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Star One

It is a silly place…

Star OneSue: This better be good.

Yes, after weeks of teasing we are finally on our way to Star One. It says so in the title.

Sue: Thank **** for that. Oh, I wanted Terry to come back for the season finale. I’m not sure about this Boucher guy.

Me: It’s pronounced Boucher.

Sue: Whatever.

The episode begins with a disaster in space. And that’s just the special effects.

Sue: I feel like I’m listening to the shipping forecast.

A passenger cruiser and a transport ship collide, killing thousands of innocent civilians.

Sue: Oh dear, that was terrible. Have they run out of money?

When Servalan is briefed about the accident, she’s given more bad news to deal with.

Durkim: Climate control has gone disastrously wrong on all the frontier worlds.

Sue: Every planet in the galaxy has been turned into a shit hole. Not that we’ll ever be able to tell the difference. They always go to shit holes. And how will they survive without their tropical fruit? It doesn’t bear thinking about.

Star OneDurkim believes that Star One may have gone tits up. But if that’s true, Servalan can’t send in any engineers to fix it.

Servalan: No one knows where Star One is! No one at all!

Me: Told you.

Sue: I knew this would happen. That’s one hell of a design flaw. Anyway, lots of people know where Star One is: Blake, Travis, that jaundiced jester. Everybody knows!

And then Sue has a brainwave.

Sue: I know what’s going to happen. Blake will fix Star One and he’ll save the Federation, because it’s either that or soaking wet planets, space ships dropping out of the sky, and no pineapples. Blake will do the right thing for the wrong people. It’ll be really ironic, just you wait and see.

Blake is still searching for Star One.

Jenna: These coordinates are not precise enough.

Sue: Really? They sounded pretty precise to me last week. Don’t tell me that this is going to be another episode where they have to look for the bloody place. I bet this episode ends just as they find it. Typical!

Avon is in a foul mood.

Star OneAvon: When Star One is gone it is finished, Blake. And I want it finished. I want it over and done with. I want to be free.

Cally: But you are free now, Avon.

Avon: I want to be free of him.

Sue: Bloody hell. This is a bit tense. And brilliant.

Blake wants to blow Star One up.

Sue: But won’t blowing up Star One make things worse? What about the pineapples? He hasn’t thought this through.

Oh yes he has.

Cally: Many, many people will die without Star One.

Blake: I know.

Sue: Think of the pineapples!

But Blake won’t listen.

Blake: We have to win. It’s the only way I can be sure that I was right.

Sue: What a twat. It’s always about him, isn’t it. He’s worse than Servalan!

Star OneWe cut to deep space, where a camera pans slowly right, revealing…

Sue: Star One! At last!

Me: That isn’t Star One.

Sue: Oh, it’s Servalan’s house. They had me going there for a second.

Servalan has a lot on her plate. There’s a coup to organise for a start.

Servalan: Space Command no longer recognises the authority of the President or the Council.

Sue: She’s gone rogue. Well, even more rogue than usual. She’s gone roguer.

Servalan orders Durkim to find Star One.

Durkim: There isn’t enough data. I can’t even guess where Star One is.

Me: He’s got about as much hope of finding Star One as I have of getting hold of GoDaddy’s technical support.

Servalan believes that somebody is up to no good on Star One.

Sue: It’s obviously Travis. Hasn’t she worked that out yet? They mustn’t be speaking to each other this week.

Servalan: I will not be President of a ruined empire.

Sue: You can’t tell me that Maggie Thatcher didn’t watch Blake’s 7. Of course she bloody did!

Star OneMeanwhile, on Star One – yes, Star bloody One! – something has gone terribly wrong.

Sue: David Tennant’s ugly brother has been a very naughty boy. And where’s Travis? He must be behind this.

Sue likes the look of Star One.

Sue: The sets are great. They actually spent some money on the place. It reminds me of the Big Brother house.

The Liberator approaches a planet orbiting a dying star.

Sue: The Liberator never looks the same to me. One minute it looks like it’s made from plastic, then wood, and now it looks like it’s made from solid metal. I like the metal one.

Blake: Maximum scan, Cally. Look for anything unusual or out of place, sudden temperature variation, anything. They’re bound to have left some clue as to where they put that installation.

Sue: You could always ask Orac. Just a thought.

Avon notices that the area has been seeded with mines designed to keep any visitors from the nearby Andromeda galaxy at bay.

Blake: That must be the biggest antimatter minefield ever put together.

Sue: How would a minefield in space work? Couldn’t you just go around it? Or over it? Or under it? Seems a bit odd to me.

Star OneMeanwhile, a Star One technician named Lurena realises that she is the lone survivor in a battle against alien body snatchers.

Sue: How did the baddies know where Star One was? I bet it’s Travis. He’s doing a Master and he’s working with the aliens. I bet they betray him. And if there really is a minefield around Star One, how did this lot get in?

Jenna is worried that Blake might be rushing into things.

Avon: Blake is an idealist, Jenna. He cannot afford to think.

Sue: I don’t think I’ve ever seen a programme undermine its lead character as much as this one does. It’s incredible, really.

Blake, Avon and Cally teleport to the planet below.

Sue: Oh look, it’s a shit hole. Now there’s a surprise.

Blake and Jenna enter Star One where they are met by the alien invaders. Avon finds himself outside as a space craft approaches his location. Sue can’t stop biting her nails.

Sue: It’s really good, this. Sorry. I don’t know what else to say.

Jenna: Orac, operate the teleport as instructed.

Sue: Orac is just a glorified doorman these days. What a waste.

The aliens have mistaken Blake for Travis, even though he doesn’t look anything like him.

An Elderly David Walliams: And the eye patch, what happened to that?

Star OneSue: Don’t worry about that. Travis has this habit of not looking like Travis. You get used to it. Sort of.

Speaking of Travis, guess who’s skulking around outside? Go on, guess!

Sue: Come on, Avon, shoot him in the face! What are you waiting for? You wanted to do it last week and nothing’s changed. Stop chatting to him and kill him! Oh, it makes me so mad.

Avon: Talk or scream, Travis, the choice is yours.

Sue: He usually does both at the same time. It’s really annoying.

Lurena mistakes Avon for an alien and Travis escapes during the confusion. But not before he whacks Avon over the head with his Obi-Wan Kenobi cloak.

Sue: This is what happens when you don’t shoot Travis in the face.

Avon: Damn!

Sue: The next time you see him, SHOOT HIM IN THE FACE!

Star OneAvon shoots an alien impostor in the chest instead.

Me: It’s the GP from Jam.

Sue: I don’t even know what that means. Although he does look like he’s made from jam. Look at all that blood!

The alien transforms into a mushy puddle of snot.

Avon: They’d be difficult to love.

Sue: Oh, I don’t know. If one of them took over Avon’s body, I think I’d manage.

Me: I am sitting right here, you know.

The alien invasion fleet enters the Liberator‘s detector range.

Me: Rumour has it that Terry Nation wanted the Daleks to be the aliens.

Sue: Really? That would have been brilliant. Terry was years ahead of his time to come up with a crossover idea like that. Terry could have been the 1970s Joss Whedon.

Travis shoots Blake with his finger. Blake goes down hard.

Me: Blake’s dead.

Sue: Don’t be silly. (pause) Is he? Is he really?

Me Yes. Avon takes over now.

Sue: Don’t be ridiculous. I wish!

Me: I’m not joking!

Sue: I don’t believe you. You can’t kill Blake; his name is in the title of the programme.

Star OneBlake is still lying motionless on the floor.

Me: See! He’s definitely dead. Sad, isn’t it?

Sue: Well if he is dead – and I don’t think he is – I can’t say that I’m disappointed. What a shit, pointless death. He couldn’t even die properly. (pause) And he isn’t dead.

The alien fleet moves closer.

Sue: Just think how much better this would be with the Daleks in it.

Me: You’re right. Some things could be better with the Daleks.

Sue: There’s no consistency in the design of these alien ships. It looks like a model maker dumped a drawer of spare parts onto the floor. They’ve definitely run out of money.

Back on the Liberator, Jenna decides to warn Servalan about the impending alien invasion.

Sue: Is Jenna reading her lines off a cue card? I think she is, you know. And she’s doing it really badly, too. Oh dear.

Travis betrays humanity.

Sue: The mad ****.

Star OneTravis is shot in the back!

Me: Oh look, Blake isn’t really dead.

Sue: I knew it! You can’t kill Blake. Vila, yes. Blake, definitely not.

Me: WHAT?

Blake: Is Travis dead?

Avon shoots Travis again and the leathered loon falls head first into the health and safety nightmare that takes up half the room.

Avon: He is now.

Sue: He’ll be back.

Me: He won’t.

Sue: Yeah, like I’m going to believe you.

A little later, when we watch the Ballard Of Travis II extra on the DVD, and when that scene is played out in slow-motion, Travis bleeds sand. Actual sand. This just convinces Sue that this Travis isn’t the real Travis. Bless her.

She is right about one thing, though.

Blake: We must warn the Federation!

Sue: I knew it. I can see where this is going: in the next series, Blake and Servalan will team up to kill all the aliens. It’s obvious.

Star OneThere’s just one problem: Blake has already primed Star One to explode.

Cally: It’s too late!

Cally and Avon race around Star One, gathering up the bombs. Sue is rapidly running out of nails to bite.

Blake: There’s another explosive charge. They don’t know about it. I’ve got to get it out! I put it in section four on one of the panels.

Lurena rushes off to find the bomb, but when she arrives in section four, she can’t find it.

Sue: He could have been more specific! There are panels everywhere! Argh!

Lurena eventually finds the bomb, just as the aliens find her.

Sue: If only these bombs came with an off-switch. What a shame.

KABOOM!

Sue: They’ll never taste another pineapple again. What a massive cock-up.

When our heroes return to the Liberator, Avon decides to hold back the alien invasion fleet until the Federation’s reinforcements can arrive, hours from now.

Star OneJenna: Why, Avon?

Avon: Why not?

Sue: Brilliant. I knew that Avon would save the day. Avon is so cool.

Avon: Zen, put up the force wall.

Sue: This is what I’ve been waiting for. A big fight in space. Yes!

Blake discharges himself from the medical unit to see if he can help. He can’t. But before he goes back to bed, he has a message for Avon:

Blake: Avon, for what it is worth, I have always trusted you, from the very beginning.

Sue: Aww, that was really sweet. But Blake is completely useless. Is he really that ill that he can’t sit there and press the odd button to help get them out of this mess? What a twat.

Vila turns down the lighting on the flight deck, which creates a nice and cozy ‘we’re all about to die’ ambience before the battle commences.

Sue: These aliens don’t look that threatening to me. They look like a right shambles. The Liberator can take this lot easily. I mean, who are they?

Tension is etched into the faces of the crew. Except for Cally. Cally looks bemused. Oh, and Blake. Blake is probably lying in bed somewhere, reading a magazine and eating grapes.

Star OneAvon: Fire!

Cue credits.

Sue: No! Wait… But… What? You can’t end it there!

Sue is stunned.

Sue: I’m not having that. Put the next episode on.

Me: No.

The Score:

Sue: That was very good. Things seemed to happen for a change, the direction was pretty good, the sets looked great, and the actors didn’t annoy me. Oh, and Avon kicked arse. Big time. But there were a few things that irritated me. Like, when did Travis find the time to organise this big alien invasion? And how did he find them? And why? That seemed a bit far-fetched and out-of-the-blue. One minute Blake’s fighting the Federation and now this lot turn up. And the alien ships weren’t threatening enough. Now, if they’d been the Daleks, that would have been a completely different story. Now stick the next one on.

