissing this possibility set up in the earlier scene. How one chooses to infer what unscreened previous discussion on the subject there may have been is obviously down to personal preference in the end, there isn’t a right or wrong answer, and it can only be conjectural. What I will say, however, is that in my opinion the events and script of the televised episode are not intending to imply that Avon has been getting bullied in this period, and the possibility raised in the earlier scene was designed to set up a state of tension between the two characters, whereby they subsequently connive at a plan which is of mutual convenience.

          • January 13, 2014 1:13 amPosted 3 years ago
            Kal

            “And we also know, from both this and other episodes, that he is frequently not generally taken that seriously by the others, certainly when it comes to gossip or talking about others.”

            Hmm, let me get this right. This is the SECOND episode, isn’t it? So all the other episodes you are referring to where Vila isn’t taken seriously occur after this one? Here, the others don’t know Vila well enough yet to not take him seriously. Or is that too logical? Blake certainly takes Vila’s suggestion about the crew seriously enough that he actually thinks about Avon helping them. That’s pretty serious.

            Let’s try to look at things within the context in which they occur, not with benefit of hindsight.

            “What we do not know is whether anyone encourages or allows him to continually say the kind of thing he exclaims in the televised scene”

            What we do know is that no one stops him and Blake deliberately, not just once, but twice, encourages people to think those things of Avon. He stresses it twice, especially after the first time and Vila doesn’t get what he’s saying. So to say that we do not know if anyone encourages him or not is to completely ignore what Blake has just blatantly done. And we can’t assume that if he does it here, that he won’t continually do it, because the precedent has already been set.

            “it means that this kind of relationship is mutual.”

            Not really. Avon sees it that way. He knows he needs Blake’s group, but Blake from their second conversation tries to push the idea that Avon is wholely dependent on him, something Avon refutes. Avon tries to push a more equal relationship between them, one of mutual dependence. Blake, from his attitude, continues to exhibit dominating behavior, and thus refusing this equal partnership. Something Avon clearly does not like.

            “It does not follow from that that everyone in that room is engaged only in that conversation – those not involved would be talking to each other about other subjects.”

            You don’t have to be actively engaged in a conversation to be able to overhear it 😛 The only way the others nearby could not have heard Blake is if they wore ear plugs.

            “Trying to antagonise the other prisoners against him would not only achieve nothing, it would, at least from his estimation, make it less likely that Avon would be willing to collaborate them, and more likely that he would be prepared to act against him, in whatever way.”

            What is one way to make sure Avon will not be able to harm them if he really intends to…wouldn’t that be to turn all the others against him so they will take care of him and all be watching him so he won’t have a chance to? Doesn’t that make more logical sense? Which is exactly what he has just done. If he really didn’t intend to harm Avon, why not tell Vila to shut up.

            It’s a group of criminals. What are the chances that at least one of them would, even on hearsay, believing that there would be any chance of harm to themselves, do something…unfortunate to Avon. Because they’re not all choirboys and loving people there without a selfish bone in their bodies and entirely non-self-interested.

            “But then I don’t think he fully trusts anyone ultimately, or hardly anyone at least, either in this episode or in the others.”

            Did you miss the Anna episode? And Avon clearly trusted the Scorpio crew to some extent because he put his life in their hands on numerous occasions, even Vila’s, which you don’t do unless you trust them to some extent.

            “If the fight indicates that Avon is unpractised in physical combat, that could also imply that no-one has picked any fights with him while on the flight.”

            That doesn’t follow if you think about it. Remember where they are and the conditions under which they live. Supervised and watched by live guards and security cameras. Any full on fights would be quickly stopped. Avon would not have any opportunity to pick up any experience. What would violence would be possible, assuming the prisoners are capable of physical violence under the drugs, would be things like tripping him as he went by, knocking his food tray to the floor, a quick jab to the kidneys, just enough to hurt him before the guards stepped in. Wouldn’t be able to learn much fighting under those circumstances.

            “One character expressing their opinion of him, and another believing him, is not proof that the entire complement of prisoners believe it.”

            That would be 4 believing, or don’t we count Jenna and the other guy who were listening to that conversation at the time? Not one of them questions Blake. So he says it twice and three people already believe him. Not great odds for others not believing, is it? Highly suggestive would be the word.

            “Furthermore, it doesn’t logically follow, that even if they did all believe he was prepared to leave them all dead, that this would inspire them to make his life difficult in whatever way, whether physical or otherwise. On the contrary, it could actually afford him some protection, as they would want to be sure he didn’t act on this implied threat.”

            This guy is going to get us all killed. Let’s all be nice to him or let’s make sure he isn’t able to hurt us. Amongst a group of criminals, many whom have already chosen violence as a method of dealing with problems even they know it will get them into trouble, which do we realistically think they will chose given their track record?

            “In addition to that, the fact that the attempted breakout fails so badly could be in part due to the fact that most of them have had their aggressive instincts blunted.”

            I’m sure it had nothing to do with the fact that the crew was armed with guns and the prisoners were armed with…nothing…

            “If the makers of the series had intended to imply he had been physically attacked, they would have had some indication of it, either visually or in dialogue. That they didn’t would confirm that it was not their intention to imply it.”

            Let’s remember this because there are a lot of things fans seem to like to believe, even though there is no actual evidence of this in the scenes, especially when it comes to Blake.

            What the writers did show was much more subtle. What they did do was show that Avon didn’t isolate himself from the prisoners before, but now, four months later, he does. Plus Avon is very hostile to Vila, and very resistant to Blake after four months. Something he didn’t exhibit in the first conversation. And we know Avon never does anything without a good reason or provocation. Those should be fairly clear even if nothing else is. The writers don’t have to be so obvious to show us that something serious has happened to make him this way during these four months, do they?

            “People in prisons who are believed to have abused children are usually recognised as being among the most vulnerable to attacks.”

            Among the most, perhaps but surely not more than someone who is supposedly a present danger to you. Let me see, this guy is going to shove a knife in my back…oh let me deal with this child molestor first. Um…

            “Quite possibly none or few do.”

            I’m flabbergasted. That Blake is the famous rebel leader is pretty much a given throughout the series. There’s almost no one who doesn’t know who Blake is when his name is mentioned unless these prisoners have been living under a rock.

            “Jenna, Vila, Avon, Gan and the others don’t believe it either.”

            I don’t think you meant to include Avon’s name in there or I’m confused. Gan we don’t know because he wasn’t in that conversation. But Jenna and Vila are there and we know they believe. It’s in canon. Unless we’re watching a different series.

