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gan

Pressure Point

Gan’s gan…

Pressure PointThis episode immediately squeezes Sue’s pressure point.

Sue: Oh no! Terry ****ing Nation! Why, Neil? Why?

Resistance soldiers are being spied on from a cottage.

Sue: That’s quaint.

She quickly changes her tune when we enter the cottage.

Sue: Oh my God. What have the Space Vampires done to the place?

Her disappointment with the Federation’s restoration work dissipates when she realises that Travis and Servalan are in this one.

Sue: Is Servalan on her way to Ascot?

Travis and Servalan are preparing to spring a trap on Blake.

Servalan: I have waited for 18 days!

Sue: So Travis and Servalan have been cottaging for 18 days? I wonder how they passed the time…

Me: Stop it, Sue.

Pressure PointSue: Poor Servalan. She can’t tilt her head back because her hat will hit the back of her collar. That must be really irritating.

The resistance soldiers are blown to bits in the Forbidden Zone.

Sue: That looked all right. In fact, that was pretty horrific.

Meanwhile, Blake is preparing to return to Earth.

Sue: Here we ****ing go. About bloody time.

Blake wants to locate Control.

Blake: Two hundred years ago, when the Federation began expansion and conquest, the Administration established a computer complex to monitor information: political, civil, military – everything. That computer is the nerve center of all Federation activity.

Sue: Oh no. Not another computer. Hasn’t Blake got enough computers already? What does he want another one for?

Blake wants to smash this particular computer to pieces. Its destruction will throw the Federation into chaos.

Sue: There are no words to describe how stupid Vila looks this week.

Me: But you’ll have a go anyway.

Pressure PointSue: He looks like a JCB driver who’s been interrupted as he takes his safety jacket off.

Me: Right…

Sue: Apart from that, this is a good start. A rest has done Terry the world of good.

Servalan and Travis disagree about the best way to spring their trap.

Sue: I like the direction in this episode. Plenty of meaty close-ups. And this set must have been a nightmare to light. Everything is so white. No, it’s very good, this.

Blake wants to know if Avon will help him.

Sue: He’s got no chance. Look at Avon’s body language – arms folded, no eye-contact.

Avon: Well, of course. I am surprised you ever doubted it.

Sue: Eh?

Avon has an ulterior motive.

Avon: The resistance movements on Earth will launch an all-out attack to destroy the Federation. They will need unifying. They will need a leader. You will be the natural choice.

Sue: He wants the ship.

She guesses right.

Sue: You know, Avon is even more handsome when he smiles.

Pressure PointBlake: Could be you’re planning just a little far ahead.

Avon: Perhaps. But sooner or later, I will have my chance.

Sue: Ooh, you can cut the tension with a knife. I know it’s still early, but this is easily the best episode of Blake’s 7 so far. Don’t **** it up, Terry.

The Liberator enters Earth’s orbit.

Jenna: It’s been a long time.

Sue: Far too long. About eight episodes too long, actually.

Servalan has captured the resistance leader, Kasabi. The pair have previous.

Sue: Bloody hell, she just pushed Servalan over. I think Servalan’s hat must have unbalanced her.

Back on the Liberator, the crew are waiting for Kasabi’s signal.

Sue: There’s more than enough room for them on that sofa if everyone budged up a bit. There’s no need for them to sit on the floor like that.

Travis uses a truth drug to extract the details of Kasabi’s planned rendezvous with Blake.

Sue: I’m actually impressed with Travis this week.

Servalan gives Travis a smack when he tries to stop her from killing Kasabi. Sue laughs.

Pressure PointSue: And now I can’t take him seriously again.

Before she dies, Kasabi puts Servalan in her place.

Sue: She wasn’t a very good actress. That scene could have been so much better, but you can’t blame Terry for that. The script is really good.

Blake prepares to teleport to Earth. He tells Avon to put him down a mile away from the homing beacon.

Avon: What’s the matter, Blake? Don’t you trust your friends?

Blake: Of course. I trust them the same way I trust you.

Sue: Blake’s people management skills are horrendous.

Blake teleports to Earth.

Sue: Could Avon put Blake down in a tree if he wanted to?

Blake takes cover in some bracken.

Sue: There he goes, crashing about the place like a baby elephant. And speaking of baby elephants…

Gan is down and safe.

Me: Have you noticed anything unusual about this episode so far?

Sue: It’s really good?

Me: What about the music?

Sue: There isn’t any. Good, isn’t it?

Pressure PointBlake and Gan enter an abandoned church, where they find Kasabi’s daughter, Veron. She drops her gun and faints.

Sue: Was that supposed to be a toy gun? When it hit the floor it sounded like it was made out of wood.

Back on the Liberator, Avon is feeling jumpy.

Avon: I have a feeling that we are not being careful enough.

Sue: You wouldn’t get this half-cocked shit with Avon in charge. If Blake screws this up, Avon should make the crew vote for a new captain.

Gan treats Veron’s wounds.

Sue: Is it Gan’s turn to be the ship’s doctor? Was Orac teaching him First Aid last week? And where is Orac anyway? They never turn him on when it’s important.

Veron rests her head on the church’s muddy floor.

Sue: Teleport her back to the ship! Cally wouldn’t let her sleep on the floor like that. Come on, Gan, that’s rubbish.

Avon and Vila prepare to teleport to Earth. Vila doesn’t want to go.

Vila: I don’t feel well. I’m going to be a big handicap.

Avon: I’m used to that.

Sue: Vila only really works as a character when he’s stood next to Avon. They work so well together. I could easily watch a show with just these two in it. And Avon really suits oxblood leather. Just saying.

Pressure PointAvon tests the Forbidden Zone’s security system. A field of automated mines stand between them and the entrance to a blockhouse.

Sue: Just teleport right outside the door. Come on, it’s not rocket science.

Avon and Vila are teleported to the church a split second before the Forbidden Zone erupts in an almighty explosion. Avon isn’t surprised to discover that Blake was lying when he told him that everything was fine.

Sue: Blake’s gone rogue. You can’t lie to your crew like that. That must be the final straw. Bad Blake.

While Blake considers his next move, Veron leaves the church for some air.

Sue: Kids with guns; that’s not very nice. And either she isn’t what she seems, or she’s a really bad actress. Or maybe she’s both.

Blake alters his plan.

Blake: All right then, we teleport right up to the door of the entry blockhouse.

Sue: There you go! See, that wasn’t so hard, was it?

However, before they can implement this plan, they are overcome by a gas grenade. Veron removes their teleport bracelets and does a runner.

Sue: Why isn’t the gas affecting her? Is she a robot or something? Listen, you can still hear the gas coming out of the grenade.

When Blake and his crew regain consciousness, they discover that they have been locked in the church with no means of escape.

Sue: They should put an extra bracelet on their ankles from now on – you know, for back-up – so this never happens again. I bet they won’t, though.

Pressure PointVeron has been doing Travis and Servalan’s dirty work under duress, and when Travis violently assaults the young girl, Sue rose out of her chair in anger.

Sue: ****!

Servalan: I’ll deal with her. You just bring me Blake.

Sue: Servalan looks like she’s auditioning for a part in a Morecambe and Wise Christmas Special.

Gan uses his strength to open the church door.

Sue: Gan actually did something useful for a change. Will miracles never cease?

Travis arrives at the church to find Blake gone.

Sue: I’m sorry but this Travis isn’t as good as the other one. This Travis is a bit silly.

Blake and his crew prepare to make a run for the blockhouse.

Sue: Fifty yards in eight seconds. That’s easy enough, although Gan might struggle.

Blake makes the first run. However, when Vila makes his dash, Gan decides to follow him.

Pressure PointSue: That’s Gan dead, then.

Incredibly, Gan survives.

Gan: I needed a pacemaker.

Vila: Me too. Implanted in my heart.

Sue: Love it.

When Avon makes the final run, he trips and falls.

Sue: No! Avon! No!

With a little help from Blake, Avon eventually makes it to the blockhouse.

Sue: Avon looked like an idiot, there. Vila should have been the one who fell over. Still, that was pretty exciting.

Our heroes descend a ladder which leads to the bowels of the computer complex.

Sue: The set looks great. This is much better than them running around some power station. The ladder makes the studio look enormous.

A few moments later, Blake’s crew descend another ladder, only this time the set has been bathed in red light.

Sue: OK, the ladder does look good, but it’s not that good. Actually, I should show this to my TV studio students.

Me: To show them how imaginative lighting can maximise your sets when you’re working on a tight budget?

Sue: No, I thought they could do with a laugh.

The crew come up against an electrified floor. However, just when you think they will have to turn back, they notice some handrails above them.

Pressure PointSue: Handy!

Unfortunately, one of these handrails snaps when Gan puts his weight on it.

Sue: That’s Gan dead, then.

Incredibly, Gan survives.

And then the ladder makes another cameo.

Sue: I wonder which colour will be next. I’m going with green.

Sue is biting what’s left of her nails when Blake finally reaches his goal.

Blake: We’ve done it! We’ve done it! We’ve done it! I’ve done it!

Sue: Interesting use of the word ‘I’ve’, there. Blake is a raving egomaniac.

But the room is empty. There’s nothing there. When Blake realises this, he collapses into Avon’s arms.

Sue: Blake has completely lost it. Time for Avon to take over, I think.

Travis arrives to explain the trap.

Travis: You see, it’s the great illusion, Blake. You give substance and credibility to an empty room, and the real thing becomes undetectable, virtually invisible.

Sue: That’s clever. I didn’t guess that. I just assumed that Federation security was rubbish.

Even Travis doesn’t know where the real Control is.

Sue: I bet Orac knows. Ask Orac.

Pressure PointAnd then Servalan turns up.

Sue: A dragonfly is tweaking Servalan’s nipples. I’ve seen it all now.

But that’s the least of Servalan’s problems.

Sue: Jenna may have out-smarted her, but she’ll never out-dress her.

Travis takes this turn of events extremely badly.

Sue: Every. Single. Time. I almost feel sorry for him. And even though he isn’t as good as the other Travis, he does have a very nice arse.

Blake makes a run for it.

Sue: Don’t forget to shoot Travis and Servalan in the head before you leave! Oh, wait, too late.

Servalan slaps Travis across his face. Hard.

Sue: Ooh, it’s all go this week!

Travis throws a strontium grenade at the escaping terrorists. And then Servalan and Travis run after it.

Sue: Don’t run towards the explosion, you idiots!

The roof comes crashing down.

Sue: That could have been directed a lot better. I didn’t really follow that. I thought it was Travis’s foot under that rubble for ages.

Pressure PointIncredibly, Gan doesn’t survive.

Sue: He can’t be dead. He looks fine to me.

As Gan slips away, Sue turns to me with a confused look on her face.

Sue: Is Gan really, really dead?

She’s so shocked by this, she doesn’t notice that David Jackson is still breathing heavily. And I’m not going to point it out to her.

Vila: Where’s Gan?

Blake: Gan’s dead.

Sue: Oh, I’m not that bothered. It’s sad, but he didn’t do very much. He was the most expendable member of the crew. I’m sorry, but that’s just the way it is. Still a bit of a shock, though. I didn’t expect them to go through with it.

Me: I believe the original plan was for Vila to die.

Sue: Oh no. That would have been awful. And why did they have to kill one of them? Was the wage bill spiralling out of control?

Travis and Servalan are trapped underground.

Travis: They’ll dig us out eventually.

Servalan: Oh, yes. They’ll dig us out eventually. And then I’ll bury you.

Sue: What a brilliant line. Maybe Avon and Servalan should get together…

Me: Stop it.

Pressure PointAs the Liberator breaks orbit, Blake stares at Gan’s empty chair.

Sue: Gan bloody loved that chair. Blake will have to step down now. He’s gone too far.

Cue credits.

Sue: Poor Gan. They didn’t turn the music off, and they didn’t play a sad version of the theme tune on the piano, either. That is sad.

The Score:

Sue: That was excellent. Probably the best episode yet. I’m sorry that I didn’t say very much towards the end – I was enjoying it too much. The acting was a bit dodgy at times, but the regulars were great, and the direction was excellent, too. I can’t believe Terry Nation wrote that one. Well done, Terry. Why can’t they all be like that?

9/10

Next Time:

Warning: Glen’s trailer includes minor spoilers for the next episode.

Back
Next

Horizon

Flat as a pancake…

HorizonMe: The official Blake’s 7 fan club is called Horizon.

Sue: They must really like this one, then.

The episode begins with Vila and Jenna’s faces superimposed over some stars.

Sue: Eh? What was that in aid of? Is Vila dreaming this episode?

Our intrepid heroes are falling apart.

Cally: Your headaches are from the same source as Vila’s stomach cramps and Avon’s back pains: over-stress.

Sue: I’m not convinced. Avon probably put his back out during a visit to the ship’s sex dungeon.

The crew need a holiday.

Sue: The crew need a decent plan of action. That’s what they need.

Vila: I’m going blind staring at these detectors.

Sue: They should set up a table tennis table and a dartboard in one of the empty rooms on the ship. And then they should programme Zen and Orac to monitor the detectors. Take some time off. Chill out. Relax. I don’t see the problem.

As the crew contemplate a week somewhere nice, a Federation freighter appears on their detectors.

Sue: They say there’s no rest for the wicked, and they are terrorists, so there you go.

The freighter is heading for a planet codenamed Horizon.

HorizonBlake: Population?

Zen: Negative information.

Blake: Is there any information on Horizon?

Zen: Negative.

Sue: No wonder Blake has a headache. Here’s a tip for you: ASK ORAC! You know, the computer that can see into the future and is supposed to be the answer to everything. He’s worth a million credits, for ****’s sake.

Blake wants to follow the freighter to Horizon.

Blake: That freighter’s gone to Horizon for some good reason.

Avon: Which is more than you can say for us.

Sue: Brilliant!

Meanwhile, Orac is teaching Gan a thing or two.

Me: What do you think Orac is teaching Gan?

Sue: Anger management, probably. Actually, it could be anything. Knitting, cooking, cleaning. Where do you want me to start?

A visibly exasperated Jenna (who, according to Sue, looks like Maid Marion crossed with Olivia Newton-John this week) detects something in their path.

HorizonSue: Is that ship blowing smoke rings at them?

It’s a magnetic barrier and the Liberator flies straight through it.

Sue: Oh no. Gan is making his sex face again.

The magnetic bombardment exacerbates Vila’s stomach condition.

Sue: Vila is suffering from chronic IBS. He’s showing all the classic signs.

Me: What are you looking at me for?

Cally treats Vila with a special medicinal compound.

Cally: One-third adrenalin, two-thirds soma.

Sue: One-third Gaviscon, two-thirds Buscopan is what he really needs. Actually, what Vila really needs is a poo.

Blake and Avon bicker over their next move.