Me: No!

8/10

Next Time:

Sue will reflect on Series 2 on Wednesday April 30th. If you’ve got a question you’d like to ask her, please send it here. The best question will win a signed copy of our book. The deadline for questions is Monday April 28th.

Series 3 will commence on Friday May 2nd, so there’s plenty of time for you to catch up with the series if you’ve fallen behind.

And please remember that spoilers in the comments will not be tolerated. Thanks.

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Next

The Keeper

Shine like thunder, cry like rain…

The KeeperThis week’s mission seems straightforward enough: steal a thong from a Goth.

Jenna: Lurgen’s brain print is on a thong around a chief’s neck. That’s what Docholli said.

Sue: It could be a lot worse, the chief could be wearing his thong ‘you know where’.

This is all part of a much bigger mission to find and destroy Star One, although Avon is having second thoughts about the destroying it part.

Avon: Through Star One we could control everything. The Federation could belong to us.

Sue: They can barely run a space ship together so running a galaxy is probably beyond their capabilities. And think of all the hours they’d have to put in.

Blake, Jenna and Vila prepare to teleport to the planet Goth.

Cally: There are noxious gases. Anyone who lives above ground will die sooner or later from toxic lung infections.

Sue: Put some bloody helmets on then!

As soon as he arrives on the planet, Blake gulps down the air.

Sue: What is he playing at? Cally just told him that breathing the air will kill him. Blake’s definitely got a death wish.

The Goths emerge from their caves.

The KeeperSue: Oh no. I really hate medieval Sci-Fi. It really gets on my tits.

Me: You were a Goth once, weren’t you?

Sue: I was into The Sisters of Mercy for a couple of months in the early eighties, yes.

Back on the Liberator, Avon believes that he’s spotted Travis’ pursuit ship.

Avon: This is our chance to finish off Travis. He is at our mercy.

Sue: Yeah, cos you’ve never an opportunity to kill him before, and you wouldn’t want to miss your chance because that would be stupid.

When Cally tries to persuade Avon to leave Travis well alone, he barks the co-ordinates of the Federation ship back at her.

Avon: ZERO-SEVEN-THREE!

Sue: Someone got out on the wrong side of the bed this morning. At least the director knows what a focus pull is. That gives me some hope for this episode.

Blake’s team are set upon by Goths.

Sue: Are you sure they’re Goths? They look like ZZ Top fans to me.

Me: They’re based on the Visigoths.

Sue: So they’re Goths from the planet Goth who just happen to look like Goths. Bit of a coincidence, don’t you think?

Vila almost avoids capture, but a rogue sneeze gives him away. Sue does her best impression of a parping trombone as the loveable thief falls into the Goths’ hands.

Sue: It’s like Game of Thrones but with fewer weddings.

The KeeperForget about that. Avon is about to kill Travis. Oh yes he is!

Avon: Goodbye, Travis.

Avon presses a button and the Federation ship explodes.

Sue: Yeah, right. Avon couldn’t even be bothered to check whether Travis was on the ship or not. For all he knows, a Space Vampire could have been flying that space ship. Don’t get me wrong, I want Travis to be dead just as much as the next person, but he isn’t.

When Avon returns for his comrades, Blake teleports back to the ship alone.

Blake: Where the hell were you?

Avon: We just got Travis for you.

Blake: What?!

Sue: (as Blake) But I loved Travis! I won’t be able to live without him following me around the galaxy in those tight leather trousers of his. Noooooo!

Me: Please, stop it.

On the planet Goth, a shouty chief named Gola is entertained by his fool.

Sue: Nice yurt.

The KeeperThe chief is joined by a familiar face.

Sue: Oh look, it’s Travis. What a surprise. It was so obvious that Travis wasn’t dead, the director didn’t even bother to surprise us. Travis simply strolled into the wide shot. He didn’t even get a close-up, that’s how shocking this is.

Gola has the hots for Jenna.

Gola: A beautiful woman. Indeed she is so.

Sue: Pervy git.

Meanwhile, in another yurt somewhere on Goth…

Sue: Right, so Servalan and Travis are at it again. One minute she wants to blow his arm off, the next minute she wants to blow –

Me: Stop it.

Travis attempts to contact his pursuit ship with the galaxy’s largest mobile phone.

Sue: I bet he can’t get Candy Crush Saga on that.

Travis has his sights firmly fixed on Star One.

Travis: Star One is the computer control center. It controls the climate on more than two hundred worlds. Communications, security, food production – it controls them all. It is the key to our very lives.

Sue: Talk about putting all your eggs in one basket. The Federation aren’t very bright, are they.

The KeeperAnd then Sue makes a startling assessment:

Sue: When you think about it, Avon and Travis aren’t that different from one another. They both want the same thing at the end of the day. Actually, I think Avon and Servalan would make a great team. I could see them ruling the universe together. Yes, maybe they will team up and Blake will have to stop them. That’s what I’d do if I was in charge of Blake’s 7: I’d replace Travis with Avon. Simple.

Back on the Liberator, Zen detects a Federation ship leaving Goth.

Avon: That must be Servalan.

Sue: Avon is bloody useless when it comes to the ‘guess who’s flying the ship’ game.

Avon tells Cally to intercept the ship, thereby repeating the same mistake he made just a few minutes ago.

Sue: He really doesn’t give a shit about Blake.

Back on Goth, Blake rescues a rival chieftain from certain death.

Sue: Bloody hell! Blake did something vaguely heroic for a change.

Rod: My name is Rod. Greetings.

Sue: A Goth named Rodney! I’ve seen everything now.

Gola attempts to impress Jenna with his warrior ways.

Gola: The Federation means nothing to me. I live as my ancestors have lived. We are a warrior people! We fight to live and we live to fight!

Sue: Does this guy get all the jobs that Brian Blessed turns down?

I’m sorry to report that Sue cheered when Gola slapped Vila across the face.

The KeeperSue: You made me dress as this jester, once.

Me: Erm…

Sue: You must remember. Marco Polo.

Me: Oh God, yes. The time I made you cosplay as Tutte Lemkow. You’ll never let me forget that, will you. I said I was sorry. Anyway, that isn’t Tutte Lemkow; he just looks like him.

Sue: Well, just so you know, I’m not dressing up as him as well.

Me: What about Jenna?

Sue: Don’t push it.

Jenna spends some quality time with Gola’s sister, Tara.

Sue: At least Jenna got off the ship for a few hours. True, she’s about to be raped, but at least she got some fresh air. Actually, on second thoughts, she didn’t even get that. Poor Jenna.

Tara: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA ETC.

Sue: I’ll have what she’s having.

Gola wants to pair-bond so Jenna lunges for his thong.

Sue: Just get him drunk, pinch his thong, and then teleport out of there – job’s a good ‘un. But I’d get a move on if I were you; you don’t want to end up with the wrong thong.

The KeeperDown in the cells, Blake makes contact with a hysterical old man.

Sue: It’s… It’s… It’s Monty Python!

Meanwhile, Servalan threatens Gola with the full might of the Federation while Jenna and Vila watch from the sidelines.

Sue: Servalan didn’t say hello to two of her greatest enemies. Either we’ve missed an important scene or the writer doesn’t give a shit about these characters.

The fool drops Vila in the shit and the poor sod is dragged off to the cells.

Sue: His screams should be getting quieter as he leaves the set but they’re getting louder and louder. He’s just standing behind that flat, shouting. He’s giving me a headache.

Blake finds Vila behind bars.

Blake: Is Jenna all right?

Vila: She’s pair-bonding with the chief.

Blake: Good.

Sue: EH?

The KeeperCould it be that Jenna is falling for Gola’s charms?

Sue: She’s faking it. And it isn’t the only thing she’ll be faking tonight if this goes the way I think it’s going.

Gola’s sister delights in telling her brother that he’s destined to die.

Sue: She’s the best thing in this story by a mile.

Vila is released from the cells and told to act the fool.

Sue: Vila’s found his true vocation in life. It’s as if this episode was made for him. Actually, do you know what this episode really needs?

Me: Tell me.

Sue: More Avon. Where the hell is he?

The KeeperRod and Gola fight to the death with spiky things on their hands.

Sue: So you don’t have to stab anyone with that thing, you just point it at the other person and scream. Is that how it works? Because if it doesn’t work like that, this fight is a bit shit.

Derek Martinus’ hand-held camera work is singled out for praise, but this doesn’t last very long.

Sue: The director is giving it a bloody good go, but the stunt choreography is a bit shit. And when did Blake decide to walk around with a dead fox draped over his shoulder? What’s that all about?

Gola wins the battle but he loses the war. His victory chalice is poisoned and he falls to the floor.

Jenna: Gola!

Sue: Why is Jenna upset that the man who was about to rape her has dropped dead? I thought she’d be relieved. That’s very weird.

When Blake and Jenna discover that neither Rodney nor Gola are the eponymous Keeper, Tara says it’s probably their dad who’s been banged up in the cells below.

The KeeperTara: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA ETC.

Sue: The vapours must be their version of laughing gas.

Blake reaches the old man, but it’s too late: Travis did a runner with Star One’s co-ordinates ages ago.

Sue: Travis outplayed them all. And Travis is shit, so what does that make Blake?

The old man is on death’s door.

Sue: That guy has been down there for years. If he dies the same day that Blake needs to speak to him, I won’t be very happy.

The old man dies.

Sue: He was perfectly fine five minutes ago! That’s lazy scriptwriting. They didn’t even shoot him first.

However, all is not lost because Lurgen implanted Star One’s co-ordinates in the fool’s brain.

Fool: The location of Star One is at grid reference C one-seven-three-two-zero in the eleventh sector…

Blake: The fool to keep a secret that Lurgen never wanted in the first place.

The KeeperSue: But why he would give him this big secret if he didn’t want anybody to know about it? That’s just asking for trouble. I’m not convinced. It was just a way to string out another bloody episode.

Blake and the gang return to the Liberator with their prize.

Sue: Quick! Write it down before you forget it.

Avon: Another few seconds and I would have left you, Blake.

Sue: I’m surprised Blake didn’t punch his lights out after everything Avon’s done today. Naughty Avon.

Jenna: And on, with luck, to Star One.

Cue credits.

Sue: What’s the next episode called, Neil?

Me: Star One, love.

Sue: Thank **** for that.

The Score:

Sue: It was all right, I suppose. Nothing much happened. Avon was hardly in it again. Blake was bloody useless again. They mentioned Star One a lot again. Do you want me to go on?

Me: Not really.

Sue: OK, so the old woman made me laugh, the direction was a little better than usual, Jenna got to leave the ship for a quick flirt, and Travis wasn’t in it long enough to annoy me. But at the end of the day, that episode was just more filler. I can’t wait for Star One. Can we watch it now, please?

Me: No.

4/10

Next Time:

Warning: Glen’s trailer DEFINITELY includes spoilers for the next episode. Please proceed with caution.

The next update will be published on Wednesday. Thanks.

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Next

Gambit

Place your bets now…

I wanted Sue’s brother to watch this episode with us.

Gary: I don’t even know what Blake’s 7 is, Neil. And after what happened last time with Doctor Who, I think I’ll give it a miss, thanks.

Sue: Oh go on, Gary. You might enjoy it. And if we’re really lucky, we’ll see a man with a pert bum in tight leather trousers. Honest.

He’s tempted.

