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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:

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82 comments

  • Visit site
    July 25, 2014 9:25 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Dave Sanders

    So Tarrant plays cavalry when
    Some desperate resistance men
    Mooch round in a quarry –
    No, sand pit, and… sorry,
    What were we discussing again?

    • Visit site
      July 25, 2014 9:38 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Anniew

      Spot on.

  • Visit site
    July 25, 2014 9:38 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Anniew

    Yep boring! The location shots were interesting. The rows of drugged citizenry freaked me out when I first saw it and have stayed with me. The studio fight was ludicrous and it had never occurred to me that they really could just settle down on a nice planet instead of angsty fleeing. There is no point to this episode except to suggest if Avon’s pretty out of order the Federation’s worse. And Servalan’s crow outfit! Gawd. Hang in there Sue, the series does get better. Honest.

  • Visit site
    July 25, 2014 9:39 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Dave Sanders

    Pylene-50 side effects include Robert Holmes memory loss. Will cause drowsiness. Do not have any drive or handle plot chicanery. Always read the instructions rather than the script. Do not exceed the recommended fifty minute dose.

    • Visit site
      July 26, 2014 3:16 amPosted 2 years ago
      Frankymole

      Brilliant!

  • Visit site
    July 25, 2014 9:45 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Amethyst

    Traitor’s pretty soporific, must agree. ISTR poor Dayna and Tarrant got sent on a seriously boring adventure this time last season too.

  • Visit site
    July 25, 2014 9:48 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Jason

    Why the hell are there beach chairs on the Scorpio? Such an awkward shot.

    “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.”

    Perfect. I too was excited to see Robert Holmes’ name on this, but the episode dragged on and on… Almost as long as that last shot of Servalan staring off into the distance after her “26… so far.”

  • Visit site
    July 25, 2014 9:54 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Mark Mark

    Agree with Sue 100%. Robert Holmes was wasted on Blake’s 7…..

    • Visit site
      July 25, 2014 10:31 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Rob

      ‘Ggree with Sue 100%. Robert Holmes was wasted on Blake’s 7…..’ until he wrote ‘Orbit’ of course which is 50 minutes of the best sci-fi the UK has ever produced 😉

      ‘Traitor’ is simply a load of old ‘Power of Kroll’.

    • Visit site
      July 26, 2014 2:08 amPosted 2 years ago
      DPC

      There’s one script remaining of his – I wonder if she will change her mind afterward…

  • Visit site
    July 25, 2014 9:58 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Dave Sanders

    Alright, I’ll do it properly. For all its ease of having the piss taken out of it for being completely forgettable, Traitor deserves more credit than it’s ever likely to get. It’s like the first half of one of those rambling mytharc stories That became the sole point of The X-Files after they ran out of credible monsters-of-the-week; but it’s saddled with a duff ‘cliffhanger’ (OMG Servalan? Really?) and a payoff that comes far too late after all the important plot the episode has to serve up has gone cold. Robert Holmes drew the short straw here but does handle the task competently in my view; trouble is, Holmes has long since stopped earning brownie points for mere competence and he’s flanked on both sides by a pair of screeching howler monkeys throwing their own shit at the audience. Even Orbit would struggle to find its own identity with such lowbrow competition like THAT.

    • Visit site
      July 25, 2014 10:18 pmPosted 2 years ago
      wyngatecarpenter

      What you said!

  • Visit site
    July 25, 2014 9:58 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Anniew

    Could we have a blog post of Sue’s cat wrangling. It would be so much more entertaining to read about than Traitor. As a fan of the series I feel the need to apologise for this duff, duff episode. Really would have liked to see Paul Darrow as The Doctor. No more Mr Nice Who!

    • Visit site
      July 25, 2014 10:21 pmPosted 2 years ago
      wyngatecarpenter

      I’m beginning to see a pattern with the episodes you don’t like. Bet you won’t rate the episode after next either.

