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servalan

Warlord

The name of the place is Xenon Base…

WarlordSue: What the hell is going on?

Stencilled zombies are roaming the planet Zondar.

Sue: Are we watching some performance art?

Bored security guards decide to amuse themselves by murdering a group of these doped-up civilians on an escalator. Even Nicol is disturbed, and she thought The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was a comedy when I caught her watching it aged twelve.

Nicol: It reminds me of that level in Call of Duty where you have to machine-gun all those innocent bystanders in an airport. It’s a bit grim.

Me: It’s basically Dawn of the Dead meets THX-1138.

And that’s when Nicol got up and left. Sue, on the other hand, remained slack-jawed throughout. And then she surprised me:

Sue: I don’t like the direction very much.

Me: What? Are you joking? It’s amazing.

WarlordSue: I hate the Picture-in-Picture effect. It looks cheap. We’re supposed to be watching a drama here, not the ****ing News.

Avon is hosting a conference on Xenon Base, and the delegates are an interesting bunch to say the least.

Sue: Earth, Wind and Fire have let themselves go.

One of the delegates is running a little late.

Chalsa: Zukan isn’t here!

Me: I don’t think Rick James acted again after this.

Sue: Oh, I think he gave up acting long before this, Neil. And Marge Simpson just called. She wants her hair back.

The conference hasn’t exactly got off to a flying start.

Vila: Hardly surprising. Avon’s idea of diplomacy is like breaking someone’s legs then saying, “Lean on me.”

Sue: Have Vila and Avon had a conversation about what happened on that ship yet? I’ll be very surprised if Vila is still talking to Avon, actually.

Avon hopes to forge an alliance that can defeat the Federation once and for all.

WarlordSue: OK, so this is basically Babylon 5, but with even weirder hair. And is he a thawed-out Ice Warrior?

She finds it hard to believe that Avon has managed to stage an important conference like this.

Sue: This must have taken weeks of adventures we haven’t seen. I’m surprised all the delegates weren’t killed before they arrived.

An unidentified spaceship appears on Orac’s radar.

Freighter: This is Betafarl commercial freighter Lodestar.

Sue: Paedophile?

Zukan: This is Zukan, President of Betafarl.

Sue: President of Paedophile?

It’s safe to assume that Sue thinks Betafarl is a stupid name for a planet, and that they should have changed it when they still had the chance. Just imagine her shaking her head every time somebody says “Betafarl”. And they’ll say it quite a lot.

WarlordAnyway, when Zukan arrives at the conference, he formally greets the other delegates.

Sue: Are you sure he isn’t there for the X-Factor auditions?

Me: Hang on, Rick James is attempting to speak again:

Chalsa: But words are no more than… words.

Sue: Jesus Christ. Make him stop!

Sue decides to focus on the delegates’ hair.

Sue: The stylist just went for it. One of them looks like he’s stuck his fingers in a plug socket. And as for the one with the pink knot on his head, I can just imagine how that conversation went: “Yes, you will look ridiculous BUT you will look ten years younger!”

But Sue ain’t seen nothing yet. Just wait until she gets an eyeful of Zukan’s daughter, Zeeona.

Sue: Toyah!

Me: (singing) Ooh, I miss my Japanese Boy…

Sue: They’ve run out of money. They’ve obviously spent all the budget on the big guest stars we’ve had recently. They’ve resorted to rank amateurs, now. It’s a shame, really.

WarlordZeeona and Tarrant first met during an untelevised adventure (when the team were running around the galaxy selling conference tickets), and Zeeona must have liked what she saw because she’s travelled a long way to see him again.

Sue: Oh dear. Tarrant’s got a stalker. I’ve got a number he could call…

It isn’t very long before Zeeona and Tarrant end up in bed together.

Sue: Tarrant can’t keep it in his trousers these days.

Me: And aliens aren’t forcing him do this, either. Unless you count her, of course.

Sue: This would make me feel sick.

Me: What? Kissing Tarrant?

Sue: No, the stupid green thing that’s spinning in the background. That would put me right off.

Zukan isn’t very happy when he hears about Tarrant’s extramural activities, and when Avon eventually catches up with the Lothario, he pushes him off the screen and into a corridor.

Sue: That was very funny, but we should have heard Tarrant cry when Avon slapped him across the face for being such a tart.

Zukan forbids his daughter to see Tarrant again and Zeeona cries herself to sleep over a sea of stars.

Sue: Wow… What a cheesy shot. Did that just happen, Neil?

Sue isn’t a fan of Avon’s new uniform, either.

Sue: The copper collar and the patches made from lace doilies isn’t really doing it for me. Put him back in black leather!

Soolin decides to teleport Zeeona back into Tarrant’s loving arms.

Sue: Sutekh will be furious when he finds out.

Me: Zukan.

Sue: Whatever.

WarlordZeeona and Tarrant can’t keep their hands off each other.

Sue: Oh, for God’s sake. Get a room!

Zeeona’s father, meanwhile, is definitely up to no good.

Sue: His hair must be giving him a terrible headache, the poor sod.

Soolin’s cupid stunt could ruin everything…

That’s the best sentence I will ever write on this blog. I may as well pack up and go home now. Oh, wait, I’m already here.

Avon: If it comes to a choice between the alliance and Zukan’s revenge, don’t think that I won’t sacrifice you.

Sue: We believe you, Avon. You’ve made it perfectly clear that’ll you’ll throw your so-called friends under the bus.

Zeeona and Tarrant waltz back into the control room, reeking of sex.

Sue: That was quick. Oh wait, they’re going back for another go. It’s probably Tarrant’s third shag in fifteen minutes.

When Orac detects a bomb in the teleport chamber, the earth moves for everyone.

Sue: Ooh, things are very exciting all of a sudden. And just as I was beginning to tune out. That’s lucky.

warlord8Xenon Base’s roof caves in on Orac.

Me: Orac’s dead.

No reaction.

Me: I said Orac’s dead.

Sue: He’s a computer, Neil. He’s broken.

Dayna surveys the damage.

Dayna: Channel one dead. Two dead… We’ve got Channel Five!

Me: I love Glen Allen. I just wanted to say that.

Servalan arrives on Zukan’s ship.

Sue: ****’s sake.

Xenon Base’s oxygen will run out in 18 hours.

Sue: Just think of the number of times that Tarrant will be able to shag his new girlfriend before he dies. Hundreds, probably.

WarlordAvon and Soolin arrive on Betafarl. It appears to be deserted.

Sue: What was the point of that cheesy effect? The director is over-reaching himself. There was no need for that.

Me: To be fair, he was only trying to disguise the fact that they’ve LANDED ON THE SAME PLANET THEY ALWAYS DO!

A Federation trooper is hiding under a sand dune. Yes, it’s an ambush.

Sue: How long has Rambo been hiding under there? He must be good at holding his breath. Can’t ****ing shoot straight, though, can he?

Federation reinforcements somersault over a ridge.

Sue: Now they’re just showing off.

Avon: Federation guards!

Sue: Guards? They look like they belong in a ****ing circus!

WarlordFederation guards start flinging themselves down ravines like there’s no tomorrow.

Sue: Weeeeeeeeeeeee!

But our heroes are outnumbered and outgunned, and Sue gasps when Soolin turns the tables on Avon and sticks a gun in his back.

Sue: See! It doesn’t feel very nice when a friend betrays your trust, does it, Avon?

It’s only when Soolin assumes Zeeona’s identity that the penny finally drops.

Sue: Ooh, that’s very clever. Soolin’s far too good for this show. Put her in charge. Let’s see what happens.

When Servalan hears about Avon’s capture, she demands that his corpse be sent to her ship.

Sue: She’s lying. She wants to marry him. It’s written all over her face.

Me: It really isn’t, Sue.

Servalan plants a bomb on Zukan’s ship before she leaves.

Sue: Tarrant’s girlfriend isn’t the only one who’s getting shafted this week.

The Federation guards decide to kill Avon by crucifying him upside down on a sand dune. Well you would, wouldn’t you.

Sue: Eh? What the ****? Surely they can’t be running that low on bullets.

Soolin attacks a guard with her sonic screwdriver; Sue’s words, not mine.

WarlordSue: Ooh, right where it hurts. You go, girl!

Soolin makes short work of the guards, although Sue is convinced that she had to break the laws of physics to do it.

Sue: She’s shooting into the air!

Me: The bullets fall back to earth and land on the guards’ heads. Clever, eh?

Sue: Or maybe the director is out of his depth. I mean, who’s flying the Scorpio right now? Whatever happened to continuity?! The direction is ****ing terrible. Sorry, Neil, but it is.

Vila has his second nervous breakdown of the week.

Vila: WE HAVEN’T GOT FOUR DAYS!

Sue: Calm down, Vila. You’ve been through worse than this. Only a couple of days ago, in fact.

Me: We’re almost at the end of Blake’s 7, Sue. So tell me, has your opinion of Vila changed?

Sue: Yes, it has. I feel sorry for him now; I certainly wouldn’t want any harm to come to him. He’s still a bit of a numpty, though.

Zukan’s sabotage includes the release of a radioactive airborne virus. The swine.

Sue: It never rains but it pours. I’d start shagging Tarrant right now if I were her.

WarlordZukan unloads his troubles onto his loyal assistant, Finn, who is the spitting double of Jeremy Renner by the way, although Sue can’t see it.

Zukan: Get me a drink.

Sue: I’ll have another Kia-Ora if there’s any going.

After Finn tops up the warlord’s fruit juice, he discovers Servalan’s bomb, which then goes off, killing him instantly.

Sue: It’s all gone a bit Top of the Pops. Just because the edit suite has a special effect, it doesn’t mean you have to use it.

When Vila, who is completely pissed by this point, blames Zeeona for getting them into this mess, Tarrant almost knocks his block off.

Sue: Bloody hell! Are the crew taking it in turns to kill Vila? Leave him alone!

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed this or not, but Sue isn’t the director’s biggest fan. Which is funny because I thought she’d love Viktors Ritelis. And then a hand-held camera gets into Zukan’s face as his ship begins to tear itself apart…

Sue: Oh, this is all right, I suppose. I just can’t take the actor seriously. He’s too theatrical.

Zukan wants to bargain with Avon. If he saves his life, Zukan will tell him how the crew can obtain a fresh oxygen supply.

WarlordZukan: If two of them volunteer to die, the oxygen they have left will last the rest of them.

Sue: That’s it? That’s his solution? I’d let him die for that, the sarcastic ****.

Zukan’s ship is on its last legs.

Sue: He’ll never survive fifteen hours like that. He’ll drown in his own vomit.

Zukan refuses to believe that his daughter is on Xenon Base.

Zukan: No! No! You’re not there! I DON’T BELIEVE YOU!

Sue: Switch your audio-only Skype call to video, you fool!

Avon finds a solution without Zukan’s help.

Sue: This bit is quite good, actually. They need to reverse the polarity of the whatsit. Obviously.

Zukan, meanwhile, is haunted by a vision of his daughter.

Me: NO! YOU’RE NOT THERE!

WarlordSue: (singing) Heathcliff, it’s me Cathy!

And then another face appears outside Zukan’s window – Servalan.

Me: NO! SHE’S NOT THERE, EITHER!

When Zukan finally accepts his own death, his does so with his arms outstretched and his mouth wide open.

Sue: He looks like he’s expecting to regenerate. The idiot.

Crash-zoom into Zeeona’s startled face.

Sue: Now I’ve lost count of the number of times the director has annoyed me.

Zeeona volunteers to return to the base so she can fix the damage caused by her father.

Sue: She’s dead, then.

Tarrant isn’t very happy about this, but Sue doesn’t have that much sympathy for him.

Me: I thought you liked Tarrant?

Sue: I did, but he’s turned into a right space slag. He thinks he’s James Bond, shagging his way round the galaxy. But he isn’t.

When the director cuts to another scene with the help of Tarrant’s back, Sue refuses to cut his Rope homage any slack.

Sue: The director thinks he’s Alfred Hitchcock. What a joke. He couldn’t direct traffic. They should have got a woman in to direct this. When will they ever learn?

Tarrant desperately wants to save Zeeona, which makes Avon break into a smile/grimace/God only knows what.

Sue: So what was that look for? Is Avon pleased that Tarrant’s girlfriend is dead? Ooh, what a bastard. Never get on the wrong side of Avon.

Tarrant and Dayna teleport to Xenon Base.

Tarrant: Zeeona! Zeeona!

WarlordSue: It’s too late, Tarrant. SHE ISN’T THERE!

Yes, Zeeona was killed thanks to a rookie mistake. Or maybe she sacrificed herself for Tarrant’s sake? It’s difficult to tell.

Dayna: She took her glove off.

Sue: That will teach her to paint her nails in the middle of a radioactive crisis.

Cue credits.

The Score:

Sue: I didn’t like that episode very much. The direction was appalling, the editing was shoddy, and the acting was all over the place. Some of the action scenes were great, but some of the action scenes were hilarious. It had its moments, I suppose, but at the end of the day it was simply… average.

Me: Orac’s still dead.

Sue: Shut up, Neil.

5/10

Next Time:

WARNING: Glen’s trailer includes MASSIVE SPOILERS for the final episode. Please don’t listen to it if you haven’t seen it yet. However, as soon as you have seen the final episode, come back here and press play. You won’t regret it.

We plan to watch the final episode this Monday at 8pm UK time, and I hope to publish the very last (and this time we definitely mean it) blog early next week.

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Next

Orbit

The Odd Couple…

OrbitBlake’s 7‘s 50th episode is written by Robert Holmes. (Sue thinks Gold should have been the 50th episode, but what the hell does she know.)

Sue: Come on, Robert!

She must have forgotten the 2/10 she gave to Traitor

Sue: You know you are in for a treat when you see Robert’s name at the start. Bring it on!

Scorpio is orbiting the planet Malodar.

Sue: I’ve only just noticed that the flight deck is modelled on the Sydney Opera House.

Malodar is a little on the chilly side.

Sue: At least it isn’t another sand pit. They should count themselves lucky.

Two men named Egrorian and Pinder have been anticipating the Scorpio‘s arrival.

Sue: OK, so we’ve got two mad dentists who think they’re in The Hills Have Eyes. I think I can go with this…

Egrorian is a wanted criminal, but as Vila says, aren’t they all?

Sue: Is Soolin a criminal? When did that happen?

Me: Last week when she shot all those innocent mine workers to death.

Sue: Oh, OK. Fair enough.

OrbitVila doesn’t believe that Egrorian is hiding on Malodar.

Vila: What is the point of having money if you have to exist on a hole like that!

Sue: Every planet in this universe is a hole like that. I still haven’t seen a planet with more than five people living on it.

Vila warns Avon that Egrorian’s invitation to meet for a chat could be a trap.

Avon: Why do you think I’m sending Tarrant?

Sue: I knew it. Avon wants Tarrant out of the way as soon as possible. I wouldn’t put it past Avon to set him up. I really wouldn’t.

Egrorian wants to make a deal with Avon. After certain conditions are agreed, Avon demands to see Egrorian’s face on the Scorpio‘s viewer screen, much to the scientist’s dismay.

Sue: If I looked like him, I wouldn’t want to show my face either.

Avon decides to bring Vila to the meeting on Malodar.

Avon: After all, you always say you feel safe with me.

Sue: Did Avon just clip Vila round the ear?

OrbitVila begs Avon to take one of the women instead. Egrorian might have forgotten what they look like, and Vila thinks they could help grease the wheels, so to speak.

Sue: That might work if Soolin or Dayna were blindfolded, I guess.

Scorpio leaves a small shuttle in its wake.

Sue: That was a lovely bit of Chroma. Simple but effective. I don’t know why they don’t do that sort of thing more often.

Avon puts his feet on the shuttle’s dashboard.

Sue: He’s got chewing gum stuck to his boots. Oh well, at least Avon seems to be enjoying himself this week. Is this what happens when you go round the bend, Neil?

Me: Why are you asking me?

There’s a rumour going around that Egrorian absconded from the Space Research Institute with help from a Federation insider.

Sue: I wonder who that could be…

Dayna: Servalan?

Sue: REALLY? DO YOU THINK?!

OrbitWhen they arrive on Malodar, Avon and Vila are subjected to a security screening.