Gary: No thanks, I’m off to the Bingo.

Oh well. Maybe next time.

GambitSue: So is this episode set in a Gentlemen’s Club in Soho? What time do the strippers come on?

There’s a lot for Sue to take in, although the name ‘Robert Holmes’ in the titles cushions the jolt.

Sue: So we’ve got an elderly Patrick Troughton, Travis in a cowboy hat, and 1940s gangsters. It’s different, I’ll give it that.

Blake, Cally and Jenna prepare to teleport to Freedom City, where the grass isn’t green and the girls ain’t pretty.

Sue: Cally is dressed as a Princess Leia this week; Jenna looks like she’s going to a funeral.

Our heroes are searching for a cyber surgeon named Docholli; he’s the only person alive who knows where Star One is.

Sue: If Star One isn’t in this episode, Neil, I won’t be happy. Has anybody asked Orac where Star One is?

Me: I already told you: nobody knows where Star One is. No one at all!

Sue: That’s a bit silly. What if it breaks down? Where do you send the plumbers?

GambitFreedom City’s floor show is about to start. I brace myself.

Sue: Oh look, it’s Bette Davies meets Fanny Craddock on Britain’s Got Talent. I love her glamorous walking stick. I would definitely put her through to the live finals.

The Croupier introduces the main event: a game of skill against the undisputed Speed Chess champion, ZE KLUTE!

Croupier: Ze Klute challenges all comers!

Sue: But he’s only twelve!

Meanwhile, Servalan is auditioning for a part in Eyes Wide Shut.

Sue: She’s got a lovely figure but she could do with a space bra. And she’s sitting on the Liberator‘s sofa. What are the chances of that?

Servalan is accompanied by a man named Jarriere, or, if you happen to be Sue, Leo Sayer meets Pinocchio. And then Krantor turns up…

Sue: Have you spiked my drink again, Neil?

Krantor runs Freedom City.

Sue: This is what Liberace would have looked like if he’d supported Newcastle United.

GambitKrantor: They come to Freedom City because we are outside the Federation.

Sue: Is Freedom City like Sun City?

Me: Well, it isn’t a Queen-free zone, if that’s what you mean.

While Krantor and Servalan hatch their nefarious plans, I can’t help but notice that Sue’s jaw is still resting on the floor.

Sue: The set is so tacky, I can’t take my eyes off it. It reminds of The Generation Game. This scene will be repeated in a minute, but Brucie will play Liberace’s part and a grandmother from Rotherham will play Servalan. Just you wait and see.

When Servalan leaves, Krantor reveals his plans to his assistant, Toise.

Sue: No, this isn’t camp at all.

Me: It’s probably the campest thing ever broadcast on British television. Gambit makes Are You Being Served? look like Threads.

Sue: What is he wearing on his head?

Me: That’s K9.

Sue: Did they melt him down or something?

GambitMe: No, it’s John Leeson. The actor who played K9.

Sue: Oh, thank God for that.

Back on the Liberator, Avon convinces Vila that robbing a casino would be a bit of a laugh, even though it’s their turn to sit around doing nothing in the teleport room all day.

Sue: That’s not like Avon at all. That’s completely out of character. Avon would never be that stupid. Would he?

Orac says he can shrink himself down to the size of an iPod.

Vila: Talk is cheap.

Avon: It means he doesn’t believe you, and neither, as a matter of fact, do I.

Sue: Join the club, love!

Orac shrinks to an eighth of his normal size.

Sue: That is ridiculous. However, I’ll go along with it because a) he’s easier to dust and b) they can take Orac on missions now, so he can be a proper member of the crew for a change.

GambitMe: And you can stick a pair of headphones in him and listen to Michael Bublé.

Travis is drowning his sorrows in The Rink.

Sue: My mum and dad met in a ballroom called The Rink. He spotted her at a table, walked over and said “Are you dancing?” When she stood up and said “Yes!”, he said “Good, I can have your seat then.”

Blake, Jenna and Cally are hanging around Paradise City’s nightclub scene.

Sue: What’s with all the Christmas tinsel? Did they film this episode during the office party, because that would explain a lot.

Me: It does look like a post-apocalyptic school disco.

Sue: I’ll tell you what, though: Cally suits this sexy new look of hers. She’s turning into a right space babe.

Meanwhile, back in the casino, Ze Klute faces a new challenger.

Sue: Oh look, they’ve dragged Bill Oddie off the set of The Goodies.

Thrylce – yes, that’s his name – plays a mean game of chess.

GambitSue: I’ve just realised what this episode reminds me of.

Me: Ketamine?

Sue: No, The Hunger Games. OK, so it’s chess instead of running around a jungle shooting baboons with arrows – this is the BBC we’re talking about – but the costumes are very similar. They dress like pampered idiots in the Hunger Games as well.

Ze Klute beats Thrylce easily.

Sue: I’ve just remembered why chess isn’t an Olympic sport. I don’t care how fast you ****ing play it, it’s still chess.

When Thrylce loses, he pays the ultimate price: death by electrocution, which means he vanishes in a puff of smoke, obviously.

Sue: Have they hired Paul Daniels to do their executions for them? Because that looked like a magic trick to me.

Jarriere and Servalan discuss her plan to stitch Krantor up like a kipper.

Sue: They are simply summarising the plot. I’m waiting for Servalan to pull out a wall chart.

Krantor can’t be all bad because he own a cat. Oh, wait…

Sue: That cat does not want to be there. He’s clutching it so hard, he must have bruised the poor thing. I’d call the RSPCA if the poor thing wasn’t already dead.

Me: Actually, I think Aubrey passed away quite recently.

When Travis describes Servalan’s companion as a “powder puff”, Sue raises her eyebrows.

Sue: That’s a bit harsh. And besides, Leo Sayer is the least camp thing in this. And that’s saying something.

GambitServalan and Travis have a very complicated relationship.

Sue: OK, I’m confused. Are Servalan and Travis working together or not? I can’t keep up. I’m sure they were shagging each other the other day. And where the hell is Blake? Has he got the week off?

Blake, Jenna and Cally finally make it to the bar.

Sue: Robert Holmes has definitely seen Star Wars, but instead of a bar filled with weird aliens, they’ve filled it with men who are dressed for a night in a sex dungeon. Now I know why you asked Gary to watch this with us. It all makes sense now.

She’s nodding towards Krantor’s leather-clad assassin, Cevedic, who is asking the barkeeper, Chenie, for the whereabouts of Kline/Docholli. Look, it’s complicated.

Chenie: I swear I don’t know where Kline is.

Cally: She was lying, Blake.

Sue: So Cally’s a mind-reader now. You know, I get the impression that Robert Holmes didn’t watch a lot of Blake’s 7 before he wrote this episode.

Vila takes on the Big Wheel.

Sue: Oh dear. I was expecting a massive wheel on a wall, with flashing lights and fancy controls. But no. It’s just a tatty roulette wheel that’s seen better days. That is very disappointing. And cheap.

Chenie helps Docholli escape from Freedom City.

Sue: There’s a strong Western vibe to this; it feels like we’re watching a cheap, ultra-camp version of Firefly. The surgeon is basically a geriatric Han Solo. Or Indiana Jones’ dad. I really like him. He’s definitely the best thing in this episode. I bet they kill him.

There’s a lovely moment when Denis Carey can’t get his coat on. Here, take a look:

[jwplayer mediaid=”8850″]

Sue: He’s such a pro, he just got on with it.

Me: It must have been five minutes to ten when they shot that scene.

Back in the bar, Jenna and Cally are causing a scene.

Sue: Are they pissed?

Cally: You slut!

Jenna: Ten-credit touch!

Sue: Because this is Blake’s 7, I thought that fight was real for a second. I wouldn’t put anything past Blake’s 7; it always feels like it could kick off between them.

The fight is, of course, a distraction, which Blake uses to sneak into the back of the bar.

Sue: Is Cally smashing Jenna’s head against the wall outside? The sound effects are terrible!

GambitServalan and Jarriere meet for cocktails and a quick recap.

Sue: Leo Sayer’s job is to sit there and have the plot explained to him. And thank God, because the plot is all over the place and it needs explaining. But everything has ground to a halt again. And who the **** is this guy anyway?

Vila is on a winning streak, but he wants to win more.

Sue: It’s not exactly Casino Royale.

Me: Actually, this does reminds me of Casino Royale, just not the one you’re thinking of.

Servalan has planted a bomb in Travis’ arm.

Sue: I almost feel sorry for Travis. He’s so inconsistent, it feels like we meet a completely new version of Travis every two or three episodes. And this is the nice, misunderstood Travis.

Travis: My arm! What have you done to my arm?

Sue: There’ll be hell to pay if Servalan’s interfered with his wanking hand.

Travis searches for the only man who can fix his arm: Docholli.

Sue: You should probably get that eye seen to while you’re at it.

Meanwhile, Blake, Jenna and Cally have retreated to the wedding reception from hell.

Sue: The irritating tinkly background music hasn’t gone away, even though they’ve left the bar. That’s weird. And really annoying.

Travis encounters Krantor’s leather-clad henchman, so he shoots him.

GambitSue: Aww, wasn’t it nice of the bad guy to tell Travis everything he needed to know before he died. That was so helpful. Thanks for that.

Blake finds Docholli hiding in the loading bay.

Docholli: What do you want from me?

Blake: One piece of information: the location of Star One.

Docholli: Then you’re going to be disappointed.

Sue screams.

Back at the casino, Vila – with a little help from mini-Orac – has conquered the Big Wheel. However, as he waits for his winnings, he agrees to gamble everything on a game of Speed Chess against Ze Klute. This development takes Avon by surprise.

Sue: Forget Star One, I’d rather watch these two having stupid adventures together any day of the week.

Croupier: Les jeux sont fait!

Sue: The problem is, everyone is trying to out-camp each other. The director has lost control of the actors.

Docholli removes Travis’ robotic arm.

GambitBlake: It’s all right, it’s not primed.

Sue: They’ve disarmed him.

Me: Very good, Sue.

Sue: He isn’t armed.

Me: Stop it, Sue.

Sue: He’s ‘armless.

Me: I hate you.

Travis snatches his appendage back.

Sue: Club Blake over the head with your arm! Go on, Travis, sink even lower!

Travis expects Blake to kill him. He’s wrong, of course.

Blake: Our quarrel is with the Federation, not with you.

GambitSue: But he tries to kill you every other week. What does he have to do? Does he have to murder one of your friends? Oh wait, he’s already done that. KILL HIM!

With Orac’s help, Vila manages to eek out a draw against Ze Klute.

Sue: Orac can’t be that good if he can’t beat a twelve year-old boy at chess.

Me: He isn’t a boy, he’s Deep Roy!

Sue: What, the porn star?

Avon and Vila rush back to the Liberator with their ill-gotten gains.

Sue: Avon pretending to be innocent is very funny. I’ve never seen this side of Avon before. I think I like it.

Cue credits.

GambitSue: I could have watched a whole episode of Avon and Vila messing about together. The rest of it got on my nerves. Too much talking and not enough action. The incidental music was horrendous, and once the shock of the costumes wore off, there wasn’t much else going on. Oh, and Blake has a soft spot for Travis. There, I’ve said it. It’s the only explanation that makes sense. He obviously likes being stalked by him. It must turn him on. Either that or he’s got a death wish.