Sue: They can’t go on like this. This has to come to a head sooner or later. There will be tears before bedtime, you mark my words.

Blake wants to investigate Horizon.

Blake: What are the surface conditions?

Zen: Detectors indicate that surface conditions are tolerable.

Sue: Yes, but does he need a coat? Come on Zen, be more specific, you useless piece of shit.

HorizonJenna and Blake have a good bitch about Avon before they teleport to Horizon. Blake expects Avon to run away with the Liberator in his absence. What he doesn’t expect is Avon walking in on him when he says this.

Sue: Awkward.

Blake and Jenna teleport down to the planet.

Sue: The first thing they should now say is: “Did he hear me? Do you think he heard me? What if he heard me?” But they don’t even acknowledge it. That isn’t very realistic.

Horizon isn’t very hospitable.

Sue: They’ve arrived on another shit hole. What a surprise.

The ruler of Horizon is a man named Ro.

Sue: It’s the Asian Rowan Atkinson.

She didn’t even know that his name was Ro.

Sue: I had a red velvet jacket like that, although mine wasn’t as nice as his. His jacket is nicely tailored and mine was probably made out of velour.

Blake and Jenna are attacked by natives welding blowpipes.

Sue: Ooh! Right in the bum. Nasty.

Meanwhile, Vila is knocking back a glass of green on the Liberator.

HorizonSue: You should never mix drugs with alcohol, and that’s definitely crème de menthe. He plays a good drunk, though. Something tells me the actor has had a lot of practice.

Me: We’ve watched 16 and a half episodes of Blake’s 7 and you still don’t know the actors’ names.

Sue: Well, there’s Paul Darrow and Gareth somebody. And… And… No, I don’t. Sorry.

When Cally offers to teleport to Horizon to check on Blake and Jenna, Gan guilt-trips Vila into going instead.

Gan: You wouldn’t want to send Cally in your place, would you?

Sue: Eh? How is sending a pissed Vila better than the only person on the ship who knows how to look after herself. How sexist is that?

Either way, Avon is sitting this one out.

Avon: I am not expendable, I’m not stupid, and I’m not going.

Sue: I love it.

When Gan and Vila teleport to Horizon, Vila quickly gets into trouble.

Sue: Avon teleported Vila into that puddle on purpose. He couldn’t resist it.

Vila is taken out with a dart from a blowpipe. His backwards fall has to be seen to be believed:

[jwplayer mediaid=”7949″]

Sue: OK, I get it. Vila’s funny.

And then, for a significant portion of the episode, Sue says nothing at all.

Sue: I’m trying to follow the plot. It’s quite interesting, but I know what’s going to happen. This guy will come good, Blake and his crew will have a nice holiday on this planet, and everyone will laugh down the camera lens at the end. You’ll see.

HorizonWhen Ro interrogates Blake, he discovers that an old friend on the same prison ship as Blake.

Sue: What are the chances of that. Did we ever meet him?

Me: No.

Sue: It must have happened during those missing months we never saw.

Ro is visited by two Kommissars from the Federation. They don’t appear to notice that Ro’s prisoner is the most wanted man in the galaxy.

Sue: Blake can’t be that famous, then. Which is strange because Vila made a big deal out of that at the beginning of the episode. Maybe Blake is a Z-list celebrity. Maybe everybody’s talking about Avon instead.

Blake’s crew are sent into Horizon’s mines.

Sue: Great. A story set in a mine. Just what I wanted.

Blake immediately takes control of the miners’ rations.

Sue: Blake always has to be the boss. He’s a raving egomaniac. He’d be completely useless on Survivor. They always vote the know-it-all out first.

Cally teleports to Horizon. She is captured within seconds.

HorizonSue: They are completely hopeless. They may as well teleport themselves straight into a prison cell.

The next time we see Vila and Blake, they are both topless.

Me: There you go, Sue: some eye-candy for you to feast on.

Sue: Don’t make me laugh! If I want to look at a pale, out-of-shape mess, I can stare at you. Oh look! Blake’s got moobs.

When Cally fails to answer his calls, Avon makes his move.

Avon: I think it’s time to leave.

Sue: No! You can’t do that! No!

Cally is interrogated by Ro. She tells him that the Kommissar killed his father.

Sue: What’s really funny about this is he thinks she’s got these amazing telepathic powers, when in actual fact she just read this stuff off a piece of paper before she left. That sums up Cally in a nutshell.

The Kommissars discuss Ro’s ability to control Horizon.

Me: The assistant Kommissar was Elisabeth Sladen’s husband.

HorizonSue: I didn’t know that Elisabeth Sladen married Ridley Scott.

Kommissar: Blake and his crew are the most sought after criminals in the galaxy.

Sue: Ah, so he did know about Blake, after all. If only I still cared. This is really slow, Neil.

Alone on the Liberator, Avon has an important decision to make.

Sue: Avon won’t go. He’d get bored if he didn’t have someone to take the piss out of. Orac wouldn’t be half as much fun as Vila or Gan. There’s so much more to work with.

She pretends that it’s a foregone conclusion, but she still bites her nails while Avon considers his options.

Sue: Look, just call the show Avon and be done with it. I’ll be honest with you, Neil. If it wasn’t for Avon I’d probably struggle with Blake’s 7. I think he’s great.

Me: Really? I never would have guessed.

With Federation pursuit ships heading their way, Avon decides to do the decent thing.

Sue: I knew he wouldn’t leave. But it was fun to see him think about it.

Avon teleports to Horizon.

HorizonSue: Sometimes, Avon is the spitting-double of Pete Beale from EastEnders. The original, I mean. It’s uncanny.

Avon makes short work of the Federation’s security measures.

Sue: I thought he was going to blow the tip of his gun after he shot that guard. He’s so cool, he doesn’t even bother with camouflage. He’s dressed as a giant bicycle reflector.

Avon almost shoots a half-naked Blake in the head. The expression on Avon’s face says it all.

Sue: He can’t take his eyes off Blake’s moobs.

Me: All right, Treacle.

Our heroes teleport back to the Liberator.

Sue: Breathe in, Blake. Breathe in.

Back on Horizon, Ro’s lover urges him to do the right thing.

Sue: She looks like his twin sister. That’s really weird.

Me: They say you’re attracted to people who look like you.

Sue: God, I hope not. That would mean I look like you.

Ro changes into a ceremonial dress and helmet and then, with a little help from Blake, he shoots the Kommissar with his blowpipe.

HorizonSue: At least he’s got a nice chest.

Ro tells Blake that he’s welcome on Horizon any time.

Sue: Why would he ever go back there? It’s a dump!

The Federation’s pursuit ships are about to arrive.

Sue: Finally! Some action!

Blake holds firm and the enemy ships are destroyed by the planet’s magnetic barrier.

Sue: Well, that was an anti-climax. Thanks for that.

Vila: I’ll tell you this, though: it beats work.

Sue: Really? That was bloody hard work if you ask me.

Cue credits, which Sue doesn’t read. Sigh.

The Score:

Sue: That was boring. It started well, and the scenes with Avon were great, but I knew what was going to happen; there were no surprises. And the guest actors didn’t do it for me. They were so dull. No, I didn’t like that one at all. I’m really sorry, Blake’s 7 fans, but ‘Horizon’ is shit.

3/10

Next Time:

Warning: Glen’s trailer includes a MASSIVE SPOILER for the next episode.

Back
Next

Weapon

Travis 2: Electric Boogaloo…

WeaponThis episode begins with a space ship crashing into a planet.

Sue: Have we skipped a scene? Am I supposed to care about this?

There are two survivors: Coser and Rashel. They have faked their own deaths.

Sue: Are they from Gallifrey?

Me: No.

Sue: Well, they definitely bought their clothes there. It’s the only place in the universe where you can find collars as ridiculous as that.

Wait for it…

Sue: Is it the Master?

Meanwhile, someplace else, a one-eyed man, dressed from head to toe in black leather, is about to get a fright.

Sue: Who’s he supposed to be?

Me: Wait and see.

Sue: Why is this guy dressed as Travis? Has Travis started a fashion trend back on Earth? I’m confused.

Blake confronts the cosplayer.

WeaponSue: Eh? Why is Blake in a church? Oh, I get it: Blake is dreaming this and he’s mixed-up Travis’s face with Elvis’s face. That explains the quivering lip. Clever.

The Elvis/Travis hybrid murders Blake.

Sue: Blake must have eaten some seriously strong cheese before he went to bed.

An old woman named Fen arrives to chide the cold-blooded killer.

Fen: You’re a sad man, Travis.

Sue: Pause the bloody DVD, Neil.

Me: It’s not my fault. I didn’t recast him.

Sue: But he doesn’t look anything like Travis! Even the eyepatch is wrong. It’s too shiny. Why did the other Travis leave?

Me: I have no idea. Do I look like John Williams?

I press Play.

Sue: Please tell me that this old lady isn’t the new Servalan.

Travis: I want the other one.

Sue: Don’t we all, mate.

Travis: Get the other one.

Sue: Yes, for ****’s sake, get the other one!

And then another Blake appears.

Sue: So they’ve made some robots that look like Blake. How predictable.

WeaponWe cut to the Liberator, which means it’s time for Sue to pass judgement on what the crew are wearing this week.

Sue: Avon is popping out to deliver some chocolates to a beautiful woman on a boat; Cally looks like she’s been in the Liberator‘s sex dungeon with that gold collar around her neck; and thank God Jenna’s broaches aren’t any lower down. I wouldn’t have thought a dress like that would be very practical for freedom fighting. I just hope she’s wearing sensible shoes.

Luckily for them, Coser’s sartorial sense makes Blake’s crew look like catwalk models.

Sue: You know, I’m pretty sure Peter Gabriel wore that outfit when he was in Genesis.

Servalan arrives to chastise Travis.

Sue: Yes! She’s the same Servalan. That’s a relief.

Travis learns that Servalan was using him as a glorified Blake-detector.

Sue: Servalan always looks to me like she’s about to get married.

Travis physically assaults Servalan. She doesn’t seem to mind.

Sue: I’d have him shot for that. The real Travis wouldn’t do something like that. Who is this guy?

Meanwhile, Blake is planning his latest scheme to hurt the Federation. Avon isn’t impressed.

WeaponAvon: It is a triple-A security installation.

Sue: It runs on triple-A batteries.

Orac isn’t much help, either.

Blake: Orac, your information on the Weapons Development Base is unsatisfactory.

Orac: Define unsatisfactory.

Sue: Blake gets enough grief from Avon without Orac chipping in with his lip. I still think it’s unfair that Blake has to put up with two stroppy computers. Three, if you count Avon.

Meanwhile, Coser and Rashel find shelter in an abandoned dining room.

Sue: They’ve turned up for their Genesis tribute gig at the Student Union far too early. They haven’t cleared-up after the T-Rex covers band they had on last night.

Coser resents the position he’s been placed in.

Coser: They were trying to take the credit for my work. They were going to steal it right in front of me. As though I were so unimportant or stupid they didn’t even have to pretend it wasn’t happening.

Sue: He’s got a massive chip on his shoulder; I’m surprised there’s room for it with that collar.

WeaponServalan can’t praise the clone makers enough.

Servalan: They are a little awesome.

Sue: They may be awesome, chick, but I wouldn’t trust them to put my make up on. Look at the state of her face.

Servalan is surprised to learn that Fen is a clone too.

Fen: The child was identical in every way to the child that she had once been.

Sue: It doesn’t seem fair for them to be talking about identical looking people when this new Travis is in the same room. It’s very rude.

Me: What do you think of the new Travis?

Sue: It’s too early to tell. It doesn’t help that he doesn’t look or act like Travis. This isn’t Doctor Who, you know.

Blake’s clone doesn’t possess Blake’s memories.

Fen: We have given him some background knowledge, the beginnings of identity, and the basis of understanding.

Sue: Have they told him that he’s a convicted child molester, or did they leave that part out?

WeaponServalan: The Federation needs this man.

Sue: So Servalan’s got herself a toy Blake. Is this a sex-thing or a take-over-the-universe-thing? Or both?

Orac has some exciting news for Blake.

Blake: So something called IMIPAK is missing, together with a Beta class weapons technician named Coser.

Sue: IMIPAK sounds like something you’d shave your legs with.

Coser’s mood hasn’t improved since we last saw him.

Sue: I don’t know what his problem is. He’s stuck in a low-lit room with a beautiful woman who wants to be his slave, and he doesn’t even crack a smile.

Coser is a paranoid, aggressive, control freak with delusions of grandeur.

Sue: Am I supposed to care about this guy, because I don’t. If Blake saves this guy, I won’t be very happy. His companion can stay – she’s lovely – but he’s horrible.

Servalan is visited by Carnell, a brilliant Federation psychostrategist. The flirting is off the chart.

WeaponSue: WHAT IS SHE DOING WITH HER HAND?!

Carnell and Servalan want to steal IMIPAK from Coser.

Sue: Blake’s 7 is a very strange programme. On the one hand, you’ve got all this gritty terrorism going on, and on the other hand you’ve got camp scenes like this that wouldn’t look out of place in Dallas or Dynasty. It’s gritty glam.

Blake wants to get his hands on IMIPAK too, even though he doesn’t know what it is. Vila says he can live without it.

Blake: It’s just conceivable that you can’t.

Avon: Unless of course you want your last words to be, “So that’s IMIPAK.”

Sue laughs so much, I have to pause the DVD. In fact, from this point on, you can assume that Sue’s laughs at everything Avon says.

Sue: Avon gets all the best lines. I bet the rest of the cast hated Paul Darrow.

Carnell is so clever, he can beat a computer at chess.

Sue: If you owned an electronic chess set in the 1970s, you were seriously posh. I don’t trust this slime ball one bit.

WeaponCarnell: Always remember, the Officer Corps will forgive anything it can understand. Which makes intelligence about the only sin.

Sue: He reminds me of Francis from House of Cards, pulling the strings behind the scenes.

Me: I couldn’t possibly comment.

Sue: The only difference is I never wanted Francis to die a horrible, painful death every time I saw his face.

Coser is woken from his slumber by the sound of an approaching monster.

Sue: I can’t believe that he didn’t take his collar off before he went to bed. That won’t do his neck any favours. No wonder he’s in such a foul mood.

Coser and Rashel are attacked by a giant claw.

Sue: That claw has definitely been in Doctor Who. Don’t ask me what it’s called, but it’s definitely been in Doctor Who. And if it wasn’t in Doctor Who, it should have been. It’s right up Doctor Who‘s street.

Coser fires IMIPAK at the creature.

Sue: Your gun is rubbish, mate.

Oh no it isn’t. Death is just a button-press away.

Sue: OK, fair enough. I’ll give you that. But it isn’t very practical. What if someone came at you with a gun? You’d have to shoot them, put the gun away, switch on the box and then press the button. You’d be dead before you put the bloody gun away.