Sue: Does the mad scientist want a sample? Do they have to piss in that urinal?

Egrorian and Pinder’s relationship is strained to put it mildly.

Sue: They remind me of Basil Fawlty and Manuel. And I don’t know why Avon or Vila would need a gun; Vila could take these two on his own. Oh God, look at the stains on his coat. That’s disgusting.

When Pinder greets his visitors as “Ma’am”, Egrorian explains that his assistant doesn’t understand the difference between men and women.

Sue: That’s a clue. They must have met Servalan recently. It’s hardly a twist, though, is it?

Egrorian butters Avon up.

Sue: This is very funny. I could watch these two all day. The make-up on the mad scientist is fantastic. It is make-up, isn’t it?

Egrorian eventually cuts to the chase.

Egrorian: Now, then, Avon. What would you say if I offered you mastery of the galaxy?

Avon: Oh, I would say thank you.

Sue: Ha! This is brilliant.

Egrorian introduces Avon to his Tachyon Funnel.

OrbitSue: Is that a Tachyon TV? Is this where you got the name for your old website, Neil?

Me: No.

Avon: What does it do?

Sue: It tells crap jokes.

Me: OK, you can stop that now, love.

Egrorian demonstrates his funnel’s immense firepower with the destruction of a small moon.

Sue: That must have ****ed the planet it was orbiting. This has taken a very dark turn. This was funny a minute ago, and now it’s a bit grim. It’s classic Robert Holmes, this.

Avon could destroy the Federation with a weapon like that.

Sue: Hang on a minute… We’ve only got his word for it that it does what he says it does. They could have been watching anything on that TV screen. They’re far too trusting.

Egrorian makes Pinder vacate his seat so Vila can sit down.

Sue: They’re like an old married couple.

Me: So which one are you?

Sue: (ignoring me) And now he’s making a move on Vila. His boyfriend doesn’t like that one little bit. Aww, bless him.

OrbitSue adores Pinder.

Sue: This is what Peter Capaldi will look like when he stops making Doctor Who.

Sue has it all figured out:

Sue: The old guy will try to kill Vila because he’s jealous. Or he’ll give Vila away to Servalan to get his own back. Yes, that’s probably it.

Pinder and Egrorian have been playing chess, which means Pinder must know the difference between a King and a Queen.

Sue: I said it was a clue. I just wish the clue wasn’t pointing to you-know-who.

Egrorian tortures Pinder when he catches him cheating.

Sue: He’s horrible. This isn’t funny any more, Neil.

Avon agrees to exchange Orac for the Tachyon Funnel. When they take the shuttle back to Scorpio to pick up the supercomputer, Vila spends the entire journey imagining what he’ll do when he finally rules the galaxy.

Vila: I’ll have an imperial palace with solid diamond floors, and a bodyguard of a thousand handpicked virgins in red fur uniforms. Vila’s Royal Mounties.

Sue: Vila, you sick bastard.

Me: Forget Vila-world – that sounds like Benny Hill-world to me.

OrbitBut Avon is suspicious, especially as he’s got Servalan on the brain.

Sue: His left eye just twitched. He’s turning into Michael Murray.

Guess what? Yes, Egrorian and Servalan are working together. And because Egrorian has the serious horn for the President/Supreme Commander/Commissioner/Whatever the hell she is this week, he’s literally throwing himself at her.

Sue: (as Servalan) It’s not you, it’s me. Honest.

Egrorian sinks to his knees and declares his undying loyalty to Servalan.

Sue: He’s well over-the-top but this is very entertaining. They should have made more comedy episodes like this one. The look on Servalan’s face is priceless.

And then Egrorian advances on Servalan a little too eagerly…

Sue: Ooh, that wasn’t supposed to happen. I bet they daren’t risk another take, though. This is probably the eighteen take as it is. I don’t know how they’re keeping a straight face through this scene.

Let’s take a look, shall we?

[jwplayer mediaid=”13406″]

Egrorian has a proposition for Servalan:

Egrorian: A connubial partnership, Servalan. Why not?

Sue: Does that mean what I think it means? It does? Bloody hell! His funnel had better work, that’s all I’m saying.

OrbitSafely back on Scorpio, Vila is bragging to Soolin and Dayna.

Vila: Unlike some people around here, I don’t boast about my abilities. I keep them hidden.

Dayna: Oh, you certainly do.

Sue: The banter is brilliant today. Everybody is getting their fair share of funny lines. Good old Robert Holmes. Does he write any more episodes, Neil?

Me: No. In fact, this is the probably last Robert Holmes story you’ll ever see, Sue.

Sue: Oh. That’s really sad.

Me: We could always watch The Caves of Androzani after this.

Sue: OK.

Me: I was joking.

Sue: So was I.

Tarrant has visited Wikipedia and discovered that Pinder is only twenty-eight years old.

Sue: He must have got his head stuck in that funnel. It’s the only explanation I can think of. Maybe he’s still got the body of a twenty-eight year-old under that coat. Wouldn’t that be sad.

Egrorian prepares for Avon’s return.

OrbitSue: Never trust a man with big hands. That’s all I’m saying.

As Avon travels to Malodar with Vila and Orac in tow (Sue loves the special effects, by the way), he admits that Servalan is never far from his thoughts.

Sue: Especially late at night, when he’s all alone and Orac has gone to bed.

Even Tarrant is convinced that Servalan is behind it all.

Sue: If only they communicated with each other, they’d all be on the same page for a change.

Avon hands Orac over to Egrorian.

Sue: That’s never Orac. Never in a million years. He’s too light. You can’t carry Orac with one hand, can you? Soolin could barely shift him a few weeks ago.

Avon’s suspicions are exacerbated when Egrorian accidentally mentions Servalan by name.

Egrorian: I was told she had assumed a new identity. One never knows what to believe these days!

Sue: She changed her name, I’ll giver her that, but her identity is exactly the same as it’s always been. She’s hardly made any effort at all, really.

Me: I think Robert Holmes is taking the piss.

OrbitEgrorian runs a test on Orac and the computer correctly identities the subject of his degree, as well as its grade: Beta-Plus. When Pinder laughs, Egrorian pinches his ear.

Sue: These two are a brilliant double-act. You can tell that they had a good time making this. It really comes across on screen.

Egrorian goes ballistic when Orac tells everyone that Egrorian’s degree was rescinded for gross misconduct.

Sue: He’s so hysterical, he makes Avon look normal. In fact, I think Paul Darrow has given up trying to compete with him.

Tarrant almost jumps for joy when Avon’s shuttle leaves Malodar.

Tarrant: Well I’ll be damned!

Me: (as Steven Toast) Launch the NU-CLE-AR WEAPONS!

Avon tells Vila that he made a fake Orac in his spare time, and that’s what Egrorian’s got his hands on.

Sue: Do you think Avon was sniffing the glue when he put that model together. It would explain a lot.

And then the real Orac (who’s safely stowed away on the shuttle) informs Avon and Vila that they won’t reach escape velocity.

OrbitSue: I knew it was too good to be true. It always is in this programme.

Egrorian has it all worked out: the shuttle will crash in a swamp 200 miles away. Orac and the Tachyon Funnel will survive the impact, but Avon and Vila won’t.

Sue: Part of me wants him to succeed. Does that make me a bad person?

Avon switches to manual and pushes the shuttle to its limits.

Sue: That was a nice touch, pushing Orac across the table like that to give the impression they are flying at an angle. It’s funny, too.

Vila is convinced that they are both going to die.

Sue: This is very exciting all of a sudden. I wasn’t expecting this at all.

Things don’t look good, and Scorpio‘s crew can’t intervene.

Sue: Just point the Tachyon whatsit at them and threaten to kill them with it if they don’t sort this out. Simple. That’s if the bloody thing does what it says it does, and I’m not convinced that it does.

Servalan and Egrorian discuss a future without Pinder, but Pinder overhears their plans.

OrbitSue: That’s settled, then. Pinder will save Avon’s life to spite them both.

Avon and Vila jettison the Tachyon Funnel in an attempt to reduce the shuttle’s weight.

Sue: What a complete waste of time. This happens every week – they always end up empty-handed. I don’t know why they bother any more. And the bad guy is completely screwed now, too.

But it isn’t enough – the shuttle is still seventy kilos overweight.

Sue: I bet that’s what Vila weighs…

Orac: Vila weighs seventy-three kilos, Avon.

Sue: No, wait. I was only joking.

Avon’s heart and mind are locked in combat as he considers Orac’s words. Unfortunately for Vila, Avon’s mind wins and he picks up a gun.

Avon: Vila?

Sue: Shit…

Avon goes in search of his ‘friend’.

OrbitSue: Shit…

Vila is nowhere to be seen, probably because he knows Avon better than anyone.

Sue: Shit. Shit. Shit! Is this really happening, Neil?

Avon: Vila? Vila, are you here? I need your help.

Sue: He couldn’t be more suspicious if he tried. If he didn’t want Vila to know what he had planned for him, he should be yelling at him with contempt, you know, like he usually does. Avon is never this friendly to Vila.

Avon advances on his prey.

Sue: Is Vila crying? Shit, he is. This is horrible. Make it stop, Neil. I don’t like it.

Avon finds a fragment of a neutron star embedded in a cube of high tensile plastic. After lots of huffing and puffing, he single-handedly jettisons it out of the airlock.

Sue: Unbelievable. Avon was really going to kill Vila – there’s no two ways about it. They can’t just pretend that didn’t happen.

When Vila crawls out of his hiding place, he’s an emotional wreck.

OrbitSue: I’m not Vila’s biggest fan, as you know, Neil, but he didn’t deserve that. I’m shocked. And Orac can **** off as well. How much did he weigh, eh?

Thanks to Avon, the shuttle successfully reaches its escape velocity.

Sue: The floor manager has forgotten to poke Orac across the table with a broom. He should have slid onto the floor by now.

Egrorian’s plan is in tatters, so Servalan leaves the scientist with nothing but a masturbatory fantasy and an old man for company.

Sue: Pinder will have to kill him now. It’s the humane thing to do.

Pinder bathes the laboratory in Hoffal’s radiation and Egrorian ages to death in a matter of seconds.

Sue: Gandalf! I tell you what, Neil, he doesn’t improve with age.

Me: As a wise man once said on Twitter, that’s another reclusive genius dead.

Sue: Serves him bloody right.

Back on Scorpio, Avon tells the crew that he disposed of the neutron star fragment without any assistance from Vila.

OrbitVila: It’s a trip I won’t forget, Avon.

Sue: There’s no coming back from that. Their relationship must be over now. Vila will never be able to trust Avon again. And after everything they’ve been through… I’m shocked. And a bit upset.

Cue credits.

The Score:

Sue: Wow… Well, it doesn’t get any better than that. I can’t fault it. Can I give it 11/10?

Me: No, it will bugger up the graphs.

10/10

Next Time:

Yes, that really is Marcus Bentley! Well done, Glen, and thanks to you both!

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Gold

Weird scenes inside the gold mine…

GoldThe episode begins with what looks like a high-speed spaceship chase.

Sue: They’ve got loads of room, why don’t they just overtake?

Scorpio docks with a pleasure cruiser.

Sue: Oh look, it’s the Russians… Why don’t they just teleport over there. Is it broken?

Avon has arranged to meet an old acquaintance.

Sue: Oh dear. Tarrant can’t get his gun to stay in his holster; it’s the story of his life. And I wish they would soundproof their ship. I can’t understand a word they’re saying when they clump around the set. Clang – clang – clang. What did Dayna just say?

When Avon, Tarrant, Soolin and Dayna cross to the Space Princess, they are met by a man named Keiller.

Sue: Is he supposed to be the ship’s Redcoat? Is this Hi-de-Hi in space?

Me: Yes, it is a bit. Don’t you recognise him?

Sue: Of course I do. He’s a very famous comedian who’s been in loads of things. I just can’t think of any right now.

GoldMe: Is that the best you can do?

Sue: His name is on the tip of my tongue. It will come to me eventually. I definitely know who he is. He’s really good.

Keiller lets the crew in on his plan to steal a consignment of gold that’s due to be transported from the planet Zerok disguised as a shipment of fruit.

Sue: Is this episode going to be a heist movie? Excellent. It’ll be like Ocean’s 7. You know, a bit like Ocean’s 11, but there’s only 7 of them. Actually, it’s probably more like Ocean’s 5

Me: You’ve cracked that joke before, Sue.

Sue: Have I? How many episodes of Blake’s 7 have we seen now?

Me: This is our forty-ninth.

Sue: Well then.

Keiller chose his old friend for this heist because Avon has a reputation for mischief.

Keiller: You’re getting to be big news.

Sue: Avon will love that. He wants to be notorious. It’s an ego thing.

Keiller has come up with a cunning plan to steal the gold, but there’s a snag (or if you’re Avon, snaaaaag): they have to nick the booty before it can be processed into black gold, which is completely worthless.

GoldSue: This is an excellent way to start the episode. I wonder how Servalan is involved…

Keiller can’t keep his grubby paws off Soolin.

Sue: What a pervy bastard. Wait! Rory Kinnear! That’s it! He’s Rory Kinnear.

Me: Close. It’s Rory’s dad, Roy Kinnear.

Sue: That’s what I just said.

Keiller, Avon, and Soolin arrive at Zerok’s vegetable reprocessing plant, which acts as a cover for a secret gold mining operation.

Sue: The person who designed the logo for this company must have been a frustrated comic book artist.

Me: I bet all their stationary uses Comic Sans.

The mine’s security guards patrol the area, their faces hidden behind black visors.

Sue: Is this guy a welder?

A guard is murdered by Soolin.

GoldSue: Now we’ll never know if he was a welder or not.

Tarrant and Dayna teleport to Zerok a few minutes behind Avon and Soolin.

Sue: Why didn’t they stick together? You know, safety in numbers. Is it because they can only teleport two at a time these days, or is this part of the plan?

Keiller speaks into a computerised lock and then, after what seems like an eternity, the door to the mine finally opens.

Sue: They should get that seen to. Just imagine if there’d been a toilet behind that door and he desperately needed to go. He’d have pissed himself.

Another guard is murdered, this time by Avon.

Sue: What is the point of those masks? Is it so they can use the same stuntman over and over again? I bet it is. Or maybe one of the guards will turn out to be Servalan. Yes, that’s it: keep your eyes peeled for a security guard wearing high heels.

As Avon, Soolin and Keiller make their way to the mine’s processing plant, somebody sounds the alarm.

Sue: Just think, twenty years from now I won’t be able to hear that frequency. I think this is probably the first time that I’ve actually prayed for old age.

Security guards are swarming all over the plant, which means Dayna and Tarrant have a fight on their hands.

Sue: This is very exciting, but if they don’t turn off that smoke alarm, I’m going to have to kill somebody. And you’re the only person here, Neil.

A huge explosion goes off in the mine and Avon and Soolin are presumed dead.

Sue: Of course they are. Why are they pretending that it’s even possible? Blake’s 7 is better than this.

GoldBack on Scorpio, Keiller insists that he had nothing to do with the ambush.

Sue: Roy is such a good actor, you want to believe him.

Avon (who isn’t dead by the way) has realised that the guards’ guns weren’t standard issue, which points to a third-party being involved. But who could it possibly be?

Sue: Um… let me see… No, I couldn’t possibly guess.

Me: Maybe it’s the dwarf from Dawn of the Gods.

Sue: Who?

Avon and Soolin examine the Space Princess‘ computer files.

Sue: The ship’s computers are infested with rattlesnakes.

Me: I think you cracked that joke in Series 1, Sue.

Sue: Shut up, Neil.

Avon realises that the pleasure cruise is a sham, and the passengers are given chemical help to help overcome that fact.

Sue: Sounds fantastic. Where do I sign up?

Me: Chemical help, otherwise known as the bar on a P&O ferry.

Avon discovers that Keiller has links to a Federation president. But which president?

Sue: ARGH!

GoldWhen Avon returns to Scorpio, Keiller tries to explain.

Keiller: They blackmailed me, said they’d use my record against me. I’ve got a criminal record, you see.

Vila: Hasn’t everybody?

Sue: Ha! Brilliant. The script is very funny and Roy is wonderful. You can’t take your eyes off him.

