Where’s Gan gan?
Nicol joined us for this episode because she read the first blog entry and she said, and I quote, “Blake’s 7 sounds really interesting.” Just how wrong can one person be? Let’s find out…
Sue: Do you notice anything funny about that logo, Nicol?
Nicol: Yes, I know, they ripped off Star Trek. I read the blog.
Sue: There’s no apostrophe, either.
Nicol: I know. It’s shocking.
Sue: Surely an angry school teacher wrote to Points of View. Have you got that as a DVD extra, Neil?
The episode begins with Jenna giving Blake a driving lesson.
Sue: Is she “at one with the ship” again, or has she actually read the manual? Either way, it’s nice to see a woman in charge of all the technical stuff while the men stand around looking useless. I like that.
Blake decides it’s time they stopped hiding.
Blake: Very soon now the Federation ships will know exactly where we are. Or at least where we’ve been.
Vila: I don’t follow you.
Avon: Oh, but you do! And that’s the problem.
Sue: Avon is brilliant. He wants to rip Blake’s throat out. I can sympathise with Blake but I’m definitely Team Avon.
Me: Tense, isn’t it.
Nicol: Why do they hate each other? And why do they look like they’ve walked off a rubbish tip? All except her. She looks like she’s walked off one of those Top of the Pops repeats you make us watch every week.
Blake sets course for Suarian Major. The Federation have built a vast transceiver complex there and Blake wants to knock it out.
Sue: It looks like the ICI plant at Middlesbrough.
The Liberator cruises through space. Honest. It really does.
Sue: Did Ken Morse do the special effects?
Their voyage is interrupted when Zen identifies a mysterious projectile in their path.
Nicol: Is Zen in the engine room or something?
Sue: No, Zen is the ship’s computer.
Me: Think of him as a grumpy Siri.
The projectile is transmitting a distress signal; this makes Jenna suspicious.
Jenna: Putting out a false distress signal. It’s a trick used by space pirates.
Sue: Oh no, not the ****ing Space Pirates! Quick! Run! (pause) Did you see what I did there? I just made a joke about a bad Doctor Who story. You must be so proud.
Nicol rolls her eyes. And then we’re treated to a glorious model shot of the Liberator.
Sue: Why didn’t they use that model before? That was really good.
Nicol: They could have flipped it over and had it going the other way if they were worried about repeating the shot. Anything would have been better than zooming into a still photograph.
Vila doesn’t want anything to do with this mysterious projectile.
Me: Some people say I look like Vila.
Sue: You look nothing like him! You act like him but you don’t look like him.
Me: Hey, wait a minute…
Nicol: They’re probably referring to your receding hairline and they’re just trying to be polite.
Zen breaks down. I know how he feels..
Nicol: This is what happens when you ask Siri for directions and you don’t live in America.
Jenna and Blake decide to board this mysterious projectile anyway.
Sue: The hint of pink on the bracelets matches Jenna’s top. If only Colin Baker’s coat had been as subtle as Jenna’s blouse, it might have worked.
Blake: Put us across.
Sue: Blake desperately wants to say “Beam us down” but he can’t in case they get done for copyright.
Jenna and Blake teleport over to the projectile.
Sue: Oh no! They’ve lost their legs in a horrific transporter accident!
Me: No they haven’t. Although you’re right: the way they framed that special effect makes no sense whatsoever.
Sue: I hate the Ready Brek effect. It looks cheap and nasty. Why don’t they just repeat the wibbly-wobbly effect instead? It’s much better.
The projectile is packed with cryogenically frozen humanoids.
Sue: This is exactly like that episode of Star Trek that you put me through not that long ago.
Yes, I convinced her to watch ‘Space Seed’ before she saw Star Trek Into Darkness. She didn’t even thank me.
Sue: At least Star Trek was made in colour; Blake’s 7 is made in brown.
The teleport isn’t working, and with the projectile’s oxygen rapidly running out, Avon is forced to retrieve Blake and Jenna with a risky manual manoeuvre.
Sue: Christ, this is boring.
I turn to gauge Nicol’s reaction and I’m saddened when I see her face bathed in the light of a mobile phone.
Sue: They’re just killing time. This is tedious. Even Paul Darrow can’t save this scene.
The Liberator swallows the projectile whole.
Sue: And now they’re ripping off James Bond as well.
After what feels like an eternity, the projectile is safely stowed away in the Liberator‘s hold.
Sue: What a clart on. I hope they don’t do that every week. And why is Avon wearing an apron? And a really filthy apron at that.
Nicol: Tabards are obviously very fashionable in the future. What year is this, Neil?