Blake’s clone arrives on the scene. Luckily for him, Coser is a fully paid-up member of the Blake’s 7 fan club and he welcomes the terrorist with open arms. He even has a present for him.

Clone: A gun?

WeaponCoser: Not just a gun – IMIPAK. It’s called IMIPAK: Induced Molecular Instability Projector and Key.

Sue: IMIPAK! Only 9.99. While stocks last.

Coser: IMIPAK!

Sue: I’m sorry, what’s it called again? I didn’t quite catch that.

Coser: This has a range of up to a million miles. Just think of it! You set the range here. If he’s within a million miles, you can kill a marked man anytime you want without even seeing him again.

Sue: It’s perfect for snipers who faint at the sight of blood, but the name needs work. What about Death Delayer 1000, or something like that.

Servalan arrives, dressed as the White Witch from Narnia. Avon, on the other hand, has teleported to the planet dressed as a lobster.

Sue: I’m not a big fan of lobster, but I think I’ll make an exception in this case.

Coser is killed with his own weapon. It’s called IMIPAK by the way.

Sue: Good riddance to bad rubbish. What a pompous git. Just think: if the real Blake had turned up earlier, this git would have joined the crew. What a nightmare that would have been.

Servalan shoots Travis in the back with IMIPAK when he’s not looking.

Sue: What a cow. Travis doesn’t know what’s hit him. Literally. It’s pretty good, this. So does Servalan get a decent henchman next week?

WeaponAvon, Blake and Gan storm the building, their guns drawn.

Sue: Avon has been practicing that. You can tell.

Me: They’re not Charlie’s Angels, but they’ll do.

Servalan has marked all three of them for death, so they do the only thing they can: they run.

Zen: The planet has been seeded with small proximity mines in random orbit. Detection was too late for a warning to be given.

Sue: This is why they need to leave Orac switched on. He can see this sort of thing coming a mile off. Can’t he, Neil?

Back on the planet, Rashel and Blake’s clone turn the tables on Servalan and Travis.

Servalan: I’ll see that you never leave this planet.

Rashel: I know. But make sure you do it from at least a million miles away.

Blake’s clone and Rashel want to be left alone.

Rashel: We could start to explore our planet.

Sue: And after that, we could start to explore, you know, each other.

The episode concludes with Servalan receiving an answer phone message from Carnell.

Sue: Even in defeat, he’s a smug ****.

Carnell: One last thing, Supreme Commander. I must tell you this…

WeaponSue: I really, really fancy you.

Carnell: You are undoubtedly the sexiest officer I have ever known.

This renders Sue speechless. The last thing she expected was a character trumping her in the ridiculous comment department.

Sue: Did he really just say that? I… I… Have you spiked my tea, Neil?

The Score:

Sue: Now that was more like it. It was insanely camp, but I enjoyed it. I’m not sure about the new Travis but Servalan is always fun to watch. The direction and locations were pretty good, and even though the acting was all over the place, it was never boring. I like Blake’s 7 so much more when the bad guys are actually involved in the plot. Yes, it was a bit silly, but I really enjoyed that one.

8/10

Sue: I love the idea that there’s another version of Blake running around, having a nice life. I wonder if we’ll ever see him again.

Next Time:

Warning: Glen’s trailers may include spoilers for the next episode.

Back
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Shadow

Carried away by a Moon Disc Shadow…

ShadowChris Boucher’s name elicits a round of applause from Sue.

Sue: Thank God for that.

Me: Don’t get too excited. You didn’t like Chris Boucher’s Doctor Who episodes very much.

Sue: Oh.

This episode begins with two tramps (Bek and Hanna) who are being taunted by a Bond villain named Largo (what are the chances of that?) with jellied treats made by Heston Blumenthal. Or at least that’s what it says in my notes.

Sue: He’s famous.

She’s pointing at Karl Howman.

Sue: I recognise his voice. Who is he?

Me: Karl Howman.

Sue: That doesn’t help.

Bek and Hanna turn the tables on Largo and they escape with a big bag of tasty Heston treats.

Bek: You stupid murdering scumball.

Sue: He’s a Space Cockney! Come on, Neil, pause the DVD and tell me who that is.

Karl HowmanMe: I’ve already told you – it’s Karl Howman. OK, do you remember a BBC sitcom called Brush Strokes? Theme tune by Dexys Midnight Runners (also missing an apostrophe, by the way). He played a cheeky painter and decorator. Late eighties. A bit shit.

Sue: Never heard of it.

It must have been the way I described it, because she remembered it quite fondly when I loaded up the title sequence on YouTube.

Sue: Oh yeah, he was quite dishy in that. Has he been in anything else?

Me: Well, he was in a long-running series of TV adverts.

Sue: Oxo.

Me: No.

Sue: Beer.

Me: No.

Sue: Creosote.

Me: What? No.

And then she listed practically everything that has ever been advertised on British television, including dog biscuits, toilet paper, Tango, toothpaste, and crisps. And then she gave up.

Me: Flash cleaning products. Remember?

Sue: No.

She does when I fire up YouTube:

Sue: Oh yeah. Him. I wish I’d never asked now.

While Bek and Hanna consider their next move, the Liberator can be seen through the window behind them.

Sue: That was a nice touch. I really liked that. It gives the place a sense of scale. The direction is a lot better already.

The action switches to the Liberator‘s flight deck.

Sue: Now that’s how you light a set. And isn’t it nice to see them all together in the same shot like that.

ShadowMe: Yeah, they’re one big happy family.

Sue: I like the way Blake gets the comfy seat.

Zen: All systems functioning. Status is firm.

Sue: Too much information, Zen.

Blake: So, that is Space City.

Vila: Also known as the satellite of sin.

Sue: Or Las Vegas in Space. Am I right?

Vila’s costume raises an eyebrow.

Sue: Has Vila been fencing?

Me: Not the sort you mean, no.

Meanwhile, on Space City, Bek and Hanna are arguing over a drug-addled corpse.

Sue: This is a bit bleak. Where are the dancing girls and roulette tables?

Me: This isn’t Las Vegas in Space, it’s an Edinburgh Housing Estate in Space.

Vila desperately wants to visit Space City.

ShadowSue: Vila’s sideburns are enormous. I bet Space Elvis is playing at Space Vegas tonight and Vila’s a big fan. That’s why he can’t wait to get over there. By the way, I don’t rate the actor who plays Vila. He’s over the top.

Me: I love you to bits, Sue, but you are completely wrong about Vila. Just so we’re clear on that.

Cally sees through Vila’s pathetic attempt to get off the ship.

Sue: Anyone would think she was a telepath.

So Vila persuades Orac to operate the teleport instead.

Vila: Don’t start sulking again, or I shall switch you off and throw away the key.

Orac: Soon, that will no longer be a problem.

Sue: Orac is going to take over the ship! I knew you couldn’t trust him. And Vila didn’t notice because he’s too busy thinking about Space Elvis. Oh dear. This won’t end well.

On Space City, Blake, Avon and Jenna are bargaining with an amused Largo, who claims that the drug-running Terra Nostra are a myth.

Sue: You can’t bribe the Mafia with paperweights, Avon. Everybody knows that.

To illustrate this point, Largo takes Blake and his crew hostage.

ShadowLargo: Amateur.

Sue: You can’t really argue with that. Blake is very naive. I’m surprised that Avon agreed to go along with this stupid plan.

Orac has been a very naughty boy.

Zen: The one called Orac is not concerned for the safety of the Liberator.

Sue: Hark at Zen! “The one called Orac!” Zen’s nose has definitely been put out of joint. I can’t wait to see Zen and Orac bickering with each other. It’s bound to happen sooner or later. And is Cally going to a medieval banquet tonight or what?

Cally makes radio contact with Vila.

Vila: (off-screen) What do you want, Cally?

Sue: Cut to Vila in a Space Brothel, surrounded by Space Prostitutes.

Cally: I want you back here. Get ready to teleport.

Vila: (off-screen) You’re wasting your time, Cally. I’m not wearing a bracelet.

Sue: He’s not wearing anything, Cally. Unless you count his sideburns.

Blake, Avon, Gan and Jenna have been imprisoned in Space City with Bek and Hanna. Bek isn’t impressed with Blake’s decision to employ Gan as his lookout.

Bek: I mean, he’d really blend into the background, wouldn’t he? What did you do, put up a sign?

Sue: The script is a big improvement on the rubbish we usually get. This is shaping up nicely.

ShadowLargo tests Blake by asking him how many shuttle craft he has on the Liberator, and then he puts the same question to Cally on the flight deck.

Sue: If she was a proper telepath, she’d know the answer to that.

Cally extracts the answer from Blake with her telepathic powers.

Sue: Bloody hell! They remembered that Cally is a telepath! This gets better and better.

Cally threatens to blast Space City to smithereens if they don’t release her friends. Space City think she’s drunk, so she blows up one of their ships.

Sue: Proper terrorism for a change. About time.

The crew teleport back to the Liberator, leaving Bek and Hanna behind.

Sue: (as Blake) Thanks for your help and everything but we’re off. Try not to get killed. Bye!

A few seconds later, Blake comes back for them.

Blake: I changed my mind.

Sue: Aww, bless.

The Liberator leaves Space City in its wake.

ShadowSue: I really enjoyed that. That episode flew by.

Me: We’re only half-way through.

Sue: Oh. Bollocks.

Vila is recovering from the mother of all hangovers, so Avon has to resort to insulting Gan instead.

Gan: Can’t find Orac. Even tried calling his name.

Avon: Oh, I’m sorry I missed that. It’s the kind of natural stupidity no amount of training could ever hope to match.

Sue: I don’t know why they put up with him. I mean, I love Avon to bits but you have to ask yourself: why don’t they throw him off the ship? His main function seems to be putting people on edge and winding them up.

And then Avon takes the piss out of Blake’s decision to intimidate the Terra Nostra with force.

Avon: Law makers, law breakers, let us fight them all. Why not?

Sue: Because it’s stupid?

Cally searches for Orac, who is playing hard to get.

Sue: You can’t count Orac as one of the Seven if he’s a baddie. This has completely ruined the title of the programme again.

The next thing we know, Cally is trapped in a metaphorical box.

ShadowSue: What the ****? Has Cally been on the Shadow? Is this what Shadow does to you? The last thing they need is a drug that makes them more paranoid than they already are.

Cally is in a catatonic state, but Blake isn’t bothered by that. He’s too busy planning his takeover of the Terra Nostra’s supply of Shadow.

Sue: He’s going to do a Heisenberg. It’s turned into Blake-ing Bad.

The Federation are in cahoots with the Terra Nostra.

Sue: That’s interesting. I like it when the Federation are involved. I feel like we’re actually getting somewhere. I have a lot more faith in this programme now that Terry’s left.

Me: It’s only been thirty minutes!

Sue: I feel like I’m watching a completely different programme.

Cally is trapped in Orac’s head. Or as Sue so eloquently puts it:

Sue: What the ****?

Orac: Obviously, she’s insane.

Sue: First he can predict the future – or so he says – and now he makes one of the crew go mad. I’ll ask you again: what the ****?

Blake, Jenna and Avon prepare to teleport to Zondar, the planet where Shadow is grown and harvested.

ShadowSue: (as Blake) But let’s have a quick fencing tournament, first.

Once on Zondar, Sue remembers where’s she’s seen Blake’s pyjamas before.

Sue: He’s come dressed as Luke Skywalker. They’ve even landed on Tatooine. Off-season by the look of it. Why didn’t George Lucas sue them?

Me: He was too busy suing Battlestar Galactica.

Gan has been left on the Liberator to sulk.

Sue: Gan is pissed off because they don’t have any cream pyjamas in his size.

Gan: All system are functioning normally. Status is firm.

Sue: Seriously, that is too much information!

Blake, Avon and Jenna explore Zondar’s surface.

Sue: Blake isn’t afraid to show off his chest. Avon, not so much. That is a shame.

Me: Jenna’s nipples are enormous.

Sue: I beg your pardon?

Me: The cat. Her nipples are enormous. You know, because she’s about to give birth. Actually, I don’t know why I felt the urge to say that.

Sue: I can take a bloody good guess.

The planet is populated by Moon Discs.

Sue: They look like wood-turned oyster boxes.

Me: We’ll just have to take your word for that.

Meanwhile, Orac is still driving Cally (and Sue) mad.

ShadowOrac: Listen to the voice of Orac. Remember the touch of hands and laughter and the warmth of open minds. Remember these things for they are gone. You are alone.

Sue: OK, now I’m really confused.

Blake discovers a series of reflecting mirrors in the sand which provide shade for the Moon Discs.

Blake: All we’ve got to do is plant these sensors in some form of rough circle. The battle computers will put together a complete picture of what’s there.

Sue: Sensors? They’re tent pegs!

The Shadow gardens are patrolled by men dressed in what Sue describes as the best example of restricted vision on a helmet ever. And there’s plenty of competition for that title on Blake’s 7. Blake makes short work of them, probably because they can’t see him.

Sue: What a bunch of Space Jesses.

Meanwhile, back on the Liberator, Orac is going nuts.

Sue: Quick! Pour some coffee over him!

Cally teleports to the surface of Zondar, and it isn’t long before she’s rolling around in the sand, surrounded by Moon Discs.

Sue: This planet would be a great place for a spa. You could train the plants to work as hot stones.

ShadowOrac electrocutes Hanna to death when she tries to switch him off.

Sue: At least there’s no blood for them to clean up. All that scrubbing and rinsing…

The Liberator is going to crash on the planet below.

Sue: Blimey, it’s all go. I don’t know what’s happening, but I think I’m enjoying it.

Cally sorts it out, and then she has a lot of explaining to do. It appears that Orac was taken over by a creature from another dimension, and Cally used the Moon Discs to repel it. The Terra Nostra were unavailable for comment.

Cally: Their telepathy gave me courage. Perhaps it gave me strength, too.

Sue: So the drugs do work. And you’d have to be on drugs to make sense of that. I mean, what the ****?

Blake promises to return for Bek in three years.

Sue: I bet he bloody doesn’t.

Before they leave Zondar behind, Blake offers Bek a way to avenge Hanna’s death.

ShadowBlake: Bek, that button burns the President’s garden. It won’t hurt him much, but it’ll sting a bit.

Me: Blake does all the hard work so you don’t have to.

Bek moves to press the button. Cue credits.

Sue: So they murdered all the telepathic plants. The plants that helped Cally. Well there’s gratitude for you.

The Score:

Sue: That was a step in the right direction. The dialogue was a massive improvement, the acting was pretty good, and everything Avon said was hilarious. It was still a bit of a mess, though. The Space Mafia were interesting but they didn’t go anywhere with it. I could have done without the Cally subplot completely. It didn’t make any sense. And I wanted to see more of Space Vegas. I wanted to see Space Craps.