It appears that Keiller’s associates have discovered a way to launder the black gold through Zerok’s banking system.

Sue: This is very clever, Neil. Zerok equals Zürich. See?

The crew stand to make billions if they can steal the gold.

Me: You could buy hundreds of Oracs for that.

Sue: One Orac is more than enough, thanks.

Keiller wants to join Avon’s gang.

Sue: Please take him with you. He brightens the place up.

But Orac has some bad news: they can’t teleport the black gold off the pleasure cruiser.

Orac: The processed gold will have undergone a subneutronic overlap shift. If subjected to the teleport process as well, it will reduce to dust irrevocably.

Sue: That’s convenient, but what the hell. It’ll be much more exciting the other way.

GoldThe pleasure cruiser leaves Zerok with its precious cargo.

Zerok Control: Space Princess, this is Zerok Control. Do you copy?

Sue: Hey! Zen’s back!

Me: He isn’t.

Sue: He bloody is! He just said, “confirmed”. Zen escaped from the Liberator and now he’s working for an air traffic control company somewhere. Brilliant.

Me: Whatever makes you happy, love.

Keiller assures Avon that a drug they’ve given to Dayna is completely harmless, but she’ll need it if she hopes to fool the ship’s doctor. Sue pretends to understand what he’s talking about.

Sue: You can’t trust him. He’s setting them up. And Avon is growling his lines. He’s about to explode.

Tarrant wanders around the pleasure cruiser, pretending to be drugged.

Sue: This is hilarious. Tarrant’s obviously never taken any drugs in his life before.

All the passengers are loved up.

Tarrant: I’m beginning to wish I was eating the same food as them. They seem to be having a good time.

GoldSue: I’m guessing that the drug makes the passengers feel horny. That way they stay in their cabins and don’t notice that they’ve missed all the sights. Not that Tarrant needs a drug to make him feel horny. Just ask Servalan.

When Avon and Keiller reach the cruise liner’s hold, Avon murders the solitary guard.

Sue: The guard’s hockey mask really helped when Avon shot him in the balls.

When Keiller opens the crate containing the black gold, tiny explosives attach themselves to the purser’s jacket.

Sue: It’s bloody good, this. Dudley’s music is very tense, too. I like the way they keep switching between the Muzak on the ship and the exciting bits in the hold. It’s very effective.

Keiller’s plan appears to be working.

Sue: I’m sorry if I’m not saying very much, Neil, but I’m enjoying this too much. Even the model shots are great. Look at that spaceship… Beautiful.

Dayna’s self-induced illness convinces the ship’s captain to put out a Mayday call, which just happens to be intercepted by Vila on the Scorpio.

Sue: Genius. This might actually work.

The ship’s doctor nearly scuppers their plans, but some quick thinking from Keiller puts them back on track.

Keiller: I told you it would work. We’re going to walk off this ship and no one’s even going to try and stop us.

Things inevitably go tits up, which results in a mad dash to the Scorpio‘s airlock before the doors can close. Sue is biting what’s left of her nails.

Sue: Hurry up! Run!

GoldAvon provides cover for the crew. It looks like he’s having a whale of a time.

Sue: He’s taking the piss!

The airlock closes before Avon can make it across.

Sue: Serves you right for taking the piss!

As the airlock begins to disengage, Avon roars down his teleport bracelet:

Avon: Vila, I need teleport now, Vila. NOW, VILA!

Sue: Wow. That was incredible. That has to be the most exciting moment in Blake’s 7 so far.

Keiller is told to contact his associates so they can sell the black gold. The planet they choose for this exchange is Beta Five.

Sue: It’s the same planet they always go to; it’s only the names that change. It isn’t a very diverse universe, is it?

A vehicle containing several hooded figures approaches the rendezvous point.

Sue: (scratching her chin) Now, then. Who could this possibly be?

Me: Well, I don’t see any dwarves…

The camera focuses on the occupants’ feet as they exit the vehicle.

Sue: Look for the heels… Wait for it… Yes, there they are. What a surprise.

GoldKeiller’s associates line up in front of the crew.

Sue: They’ve come to sell them life insurance. They’re the Black Widows, you see.

Me: I’m pretty sure you’ve already done the Black Widow gag…

Sue hits me with a cushion.

Avon wasn’t fooled for a moment. He knew it was Servalan all along.

Avon: It wasn’t hard to work out. But it wasn’t meant to be, was it?

Sue: It’s as if they’re ashamed of their own twist. And who can blame them?

Avon believes that Servalan wanted him to come running to her.

Sue: Or she fancied another go on Tarrant.

Avon pities Keiller’s decision to trust Servalan.

Avon: He doesn’t know you as well as I do.

Servalan: Who does?

Sue: Tarrant does for a start…

GoldAvon moves in for a snog that never comes…

Sue: They are destined to be together. They should run off and rule the galaxy as husband and wife – they’d be unstoppable. That’s how I would end it, anyway.

Avon decides to leave Keiller behind. He just can’t trust him.

Sue: Oh come on! You don’t trust anyone and it’s never stopped you before. Take him with you.

Avon teleports back to Scorpio with a suitcase full of cash.

Sue: Check the case before you leave, you idiot! Oops, too late… I bet it’s full of fruit.

Keiller begs Servalan for his life.

Sue: Aww, this is really sad. Yes, he was a conniving bastard, but I really liked him. They should make a prequel series – The Adventures of Keiller and Avon: The Early Years. I’d watch it.

Me: Maybe they could ask Rory Kinnear to star in it.

Sue is shocked when she discovers that Avon’s suitcase really is full of money, after all.

Tarrant: I’ve never seen currency of that size.

GoldSue: The first thing they’ll need to buy are some new wallets. Those notes are ****ing enormous.

Me: You should see Zerok’s coins – the size of plates.

Tarrant isn’t very pleased when Avon tells him that he knew Servalan was behind the heist all along. In fact, you could slice the atmosphere with a laser probe.

Sue: If looks could kill, Tarrant would be dead now. Do you think Avon knows that Tarrant and Servalan shagged yet? He isn’t stupid, you know.

Yes, we watched this episode before I wrote up the last one and discovered that we inadvertently missed the bit where Tarrant practically admits his crime but doesn’t want to talk about it. So the underlying tension that Sue has detected in this scene isn’t the underlying tension that actually exists in this scene. Oh well.

The next time we see Keiller, he’s lying face down in the mud.

Sue: They put him out of his misery. That’s really tragic. There was no need for that, Servalan. What a cow.

Orac has more bad tidings for the crew: Zerok has ceded to the Federation, which means Servalan can profit from the black gold after all. But it gets even worse:

Orac: The Federation banking system will now take over that of Zerok. All bank notes drawn by the Bank of Zerok will be declared invalid within seven days and all private transactions will be illegal.

GoldSue: Orac actually laughed when he told them that. He actually laughed! The cheeky bastard.

It turns out that the crew risked their lives so Servalan could get rich. The look on Avon’s face says it all.

Sue: That’s it. Avon’s finally snapped.

Cue credits.

The Score:

Sue: That was brilliant. It was a little bit confusing at times, but I didn’t really care because it was such a good ride. And Roy Kinnear was fabulous. I wish they hadn’t killed him off; he could have come back and redeemed himself. Anyway, great script, good direction and a wonderful guest star. Yes, Blake’s 7 is definitely ending on a high.

9/10

Addendum

A few days later…

Me: Sue, I need to tell you something: I think I accidentally broke the blog.

I break it to her that Avon definitely knows about Tarrant’s tryst with Servalan, but we missed that bombshell because we were too busy yakking over the episode and I forgot to hit the pause button; actually, I blame the cat. Anyway, this means Sue thought the crew were disgusted with Tarrant because he didn’t shoot their arch nemesis in the head, when in actual fact they were imagining their arch nemesis giving Tarrant head.

Sue: You idiot. What else have I missed because of you? I knew I should have done this with a Blake’s 7 expert.

Me: Don’t worry, I’m very familiar with the next three episodes. It won’t happen again.

Sue: Well, this changes everything. Avon must be biding his time, then. He’ll murder Tarrant when he least expects it, probably while he’s sleeping. It also explains why Avon has finally lost his mind, so thanks for that. Idiot.

Next Time:

There will be two updates next week, on Tuesday and Friday. Thanks.

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Sand

Dune Bug…

SandBefore we begin, Sue hasn’t read Frank Herbert’s Dune and she doesn’t remember anything about the David Lynch film, either. So if you’re expecting any jokes about the Kwisatz Haderach, you’re going to be disappointed. The good news is that not only is Sand directed by Sue’s favourite female director, it’s written by a woman, too. It can’t possibly fail.

Sue: This is a bit shit.

Oh.

Sue: I can see what they’re trying to do, but they haven’t got the money to do it justice. It looks cheap. Having said that, the model canyon isn’t that bad. It’s ambitious, I’ll give it that.

Investigator Reeve is on his way to the planet Virn to look into the unsolved case of Don Keller, a Federation scientist who hasn’t been heard from in five years. Please note: Sue wasn’t a fan of Howard’s Way (it was too middle-class) so if you’re expecting any jokes about yachts, forget it.

Me: I love Stephen Yardley. I don’t know why, I just do.

Sue: Good, because you’re going to end up looking like him if your hair keeps abandoning your head the way it is at the moment.

Commissioner Servalan Sleer is also on her way to Virn.

Me: Aren’t you going to swear or stamp your feet or something?

Sue: I’d be more surprised if she didn’t turn up. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that she has to turn up sooner or later, so it may as well be sooner.

SandWe learn that a mysterious virus attacked a Federation outpost on Virn five years ago, but Sue is too distracted by Stephen Yardley’s posture to care.

Sue: Is he limbering up for a disco dancing tournament?

Me: It looks like they’re discussing tactics for their next Strictly performance.

Sue: (as Reeve) Does my bum look big in this?

Servalan’s demeanour as she listens to Don Keller’s final transmission is a little odd to say the least.

Sue: Why is Servalan so sad? Is she thinking about the time she used to be the president and she could order her lackeys to risk their lives on missions like this? I bet she is.

Investigator Reeve isn’t a very nice person.

Reeve: (to Servalan) There’s nothing for you on Virn. Unless someone thought I’d be lonely?

Servalan: I’m sure you’re accustomed to loneliness, Investigator Reeve. You must be alone such a lot.

Sue: Nice put down. Maybe she’d be interested if he had more hair. Sorry, I’m joking, Neil. I still love you.

And because Stephen Yardley doesn’t need any hair gel, it appears that he’s shared his daily ration with the ship’s crew.

Sue: They look like they’re auditioning for a part in Grease. Hey, I recognise that pilot…

SandShe’s pointing at Daniel Hill. Definitive proof that even though Shada doesn’t really count, it’s impact on Sue has been so profound she –

Sue: He was in the last series of 24. You know, the funny one set in London. Do you remember, Neil?

Their ship is suddenly caught in the grip of a Pink Floyd laser show (aka a multi-gravitational field). This results in a very bumpy ride.

Sue: If this is how they usually fly the ship, I’m not surprised they need all that hair gel.

Back at Xenon Base, Avon suggests that it might be a good idea if they followed the Federation to Virn to steal whatever it is they may – or may not – have found.

Sue: It’s a bit risky, isn’t it? Is there really nothing else they could be doing or stealing today? Are they really that bored? This is needlessly reckless.

Servalan and Reeve begin a five-mile hike to Keller’s base. Servalan opts for high heels, obviously.

Sue: This set is a bit crap. The effects seem to have gotten worse as the series has gone on. You’d think they’d be better at this sort of thing by now.

The ship’s captain tests his engines and accidentally sets off a sand slide.

Sue: Servalan will be picking sand out of her gown for weeks. That’s what happens when you stroll around on a barren planet in a cocktail dress. I’ll never say this again, I promise, but IT’S RIDICULOUS! And if the whole episode takes place on this set, we’re in big trouble.

SandReeve and Servalan end up sharing a cave together. Servalan boasts to Reeve that she is unique.

Sue: Who else would go camping dressed like that?

Servalan: Goodnight, Investigator. Sweet dreams.

Sue: (as Servalan) Please keep the noise down if you feel the need to toss and turn all night.

Servalan’s assistant (a man so bland he doesn’t even get a name) is murdered by a sand dune.

Sue: So the sand is alive and it kills you? I’m sure I’ve seen this in Doctor Who.

Me: You have, but Blake’s 7 got there first.

Sue: It’s a brilliant idea. The kids must have been scared to death when they went on holiday.

As Scorpio approaches Virn, Slave begins to act erratically.

Sue: Slave is even more off his tits than he usually is. He’ll be complaining about a bad case of the munchies next.

Dayna and Tarrant teleport to Virn armed with percussion bullets.

Sue: Does that mean Dudley Simpson plays his maracas every time she fires her gun?

Me: I think that always happens, Sue.

Servalan tells Reeve that she’s faced several maniacs in her lifetime, and how this adventure on Virn isn’t a new experience for her.

Sue: And yet she still insists on wearing high heels every time she leaves the house. You’d think she would have worked it out by now. Sorry, sorry… I promise I’ll never mention her clothes again.

Reeve knows who Sleer really is.

Reeve: We never actually met. But I was at one of those official receptions for good and faithful servants that you occasionally graced with your presence.

SandSue: Finally! Somebody who can remember a face! He is so dead.

Right on cue, Reeve begins acting even more unhinged than normal.

Sue: So the sand takes you over and makes you crazy. The virus is in the sand. This is exactly the sort of thing that Doctor Who would do.

A gun-happy Reeve goes hunting for Tarrant and Dayna.

Sue: This planet looks fine when you can’t see the sky. As soon you can see the sky, it looks like a children’s nativity play.

Dayna teleports back to the Scorpio with a flesh wound and a pile of sand.

Sue: They are so ****ed.

Tarrant shoots Reeve, which saves Servalan the trouble of doing it herself later.

Tarrant: Well, everyone’s entitled to one really bad mistake.

Sue: I’m really beginning to enjoy this.

Back on Scorpio, it’s Orac’s turn to start acting up.

Orac: I love you!

Sue: He must have got some sand in him. Quick! Somebody get a hoover.

When Orac tells Avon that they will become lovers for a little while, or maybe even a long while, Sue spits out her tea.

Sue: It’s all coming out now! I reckon the virus makes you lose your inhibitions and you have to tell the truth, which means this programme is even more messed up than I thought.

SandTarrant and Servalan agree to put aside their differences so they can work together. After they’ve finished flirting, of course.

Sue: Thank God she didn’t put that gun in her mouth.

The computer in Keller’s base begins spouting nonsense.

Computer: I love you. I know a land where love… Keller. Don. Don. Dun. Din. Dan. Den.

Sue: It’s a transcript of his last chat room visit. He was finding it difficult to type one-handed towards the end.

When Servalan finds Keller’s corpse, she pushes it to the floor in a fit of pique.

Sue: Maybe she knew him, back when she was Servalan… Which means she would have killed him later anyway, so why is she so upset?

Keller’s body is still warm. And then the sand begins to advance on the base.

Sue: This is proper scary. I hope the TARDIS turns up.

Tarrant opens the front door, which lets a huge quantity of sand into the base.

Sue: What did he do that for? What did he think would achieve? Has Tarrant lost his mind?

When a sudden noise startles Servalan, she grabs Tarrant’s arm for support.

Sue: Tarrant’s definitely pulled.

SandThe noise they heard is the meal that Tarrant ordered from the base’s food dispenser.

Sue: He thinks he’s James Bond. I hope he’s ordered some champagne.

Back on Scorpio, there’s a subtle callback to another episode written by Tanith Lee.

Soolin: I seem to recall you telling me of an alien trying to take over the Liberator through Cally.

Sue: You’ll have to narrow it down a bit, pet. It will probably be quicker to tell you about the times when she wasn’t being taken over by aliens.

The crew begin to bicker amongst themselves. Even more than usual, I mean.

Sue: What? I don’t get it. Is there supposed to be something wrong?

After a romantic meal, Tarrant decides to grill his arch nemesis about her miraculous escape from the Liberator and her plans to take back the presidency.