      • Visit site
        July 25, 2014 11:00 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Anniew

        I actually found that one interesting if a bit creepy! It definitely wasn’t dull. Traitor was the operatic version of Dido and Aeneus. Difficult to sit through without slumbering. ( I’m assuming you are concluding that I only enjoy episodes which star the Alpha ham? If I am right, yes I do enjoy those, particularly when he’s partnered with Villa because they are so gloriously over the top, dramatic and funny. And I hated Bergerac but enjoyed Midsummer Murders for similar reasons. But I also think Blakes 7! have a similar place in TV drama as Revenge Tragedy has in theatre drama. Both are darkly comedic and violent and have other features in common that to discuss here would involve spoilers! )

        • Visit site
          July 26, 2014 2:10 pmPosted 2 years ago
          Rob

          I think there was probably a good script lurking within this idea from Holmes. Given how rushed the production of the first block of season 4 actually was (they still believed that Jan Chappell would sign at the last moment), one can understand why this episode and the next two resemble really badly directed Dr Who of the same period.
          How the producers later turned season 4 around to produce B7’s finest episodes amidst all this mayhem is something to be really admired.

  • July 25, 2014 10:05 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Andy Luke

    Ach, the location work was great, and Travis’s dad being in it had me wondering if his son was the hidden foe, re-appearing for a bargie. I liked that Servalan Crow re-appeared in the final act for she’s best in small doses. I liked the double-agent reveal scene (had forgotten the title) Shit Davros had just the right touch of mentalism. Mentalism.

    Slow start, but I enjoyed it. Pretty good stuff for easing the brain into a night of sleep.

    In the light of day though, Slave’s delivery is monotonous, Vila’s role as whinger thoughtless, and Soolin, well, not much to say. Also, your screencap reminded me that Travis’ dad’s eyepatch wasn’t a frilly pink as I remembered it.

  • Visit site
    July 25, 2014 10:08 pmPosted 2 years ago
    wyngatecarpenter

    I don’t agree , I think it’s good, just below par for Robert Holmes. I’d maybe swap the scores that Sue gave for this and Power. I like the Federation Officers, the classic Holmes imperial types.

    It is flawed. Holmes didn’t play to his B7 strength ie focussing on Avon and Vila. Also as twists go, a Federation officer turning out to be working for the Federation all along is pretty weak, especially when we’ve only found out that he’s supposed to be helping the rebels for no apparent reason about 5 minutes before. The return of Servalan is also botched, but I mainly blame the director. Why does the Federation officer say “What are you?” I’m assuming that in the script he was meant to say “What are you…” and then get killed before he could finish the sentence.

    I used to think the Helots were bland but after my recent rewatch I like the way they constantly try to outdo each other in heroic acts. Maybe it was Holmes sending up resistance movements in Terry Nation scripts? It’s a planet full of Season One Blakes.

    • Visit site
      July 25, 2014 10:11 pmPosted 2 years ago
      wyngatecarpenter

      To put my enjoyment of this episode in context remember, as I may have mentioned before, I’m currently recording the Bergerac repeats daily, watching the opening credits, and wiping them immediately unless they say Robert Holmes. Although today’s was by Chris Boucher so it would seem rude not to give it a go.

    • July 26, 2014 3:25 amPosted 2 years ago
      encyclops

      I think it’s “What are YOU…” as in “What are YOU doing here?” But obviously there was a shortage of either time or motivation or both to get the timing right.

    • Visit site
      July 26, 2014 1:42 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Fiona

      How can he focus on Avon and Vila when Avon has stopped saying things that Vila could bounce back at him and is just yelling and ordering everyone around and being utterly dislikable.

      In Killer, and Gambit, they played beautifully together. There was real chemistry. When Avon says concerning Blake that “One day, that great big bleeding heart of his will get us all killed” and Vila responds “Unless someone ditches him first”, Avon gives him a look that’s both sharp and unreadable and drops his eyes back to his work and Vila smiles in a way that looks almost affectionate, an I-know-how-your-mind-works, Avon.
      don’t think Vila would do that now.

  • Visit site
    July 25, 2014 10:14 pmPosted 2 years ago
    wyngatecarpenter

    Darrowatch : It’s got to be “I.Need.To.Kill.Her.Myself”

    • Visit site
      July 25, 2014 11:06 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Dave Sanders

      “I NEED…..”

      What? A hug? A wee? What??

      “TEQUILA MYSELF.”

      Well you’re too late, Vila drank the last of it during that pregnant pause.

  • Visit site
    July 25, 2014 10:51 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Licence

    I like the way the teleport gives Dayna and Tarrant their original clothes back at the end.