The Score:

Sue: That was mental. I enjoyed bits of it, but there was way too much exposition. I mean, what did Blake actually do in that episode? I expected a lot more from Robert Holmes. It just didn’t feel like Blake’s 7 to me. God knows what Gary would have made of that. And now I bet we have to visit another person who doesn’t know where Star bloody One is. I’m right, aren’t I?

5/10

Before we go, a little housekeeping. I’ve decided that running two separate Twitter accounts for both the Wife in Space and Wife and the Blake has become a pointless and confusing waste of time. So I’m retiring the @wifeandblake account in a couple of days. If you don’t follow @wifeinspace already, you should subscribe to that account to keep up with any site updates (and the odd kitten photo). The Facebook pages will remain separate for now. Thanks.

Next Time:

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

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Voice from the Past

I’ve kicked the habit, shed my skin…

Voice from the PastIt’s yoga night on the Liberator.

Sue: What the ****?

Blake has adopted the notoriously tricky ‘shitting crab’ position; Avon has put his back out.

Sue: Seriously, though, what the **** is going on?

Avon: These exercises of yours, Cally, do not appear to improve the temper.

Sue: Is Cally in charge of health and wellbeing on the ship? Have they finally given her a job title? Oh dear. And Avon needs to hold back on the mascara a bit. I know it’s 1979 but that is ridiculous.

Blake hears a strange noise.

Sue: I’m not surprised with his arse stuck up in the air like that.

Blake manually adjusts the Liberator‘s flight path, taking it away from a pleasure planet and towards an inhospitable asteroid.

Sue: They’ve traded paradise for a shit-hole. What a surprise. And why were they going to paradise in the first place? I thought they were supposed to be looking for Space One.

Me: Most people don’t know where Star One is; you can’t even say it properly.

The crew are perplexed by Blake’s mysterious behaviour.

Voice from the PastVila: You’ve always explained, given us reasons for things.

Avon: When he had any.

Sue: Mutiny! Mutiny now, for God’s sake! Here’s your chance to get rid of this dangerous egomaniac once and for all. Jump him!

Blake struts around the Liberator like he owns the place.

Sue: You have to lead by example, and Blake is a loose cannon who needs putting down. I can’t believe that they named a television show after this loser.

Jenna: Is he sick, do you think?

Sue: He was hearing strange noises less than five minutes ago, so WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Blake is having a nightmare.

Blake: Renounce. Renounce. RENOUNCE!

Sue: The Federation must have put something in Blake’s head when they were setting him up as a child molester, and they’ve only just got it to work or something. That’s my best guess.

Avon agrees.

Avon: It doesn’t make for the most dependable of leaders, does it? Random course changes to random asteroids.

Sue: Blake is damaged goods. Just drop him on the nearest planet. He’ll be OK.

Voice from the PastJenna lends her brainwaves in an effort to break Blake’s conditioning, but things go awry and all hell breaks loose. So much so, Avon has to karate chop Blake – twice!

Sue: Avon’s wanted to do that for ages.

Vila rushes in to restore normality, whatever the hell that is.

Vila: You’ve all gone mad! STOP IT!

This cracks Sue up.

Sue: Vila sounds like he’s their mother! That was hilarious.

Orac recommends eradication therapy.

Orac: Maximum five-minute treatment periods interspersed with one hour rest periods. Hence, minimum rehabilitation period of twenty-six hours.

Sue: If we have to go through that twenty-six times, I’ll be the one screaming.

Blake has been interfered with.

Sue: Is this why Blake has been such an insufferable dick all this time? Have the Federation made him act like an idiot on purpose? That would explain a lot.

Blake is strapped to a chair with, according to Sue, a Stanley Tape Measure stuck to his head. However, he still manages to convince Vila that Avon and Cally are the bad guys.

Voice from the PastSue: Vila is either really funny or really, really stupid. There’s no middle-ground with him.

Blake is acting very strangely.

Sue: Is he reading the script from a cue card?

Me: I think he’s supposed to look shifty in this scene.

Sue: I don’t think he can’t remember his lines.

Vila sends the Liberator back to Asteroid PK One-One-Eight.

Sue: Poor Zen. He doesn’t know if he’s coming or going.

Blake locks Avon, Jenna and Cally in the Liberator‘s yoga room.

Sue: Blake is basically Gan, but with better hair. Is there anybody on this ship whose brain works properly?

Blake changes into a space suit.

Sue: Ooh, that’s a big helmet.

Me: You say that to all the space terrorists.

Voice from the PastBlake teleports to the asteroid.

Sue: He’s landed in a children’s painting.

She sings Left Bank Two. Yes, she does.

Cally believes that Blake is being controlled by a telepathic transmitter.

Avon: If there is a telepathic transmitter, there must be someone down there to operate it.

Sue: If it isn’t Travis or Servalan, I’ll eat my hat. There was a time when just the thought of Travis and Servalan appearing in an episode was exciting, but not any more. It turns into a right shambles when they show up.

Blake enters the asteroid’s living accommodation. The lights and air supply have already been switched on. Back on the Liberator, Vila begins to panic.

Vila: That must mean there’s someone there. Mutants or… Blake? Blake? Blake!

Sue: Answer him, you twat!

Blake is menaced by a man with a beard. He leads Blake to a one-eyed man with a bandaged head.

Voice from the PastSue: WHO THE **** IS THIS?

It’s Shivan.

Sue: He’s a mummy in a curtain!

Shivan: Is he come?

Sue: Easy go!

You really have to hear the line to appreciate that, so let’s try again:

Sue: Easy go!

And then the camera zooms in on…

Sue: Peter Gabriel!

Gabriel is playing Ven Glynd, who framed Blake for child abuse, way back in the first episode. Way back. Get it? Oh, please yourselves.

Voice from the PastMe: Do you recognise him, Sue?

Sue: Yes, I think I vaguely remember him from the first episode.

Me: That’s probably because, even though they had to hire a different actor to play the part, they cast a man who looked exactly liked him.

Sue: Did they really?

Me: Did they bollocks.

Vila releases his comrades from the yoga room. Cally wants to know why Vila let Blake go.

Sue: To be fair, Avon and Cally have been known to flirt outrageously with each other, but Vila is such a dick for thinking the worst. They should drop Vila off on the nearest planet, too. He could keep Blake company.

Blake gives the crew a much-needed pep talk.

Blake: Look we’ve been on the run for a long time. But what have we achieved? Access to Federation ciphers that have been regularly re-coded; a raid on Central, an empty pretence; talk of Star One; talk of an alliance. Talk, talk, talk.

Sue: He’s right, you know. That basically Blake’s 7 in a nutshell. Talk, talk, talk.

Me: At least they’re addressing the fact that their so-called crusade has been hopeless.

Voice from the PastSue: That doesn’t really help the audience, though. Saying ‘we’re shit and we know it’ doesn’t make it any less shit.

Ven Glynd says he’s a reformed character, and he’s gathering evidence to bring Servalan down.

Ven Glynd: Surveillance report on Supreme Commander Servalan’s attempt to cheat the Federation of one hundred million credits in return for the supercomputer Orac.

Sue: If Orac was really worth one hundred million credits, you’d think they’d use him a bit more. They just leave him in a box most of the time. They definitely aren’t getting value for money. He can’t even do yoga.

Meanwhile, Servalan is talking politics with Le Grand, Governor of the Outer Gaul region.

Sue: Le Grand is basically an attractive version of Princess Anne.

The Liberator is hanging around in space.

Sue: That’s a beautiful model. Just look at the detail on that. Why doesn’t the ship look like that all the time?

Sensing a trap, Avon asks Orac to verify Shivan’s identity.

Orac: A voice scan is incompatible with that tracheal vent. But he conforms with records of size, weight and gender.

Avon: What about Ven Glynd?

Orac: Records confirmed his identity.

Me: But he doesn’t look anything like him!

Sue: Shock the monkey tonight!

Voice from the PastShivan possesses the telepathic transmitter that controls Blake.

Sue: Is he supposed to be French or German?

Sue lasts fifteen seconds before hysterical laughter takes over.

Sue: Wanna buy some pegs, Dave? Dave? Is that Dave?

I have to pause the DVD. She’s completely lost it.

Sue: Oh my God. I didn’t catch a word of that. You’ll have to play that scene again. God help us.

So we watch it again. And we still can’t understand it. Can you?

Sue: Dave!

She’s gone again.

Le Grand arrives on the Liberator via a shuttle craft. She tells Blake that the next leader of Earth must have a messiah complex.

Blake: Shivan.

Sue: Don’t make me laugh! The only thing he’s good for now is an advert for Injury Lawyers 4 U.

Le Grand wants Blake to lead them.

Sue: It’s obviously a trap, but it sounds plausible. If only Cally was telepathic, she’d know if they were telling the truth.

Voice from the PastBlake, Shivan and Ven Glynd hold hands.

Le Grand: The triumvirate, my friends!

Ven Glynd smiles.

Sue: Shock the Monkey. Hey! Hey!

Glynd and Le Grand plan to indict Space Command at a governors’ conference on the planet Atlay.

Sue: I know this is a trap, but I really want it to be true. It’s quite tense, this.

As the shuttle docks at Atlay’s conference center, Sue hums the Thunderbirds theme.

Sue: That model looks pretty good, but they aren’t half dragging this out.

Le Grand and Ven Glynd disembark at the conference center.

Sue: They’ve checked into a cheap conference hotel and now they’re wondering the same thing: where’s the swimming pool? And is there a jacuzzi?

Back on the Liberator, a man with a beard is knifed in the back.

Sue: That was incredibly realistic. Sometimes, this is the most realistic science fiction programme I’ve ever seen, and then you get rubbish like this!

Voice from the PastShe’s pointing at Shivan. And Shivan was Travis all the time.

Sue: I knew it! I bloody knew it was him!

Me: No, you didn’t.

Sue: I knew it was a trap – it was so obvious – but I’m disappointed. I wanted Blake to join the rebels. It would have given him something to do. Bloody Servalan.

Le Grand and Ven Glynd enter an empty auditorium.

Sue: Does this remind you of the university lectures you used to give on Monday mornings?

Me: Yes. And some of them were about Blake’s 7.

Sue: No wonder the turnout was so poor.

Servalan appears on a cinema screen. Ven Glynd really was a traitor to the Federation.

Sue: Shock the ****ing monkey! I did not see that coming.

Ven Glynd and Le Grand are ambushed by Federation guards. Le Grand is killed.

Sue: Execution by art installation.

Jenna and Blake escape to an anteroom with a wounded Ven Glynd.

Sue: (singing) Don’t give up. You’re not beaten yet. Don’t give up, I know you can make it good.

Jenna struggles to place a teleport bracelet on Blake.

Voice from the PastSue: Stick it on his ankle!

Travis teleports into the anteroom and Ven Glynd attacks him.

Me: I bet he wishes he had a sledgehammer.

Sue: Stop it, Neil.

Back on the Liberator, Avon smashes the telepathic control unit, which gets a big laugh from Sue, and Travis roars when Blake and Jenna escape from his evil clutches. Yes, he actually roared.

When Blake returns to the Liberator, he don’t remember, he can’t recall, he has no memory of anything at all.

Blake: What are we all standing around for? Our problem is to find Star One if you haven’t forgotten.

Sue: That’s right, Blake. Rub it in.

Cue credits.

The Score:

Sue: That was frustrating. The plot with the Federation traitors was excellent; it kept me guessing to the very end. I really liked the political bits; the scene in the cinema was very creepy. But all that nonsense with Travis was ridiculous. But it was so ridiculous, I actually enjoyed it. I don’t think I’ve laughed so much in ages. And the direction was a lot better this week, too. There’s probably a great episode struggling to get out of that mess. And if the next episode isn’t called Star One, I’ll have to kill you.