6/10

Sue: And I don’t trust Orac.

Me: It wasn’t Orac’s fault. He was possessed.

Sue: Hmm. I’m not convinced. That was Orac’s first attempt at a hostile take-over. Quantum space monster my arse.

Next Time:

Warning: Glen’s trailers include mild spoilers for the next episode.

Good News!

Jenna has given birth!

Jenna and her five kittens are doing well. I’m a nervous wreck but they’re fine.

We’re trying not to get too attached to the kittens because they will be re-homed in a few weeks, but for now we’re calling them Alta 1, Alta 2, Alta 3, Alta 4 and Gan.

Back
Next

Redemption

Now completely spoiler-free…

RedemptionSue: The title sequence hasn’t changed. That’s disappointing.

It’s not the only thing that remains the same.

Me: Ouch.

A cushion bounces off my face.

Sue: TERRY ****ING NATION!

Me: I told you that Terry didn’t write all the scripts for Series 2. I never said he didn’t write any of them.

Sue: I really hate you sometimes.

Blake is still watching the Series 1 cliffhanger.

Me: I didn’t mention this at the time, but as John Williams pointed out in the comments, it was the first time a television drama series ended on a cliffhanger. Impressive, eh?

Sue: That is quite interesting, I suppose. Shame I can’t read the comments.

This gave me pause for thought, because even though it doesn’t affect Sue – she reads these posts before I publish them – if anyone has decided to follow us and is watching Blake’s 7 for the first time, they can’t participate in the discussion below without being spoiled. Sometimes, the comments are about anything but the episode we’ve just seen! So from this point on, I’ll be moderating the comments for spoilers. Any comment that mentions a future episode, or even hints at a future development, will be edited or removed.

Sorry about that. It’s my fault for not implementing a spoiler policy in the first place.

Redemption Right, where were we?

Sue: How long has Blake been waiting for the Liberator to explode?

Me: I have no idea.

Sue: Give John Williams a call and find out.

Cally is doing some maintenance work in the teleport section.

Sue: Cally’s had her hair cut, so quite a lot of time must have passed between this one and the last one. The only other explanation is that Cally thought to herself: “Imminent destruction? I know, I’ll get my hair cut!” And that would be silly.

Me: What do you think of her new hair style?

Sue: I like it. It suits her. She needs to put some weight on, though. I worry about her health.

Everyone has decided to change into something more comfortable while they wait for certain death.

Sue: Blake has dressed for a fishing trip, Jenna is off night-clubbing again (nice boots by the way), Gan has joined the priesthood and Avon is heading for a session in the ship’s sex dungeon. I’d love to see the Liberator‘s wardrobe – I bet it’s mental.

Relations between Avon and Blake are extremely frosty.

Sue: (as Blake) For the last time, Avon, could you at least try to dress as a good guy. Black leather sends the wrong message, and you look like Travis from behind.

RedemptionMe: I thought I told you to stop shipping.

Avon tells Blake to watch the Series 1 cliffhanger one more time.

Sue: They are definitely getting their money’s worth out of this special effect. And I’m convinced that several months must have passed between this episode and the last one.

Me: What makes you say that?

Sue: Because Blake has lost weight. His clothes don’t fit him any more. Look at his jacket flapping about. Maybe he put Gan’s costume on by mistake.

Avon explains that the Liberator can’t explode if they never visit the exact position in space where the explosion occurs. And then an explosion occurs and Blake and Avon are thrown to the floor.

Sue: Avon gave Blake a sneaky cuddle, there.

The Liberator is under attack.

Sue: Nothing important will happen in this episode. I can just tell.

Me: Eh?

Sue: It’s going to be one of those ****about episodes. You know, where they get distracted by pointless nonsense for 40 minutes. And the direction is appalling. It’s so flat. Everything is shot straight on. Douglas Camfield directed a scene like this once and it was brilliant. This is hopeless.

Blake: Zen, identify the hostiles.

Sue: And put a microphone on Gan while you’re at it. I can’t hear a word he’s saying.

RedemptionZen suggests that they head for a nearby planet.

Sue: Look at the muck on this film. I can barely see anything. And why didn’t Orac predict this? What is the point of Orac if he can’t predict this?

Sue grumbles when the action on the Liberator keeps switching from video to film, and when we are on video, she complains that it’s over-lit.

Sue: I can’t get into this. Did Terry find a spare script in the bottom of a drawer? This is just more of the same. I expected Series 2 to be better than this. In fact, you promised me that Series 2 was better than this.

At least Vila and Avon provide some light relief.

Vila: When you get Zen working, ask him to prescribe something for a headache, will you? I’ve got this shocking pain right behind the eyes.

Avon: Have you considered amputation?

Sue: Poor Vila. This is basically workplace bullying. Funny, though.

Avon: Those ships should have been able to knock us out completely. Why didn’t they?

Sue: Ask Orac. I thought Orac was supposed to be the answer to all their prayers. All he’s done so far is make everyone paranoid.

Elsewhere, on Spaceworld…

Sue: It’s a jumpgate from Babylon 5.

A woman in a skin-tight blue Lycra bodystocking is, er, I’m not quite sure. I got distracted.

Sue: This is your favourite episode, isn’t it, Neil.

I fidget uncomfortably in my seat.

Sue: Even Kate Bush would think twice about wearing that. Nice arse, though.

RedemptionBlake has lost control of the Liberator, so he heads to the subcontrol room to sort it out.

Sue: What a stupid place to put a gear stick.

Blake is threatened by some sentient wiring.

Sue: It’s like The Abyss, but with electric instead of water.

Me: I think you mean it’s abysmal.

Sue: No, it’s all right. It’s quite scary. I like the idea of the ship turning on them. I just don’t understand why it’s taken so long.

Zen is no help at all.

Sue: Is Zen in a huff because he’s jealous of Orac? I bet that’s it. He hasn’t been the same since they turned Orac on.

Cally replaces a computer component on the Liberator‘s flight deck.

Sue: They’re trying to turn Cally into Romana. They’ve even given her a sonic screwdriver. Has Terry forgotten which programme he’s writing for?

The component shorts out.

Cally: It’s rejecting the replacement.

Avon: It’s more fundamental than that. We are the cause. It is rejecting us.

Sue: Maybe it was something you said? Perhaps if you promised to clean the toilets more often, the ship will let you off with a warning.

RedemptionAvon arrives in the subcontrol room to help Blake.

Avon: The ship is working against us. From now on we are just passengers.

Blake: The question is, where to?

Sue: They’re going to the one place they can’t go, obviously. Maybe Orac is doing this to prove himself right. I trust Orac about as far as I can throw him, which is probably quite far, but you know what I mean.

Avon distracts the computer and Blake escapes. When the door slams shut on Avon, Sue gasps.

Sue: For a second there, I thought Blake had locked Avon in that room on purpose. I honestly thought Blake was using that opportunity to get rid of Avon. You wouldn’t get that on Star Trek.

Meanwhile, Gan has buggered off somewhere.

Cally: He tried to reconnect one of the servo links and it burned his hand.

Sue: Typical Gan. Always on the sick.

Gan is ambushed by unwelcome visitors in the teleport room.

Sue: They’re using the same guns as Blake. Wait a minute… I know what’s happening. Either the BBC have run out of money and they’re recycling props, or this lot have come back for their ship.

Me: Are you excited that you’ll find out who built the Liberator?

Sue: I couldn’t care less. I hadn’t given it a second thought.

RedemptionAt least the Liberator‘s supply of bracelets has been replenished.

Sue: Lesley Judd’s been busy.

Cally searches for Vila, who went missing searching for Gan.

Cally: Vila? Vila!

Sue: Cally – the only telepath who needs to shout.

The Liberator‘s walls are splattered with blood.

Sue: It’s turned into The Texas Chainsaw Massacre now. Listen! you can hear a chainsaw starting up.

Me: That’s Dudley’s maracas, love.

Sue believes that Blake should give the Liberator back to the aliens.

Sue: Well it is their ship. Maybe if they asked nicely, Blake would give it back. He’s a very reasonable terrorist.

Blake switches Orac on.

Sue: Finally! What took you so long?

Blake: Orac’s systems are entirely independent of the Liberator‘s.

Sue: So Orac is basically a laptop. If they made Blake’s 7 today, you’d fit Orac in your pocket. And you could probably play mp3s on him, too.

RedemptionSue didn’t notice that Orac’s voice has changed between series, but she has noticed that the same actor voices Zen as well. This doesn’t surprise her.

Sue: Anything to save a bit of money.

The Liberator‘s flight deck is taken over by aliens, and Blake is subdued with a gun-nozzle to the face.

Sue: So Terry Nation invented the taser. I bet they didn’t know their guns could do that, which is funny when you think about it.

The Liberator is taken to Spaceworld.

Sue: I like it when the women are in charge. Although if these women were really in charge, the men would be the ones walking around in skin-tight cat suits.

Sue is impressed by Sheila Ruskin’s screen presence.

Sue: She has a very nice voice. She reminds me of Diana Rigg. She’s got a nice arse like Diana Rigg, too.

Me: I would have got a cushion in the face for that.

Orac makes a funny noise.

Sue: Orac sounds like a kitten begging for a cuddle.

Armed guards escort Blake’s crew into the depths of Spaceworld.

Sue: What is it with this programme and fetish gear? Why do all the bad guys look like they’re on their way to a sex dungeon? Avon must think that all his Christmases have come at once.

RedemptionBlake is interrogated by the System.

Sue: This is all Blake needs. Now he’s got two sets of bad guys to worry about. That doesn’t seem fair.

Alta 1: State the circumstance by which you came to be aboard Deep Space Vehicle II.

Sue: What a boring name.

Alta 1: State the astral location in which you found DSV II.

Sue: What sort of name is DSV? They don’t deserve the ship if that’s the best name they can come up with.

Me: What if they called it spaceQuest DSV, would that be any better?

Sue: No.

Blake is sentenced to death, so he fights back. He even manages to disable Alta 2.

Sue: You can punch her in the face if you like – she’s a robot. At least I think she’s a robot. Although why you’d make a robot with a nice arse is beyond me.

I say nothing.

Blake shoots at a guard on a gantry above him.

Sue: That was an incredible fall. Was that Stuart Fell?

Me: I don’t know.

Sue: Text John Williams.

Blake finds himself in a dead-end.

Sue: I’m sure this is a map on Call of Duty.

A slave provides him with an escape route.

RedemptionMe: It’s Roy Evans.

Sue: Oh no, not again.

Me: No, it’s the real Roy Evans this time.

Sue: He’s no spring chicken, but I bet he’s still a thousand times better than Gan.

Vila frees Jenna and Avon from Spaceworld’s cells, but not before Avon accidentally punches Vila in the stomach.

Sue: I don’t care what you say, Avon enjoyed that. This is just a regular Thursday night on the Liberator.

Avon: Come on!

Sue howls with laughter when Avon growls “Come on!”

Avon, Jenna, Gan, Cally and Vila run for their lives.

Sue: (as Avon) Come on!

A System guard fires on them.

Sue: I’m surprised they were allowed to set off explosives in a gas works. The risk assessment for this episode must have been a nightmare.

At least Roy Evans can shoot straight.

Sue: Taxi for Gan!

But Roy doesn’t make it – he’s shot in the back.

Sue: No! You can’t do that! He’s the best thing in this!

System guards teleport to the Liberator, armed with grenades. But they are teleported back to Spaceworld before they can throw them and the hapless guards end up attacking their own base. Sue laughs so much she spills her tea.

RedemptionSue: They make the Federation look good.

The Liberator escapes from Spaceworld.

Sue: That looks like an airport runway at night. Oh wait… it is an airport runway at night. Hang on… where are the Liberator‘s wheels?

The System sends a ship after them.

Zen: Sensors register secondary launch, a space vehicle in pursuit. Speed Standard by Fourteen.

Sue: Speed Standard by Fourteen? **** me!

The Liberator‘s sister ship is destroyed by Orac. His prophecy came true after all.

Sue: What a cop out. At least they didn’t drag it out for a whole season, I suppose.

Blake congratulates Orac.

Sue: Orac is the most useful member of Blake’s crew and he’s strapped to a ****ing trolley.

RedemptionBlake tells Zen to take them back to Earth sector.

Sue: About bloody time.

And then he tells Avon to return to his post.

Sue: If looks could kill, Blake would be having an aneurism right now.

The Score:

Sue: I struggled with that. I couldn’t get into it at all. The direction was horrendous, and did we really need another group of jackbooted villains? Hasn’t Blake got enough on his plate? And I bet we never see the Sisters again, so what was the point?

Me: System.

Sue: Sisters. System. Whatever. The episode was a complete waste of time. Avon was good, and the end was quite exciting, but this is still really, really cheap. I’m sorry, but that was disappointing.

4/10

When it was all over, I showed her this video by Gareth Roberts and Clayton Hickman. Embedding is disabled by request, the swines.

Sue: Very clever, and a massive improvement on the original.

Next Time:

Warning: Glen’s trailers can spoil specific plot points in the next episode, so please play with caution.

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Orac

The Box of Delights…

OracA very sweaty Gan walks through a door on the Liberator.

Sue: I’d leave it ten minutes if I were you.

Gan is feeling unwell.

Sue: It’s probably the space curry he had last night. And is it just me or is Gan always ill?

Avon is summoned to a private meeting with Blake.

Sue: Oh no, Avon is wearing his circus costume again. This is not a good start.

Blake tells Avon about their most recent adventure.

Sue: Yes, he knows. He was there.

Blake’s recap includes clips from the last episode.

Sue: Does Zen film all their adventures for them?

Blake also tells Avon about Orac.

Sue: They didn’t have the iPlayer back in the 1970s, so I can see why it’s taking them five minutes to get everyone who didn’t see the last episode up to speed, but you’d never get that today. They didn’t have a recap at the beginning of Series 2 of House of Cards and it took three episodes for me to remember what the hell was going on.

OracJenna isn’t feeling well, either.

Sue: She’s far too young to be getting hot flushes, so it has to be the space curry.

Blake and Avon watch a replay of Ensor’s ship exploding in Deliverance.

Zen: The explosion registered one point three. Disturbance peaked at one one five.

Sue: The weirdest thing, which they haven’t mentioned yet, is that you can see smoke rising up. In space.

Cally – who Sue now regards as the Liberator‘s resident doctor – discovers that Avon, Vila, Gan and Jenna are all suffering from radiation sickness.

Sue: I’m glad.

Me: That’s a bit heartless.

Sue: They said the planet was radioactive – Zen made a big deal out of it last week – so I’m glad they followed up on that. I don’t want them to die. Well, not all of them anyway.

The Liberator heads to the planet Aristo in the hope that Ensor’s father possesses some space drugs. Vila throws up.