Sue: At least they’re finally addressing this. Her explanation still makes no sense, though. Surely it would easier for her to get a new face to go with the new name. It must be possible in the future. This means she has to murder everyone who recognises her, and it won’t be long before killing people who recognise her will become a full-time job. It can’t be worth the aggravation.

Tarrant lets it be known that he thinks Servalan is an evil, conniving predator, and yet, if push ever came to shove… Well, you know…

Sue: Brilliant. Avon will go spare.

SandAvon is currently oblivious to Tarrant’s attempts at foreplay. He’s too busy playing with his probability squares.

Sue: He should design an app for that; he’d make a fortune. Avon’s App: for all your intergalactic problems.

Me: I wonder how many of those squares have Servalan’s name on them.

Sue: All of them if he’s got any sense.

Tarrant tries to work out why the base’s computer malfunctioned.

Sue: It actually makes sense when you think about it. Computers are made from silicon, so there you go. Yes, it’s very clever. And now that we’re indoors, this is very claustrophobic. Yes, I like this a lot. The sound effects are really good, too.

Tarrant has a theory about the sand.

Sue: Tarrant’s acting like he’s the Doctor, and he’s treating Servalan like she’s his companion. Are you sure this script wasn’t rejected by Doctor Who and they simply changed the names?

Tarrant thinks he has it all figured it out.

Tarrant: The sand reckoned it could afford to kill them if it saved me. And you, of course. Yes, any number of women would be safe. A herd.

Sue: Is he saying what I think he’s saying?

Me: I think he is.

Sue: He’s jumping to a very big conclusion. Hang on a minute… He’s just making this up so he can get his leg over!

Me: The only time Tarrant gets his leg over is when aliens force him to do it. At least that’s what he tells himself.

Servalan admits that she and Keller used to be lovers.

SandSue: Ah, that explains why she’s been acting so sad. Oh, and Keller was punching well above his weight. He must have let himself go as he got older.

Me: Why are you suddenly looking at me?

Servalan is on the verge of tears.

Sue: I can’t believe that I actually feel sorry for her. I must be crazy.

Tarrant and Servalan snog.

Sue: Hey! Don’t take advantage of her when she’s feeling vulnerable!

When we next see Tarrant and Servalan, they have enormous smiles on their glowing faces.

Sue: They definitely did the deed. Avon will hit the roof when he finds out.

While Servalan was sleeping, Tarrant came up with another theory about the sand. And no, it doesn’t involve anal sex.

Tarrant: You cry very beautifully, Servalan, and one of your tears did this to the sand on the floor.

When Tarrant pours water onto the sand, it goes up in smoke.

Sue: Are you sure her tears were responsible for that? There must have been a lot of moisture that we didn’t get to see last night. Hey, wouldn’t it be funny if…

Me: Sue!

SandTarrant and Servalan snog again, but this time she pulls a gun on the permed crusader before he can get to second base.

Sue: He must be shit in bed.

Back on Scorpio, Vila’s pulse is very weak.

Avon: Well that should go very nicely with the rest of him.

Sue: Brilliant. I can’t tell if Avon has been taken over by the sand or not. I mean, how would Avon act if the sand made him go crazy? You’d never be able to tell.

Avon believes that the sand has decided that he is the dominant male on the ship, which means Vila is now surplus to requirements.

Me: Avon IS the Kwisatz Haderach!

Sorry.

Sue: Avon is jumping to a lot of conclusions as well. Has he got any evidence to back this up? Or is this just an excuse for a threesome?

Me: You need an excuse?

Avon decides to make it rain.

Me: It only rains on Dune in the movie – it doesn’t rain in the book. I just wanted to point that out. If it had rained, the giant worms would have died. Don’t worry, Sue, there aren’t any giant worms in this.

Sue: I know. Just ask Servalan.

SandAvon: Let us get closer. Eventually there may be enough of a build-up to create some kind of rain.

Sue: I bet you wouldn’t try to save the day if a threesome was on the cards. Don’t pretend that you would, Neil.

Avon: (screaming) This is not just a rescue mission for poor gallant Tarrant!

Sue: He’s a poet and he doesn’t even know it. Is the sand making Avon act like this? It really is impossible to tell with Avon.

The rain generated by Scorpio’s rapid descent keeps the sand at bay long enough for Tarrant and Servalan to escape from the base.

Sue: That was one hell of a first date. A little bit more exciting than a game of pool in Whitby.

Me: Similar death toll, though.

When Tarrant teleports back to the ship, he decides not to admit that he’s slept with their arch enemy.

Sue: Avon will go bananas if he ever finds out. I bet Servalan can’t wait to tell him.

SandUPDATE: It seems that we were talking over the bit where Tarrant doesn’t deny that he’s slept with Servalan, but doesn’t want to talk about it. Either way, it’s pretty obvious that Avon knows. Sorry, it happens sometimes, especially when I’m not familiar with an episode and I don’t rewind the important bits that we miss because we’re yakking over it.

The episode concludes with Servalan filing a negative report.

Servalan: I had the gun but I didn’t kill you, Tarrant… Yet.

Sue: Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.

Cue credits.

The Score:

Sue: It started off badly. If I’m honest, the first fifteen minutes had me worried, they were so dreadful. However, as soon as the bald guy died and the sand came to life, I began to enjoy it. Even Servalan was sympathetic, and I never thought I’d say that at this late stage. The script was very clever and the direction was pretty good, too. If only they’d gone on location. Anyway, yes, I liked it a lot.

Me: Aren’t you disappointed that Tarrant was stuck on the planet with Servalan instead of Avon?

Sue: Not really. It’s a proper love triangle now. In fact, I bet Avon kills Tarrant when he finds out that he slept with her. Just you wait and see.

Er… sorry!

8/10

Next Time:

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Next

Games

Arcade Fire…

GamesScorpio‘s crew are watching a series of explosions on a monitor screen.

Sue: Is it New Year’s Eve? Are they watching a firework display?

A Federation planet is being blown to bits.

Avon: Well, that’s one way of solving your energy crisis.

Sue: Paul Darrow is bored. Tom Baker had the same problem when he was Doctor Who – and Paul Darrow’s been doing it for quite some time now – he can’t say his lines without hamming it up. I still love him to bits, but he’s chewing the scenery in the very first scene. There’s nowhere left for him to go.

Avon has his eye on some feldon crystals – the hardest and most valuable substance in the known universe. (Unless you include Sopron, which is a little bit harder and marginally more expensive, obviously.)

Sue: What is it with Avon and rocks? He’s only ever happy when he’s playing with his crystals. He’s obsessed.

On the planet Mecron Two, a man named Belkov is playing chess against his personal computer, Gambit.

Sue: Ooh, he’s famous.

Me: Yes, he is.

GamesSue: Is it Stephen Fry’s dad?

Sue eventually recognises Stratford Johns from Z-Cars, a programme she remembers fondly.

Sue: He’s very good. I’m surprised to see him in this, though.

Me: He was in Doctor Who as well. He played a giant frog, so I’m not surprised you don’t remember him.

Sue: He looks like he’s working for The Body Shop, or a spa of some sort. He’s surrounded by beauty products.

Back on Scorpio, the crew are quarrelling over what to do with the feldon crystals: use them to power their ship, or sell them for a huge profit. They haven’t even stolen them yet.

Sue: I like it when they set out to steal something. They are much better at being outlaws than they are at being terrorists. It’s a lot more believable, and it reminds me of Firefly, which is no bad thing.

Me: Joss Whedon says he’s never seen a single episode of Blake’s 7.

Sue: Well he would say that, wouldn’t he. For legal reasons.

GamesAvon tells the crew that the consignment they’re after is protected by a security system that’s supposed to be impregnable.

Sue: Paul Darrow has lost a lot of weight. His clothes don’t hug his figure like they used to. I’m worried about his health.

Belkov monitors three men as they attempt to break into an Orbiter that contains his illegal cache of crystals. The only thing standing in their way is a computer game. The first contestant reaches for a gun attached to the wall.

Sue: Phew. For a moment there I thought he was going to play Binatone badminton.

The first player’s opponent is a mirror image of himself. The player is so surprised by this, he loses his focus and is shot and killed by, er, himself.

Sue: Well, that was a shit game. I think they should play something else. Haven’t they got Wii tennis?

Then, despite an excellent first round, Player Two suffers the same fate. A third man – Gerren – barely escapes with his life.

Sue: He looks like the German submarine captain in Das Boot. I love that film. “Dive! Dive! Dive!”

GamesShe doesn’t recognise David Neal from The Caves of Androzani, but given the size of his beard this is only to be expected. Anyway, Avon has blackmailed Gerren into helping them.

Sue: So Avon’s latest expert is practically dead and we’re only ten minutes into the episode. That must be a new record. I don’t rate his chances of making it to the credits.

Meanwhile, on the surface of Mecron Two…

Sue: Great. Another ****ing quarry… Oh no. Even better! Another ****ing Servalan story. You’d think she’d wear something practical, just this once. You know, like a nice pair of dungarees and some hiking boots. She could accessorise the look with a nice diamond broach if she wanted to, but come on, Neil, it’s ridiculous having to watch her teetering around on a beach in those stupid heels.

Sue sighs deeply.

Sue: And this is too much of a coincidence for me. It stretches believability to breaking point. Can’t they think of a way for Avon and Servalan to meet each other on purpose? Is it really that hard?

When Scorpio arrives at Mecron Two, someone tries to make contact them.

Slave: I fear I am unable to identify them Master. I regret this failure most bitterly.

Avon: Orac?

Orac: The message is coming via a Federation-class Alpha-One-Nine-Seven computer.

Sue: What is the point of Slave? Just switch him off and let Orac take over the ship. Slave sounds like he’s stoned all the time, anyway.

GamesBelkov wants to do a deal: his safety in exchange for his secret cache of feldon crystals.

Sue: He’s a fabulous actor. He’s probably the best guest star to appear in the series so far. They must have been over the moon when they booked him.

Servalan isn’t very happy with Belkov.

Sue: Do you think people believe that Sleer is Servalan’s twin sister? Is that how they make sense of this madness?

Me: You have to let it go, Sue.

Sue: I can’t. It’s a big problem for me. Not only does it make absolutely no sense whatsoever, I don’t see the point of it. Why can’t she just be Servalan? It’s needlessly complicated.

Dayna, Tarrant, Gerren and Vila teleport to the surface of Mecron Two.

Sue: The direction is a lot better than usual. The high-angle shot of the quarry just then really pushed the boat out. They didn’t have to do that, but it was worth it.

Dayna shoots a Federation guard, although it looks like one of the planet’s natives got there first when Vila removes a blood-stained metal triangle from the trooper’s back.

Sue: I bet they got into trouble for that scene. That was very gruesome.

Avon wants to move Scorpio so it will be perpetually eclipsed by the Orbiter.

GamesSue: That’s a lovely shot. I bet they wish they had a bigger window they could look out of.

Avon brushes off Soolin’s concerns for the rest of the crew.

Avon: At least you and I can be certain that we can get away when we want to.

Sue: Avon’s still a selfish **** at the end of the day. Nothing’s really changed over the last – what is it – four years?

Gerren escorts Tarrant’s party to the planet’s high pressure processing plant.

Gerren: That’s the pressure container. An electro-magnetic field produces such high pressure that everything except the feldon crystals is reduced to a fine dust.

Sue: There’s a lot of chat in this episode. There’s only five minutes left and nothing’s happened yet.

Me: We’re only twenty minutes into this, Sue.

Sue: Really? Bloody hell, it’s even slower than I thought.

Federation troopers detain our heroes and demand to see their identification.

GamesSue: If Avon’s gang are on the Federation’s Most Wanted list, you’d think the Federation would know what they looked like, wouldn’t you. This just proves that they don’t give a shit about them, unless you count Servalan, and that’s definitely personal.

Our heroes make short work of the troopers.

Sue: Wow. A nicely staged fight for a change. I’m impressed.

Tarrant pushes a Federation trooper into the pressure plant and a puff of red dust fills in the blanks.

Sue: That was pretty grim for 7 o’clock. This episode isn’t pulling any punches. At least they didn’t dwell on it too much.

Me: It reminds me of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. And Belkov reminds me of a Bond villain, too.

Sue: So who’s James Bond? It can’t be Avon if he’s stuck on the ship.

Me: Well, Vila, obviously.

Sue: **** off!

Servalan wants to know where Belkov has hidden his crystals.

Sue: Are you sure he hasn’t stuck them up his jumper. Maybe he isn’t as big as he looks.

Belkov offers to trade Avon, Tarrant and Vila in exchange for Servalan’s help.

Sue: He didn’t mention the women. They can’t be infamous enough, which means they should both run away the next chance they get. I mean, why doesn’t Soolin ask to be dropped off on the nearest inhabitable planet? I don’t get it.

GamesOn the planet’s surface, Vila, Gerren and Tarrant approach the door that will lead them to Belkov.

Sue: The Federation are using supermarket packing trolleys. My friend Christine stole one of those from the back of a shop after school one day. I have a very vivid memory of me pushing it down the road while she sat in it and played her saxophone. Don’t ask me why we did it because I don’t know.

Me: When I was a teenager, I worked in supermarket called Victor Value as a shelf-stacker. When the shop was closed, we used the packing trolleys as stock cars. We’d race down the aisles pretending we were taking part in Mad Max meets Dawn of the Dead. The worst culprit was our supervisor, and he was in his thirties.

We swap more supermarket packing trolley stories before resuming the episode, at which point our heroes are practically knocking on Belkov’s front door.

Sue: That’s the best door-in-a-cliff to appear in Blake’s 7 so far. And to be fair, there’s been quite a few.

Avon wants Orac to tell him everything he knows about Belkov’s supercomputer.

Orac: You suggested I spared you the technical details.

Avon: Oh, don’t sulk, Orac.

Sue: I could watch these two sniping at each other all day. I like the way that both Avon and the other guy treat their machines with more respect than they do other human beings. And why does Paul Darrow sound like he’s appearing in a Shakespeare play?

GamesAvon: So what we need is not the right answer, but the right question!

Sue: To be or not to be? See, he’s auditioning for Hamlet.

Tarrant, Dayna and Gerren reach Belkov’s lair. Belkov warns them that Gambit will raise the alarm if they kill him.

Sue: Wasn’t there a Doctor Who story called Gambit?

Me: No, but there is a Blake’s 7 story called Gambit. We watched it four months ago.

Sue: It’s all beginning to blur together into one big… thing. I don’t know how you can remember all this stuff. How can there be enough room for it in your head?

Belkov keeps switching sides. This time he offers to send Servalan into a trap so they can all steal a spaceship together.

Sue: He’s playing games with everyone and they don’t even know it. It’s really good, this. It’s a very clever script.

There’s an almighty explosion and Vila watches in horror as a man rushes out of the cave in flames.

Sue: **** me! Look at that! Either that’s a fantastic stunt or something’s going horribly wrong and we’re witnessing a terrible accident.

I usually only capture those moments in Blake’s 7 that are so bad they have to be seen to be believed. Today, I’m making an exception to that rule. I mean, come on! How good is this?!

[jwplayer mediaid=”13034″]

When Servalan and her men investigate another cave, they interrupt a religious ceremony that’s already in progress.

Me: It’s all gone a bit Eyes Wide Shut.

Sue: You wish.

GamesServalan’s men are butchered on the spot.

Sue: Why is Servalan posing for a calendar shoot?

Servalan shakes her head and leaves.

Me: I’m sorry, Sue, but as far as I am concerned, that’s Blake’s 7 funniest moment by far. The look of disinterest on Servalan’s face just then – priceless.

Avon has identified Belkov’s weak spot:

Avon: Belkov does not trust anyone except that machine. It is his bodyguard, his companion, his playmate… his friend.

Sue: He reminds me of someone I could mention. Someone who isn’t sitting all that far away, Neil.

I don’t know what she means.

Sue: And Orac is the closest thing Avon has to a real friend, so he knows what he’s talking about.

Vila sneaks into Belkov’s lair.

GamesSue: His computer reminds me of a giant game of Frustration. I just want to pop it.

When Belkov returns, Vila hides behind the computer. Belkov asks for a security update and Gambit provides him the location of every single person except Vila.

Sue: (as Gambit) Oh, and I almost forgot to mention: there’s a weird guy squatting behind me. You might want to check that out.