    • Visit site
      July 26, 2014 3:22 amPosted 2 years ago
      Frankymole

      Tarrant (and the unnamed Helot citizen in the screencap in the blog post) are wearing Avon’s studded tunic from “Redemption”. The Helot even has similar hair to second-season Avon. Must’ve started a fashion craze.

      Shame the Scorpio teleport doesn’t dispense cloaks for some moustache-twirling villainy a la Five Doctors! Though even the great Bob Holmes had to give up on that ludicrous story.

  • Visit site
    July 25, 2014 10:56 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Katie c

    Sue’s right, so boring, I have still not managed to watch this one all the way through without skipping bits. So I don’t know what’s going on and I don’t care. The best bits are Servalan(I like her 80’s look) and trying to work out how Tarrant and Dayna switched costumes half way through and why are Tarrant and random Helot wearing Avon’s old Redemption leather??

    • Visit site
      July 26, 2014 3:24 amPosted 2 years ago
      Frankymole

      Well, who wouldn’t? Hope they remembered the matching leather flares.

      I’ve always thought Chris Neame would be a superb Travis and I’m glad Neil thinks so too. They could put him in this leather outfit for extra pervery.

  • Visit site
    July 26, 2014 12:46 amPosted 2 years ago
    NICK GRIFFITHS

    It took me a few viewings to get into this one. What strikes me most about this is how little the regular cast do in the episode. Put I like the colonialist satire on the Federation officers and I could believe in all of the supporting characters, it is very dialogue driven agreed but I for one think it helps sell Helotrix as a real world.

  • Visit site
    July 26, 2014 2:06 amPosted 2 years ago
    DPC

    The good news is that the next script penned by Holmes is a little better… at least Avon gets a good line at the end…

    Clearly the new focus is on rebuilding the Federation – Holmes would surely otherwise be brilliant except relying on peripheral elements so much renders it boring. Other episodes DO refer back to Pylene 50, but “Traitor” should have had more zest to it.

    I really have no idea about “Traitor” – except it feels like a pilot for a spinoff show featuring a bunch of boring stick figures, and the return of Servalan for no reason. 2/10 is being generous.

    • Visit site
      July 26, 2014 2:30 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Rob

      ‘I really have no idea about “Traitor” – except it feels like a pilot for a spinoff show featuring a bunch of boring stick figures, and the return of Servalan for no reason. 2/10 is being generous.’

      That just about sums up this eppy perfectly. I’m pretty sure that the next two will also face the wrath of Sue and deservedly so.

  • Visit site
    July 26, 2014 2:48 amPosted 2 years ago
    Frankymole

    I keep expecting Practor to take a quick snifter and declare “sheer nectar, Jeeves!”:

    http://i715.photobucket.com/albums/ww153/Frankymole/jeeves.jpg

  • Visit site
    July 26, 2014 3:14 amPosted 2 years ago
    Frankymole

    I don’t think Sue need worry about Rosemary Crowson reacting badly to this review – Rosie worked on “Genesis of the Daleks” and “City of Death” for Dr Who – both rated as the #1 story in various polls; and Sue gave them 9/10 and 10/10 respectively!

  • July 26, 2014 3:33 amPosted 2 years ago
    encyclops

    I was bored out of my mind on first viewing, but this one has grown on me over time. Agreed that Holmes’s dialogue isn’t up to its usual standard, but I think the guest actors do their best with a snoozy plot, and even though it’s not the sort of thing this crew ought to bother with at this stage of the game (as Sue points out), it’s actual freedom-fighting in a series ostensibly about freedom-fighting, so that’s nice. And as is now well established, I’m Team Servalan and no episode that includes her, however implausible her presence, is a waste of time. I love that she’s as dangerous to kiss as Avon.

    Also, I think Qu’ute is, rather, and so is Leitz in a fascist sort of way. Neither is my usual type but they carry themselves well.

    I wish “tedious” were the worst thing I could say about the next two. Though the next one has quite a punchline.

  • July 26, 2014 6:46 amPosted 2 years ago
    Chris Allen

    “And why would he bother?”