6/10

And if you think that’s mad, take a look at this video from the crazed minds of Clayton Hickman and Gareth Roberts:

Now, if somebody would edit some Blake’s 7 footage to the theme from BJ and the Bear, I could die happy.

Next Time:

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

Back
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Countdown

And maybe we’ll come back to Earth, who can tell?

Sue: Terry ****ing Nation! No, wait. I liked Terry’s last episode. I’m sorry, I just couldn’t help myself.

It’s all kicking off on the planet Albian…

Sue: This is a good start. Not only are there large explosions, they’ve paid for some extras to run around as well. Ouch! That must have hurt!

CountdownMajor Provine reminds us of several people all at once. Sadly, none of them are Paul Shelley.

Sue: He’s an Elf from The Lord of the Rings.

Me: It’s Matthew Parris.

Sue: Who?

Me: No, wait, it’s Mark Heap.

Sue: Who?

Me: Or maybe an evil Spock. But without the beard.

Sue: No, he’s definitely Sheldon’s dad.

Me: Who?

The Federation have armed a device that spells doom for the planet’s inhabitants.

Sue: That’s probably the best action sequence I’ve seen in Blake’s 7 so far. Just when I thought the programme was incapable of exciting me any more, it comes up with that.

Rebels have entered the Federation base.

Sue: He’s famous.

It’s Tom Chadbon as the mercenary Del Grant.

CountdownMe: “Bye bye, Duggan!” Does that ring any bells, Sue?

Sue: Oh yes. He likes to punch things.

Unfortunately, Del didn’t arrive in time to stop the countdown.

Del: I won you a battle, but I lost you a war.

Sue: Well, that was a great start. I can’t complain about that. Terry’s back in charge and everything suddenly makes sense again.

The Liberator is in orbit around Albian.

Blake: Population?

Avon: Approximately six million.

Sue: You won’t meet more than six of them.

Cally and Jenna locate the best place to teleport their comrades.

Sue: What do Jenna and Cally actually do these days besides sit at that bloody desk? Are they glorified secretaries now? I can’t remember the last time Jenna left the ship.

Blake wants Vila to accompany him to Albian.

Avon: Doesn’t it make you feel good to be wanted?

CountdownVila: I’ve been a wanted man all my life. What I need now is to be unwanted.

Sue: (singing) Don’t you want me, baby? Don’t you want me, ahhh-ahhh-ahhhh!

Me: Please, don’t.

Sue: They remind me of The Human League a bit. They’ve got two girls who do **** all for a start.

When they arrive on Albian, Avon suggests that they proceed with caution.

Avon: It would be stupid to be shot up by our own allies.

Vila: Not only stupid, painful.

Sue sighs.

Me: What’s wrong?

Sue: Vila is a walking punchline again.

Me: I thought you’d warmed to Vila?

Sue: He’s one-dimensional. He’s only exists to crack jokes and act daft.

Me: That’s why I love him.

Sue: I need to see more depth from him. I want to take Vila seriously, but I can’t.

Our heroes discover a rocket silo with a retractable roof.

Sue: They’ve actually spent some money on this. I’m impressed.

Major Provine slaps a female rebel named Ralli into next week.

CountdownSue: Has anyone ever been slapped into unconsciousness like that in real life? Or does it only ever happen on television? I can’t imagine anyone slapping me hard enough to knock me out like that. Although I bet there are plenty of people who’d like to try.

Me: Maybe she hit her head on the polystyrene cabinet as fell over.

Sue: It looked a bit pathetic to me.

The countdown reaches 585.

Sue: Is this episode taking place in real-time, like 24?

Me: I think so. I’ve never seen this episode before.

It dawned on me recently that the reason I don’t have any childhood memories of Series 2 is because I was living in New Zealand at the time.

Sue: But you’ve had these DVDs for ages.

Me: Erm, yes, well… I, erm…

Sue tries to convert the countdown into minutes and seconds, but that’s abandoned as soon as the characters start talking about the effects of a Solium bomb.

Avon: You could wipe out a whole population and still leave the buildings and the installations intact. In less than a day there is no trace of any radiation.

Sue: Terry Nation doesn’t understand how radiation works.

Me: I wouldn’t like to say. I’m no expert when it comes to radiation.

Sue: Neither is Terry Nation. Trust me, it’s bollocks.

Someone will probably tell us that it’s feasible in the comments below, but Sue remains unconvinced. Then again, she thinks snogging your first cousin’s face off is a bit weird, so what does she know?

CountdownSue: Anyway, they should stop all this idle chit-chat and they should concentrate on disarming the bomb. There isn’t enough urgency in this scene.

Major Provine throttles another rebel.

Sue: I’m surprised he didn’t slap him to death.

Me: Are you still going on about that slap?

Sue: It makes no sense to me. And you can’t say they did it to make the programme less violent, because there’s plenty of gratuitous violence in this episode already.

Me: I can’t believe that you want to see a woman punched instead of slapped. It’s a bit of a turnaround.

Sue: He’s the bad guy. I expect that sort of thing from the bad guy.

When a rebel named Arrian catches Provine trying to escape in a rocket, the major bargains for his life.

Arrian: You think I could live, knowing I’d helped a man who’d murdered an entire world? No, Provine, you’re not going anywhere.

Sue: Good for him. I thought he was going to go along with it for sure, so that was a nice twist. And I finally know who the bad guy reminds me of.

Me: Who?

CountdownSue: Derek Nimmo.

Vila has cracked the Federation’s safe.

Me: See! Vila is important!

The safe explodes.

Sue: Everything that Vila says and does should be accompanied by a parping trombone.

The safe contains coded data cards.

Blake: I want all that stuff run through Orac.

Sue: Just put Orac in charge of everything. The episodes would only be ten minutes long, but that’s all right.

A semiconscious Ralli crawls into the room.

Sue: It must have been one hell of a slap, that’s all I’m saying.

Blake is still searching for Control (see Pressure Point) – and he believes that Provine knows where it is.

Sue: So they actually have a plan now? A proper plan? OK, I can get behind that. They managed to keep it quiet, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.

As luck would have it, Avon and Del Grant are old enemies.

CountdownSue: This is a very tense scene. I’ve never seen Avon look so uptight.

Orac has traced the Solium bomb to one of Albian’s frozen poles. Avon and Del volunteer to teleport over there and disarm it.

Blake: (to Del Grant) If anything happens to Avon, I will come looking for you.

Sue: Aww. Blake really loves Avon. That’s Blake’s best quality, you know.

Before they teleport, Avon gives Del a gun.

Sue: What are they going to shoot when they get there? Polar bears?

The mismatched pair teleport into the polar installation.

Sue: Someone has blu-tacked a calculator to the wall to make the place look more futuristic, and they’re just about getting away with it. I like this episode. It’s quite tense. Plus it’s very easy to follow; the mission is straightforward and it actually makes sense. Come on, Terry, please don’t **** it up.

Avon and Del search for the installation’s central heating system.

Sue: That’s right. Make yourselves comfortable before you disarm the bomb. There’s no rush.

The bomb is encased in ice.

Avon: Get a space heater started.

Sue: That doesn’t make any sense because we aren’t in space.

Blake offers to teleport a few rebels off Albian if everything goes asparagus shaped.

Sue: Get Lesley Judd to knock up some more bracelets. And surely there must be some children they can save with the bracelets they have in the time they have left. They could have saved dozens of people by now.

The ice is melting, and Sue mistakes the sound of dripping water for Dudley Simpson banging away on the bongos. Bless her.

Del: The main roof beam’s cracked… resting on the ice. If it melts any more, it’ll cave in.

Sue: Quick, turn a Space Fridge on!

Avon and Del remove the bomb from the ice.

Sue: Oh look, it’s Orac’s twin brother.

CountdownDel guides Avon through the wire-cutting stage of the procedure.

Del: Right next. No, no, wait! I’m opposite you now. Left is the next in sequence. Your left.

Sue: Just say, “Cut the green wire”, you idiot!

Del: Hadn’t we better turn the heaters off?

Avon: It depends which you prefer: being crushed or frozen to death?

Sue: You aren’t staying the night! Get a bloody move on!

Vila realises that Provine is in the rocket silo. He asks Ralli for directions.

Ralli: The junction off corridor eleven A, fifty-one B.

Vila: Eleven A, fifty-one B…

It isn’t long before Vila becomes hopelessly lost.

Vila: Five A, eleven one B…

Sue: This is me shopping in Ikea. I can actually relate to Vila in this scene.

Avon and Del get to work on the bomb.

Avon: Waste any more time and you won’t get any older. Give me the extractor. Now.

Sue: Relations between these two are so frosty, I’m surprised that anything is melting.

CountdownAvon tells Del everything he wants to know about Anna Grant.

Sue: Now that’s an episode I want to see. Poor Avon. And what a wonderful performance from Paul Darrow. It’s good, this.

Avon: I need to hold this flap back. Get your hand in here.

Sue: You know, if I was the sort of person who noticed sexual tension in scenes where it doesn’t exist, I’d have a field day with this.

She didn’t actually say that. She had a field day with it.

Me: Look, Vila is doing important stuff again!

Sue: He’s just running up and down a corridor. Any fool could do that.

Provine corners Blake in the rocket silo.

Sue: They should make this bad guy the new Travis. He’s scary and he gets things done. He’d be a brilliant arch-nemesis.

Vila arrives at the rocket silo as a gun goes off.

CountdownSue: For a second there, I thought Blake was dead. That was cleverly done. It’s the oldest trick in the book, but it still fooled me.

Blake interrogates the dying major.

Blake: Where is Control, Provine?

Provine: Star One. It’s called Star One now.

Sue: You’ve been to Star One, haven’t you, Neil?

Me: That’s impossible. No one knows where Star One is. No one at all!

Sue: It was a convention in a hotel in Stockton. You made me take you there in the car. And I had to pick you up again. Twice. It’s just off the A19.

Me: Star One becomes very important later on.

Sue: At least they’re actually aiming for something, I suppose. It makes for a nice change of pace. And they shouldn’t have killed Derek Nimmo. He was proper scary.

Back at the pole, Avon prepares to drill into the bomb’s trigger mechanism.

CountdownSue: The holes have already been drilled. This must be the second take and they ran out of plastic tubing.

Me: Maybe the drill is so fast it distorts time?

Sue: Or maybe the director is rubbish. What do you think?

Avon inserts a rod into the first chamber.

Sue KER-PLUNK!

A second rod is slotted into place, but then Del runs off to take shelter from some ice water that’s raining down on him.

Sue: What worries him the most: keeping himself dry or saving the entire planet? Because I know what I’d be concentrating on right now. He was much better in Doctor Who. Oh dear, the ceiling is coming down. It’s quite exciting, this.

Del and the bomb are trapped behind a fallen girder.

Avon: I think I can still get at it. I’m going to have to crawl in over you.

Sue: Just reach over and pick it up. The direction is completely at odds with the script, here.

Del tells Avon that he should leave him there to die.

CountdownSue: Tell you what, why don’t you chat about this AFTER YOU’VE DISARMED THE SODDING BOMB! ARGH!

Avon stops the countdown with a second to spare.

Sue: They should have stopped the countdown at 7, to remind us that this programme is called Blake’s 7. Or maybe 6 would be more appropriate… Or is it 5 now? I can’t remember.

Del: Why did you help me?

