Sue: We’ve landed on the planet of The Prisoner balloons, and a Yeti is running riot.
This is what I’ve done to Sue. Whenever she sees a mysterious alien web these days, she automatically thinks it’s a Yeti. Not a giant space spider – a Yeti. Not that there are any giant space spiders in this story, but you know what I mean.
Sue: Center Parcs has really let itself go in whatever the hell year this is supposed to be.
Inside a domed habitat, a disembodied voice is repeating the same phrase over and over again. Sue can’t make out the words because the music is too loud. But if Sue’s brain can’t make out three simple words, it goes into meltdown when she finally claps eyes on the source of this half-whispered mantra.
Sue: What the hell is THAT?
Words can’t describe it, but Sue has a bloody go anyway.
Sue: It’s an alien catheter cock monster!
My wife looks disgusted. I’m laughing like a drain. It’s a defence mechanism; I haven’t seen this episode for 36 years and seeing it now brings back floods of memories, none of them pleasant.
Sue: That was really disturbing. And this is even worse!
Yes, Blake is reclining in bed with his shirt open. Sue laments his absent six-pack as he strolls half-naked onto the Liberator‘s flight deck.
Sue: Blake wants Jenna to see his chest. Is he trying to laugh her into bed?
Meanwhile, Cally is touring the Liberator‘s rather spacious interior.
Sue: There are a lot of empty rooms on this ship. The aliens who designed it didn’t think it through. Why would you have a massive room like that for one single panel? The ship must be dragging lots of unnecessary weight. It can’t be very fuel-efficient.
Vila bumps into Cally in a corridor.
Vila: Cally, what do you think of the outfit?
Sue: You look like a medieval butcher.
Cally caves Vila’s head in.
Sue: Nice hand-held camera there. That was nicely done. And Vila has been asking for that for a while.
Cally finds Avon tinkering with the Liberator‘s flight systems.
Sue: Avon has decided to dress as a bad guy. Everybody else has gone for a Merry Man look, but not him. He’s dressed as the Sheriff of Nottingham.
Cally puts her finger to her temple and then she asks Avon where the ship’s forward detector links are located.
Sue: She’s the only telepath I know who extracts information from people BY ASKING THEM!
According to Sue, you can cut the sexual tension between Avon and Cally in this scene with a laser saw.
Sue: She doesn’t have to be a telepath to know what Avon is thinking right now. For heaven’s sake, get a room!
But Cally has other things on her mind, like sabotaging the ship.
Sue: Blake should have vetted his crew better.
Me: His crew is made up of thieves and murderers, and he’s a convicted child molester, so I’m not exactly sure how a vetting process would work.
Gan is resting in his room when he is called to the flight deck.
Sue: Does no one ever wear pyjamas on this bloody ship?
Me: Just be grateful that he didn’t get his baps out.
Blake and Avon confront Cally, who has burnt out the ship’s detector links.
Avon: Look at the burns on her hand.
Sue: Wow. That is very realistic. Too realistic for this time slot. This is a very disturbing episode and we’re only ten minutes in. The direction is interesting, too. I like the POV shots a lot.
And then – and this completely ruins the mood – we pay another visit to the alien catheter cock monster.
Sue: I don’t know how they did it, but that is stupid and scary at the same time. I don’t want to look at it but I can’t take my eyes off it. And by it, I mean IT! Look, Neil!
I can’t. It’s 1978 again and I’m about to wet the bed.
Meanwhile, on the Liberator…
Sue: Is Zen made from copper? Does he ever get verdigris? I bet Zen would look nice with some verdigris.
Thanks to Cally’s handiwork, the Liberator is flying blind.
Zen: Position is unconfirmed.
Sue: Why doesn’t somebody just look out of a window?
The Liberator is ensnared in a giant space web.
Sue: Is it the Great Intelligence? Are monsters from Doctor Who allowed to appear in Blake’s 7? Or is that against the rules?
Me: I think Terry Nation wanted the Daleks to appear in an episode but the BBC vetoed it.
Sue: He would have pulled out one of his old scripts, changed all the names, and hoped no one noticed.
Avon demonstrates the ship’s automatic repair systems to Gan.
Gan: That is fantastic!
Sue: It’s Gantastic! Sorry, I couldn’t resist.
And then this happens:
Avon: There’s always a market for technology like this.
Gan: I don’t think Blake would agree to that.
Avon: There will come a time when he won’t be making the decisions.
Avon smiles. Sue laughs.
Sue: The cheeky ****er. I love him.
Back on the flight deck, Jenna is giving Blake one of her funny looks.
Blake: Jenna? What’s wrong?
Sue: Your flies are undone.
And then the alien catheter cock monster – Saymon to his friends – uses Jenna as a conduit to drop a very confusing bombshell:
Saymon: We have examined your ship most carefully through our daughter Cally.
Sue: Eh? What? Pardon?
Blake tries to fire his way out of the web with the ship’s neutron blasters, but Vila forgets to raise the neutron flare shield. The idiot!
Sue: This is the best bit. I love how they still don’t know how to work the ship yet. They haven’t got a clue. Four months they’ve had to work it out. Four months.
The Liberator doesn’t make much headway.
Blake: How much distance have we covered?
Zen: One hundred spatials.
Sue: How long is a spatial? Is it an inch? A mile? What?
Me: I don’t know. I don’t even know if it’s ‘spatial’ or ‘spacial’.
Sue: I think I’ve finally worked out why Avon hates Blake so much. It’s because Blake won’t stop calling him “Avin” and it’s getting on his tits.
Blake prepares to teleport to the co-ordinates given to him by the alien catheter cock monster, but if Sue thinks this creature is the weirdest thing about this episode then she’s in for a bit of a shock.