Sue: The Liberator must reek of vomit and diarrhoea this week. I hope the furniture is stain resistant.

OracOn Aristo, an old man is tending to his fish.

Sue: I hope he isn’t Orac. You can’t have a geriatric terrorist on top of everything else.

It’s Ensor Snr. and he’s not feeling very well.

Sue: Do you think Terry was suffering from IBS when he wrote this. Everybody is sick. I can imagine Terry writing this episode on the toilet.

Sue fails to notice Professor Yaffle in Ensor’s lab, mainly because she’s too busy staring at an old man’s naked chest.

Sue: He’s basically a decrepit Tony Stark, and he needs someone to jump-start him.

Ensor communicates with an unseen “colleague”, but Sue isn’t listening to him. She’s listening the background hum.

Sue: I suppose he needs a bee to pollinate his plants, but that would get on my tits if I had to work there. I’d want to swat it.

The voice belongs to Orac.

Sue: He sounds like he could be dishy. When do I get to meet him?

Servalan and Travis have arrived on Aristo to steal Orac.

OracSue: I can’t help it, but whenever I see Servalan, I always think of Marc Almond.

Avon is familiar with Ensor’s research.

Avon: He engineered and developed a lot of radical new concepts in computer technology, so that even the most advanced computers are based on his work.

Sue: He’s Bill Jobs.

Me: Yes, Sue. That’s exactly who he is.

Avon and Gan are saving their energy by reclining on the Liberator‘s deck chairs.

Sue: Where are they anyway? Is this the Liberator‘s spa room?

The planet Aristo has seen better days.

Zen: The level of the oceans is constantly rising and they now virtually cover all traces of the cities built by early civilizations.

Sue: A bit like southern England right now.

Zen: Life is evolving in the oceans. An amphibian species have begun to develop.

Sue: I bet it’s full of Sea Devils.

Back in the teleport room, Sue notices that the crew are running low on bracelets.

Sue: Lesley Judd should knock up some replacements.

OracYes, we watched Blue Peter‘s ‘Make Your Own Blake’s 7 Bracelet’ extra on the Series 1 DVD before we started this episode. Sue thought the piece was charming, and Lesley was a consummate professional when it came to handling sticky-backed plastic and silver foil, but she also thought the relationship between the two programmes was a little odd to say the least.

Sue: I don’t see how the BBC can target a show about a convicted child molester turned terrorist to children. Or maybe that’s just me. What’s next? Peter Purves shows you how to make a sawn-off shotgun from The Sweeney out of a washing-up bottle?

Blake and Cally teleport to the surface of Aristo.

Sue: They made a right mess of the Ready Brek effect. You’d think they’d be getting better at that, not worse.

Blake and Cally run straight into a force field.

Blake: It’s a force barrier. The question is are we on the outside unable to get in or….

Cally: On the inside unable to get out.

Sue: It’s a bit like Under the Dome, only less shit.

Travis and Servalan are deep underground.

Sue: I hope Servalan has stocked up on Vanish, because she’ll need it when she gets out of here. But why is she here in the first place? Why didn’t she just send Travis to sort this out with an army of space vampires. You wouldn’t see M chaperoning James Bond like this. Travis must be even more incompetent than I thought.

OracTravis explores a gap in a rockfall while Servalan waits nervously for him to return.

Sue: (singing) And now I’m all alone in bedsit land…

Servalan is groped by a lizard. Travis shoots it in the face.

Sue: Servalan had a little wobble, there. I’m surprised by that. First, Travis has a heart, and now Servalan shows her vulnerable side. What an odd scene.

Servalan crawls over the rocks, but the next time we see her she’s…

Sue: Completely spotless. Unbelievable.

Meanwhile, Blake and Cally are twiddling their thumbs on a beach when they are suddenly confronted by…

Sue: An Angry Bird.

The flying object instructs Blake and Cally to follow it, but not before it has demonstrated its firepower.

Sue: So far, Blake’s 7 has predicted Walkmen and Attack Drones. That’s not bad, actually.

Meanwhile, on the Liberator…

Sue: Avon is projecting liquid out of every orifice right now. At least he’ll never wear that silly costume again. He’ll never get the smell out.

A groaning noise is coming from behind the empty bracelet dispenser.

Sue: Gan just evacuated his bowels again. This is bleak.

OracBack on Aristo, Blake and Cally step into a transporter, although it does take them five minutes to find the entrance.

Sue: This is just padding. The script must be under-running for them to piss about like this. JUST GET IN THE BLOODY THING!

Me: It’s a portaloo, for christsake, not the monolith from 2001!

Travis and Servalan avoid more lizards in the tunnels.

Sue: That one looked really good, actually. When they don’t move and the camera doesn’t dwell on them, and you can barely make them out, the monsters aren’t that bad.

Blake and Cally meet Ensor.

Sue: The water in that fish tank is filthy. He needs a filter. What kind of computer genius doesn’t invent a filter for his fish.

Cally tells Ensor that his son is dead.

Cally: I’m sorry. He tried desperately to reach you. He did everything he possibly could.

Sue: (as Cally) Including trying to blow my head off.

Ensor gives Blake his supply of anti-raditation drugs.

OracEnsor: Can’t stand them, myself. Filthy things, drugs.

Sue: That’s why he’s growing space ganja: for medicinal purposes.

And then, the moment we’ve all been waiting for – Orac arrives. On a trolley.

Sue: So Orac is a massive Raspberry Pi. Well, I wasn’t expecting that.

Ensor bigs up his box of flashing lights.

Ensor: Orac has access to the sum total of all the knowledge of all the known worlds.

Blake: You mean it can draw information from any other computer without a direct link?

Sue: So it’s got wireless. Big deal. And if Orac is a computer, what does ORAC stand for?

Me: Orac doesn’t stand for anything. But you can stand things on Orac.

Travis and Servalan are still navigating Aristo’s tunnels.

Sue: If Servalan had any sense, she would have killed the son and brought the power cells directly to the old man, just like Blake has. She could have rang the door bell, walked it, and took it. Job done. She made this far too complicated for herself.

Travis blasts his way into Ensor’s base. Blake goes to investigate while Cally and Ensor beat a hasty retreat with Orac.

Sue: Orac is basically Wikipedia in a box.

Cally: Can you help me carry this?

Sue: (as Ensor) Yes, love. I’m having a massive heart attack but I’ll help you carry this massive box. Why the **** not.

OracFor the record, Sue didn’t notice anything unusual during the infamous “missing Travis” scene. But as soon as we finished this episode, we watched the extra feature where Vere Lorrimer and Stephen Greif explain just what the hell happened.

Sue: I thought the whole episode was badly directed, so I didn’t notice. Sorry.

Avon drags Vila out of his sickbed/deck chair. Vila smacks his head on a door. This gets the biggest laugh of the series so far.

Sue: That was brilliant. Poor Vila.

Avon snaps at Vila, when he really should be snapping at the person responsible for continuity, because an unconscious Gan keeps moving around the set.

And then Vila’s foot teleports into a puddle.

Sue: Avon and Vila make a great double act. I can actually see the point of Vila, now.

Ensor warns Cally about the lizards in the caves, but he doesn’t think they will harm them.

Sue: Yeah, but they will want to hump your leg. Just go with it and try not to shoot them in the face. It puts them off their stride.

Ensor drops dead. It was probably carrying that heavy box that did it.

Cally: Just a little longer and we might have saved you.

OracSue: Come and see what you could have won.

Blake and Cally leave Ensor’s corpse behind.

Sue: That’s right, let the giant lizards eat him. That’s nice.

Me: They have to save Avon, remember.

Sue: OK. Fair enough. Run!

Blake and Cally reach the surface, but Travis and Servalan are waiting for them.

Me: When I was eight years old, this was the most exciting thing I’d ever seen. And I’d seen Star Wars.

Sue: You were very easily pleased back then. Actually, nothing much has changed.

Me: I definitely knew that this was the final episode of the series, and that meant that anything could happen. I have incredibly vivid memories of this episode. Especially this bit.

Avon shoots Travis’s hand off.

Blake: Good shot, Avon.

Avon: I was aiming for his head.

Sue: That’s the best line in Blake’s 7 so far.

Travis’s hand is left in tatters. Again.

Sue: It’s back to space traffic for you, Travis. They’ll probably replace your hand with a large ‘Children Crossing’ sign.

Back on the Liberator, the crew prepare to switch Orac on.

Sue: Zen won’t be very happy about this. He’s seething with jealousy in the background.

Orac is even more unhelpful than Zen on a bad day, and after an exasperating conversation that goes round in circles, Avon throws Orac’s key away.

OracSue: That’s 100 million credits down the drain. Well done. Still, it was worth it to see Avon smile.

But Orac has predicted that the Liberator will be destroyed.

Sue: What’s Orac basing this on?

Me: The scripts for Series 2.

The crew watch helplessly as the Liberator appears to explode on their scanner screen. Sue yawns.

Cue credits.

Sue: Oh, sorry, was that it?

The Score:

Sue: That didn’t do anything for me. Some of the performances were nice, and Avon was brilliant as usual, but what was it about? Terry just banged that out. Yet more filler.

5/10

Me: Are you mad? That was the season finale!

Sue: You try telling Terry that. I mean, what actually happened? They found another unhelpful computer, they let Travis off with a warning, and they got some half-arsed premonition about something they’ll definitely avoid next time. So what?

Next Time:

This weekend, we’ll take a look back at Series 1 and I’ll publish the results next Tuesday. If you want to ask Sue a question, you’ve got until Saturday morning to do so. Just don’t ask her which member of the crew she would like to see die first. We’ve had lots of those. The best question will win a signed book and postcard. Thanks.

Series 2 will then begin on Friday 28th February, so there’s plenty of time to catch up with the series if you want or need to.

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Deliverance

The weekend they didn’t play golf…

DeliveranceThis episode’s title causes some concern.

Sue: I hope nobody gets raped.

Me: I hope Dudley knows how to play the banjo.

A space ship is heading for the planet Cephlon.

Sue: We’ve definitely seen that space ship before. Am I supposed to remember that? Ooh, that was a nice camera move into the cockpit. Very ambitious.

Meanwhile, on a space station somewhere…

Sue: And this is Servalan’s space station. Do I get a prize for knowing that?

Servalan is eight minutes behind schedule, but she couldn’t care less.

Sue: Shouldn’t the stars in that window be moving if the space station is revolving? How hard would it be to set up a roller with some stars on it. Come on, pull your bloody finger out.

Sue gets her first good look at the space ship’s pilot, Ensor Junior.

Sue: Oh yes, he was in EastEnders. It’s Fat Pat’s husband, Ray.

Me: Roy, actually. Or Tony Caunter to his friends.

Sue: His co-pilot looks like Prince Joffrey. I’d better keep my eye on him, just in case.

DeliveranceThe ship is caught in Cephlon’s gravity well and Ensor struggles to maintain control.

Sue: The director is really trying here. There’s a sense of urgency that’s been missing from some of the other episodes. It’s not Douglas Camfield, but it’s close.

Just when Ensor believes that the worst is over, an explosion tears through his ship.

Sue: Aww, they went through all that rigmarole for nothing. Exciting, though.

This crew of the Liberator witness this catastrophe first-hand.

Avon: She’s entering the atmosphere. Beginning to burn up.

Sue: Avon has changed back into his sensible clothes, thank God. I thought he’d gone permanently insane.

Two escape capsules jettison from the stricken ship.

Sue: Are the capsules made by Samsonite? Have they diversified into this sort of thing in the future?

Servalan is extremely pleased with herself when she’s informed about Ensor’s “accident”.

Sue: She’s gorgeous. I bet Servalan had a huge gay and lesbian following.

Me: Straight men fancied her too, you know.

DeliveranceAvon prepares to teleport down to the surface of Cephlon.

Sue: It’s oven-ready Avon. But at least he’s getting involved in the action for a change, so I shouldn’t complain. I bet Avon had a big gay following as well.

Me: Yes, and straight men fancied him too.

I think I’ve said too much.

Avon, Gan, Jenna and Vila teleport to the surface of Cephlon to find the escape capsules.

Sue: Imagine how slow Blake’s 7 would be if they couldn’t teleport anywhere. Actually, that doesn’t bear thinking about. It’s not exactly racing along as it is.

When Sue spots one of the planet’s hirsute natives, she pulls out her virtual banjo.

Sue: Dinga ding ding ding ding ding ding ding.

The Federation space surgeon named Maryatt didn’t survive the journey, but Ensor did. Just about.

Avon: There’s nothing we can do for him here. We must get him up to the Liberator.

Vila: Will he live through the teleport stress?

Sue: Why don’t they just teleport the capsule back to the Liberator?

Me: Because you can’t wrap a bracelet around that capsule.

Sue: But what if they daisy-chained lots of bracelets together? Would that work?

DeliveranceMe: It’s a nice idea, but they’ve only got four bracelets left.

This week’s alien planet is covered in a light dusting of snow.

Sue: Do they ever go anywhere sunny in Blake’s 7? It’s a very cold universe so far.

Me: It’s probably a metaphor for something. Or they filmed this in the winter. You choose.

The planet’s natives appear to be restless.

Sue: They had better not make Avon squeal like a pig, that’s all I’m saying.

Jenna retrieves Maryatt’s ID from the wreckage.

Sue: I like Jenna, but she’s a boring character. She never seems to do anything, even when she’s actually doing stuff, she doesn’t really seem to do anything. Does that make sense? She’s just there. Terry can’t write for women. Actually, he can’t write for men, but you know what I mean.

Speaking of women who have nothing to do, Cally is chilling out on the Liberator with her Space Walkman.

Sue: Cally’s listening to Big Band Swing. There’s hope for her yet.

Avon, Gan and Vila teleport back to the Liberator with a badly injured Ensor. It takes a while for them to notice that they’ve left Jenna behind.

Sue: That’s the second time they’ve done that. How can they fail to notice when one of the seven are missing? I know that Jenna is a kitten fart in a parka, but that is ridiculous. It’s like that time you stranded all those students in Whitby because you couldn’t count them back onto a bus. It’s unprofessional at the end of the day.

The natives have knocked Jenna out.

Sue: Why are the Neanderthals searching her pockets? What are they looking for? Extra-strong mints? Her credit card? What?

DeliveranceWhile Ensor recovers in the Liberator‘s medical bay, Blake and Cally search through his possessions.

Cally: What are those?

Sue: They’re contact lenses in a jumbo-sized matchbox, obviously.

Cally and Blake examine Maryatt’s ID.

Cally: According to his ID he was a Space Surgeon in the Federation Medical Corps. He’s got a double-A security clearance! He’s got a pass for any area in Space Command!

Sue: If Roy is working for the Federation, they should let him die.

Me: That’s a bit harsh.