Sue: He doesn’t know, Nicol. He’s ****ing useless.
Me: It’s in the third century of the second calendar, actually.
Sue: Well that clears that up.
Our heroes examine the capsule. I’m fed up with calling it a bloody projectile, even if the script isn’t.
Sue: It looks all right. It actually looks like it’s made from metal and it’s been floating in space for ages. I’m impressed.
While the humanoids are left to defrost, Blake, Avon and Vila prepare to teleport to Suarian Major.
Sue: Vila is in charge of the picnic, I see.
Me: They seem to be missing quite a few bracelets already, and it’s only the fourth episode.
Sue: Nice try, Neil, but you are not looking at the bracelets. You are staring at Jenna’s arse.
Sue: You can’t miss it! Look!
Saurian Major is, to quote Sue, a bit of a shit hole.
Sue: If this is Saurian Major, I’d hate to see Saurian Minor. And I definitely recognise this quarry from Doctor Who. I feel like I’m having a Doctor Who flashback.
Me: They’re probably shooting an episode of Doctor Who on the other side of that hill.
Sue: They should have pooled their resources and saved some money. They could have shared the lights and the catering. By the way, have they taken all the blue out of the image? Is that why it looks like this, or is there a fault with the camera? The white balance is completely ****ed.
Nicol thinks she’s identified Suarian Major’s biggest threat.
Nicol: Rattlesnakes. They are surrounded by rattlesnakes.
Meanwhile, on the Liberator, Jenna is chillaxing with Gan. It doesn’t take long before Jenna’s hair becomes the hot topic of conversation.
Sue: When I worked as a hairdresser, people actually asked for hair like hers.
Nicol: They asked for a Jenna from Blake’s 7?
Sue: No, they asked for a Farrah Fawcett. In fact, Jenna looks like Farrah Fawcett if Farah Fawcett was hard up for cash and she was forced to do panto.
Gan tells Jenna why he was sent to Cygnus Alpha.
Gan: I killed a security guard. They said it was murder. But he had a gun. I was unarmed. You see, he killed my woman.
Nicol: “My woman!” Is he a Neanderthal?
Gan bows his head in shame and grief.
Sue: Ooh, he’s got something stuck to his head. Is he wearing hair plugs?
Jenna checks on their guests, but one of them has thawed out and is now missing.
Sue: Dudley Simpson went to Spain for his holidays and he came back obsessed with maracas. Or is it castanets?
Nicol: It’s the rattlesnakes. The rattlesnakes have got on board the ship.
One of these frozen men has strange markings on his face.
Sue: I’ve seen those veins before. I never forget a vein.
Me: If I didn’t know better, I’d swear that was Bob Peck.
Nicol: This is rubbish. I thought Blake’s 7 was going to be a hard-hitting drama that wasn’t afraid to take risks – that’s what it sounded like on the blog – but it’s just like all the other nonsense you’ve made us watch.
Sue: Terry Nation has burnt himself out. The first two episodes were actually very good, Nicol. This one is crap.
Jenna is attacked. She escapes with a broken arm, which Gan cures with a handy hi-tech healing device.
Sue: Oh look, just like Star Trek. What a surprise.
Meanwhile, on Saurian Major…
Sue: Blake’s on fire!
He really isn’t.
Sue: It’s a masterclass in how not to frame your subject. The direction is appalling.
Blake is stalked by a figure dressed in red leather.
Sue: Who’s he?
He turns out to be a she.
Sue: Is it Servalan?
She kicks Blake down a small incline.
Nicol: I’ve seen more realistic dives at St James’ Park.
Blake is overpowered and interrogated.
Cally: Who are you?
Sue: She said that without moving her lips.
Cally: Will you answer my question? Who are you?
Nicol: She did it again.
Sue: Either the director is on crack or she’s telepathic.
Blake grabs the telepath and he throws her to the ground.
Blake: You may be telepathic but you certainly can’t read minds or you never would have fallen for that.
Sue: At least she doesn’t have to learn her lines. And what kind of telepath can’t read minds, anyway? That’s rubbish!
Cally: Cally, my name is Cally.
Sue and Nicol make involuntary “Aww” noises.
Sue: Now I know she’s one of the goodies. We wouldn’t have named one of the wild cats after her if she wasn’t a goodie.
Nicol: So why haven’t we got a cat called Gan?
Sue: Gan probably gets killed. I bet that’s the reason.
Me: We don’t have a cat named Gan because Gan is a stupid name for a cat.
Nicol: And Gallifrey isn’t?
Me: If we had a cat named Gan, you’d keep asking me “Where’s Gan gan?” and I don’t think I could cope with that.