Gambit: Security scan completed.

Sue: What? Did she do that on purpose? That was crazy.

Belkov has some bad news for his computer: he will have to leave her behind.

Gambit: Is there some other function you wish me to carry out?

Sue: (as Belkov) Yes, whatever you do, don’t forget to erase my porn collection as soon as I leave.

Belkov: I shall miss you. I don’t suppose that concept could possibly mean anything to you. I just thought I’d mention it.

Sue: This is touching. Weird, but touching. I couldn’t imagine Avon having this conversation with Orac, but he is really selling it to me; he’s such a good actor.

Vila convinces Gambit to part with one of her circuit boards before persuading her to set Tarrant, Dayna and Gerren free.

Sue: And he didn’t even have to raise his voice. There’s a message there, somewhere.

GamesVila shoots a Federation guard at point-blank range, as calm as you like.

Sue: Vila is stealing the show this week. Even I’m impressed.

Gerren is shot and captured, but Vila, Dayna and Tarrant are teleported to safety.

Sue: This is probably Blake’s 7‘s best directed episode so far.

Me: Even better than Douglas Camfield’s?

Sue: It’s definitely up there.

Me: The director’s name is Vivienne Cozens and you’ll be pleased to know that she directs the next episode as well.

Sue: Excellent. Things are finally looking up for this show. The direction is very cinematic. It makes all the difference.

Servalan interrogates a badly wounded Gerren.

Sue: Is he not dead yet? He’s ****ing indestructible!

Soolin prepares to play the Orbiter’s first game.

Soolin: You have to out-shoot yourself.

Sue: It’s the perfect game for people with low self-esteem.

Me: I bet this isn’t what Vila had in mind when he said he wanted to watch Soolin play with herself.

Sue: When did he say that?

Me: In a dream I had last week. Sorry.

Against all the odds, Soolin wins.

GamesSue: Is that it? All she gets is a message on a TV screen that says ‘Very Good’!? Doesn’t she get any tickets that she can exchange for sweets later on? Or a goldfish?

It’s Tarrant’s turn to step up to the plate – this time in a high-tech flight simulator.

Sue: (as Tarrant) So where do you put your fifty pence piece?

Meanwhile, on Scorpio…

Dayna: Slave, what’s the position of those Federation ships?

Slave: The leading ship will be within firing range in one minute, Madam.

Sue: What would have happened if Dayna hadn’t asked that question at that precise moment? Would Slave have kept his mouth shut, or would he have warned her? I need to know.

Tarrant’s piloting skills are put to the test.

Sue: This is way ahead of its time. Computer games were just coming into fashion back then – we wouldn’t see games as good as the one Tarrant is playing for years. If they ever bring Blake’s 7 back, this is one of the episodes they should definitely remake.

Vila uses his initiative to open the next door.

Sue: Vila is showing everybody up today. There’s no stopping him.

The Orbiter moves out of orbit, which leaves the Scorpio exposed to a Federation attack.

Sue: Ooh, this is really exciting all of a sudden!

GamesSue finally notices that Gambit’s circuit board has been bolted to the top of Orac.

Sue: So is she Orac’s girlfriend, now?

Me: STOP IT!

Avon: There aren’t any damned crystals. There never were any damned crystals. They’re like everything else on this ship: a game!

Me: It’s basically 3-2-1 in space.

Sue: They should have included a version of Tipping Point, but with bombs instead of coins. They missed a trick there.

Gambit decides to turn the tables on Belkov. Well, you know what they say about a computer scorned.

Sue: Checkmate, mate.

Belkov opens a door to a black hole (keep up at the back), but Avon has a cunning plan.

Orac: It would appear that positive and negative inputs were balanced by the feldon crystals. Indeed, the balance was so perfect, that they simply ceased to exist, along with everything in their immediate vicinity.

Sue: Eh? What? Oh, forget it. I don’t care. Whatever happened, it was exciting. So is the bad guy dead or what?

Me: I guess so.

Sue: That’s a shame. And Servalan? Where has she got to? Has she ceased to exist as well?

Me: What do you think?

Sue: I think she’ll be back next week.

GamesJust when the crew think they’ll be heading home empty-handed, Vila produces a crystal necklace that he’s stolen from Belkov. Unfortunately, Avon has some bad news:

Avon: It’s a fake. End game to Belkov.

Cue credits.

Sue: They didn’t even get a miniature Dusty Bin. What a shame.

The Score:

Sue: It took a long time to get going – it was very talky at the beginning – but when it pulled its finger out, it was great. The direction was especially good and the man from Z-Cars was brilliant. I even liked Vila, so it must be good. I could have done without Servalan, but I’m getting used to that. And Paul Darrow needs to tone it down a bit, obviously. But apart from that… Yeah, I enjoyed that one a lot.

8/10

Next Time:

Back
Next

Assassin

As serious as Cancer…

AssassinVila has some bad news for Scorpio‘s crew.

Sue: Is it just me or is Avon tired? They’ve plastered him in make-up to try and hide it, but he looks like he’s knackered. And stressed.

A familiar voice stresses him out even more.

Servalan: Utiliser to Cancer, Utiliser to Cancer. Domo the ninth, five subjects. Utiliser to Cancer, Utiliser to Cancer. Domo the ninth, five subjects.

Sue: Oh joy.

This radio message, which has been intercepted by Vila, sounds like gibberish. Or does it..?

Sue: Well, there are five of them so they must be the subjects. Why do they keep drawing attention to the fact that they always seem to be two people short.

Domo is a planet, the ninth is a date, but who or what is Cancer?

Tarrant: (to Avon) You know about Cancer.

Sue: This is a cheerful start to the episode.

Cancer is a man.

Sue: What a stupid name. I bet he doesn’t go on many dates.

Cancer is a professional assassin.

Sue: OK, fair enough. He’s using a made-up name, like a professional wrestler.

AssassinMeanwhile, in Servalan’s floating bingo hall…

Sue: This is what every good spaceship needs: sexy mood lighting.

Me: Forget the plasma bolts, has it got a dimmer switch?

Servalan confers with her captain.

Sue: That man is so tall, I’m surprised Servalan doesn’t sprain her neck every time she gives him an order.

Servalan instructs her captain to lay in a course for the planet Domo.

Sue: If she’s still pretending to be somebody else, how is she paying for all this? And why has she put a contract out on Avon? I thought she wanted to rule the universe with him, or has she changed her mind about that? I mean, how much of a threat is Avon supposed to be?

Me: Well, considering that all the experts that Avon has tried to recruit are dead, not much.

The crew turn to Orac for some advice.

Orac: You must find this Cancer before he finds you.

Sue: Good idea, Orac. Preventive medicine is always the best course of action. I’m willing to bet good money that either the writer had cancer, or they knew someone who had cancer when they wrote this. It’s basically a metaphor for cancer.

Avon teleports to the planet Domo, where he allows himself to be captured by slave traders. Their leader, Benos (who Sue mistakes for a very young Jeremy Irons), takes possession of Avon’s teleport bracelet.

Sue: Typical. They’ve got this incredible technology that can beam you down to alien planets, but they can’t invent a bracelet that doesn’t fall off your wrist if you so much as look at it.

AssassinAvon ends up sharing a cell with a slave named Nebrox.

Sue: Is that William Hartnell?

I pretend not to hear her.

Sue: Is it, you know. It’s William Hartnell. Look!

Me: It isn’t William Hartnell. William Hartnell’s dead.

Sue: Well, it doesn’t half look like William Hartnell. It’s uncanny. He even sounds like him.

I pause the DVD and put her out of her misery.

Me: Oh yeah. I’d completely forgotten about that. Still, you can see why JNT hired him to play the part after he saw him in this. The resemblance is spooky. He’s even playing this part like the Doctor. He’s more like the Doctor here than he ever was in Doctor Who. He’s really good.

Nebrox begs Avon to trust him.

Sue: Oh, and he’s definitely Cancer. I bet you anything.

Servalan has the best seat in the house at Domo’s slave auction.

Sue: This reminds me of Game of Thrones, but without the sunshine. Yeah, it’s an off-season Games of Thrones. Those two bare-chested men with the fans – they must be freezing their bollocks off.

Domo looks like every other barren shit hole we’ve visited.

Sue: Did Rosie work on this episode? Oh, she did? Bollocks. This is not good.

AssassinNebrox and Avon share a meal.

Nebrox: It’s mangon. It’s a sort of stew made from fungus. It takes some getting used to, but it’s really very nourishing.

Sue: Whatever they’re paying him to eat that slop, it isn’t enough. Paul Darrow won’t go anywhere near it.

Me: And Paul Darrow eats MDF for breakfast.

Nebrox describes Servalan to Avon. Well, sort of.

Nebrox: I didn’t really get much of a look at her. She was tall, dark, obviously important and powerful.

Sue: Surely the first thing you say when you’re describing Servalan to somebody is that she’s got short black hair. Why would he leave that detail out? Unless he’s Cancer, of course. It’s pretty obvious, really.

According to Nebrox, Servalan purchased a male slave that very morning.

Sue: Avon is seething with jealousy.

He needn’t worry, because as soon as Servalan claps eyes on him, she can’t wait to splash her cash.

Servalan: I want him.

Sue: This should be fun.

Benos highlights Avon’s extra features:

AssassinBenos: Now I know he looks soft, and he talks soft, too, but you can tell the ladies he’s strong enough to work all day and still have plenty of energy left over for any little chores you might have for him in the evenings.

Sue: Oh dear. I think I’m having a hot flush.

Avon becomes the subject of a bidding war.

Bidder #1: Valeria bids two hundred.

Bidder #2: Natratof bids two hundred and fifty.

Servalan: I bid seven hundred vems.

Sue: I bid a million vems! How much is a vem worth, Neil?

Me: More than you can afford, Sue.

With Nebrox’s help, Avon gets his teleport bracelet back. However, just when it looks like Avon will do a runner, he changes his mind and rescues Nebrox instead.

Sue: Aww, bless. The Doctor is going to join the team. That’s brilliant.

AssassinThere then follows a really strange shot where Avon is captured in the middle distance. Blink and you’ll miss it – mainly because the director has decided to pack the foreground with panicked extras.

Sue: Who directed this? That was terrible. Inept, even. One minute you think Avon is free, and in the next shot he’s captured again. That was terrible!

Me: The director’s name is David Sullivan Proudfoot.

Sue: Are you taking the piss?

Me: No.

Sue: Is he a hobbit?

Me: Not to my knowledge.

Sue: Well, he’s got nothing to feel proud about. That was a shambles.

With Dayna’s help, Avon and Nebrox manage to escape in the nick of time, and it isn’t long before the Scorpio intercepts Cancer’s spaceship.

Sue: They should leave it alone. Everybody knows that Scorpio and Cancer are incompatible.

Tarrant and Avon teleport to the ship and walk straight into a trap.

AssassinSue: Either the money has run out and that’s Blake’s 7‘s worst ever monster, or this is a trap.

She breathes a huge sigh of relief when we see Cancer hiding on the ship’s flight deck.

Sue: He looks like Noel Edmonds crossed with Michael Ball, with a young Colin Baker thrown in for good measure.

Tarrant and Cancer engage in some fisticuffs.

Sue: This is a very realistic fight, but there’s no atmosphere. I’ve lost all faith in the director.

Cancer is accompanied by exotic dancer named Piri.

Sue: She isn’t what she seems. She must be Cancer. It’s a bit obvious, this.

Me: I thought you said William Hartnell was the assassin?

Sue: We were supposed to think that – to put us off. No, she’s definitely Cancer.

Piri: He said that he wanted me to help him to celebrate after he’d finished a job that he had to do.

Sue: It really is Game of Thrones in space, what with all the space prostitutes and everything. Although you don’t get to see any tits in Blake’s 7. Well, not unless you count Vila.

Soolin, Vila and Nebrox teleport to Cancer’s ship.

Soolin: You have been busy.

AssassinSue: Soolin’s very cocky all of a sudden. We didn’t hear a peep out of her for ages and now she’s strutting around like she owns the place.

Cancer promises to get his own back on Avon.

Cancer: I’ve never killed for personal pleasure before, but in your case I shall make an exception!

Sue: Oh dear. It’s all gone a bit panto, now.

Piri has a nervous breakdown.

Sue: Either they’ve hired a terrible actress or she’s Cancer. And if she is Cancer, Cancer is a terrible actress. Does that make sense?

Avon is rapidly running out of patience.

Avon: I’m setting a trap, not holding a convention for liberated slaves.

Sue: Brilliant. He’s stressed to hell, but he’s secretly enjoying himself.

Piri and Tarrant get to know each other.

AssassinSue: (singing) I’m a private dancer, a dancer for a money, I’ll do what you want me to do…

Tarrant lets Piri know that Avon isn’t his boss.

Tarrant: If we think he’s right, we go along with it, if we don’t, we don’t. We’re all free agents.

Sue: (as Tarrant) It’s a shambles; we hardly get anything done.

Tarrant is completely smitten by Piri.

Sue: I don’t mean to be funny, but Tarrant is easily pleased.

Me: At least it means you might stand a chance with him.

Sue: Hark at Robert Redford over there.

Nebrox and Piri reminisce about the time they spent in slavery on Domo. However, Piri doesn’t seem to know what mangon is.

Sue: That confirms it. She’s definitely Cancer. And Noel Edmonds is her private dancer. But what is she waiting for? Shouldn’t she be killing everyone by now?

Right on cue, Cancer escapes and Nebrox is killed.

AssassinSue: Is he dead or just out of focus? I can’t tell when it comes to this director.

Me: He’s dead.

Sue: Oh no. That’s rubbish. I wanted him to join the team full-time. He was wonderful.

Piri falls to pieces and Soolin slaps her to shut her up.

Tarrant: You enjoyed that, didn’t you?

Sue: I did. She’s really beginning to get on my tits.

Tarrant thinks Soolin is jealous of Piri.

Sue: Is he having a laugh? Soolin’s got absolutely nothing to be jealous of, whether she can pole dance or not.

As he bickers with Tarrant, it appears that Avon isn’t immune to Piri’s charms.

Tarrant: It certainly doesn’t speak highly of your much vaunted brains.

Avon: Your little friend seems to prefer them to your equally vaunted brawn.

AssassinTarrant: What was that supposed to mean?

Sue: It means she fancies Avon and she doesn’t fancy you. Although why she can’t fancy both of them is beyond me…

All this testosterone makes Avon very agitated.

Sue: Here we go. Time for a violent snog.

Piri: Don’t fight over me, please!

Sue: Has she got an alien power that makes men fall in love with her, because if she hasn’t THIS MAKES NO SENSE AT ALL!

They decide to lock Piri on the flight deck, because if somebody stayed with her it would reduce their chances of finding Cancer by a third.

Soolin: Well, do we stick together, or what?

Sue: Weren’t you listening to anything Avon said two minutes ago, pet? If you stay together, all that chat about cutting down your chances by a third wouldn’t make any ****ing sense. ARGH!

The crew split up and search for Cancer.

AssassinSue: It’s trying to be like Alien, but instead of a man-eating, acid-spewing monster, we’ve got Noel Edmonds skulking around in a bad mood. It’s not really working for me.

A mechanical spider is let loose on the ship.

Sue: A spider? What the ****? Shouldn’t it be a crab? Don’t tell me it didn’t say crab in the script. It should be scurrying sideways, too. What a farce!

Soolin takes a break, just long enough for the spider to creep up on her.

Sue: What the hell is she doing? She may as well wear a sigh that says “Kill Me”.

You’ll never guess what happens next…

Piri: I am Cancer.

Sue: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Whatever.

It looks like Piri has dedicated several hours to styling her hair for a torture session with Avon.

AssassinSue: Wow. If Tarrant fancied her when she looked ordinary, he’s going to crazy when he finds out she’s an S&M dominatrix.

Noel Edmonds is actually a professional entertainer who was hired by Servalan to act as a decoy.

Sue: She could have auditioned a little bit harder. He was crap. Or maybe he was supposed to be crap, in which case he deserves a BAFTA.

Piri planned to kill the crew when they returned to Xenon Base.

Sue: Or she could pull her finger out and do it on the ship. You know, to save time.

Servalan is over the moon.