            “We do know for a fact that he is prepared to allow others to die if it is convenient for his purposes. He indicates it in this very episode, when he insists on letting Raiker carry on killing the other prisoners, so as to call his bluff and allow them to retain the upper hand.”

            As I said before, I don’t disagree with that. But I do think Avon had a very negative relationship with the prisoners because of what Blake and Vila did to him. Plus the others seemed more than willing to let Avon risk dying in the tunnels, (Blake certainly was) just to give their plan a chance so really why shouldn’t he expect the same from them?

            So single out Avon as being bad, when the others were no different seems sort of unfair, isn’t it?

            Remember this show was patterned after the Dirty Dozen. None of them were good people. As Terry Nation said, it was really a matter of not very good people fighting even worse people. Which is what makes this show fascinating.

            “He also wants Jenna to abandon all the others on Cygnus Alpha so that they can keep the Liberator for themselves. ”

            But remember, Blake lied to them about his first visit on the planet. He didn’t tell them it was dangerous, so Avon wouldn’t have known about the peril. Plus when Blake called up to be teleported up, he again never bothered to tell them the situation. Avon leaving them on the planet, may not have been nice, but hardly perilous, at least not from the knowledge he had. He didn’t have the hindsight or the view we have of the conditions on the planet. Plus, even though Avon does contemplate it, he just hangs around, and hangs around…and ultimately bringing Blake back up. That is inevitably the real Avon. He may be tempted to save himself first, but he usually ends up doing the right thing at the end, which makes him a great character.

            “He is willing to consider leaving the others on Horizon.”
            Was it my imagination or did Avon express surprise when he found that someone was still alive? He didn’t think they were still alive when he considered leaving them on Horizon, unless you think he was just acting, for his own benefit.

            “He is quite prepared to have any number of non-Federation guards shot in attempting to heist to get some gold, ”

            In self-defence, I believe. Avon rarely shoots anyone unless they shoot at him first. And if you study that episode, Avon was far more interested in getting Servalan, whom he suspected was behind the gold scheme from the beginning. He never really expressed that much interest in the gold itself. It was the rest of the crew who did.

            And someone correct me but all the security measures taken with the gold in the first place…weren’t they Federation or had something to do with the Federation?

            “seems to seriously consider getting Vila thrown off the shuttle over Malodaa”

            Exactly. Seems to seriously consider. He even hunts Vila. Not his shining moment. But he doesn’t seem that serious about it because the moment he finds another chance, even one that has an even slimmer possibility than finding Vila and dumping him, he takes it rather than continue hunting Vila.

            And also remember by this point in the series, Vila has betrayed Avon and the rest of the crew numerous times, to save his own skin. It’s only by luck that they weren’t all killed already because of Vila’s self-serving and self-preserving actions. So when Avon runs into a circumstance in which it is his life or the life of someone who has betrayed him many times just to save himself…hmm what choice should he make?

            Not to say it is right and it is one of Avon’s flaws certainly, but it is the heroes with the flaws who are the most fascinating.

            ““Don’t try to manipulate me”, so the relationship between them is, certainly here, one of mutual convenience.”

            Don’t you mean one where Blake is continually trying to dominate and control him, and Avon fights against it?

            But we know he is susceptible to Blake’s bullying. We see it when Blake stares him down in later episodes. We also see it when Avon says to Jenna that the only chance they have is when Blake is off the ship. Why would he say that if he thinks he can resist Blake when Blake is on the ship? When Avon contemplates leaving Blake on Cygnus, it is because he perceives Blake as a threat. But, he doesn’t really do it at the end, does he? So he really isn’t as ruthless as many like to believe he is. He certainly tries to pretend he is though.

            The fact that Blake and Vila both try to put Avon down right from the beginning is certainly an indication of tension. But are we really to believe that no one acts on it for four months, and it’s all just words. Because I’m sure that these criminals are here because they confined all their criminal activities to just talking about it and establishing tension without any real action.

          • Visit site
            January 13, 2014 10:41 amPosted 3 years ago
            Lettered

            ‘Hmm, let me get this right. This is the SECOND episode, isn’t it? So all the other episodes you are referring to where Vila isn’t taken seriously occur after this one? Here, the others don’t know Vila well enough yet to not take him seriously. Or is that too logical? Blake certainly takes Vila’s suggestion about the crew seriously enough that he actually thinks about Avon helping them. That’s pretty serious.’

            The characters are already shown not to be taking him seriously in that same scene, with Jenna and Avon both jocularly putting him down verbally.

            ‘What we do know is that no one stops him and Blake deliberately, not just once, but twice, encourages people to think those things of Avon. He stresses it twice, especially after the first time and Vila doesn’t get what he’s saying. So to say that we do not know if anyone encourages him or not is to completely ignore what Blake has just blatantly done. And we can’t assume that if he does it here, that he won’t continually do it, because the precedent has already been set.’

            What’s important is the purpose of expressing this suspicion to the handful of people he’s with – it’s primarily to establish that he needs to be treated with caution, or at least that Blake believes he does. It isn’t so that Vila, or anyone else, should go round trying to give Avon a bad name to everyone, it’s to impress upon them what a powerful position Avon is in, as he holds several important cards.

            ‘Not really. Avon sees it that way. He knows he needs Blake’s group, but Blake from their second conversation tries to push the idea that Avon is wholely dependent on him, something Avon refutes. Avon tries to push a more equal relationship between them, one of mutual dependence. Blake, from his attitude, continues to exhibit dominating behavior, and thus refusing this equal partnership. Something Avon clearly does not like.’

            If both of them need each other, then it’s a relationship which has a self-maintaining equilibrium, that’s the main point. Questions as to whether one of them, and if so, which one, is more dominating are a separate issue, as far as the above point goes.

            ‘You don’t have to be actively engaged in a conversation to be able to overhear it The only way the others nearby could not have heard Blake is if they wore ear plugs.’

            Or if they were engaged in conversations of their own. It’s a large room with a lot of people, with various conversations going on. We’re only shown one group’s exchanges close up because they’re the people we’re supposed to be concerned with. That’s part of the grammar of television. It doesn’t mean that discussion is the only one going on in the room at the time and that everyone present there is listening to it in the same way that we are.

            ‘What is one way to make sure Avon will not be able to harm them if he really intends to…wouldn’t that be to turn all the others against him so they will take care of him and all be watching him so he won’t have a chance to? Doesn’t that make more logical sense? Which is exactly what he has just done. If he really didn’t intend to harm Avon, why not tell Vila to shut up.’