Sue: There’s a war on. Blake needs to toughen up.

Ensor: Tell him… Federation have agreed… all terms. Will pay… one… hundred million credits for… Orac.

Sue: Right. I know that Orac is the last of the seven because you named a hedgehog after him, so this is quite exciting now.

Me: What are you expecting Orac to be like?

Sue: I think Orac will be the galaxy’s greatest bounty hunter, and the Federation will hire him to kill Blake, because Travis isn’t up to the job, and it’s going to cost them a fortune. But Orac will betray them and he’ll join Blake’s crew. There, that’s what I think will happen. What do I win if I’m right?

DeliveranceAvon, Gan and Avon teleport back to Cephlon to search for Jenna.

Me: Oh, that reminds me – Jenna is pregnant.

Sue: Oh no, what’s Gan done now.

Me: No, the cat is pregnant. Nicol’s been doing some research and Jenna is showing all the signs.

Sue: That means Blake is the father. That doesn’t feel right.

We think Jenna will give birth in the middle of Series 2, so stay tuned for that, and feel free to suggest names for the litter while you’re waiting.

Meanwhile, in Blake’s 7, Ensor has recovered enough strength to take Cally hostage.

Sue: You ungrateful sod. After everything she’s done for you. I knew they should have left him to die. The IRA would have kneecapped him by now.

Ensor instructs Blake to break orbit.

Ensor: Do it!

DeliveranceSue: It’s like that time he got really angry and told Pat that her earrings were shit. He’s quite a good actor, actually.

Back on Cephlon, Vila laments the fact that the Liberator has buggered off without them again. To be fair, it is becoming a habit.

Avon: That’s largely academic at the moment. Let’s hope they’re back on station when we find Jenna.

Sue: Paul Darrow’s monotone is incredible. His delivery of those lines should be ridiculous, but somehow it’s electrifying.

And then Travis turns up.

Sue: Things must be serious if old leather pants is involved. Servalan fancies Travis so much, she –

Me: STOP IT!

Travis’s handling of the Blake affair has resulted in a demotion for the former Space Commander.

Sue: He probably has to deal with space traffic these days. It’s a bit of a come down.

Servalan lets Travis into her latest wicked scheme.

Servalan: Ensor showed me plans of his father’s creation – Orac. It is a brilliant achievement. There is nothing else like it in the universe.

DeliveranceSue: Hmm. It sounds to me that Orac could be a robot. Like Data in Star Trek, or a Cylon in Battlestar. That could be interesting. And is Servalan drinking crème de menthe?

Servalan kicks back on her couch.

Sue: She’s like Don Draper, lying on a sofa, drinking on the job in the middle of the afternoon, plotting and scheming. It’s Mad Ma’am.

Servalan: It occurred to me that if Ensor didn’t get back in time, then in a very little while his father would die. So I took the precaution of placing a small explosive device in his ship.

Sue: What a bitch! She’s actually getting off on this. She’s definitely tipsy.

Servalan and Travis make a pact to claim Orac for themselves.

Sue: It’s like that time Michael Moon and Janine Butcher got together. Pure evil.

But even Travis has second thoughts when he learns that the space surgeon Servalan sent to their death was responsible for replacing Travis’s bionic space eye.

Sue: I knew Travis had a heart, deep down inside. He’s not all bad, you know. I know exactly how this will end: Travis will change his mind, he’ll save Blake’s life – killing Servalan in the process – and then he’ll join the crew. That’s what I would do if I was writing this.

The indigenous cavemen attack our heroes with a ferocity that borders on the comical.

Sue: This is a bit lame. It’s very Monty Python, don’t you think?

Me: They’re being stoned to death by the Time Bandits.

DeliveranceOur heroes find their way into an underground bunker, where a woman in blue dress bows down before Avon. Her name is Meegat and she has been expecting him.

Avon: Are you alone here?

Meegat: Yes, Lord. Everything is as it was written. One waits.

Sue: And now it’s turned into The Life of Brian.

Jenna has been taken prisoner by the natives.

Sue: Jenna has been kidnapped by Ronnie Wood. It’s not good, this. She’ll probably sprain her ankle, next.

Avon shows incredible self-restraint for a man who is being worshipped as a god.

Sue: Captain Kirk would have shagged her by now.

Me: Are you disappointed or relieved?

Sue: As long as he doesn’t punch her in the face, I’m happy.

The underground bunker houses the controls for a rocket that contains the race banks of Meegat’s people.

Sue: So it’s a giant sperm bank in space. Right…

Sadly, Jenna doesn’t get a look-in while this is going on.

Sue: Avon has been sidetracked by a beautiful woman, and now he couldn’t care less about the other beautiful woman he’s lost. Unbelievable.

Avon prepares to launch the rocket.

DeliveranceSue: Has Avon actually checked that Jenna isn’t trapped in that rocket? I know she isn’t, but he doesn’t know that, and she could have wandered in there by mistake. You know what this lot are like.

Avon decides to continue his search for Jenna.

Sue: Hallelujah!

Meanwhile, back on the Liberator, Ensor is losing the will to live.

Ensor: I’ve put the energizer onto automatic. If I let it go, it will spring back and the gun will fire. If I pass out, the gun will fire by itself. Now you make certain that I don’t go to sleep.

Sue: I’d stop talking if I were you, Blake; that’s bound to send him off. Ask Zen to pipe some Big Band Swing through the ship. That will keep him awake.

Avon and Meegat have a very special relationship.

Sue: They’re holding hands! Aww, that’s sweet. Although you could argue that Avon is taking advantage of someone who is obviously not quite right in the head. It’s a tricky one.

Gan warns Avon that he can’t get involved in Jenna’s rescue.

Gan: If it comes to killing, remember my limiter implant.

Sue: WHAT IS THE POINT OF YOU, GAN?

Even Vila gets stuck in while Gan looks meekly on.

Sue: Gan is the biggest member of the crew, and yet he can’t do shit. They should ditch him the first chance they get. Just drop him off at a space circus. They’ll look after him.

Gan only gets involved when all the hard work has been done and Jenna is safe.

Sue: He’s giving these two cavemen a big drunken bear hug. “I really, really, really love you, mate!”

Limiter or not, the natives are easily overcome.

Sue: They’re so useless, I bet they couldn’t even make a pig squeal like a pig.

DeliveranceGan finally makes it back to the bunker.

Sue: I thought he was going to bang his head on the door on his way in. That may have helped him, actually. It could have dislodged the chip in his head that makes him such a waste of ****ing space.

Back on the Liberator, Ensor drops dead. But before he shuffles off this mortal coil, he makes his last, and somewhat curious request.

Ensor: The microcells… get to father…

Sue: **** you, mate! Blake should sell those cells to the highest bidder, and then he should dance on his bloke’s father’s grave, because he’s a **** and Blake is a terrorist. So there.

Blake: Zen, direct route for the planet Cephlon. Maximum speed.

Sue: What is maximum speed? Have we ever established that? I feel like I should know, but I don’t and it’s driving me mad.

Avon prepares to launch the rocket. According to Jenna, Avon is about to become a legend.

Sue: Don’t be daft. Avon was a legend long before he landed on this shit hole.

The rocket is launched, and then Avon instructs Zen to scan for suitable planets for it to land on.

Sue: Don’t you think he should have done that before he launched the rocket into space? For all he knew, he could have been firing it into a black hole.

Meegat is nowhere to be seen.

DeliveranceSue: Where the hell is she? They didn’t even say goodbye. What a load of rubbish. TERRY, YOU ****!

Blake asks Avon what it was like to be a god.

Avon: Don’t you know?

Blake: Yes. I don’t like the responsibility, either.

Avon smiles.

Sue: I wouldn’t be too sure about that, Blake. I think Avon loved it. I’d watch my back if I were you.

Cue credits.

The Score:

Sue: That was pretty good, then it was awful, and then it was quite good again, and then it was just irritating. Basically anything that involved the cavemen was rubbish, and anything that involved Avon and Travis was all right. I didn’t understand the plot with the rocket at all. It felt as if the episode was a set-up for something else, and Terry was treading water. I’m looking forward to meeting Orac, though. I hope he’s dishy.

5/10

Ask Sue

We’ve nearly reached the end of Series 1, and I want to evaluate how Sue is coping with the series so far. So if you’ve got a question you’d like to ask her about this series, or the next, please send it via our contact form. The best question will win a signed book and postcard combo. Closing date: Tuesday February 18th.

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Bounty

I Feel Love…

BountyThe episode begins with Cally evading Federation troops in a rattlesnake-infested forest (or maybe that’s Dudley).

Sue: The Federation are in this one. Good. Blake might blow something up.

Blake approaches Cally’s location, his trusty red picnic box by his side.

Cally: (telepathically): Guards. Don’t speak or make a sound.

Blake: I’d forgotten how useful telepathy is.

Sue: So had Terry Nation.

A vintage car speeds down a country lane.

Sue: Is that Bessie? Have Blake’s 7 borrowed Bessie and given her a paint job? They can’t do that, can they?

Me: You said Blake’s 7 and Doctor Who should share their resources. Well, here you go.

Sue: At least Jon Pertwee isn’t driving it. In fact, I think this lot are on their way to a sci-fi convention dressed as the third Doctor, Jo Grant, and some extra off Blake’s 7.

BountyShe’s wrong. It’s President Sarkoff.

Sue: Is he the president of a motoring club?

Blake and Cally follow that car.

Sue: That bloody cooler box again. Give me strength. Do they have to keep their bracelets below room temperature or something?

The Federation troops are on high alert. Sue thinks the perspex on their helmets should turn a subtle shade of red to reflect this fact, and she’s disappointed when they don’t.

Sue: At least we’re back on Earth again. I expected them to make a big deal out of that, but Blake has just waltzed straight back home.

Me: This isn’t Earth. At least I don’t think it is.

Sue: But there’s an antique car, a medieval castle, and, well, it looks like England on a miserable wet afternoon in November.

Me: It’s definitely an alien planet. They just confirmed it.

Sue: Couldn’t they tint the sky or paint in an extra moon or something? That’s lazy.

BountyPresident Sarkoff is played by the one and only TP McKenna.

Sue: He’s famous.

Me: If you tell me his name, I’ll give you a foot rub.

Sue: Julian Assange.

Meanwhile, on the Liberator…

Sue: What the **** is Avon wearing? Oh no, that won’t do at all. He’s got a massive silver arrow pointing at his cock.

At least Avon has made an effort.

Sue: I’m sure Gan hasn’t changed since we started this. I bet he stinks. And I bet everyone is too afraid to tell him that he stinks, just in case he goes mental and tries to kill them all again.

An unidentified ship is heading towards the Liberator.

Avon: If it turns out to be hostile, we’ll do a part orbit and lose it.

Sue: I’m sorry, but I can’t take him seriously when he’s dressed like that. He looks like he should be dangling off a trapeze.

BountyAvon: As a matter of fact, I don’t like the look of it either.

Sue: Did he just catch sight of himself in a reflective surface?

The unidentified ship is broadcasting a distress signal so Gan offers to teleport over there to investigate. If it turns out to be a trap, the crew have his permission to blow him to pieces.

Sue: Gan’s head needs seeing to again. It’s becoming a bit of a theme.

Back on the planet, Blake removes some rope from his cooler box. There’s no room left in the box for anything else, which makes Sue roar with laugher.

Sue: Un-****ing-believable.

Gan has teleported to the mysterious ship, and Avon instructs Vila to prepare to fire on it, just in case.

Sue: Seriously, though, what the **** is Avon wearing?

Gan assures the crew that everything is fine.

Sue: That isn’t Gan. He’s even more wooden than usual.

Vila tries to warn Avon but it’s too late.

BountyVila: It’s not Gan! Avon? Jenna? Answer me, one of you. I shall come out in a rash.

Sue laughs. Yes, she’s finally coming round to Vila, who is furious when he realises that he’ll have to investigate the incursion personally.

Sue: That’s what you look like when I ask you to empty the bins.

Sue isn’t impressed with the interior of Sarkoff’s castle.

Sue: Dear oh dear, what kind of restoration job is that? You can’t paint a castle silver! Kevin McCloud would go mental if he saw that. What happened to the natural brick work? I’m appalled.

Me: It’s a space castle. Space castles are silver.

President Sarkoff owns an impressive collection of vinyl records.

Sue: It’s all gone a bit weird now.

Doesn’t stop her from singing along to Tommy Steele, though.

Sue: They should have played something a bit more contemporary.

Me: Like what?

BountySue: Some disco.

Sarkoff owns the finest private collection of 20th Century Earth objects anywhere in the galaxy.

Sue: It’s basically Kiwi Alan’s second-hand shop down the road, but painted silver. I’ve told him to keep an eye out for any missing episodes by the way. No news yet, but I’ll keep you informed.

Now that he’s taken his hat off, Sarkoff reminds Sue of somebody else.

Sue: He isn’t Julian Assange, he’s Liberace.

Me: He’s a wonderful actor and it’s a travesty that you can’t tell me what his name is.

Sue: He’s very good. Far too good for this nonsense.

Cally climbs the castle wall.

Sue: The wooden panelling on the windows is driving me mad. It looks so cheap. I’m surprised they got planning permission for that.

The Federation troops saunter past Cally without a second look.

BountySue: The Federation are completely hopeless. The only reason this bloke knows what’s going on is because he’s the only one with enough common sense to push his helmet up.

Blake wants to take the exiled president back to his people, so he can unite them against the Federation.

Sue: This happened a lot in the 1970s: exiled revolutionaries hanging around foreign countries, biding their time. This is Terry Nation trying to be topical.

Sarkoff’s assistant, Tyce, doesn’t have any time for the president’s self-pity.

Tyce: He ran away and hid. Here on this empty, nameless planet which the Federation so generously provided.

Sue: Terry couldn’t even be bothered to come up with a name for the planet. That’s how spent he is.

Blake convinces Sarkoff to leave his self-imposed exile behind.

Blake: We captured a Federation cipher machine. Now before they changed the code, we picked up a lot of information. Our computers have been unravelling it ever since.

Me: See, there is a story arc. Terry knows what he’s doing.

Sue: How much have you had to drink, Neil? Again?

BountyTyce has a soft spot for Sarkoff.

Tyce: He was a very special man. Brilliant and proud.

Sue: Is he her sugar daddy, because their relationship is a bit weird if you ask me. Is it just the two of them stuck in this castle? No wonder he doesn’t want to leave.

It’s a moot point anyway, because the Liberator isn’t responding to Blake’s calls.

Sue: They’re off having a much better adventure than he is. It wouldn’t be difficult.

Sarkoff contemplates his fate.

Sue: His taste in music isn’t very inspiring. He should have put some Donna Summer on.