Servalan: Congratulations, Cancer, you are a credit to our sex.

Sue: Really? I’m ashamed.

Piri believes that her crab spider has already nobbled Soolin.

Piri: I should imagine that blonde bitch is probably dead already.

Sue: Yeah, she’s a wonderful ambassador for feminism.

AssassinPiri places her magic spider on Avon’s trussed up body.

Sue: Right on his cock. Ouch! Actually, a crab would have been funnier. What a wasted opportunity.

Soolin and Tarrant come to the rescue and the spider ends up on Cancer’s arm.

Sue: At least she’s squishing it to death as it kills her. That’s nice.

Cancer screams the place down.

Sue: OH, SHUT THE **** UP!

There then follows a nail-baiting race to see who will reach the crew first. Will it be the Scorpio or Servalan?

Sue: What do you fancy for tea tomorrow night, Neil?

Cancer’s spaceship is blasted into a million tiny pieces.

Sue: They’re not really dead. Don’t ask me why – it’s just a hunch. Oh, look, they’re not really dead.

Not only are the crew not really dead, they’re sipping cocktails and kicking back on the Scorpio‘s sun loungers, although Vila does threaten to spoil the party mood.

AssassinDayna: Vila’s worried. He wants to know what became of that sweet little girl.

Soolin: Vila, all sweet things have one thing in common: a tendency to make you sick.

Cue credits.

Sue: Do you know what else has a tendency to make you feel sick? Forced comedy endings. Now pass me a bucket.

The Score:

Sue: The direction, the acting and the script let it down. Apart from that, it was great.

5/10

Next Time:

Back
Next

Animals

Oggy! Oggy! Oggy! (No! No! No!)

AnimalsSue: Animals… I hope Pink Floyd do the music.

Tarrant is ferrying Dayna to the planet Bucol Two so she can visit an old teacher (and I do mean old).

Tarrant: Will he remember you?

Dayna: I should hope so.

Dayna smiles knowingly. I tut loudly.

Sue: What’s wrong?

Me: What’s wrong? Dayna is supposed to be sixteen, or thereabouts, I think, and she was even younger when she made a big impression on her teacher, if you know what I mean.

Sue: Don’t be so bad-minded, Neil. Maybe Dayna was an A-star student, and that’s why her teacher will remember her. Don’t be so quick to judge.

Dayna teleports to the planet and meets a strange creature covered in fur.

Sue: It’s a cross between a Yeti and a hatstand. Is that her teacher? Does he train all the local Jedi?

The Scorpio is ambushed by Federation pursuit ships.

Sue: It’s absolutely fine. Tarrant can outrun them with his super-duper new engine.

The Scorpio is hit by a plasma bolt.

Sue: Oh.

AnimalsMeanwhile, Dayna finds herself surrounded by furry animals.

Sue: They’re cute. They look like horny Ewoks.

Dayna shoots one of them in the face.

Sue: What the ****? What did she do that for? He only wanted a cuddle!

The Scorpio suffers several direct hits and Tarrant is lucky to escape with his life.

Sue: Avon is going to be furious when he finds out.

Slave: Main teleport system is damaged to a degree as yet unspecified. Navigation systems register first warning of malfunction. Main detectors show fifty percent is functional. Further damage is under assessment.

Sue: They’ve only just got the bloody thing working! If only Slave had spotted those ships a little earlier. They need better radar. That’s their next upgrade – better radar.

Dayna, who is now stranded on the planet, is being chased by the titular animals.

Sue: Stop ****ing killing them!

She is rescued by a man in his early fifties. His name is Justin.

Sue: Justin time! Sorry. I won’t do that again, I promise.

Justin is extremely pleased to see Dayna.

AnimalsJustin: Here, let me look at you. My little pupil Dayna, lovelier than ever.

Sue: Er… I beg your pardon?

Me: I did try to warn you, Sue. I’m really sorry, but this is going to get very rough, very soon. Why do you think I’m cradling a bottle of Jim Beam? Here, do you want some?

Sue: No, that would be cheating.

Justin: You look quite beautiful…

Sue: Oh my God, this is really dodgy.

Dayna: I think it’s disgusting.

Sue: Join the ****ing club!

Dayna isn’t referring to Justin’s advances, she’s talking about her mentor’s experiments on some animals he’s bred – the loon! – the most intelligent of which is called Og.

Sue: What kind of name is Og? Is he taking the piss or what?

Dayna tells Justin about her gang, and how they are currently scouring the galaxy, recruiting experts to help them in their never-ending war against the Federation.

Sue: Well, that’s certainly news to me. When was that decided?

However, Justin isn’t interested in joining a rag-tag band of terrorists.

Justin: Of course, if you wanted to stay on your own, that would be different.

Sue: Will somebody please call the police! Or Operation Yewtree! Anybody!

AnimalsOh look, it’s Commissioner Servalan Sleer.

Sue: What happened to her giant space crocodile? Her new spaceship looks like a Bingo hall.

A Federation captain delivers a classified report on Bucol Two.

Sue: How can he possibly read that thing? It’s just shapes! And why is Servalan fondling a thermostat? Why is she even in this episode? Still, things must be bad; I’m sure this is the first time I’ve seen her wear the same thing twice.

Back on Bucol Two, the animals are revolting.

Sue: I feel sorry for them. They’re bloody terrible singers, though.

Justin is still trying to get into Dayna’s pants.

Justin: You came here expecting more, a young love resurrected.

Sue: Oh, for God’s sake. Stop it!

There was a time when the Federation wanted to use Justin’s animals as shock troops.

Sue: The enemy would get a shock all right. And then they’d die laughing. This is preposterous, Neil.

Justin: Those animals can go into any of the devastated sectors of the war zone and the radiation won’t kill them. They can work on simple projects already.

Sue: Now if only we could get them to stop flinging their own shit at each other, I’m sure they’d be brilliant.

AnimalsJustin’s work is almost complete.

Sue: Never trust a man with thin lips. And his top lip is so thin, it’s practically invisible.

Tarrant limps back to Xenon base in a battered and bruised Scorpio.

Sue: That’s the last time Avon will give Tarrant the keys to the car. He’ll ground him for this.

Sue used to be a hairdresser, which probably explains why she’s drawn to the sculptured hairstyles which seem to be all the rage within the Federation’s ranks.

Sue: That’s one hell of a graduated bob. Is that what all the fashionable vampires are wearing these days? Graduated bobs?

Me: I don’t even know what that means.

Sue: Is Servalan still pretending to be somebody else?

Me: Yes.

Sue: Why?

Me: **** knows.

AnimalsSue: But it’s ridiculous. It would be like Margaret Thatcher faking her own death and coming back as Mrs Hatcher, hoping no one would notice as she became Prime Minister again. She hasn’t even dyed her hair!

Justin bitterly regrets turning Federation deserters into furry animals with silly names.

Sue: Those animals are the least of your crimes, mate.

When Justin says he wants Dayna all to himself, Dayna breaks into a huge, self-satisfied grin. Which is weird because you’d think she’d throw up.

Sue: What the ****?

Servalan arranges to meet Ardus, an ex-Federation officer who knows everything there is to know about Bucol Two. The poor man lost his eyes during the war.

Sue: He’d have to be blind to leave the house wearing glasses like that.

I pause the DVD.

Me: Don’t you recognise him? I’ll give you a clue: “Paaaaaacker…”

Sue: Oh yeah. He’s been in Blake’s 7 before. Is he playing the same character?

Me: Yes.

AnimalsOK, I lied. This episode’s got enough problems without me telling the truth.

Ardus eventually recognises Servalan’s voice.

Sue: It took him long enough. I thought he was deaf as well as blind.

Ardus immediately regrets mentioning Servalan by name.

Sleer: Very well. I await your information.

Sue: Sorry, I mean (in a gruff, deep voice) Very well. I await your information.

Ardus tells Servalan everything she needs to know about Justin.

Sue: Doesn’t anybody know his surname?

Back on Bucol Two, Dayna offers to talk to the Og on Justin’s behalf.

Dayna: If he won’t trust you, perhaps he’ll trust me.

Sue: Yes, he’ll trust you because you killed his friends – right in front of him! Has Dayna been taking the stupid pills?

AnimalsJustin fondles Dayna’s hands.

Sue: I think I’m going to be sick.

Justin: I’ve been on my own on this planet so long now…

Sue: Oh dear. He’s been shagging all the animals. He basically just admitted it.

Back on the Scorpio, Vila prepares to drown himself in a tank full of shit.

Sue: This has nothing to do with the other plot. They are just killing time until that other pile of steaming shit finishes. What Vila’s doing here is a metaphor for what we are going through right now.

Sue trusts Justin as far as she can throw him.

Sue: Justin isn’t everything he seems.

Me: He’s exactly what he seems. That’s the ****ing problem, Sue!

Dayna extends the hand of friendship to Og. She promises Og that he won’t be hurt if he returns to Justin’s loving arms. Og points to his head.

Dayna: Not hurt. Not your head. Not hurt.

Sue: It’s all right. You can tell me. Show me where the creepy old man touched you.

Just as Dayna believes she’s about to make a breakthrough, Og throws her over a cliff.

Sue: Wow. She was even more wooden than usual. Anyone would think they threw a doll over that cliff instead. Actually, what the hell has happened to Dayna? I used to really like her. Now I can barely stand her.

AnimalsMeanwhile, in the other shit-stained plot, Soolin places a blue box next to Orac.

Sue: Is that Orac’s girlfriend? She doesn’t say very much. Still more animated than Soolin, though.

The Scorpio blasts off again.

Sue: Avon should sit down when they take off. It can’t be safe to stand up like that, especially the way Tarrant drives.

Dayna is interrogated by Servalan. Every time Dayna lies to her, Servalan presses a button on her chair and Dayna is subjected to a very intense orgasm.

Sue: I don’t know what Servalan is doing to her, but it looks all right to me.

Servalan asks Dayna if she loves Justin. Dayna denies it, but Servalan’s magic chair can detect the horrible truth. I swallow a bit of sick.

Sue: There should be a caption at the bottom of the screen: ‘My Teacher Molested Me And Now I’ve Fallen In Love Him’. Seriously, though, this episode is giving me the creeps.

Servalan offers to support Justin’s research, on one condition:

Servalan: That I use the animals in the way I think fit.

Sue: She’ll probably skin them and turn them into a nice dress.

Dayna refuses to cooperate with Servalan.

Sue: She’s holding out for one more orgasm.

Servalan switches to Plan B. By the time she’s finished with her, Dayna will hate Justin with every fibre of her being.

Sue: Is there anything that chair can’t do? If you sat in it, Neil, could I make you love me more?

Me: Give it a rest, love.

AnimalsJustin is so distraught when he discovers that Dayna has disappeared, he briefly considers suicide before hitting the bottle.

Sue: SHIT! That was the Fairy Liquid!

Servalan’s aversion therapy has been a complete success – Dayna now hates Justin as much as we do. Good for Servalan.

Servalan: You really hate him now, don’t you?

Sue: Remember that Maths lesson, when you were only fourteen and he –

Me: Stop it, Sue.

Dayna: I hate him.

Sue: I’m fairly sure this isn’t what the writer intended. I think we’re actually supposed to feel sorry for the old pervert.

I feel it’s only fair to tell Sue that this episode was originally written for Cally.

Sue: That’s no excuse. They should have realised the implications as soon as the problem presented itself. Soolin would have been just as bad – even though it would have given her something to do – so they should have sent Tarrant instead. That would have been much more interesting. But either way, they should have ditched the randy teacher routine. It just isn’t right.

AnimalsServalan storms Justin’s base with three snowmobilers equipped with graduated bobs. She tells the women that they can wing Og if they have to – but they can’t kill him.

Sue: Are they allowed to snap one of its horns off?

Avon, Tarrant and Soolin teleport to Bucol Two. It’s pissing down and they are drenched in seconds.

Sue: Paul Darrow’s hair gel is dripping into his eyes. This is not a good look for him. It looks like his head is melting… And now he looks like David Ginola from that angle. And not in a good way, either.

Servalan’s troops find and restrain Og.

Sue: Poor Og. The next time we see him, he’ll have a graduated bob.

When Avon blasts his way into Justin’s base, he… well, let’s just say it’s worth watching again. And again. And again.

[jwplayer mediaid=”12524″]

Sue: Wow. What a recovery. Paul Darrow almost ended up on his arse but he remained super-cool. What a professional. That takes real talent, Neil.

Me: It serves him right for kicking that ****ing chair!

Sue: Rosie didn’t have anything to do with this shambles, did she? No? Oh, thank God for that.

When Justin agrees to Servalan’s demands, Dayna is taken to the magic chair again.

Servalan: You love him, Dayna. You love him, Dayna. You love him. Dayna…

Sue: I feel like I’ve been sat in that chair for years. “You love Blake’s 7, Sue. You love Doctor Who, Sue. You love redacted, Sue.”

Og has been tied to a stump in a field.

Sue: Aww, he reminds me of that Shetland pony I see on the common on the way to work. He can only walk around in circles as well, poor thing. It always makes me sad when I see him.

Me: Og is basically Li’l Sebastian. Aww.

When Avon, Tarrant and Soolin mount a rescue mission, Og is killed in the battle.

Sue: Damn it. Og was the best thing in this stupid mess!

AnimalsServalan’s ship blasts off.

Sue: **** me. What a brilliant shot! What’s a brilliant shot like that doing in a pile of shit like this?

Justin didn’t make it either, and the episode ends with Dayna weeping buckets of tears for her dead teacher/mentor/mad professor/lover/abuser (take your pick).

Sue: MAKE IT STOP!

Cue credits.

The Score:

Sue: **** me, that was shit!

1/10

It’s official. Animals is as bad as Trial.

Sue: I’m only giving it a mark for that crane shot at the end. It was seconds away from a big fat zero. What a load of shit.

Next Time:

Back
Next

Traitor

Everything’s Rosie…

Sue: Robert Holmes. Thank God for that. I wonder which one of them will turn out to be the traitor… My money’s on Vila.

On the planet Helotrix, a Federation Colonel named Quute is interrogating an insurrectionist named Igin.

Sue: Travis is alive and he’s got a brand new face!

TraitorI break it to her that Christopher Neame wasn’t cast as Travis Mark III, although that would have been effing brilliant.

Sue: Why are the Federation obsessed with eye patches? They must think they’re pirates or something… He’s very camp. I like the way he wiggles the tassels on his jacket like he’s an evil majorette. And what in God’s name is he doing with his lips?

Sue doesn’t recognise Christopher Neame from Shada or – and this is even worse – Babylon 5.

Me: “Why did the Minbari surrender at the Battle of the Line?” No? Oh, come on, Sue, you must remember him. He’s Christopher Neame!

Sue: Did he give birth to the blonde one from Peep Show? Because he looks just like him.

Thanks to Dudley Simpson’s incidental music, Sue is disappointed when the rebels don’t turn out to be French.

Sue: I keep expecting them to break into song. I feel like I’m watching a science fiction sequel to Les Mis.

At least the location gets the thumbs-up.

Sue: All the planets were beginning to look the same to me, but this one is weird enough to be truly alien. I really like it.

Meanwhile, on the Scorpio, Avon admits that he’s tired of running away.

TraitorSue: How does he know that he’s still a wanted man? Servalan is supposed to be dead, the Federation have had a big war, so most of their records were probably destroyed, and they certainly haven’t got a ship that’s worth stealing any more. I mean, has anybody come looking for them recently? Avon could just change his name and move somewhere quiet if he really wanted to. What trouble could he possibly cause? And why would he bother? Why would any of them bother?

Back on Helotrix, Colonel Quute plays a game of chess as he casually wipes Igin off the face of the planet.

Sue: That rebel was just a pawn in his game, right? And they’re playing chess, right? Can you see what they did there, Neil? Can you? Can you? ….(sighing) Are you sure this was written by the Robert Holmes?

A little later, Quute entertains a Federation General (Roger Federer’s mad uncle, according to Sue) in the same location.

Sue: So they eat, drink, play chess and kill people in one single room. Does he sleep in there when his shift is over? Has he got a sofa bed tucked away somewhere?

The Federation aren’t the only ones who’ve had to downsize recently: the Scorpio is a bit on the pokey side, too.