            Keeping someone watched isn’t the same thing as openly attacking them, and given the limited environment there, it would hard for anyone to slip out of sight all on their own. They’re all pretty much under each other’s feet all the time with minimal personal space as it is.

            The flight room with the seats though, apparently doesn’t have similar surveillance, simply because Blake and Avon feel free to discuss their escape plans openly while they’re alone in there.

            ‘It’s a group of criminals. What are the chances that at least one of them would, even on hearsay, believing that there would be any chance of harm to themselves, do something…unfortunate to Avon. Because they’re not all choirboys and loving people there without a selfish bone in their bodies and entirely non-self-interested.’

            Because self-interest would be a very good reason for not turning him against him. If they believe he is capable or willing to betray them in the said way, but that his skills are also necessary for any escape, then they have a reason both not to kill him, and not to antagonise him. Otherwise, he could simply pretend to go along with their plans, and then betray them later on.

            Furthermore, the action on screen works against the assumption that he’s been attacked. Considering that the flight room is apparently as private as you can get there, it would also be the perfect place for anyone to try anything on with him. So the fact that he chooses to sit there, seemingly not on his guard particularly, indicates that he is either not expecting anyone to try anything, or that he is confident he could handle anything like that.

            ‘Did you miss the Anna episode? And Avon clearly trusted the Scorpio crew to some extent because he put his life in their hands on numerous occasions, even Vila’s, which you don’t do unless you trust them to some extent.’

            The Anna episode is one reason why I qualified it with ‘hardly’. It also provides one possible retrospective reason as to why he is so cautious generally about putting himself in others’ hands. And on the other occasions, it’s often because the situations don’t offer much alternative. As he’s part of a crew it’s unavoidable that he has to trust them on occasion, simply out of pragmatism.

            ‘That doesn’t follow if you think about it. Remember where they are and the conditions under which they live. Supervised and watched by live guards and security cameras. Any full on fights would be quickly stopped. Avon would not have any opportunity to pick up any experience. What would violence would be possible, assuming the prisoners are capable of physical violence under the drugs, would be things like tripping him as he went by, knocking his food tray to the floor, a quick jab to the kidneys, just enough to hurt him before the guards stepped in. Wouldn’t be able to learn much fighting under those circumstances.’

            They could, but it would be poor tactics, as it would give him further grudges against them, and increase the chances of his betraying them in the event of his taking part in an escape attempt. That he is expected to be involved in such an attempt is clear from the fact that they need his computer skills. This means that it’s important to keep him both alive, and less likely to act against them.

            Let me put it this way. Avon’s computer skills are, if anything, part of his protection. They mean he is in a position of strength, not weakness, because he has something the others need, so his withholding it or working against them are not something they want to increase the risk of. It’s a means of keeping him safe, in the sense of being valuable to the others.

            What this means is that Blake, Jenna, Vila and others have a reason – even though this may need to be explained to the last of those – for not spreading the idea that Avon might be about to betray them. He needs to be handled carefully if they’re going to have dealings with them. Therefore it does not follow that they’re going to want to start telling everyone else in detail about what they’ve talked. Apart from anything else, the more of a buzz there is about it, the more danger there might be of any of the guards hearing about it, which wouldn’t help their position either. So, yes, there’s a discussion about it among about four or five of them at one table, which we’re focussed on as it’s what’s most important to us, as viewers, but it means that, to the people talking about it, Avon is a potential asset and a potential liability, and it’s obviously more to their advantage if they can ensure he’s the former.

            ‘That would be 4 believing, or don’t we count Jenna and the other guy who were listening to that conversation at the time? Not one of them questions Blake. So he says it twice and three people already believe him. Not great odds for others not believing, is it? Highly suggestive would be the word.’

            What they believe, in fact what they know, is that he is a computer expert. What they also know is that it is theoretically possible for someone with those skills to turn it to their advantage. If they don’t know Avon well, they can’t afford to take for granted that he won’t attempt it.

            ‘This guy is going to get us all killed. Let’s all be nice to him or let’s make sure he isn’t able to hurt us. Amongst a group of criminals, many whom have already chosen violence as a method of dealing with problems even they know it will get them into trouble, which do we realistically think they will chose given their track record?’

            If we’re going to assume that every single prisoner there is apprised of the full situation, that also allows for the more tactically minded to be able to restrain the more violent on the grounds of self-interest. Note that this assumption is a long way from being proved anyway. It’s evident from the scene that the idea is not that everyone in the room hears it at the time, otherwise the guards would also overhear it.

            And if the idea is that Vila subsequently goes and repeats this to everyone else, then I’d suggest that his fear of Avon could also restrain him from this, plus the others could tell him not to, as it would interfere with their tactical planning, as well as not wanting to spread what might become a mass panic either.

            ‘What the writers did show was much more subtle. What they did do was show that Avon didn’t isolate himself from the prisoners before, but now, four months later, he does. Plus Avon is very hostile to Vila, and very resistant to Blake after four months. Something he didn’t exhibit in the first conversation. And we know Avon never does anything without a good reason or provocation. Those should be fairly clear even if nothing else is. The writers don’t have to be so obvious to show us that something serious has happened to make him this way during these four months, do they?’

            They not only show Avon walking away from the other prisoners in that first scene, and disinclined to get into long conversations with them, he also states “I relied on other people” as a reason for his landing up there, which also cements his status as a loner. He’s also not shy of making his computer skills clear, and clearly doesn’t care about whether Jenna or Blake deduce that he might use it for his own ends. He also calls Vila a fool in this scene, so isn’t especially friendly to him even to begin with. He’s openly sarcastic towards Blake and is content to wander off when he’s bored of the conversation, having established what he is capable of regarding computers.

            In addition, Jenna has to tell Blake where Avon is when he returns through the hatch. This is significant, as it indicates that he does not spend all his time there, so has merely chosen to go there on that occasion. Otherwise it wouldn’t be necessary to ask where he was.

            One other thing, during the course of their conversation in the flight room, Avon openly claims that he has another plan, and the fact that he accepts Blake’s dismissal of it confirms that the latter and Jenna were in fact correct in their suspicions that he was prepared to at least consider the possibility, or at any rate that it had occurred to him.

            ‘I’m flabbergasted. That Blake is the famous rebel leader is pretty much a given throughout the series. There’s almost no one who doesn’t know who Blake is when his name is mentioned unless these prisoners have been living under a rock.’