Let’s see if she’s right: (alternate link via YouTube)

[jwplayer player=”1″ mediaid=”6718″]

A massive improvement, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Sue: This is tedious. I’m sick of this guy moaning and feeling sorry for himself. If anyone should be feeling sorry for themselves it’s me for watching this rubbish.

Sarkoff: I should have realised that Tyce wouldn’t stay with me. Not now.

Sue: They are definitely shagging. On his antique electric blanket, surrounded by his antique teddy bears and his antique Goblin Teasmaid.

Me: Don’t forget his antique cock.

Sarkoff really doesn’t want to leave. We know this for a fact because HE KEEPS TELLING US.

Sarkoff: Where else would I go? This is all I have left.

BountySue: He can’t bear to part with his collection of glass ashtrays. Just think, if they still had that cooler box with them, they could save a couple of carriage clocks at the very least.

Blake destroys Sarkoff’s priceless Donna Summer 12-inch, and then he threatens to destroy Sarkoff’s precious butterfly collection as well.

Sue: Don’t worry, Blake wouldn’t hurt a fly. Even if it was already dead.

Sarkoff decides that enough is enough and he agrees to leave; it’s only taken Blake twenty-five minutes to convince him.

Sue: I don’t get it. If he loved those butterflies so much, why didn’t he take them with him? It’s not as if they need feeding.

Tyce cranks Bessie into life.

Sue: This is ****ing weird. Doctor Who could get away with this kind of madness, but in Blake’s 7 it sticks out like a sore thumb. I keep expecting the Autons to jump out of the bushes.

Bessie races away from the castle.

Me: Put your helmet on, we’ll be reaching speeds of three!

Blake begs the Liberator to teleport them to safety, but nobody’s home. However, as the car approaches a Federation checkpoint, the teleport finally kicks into life and Bessie explodes. Honest.

BountySue: They crashed the car with a sound effect. Is that because they weren’t allowed to blow Bessie up for real? That’s a shame. I would have enjoyed that.

The Liberator is seemingly deserted.

Sue: So who let them on board?

Me: **** knows, I’m drunk.

Blake: Where are they, Zen?

Zen: Please specify question more precisely.

Sue: Zen is such a dick. I don’t know how they put up with him. I bet he runs on Windows.

Blake finds Jenna in the teleport area, and she has some devastating news:

Jenna: They’re all dead.

Sue: Eh? What? No!

But it’s only a ruse and Blake is gassed by a mysterious assailant.

Sue: Is Avon doing that to Blake? Is this the mutiny he’s been planning? Is he finally going ahead with it? At least he had the decency to change his clothes first.

But it isn’t Avon, because Avon has been taken prisoner as well. And not only that – Jenna is now working for the enemy!

Sue: Why didn’t we watch that episode instead? They’ve been up to all sorts of exciting stuff while we had to watch an old man DJ-ing for half an hour.

The crew have been seized by the Amagons. Or as Sue so eloquently puts it:

BountySue: Space Sheiks.

Their leader, Tarvin, flirts with his new ally, Jenna.

Sue: Could there be less sexual chemistry between these two? What’s this episode called again?

Me: ‘Bounty’.

Sue: They should have called it ‘Turkish Delight’ instead.

Tarvin is a money-grabbing misogynist.

Sue: This isn’t racist at all. Absolutely not.

Zen: Information: Federation ships are now within scanner range.

Sue: Zen gives more information to the bad guys than he does to Blake. Whose side is he on anyway?

Jenna shows her true colours when she overpowers an Amagon. Sue is neither surprised nor impressed.

Sue: It’s as if two pantomimes have accidentally double-booked the same stage, and now the casts of Robin Hood and Aladdin have to fight it out to see who gets to put their show on. It’s insane.

BountyMeanwhile, Vila is trying – and failing – to extricate the crew from the explosive collars that have been placed around their necks.

Vila: I told you I couldn’t do it.

Avon: I believed you all along.

Sue: Ha! That was brilliant. Avon makes even the stupidest episode worthwhile.

Jenna overpowers her second Amagon of the day.

Sue: Right in the space nuts. Nice.

Gan wants to rip Tarvin’s head off.

Sue: Can Gan murder people again? You know, since his operation. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. I wouldn’t leave my bedroom door unlocked if I was Jenna, that’s for sure.

Blake and his crew escape from their prison by throwing a disabled collar at an Amagon. He is killed instantly by an explosion of bright twinkly stars.

Sue: If you rub that collar really, really hard, you get three wishes.

Jenna takes down her third Amagon. Sue lets out a half-hearted cheer as she checks her watch.

BountyOn the Liberator‘s flight deck, Tyce tries to take control of the situation.

Sue: (singing) And here’s to you, Mrs. Robinson, Jesus loves you more than you will know…

Unfortunately, she fails miserably and Tarvin threatens to blow her head off.

Tyce: Shoot him, father. You owe it to me.

Sue: EH? WHAT? So now they tell us that she’s his daughter. Why did they take so long? Why make it look like they were involved in some sort of sordid sex thing? ****ing hell, Terry!

Me: And that’s why you shouldn’t ship. I did try to warn you.

Sarkoff shoots the nasty, greedy, selfish, sexist space Arab in the nuts, and all’s well that ends well.

Sue: Nope. Not even remotely racist.

The episode concludes with Sarkoff and Tyce teleporting back to their home planet Lindor, which Terry named after a chocolate bar he was eating while he wrote this.

Sue: Another two bracelets they’ll never see again. It was hardly worth the effort.

Me: He’s ousted two days later for committing incest, and the planet is plunged into chaos.

Cue credits.

The Score:

Sue: That was a bit weird. And not in a good way. At least it had something to do with the Federation, so it gets a few marks for that, but it didn’t do anything for me. It wasn’t serious or exciting enough for me to care about anyone, and the panto villains turned the whole thing into an uncomfortable farce at the end. And I hate it when Avon disappears for twenty minutes like that. It’s crazy.

3/10

Ask Sue

We are galloping towards the end of Series 1, and that seems like a good time to evaluate how Sue is coping with the series so far. So if you’ve got a question you’d like to ask her about this series, or her hopes for the next one, please send it via our contact form. The best question will win a signed book and postcard combo. Closing date: Tuesday February 18th.

Next Time:

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Breakdown

Emergency Ward XK-72

Sue: How many Terry Nation episodes is it now?

Me: This is Terry’s tenth script in a row.

Sue: I’ll be the one having a breakdown if this goes on much longer.

The Liberator is cruising through space…

BreakdownSue: Ooh, they’re pushing the boat out with a half-decent model this week. That’s nice.

On the flight deck, Gan is behaving very strangely indeed.

Sue: Is he having a stroke?

Me: The bells! The bells!

Sue: The chip in his head must have shorted out. See, I have been paying attention to this nonsense.

A crazed Gan attacks Jenna.

Sue: This is you when our broadband stops working, only you beat up the router instead.

Blake is the next victim of Gan’s violent assault.

Sue: Gan looks like a really mean Elvis when he curls his lip like that. Nice handheld camera work, though. We’re right in the middle of the action. I like it.

Blake’s crew subdues the giant oaf with some tranquillisers.

Sue: It’s too late for nicotine patches now.

Gan is in a bad way.

Sue: Aww, poor Gan. Unless this is what he’s like when he doesn’t have that thing in his head, in which case, I hope Gan dies.

Gan is taken to the Liberator‘s medical unit.

BreakdownSue: Why is this part of the ship on film?

Me: I’m not entirely sure. I think it’s something to do with them having to use up their filming allocation every episode or else they’d lose it.

Sue: Typical BBC bureaucracy. They should have done a deal with Doctor Who and come to some kind of arrangement to save some cash by sharing things. At least they’ve cleaned it up a bit. They could release this on Blu Ray. Well, this scene anyway.

Cally tends to Gan.

Sue: I had a curly perm like Cally’s. They were all the rage back then. She could do with some product in it, though; it’s looking a bit flat. I don’t know what it is about Cally but she reminds me of a miserable, anorexic Jamie Lee Curtis.

Avon chastises Blake for suggesting that Zen could give them a quick tutorial in brain surgery.

Avon: Oh, come on, Blake! This is not something you do by numbers, not even highly sophisticated ones. This is an area that has remained the exclusive province of specialists.

Sue: Avon is so cool. He says every line as if it’s his last. I still can’t quite believe that Paul Darrow said my name on a podcast; so much better than speaking to Tom Baker on QVC. I’d love to meet Paul Darrow in real life. I bet he’d be a right laugh.

The ship’s medical computer delivers its diagnosis.

Medibot: Severe neurological disturbance centered in the zero three zone sub four section of the cerebrum.

Sue: So is that computer one of the crew now, like Zen? Is that seven now?

Me: Don’t be ridiculous.

Sue comes up with the perfect solution to Gan’s predicament.

Sue: Just turn him off and back on again.

BreakdownMe: Turning Gan on is the last thing you want to do. Trust me.

Gan repeatedly clenches his fist.

Sue: Was Gan a dairy farmer in a previous life? Is he dreaming that he’s milking a cow?

Blake and Avon look for the nearest space hospital which specialises in space medicine for space diseases. In space.

Sue: It must have taken them ages to set up that perspex map. I bet they wasted hours getting it to stand up properly. No wonder Gan is almost dead.

Avon suggests that they head for a secret space laboratory called XK-72, even though it’s situated on the far side of some prohibited space.

Blake: Zen. Set navigation computers for direct route to space laboratory XK-72. Speed Standard by Six.

Sue: Make it Speed Standard by Seven – it’s quicker and your friend is dying. Or are you worried about being caught for speeding. Get a bloody move on!

The Liberator alters its course.

Sue: If that’s Standard by Six, I’d hate to see Standard by One. You could walk quicker than that. Look at it! It’s pathetic! Why doesn’t the ship go WHOOSH! as it rushes by. Come on!

BreakdownZen is his usual helpful self.

Zen: Attention. Liberator is entering prohibited zone. All primaries and auxiliary computer functions are now aborted.

Sue: What a ****.

Vila: What you see on the screen is exactly what’s there. Absolutely nothing. Why should I find nothing terrifying?

Sue: Because you’re a dick?

Me: Still no love for Vila, I see.

Sue: He’s growing on me. The problem with Vila is that he isn’t a real character. He’s a joke. A walking comedy cliché. I need to see another side to him before I can take him seriously.

Avon suddenly realises that they’ve made a grave error of judgement.

Blake: Because computer control is –

Avon: – part of the basic design concept!

Sue: Could we have that in English, please?

BreakdownMe: I think it means they’re too stupid to fly the ship without Zen’s help.

Sue: Now that I believe.

The Liberator tears through space…

Sue: One minute it’s a nice model, then it’s a cartoon. One minute we’re on video, and now we’re on film. There’s no consistency to Blake’s 7. It’s all over the place.

Back in the medical unit, Gan begins to stir.

Sue: Do I really have to look at Gan’s sex face? It’s putting me off my tea.

Me: If I ever form a band, remind me to call it Gan’s Sex Face.

Avon attempts to bypass Zen’s auxiliary computer systems.

Blake: Have you done it, Avon?

Avon: I can talk or I can work, but I can’t do both.

Sue: Avon can’t multi-task. Typical bloke. Get one of the women to do it!

Blake: Reduce to standard by three, Jenna.

Sue: That’s about 3 miles per hour, give or take.

Me: Or 80 billion spatials a second.

Sue: Terry ****ing Nation.

BreakdownGan shows us his world-famous impression of a pig, which miraculously ceases when Cally returns to the medical unit.

Sue: He’s acting like he’s been caught masturbating.

Sue doesn’t trust Gan any more.

Sue: If he can control his urges like that, he can’t be that ill. He’s just a raving sex pest at the end of the day.

Gan strangles Cally with a massive grin on his face.

Sue: That was horrible! Now I understand why we don’t have a cat called Gan. It’s the same reason we don’t have a cat called Peter Sutcliffe.

Gan’s next victim is Avon.

Sue: Blake’s crew is ****ing useless, especially when you consider what they’re trying to do. Which, incidentally, is what I want to see instead of this bullshit. I want to see Blake taking on Earth and clearing his name, and maybe blowing some stuff up. This is just filler.

Me: (singing) ‘Cause this is filler, filler night…

Have I mentioned that I’ve been drinking heavily throughout this episode?

Jenna is worried about a nearby gravitational vortex.

BreakdownSue: The hand-on-hip acting is off the scale in this episode.

Even Avon has had enough.

Avon: I’m finished. Staying with you requires a degree of stupidity of which I no longer feel capable.

Blake: Now you’re just being modest.

Sue: That was ****ing brilliant. Who needs Travis as your arch-enemy when you’ve got Avon standing next to you.

The Liberator enters the gravitational vortex.

Jenna: Standard by Twelve, still rising.

Sue: Standard by Twelve! **** me! I didn’t know that the ship could go that fast! Why have they been pissing about with Standard by Seven all this time. Put your bloody foot down!

The crew are attacked by a sheet of Mirrorlon, which, I’m surprised to learn, Sue has never encountered before.

Me: You work in TV Studio production and you’ve never wobbled a sheet of Mirrorlon at anyone? Wow.

Sue: Neil, it’s the 21st century. Things have moved on quite a bit since Blake’s ****ing 7. And besides, a sheet of tin foil is much cheaper.

When the Liberator arrives at XK-72, Blake tries to pass himself off as a Federation captain.

Blake: Tell them we’re an experimental ship out of Earth on a proving flight.

Sue: Whatever you do, don’t tell them I’m a convicted child molester. That never goes down well.

Jenna has dressed for the occasion.

Sue: Jenna is hitting the space disco as soon as they dock. I hope she’s wearing sensible shoes.

BreakdownAnd then, thirty minutes into the episode, Julian Glover turns up.

Me: Who’s that, Sue?

Sue: I have no idea – he’s got his back to me. Wait – oh yes! It’s… it’s… it’s him. He’s been in loads of things, including Doctor Who. He’s very good.

I remind her that he likes to get his testicles out on Game of Thrones and she nods sagely.

Sue: He’s very cutting. Can you imagine Avon and this guy living together? Actually, I’d pay good money to see that.

Blake teleports to the Liberator with Professor Kayn.

Blake: Avon, send someone across to collect Professor Kayn’s assistant, will you?

Sue: Stop calling him Avin! No wonder he wants to leave.

Before he teleports to XK-72, Avon asks Vila a very important question.

Avon: Why do you stay with Blake?

Vila: I like him.

Avon: That isn’t a good enough reason.

BreakdownSue: Is Avon planning a mutiny? Is that what’s he’s doing? Sounding out the crew before he decides to stay or go?

Blake escorts Kayn to the medical unit, which is now on video instead of film.

Sue: Make your mind up, for ****’s sake!

Kayn examines Gan with the same sort of disdain that my doctor reserves for complaints about my irritable bowel syndrome.