TraitorSue: At least the Liberator had more than one set. They’ve just rammed everything into one location to save money, haven’t they. And now they’ve realised that it’s impossible for any of the cast to speak to each other when they’re facing in the same direction, so they’ve had to cobble this ridiculous shot together. It looks weird.

Me: I did say all this two weeks ago.

Sue: And is Soolin just paid to lounge around looking pretty? Because she’s done sod all up to now.

When Avon discovers that Orac has delegated the problem of upgrading the Scorpio‘s engines to another computer, he erupts into maniacal laughter.

Sue: It’s official: Avon has completely lost the plot.

Back on Helotrix, the rebels’ leader, Major Hunda, prepares to launch his latest assault on the Federation.

Sue: I’m sorry, Neil, but this is really boring. I expected a lot more than this from Robert Holmes. It’s just people talking about stuff that I don’t really care about or understand. Blah blah Magnowhatsit Terminal blah blah blah. It’s rubbish!

TraitorWe are introduced to Leitz, who has been sent by commissioner Sleer to be His Excellency President-Elect Practor’s liaison officer. Did you get all that, because I’m pretty sue Sue didn’t.

Sue: He’s a cross between Nick Cave and the bad guy from The Matrix films. I don’t trust him and I don’t understand his job description. either.

Leitz, General Federer and President-Elect Practor discuss the problem of the rebels and how best to deal with them.

Sue: Yak yak bloody yak. With Robert Holmes you usually get some decent lines but this is tedious, Neil.

Hunda swims into the city under the cover of night.

Sue: All because the Federation love Milk Tray…

Oh, and I think Sue’s love affair with the Scorpio is well and truly over.

Sue: I’ve suddenly realised what it reminds me of: it’s the Millennium Falcon crossed with the big spaceship at the start of the film – the one that Darth Vader flies around in – except it’s really, really slow.

Dayna and Tarrant teleport to the surface of Helotrix and immediately lose contact with the ship. Slave suspects it’s an audio malfunction.

TraitorSue: The name Slave makes me feel uncomfortable. They should change it.

Me: Really? What would you suggest?

Sue: Zennie. The kids would have loved that.

Me: This is supposed to be an adult drama, Sue.

Sue: Oh yeah. I forgot. Anyway, I don’t like him. He’s too mechanical, he’s too subservient and he isn’t Zen. Plus you can’t call a cat “Slave” – that would be ridiculous. Which reminds me, Tarrant let me stroke him the other day.

The President-Elect is shown to his quarters, where a painting of the Supreme Empress hangs on one of its wall.

Sue: The only surprising thing about this is that it took this long for Servalan to show up again.

Me: It’s only a painting.

Sue: Of course it is, Neil. You must think I’m stupid.

On Helotrix’s surface, a strangely familiar voice orders the planet’s citizens to assemble at the city’s concourse.

Sue: What were all those people doing out there in the first place? Were they having a fag break? That would explain the smoke, I suppose. And why is Orac telling them what to do? Is Orac the traitor? That wouldn’t surprise me at all.

TraitorHunda’s army battle some ‘adapted’ Helots.

Sue: I like their guns. They’re a cross between shotguns and lasers. They’re the best guns we’ve seen in Blake’s 7 so far. Everyone should have one.

Twenty minutes later…

Sue: Yes, this is a very nice location for a fight, but I’m losing the will to live now. Oh look, a soldier just fell into a pond. How many is that now? Fifty? And do you know what, Neil? I can tell you that it wasn’t Stuart Fell who fell. That’s what you’ve done to me – I can recognise Stuart Fell stunts. And these aren’t Stuart Fell stunts. They aren’t even in the same league.

The Helots are no match for the rebels.

Sue: They walk straight at you like zombies, and you don’t even have to shoot them in the head. They’re a piece of piss!

The Helots are swiftly dealt with.

Sue: That was the best part of the episode so far, and that’s only because they stopped talking.

Avon is fiddling with the Scorpio‘s teleport systems.

Sue: That’s definitely a sonic screwdriver he’s using there. I bet he sat by his phone waiting for his agent to call when Tom Baker left. He would have been perfect.

Me: Better than Peter Davison?

Sue: Peter Davison could have been Paul Darrow’s companion. Imagine that…

TraitorA Federation guard pacifices a Helot. The poor sod is left with a creepy grin on his face.

Sue: The Federation’s new weapon is great if they want to create an army of spaced-out morons. They’ll probably have to solve the ‘Munchies’ problem first, though.

Avon refuses to leave Tarrant and Dayna to their fate, which prompts a visibly annoyed Vila to claim that Blake would have been proud of him.

Sue: Vila’s got a point. Avon is just as crazy as Blake used to be, if not more so. At least Blake had a reason to fight the Federation, after everything they did to him. I don’t see what Avon is getting out of this. He should be out robbing banks.

A mysterious figure kills the President-Elect in cold blood.

Sue: It’s Servalan. Why are they trying to hide it? WHO ELSE COULD IT POSSIBLY BE?

Tarrant disguises himself as a Helot.

Sue: He looks like he’s raided Avon’s wardrobe. If they both start wearing black leather, I don’t think my heart will be able to take it.

Me: Are you saying you fancy Steven Pacey as well?

Sue: Erm… He’s… erm… Well… erm… Yes.

It appears that Leitz has been helping the rebels all along.

TraitorSue: OK, so he’s the traitor. Is that it? Is it over yet?

Leitz suggests that the rebels storm the city via an abandoned monorail system.

Sue: I bet he’s a double-traitor. It’s so obvious I can barely keep my eyes open.

Something has hacked into the Federation’s database, which sets off all sorts of alarms.

Sue: This what happens when you sub-contract. The real Orac would have covered his tracks better than that. That’ll teach him to be so unhelpful.

Leitz confers with a mysterious, gravely voice over an intercom system.

Sue: It’s obviously Servalan, even if it does sound like she’s underwater. Maybe she’s in the bath?

Sue still isn’t sure about Leitz.

Sue: Maybe he’s a triple-traitor…

Me: Wouldn’t that bring him back to being just a traitor?

Sue: I’m over-thinking this, aren’t I? Sorry, I’m bored. It’s taken them ages just to get to this point. How much more of this is there?

Tarrant and Dayna encounter a mad professor in a wheelchair, which certainly livens things up a bit.

TraitorSue: It’s a shit Davros.

Me: Mein Führer! I can walk!

The man’s name is Forbus and he has a score to settle with the Federation.

Sue: He’s even trying to do the Davros voice. It’s embarrassing.

Forbus plans to blow himself and Commissioner Sleer to bits, the first chance he gets.

Sue: It’s a bit like Breaking Bad. He’s going to blow himself up with explosives hidden in his wheelchair, taking the bad guy with him. Oh, and there are some drugs in it as well. Yeah, it’s pretty much exactly the same plot.

Avon decides to take the Scorpio below cloud level to avoid detection. Vila protests.

Sue: We’ve seen this a million times before. I’m bored with this dynamic. Why can’t they just act like they actually enjoy each other’s company for a change? Why does everything have to end in a row?

Commissioner Sleer shows her face. Have you guessed who it is yet?

Sue: I’m almost received to see her. I think I’ve got Stockholm Syndrome.

Tarrant and Hunda fight the Federation.

Sue: This is pretty bad. The fight, the wobbly scenery, the music, the fake rocks, the fact that this on video instead of film, the music. Did I mention the music? Blake’s 7 is better than this, Neil. This is shit.

Sue is also adamant that this episode drops the C-word before the watershed. I’ll let you make your own mind up about that:

TraitorAvon is told that Servalan is still alive.

Sue: Don’t put this on the blog, Neil, but Avon’s definitely getting a stiffy as it dawns on him that she’s still out there, waiting for him.

Servalan quickly dispenses with Forbus.

Sue: She looks like she’s on her way to a Goth disco.

Me: She looks like she’s dressed as a crow.

Leitz threatens to reveals Servalan’s awful secret unless she agrees to give him what he wants.

Sue: How is it possible that people wouldn’t recognise her? She was the ****ing President of the Galaxy, not some faceless backbencher. She ruled planet Earth, for God’s sake. She must have been one of the most famous people who ever lived. If she wants to pretend to be somebody else, she should grow her hair and stop dressing like a ****ing Diva.

Servalan and Leitz kiss, but before Leitz can catch his breath, Servalan stabs him in the back.

Sue: What is it with this show and violent snogging? It happens all the time. One minute you are snogging somebody’s face off, the next minute you are lying on the floor in a heap.

TraitorAvon is secretly pleased that his arch-nemesis didn’t die on the Liberator, after all.

Avon: I didn’t want her to die like that. I need… to kill her myself.

Sue: After he’s snogged her, of course.

Cue credits.

The Score:

Sue: Well that was shit. Worse than that, it was boring shit. I’m really shocked that Robert Holmes put his name on that crap. What else do you want me to say? It was shit. Oh no!

Me: What is it?

Sue: I used to know the Production Manager – Rosie Crowson. She taught me everything I know about TV production. She was lovely. Oh God. I hope she doesn’t read this…

2/10

Sue: The only good thing about that episode was Servalan. That’s how bad it was. At least it gives Avon something to do. Now if only they could do the same thing for Soolin… Oh, and the location was very nice. Rosie would have been responsible for that.

Next Time:

Back
Next

Terminal

End of the line…

First things first: Sue already knows that there are 52 episodes of Blake’s 7. I did consider telling her that there were only three series before we started this blog, so I could text her during ‘Terminal’ with the good news (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, I’ll explain later), but I thought better of it – not only would it have been cruel, I probably would have ended up with a serious injury. However, I did tell her that this episode could have been the last one, but wasn’t. Obviously.

Oh, and she can sing the theme tune perfectly now, which is nice.

Sue: Terry Nation! Long time no see.

Me: This is the last time you’ll ever have to sit through a Terry Nation story, Sue. I promise. It’s the end of an era.

Sue: I’m not sure how I feel about that. Just as I was beginning to like him.

TerminalAvon is holding his hands over his face…

Sue: Are they playing Hide and Seek? Are they really that bored?

Meanwhile, Dayna and Cally are playing Space Monopoly in the teleport room. So yes, they really are that bored.

Cally: My game in nine thousand seven hundred and twenty-one moves.

Sue: How long have they been playing for? Six months?

Tarrant wants to know why Avon altered the Liberator‘s course without telling anybody.

Sue: Avon has turned into Blake. This is exactly the sort of thing that Blake would do. He should know better.

Avon has received a secret message.

Sue: It has to be Servalan. She’s poking Avon.

Me: When did you last use Facebook, Sue? The 18th Century?

Avon is so tired, he can’t even be bothered to come up with a decent quip to hurl at Tarrant.

Sue: I bet Terry’s the one who’s tired. He must have been up against a deadline.

TerminalTarrant butts heads with Avon like he’s never butted heads with Avon before.

Avon: Nothing and nobody is going to stop it, you least of all. Now get out of my way, and stay out of my way.

Sue: Ooh, this just went up a notch. I’m not sure whose side I’m on any more. Avon is acting like a right twat. He’s acting like Blake.

Thanks to Avon, the Liberator ends up flying through some liquid particles. According to Zen, the damage to the ship is superficial, but then we cut to what looks like acid eating through the hull.

Sue: Either Vila has just been sick or Zen is faulty and they’re all ****ed.

The Liberator arrives at its final destination: Terminal.

Sue: It looks like a giant egg. I hope there isn’t a giant space chicken in this episode. I wouldn’t put it past them.

Avon is determined to teleport to Terminal alone.

Sue: Is he expecting to take part in a jousting competition? Because those gloves are ridiculous if he isn’t.

Avon: I have recorded a full explanation of everything I am doing. Zen will not issue it until you are in flight. It’s very detailed. The only thing missing is the end.

Sue: Blake did this once, I’m sure of it. And Avon called Blake an idiot when he did it to him, so what’s he playing at?

TerminalAvon: Understand this: anyone who does follow me, I’ll kill them.

Sue: Eh? Has Avon been taken over by aliens? Why is he doing this? Has Terry forgotten who he’s writing for? This is a really Blakey thing to do.

Avon isn’t that impressed with Terminal.

Avon: If this is an example of a man-made planet, they should go back to the drawing board and start again.

Sue: I bet it’s gorgeous on a sunny day. It reminds me of the Yorkshire Dales. It’s the weather that’s crap, not the location. Why would you create an artificial planet with bad weather, anyway? It doesn’t make sense…

A rhythmic heartbeat follows Avon’s every move.

Sue: It’s the Sound of Drums. Avon has been summoned to this planet by the Time Lords.

Me: Are you sure you don’t write fan fiction in your spare time, Sue?

Avon retrieves a spherical device from a spherical device dispenser.

Sue: It’s an egg timer. There are lots of egg references in this episode, Neil. Should I be worried? The heartbeat belongs to a giant chicken, doesn’t it?

The spherical device speaks to Avon. And no, it isn’t a Toclafane, Sue.

Sphere: You will follow the indicated route. You are warned that the slightest deviation from this course could result in considerable danger.

Sue: I bet Blake’s 7 fans drive around the countryside with this voice programmed into their Sat Navs. I know I would.

TerminalAvon isn’t alone on Terminal…

Sue: Oh no! It’s Jimmy ****ing Savile. There was a time when that would have been funny, but not any more. Now I just feel sick.

An alien enzyme is attacking the Liberator.

Sue: Why hasn’t Zen noticed this yet? The place is falling to bits.

Me: It reminds me of that hotel we stayed in when we went to Amsterdam.

Sue: I’ve told you before, Neil, there was nothing wrong with that hotel. You were tripping your bollocks off.

Avon is steered towards a man-made structure at the top of a hill.

Sue: Either this planet is powered by solar panels or this is a prop from a game show. Which box contains the special cash prize? Choose now!

A hatchway opens and Avon finds himself in an underground complex.

Sue: The direction is really good. It’s very atmospheric. The heartbeat is beginning to freak me out a bit. I just hope it doesn’t turn into clucking.

TerminalTwo Savile clones are torn to pieces by apes. It’s strangely cathartic, actually.

Sue: And it was going so well… And why do these apes like to eat clothing so much? What’s that all about? Have they got a fabric fetish?

Avon discovers a teleport bracelet.

Sue: Is that an old one…? Wait a minute… Nah, surely not…

Me: Go on, Sue…

Sue: Is he looking for Blake?

Sue’s suspicions are confirmed when Avon stumbles across Blake’s medical records.

Sue: Well, I didn’t see that coming. I’m shocked. However, I bet you anything that Blake isn’t here. Not really. This is a trap. And I bet I know who’s behind it as well, for ****’s sake.

Avon is subdued with a tranquilliser dart.

Sue: Avon must really love Blake if he’s come all this way for him. He wouldn’t go to this trouble for Jenna.

Back on the Liberator, things are going from bad to worse.

Sue: It’s a bit sad, this. It’s as if Zen is dying, the poor thing.

If only Avon hadn’t taken Orac’s key with him.

Sue: This is what happens when there’s no trust. This is very sad.

TerminalTarrant and Cally, who have followed Avon to Terminal against his wishes, are attacked by gorillas in the mist.

Sue: I could do without this scene, thank you very much. Why do they always have to ruin everything with a shit fight or a shit monster? It’s even worse when you get both at the same time.

Cally enters the hatchway, leaving Tarrant to his fate.

Sue: Tarrant is going to die. They won’t need a spare any more if they’ve found Blake.

Tarrant makes it to the hatchway before it closes on him.

Tarrant: From here on, it’s downhill all the way.

Sue: It had better not be!

Avon has been rendered unconscious and wrapped in cling film (“Just the way I like him.”). In the blink of an eye, he wakes up in a completely different room.

Sue: That was a strange edit. They should have inserted a cutaway between those two scenes. Unless the cutaway involved those bloody apes, in which case I understand why they went with the jump cut.

Avon searches for Blake.

Sue: I’m telling you now: Blake won’t be in this episode. It’ll be Servalan instead. It’s obvious.

Avon finds a bearded man lying on a table.

Sue: They’ve hired a double and stuck a beard on him. That isn’t Blake.

TerminalBlake: Well, you certainly took your time finding me.