            I wasn’t talking about that, I was referring to the potential belief that he was a child molester. The same with the further comment naming the other characters you quoted. It’s never made explicitly clear, but the implication seems to be that the rest of the crew do not believe the charges brought against Blake in the first episode are true, and as no-one ever refers to them again after this episode if memory serves, that could imply that it’s not widely believed. I was actually agreeing with a point you had made there when writing that paragraph.

            ‘Plus the others seemed more than willing to let Avon risk dying in the tunnels, (Blake certainly was) just to give their plan a chance so really why shouldn’t he expect the same from them?’

            They’re also willing to let Blake and Nova risk dying in the same tunnels while working on the plan, and indeed the latter actually does die. Given the nature of the plan, that element of risk would be unavoidable whoever took part.

            ‘So single out Avon as being bad, when the others were no different seems sort of unfair, isn’t it?

            Remember this show was patterned after the Dirty Dozen. None of them were good people. As Terry Nation said, it was really a matter of not very good people fighting even worse people. Which is what makes this show fascinating.’

            It isn’t a question of singling him out, the reason he is currently in focus is because the discussion is partly about his motives. Given, as you say, that ‘none of them were very good people’, part of that would also include a facility for being cautious about people they don’t know well, which is why, when Avon makes his computer skills clear to Jenna, Blake and the others, it follows that they would be capable of considering the possibility he might only use them for his own benefit. This establishes that they need him, ergo that he has a certain hold over them, so it puts him in a strong bargaining position for any escape plans Blake might have.

            ‘But remember, Blake lied to them about his first visit on the planet. He didn’t tell them it was dangerous, so Avon wouldn’t have known about the peril. Plus when Blake called up to be teleported up, he again never bothered to tell them the situation. Avon leaving them on the planet, may not have been nice, but hardly perilous, at least not from the knowledge he had. He didn’t have the hindsight or the view we have of the conditions on the planet. Plus, even though Avon does contemplate it, he just hangs around, and hangs around…and ultimately bringing Blake back up. That is inevitably the real Avon. He may be tempted to save himself first, but he usually ends up doing the right thing at the end, which makes him a great character.’

            Both Avon and Jenna are likely to have realised that as a penal colony it wouldn’t be a pleasant planet, and of course any attempt at escaping where the Liberator was not there to rescue them could quite conceivably result in the deaths of the would-be escapees.

            Whether Avon could have been talked into staying is an open question at best, as it’s mainly because Jenna insists on a time limit that they don’t leave early.

            ‘Was it my imagination or did Avon express surprise when he found that someone was still alive? He didn’t think they were still alive when he considered leaving them on Horizon, unless you think he was just acting, for his own benefit.’

            The point is that he can have no certain knowledge of what’s happened without going there himself, whatever he may believe, and he only does so in the end because of external factors.

            ‘In self-defence, I believe. Avon rarely shoots anyone unless they shoot at him first. And if you study that episode, Avon was far more interested in getting Servalan, whom he suspected was behind the gold scheme from the beginning. He never really expressed that much interest in the gold itself. It was the rest of the crew who did.’

            The only reason he needs any self-defence on that occasion is because he has chosen to undertake a criminal scheme which might bring him wealth. So the point about this being a means of bringing him an advantage remains.

            ‘And someone correct me but all the security measures taken with the gold in the first place…weren’t they Federation or had something to do with the Federation?’

            They were, but this wouldn’t have been known when they embarked on the operation. Also, I think it was only the last couple they encountered who were Federation undercover, though would have to rewatch it to check for certain.

            ‘Exactly. Seems to seriously consider. He even hunts Vila. Not his shining moment. But he doesn’t seem that serious about it because the moment he finds another chance, even one that has an even slimmer possibility than finding Vila and dumping him, he takes it rather than continue hunting Vila.’

            Obviously, if a better method presents itself, that’s a clear reason for trying that. If it hadn’t been available, who knows what might have happened?

            I agree that he’s a strong or ‘great’ character, as you put it, partly because of this highly developed sense of pragmatism and survivalism, which is to an extent vital in the kind of world he exists, allows for this kind of tension in the stories.

            ‘And also remember by this point in the series, Vila has betrayed Avon and the rest of the crew numerous times, to save his own skin. It’s only by luck that they weren’t all killed already because of Vila’s self-serving and self-preserving actions. So when Avon runs into a circumstance in which it is his life or the life of someone who has betrayed him many times just to save himself…hmm what choice should he make?’

            Perhaps, but I can think of at least two occasion offhand where Vila has either secured an advantage or helped save the day for them, such as rescuing Orac in Terminal and handing Avon the gun to defeat Dorian and the creature in Rescue. Really though, this is just the nature of the beast, where most of the regular characters have either caused or solved problems on different occasions throughout.

            ‘Don’t you mean one where Blake is continually trying to dominate and control him, and Avon fights against it?’

            I mean the one where Avon forces Blake to admit that he does need him, and secures agreement as to what they’ll do.

            ‘But we know he is susceptible to Blake’s bullying. We see it when Blake stares him down in later episodes. We also see it when Avon says to Jenna that the only chance they have is when Blake is off the ship. Why would he say that if he thinks he can resist Blake when Blake is on the ship? When Avon contemplates leaving Blake on Cygnus, it is because he perceives Blake as a threat. But, he doesn’t really do it at the end, does he? So he really isn’t as ruthless as many like to believe he is. He certainly tries to pretend he is though.’

            I think of these occasions as Avon tactically giving way because he doesn’t think it’s worth an argument. On Cygnus Alpha, he’s taking the easy option, which is a sound thing to do tactically. Letting him back would mean fighting a battle of wills for however long it take, leaving him there would just finish off the whole issue there and then, and as he clearly thinks his would-be crusade is a lost cause at that time, hence “You know he can’t win”, it would be wasted energy on his part.

            He can be talked into and persuaded about some courses of action some of the time, yes, as here with Jenna succeeding in getting him to agree to delay it, although my view is that he’s still calculating that he might be able to manage it if enough time passes with nothing happening.

            ‘The fact that Blake and Vila both try to put Avon down right from the beginning is certainly an indication of tension. But are we really to believe that no one acts on it for four months, and it’s all just words. Because I’m sure that these criminals are here because they confined all their criminal activities to just talking about it and establishing tension without any real action.’