Avon: Perhaps because Anna was your sister.

Sue: Isn’t Avon lovely? I thought the other guy was Anna’s husband, so Avon isn’t a home-wrecker after all, which is nice. Unless he was Anna’s brother and her husband; it is Blake’s 7.

She’s joking. I think.

Later, on the Liberator, Del and Avon bid each other farewell.

Sue: He should come back later in the series. He’ll always have that bracelet, so you never know.

Before Del leaves, Avon shakes his hand.

Sue: Aww, that was sweet. I love Avon even more now.

CountdownBlake asks Avon to explain his relationship with Anna.

Avon: You wouldn’t understand.

Sue: She isn’t related to you.

Cue credits.

The Score:

Sue: I really enjoyed that. It feels like we’re back on track again. I can’t believe I’m saying this but Terry Nation definitely writes the best episodes of Blake’s 7. The direction was bit rubbish – yet again – but the stunts were great. And Avon was fabulous. Oh, and Star One sounds exciting, too. Is Star One the title of the next episode?

8/10

Before we go, here’s an extra special treat from 1979:

Next Time:

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

Back
Next

Hostage

Stockholm Syndrome…

Federation pursuit ships have ambushed the Liberator.

Avon: Battle stations!

Sue: Their ship has a massive design flaw. They have to run across the flight deck to reach all the buttons they need to press. Why can’t Zen or Orac do that automatically? Avon nearly tripped over his own feet turning that force wall thingy on. At least he’s wearing a nice costume this week. It suits his personality, all those different shades of grey…

Me: STOP IT!

The pursuit ships keep coming.

HostageSue: They look like the X-Wings from Star Wars.

Me: No, they don’t.

Avon suggests that they escape through a mass of ionised particles.

Blake: Avon might be right. Tangent one eight. Go for it!

Sue: “Go for it!”? You’d never catch Jean-Luc Picard saying something like that. That’s funny.

The plan seems to work.

Jenna: We’ve outrun them.

Blake: Well done, Jenna.

Sue: Eh? What about Avon? It was his idea.

Vila slopes off for a nice glass of relaxant.

Sue: So Vila’s basically a morphine addict, now.

However, the pursuit ships are still on their tail.

HostageSue: What are Victoria Wood and a young Pat Butcher doing flying that ship? That’s a bit mental.

The pursuit ship’s commander is very pleased with his new detector shield.

Sue: Is he the new Travis?

Me: No, they haven’t recast Travis again. The second eye kinda gives it away.

Sue: I know that. I’m not stupid, you know. But since Travis turned out to be hopeless, have they got another henchman in to take over the role?

Me: It could be Travis’s two-eyed brother for all I know. I’ve never seen this episode before.

The pursuit ships prepare to engage the Liberator.

Commander: Attack in sections, Alpha section leads. Thirteen seconds between waves. Speed, time distort ten.

Sue: Time distort ten? They must be going faster than the speed of light, which means they would have to break the time barrier. That makes sense, I guess.

Sue has been watching the new series of Cosmos. Can you tell?

Avon: Zen, can we withstand an attack of this magnitude?

Zen: No information.

Avon: Thank you, that’s very helpful.

Sue: ASK ORAC!

The Liberator takes one hell of a beating.

HostageSue: So much for them having a shit-hot super-ship. For God’s sake, fight back! Fire a laser or something!

By some miracle, the Liberator manages to evade certain doom.

Commander: I thought we had them for sure.

Sue: Everyone except the script writer thought that, pet. I’m not impressed with Travis’s replacement. He’s just as hopeless as the other two.

Vila wants to know when Avon will fix the damaged detector shield.

Avon: Whenever we stumble across the parts I need.

Sue: They need a Space Halfords, or an intergalactic Quick-Fit. So is this is the plot for this episode, shopping for spare parts? I can’t wait.

Orac receives a message for Blake. It’s from Travis.

Travis: I am sending this from the planet Exbar. I have Ushton’s daughter. Her name is Inga, if you remember. Don’t worry, I won’t harm her. All I ask is come to Exbar and talk.

Travis offers to join forces with Blake.

Sue: Makes perfect sense to me.

Me: You actually trust him? But he’s a psychopath!

HostageSue: I know. He’d fit right in. I don’t trust him, though. He should join forces with Blake, but he won’t.

Travis: The girl is safe if you come to Exbar. Teleport at grid reference B W one three zero. If you do not come, the girl, regretfully, DIES!

Sue: I’m sorry, but his acting was atrocious there. So hammy. Maybe Travis is the sort of person who feels self-conscious when he leaves an answer phone message, so he over-compensates.

Blake and Avon discuss Travis’s motives.

Sue: I want to believe him, but Avon’s right, you’d have to be mad to trust Travis.

Me: Threatening to kill Blake’s cousin if he doesn’t make friends with him probably isn’t the best way to go about forging an alliance, either.

Sue: And why is Jenna drinking a glass of Lenor?

Meanwhile, Servalan is punishing an underling for yet another cock-up.

Servalan: Commander, I’m not interested in your excuses. You will surrender your ship and place yourself under close arrest.

HostageSue: She goes through henchmen like some women go through shoes.

Servalan knocks back a glass of green.

Sue: It’s all that Crème de menthe. She’s not thinking straight.

Servalan has a visitor. She welcomes him a beaming smile.

Sue: Her teeth are green! She should stick to gin.

Me: Do you recognise this guy?

I pause the DVD so Sue can get a good look at Kevin Stoney as Counsellor Joban.

Sue: He looks familiar…

Me: I’ve give you a clue: “Paaaaaacker!”

Sue: Oh yes, he’s very good. Does he become a regular character? That would be excellent.

Joban has some bad news for Servalan.

Joban: Some members of the council are concerned. Many of our citizens now know of Blake’s activities, and those of the renegade Travis.

HostageServalan: But there have been no public spacecasts on either Travis or Blake.

Joban: People talk, Servalan. There’s no way of stopping them.

Sue: Space Twitter is a bitch.

Joban makes a veiled threat: sort Blake and Travis out – or else.

Sue: I could watch these two all day. That was a great scene.

Blake prepares to teleport to Exbar. Avon warns him that he’ll leave him there if he gets into trouble.

Avon: You are still assuming that we will risk our lives for you.

Sue: Did Gan die for nothing? It’s sad, really.

Blake makes contact with his Uncle Ushton. Sue doesn’t recognise John Abineri as Hagar the Horrible, which will annoy Toby Hadoke if he’s reading this.

Sue: The director has a serious foot fetish.

HostageIt’s true. Vere Lorrimer lingers on Ushton’s limping leg for what feels like an eternity.

Sue: Why is it when they visit an alien planet, it always seems to be populated by two or three people. Where is everyone?

Back on the Liberator, Avon wants to teleport to Exbar.

Sue: (as Jenna) Let me finish this level of Candy Crush on my iPad, first.

Avon is down and safe.

Me: What do you think of their new silver spacesuits?

Sue: I’ve seen worse. However, if they stopped making new costumes every week, they could spend some of that money on sets and extras. Just a thought.

Ushton takes Blake to his cosy cave.

Sue: Ooh, that’s a lovely bit of wood. I’d love a table like that.

Travis has employed Crimos to do his dirty work for him.

Blake: Criminal psychopaths.

Sue: Aren’t Blake and his crew criminal psychopaths? Technically, I mean.

Me: It’s all a matter of perspective, I suppose.

Avon arrives on Exbar, but instead of making contact with Blake, he spies on him instead.

Sue: What is Avon playing at? Has he finally had enough, and he’s going to use this opportunity to get rid of Blake once and for all? Is that it?

HostageServalan is en route to Exbar…

Sue: At least she’s travelling First Class.

Servalan is in a hurry to get there.

Servalan: This is an emergency; time distort ten.

Sue: Are their spaceships powered by steam? Because it sounds like they’re boiling a kettle when they distort time.

Vila joins Avon on Exbar. Avon warns him that they can’t trust Blake’s uncle.

Avon: He had a limp. When he went back into the cave he didn’t have a limp.

Sue: It’s the plot that’s limp, love.

Vila is freezing to death.

Sue: Whatever happened to their Millets jackets, the ones with the fluffy hoods? Did the product placement deal expire or something?

Vila: I’m freezing!

Avon: Well, freeze in silence.

Sue: Isn’t that a song by Depeche Mode?

Me: No, Sue, it isn’t.

Blake struggles to reach the top of the mountain.

Sue: This is just like Kilimanjaro, isn’t it, Neil?

Me: If Kilimanjaro was a small hill, yes.

HostageBlake is thrown down the mountain by a man in a gimp mask.

Sue: No, Blake, I am your father!

Me: So, you have a cousin!

Blake is hauled before Travis.

Travis: I am tired of being hunted by Servalan and the Federation.

Sue: It’s only been one episode!

Travis wants the Liberator.

Travis: It is the fastest, most powerful ship in existence.

Sue: I wouldn’t bank on that. They were almost blown up ten minutes ago.

Avon is captured in a large net.

Sue: Oh dear. That’s humiliating. If you have to stick someone in a net, it should be Vila. That way, at least it will be funny.

Travis backhands Blake.

Sue: He’s so over-the-top, it’s unbelievable. How anyone kept a straight face on the set is beyond me.

HostageTravis interrogates Ushton.

Travis: Who is the weakest?

Travis has Blake’s cousin, Inga, tortured so he can extract the information he so desperately needs.

Sue: She’s basically a cut-price Leela, isn’t she.

Ushton finally capitulates.

Ushton: The one they call Vila.

Sue: And Travis couldn’t work that out for himself? It isn’t rocket science!

Vila is interrogated by Travis. He wants to know how the teleport bracelets work.

Travis: All you have to do is talk. Demonstrate. Tell us the word.

Vila: I’m saying nothing.

Travis aims his weaponised hand at Vila’s head.

Travis: For the last time. Tell us the word. The word. The word. THE WORD! THE WORD!

HostageSue: Grease! Grease is the word!

Vila: Teleport!

Sue: Pause the DVD!

Me: Confirmed.

Sue: Are you seriously telling me that they didn’t say the word ‘teleport’ when they were trying to get a teleport bracelet to work? That never crossed their minds? I thought they were supposed to be smart!

Me: They got hung up on the word ‘energise’.

Sue: So what’s next? Travis waterboards Vila so he can find out what the capital of France is? It isn’t rocket science!

A Crimo teleports to the Liberator , taking Jenna by surprise.

Sue: If that wasn’t bad enough, she’s got a really bad case of bed head.

Avon admits to Blake that he told Servalan where Travis was hiding.

Sue: What an idiot. That isn’t like Avon at all. Allan Prior doesn’t know how to write for Avon. That makes no sense at all.

Jenna and Cally overcome the Crimo by teleporting him into space.

Sue: They did that to Brian Blessed, once.

Me: Unless I’m very much mistaken, they just did it to him again. It’s the same effects shot.

Travis is told that Inga has escaped.

Travis: GET HER!

Sue: This has turned into a bloody pantomime. I can’t take him seriously.

Ushton kicks Travis down a small incline.

Sue: Brilliant. Now just shoot him in the head and put him out of his misery.

Ushton goes back for Blake and Avon, but when they return, Travis has gone.

Sue: Un-***ing-believable.

Stuff happens.

HostageSue: The direction is very poor. I can’t follow this sequence at all. It’s a mess.

Blake, Avon and Ushton hurl some boulders at Travis.

Sue: And now it’s turned into The Goodies.