Sue: Oh my God! It’s him! It’s really him! I don’t believe it… Wow… So is Blake in the next series? I’m not sure how I feel about that…

Blake tells Avon that a rescue attempt is out of the question.

Sue: Why didn’t he ask Avon to come for him in three months time, when he could get off the table? Do they come back for him at the end of the next series? Is that it?

Avon is knocked unconscious and wrapped in cling film again. Or is he/was he?

Sue: OK, this is very confusing… Unless Avon dreamt that and Blake wasn’t really there. Am I close?

Avon meets the brains behind the operation.

Sue: NOOOOOOOO!

Avon isn’t surprised to find Servalan on Terminal. In fact, he seems to relish it.

Sue: There’s definitely chemistry between them, and you could easily imagine them as a couple, but it is slightly ludicrous, don’t you think?

Back on the Liberator, Vila and Dayna can’t move for vomit.

TerminalSue: It’ll take more than Jif to clean up this mess. It looks like an explosion in a pizza factory.

Zen admits defeat.

Zen: I have failed you. I am sorry.

Sue: This is ridiculously sad. Why am I so sad, Neil? It’s just a stupid machine, but this is easily the saddest moment in Blake’s 7 so far.

Me: What about Gan?

Sue: Who?

Servalan offers to exchange Blake for the Liberator, but Avon’s having none of it and he instructs Vila to make a run for it instead.

Avon: Take the Liberator out of here, maximum speed. Go and keep going!

Sue: But he can’t! Oh no, this is going to end badly. I can feel it.

Tarrant and Cally are captured by Servalan’s Savile clones, which forces Avon’s hand.

Sue: She’s going to inherit a disintegrating space ship. This is brilliant – Servalan is going to die!

TerminalAccording to Servalan, Blake is dead.

Servalan: He died from his wounds on the planet Jevron more than a year ago.

Sue: ****.

Avon has been tricked.

Sue: What a cow. Avon looks like he’s lost the plot. Oh, I could throttle her myself.

But Servalan has one more bombshell left to drop: the apes on the planet’s surface aren’t what humanity evolved from – they are what humanity are destined to become.

Sue: As long as we don’t end up looking like Jimmy Savile, I’m OK with that.

Me: I’m just surprised that Terminal didn’t look like a giant Statue of ****ing Liberty. Seriously, Terry ****ing Nation! There, I said it so you don’t have to.

Servalan bids Avon farewell.

Servalan: We won’t meet again. Goodbye.

Sue: Give him a kiss!

Vila hands the ship over, but before he leaves, he persuades Servalan’s lackey to let him take Orac with him.

Vila: It’s just a pile of junk, really, but it means a lot to me. I built it. It’s a sculpture.

Sue: Clever Vila. I’ve always liked Vila.

Vila teleports to Terminal.

TerminalSue: Hang on a minute… How did that woman know how to work the teleport? She’s strolled onto the ship and suddenly she’s a ****ing expert on how to use a teleport? Oh well, what the hell. Who cares?

Servalan has the one thing she’s always wanted: the Liberator.

Sue: Why hasn’t she commented on the mess they left behind? Does she think that Vila staged a dirty protest when he knew she was coming?

Servalan: MAXIMUM POWER!

Sue: That’s hilarious. She’s completely ****ed!

When the Liberator begins to break apart, Servalan makes a run for the teleport.

Sue: Oh no. She’s going to get away! STOP HER!

The Liberator explodes.

Sue: Oh well, I’m sure they’ll get a new one. It’s Zen I feel sorry for. And Avon’s rock collection, of course; he’ll have to start all over again. And I bet that bitch got away, too.

Tarrant has the last word:

TerminalTarrant: Let’s see if we can’t find a way off this planet. There’s a lot to do.

One by one, the crew exit stage right. Avon is the last to leave.

Sue: I don’t know why he’s smiling. That was all his fault!

Cue credits.

The Score:

Sue: That was ****ing brilliant.

10/10

Sue: OK, so the monkeys and the Jimmy Savile impersonators should knock a couple of marks off, but sod it, that was excellent.

And breathe…

Sue: Was that really going to be the last episode? You can sort of tell, I suppose, what with Blake coming back and them blowing up the ship and everything. So what changed their minds?

Me: Well, believe it or not, the Head of BBC Television, Bill Cotton, was watching this episode at home when it was broadcast, and he was so impressed by what he saw, he telephoned the BBC and told them to make an announcement that the series would return the following year. Everyone who was involved with the programme thought it was all over – and then the continuity announcer told them otherwise. Mad, eh?

Sue: Fabulous. That would never happen today, which is a bit sad. actually. And who can blame him? It was a fantastic episode and they had to make more. They could have ended it there, I suppose, but you’d always wonder what happened to them.

Ask Sue!

If you’d like to ask Sue a question about Series 3 (or her hopes for Series 4) now’s your chance. The best question will receive a signed copy of our book. Please send them to us via our Contact Form. Deadline for your questions: Tuesday 1st July. Cheers.

Coming Soon…

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Death-Watch

It’s never easy…

Death-WatchThe action begins on a space liner…

Sue: I like the set – it’s massive. Oh, he looks familiar… Eh? What’s happened to Tarrant’s perm?

I pause the DVD while Sue tries to come up with a good reason for Tarrant’s catastrophic hair failure. They include: Tarrant in a flashback, Tarrant in a flash forward and Tarrant working under cover (but still using his real surname).

Sue: It could be his brother. But they wouldn’t do that because they pulled that trick with Cally not so long ago. They wouldn’t be that stupid.

I press Play.

Sue: Has Avon got a twin? I could live with that…

There’s a lot for Sue to process during this episode’s cold opening: Tarrant has a double, there’s an assassination attempt, an act of war, Stuart Fell falls over, and we’re treated to some barely comprehensible chat about a Summons to Justification.

Sue: I haven’t got a clue what’s going on, Neil, but it’s very good. I even like Tarrant’s hair – it really suits him.

Sadly, she can’t say the same about Avon’s latest trip to the Liberator‘s wardrobe.

Death-WatchSue: You can tell that this was made in the 1980s – look at the size of Avon’s shoulder pads! Oh no, I don’t like this look at all. It looks like he’s trying to hide a tiny pair of wings.

Vila manages to convince the crew that if they don’t take a relaxing break soon, everything will go tits up.

Sue: I thought Cally was in charge of Health and Wellbeing on the ship?

Tarrant requests some information from Zen, but not before he checks with Avon first.

Sue: He’s finally showing Avon the respect he deserves. There’s hope for Tarrant yet.

The long and short of it is that Vila wants to visit a war zone.

Sue: Who flies to a war zone for a ****ing holiday? That’s why Thomas Cook don’t offer package tours to Syria, you numpties.

Cally and Dayna are just as confused as Sue (which reassures her slightly), and then the penny finally drops.

Tarrant: Two men fight for the honor of independent planetary systems of maybe twenty million people each.

Sue: Right, I get it now. It’s The Hunger Games.

Death-WatchFunnily enough, Channel 4 are broadcasting The Hunger Games as we watch this episode. Serendipity and all that.

Sue: This is basically their version of the World Cup, isn’t it? And where did all the booze and nibbles come from? Did they stop off at the shops on the way there? They should show the Liberator with a planet’s flag tied to the back of it.

After a very amusing exchange, in which Avon basically tells Orac to shut the **** up, the computer agrees to stream a viscast to the Liberator‘s view screen.

Presenter: “Space, the final frontier” as it was once called…

Sue: First they rip off the logo and now this…

The viscast previews a selection of artificial arenas where two contestants will fight each other to the death.

Sue: That looks like a links golf course… Hey, this really is a lot like The Hunger Games, you know. Or I should say, The Hunger Games is a lot like this. Even the hatches they have to walk through look exactly the same. And this bit with the media reporting the event is very similar, too. Did Chris Boucher take legal action?

Sue loves it when the presenter gets into pissing contest with the show’s director via the studio’s talkback system.

Sue: This is what I have to put up with at work. I really like this episode. It’s funny and it’s smart, especially when you consider when it was made.

Death-WatchDeeta Tarrant, First Champion of the United Planets of Teal, shares a ride with his friend, Max.

Sue: If this is Tarrant’s clone, or brother, or whatever the hell he is, and he has to fight in this arena thingy, then his friend must be Woody Harrelson.

Me: It’s Jo Grant’s husband, actually. Although the last time you saw him he had long hair and was Welsh.

Sue: This is why I’ll never be a fan. I wouldn’t have got that in a million years.

Deeta Tarrant’s opponent has mysteriously turned up out of the blue to represent the Vandor Confederacy.

Sue: I bet it’s Travis. He hasn’t been in an episode for ages.

Me: That’s because he’s dead.

Sue: Yeah, of course he is, Neil.

The contest is overseen by two partisan arbiters and one neutral arbiter.

Sue: OH NO! **** off! I don’t believe it! So Servalan’s an X-Factor judge on her days off now, is she? I bet she’s the Sharon.

The presenter’s commentary is beginning to get on Avon’s nerves.

Avon: All this breathless solemnity is beginning to irritate me.

Me: It could be worse, Avon. You could be listening to Clive Tyldesley.

Death-WatchWhen the viscast features footage of the contestants, the Liberator‘s crew are knocked for six.

Vila: I know him, don’t I?

Me: Welcome to my life, Susan.

Tarrant recognises his brother immediately.

Sue: Well, that clears that up. I’ll tell you what, though: the actor who plays Tarrant is much better than I thought he was. His performance is subtly different; I think the other Tarrant is supposed to be older and wiser – he’s not as cocky. It’s a massive coincidence, but what the hell…

Deeta Tarrant’s opposite number isn’t Travis, after all.

Sue: He looks like an accountant. Is he really the best fighter the other planet’s got to offer? They must be shitting themselves.

Deeta is fitted with an implant that lets Max see and feel Deeta’s thoughts and actions.

Sue: Even The Hunger Games didn’t go this far. Actually, this reminds me of a short film produced by my students this year.

Me: Are your students closet Blake’s 7 fans?

Sue: I doubt it. There are some similarities, though. It’s about a reality show where you can see what the contestant sees, and it all goes horribly wrong. It’s very good:

Me: Chris Boucher should take legal action.

Del Tarrant meets Max.

Sue: Tarrant should swap places with his brother. That way they could kill the crap Tarrant and then they could replace him with a slightly better Tarrant. That’s what I would do.

Avon decides to visits a “sick friend”.

Sue: Ha! Brilliant. I should have guessed that he meant Servalan.

It’s a flirt-fest.

Sue: They should get a room.

Me: They’ve already got a room, Sue. OK, it looks like a freezer section in the back of a supermarket, but beggars can’t be choosers.

Avon has correctly surmised that Servalan plans to disrupt the contest with an unexpected rule violation. However, the President assures Avon that she doesn’t pose a threat to him.

Servalan: I don’t think of you as an enemy, Avon. I think of you as a future friend.

Sue: He keeps ignoring her friend requests on Facebook. He’s playing hard to get.

Not hard enough it seems, because Avon and Servalan are suddenly snogging each other’s faces off. Sue laughs and gasps at the same time.

Sue: Cally will be furious!

Death-WatchStill cradling Servalan in his arms, Avon contacts his girlfriend Cally back on the ship.

Avon: I’m ready to come up now.

Sue: Yes, I bet you are!

Sue completely fails to notice the most exciting part of this scene: Avon is walking backwards when he teleports!

Sue: I worry about you sometimes, Neil.

Deeta Tarrant is all ready for combat in a shiny, silver space suit. Max asks Deeta how he feels.

Sue: Like Gary Glitter about to open for The Sweet.

Sue has a bad feeling about this.

Sue: Tarrant is going to die. The good Tarrant, I mean. They’re going to kill the wrong Tarrant. I like this Tarrant. This isn’t fair, Neil.

The contest is about to begin…

Sue: What happens if they shoot each other straight away? All this hype and build-up for what? Ten seconds of action?

Me: At least the England football team managed to drag it out for three hours.

The arbiters each place a disc on their foreheads: green for Teal (or should that be teal for Teal?) and blue for Vandor.

Sue: So what does Servalan do? Does she place a different coloured disc over each eye? Does she get to see it in 3D?

Death-WatchAfter an extremely tense build-up (Sue’s already biting her nails), the contestants finally step into the arena. Where will they find themselves? An exotic beach? An alien planet? A jungle, perhaps? What do you think?

Sue: It could be worse, I suppose. It could be a quarry. And it does look like a level from Call of Duty, so there is that.

If the location is disappointing, the direction more than makes up for it.

Sue: The camera work is great. The direction has been pretty good so far but it just went up a notch.

Me: You hated Gerald Blake’s direction last time.

Sue: I don’t care. This is excellent. Ooh, POV shots as well… very nice.

If only Vinni posed more of a threat.

Sue: He doesn’t strike me as a Vinni. He’s more like a Malcolm or a Keith. Tarrant should be able to take him, no bother.

To prove this point, Tarrant successfully sneaks up on Vinni, only he can’t bring himself to shoot his opponent in the back.

Sue: Idiot.

Tarrant pays the ultimate price when Vinni draws his gun with preternatural speed.

Sue: What the…? How the hell did that happen?

You can hear a pin drop as Deeta tumbles to his death in slow motion. After what seems like an eternity, Sue utters a single word:

Sue: Wow.

Death-WatchDeeta Tarrant is dying and Del feels every agonising second. Sue’s bottom lip is quivering a little bit; slightly more than Del Tarrant’s, actually.

Sue: **** me.

Me: Are you surprised?

Sue: I’m surprised the director could afford a crane. Look at this shot – it’s amazing!

Avon is determined to know how Servalan violated the rules. Orac suggests that Vinni must be an android.

Sue: Ah-ha! So that explains why he looked so normal – he was supposed to look like that. That’s clever. It was the only thing still bugging me. Excellent.

Avon has something special planned for Del Tarrant.

Sue: Give him a break, Avon. His brother just died. You only thought your girlfriend was dead and you were upset for years. Avon can be incredibly insensitive sometimes.

Tarrant agrees to challenge Vinni to a duel; it’s the only way they can stave off an intergalactic war.

Sue: They won’t kill two Tarrants, will they? I don’t think I could handle that.

Me: I thought you wanted Tarrant to die?

Death-WatchSue: Shut up, Neil.

Me: Do you need another tissue?

Sue: I’m warning you, Neil…

Dayna interrupts Vinni’s post-match medical and gives Servalan a fright.

Sue: Shoot her in the face! Damn it. At least there’s a good reason for sparing Servalan’s life this week, but the crew need to be more ruthless. They need to start shooting people in the back.

Thanks to Avon and Orac cheating the system, Tarrant gains the advantage over Vinni in the arena, which takes the form of an observation gallery of a deep space liner.

Sue: It’s a level from Unreal Tournament.

Trust me, Sue was unbeatable at Unreal Tournament in the early 2000s.

Sue: HEADSHOT! Come on, what are you waiting for?

Once again, Tarrant refuses to shoot Vinni in the back.

Sue: IDIOT!

Death-WatchIt’s a close run thing but Vinni is eventually vapourised.

Sue: Bloody hell, that was tense. I haven’t got any nails left, you bastard.

Avon convinces Max to re-stage the contest again without any interference from Servalan. And then Tarrant does a runner before he finds himself back in the arena.

Cue credits.

Sue: Brilliant.

The Score:

Sue: It took a while for me to get to grips on what was going on, but once I did… Well, I just can’t fault it. Even Servalan didn’t do my head in. A fabulous script, years ahead of its time; great performances; brilliant direction… I don’t know what else to say… And I’ve completely changed my mind about Tarrant.

10/10

Ask Sue!

If you’d like to ask Sue a question about Series 3 (or her hopes for Series 4) now’s your chance. The best question will receive a signed copy of our book. Please send them via our Contact Form. Deadline for your questions: Monday 30th June. Cheers.

PLUS: If you happen to be in London on Wednesday 16th July you might be interested in a FREE event where you can meet some real authors – and me – talking about Doctor Who books at Blackwell’s, Charing Cross Road. Tickets are limited so you’ll have to get your skates on.

Next Time:

Warning: Glen’s video trailer includes MASSIVE SPOILERS for the next episode:

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