            They aren’t so much trying to put him down as, respectively, calculating the possibilities for the sake of their own self-preservation and getting frightened. Blake doesn’t even say that he’s definitely going to do it, just that the thought has occurred to him, which seems to be his interpretation of Avon’s slightly smug manner in indicating he has the know-how. On the strength of the subsequent scenes there, we can infer that the four or five people concerned in the discussion have decided that he’s potentially important to any escape attempt. For those reasons, it’s not in their interest to create the kind of situation which will antagonise him. Blake obviously thinks he’s important enough to it to be worth heading to speak to him straightaway once he’s got back from the tunnels. Avon is doing more or less the same thing he was when they first started talking to him, studying the piece of paper. He doesn’t react like someone who is expecting to be intimidated, he appears to have gone there voluntarily, and is quietly sitting there, content to wait it out for Blake, Jenna or anyone else to approach him about any possible escape attempt if they want to. The content of the conversation they do have also implies that Avon has not discussed the subject any further since their previous televised encounter. It’s almost as if they’re resuming from where they left off earlier.

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            January 13, 2014 10:49 amPosted 3 years ago
            Lettered

            A final note. I have said all I wish to say on this subject now, and do not wish to be drawn into any further argument about it. Therefore I will not be reading any further posts on this page. Cheerio.

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            January 13, 2014 11:30 amPosted 3 years ago
            John Miller

            Wow. That’s nearly as long as the “Dating the Heartbeat stories” post. 🙂

          • January 13, 2014 11:48 amPosted 3 years ago
            Neil Perryman (Author)

            And just as annoying.

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        May 10, 2014 5:02 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Fiona

        This was the 70s, you know. There was no paedophile hysteria then. People who might ‘interfere’ with you were called ‘peculiar’ then, not evil. A guy tried to molest me in the local cinema when I was 10 and nothing was done, he was back there, haunting the chlldren’s matinee next week. At least according to my friend he was: I didnt go back for a month.
        And there was another guy called Freaky Frankie, used to hang around the play park: you were just warned to steer clear of guys like this. there wasn’t all the fuss there is now. What a situation: guys hardly dare pick up their own kids anymore! And there just aren’t that many ‘peculiar’ people and most of them are in the priesthood anyway. Or Radio 1, apparently.
        Yeah, so glad Yewtree never copped anyone from this show. And I am glad Rod Hull is dead: wouldn’t like to have seen him arrested (not saying he would have been). Would have been too much to see him pulled in. Or Emu, either.

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      May 10, 2014 4:36 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Fiona

      He isn’t helpful and sociable in the first meeting at all! Jenna asks him: “What have you got there” (he’s reading some piece of paper, it’s a device to not have to make eye contact) and Avon says : “nothing” which, if it were going out nowadays, would be “Nothing, fuck off”. Then when Vila says he doesn’t know how the door works, Avon tells them all, not to be helpful but to be an insufferable know-it-all, which along with beautiful bored contempt is Avon’s default mode. Since his speech begins “it’s simple enough” in aforesaid tone of bored contempt, it’s clearly meant to belittle Vila.
      Once Vila has introduced Avon and made him seem accomplished and cool, he then recounts how the crew will probably dump them in space, Blake asks if this can be done by fixing the log and Avon says that only a top-line technician could do it “and there is nobody on this ship” who could .
      “Except you” says Blake…and here Avon gives one of his most evil smiles, those smiles Avon only smiles when someone else is going to get stitched: “naturally!” and he leaves them to sit alone. As soon as there are more than four people near him, he moves away. It would not surprise me if a remake gave Avon Asperger’s, given it is absolutely the disorder du jour and ultra fashionable. (As cracked.com has it, lots of people claiming Asperger’s are actually just dicks).
      So there’s no way he’s being helpful and hasn’t thought about having them all killed.
      That doesn’t mean he’d do it though, since Avon can never really prove a villain…and wouldn’t Richard III have been perfect for Paul Darrow?
      Complex, isn’t it just? I just wish that the others had been fleshed out as much as Avon was.

      • May 11, 2014 11:08 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Elizabeth Lang

        Reply to Fiona:

        “He isn’t helpful and sociable in the first meeting at all! Jenna asks him: “What have you got there” (he’s reading some piece of paper, it’s a device to not have to make eye contact) and Avon says : “nothing” which, if it were going out nowadays, would be “Nothing, fuck off”. Then when Vila says he doesn’t know how the door works, Avon tells them all, not to be helpful but to be an insufferable know-it-all, which along with beautiful bored contempt is Avon’s default mode. Since his speech begins “it’s simple enough” in aforesaid tone of bored contempt, it’s clearly meant to belittle Vila.
        Once Vila has introduced Avon and made him seem accomplished and cool, he then recounts how the crew will probably dump them in space, Blake asks if this can be done by fixing the log and Avon says that only a top-line technician could do it “and there is nobody on this ship” who could .
        “Except you” says Blake…and here Avon gives one of his most evil smiles, those smiles Avon only smiles when someone else is going to get stitched: “naturally!” and he leaves them to sit alone. As soon as there are more than four people near him, he moves away. It would not surprise me if a remake gave Avon Asperger’s, given it is absolutely the disorder du jour and ultra fashionable. (As cracked.com has it, lots of people claiming Asperger’s are actually just dicks).
        So there’s no way he’s being helpful and hasn’t thought about having them all killed.
        That doesn’t mean he’d do it though, since Avon can never really prove a villain…and wouldn’t Richard III have been perfect for Paul Darrow?
        Complex, isn’t it just? I just wish that the others had been fleshed out as much as Avon was.”

        I must say that I disagree with most of this, which is fine. We can agree to disagree and still be Avon and B7 fans. That’s the beauty of how his character was written. As even PD has said in interviews, he played Avon in a way that you couldn’t really tell which way he was and the audience had to interpret it according to their own biases.

        It’s clear which bias of Avon you follow as is mine.

        “He isn’t helpful and sociable in the first meeting at all!”

        That’s clearly a biased opinion, which is fine.

        “(he’s reading some piece of paper, it’s a device to not have to make eye contact) and Avon says : “nothing” which, if it were going out nowadays, would be “Nothing, fuck off”.”

        ‘device to not have to make eye contact’

        Er…there is nothing to actually suggest that this is the purpose of this ‘device’ There are many reasons for Avon looking at it and reacting the way he did. Including personal reasons, such as something from Anna perhaps, which the private Avon definitely would not want anyone prying into, as he expressed to Blake and others in the ‘Countdown’ and ‘Rumours’ episodes. Or perhaps something from his brother’s family, which we know caused him great distress later in this episode, a ‘weakness’ which the security sentinel was able to exploit.