Kayn: Tell me why this man has a limiter implant.

Sue: Well, in a nutshell, our ship is crewed by convicted sex pests and murderers. It’s very embarrassing but what can you do?

Avon tells Vila that he won’t be coming back to the Liberator.

Sue: He’s going disco dancing with Jenna. The pair of them are going to get trolleyed.

Avon meets with XK-72’s administrator.

Farren: Who are you?

Sue: We’re Blake’s 7 and we’re a bunch of ****wits. Is it OK if I stay with you instead? You wouldn’t believe the idiotic shit we get up to.

Kayn decides to call the nearest Federation base.

BreakdownSue: Just as soon as I finish this game of Candy Crush.

Three Federation pursuit ships respond to Kayn’s call.

Sue: Is it Travis? It’s about bloody time.

Farren asks Avon to move in with him.

Sue: They’ve only just met!

Kayn delays the life-saving operation. He even places his feet on Gan’s operating table, which elicits a very loud tut from Sue.

Sue: The NHS has really gone downhill under the Federation. Blake needs to sort that out. He should put it on his list of things to do.

Vila decides to hurry things along by waving a gun in Kayn’s face.

Sue: Finally! Vila did something heroic. That’s exactly what I was talking about earlier. Vila is human after all.

The Liberator can’t move while the professor operates, even though the Federation are already heading their way.

Sue: I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but this is vaguely exciting. And, unlike some people I could mention, I haven’t been drinking.

Blake threatens to damage Kayn’s hands if he doesn’t cooperate.

Sue: He’s a very polite terrorist, but he’s still a terrorist.

Another doctor named Renor is much more accommodating.

BreakdownSue: They should take this guy with them when they leave. They need a doctor. You can’t fly around space, getting into battles, without a doctor – that would be insane.

Kayn finally agrees to operate on Gan.

Sue: There’s no sense of urgency. I’ve seen Man United take injury time corners quicker than this. And does this mean that Gan is out of warranty now?

Me: It’s the second time he’s been jailbroken this series.

The operation is a success and Blake escorts Kayn off his ship.

Blake: Is there any way we can thank you?

Kayn: You could try getting caught.

Sue: I bet Avon wishes he’d said that. No wonder he can’t wait to get shot of him. There’s only room for one sarky bastard on this ship.

Kayn teleports back to XK-72.

BreakdownSue: Another bracelet gone. They’re practically giving them away now.

Kayn isn’t happy with this turn of events and he takes his anger out on Farren, bludgeoning him to death in a fit of pique.

Sue: That was a bit random. But I suppose it’s difficult for a character to make much sense when he’s on screen for less than ten minutes.

XK-72 is accidentally blown to smithereens by the Federation’s pursuit ships.

Sue: What a waste. They were only a few weeks away from finding a cure for space cancer.

The Federation ships turn towards the Liberator.

Avon: Zen, increase speed to Standard by Eight.

Sue: No! Standard by Twelve, you idiot. Standard by Twelve!

Thankfully, Gan is back to his usual self and all’s well that ends well.

Blake: Oh, by the way, welcome back.

BreakdownThe crew guffaw with laughter.

Sue: How is that even remotely funny? Neil?

Me: Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Sorry, what was that?

Cue credits.

The Score:

Sue: That was rubbish, but on some strange level, I enjoyed it. Isn’t that weird? It’s all down to the performances because the plot was utter shite. Yet more faffing about when they should be blowing up the Federation and saving the world and stuff like that. And Gan gives me the creeps now. I wouldn’t like to beam down to a planet with him on my own, that’s for sure.

4/10

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Project Avalon

The Federation Strikes Back…

Sue: Is this one directed by Douglas Camfield?

Me: Wait and see.

Project AvalonI challenge Sue to name the actress playing this week’s featured Mutoid.

Sue: I have no idea, but I do know that Douglas didn’t direct this. I can just tell.

Her second challenge is to not only recognise the location for this episode – Wookey Hole – but to remember which Doctor Who story was filmed here as well. She fails hopelessly on both counts.

Sue: I haven’t got a ****ing clue. Was it a Tom Baker?

Me: Yes.

Sue: Something of the Daleks.

Me: Is that your final answer?

Sue: Something of the Cybermen.

Me: That’ll do.

Space Commander Travis has arrived in some frozen caves to set a trap for Blake. He intends on using a woman named Avalon as bait.

Sue: Snow goggles are wasted on Travis; he should have a snow monocle instead.

Project AvalonTravis: This time we’ll be ready for you, Blake.

Sue: Did Travis look straight down the lens just then? It’s difficult to tell because he’s only got one eye.

Meanwhile, on the Liberator, Cally is tracking Avalon’s signal.

Sue: Cheer up, Cally, it may never happen. They always look so bloody miserable on this ship. Are they actually trying to out-frown each other?

Avon: We’ve come at the worst time, of course. The northern hemisphere is just entering its winter cycle. They call it the Long Cold. Something of an understatement, it lasts the equivalent of eight and a half Earth years.

Sue: It’s just like –

Me: Game of Thrones, but with less incest. Yes, we know.

Sue: Hey, this is Blake’s 7, there could be more incest.

A resistance group has gathered in the caves. Travis, flanked by four Mutoids, makes his presence felt.

Sue: (singing) Your lights are on, but you’re not home…

Travis wants to know where Avalon is, and he holds a gun to a man’s face in order to find out.

Me: Oh look, it’s Stuart Fell.

Sue: Oh yes, so it is. He’s dead then. Spectacularly.

Once again, Stuart doesn’t disappoint.

Sue: Ouch! That must have hurt. I’ll give him a 9.8 for that.

Avalon is taken away and the Mutoids massacre the rest.

Sue: We’ve seen this before, with the same shit guns. I wish Douglas had directed this. Very bleak, though.

Project AvalonThe featured Mutoid of the week still doesn’t ring any bells with Sue.

Me: Do you recognise her yet?

Sue: Has she been in EastEnders?

Me: Yes.

Sue: Is she the one who gave that blow job in the car?

Me: Not as far as I know.

Sue: Does she ever take her hat off?

Me: No.

Sue: Then I give up. Who is she?

Me: She’s Makepeace from Dempsey and Makepeace, otherwise known as Glenda Mitchell, or Glynis Barber to her friends.

Sue: You have to start somewhere, I guess. I bet she doesn’t like to talk about this, though.

Blake and Jenna prepare to teleport to the planet.

Vila: Surface temperatures are down to minus one-eighty. Better wrap up warmly.

Sue: That’s the understatement of the century. I’m sure you can’t survive in temperatures like that, especially in a Parka from Millets.

Project AvalonMe: It isn’t Fahrenheit or Celsius – it’s minus-180 Terrys. That means it’s a bit chilly.

Down on the planet, Travis is torturing Avalon..

Sue: Wait, don’t tell me: you definitely remember watching this scene when you were eight years old – it explains a lot, actually. Either they are interrogating her or they’re going to give her one hell of a tan.

Blake and Jenna join forces with Chevner, the lone survivor of the massacre. Chevner warns them that they will have to override the Federation’s security systems if they want to rescue Avalon, so Blake orders Vila down to the surface.

Vila: Now wait a minute, it’s cold out there, and I’m very susceptible to low temperatures. I’ve got a weak chest.

Avon: The rest of you’s not very impressive.

Sue: Brilliant. I half expected Avon to belt Vila across the chest with a handbag when he said that.

Project AvalonVila is dispatched to the planet, but not before he makes a big song and dance about it.

Sue: That was quite funny. At least the programme knows that Vila an irritating dick.

After Vila leaves, Avon and Cally exchange a meaningful look before laughing their heads off.

Sue: They are definitely shagging. All they have to do now is put Gan to bed and they’ve got the place to themselves.

Me: Just open a Live Journal account and be done with it, Sue.

Servalan arrives on the planet to give Travis his annual appraisal.

Sue: How many space minks died to make her coat, do you think? The bitch.

Servalan is feeling the pressure.

Servalan: There have been two attempts on my life… I consider Blake to be responsible.

Sue: Have we missed two episodes?

Project AvalonServalan: Oh, not personally, of course, but stories of his exploits are still circulating. They excite people.

Sue: Which exploits are these then? Are you sure we haven’t missed an episode, Neil? They can’t be talking about the one with the catheter cock monster, surely to God.

Servalan chastises Travis for not doing his job properly.

Sue: I bet they’re at it.

Me: Why not, everybody else is! Look, can you watch an episode of Blake’s 7 without imagining all the lead characters having sex with one another, just for five minutes.

Sue: It’s not my fault. Look at them! Tell me they haven’t done it, Neil.

Servalan changes the subject, thank God.

Servalan: I think the labs have come up with what you wanted. It’s totally new, and very costly.

Sue: Have the Federation been cooking up some space meth?

A prisoner is taken to a secured booth. A glowing ball is placed on a conveyor belt which rolls the ball into the booth and across a table.

Sue: This is the worst episode of The Generation Game ever. Sparkly ball… sparkly ball… sparkly ball. Didn’t he do well!

Project AvalonThe ball is smashed and the hapless guinea pig is turned to mush.

Sue: Whatever it is, it’s painless. He didn’t even flinch. Which makes it easier for the vision mixer, I guess.

When the process is over, all that remains of the poor bastard is his skeleton. Travis is very impressed with his new weapon.

Sue: He’s Chemical Travie.

Meanwhile, on the Liberator…

Zen: Sensors report spacecraft approaching.

Avon: Identify.

Zen: Analysis indicates they are Mark Four Federation interceptors.

Sue: Is Avon blind? The baddies’ logo is on the ****ing radar screen. And who else could it possibly be? The Klingons?

The tunnels are by patrolled by a security robot and Blake’s gang are forced to take cover.

Sue: Watch out, it’s Dusty Bin again. It’s head can spin round and yet its peripheral vision still manages to be shit. How is that even possible? How can it not see four terrorists hugging that wall over there? That’s ridiculous.

Vila opens the hatchway which leads to the detention centre.

Sue: Vila should get himself a nice shoulder bag. That cooler box is a nightmare. There he goes – clunk, clunk, bang, clunk – down a narrow corridor like a baby elephant.

Project AvalonChevner leads Blake into the detention centre.

Sue: Wasn’t this guy in Crossroads?

Me: No, it’s not Ronald Allen, although I can see where you are coming from. It’s David Bailie.

Sue: The photographer?

Me: No. Although he does work as a professional photographer now, which is very confusing, especially as Big Finish keep pestering David Bailey to do a cameo.

Chevner searches the prisoner database for Avalon’s cell number.

Sue: Just free all the prisoners! Open all the doors and free everyone – it’s the right thing to do!

But Blake only has eyes for Avalon.

Sue: It’s quite exciting, this.

Me: Does it remind you of anything else?

Sue: Star Trek. They all remind me of Star Trek.

Me: Not Star Wars?

Sue: Oh yeah. I see what you mean. It is very similar. So which one is Chewbacca, because Vila is definitely C-3PO.

Still not convinced? Take a look at this:

[jwplayer mediaid=”6483″]

Blake frees Avalon from her cell.

Blake: I’m Blake. We had hoped to get you out sooner, we’ve had a bit of trouble.

Me: Aren’t you a little short for a Blake?

Blake blasts his way out of the detention centre.

Sue: I still think Douglas would have done it better, but that wasn’t bad at all.

The Liberator – which has been on an evasive detour – returns for Blake.

Avon: You’d better switch on the communication channel.

Gan crosses flight deck and switches it on.

Sue: Finally, Gan actually did something useful. Things must be serious.

As they escape, Blake’s gang are confronted by the Federation’s security robot.

Sue: There are five of you! Shoot the bloody thing!

They teleport to safety before the robot can attack.

Project AvalonSue: Oh my God, it’s actually peeing fire.

The Liberator hightails it out of there.

Sue: Servalan will have Travis’s balls on a plate for that. What a **** up. And in the middle of his appraisal as well.

Blake suspects that his escape was far too easy. Raising his suspicious further are the Federation’s new weapons.

Sue: It’s a mastic gun. I’ve got one in the shed.

Avon examines the weapon.

Avon: It’s not standard issue. Low energy bolt discharge. This could bruise or stun, but it couldn’t cause any serious injury.

Sue: Great for sealing windows, though.

Meanwhile, Avalon has changed into something more comfortable.

Sue: It looks like Christmas has come early for Gan. And it proves once and for all that the Liberator does come equipped with pyjamas after all.

Avalon tells Gan that Chevner attacked her.

Sue: She’s the baddie! It’s definitely her! Come on, Gan, it’s a Terry Nation script so it must be her. The Federation have brainwashed her. It’s obvious.

Avalon prepares to launch a chemical attack on the crew, and it takes the combined might of Gan, Jenna, Blake and Vila to restrain her.

Sue: Avon would have put his fist through her face.

Project AvalonIt’s a good job he didn’t because he would have broken his fist in the process. You see, the Avalon they rescued is a robot duplicate.

Sue: That’s a clever effect for its time. I can just about buy that.

Even though she’s a telepath, Cally never suspected a thing.

Cally: I still find it hard to believe.

Sue: What is the point of Cally again? I’ve completely forgotten.

Blake asks Avon to reprogram the robot, and then he teleports back to the planet and demands to speak with Travis.

Sue: The look on Travis’s face is priceless. I almost feel sorry for him.

Servalan and Blake face each other for the first time.

Sue: Do you think Servalan secretly fancies Blake?

Me: ARGHHHHHHH!

Blake instructs the robot to open its thumb and forefinger, just enough to grip a ball.

Sue: This isn’t the first time Avon has programmed a robot to do that. I’m saying nothing.

Blake: The robot will crush the phial in response to one of three triggers. A particular word, a specific sound or a certain movement. You had all better be very, very careful about what you say and do.

Blake teleports to safety.

Sue: If Blake was really a terrorist, he would have programmed the robot to drop the ball as soon as he got out of there.

Travis moves towards the robot and the ball is dropped.

Project AvalonSue: Or maybe he did. Or maybe Travis set it off. We’ll never know for sure, but this only works if Blake planned to murder the entire room, so I’m going with that.

Travis catches the phial before it can break.

Travis: If it takes all my life, I will destroy you, Blake. I will destroy you. I will destroy you.

Sue: They have to stop ending episodes like this. It’s a bit silly.

Me: I’ll get you, Blakey!

Cue credits.

The Score:

Sue: That was pretty good. Some of it was very exciting. I think Blake’s 7 has finally found its groove. When Servalan and Travis are around it feels like we’re actually going somewhere. It’s all that mucking about on mysterious space ships and shitty planets for no apparent reason that I don’t get. This is what I thought Blake’s 7 would be like; it’s only taken them nine episodes to get there.

7/10

Next Time:

The next blog will be published on Friday 7th February. There won’t be an update this Tuesday. Sorry about that.

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