Sue: Well, now that Cally has arrived, I make that Blake’s 6. If you count Zen, which I’m supposed to, according to Neil.
Cally tells Blake that the planet’s resistance force has been completely wiped out.
Cally: The security forces kept hunting us, but we knew the hills and jungles too well.
Sue: Jungles? Is she having a laugh? The only greenery I’ve seen on this planet is that ****ing bush. There it is. Over there.
Back on the Liberator, Gan has mysteriously disappeared.
Sue: Where’s Gan gan?
Jenna searches the capsule for her missing crew mate.
Sue: Gan couldn’t possibly fit in there. Is she mad?
Jenna is attacked again but this time she’s come prepared and she takes out her assailant with her gun. Oh, and Gan was in the capsule all along.
Sue: I’m sorry but that is ridiculous.
Gan can’t kill anyone because he has a limiter implanted in his head.
Sue: When did that happen? Who put it there? Did the aliens put it in there? Eh? What?
Nicol: Does this spaceship have anything to do with the planet the other gang are on?
Blake, Avon, Vila and Cally infiltrate the Federation call centre.
Sue: I’ve definitely seen this location in Doctor Who. A Jon Pertwee story, I think.
‘The Hand of Fear’, actually. But I didn’t know this at the time because I didn’t do any research. I’m sorry. I feel like I’ve let you all down.
Our heroes arrive at a locked door with a Federation logo stamped on it.
Sue: It’s the Star Trek triangle again.
Me: That’s the Federation’s logo.
Sue: Why would you put the bad guys’ logo on your good guys’ logo? What’s that all about? That’s stupid.
Vila breaks into the room and Avon begins to sabotage the paraneutronic generator inside. He says it will take him five minutes.
Avon: I know. Make it two.
Sue: That’s definitely a Star Trek joke. We should have played Star Trek bingo.
Another visitor has thawed out. I think he’s been to the same tailor as Zardoz. Sue thinks he looks like a Mexican bandit. Either way, he attacks Jenna.
Sue: A rubbish fight with some badly choreographed gymnastics. HOUSE! I win.
Gan comes to the rescue. Sort of. Sue still believes that Gan’s limiter has been placed in his head by the aliens, because the alternative doesn’t really make any sense.
Sue: He’s been threatening to tear people’s arms out ever since we met him, so this has to be a recent development. And if you can’t kill, does that stop you from maiming? Can’t he just shoot the bugger in the leg?
Gan collapses in a heap.
Sue: It’s a bit shit, this.
Jenna finds the tools she needs to disconnect the capsule from the Liberator‘s power source.
Nicol: She’s got a complete collection of sonic screwdrivers there. She’s got more sonics than you have, Neil. And you’ve got loads.
Avon triggers the reactor on Saurian Major.
Sue: If only they could rip off Star Trek‘s special effects as well. That explosion was pitiful.
The crew are teleported back to the Liberator in the nick of time.
Sue: They did that last week. It’s boring already.
Just when we think it’s all over, Jenna is attacked by another space bandit.
Sue: Is it just me or is he threatening her with some chopsticks?
When Blake rushes into hold, he accidentally pushes the bandit into the ship’s power supply, killing him instantly.
Sue: What a load of shit.
The crew decide to fling the capsule/projectile/whatever back into space, just to be on the safe side..
Avon: A single cell from those genetic banks can be incubated into fully grown adult in one point six minutes.
Vila: We could be up to our armpits in homicidal maniacs within the hour.
Sue: Just to be clear: you are a sarcastic git like Vila, but you don’t look anything like him.
Me: I’ll take that as a compliment.
Sue: Vila’s got more hair.
The episode ends with a debate about the number of crew members Blake has. It’s art imitating life. Anyway, Blake wants to include Zen.
Avon: You’re not counting that machine as a member of the crew!
Sue: I’m with Avon. I don’t think you can count Zen, either. He isn’t real. That would be like counting your mobile phone as one of your closest friends.
Me: Try telling that to Nicol.
Nicol: I liked the theme music. Everything else was dreadful. I think I’ll leave you to it from now on.
Sue: That wasn’t very good. They should have picked up Cally in the first five minutes and skipped the rest. And why didn’t they just blow up the call centre from orbit? Are you seriously telling me that they don’t have any missiles on that ship? If I ever see that ship firing any missiles, I’ll be very pissed off.
Sue: Terry ****ing Nation.
I try to lighten the mood.
Me: So, who’s your favourite character so far?
Me: And who’s your least favourite character?
Sue: Anyone who isn’t Avon.