        Avon doesn’t seem to have any problems making eye contact during the rest of this episode so to have him ‘avoiding’ eye contact just in this instance makes no sense.

        ““nothing” which, if it were going out nowadays, would be “Nothing, fuck off”’
        Also a clearly biased opinion because Avon just puts the paper away after saying ‘nothing.’ He doesn’t even give her a dirty look or one of his witty put downs as he’s capable of doing so ‘nothing, f/o’ seems to be a stretch to accuse Avon of on no actual evidence.

        “Then when Vila says he doesn’t know how the door works”

        Wasn’t it Blake who asked that–loudly so practically everyone could hear it and thus draw attention to himself, which is something that is very typical of him, not Avon?

        “Avon tells them all, not to be helpful but to be an insufferable know-it-all”

        Another clearly biased opinion of Avon. If Avon hadn’t answered Blake, no doubt the assessment would be equally negative, and now that he has, of course, it’s negative, because he must be doing it because he’s a know-it-all. Not to mention an ‘insufferable’ know-it-all.

        First of all, Avon’s response appears quite neutral, at least to me. Unlike Vila, who from the beginning shows off every chance he gets, or Blake who struts around making sure everyone knows he’s the great Blake by inserting himself into conversations about subjects he knows very little about or exhibits constant dominating stances.

        Remember, it isn’t Avon who told everyone who he was at the beginning, it took Vila to do that. And Avon doesn’t even take advantage of that. Avon, throughout the series never reveals the positions he held or his achievements before he became a criminal and someone who was at least the 2nd in his field, which is what Vila says, in the entire Federation of hundreds if not thousands of planets, would certainly have something to crow about. But he never does.

        “Since his speech begins “it’s simple enough” in aforesaid tone of bored contempt”

        Sorry, but I don’t hear any tone of contempt. Just dry and factual, business-like tone.

        And ‘simple enough’ has to be taken into the context of the times. Shouldn’t it be a given that by the era of B7, how a door operates, at least on a macro level, is knowledge that even someone in junior school should know, even if they didn’t know all the nitty-gritty details?

        “it’s clearly meant to belittle Vila”

        Again another opinion, because it’s not clear at all except to those with a specific bias.

        “Once Vila has introduced Avon and made him seem accomplished and cool”

        I’m sorry but if you look at the entire encounter and Vila’s attitude and tone, it appears far more like he’s trying to humiliate Avon than making him ‘sound accomplished and cool.’

        The way he STRESSES that number one caught him, sounds like he’s putting Avon down, not building him up. And even though he seems like he’s praising Avon, note that everyone he says actually stresses how Avon falls short, i.e. no one wants to be known as ‘number two’ or that he was caught by number one (i.e. he was obviously not good enough because he was only number two), nor would anyone being sent to CA want someone to rub in the fact that he ‘he came close to stealing five million credits out of the Federation Banking System’ (again stressing how much of a failure is).

        “Blake asks if this can be done by fixing the log and Avon says that only a top-line technician could do it “and there is nobody on this ship” who could”

        Which is very truthful since they had only been speaking about the crew. It never occurred to Avon that they would something so contemptible as to accuse him, a total stranger they know next to nothing about, of wanting to do so.

        “and here Avon gives one of his most evil smiles, those smiles Avon only smiles when someone else is going to get stitched: “naturally!” and he leaves them to sit alone”

        Evil smile? Yet again another biased opinion. Take the conversation into context. Let’s look at what Blake has just said. He has just met Avon, knows nothing about him except what Vila has said about his technical skills and the Federation Banking caper, and yet, he is very deliberately and loudly making a point to tell everyone within hearing distance something extremely offensive and which makes everyone view Avon as an enemy and potential danger to their lives.

        Because they have established that only a top line technician can do what Vila gossiped about and Blake wants everyone to know that Avon can do that very thing…and he wants to make damned, not only that everyone knows, but the way he stresses it, he wants to make Avon seem sinister (which we know for a fact because of what Blake says after Avon leaves the table). So take that into context of how Avon reacts. Blake has just shown his true colours. He is out to get Avon, or at least turn everyone against him. So Blake has just verbally attacked him. How is Avon supposed to react? Shake his hand and invite him for tea? So Avon reacts in the only offensive way he has open to him short of attacking Blake in return, he gives him a cold, don’t-mess-with-me, smile.

        “he leaves them to sit alone. As soon as there are more than four people near him, he moves away.”

        I have no idea how you came to that conclusion. Avon sat at that table with Jenna, Vila, Blake and Nova (not to mention the dozens of people just milling around nearby) for quite a long period of time, conversing with them. As soon as? Sorry. That doesn’t fly in this instance. Plus throughout the series we see Avon operating in groups of four or more without any problems. So, again, that theory doesn’t hold much weight.

        “As cracked.com has it, lots of people claiming Asperger’s are actually just dicks”

        OMG. Seriously? Um…that is one of the most offensive things I have ever heard.

        “So there’s no way he’s being helpful and hasn’t thought about having them all killed.”

        As I indicated, there is no actual evidence that your opinion is any more reliable than mine. Though there is to the contrary from the conversation Avon has with Blake later where it’s clear he’s thought about how he would survive on CA (he thinks he would have no problem) and he’s thought about trying to take control of the computer system, both of which indicates thought that have nothing to do with wanting to kill them all.

        And the big one. Only in one instance on the entire show (Rumours-Shrinker) has Avon ever exhibited any tendencies to kill people that were not related to direct self-defence or direct defence of someone else (unlike Blake who has no problems with offensive acts of mass-murder that results in lots of collateral damage, and which have nothing to do with either defending himself or others directly, or in fighting the Federation). Since here Avon obviously thinks he can survive on CA, his life isn’t in any danger, so to keep his character consistent with the rest of the show, it means that he never even thought of killing them all. It was never in his character on the show.

        • May 12, 2014 9:08 amPosted 3 years ago
          Neil Perryman (Author)

          Hi Elizabeth. Thanks so much for contributing to the blog. However, this isn’t a comment, it’s an essay! Could we keep the replies a little shorter next time? This isn’t really designed as a Blake’s 7 forum as such. Thanks!

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          May 12, 2014 9:00 pmPosted 3 years ago
          Fiona

          I have Asperger’s. And truly, there are people claiming it, thinking it gives them a get-out for ill-mannered behaviour. Plus there are cool Aspie loners all over TV. They wouldn’t depict it like that if they knew what it is like. It’s like being an alien.