A fight kicks off.

Sue: Remind me, Neil, what do they pay Dudley Simpson for again?

The Crimos keep coming.

Sue: The director is losing light, and I’m losing the will to live.

A Crimo bounces down the mountainside.

Sue: It really is an episode of The Goodies!

[jwplayer player=”1″ mediaid=”8397″]

Travis is eventually overpowered.

Avon: Why don’t we kill him while we still have the chance.

Blake: No. We’ll leave him for the Federation.

Sue: Oh, for ****’s sake! Not again! YOU IDIOTS!

HostageAll the Crimos are dead.

Sue: The director definitely has a foot fetish. And speaking of boots, I bloody love Avon’s.

Inga turns down Blake’s offer to spend the rest of her life as a wanted terrorist.

Inga: That storage room contains enough food to feed every starving mouth on this planet.

Sue: All three of them. It’s basically two tins of beans.

Inga is so grateful, she kisses Blake on the lips.

Sue: Steady on, Blake. I think that’s incest.

Travis meets up with Servalan.

Servalan: Has Blake gone?

Travis looks up at the Liberator.

Travis: Yes.

HostageSue: The ship looks as if it’s hanging a few inches above his stupid head. The director should have been shot for that.

Jenna appears to be in a mood with Blake.

Sue: Seriously, Blake. Incest?

Cue credits.

The Score:

Sue: I blame the director for cocking that up.

Me: It was a Travisty.

Sue: It started well, but it fell apart as soon as they reached the planet. Avon was completely out of character, the plot was flimsy and tedious, the direction was a joke, and Travis is doing my head in. No, I didn’t enjoy that one very much.

3/10

Before we go, here’s a link to Part One of Kevin Jon Davies’ Making of Blake’s 7 documentary that never made it to DVD. Stephen Greif is in it.

Next Time:

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

Back
Next

Killer

Squeaky Bum Time…

Sue: I never thought I’d say this, but the theme tune is probably my favourite part of the programme now.

She likes it so much, she insists on singing along to it whenever we sit down to watch an episode. She always loses it towards the end – she’s at least two octaves too high – but she’s getting closer each time.

Sue: Ooh, Robert Holmes wrote this one. The odds of this episode being any good just shot through the roof.

Avon and Vila teleport to an alien planet with their backs to the camera.

Sue: How very odd. You’d never catch Captain Kirk doing that.

KillerThey find themselves on desolate, windswept beach.

Sue: They’ve teleported to Seal Sands.

A Q-Base looms out of the fog.

Sue: It’s definitely Seal Sands.

You have to live in our neck of the woods to get that reference. Sorry about that. Google it.

Avon and Vila sprint across the beach.

Sue: At least Blake and Avon have something in common: they both run like girls.

The Liberator‘s crew detect an ancient spacecraft heading their way.

Sue: Haven’t they done this plot before? Mysterious ships like this are always bad news. Just shoot it out of the sky.

The Q-Base launches a space craft to intercept the derelict ship.

Sue: Good use of stock footage, there. I actually believed that.

It’s what’s residing inside the Q-Base that she can’t get her head around.

Sue: Why is the planet infested with leather cockroaches, Neil?

Sue doesn’t recognise Ronald Lacey as the Federation technician Tynus.

KillerMe: Raiders of the Lost Ark. Remember?

Sue: No.

Me: You must remember. Played a Nazi. Burnt his hand. Face melted off at the end. That really funny bit with the coat hanger. Toht.

Sue: Don’t you tut at me. He looks like my first boyfriend, if that’s any help.

Avon and Vila have infiltrated the Q-Base, but before they go any further, Avon instructs Vila to don a protective cape.

Vila: What do you call this, then?

Sue: It’s the sort of thing you wear when you visit Niagara Falls. The only thing missing is a nice leather fisherman’s hat.

Tynus and Avon are old friends.

Tynus: Kerr Avon! How the devil did you get here?

Sue: Curly Avon? Was that his nickname at school?

Me: Kerr Avon. That’s his name, remember?

Sue: Not really, no.

I remind her that the crew have forenames and surnames. Except for Cally, Zen, and Orac. She can’t understand why Jenna and Vila use their forenames while Blake and Avon strut around using their surnames.

Sue: It must be an ego thing.

KillerBut, as you might expect, it’s June Hudson’s costumes that dominate the discussion.

Sue: The sound department must have had a nightmare with all this creaking leather on set. No wonder the actors are trying to stand as still as possible when they deliver their lines. And can you imagine going to the toilet in that?

When Tynus leaves the office, his cape smacks against the door frame with a loud, leathery slap.

Sue: There had better be a good reason for wearing that.

Me: I think it’s supposed to protect you against something.

Sue: The only thing it would protect you against is having sex with another human being. It’s impossible to look attractive in that. Even Avon looks ridiculous in it, and he’s been known to dress as a lobster.

Vila: I always knew you had a friend. I used to say to people, “I bet Avon’s got a friend, somewhere in the galaxy”.

Avon: And you were right. That must be a novel experience for you.

Sue: It really is a shame about the stupid costumes, because the script is really good. You’ve got Robert Holmes writing for Avon and Vila. You can’t go wrong with a combination like that.

Avon took the rap for Tynus when the Federation arrested him for fraud.

Sue: That’s the thing about Avon – he’s loyal. Even if he hated your guts, he’d stand by you if he thought he owed you. And that’s why Blake isn’t lying dead on an alien planet somewhere.

A doctor named Bellfriar puts the landing bay under quarantine after he receives an anonymous tip-off from Blake.

Sue: I’m sorry, Neil, but this is ridiculous. You can’t hear what they’re saying for the squeaking and creaking. It’s really off-putting.

Avon and Vila have come to the Q-Base to steal a special crystal.

KillerAvon: Without that crystal we’ll never break the Federation pulse code. We need to read their messages if we’re to stay ahead of Servalan.

Sue: We’ve got this shit-hot computer that’s worth a million credits, but, would you believe it, it’s completely useless when it comes to breaking codes. We can’t even take it back to the shop.

Me: Maybe Orac needs the special crystal to crack the code?

Sue: **** off! He can’t be that good if he needs a plug-in.

Speaking of plug-ins…

Sue: I don’t understand why Orac doesn’t have a simple on/off switch. The dongle they have to slot into it to make him work isn’t very practical. They’re bound to lose it one day.

Blake informs Jenna that he’s wants to teleport to the Q-Base on Fosforon, just in case.

Sue: There’s no sexual chemistry between Blake and Jenna at all. I’m surprised by that.

Me: I’m relieved. Your shipping is bad enough as it is.

The derelict space ship lands on Fosforon.

Sue: Either this planet is hosting a Formula 1 race, or the costume designer is taking the piss.

KillerMe: June Hudson modelled these costumes on the Michelin Men on purpose.

Sue: That doesn’t make it any better! The only way those costumes would make any sense is if the suits were filled with oxygen and that way… oh, who am I kidding? They are ****ing ridiculous!

The Michelin Men search the ship while Bellfriar observes their progress on a monitor back in his lab.

Sue: This reminds me of Aliens. Any minute now the monitor will go black and somebody will scream their head off. It’s way ahead of its time, this.

Tynus shows Avon and Vila the Q-Base’s A-line converter.

Sue: Just when I thought these costumes couldn’t get any worse, they put goggles on them. I bet the actors were straight on the phone to their agents when they turned up for work that morning.

Back in Tynus’s office, Vila helps himself to a refreshing drink.

Sue: That drinking fountain must be important. That’s the second time the director has lingered on that drinking fountain.

A decayed corpse is taken from the derelict ship to a quarantined laboratory for a post-mortem.

Me: You won’t believe this, but the guy doing the autopsy directed Tomb of the Cybermen.

Sue: Really? I didn’t like that very much, did I?

KillerMe: Don’t you remember all the insults and death threats we received that week? Oh how we laughed.

Sue: At least the Blake’s 7 fans don’t overreact.

Me: Yes, well. Anyway…

Sue: He’s a much better actor than he is a director. I bet this turns into The Thing.

Me: It might turn into the dog from The Thing.

When Morris Barry turns his back, the corpse wakes up and attacks him.

Sue: This is for Tomb of the Cybermen, you bastard!

The corpse falls silent again.

Sue: So it’s basically a Space Mummy. They had Space Mummies on Doctor Who, didn’t they. Our shelves are littered with the bloody things. I mean, how many Space Mummies from Doctor Who do you actually need, Neil?

Avon is mentally preparing himself to sabotage the A-line converter.

Vila: Nerves getting a little frayed?

Avon: There are a quarter of a million volts running through that converter. I make one false move, I’ll be so crisped up what’s left of me won’t fit into a sandwich.

Sue: Brilliant. Robert Holmes was born to write for Avon. This is great fun.

Avon and Vila discuss Blake’s altruistic nature.

KillerAvon: Blake takes risks to help other people. Sometimes people he doesn’t even know. One day that great big bleeding heart of his will get us all killed.

Vila: Unless somebody ditches him first.

Sue: They keep hinting that Avon is going to turn against Blake. It’s been bubbling away ever since they met. It has to come to a head soon. But Avon’s loyal, you see. I don’t think he’ll do it.

Bellfriar and Blake discuss Morris Barry’s fate, but once again the relentless squeaking and creaking proves to be very distracting.

Sue: Did June Hudson think they were making a silent film?

Two technicians have died under mysterious circumstances.

Sue: It’s really good, this. It’s proper scary.

Avon and Vila head for the A-line converter while the rest of the base are preoccupied with a fire.

Sue: You have got to be joking. The fire brigade are dressed as fried eggs! Were they on their way back from a Fun Run?

Just in case you don’t know what she’s talking about, watch this:

[jwplayer mediaid=”8205″]

Sue: That trooper isn’t dying from smoke inhalation, he’s collapsed because he’s laughing too much and he can’t carry on with the scene.

Bellfriar has a deadly virus on his hands.

Blake: It must be airborne.

Sue: The disease is spreading through the drinking fountains. That must be it!

The virus attacks your memories.

Me: What’s Avon’s first name, Sue?

KillerSue: Er…

Me: I’m calling a doctor.

Vila finds a message that Tynus has sent to the Federation.

Vila: Listen to this: “Servalan, Federation HQ, Urgent. Liberator in orbit, Fosforon. Detaining ten hours. Make speed. Tynus, Q-Base.”

Avon is furious.

Sue: Avon is going to kill the two-timing bastard. Excellent.

Blake suspects that the virus could be a form of germ warfare.

Sue: It’s a bloody good job that flatulence isn’t the first symptom of the virus, because this lot sound like they’re farting every time they move.

Blake offers a possible solution to the outbreak.

Blake: On board the Liberator, I have the most advanced computer ever designed.

Sue: We never use it because it’s a pain in the arse, but we’ve definitely got one.

Panic sweeps through the base. Tynus, who has enough on his plate with the A-line B-plot, is informed about the situation via a comlink.

KillerVoice: The men are falling like flies!

Me: They look like they’re auditioning for Tiswas when they croak it!

Avon retrieves the crystal, but he is interrupted by the treacherous Tynus. With a little help from Vila, Avon punches his old friend in the face.

Sue: Take that, Ian! You bastard!

Me: Ian?

Sue: My first boyfriend.

Tynus stumbles into the A-line converter, which means he’ll be so crisped up what’s left of him won’t fit into a sandwich.

Me: It’ll be a bloody big sandwich.

Sue: What?

Me: Nothing.