    The exchange early on between Avon and Villa can quite easily be changed to Blake and Avon:

    AVON: If they keep expanding at this rate, we haven’t as much time as you thought. They will be knocking on the door in a couple of years.
    BLAKE: How are they doing it?
    AVON: I don’t know, but maybe we should start running now. I always thought your idea of having a combat base was crazy.
    BLAKE: Avon, I won’t run. We have to find out what it is they’re doing. Why the old colonies are being conquered so easily. Then perhaps we could do something about it.
    AVON: The five of us? Oh, and trooper Orac here.

    That last line echoes “You’ve got an army of five, Blake. Five and HIM!” [Villa] from “Space Fall”.

    So now we’ve got Sherlock Avon, Roj Avon and, of course, Batshit Insane Avon. We’ll be seeing more of all three as the season progresses.

    I’m left wondering just how much time has passed since the previous episode (bear with me).

    After the destruction of the Liberator the crew were “stranded” on Terminal for a good 45 minutes. After being pick up by Dorian let’s allow 2 days for the trip back to Xenon Base and a full day for the events leading up to Dorian’s death. We know from the 48 hour countdown how much time elapsed in episode 2. So say a week overall, to be on the safe side.

    In the time between the destruction of the Liberator, Serverlan somehow got off the ship, was returned to a Federation world, resumed her position as president, lost it when the High Council was restored, was supposedly “killed in the rear-guard action at Gedden”, became Sleer full time, discovered the effects of 100x normal dosage of Pylene-50 and initiated a new Federation expansion program.

    So several months must have passed between episode 2 and 3?

    Maybe she could have been both Serveran and Sleer before the events of “Terminal” but how would she find the time? Didn’t Sleer have any work to do? I guess she could have telecommuted as Sleer during her 2 month round trip to Sardos (“Moloch”).

    • Visit site
      July 26, 2014 11:34 amPosted 2 years ago
      Smile

      She could have been deposed during her absence in Terminal. The Gedden story may just be an inaccurate rumour.

    • Visit site
      July 26, 2014 1:21 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Fiona

      “Sherlock Avon, Roj Avon and Batshit Insane Avon”. Lol, max.

      And lets not forget stylistic development from Cool-and-Caustic Avon through Somewhat-Unpredictable Avon and on to Talks-to-Rocks, A-Man-Betrayed Avon and now Gammon-Ham-complete-With Pineapple-and Apricot Avon.

      Not to mention the metamorphosis from Nearly-Unbearably-Picture-Perfect Avon, through Annie’s Battered-and-Barmy Avon and all the way to Bouffant-and-Studs Avon who is now nearly unbearable to look at for different reasons.

      It’s not like his face has changed! Isnt it amazing what a fashion can do?

      I was watching Nancy Sinatra today and couldnt really help but think of Avon in his cute little go-go boots.

      • Visit site
        July 26, 2014 4:50 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Anniew

        I like bouffant and studs Avon too. I even like OAP Avon (via novels) but that’s because I’m old , battered and barmy. And I actually relish his precise ‘cucumber sandwich’ articulation. I have no idea why – I just look forward to it.

        • Visit site
          July 26, 2014 6:23 pmPosted 2 years ago
          Fiona

          oh I loved his RP RADA elocution in series 1 and 2 but the primary emphasis stuff is doing my head in. It means I am not looking forward to seeing Avon now…and without Avon, there really is no show.

          Such beautiful voices they all had. Posh without being condescending, without raising the class war hackles, dont know how they pulled that off really. Tom Baker too, he was like that, maybe not quite as posh as Blake, who is the poshest of them all.
          Avon, he sounded like Raffles The Gentleman Thug from Viz in the 1st 2 series

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            July 26, 2014 11:13 pmPosted 2 years ago
            Anniew

            Oh dear. I wish I could say that you will enjoy the rest of the series but I don’t think you will. I do hope you keep watching and posting though. Perhaps that will provide sufficient entertainment to make the watching bearable. Or as Avon might put it: if you keep WATCHING…it ..will…provide…a great deal of …. FUNNEY.

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            July 27, 2014 8:41 amPosted 2 years ago
            Fiona

            I’ll keep watching! I’ve got this far, I couldnt ever relax if I didnt get through it.
            Also, I have seen the most dramatic parts of Orbit, so I know about that, and therefore there must be other stuff to enjoy too.

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      July 26, 2014 2:56 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Frankymole

      Maybe the real Sleer was a protégée of President Servalan, but bumped off by Servalan who took over her identity. And yes, I suspect Servie was deposed whilst mucking around on Terminal – but she’d had Sleer installed as an escape route for some time; she’s learnt the value of contingency planning.