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          May 12, 2014 9:50 pmPosted 3 years ago
          Fiona

          Avon: isolates himself from all the others even 4 months later, which argues that:
          a) he will have no chance to survive on Cygnus Alpha where forming solid friendships will be essential (just like Australia cf, The Fatal Shore)
          b)he’s in a general condition of hurt and misery, projecting as hate and contempt. (“Those are deep wounds that guy’s got” said my friend Tobias immediately. See, I have a friend, somewhere in the galaxy)
          c) he is at least contemplating a deal with the crew and what stops him is how to not get killed himself. He would like to be psychopathic enough to have the others killed, but Avon is never as tough as he makes out..he’s ‘read about’ feeling guilt, he says, lol. And if he gets to know the others at all, he certainly won’t be able to do it.

          So Avon gets up and walks away while they are all sitting around the table. Imagine if you did that at a party, sat down by yourself a yard away. Everyone would think you were anti-social and completely out of order. Not to mention that during the conversation, he was nothing but rude:
          a) he snubbed Jenna. No doubt about it. Look at her ‘well fuck you mate’ response;
          b) he gave Vila a look of utter hate when Vila told his, Avon’s, story;
          c) his reply “I relied on other people. Why all the questions, or is it simply a thirst for knowledge?”
          Normal response might be “I’m only asking! Jesus, what the fuck is wrong with you, pal?” but Blake is a leader of men and stays cool.
          d) his final comment, with a nasty smile: “Naturally!” (I can fix the log for the crew).
          Not one even basically courteous response. Attitude to the max. Tone all the way through one of barely disguised loathing.
          The doors. It’s Blake who asks if Vila knows how they work and Vila answers, “no, not that kind”. Vila should know how they work, it is his profession. For Avon to chime in, when he doesn’t want to make friends, as his subsequent behaviour shows, argues:
          a) belittling Vila. Strong possibility they know each other. None of the others know Avon’s crimes: Vila does. “You’ve got nothing to be ashamed of…” quite familiar tone. Produces look of hate. (How does Vila know?)
          a2) Avon has either taken against Vila for no reason at all, as a convenient person to lash out at, in annoyance at his happy good humour and unfailing cheer…or some other reason unclear, or all of these. What is certain is, he despises him quite savagely. “You’ve got an army of five, Blake, five and HIM” . It’s overkill, it really is. And in the whole first series he picks on Vila, insults him, orders him around…if I were Vila, I’d be inclined to not let him through a door I opened til he says a big sorry. Vila is like Baldrick to Avon’s Blackadder.
          b) being an insufferable know-it-all. It is one of Avon’s two default modes. (the other being I-hate-the-world). He loves to say I-told-you-so or variations thereon. He just loves it. “You can die content” says Jenna, “knowing you were right”. Avon never hesitates to rub it in when someone, especially Blake, screws up. It must be nearly murderous to live with, particularly since Avon generally is the only one with any common sense (Horizon, anyone?)
          “it’s simple enough” Avon commences in a tone with the unspoken subtext “if you’re not completely brain-dead”. And it is said without looking at them. In fact, his back is nearly turned. Would you do that? This is just plain rude. Stopping looking at your piece of paper, or nowadays your mobile phone, and raising your head to make eye contact is plain good manners. Avon uses this piece of paper as a defence mechanism, so he doesn’t have to make that eye contact. He can act like the paper is so engrossing and important. Just one eye contact, and a relationship is formed!
          It’s pretty clear Avon instantly regrets his impulse to show off, given it brings all that attention onto him and so he gets up and stalks away. As far as he can, which isn’t far.

          If Avon wasn’t so outrageously, spectacularly beautiful, he could not get away with this. It just shows what power beauty has. Slender, almost fragile Avon… someone said he had ‘a face like a fallen angel’ which sounds so pretentious but it suits him, it really does) can do anything he likes…I will still idolize him. If he were ugly, I wouldn’t find this cool at all.

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          May 12, 2014 10:13 pmPosted 3 years ago
          Fiona

          it’s also ridiculous to suggest Blake is out to get Avon. As soon as he hears how good Avon is, he knows he needs a guy like that. Look how he tries to manipulate him, something Avon is ready for.
          And Avon is sinister enough on his own. After all, Blake is only saying the truth: Avon is thinking about how to make a deal with the crew ” I have other options” as he says, which he actually doesn’t but he doesn’t want Blake to think he can be easily had. Really Avon has no option but to join Blake, but he wants to play hard-to-get to keep Blake reminded how essential he is.

          Vila does make Avon seem accomplished and cool. The second man in all the Federated worlds, is serious bigging up. Saying the number one is the one who caught him: this is what became a common Vila motif. He would often act as Avon’s impresario: in ‘Killer” Vila says to Avon’s ‘friend’ Tynus: ‘When Avon holds out the hand of friendship, watch his other hand. That’s the one with the hammer”. It could not be more cool. And Avon stands there looking…well…very Avon.
          But Vila would also prick Avon’s pomposity and general taking himself seriously: When Meegat is worshipping Avon: “Counting yourself, that’s two people who think you’re wonderful” and he keeps up a running commentary: “been alone too long, poor woman”. He lets Avon’s insults and jibes slide right off him: “Vila…you’re a fool”. “Nerves getting the better of you?” So to give Avon a cool introduction and then mock him gently is The Vila Style.
          Can you stop calling my opinions ‘biased’ please? They are opinions built on careful observation, plus critical technique and its just for fun anyway. How are they biased? it’s my opinion based on what I see and hear and read. why not simply add your ideas to contest mine without getting all defensive about pretty Avon…its amazing how some people get about Avon. How are your own ideas not ‘biased’?
          Applied literary criticism. Blake’s 7 was made for it.

  • January 9, 2014 2:10 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Paul Mudie

    This is grand fun, and a high scoring start from Sue. It’ll be interesting to see how long that lasts… My partner and I re-watched all four seasons last year but this is tempting me to start all over again.

    Oh, and thanks for the lovely Wife And Blake post card, by the way! Paul Muddle, indeed. 😀

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      January 10, 2014 2:57 amPosted 3 years ago
      Rob

      I watched the series again from start to finish for the first time in years back in 2010 and what surprised me the most was how much it pulled me back in to the point where I was bidding on Ebay for Liberator teleport bracelets.

      I have really never grown up.