Sue: Oh… My… God.
Sue is momentarily lost for words as the Decimas wreak havoc on Center Parcs.
Sue: Shit Ewoks. That’s what they are. They’re shit Ewoks.
Me: That’s a tautology if ever I heard one.
Sue: Look at that one with the wild staring eyes! Wow. Either he really loves his job or he’s high on ketamine.
And then Sue hits a brick wall.
Sue: I thought Blake’s 7 was going to be easy. I thought it was going to be this gritty, adult space drama. But it’s shit. Utter shit! Even Doctor Who would have thought twice about this. How many months will it take us to get through Blake’s 7? I’m having second thoughts.
Blake teleports down to the planet.
Sue: He looks like he’s going fishing in that anorak. At least Millets is still going in the future.
A Decima throws a spear at Blake. It grazes our hero’s hand.
Sue: Actually, that was really good. Basically, the make-up department are saying, if you want gory, messed-up hands, that’s fine. Not a problem. Bring it on. Anything else, forget it.
A Decima pleads with a very confused Blake.
Decima: Help us! Help us please!
Sue: What the ****? You just tried to kill him!
A door in the habitat opens and a humanoid dressed in tin foil and see-thru plastic – so Sue immediately spots his bright red underpants – kills the little fella with a shock stick.
Sue: I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.
Blake is introduced to two humanoids – Novara and Geela – who, according to Sue, look like they are waiting for Steve Strange to turn up so they can form a band. Geela tends to Blake’s wound, which looks really nasty. In fact it’s so nasty, I have to turn away.
Sue: You can look now, Neil. They cured it with some bacon. Ha! Cured bacon.
For some inexplicable reason, Sue falls for Novara’s charms.
Sue: Is he the final crew member? I like him. He can stay. This is what Paul McGann will look like when he goes grey.
Blake watches helplessly as a Decima cries its little heart out.
Sue: Aww. I feel sorry for it. Sorry and a little bit nauseous.
I’m wiping tears away too, because I’m laughing my head off.
Geela: It’s almost as if they had emotions.
Sue: Almost? It’s crying its ****ing eyes out! I’m not worried, though. Blake will save them.
Me: I don’t want to give too much away, but one of those little critters is the last crew member. You have to guess which one. They call him Weepy, and he gets into all sorts of funny scrapes. Put the cushion down, Sue. I’m joking.
Blake would love to stop and chat but several Federation pursuit ships are closing in on the Liberator.
Zen: If they maintain present course and speed they will pass at a range not exceeding two million spacials.
Sue: That’s about a yard, I think.
Novara and Geela tell Blake that they created the Decimas.
Sue: They must be really embarrassed about that. I bet you can’t take them anywhere.
And then, suddenly and unexpectedly, and for approximately two and a half minutes, Sue engages with the plot.
Sue: It’s a fascinating moral dilemma, I think, but I don’t really give a shit. And Blake is hogging all the plots. Yes, his name in the title of the programme but Avon doesn’t get a look in. Blake loves it when he’s the centre of attention.
Blake meets with Saymon..
Me: Gareth Thomas isn’t acting here. That look of horror and disbelief on his face is completely genuine. This was his reaction when he saw the Saymon prop for the first time.
Sue: It’s just a man sticking his head through a hole in a wall. His arms, legs – and his ‘you know what’ – are made from pipe cleaners. Actually, I can’t listen to this any more. I can’t take it seriously.
Avon teleports down to the planet with the power cells Saymon needs to destroy the web (and the Decimas).
Saymon: If the Decimas reach him, he’ll be in danger. Those power cells must be protected.
Blake: I don’t give a damn about your power cells. There’s a friend of mine out there.
Sue: Aww, Blake thinks Avon is his friend. How adorable. Poor Blake.
Avon strolls towards the domed habitat.
Sue: What’s the point of these orange balls? The last time I saw this many inflatable balls, I was at a Muse concert.
Blake catches up with Avon.
Avon: What’s going on?
Blake: Let’s get under cover first.
Sue: Or we could just squat next to this tree. Good grief. I’m losing what little patience I have left, Neil.
Blake buries the power cells in the undergrowth. And then he throws away the box that they came in.
Sue: Why not put the cells back in the box and bury that instead? What if a shit Ewok accidentally steps on them? You idiot, Blake.
It’s all academic anyway, because the cells are immediately discovered by Novara.
Sue: Oh well, that killed two minutes, didn’t it, Terry.
And then the Decimas go batshit mental and all hell breaks loose.
Sue: Did you put something in my tea, Neil?
The revolt is as violent as it is relentless.
Sue: Vicious little bastards, aren’t they. They make the Ewoks look like cuddly teddy bears.
Sue: And that noise! That noise is giving me a headache. Make it stop! Please!
The revolt culminates in a scene where the Decimas play football with their parents’ rotting heads. I’m not making this up. Sue is horrified, appalled, and a little bit sick.
Sue: This is definitely the most messed-up piece of shit you’ve ever made me watch, Neil. When we divorce, this is definitely Exhibit A.
Me: I’m sorry. I must have blocked it out. I definitely saw it in 1978, though. It traumatised me. In fact, I didn’t sleep for weeks. It’s all coming back to me now. In fact, I think I may need some counselling.
Sue: Not on your salary, you don’t.
The episode concludes with Blake and Avon pontificating about all the weird shit they’ve just been put through.
Sue: They should all go back to bed and pretend it was just a dream. That’s what I’m going to do.
Cue credits. Thank God.
Sue: It was too noisy, too gory, and too stupid for words. They should be ashamed of themselves. I don’t know what else to say.
Sue: And that’s only because Avon was in it. A bit.