Bellfriar has come up with an antidote to the virus, but as he transmits the formula to the Liberator, something terrible happens.

Bellfriar: I’ve forgotten how to read!

Sue: What a brilliant twist.

Me: It reminds me of Pontypool.

Sue: Does it? I’ve never been there.

KillerBellfriar’s hands erupt in blisters and he dies.

Sue: Oh no. I really liked him. This is very bleak.

Blake wants to put a plague warning around the planet.

Avon: Listen, Blake, Servalan is on her way here. She lands on Fosforon, she gets the plague, she’s off our backs for good. You cannot put out a warning.

Blake ignores Avon and does the decent thing.

Sue: I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m on Blake’s side this week.

Cue credits.

The Score:

Sue: I really enjoyed that. And I’m and not just saying that; I’m sure liking this episode has pissed somebody off somewhere. Whatever. Anyway, I’ll have to knock some marks off for the ridiculously impractical costumes, and the direction wasn’t that great, either. However, the performances were very entertaining and the script was excellent. But of course it was. Robert Holmes wrote it. And Avon was front and centre this week, which is exactly where I like him. Yes, I’ll give that episode two Michelin stars.

8/10

Next Time:

We’re taking a short mid-series break until Friday April 4th.

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

Back
Next

Trial

Crimes against television…

TrialSue: No Terry Nation this time. That’s a shame.

Me: Are you feeling all right?

Sue: Oh look, it’s Servalan’s house.

The Supreme Commander’s space station is very busy today.

Me: Do you remember them?

I’m pointing at Bercol and Rotane, who we last saw in Seek – Locate – Destroy.

Sue: Vaguely. They’re the bad guys, I think. I definitely recognise this guard, though. What have I seen him in before?

Me: The Bill. It’s Tosh Lines.

Sue: So it is. He’s very good. I like the way we’re getting a different perspective on things with these two guards. I hope they stick with that. It’s different.

Me: I say, I say, do you recognise this guy?

I’m pointing at John Savident.

TrialSue: I feel like I’m attending a police identity parade. Yes, he’s famous. Just don’t ask me what’s he’s been in. I haven’t got a clue.

Sue is more Walford than Weatherfield, although having said that, she doesn’t remember Brian Croucher as Ted Hills in EastEnders, either. It must be the eyepatch.

A trial is about to take place.

Sue: Are they going to charge Travis with incompetence, because he lets Blake escape ALL THE TIME?

Servalan briefs a woman named Thania.

Sue: Servalan is looking very beautiful today. I’ve noticed that Federation women are very androgynous. Maybe these two are lesbian lovers and…

I can’t bring myself to type the rest.

Sue: The courtroom set is nice. The costumes are very striking, too. They’ve spent some money on this one.

Travis is charged with the murder of over one thousand unarmed civilians. The defence requests that the names of all the victims be read out in court.

TrialSamor: Do you realize how long that will take, Major?

Sue: Oh no. This is going to be a fun episode.

Travis doesn’t bat an eyelid.

Sue: He looks like he’s going to have a power nap. I think I might join him.

Meanwhile, on the Liberator, Blake is knocking back the crème de menthe and bickering with Avon.

Sue: Is Blake still in charge? Has Avon taken over the ship yet?

Blake wants to teleport to an uninhabited planet for some serious me-time.

Avon: One of your followers – one of your three remaining followers – might have to risk his neck to rescue you.

Sue: So we’re back to Blake’s 3 again? Brilliant.

When Blake gently places his hand on Avon’s shoulder, Sue starts shipping.

Sue: Get a room.

Me: Get a Livejournal account.

TrialZen: Status is firm.

Sue: Yeah, I bet it is.

Jenna enters the flight deck in a pair of tight leather trousers.

Sue: Blake’s 7 caters for just about everyone when it comes to bums in tight leather. However, if Vila starts wearing PVC, I’m out of here.

The crew on the flight deck can hear Blake chatting to Cally in the teleport room.

Sue: Why do they have a baby monitor on the ship?

Blake teleports down to the planet.

Sue: Is this really the best time to go camping, Blake? And what’s in your man bag? A packed lunch? What the hell is going on, Neil?

Back on Servalan’s space station, Rontane and Bercol discuss the Supreme Commander’s plan to have Travis executed so he can’t testify against her at an inquiry that’s been set up to investigate the Blake affair.

Bercol: A Presidential stay of execution so that Travers can give evidence?

Sue: Travers? Who the **** is Travers?

Bercol: Servalan picked Travers.

Sue: He said it again! First they can’t get his face right, and now they can’t get his name right.

Rotane: Servalan’s ambitions threaten us all. And the President particularly dislikes being threatened.

TrialSue: Are they the President’s men?

Me: Yes.

Sue: What, all of them?

Me: That’s probably the worst joke you’ve ever made.

Sue: I’m sorry. I’m bored. When does this episode get going?

Blake has teleported to some undisclosed coordinates, which puzzles the Liberator‘s crew.

Vila: I wish Gan was here.

Avon: Oh, yes, of course. He would be able to work out exactly what was going on.

Sue: (laughing) That’s cruel. Gan’s corpse isn’t even cold yet. Funny, though.

Blake has left a message for his crew. In short, he’s given them an opportunity to abandon him on an alien planet if they really want to.

Sue: Blake is a terrible captain. He should hold regular team meetings for a start. He has to stop all this going behind their backs nonsense. He’ll never earn their trust that way. And he’s a coward, too. He should have had this conversation ON THE SHIP!

Blake’s self-imposed exile begins with him being squirted in the face. Yes, really.

Sue: Is he on Candid Camera?

Or Game For a Laugh if you’re under the age of 40.

Sue: Is a plant is pissing in his face?

Blake notices a strange creature hiding in the undergrowth.

Sue: What the hell was THAT? That was bloody weird.

TrialMeanwhile, Travis is relaxing in his cell when Trooper Par (try saying that quickly) arrives bearing gifts.

Sue: Why has he brought Travis some Hugo Boss aftershave? Is he trying to tell him something?

Par has a soft spot for Travis.

Par: You could always rely on him not to get you killed unnecessarily.

Sue: Unlike some people I could mention. Oh look, here he is now.

Blake is pursuing the strange creature through a jungle.

Sue: This is beginning to get on my tits, Neil.

The creature unnerves Sue.

Sue: What the hell is this? It’s a cross between Gollum, a chicken and a lizard. What a mess. This had better not be Gan’s replacement.

Meanwhile, on the Liberator…

Sue: THERE ARE TOO MANY PLOTS! This episode is jumping all over the place. Pick a story and tell it.

Me: Which of the three plots would you like to get rid of?

Sue: All of them.

The creature known as Zil educates Blake about the ways of the world.

Zil: Everything lives. The Host lives. To live is not enough for Blake and Zil. Blake and Zil woke.

Sue: I really can’t be arsed with this, Neil. This is dreadful.

TrialZil offers Blake something to eat.

Blake: What is it?

Zil: Life.

Sue: Lice? No thanks!

Me: Not lice. Life.

Sue: I can’t understand a word she’s saying. It’s nonsense.

Zil becomes more and more distressed.

Sue: It’s Lady Ga Ga on a bad night out.

Meanwhile, Avon has come up with a plan to save Blake from being eaten alive by the planet he accidentally went camping on, but can Cally pull it off?

Avon: It will be up to you to hit the main switch and complete the process. You’ll have to concentrate. He’ll appear and disappear in one short flash.

Cally: And if I miss it?

Avon: He’s gone for good.

Sue: Look at Avon’s smile. He’s almost daring Cally to miss Blake on purpose. That way they could all **** off and become millionaires.

Zil is eaten by the planet.

Sue: Who cares? This is ****ing dreadful. I’ve lost my patience with this.

Cally successfully teleports Blake back to the ship.

TrialSue: So what did that solve, exactly? It’s just proved once again that Blake is a hopeless, selfish leader. I don’t understand why Avon didn’t let the idiot die. He should demote him at the very least.

Back on the space station, Travis and Thania are arguing over who gets to make the opening declaration.

Sue: You know, it’s hard to take someone who looks like Alvin Stardust seriously.

Blake calls a team meeting.

Sue: Maybe he learned a valuable lesson, after all.

Blake’s plan is very simple:

Blake: A high-speed attack. A single strike run. We’ll be on them before they know and away before they can respond.

Avon: Where?

Blake: Servalan’s headquarters.

Sue: My mistake. He’s learned nowt. So who’s he going to get killed this week?

Travis addresses the courtroom with a damning defence of his actions.

Sue: Come on! Love-a-me too. Won’t you be my Coo Ca Choo?

Me: Eh?

Sue: It’s his black leather glove that does it.

Travis starts yelling and screaming.

Sue: YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!

Meanwhile, Federation ships are approaching the Liberator.

TrialSue: Here we go. Finally, some action.

But the ships sail right past them, thanks to a detector shield invented by Avon.

Sue: That pretty much sums up this episode. Nothing is happening. Nothing at all.

Vila: They missed us! Avon’s gadget works!

Avon: It just occurred to me, that as the description of a highly sophisticated technological achievement, “Avon’s gadget works” seems to lack a certain style.

Sue turns to me and frowns.

Sue: Even Avon can’t save this episode. Come back Terry Nation, all is forgiven.

Servalan wants Travis dead.

Servalan: It really is a pity he’s got to die. He’s so much better than anything I’ve got left.

Sue: Why don’t they just make a deal? They are obviously lovers, so why don’t they just cover each other’s backs and get each other off.

Me: I beg your pardon?

Sue: The charges, you idiot. And then they can have sex together.

Travis is sentenced to death.

Sue: I don’t believe this. Blake is going to save Travis’s life, isn’t he? The idiot!

TrialTravis: The Federation is run by hypocrites and supported by fools. I’m glad to be rid of you all.

Sue: Travis would be a good replacement for Gan. In fact, I’m even more convinced that will happen. Blake’s got to get his numbers back up.

The Liberator fires on the space station, hitting the courtroom, but Travis jumps through a closing door just in time to escape the cold vacuum of space.

Sue: Wow. His jumping is almost as subtle as his acting.

Blake tells Zen to get them the hell out of there.

Sue: What? WAIT! Come back and finish them off! Two more shots and they’ll all be dead. What are you doing?

Travis makes his way to Servalan’s office.

Sue: It’s all kicking off, now. Better late than never, I suppose.

Servalan allows Travis to continue his pursuit of Blake as an outlaw.

Sue: What a load of shit. They could have set that up in the first ten minutes. What a waste of an episode.

Back on the Liberator, Blake and Avon are talking about Zil.

TrialAvon: I would quite like to have met this Zil of yours. It’s not often that one comes across a philosophical flea.

Sue: I told you it was lice.

Blake and Avon laugh their heads off.

Sue sticks her fingers down her throat and retches.

Cue credits.

The Score:

Sue: I hated that episode.

1/10

Me: 1 out of 10? Are you on crack?

Sue: It was rubbish! Don’t tell me that you actually liked it, Neil.

Me: The bits with Travis were all right.

Sue: Are you on crack?

Me: Seriously, though. 1 out of 10? Really?

Sue: It irritated me. Blake didn’t learn a damn thing and this version of Travis is a complete joke. Even Avon bored me to tears. And as for all that crap with Lady Ga Ga? Forget it. I’ll give it a point for the costumes and the courtroom, and that’s it.

Me: Are you sure you’re feeling OK?

Here’s a picture of a kitten to take your mind off Sue’s score:

Kitten

Next Time:

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

Back
Next

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.

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