      • January 10, 2014 11:29 amPosted 3 years ago
        Paul Mudie

        I’ve never really grown up either Rob, and now I’m 44, it seems unlikely that I ever will! 😀

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    January 9, 2014 11:17 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Sean Alexander

    I really enjoyed this one – tense and generally well acted, right up until they dock with the *ahem* and then things get a bit silly.

    Episode two and we can add Glyn Owen and Leslie Schofield to the Who/Blake roster. Schofield makes for a particularly effective psychopath and you really want him and Blake to go Mano a Mano, rather than him being sucked off first (!)

    To follow from the influence of 1984, this week we have Scum in Space; in fact if Ray Winstone had walked past with a sock and a couple of snooker balls I wouldn’t have blinked.

    It’s nice to see Blake’s group slowly come together. We can now add Gan (the gentle giant of the show) and Avon, with whom Blake immediately strikes up a love/hate relationship that will come to form one of the backbones of the show. And Paul Darrow at this point is stunning, all nasal snearing and not a thought beyond his own survival and arrogance. I think we’ll need to keep an eye on this one.

    There’s some ropey dialogue creeping into El Tel’s scrips already – ‘They’ll smash the guts out of us!’ being one particularly arch metaphor. And some of the tropes of the BBC effects department (you can tell I’ve been reading a lot of Philip Sandifer of late) such as the foam machine and whatever would one day become the Movellan virus also take a bow here. And Terry Nation would reuse the prisoner execution motif the following year on Who.

    But like I say, the ‘sentient ship’ that docks with the London seems to promise much but I’m not sure if this is ever picked on again. Just where has this ship come from, as it’s presumably not of Earth origin. And the fact it has a default security setting that causes mass insanity and death by equity seems a plot point that’s overlooked after this.

    And as the end credits role I see the *ahem* design is from one Roger Murray-Leach. And Pennant Roberts is notching up his first Blake credit.

    Sound stuff on the whole. Though I suspect the presence of Brian Blessed could derail things sooner rather than later.

    And what a nonsensical title is ‘Space Fall’?

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      January 10, 2014 12:01 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Mark P

      What anonsensical title is ‘Space Fall’?

      Not too dissimilar to the last Bond movie ‘Skyfall’

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        January 10, 2014 7:15 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Frankymole

        Worse than the Prisoner’s “Fall Out”!

        Maybe it’s a play on “windfall”, an unexpected bonus falling from the sky… in this case, the Liberator?

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          January 10, 2014 8:06 pmPosted 3 years ago
          Sean Alexander

          Skyfall is just an arbitrary name given to James Bond’s ancestral home (though the line in Goldneye that claims his parents both died in a parachuting accident does make it somewhat macabre). Space Fall? The only one falling is Leslie Schofield and that’s too obscure even for me!

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            January 11, 2014 6:44 pmPosted 3 years ago
            solar penguin

            In 70s and 80s SF there were expressions like “Planetfall” (spaceship landing on a planet) and “Stationfall” (spaceship docking with a space station.) For example, there were two Infocom computer games with those titles, written in the early 80s.

            I guess “Space Fall” was supposed to be a similar sort of thing, but for a spaceship docking with another spaceship in space. Makes sense to me.

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        May 10, 2014 4:39 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Fiona

        Space Fail, really, for Raiker.

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    January 10, 2014 11:56 amPosted 3 years ago
    Mark P

    Gan is basically Big John, isn’t he? Little John unless Sue knows something we don’t, uhmm.

    There then follows an exchange between the ship’s captain and his first officer, Raiker. Are you sure you didn’t start to watch ST:TNG by mistake? Raiker/Riker must be a common First Officer’s name.

    There’s a smuggler, a thief, a computer expert, a strong man, a camp man, and a convicted kiddie fiddler. Would a remake today be with a smuggler, a thief, a computer expert, a strong man, a benefit claimant, an immigrant, and a convicted kiddie fiddler?

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    January 13, 2014 1:00 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Neil and Lucy

    Well, once again we’re late to the party. Everyone else has grabbed a bottle of Diamond White and gone to watch Cygnus Alpha. Meanwhile we’re left with Space Fall and what’s left of the Twiglets. We’ll try to get caught up soon.

    Lucy quite liked this one too and gave it 7/10. She took an understandable dislike to Raiker the sexual predator and was unmoved by the but-that’s-Jonny-Briggs’-dad defence. In what I believe to be an entirely novel insight she noted that everything started to go pear-shaped from the moment that Raiker brought his flask of iced tea onto the flight deck. I believe this could change the way we view this episode forever.

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    January 14, 2014 8:55 amPosted 3 years ago
    Sally M

    Paul Darrow is very easy on the eye.… Sue shows excellent taste 🙂 Not that I’m biased…

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    May 10, 2014 3:46 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Fiona

    This is magical! As if I’m not wasting enough of my life watching the show…like you, I was nine when it began and I don’t remember any of it, and I think it is completely brilliant….now I have your blog to use up more time I don’t have..

    “I’m Gan and Nova the toon, pet…”

    aiyah, lol that’s funny

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    May 10, 2014 3:51 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Fiona

    “Paul Darrow is very easy on the eye” You can’t put your finger on just what it is….but you sure would like to. Well, I would like to.
    Easy on the eye. He is just beautiful. I loved him when I was 12. He gave me a life-wrecking taste for difficult icy men with dry wit.

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    June 7, 2014 10:32 pmPosted 3 years ago
    dora

    Paul set my standard of how I want a man to be. I compare him to every guy I meet and they never measure up. So, on with the motley….

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    July 25, 2014 1:09 amPosted 2 years ago
    David

    Actually when you think about it Blake is the classic cult leader.

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    August 16, 2014 5:39 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Dave Sanders

    There was a big girl’s blouse called Vila
    Whose role looked uncertain until a
    Poor sucker named Nova
    Found it was game over
    From terminal Space Polyfilla.

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      August 16, 2014 7:38 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Anniew

      Definitely your best yet!

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    August 16, 2014 6:12 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Dave Sanders

    Astute viewers of this episode will recognise the series’ first real bout of Nationitis after Dev Tarrant and big shockwaves in space: not only is there an ‘Avon’ and a ‘Nova’ in the same script, but one is sent in as backup to the other. Clearly the superfluous one has to be IMMEDIATELY killed off, and it sure as hell isn’t going to be Paul Darrow.

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      August 16, 2014 11:45 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Fiona

      Holy shit, never realized Nova is Avon backwards! Wow, laziness.

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