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        July 26, 2014 11:17 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Anniew

        Was she still president at the time of Terminal? Maybe she had already been deposed and concocted the Fake Blake scenario to get the Liberator and spearhead a return to power.

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      July 27, 2014 9:59 amPosted 2 years ago
      Fiona

      Continuity of narrative and plausibility of detail arent exactly Blake’s 7’s strong points. But never mind. Where would be the fun if it were all done for us?

      So the whole Servalan/Sleer business makes no sense at all…only 26 people, so far, have realized she’s the same person, even though she has a singularly individual style and seriously memorable hair. Plus, you’d think someone would have the common sense to say, “By the way, “Sleer”, I have sent a sealed letter to the High Command with instructions to be opened in the event of my sudden death…”

      Ew, “Sleer’, that’s a horrible name. It sounds like something Jimmy Savile would have done.

      But, although it seems obvious that she couldnt possibly get away with this, being so famous and all…the fact is, we’ve seen several times that visuals dont seem to be a big part of the future world. The transmission of the Death-watch game was the first time we’ve seen a TV. Apart from Servalan getting that message from the psycho-puppeteer Nazi/Aryan guy..”You are the sexiest commander’ or whatever it was, I am stuck to think of any other times.

      On the London, Blake and Avon didnt recognize each other. If that were today, they’d be front page news. (Actually, Avon would probably be being played by Leonardo de Caprio and be turned into a hero for robbing thousands of people and wrecking their lives, a la the contemptible Jordan Belfort). So it seems there are no news channels or newspapers for a start.
      In Rumours of Death, Avon was able to miraculously get himself taken prisoner in just the right jail…but nobody recognized him, even though we know Blake’s group had become legendary. They were trying to torture his name out of him.
      In Powerplay, Tarrant guessed Avon was Avon, but only through deduction: he didnt know his face.
      In fact, I wondered often how Blake was getting his exploits talked about. Like Robin Hood, spread through ballads sold by travelling pedlars? Do free traders like Jenna spread the story?

      You’d think that in any empire, communications would be key. It was so for the Romans and the British and the Aztecs and the Spanish. But the Federation, although spread across many worlds, holds it all together…how?

      This is where Blake’s 7 desperately needed a proper team of writers not just one guy and an editor. Maybe they should have had the fans do it. After all, some of the fanfiction brilliantly evokes the Federation worlds, some of the stuff set in sleazy bars in dangerous trade ports is really very good, really visual. Its not all slashfic, after all, thank the lord.

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        July 27, 2014 10:43 amPosted 2 years ago
        Katie c

        I remember reading many years ago that Sleer was a blend of the words “sly”and “sneer”, and Jacqueline Pearce hated it!

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          July 28, 2014 10:23 amPosted 2 years ago
          Robert

          Jacks always says it felt to her *like* a blend of ‘sly’ and ‘sneer’.

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        July 27, 2014 2:24 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Frankymole

        The first episode refers to Vis-Tapes (from Blake’s family, the equivalent of letters, though they can be faked apparently) and Travis sends one to Blake in “Hostage” telling him to come and save Inga.

      • July 28, 2014 9:22 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Andy Luke

        You’re definitely onto something there Fiona. Visual communications seems less a point of reference for these characters. The eyepatches, the enormous goggles (Dayna’s dad), clues to a culture visually impaired. Servalan’s clothing extravagance is a mark of her power. At the other end of the spectrum, the Liberator – while technologically super, visually it looks like a few lollipop sticks. What better camouflage in the kingdom of the blind?

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    July 26, 2014 8:37 amPosted 2 years ago
    Lawrence McIlhoney

    I’m with Sue. The dullest episode of the whole season. I could never understand why this was chosen for the Scorpio Attack novelisation instead of the season finale for example. The only thing that stands out here is Vila’s “Trooper Orac” comment which made me giggle a bit when I was ten. Hang in there Sue. Next week is more fun.

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      July 26, 2014 1:24 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Ian Potter

      I think the Scorpio Attack novel actually came out a few days before Stardrive was televised. I dread to think what would have happened it’d given away any later plots. There’d have been marches on TVC.

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        July 26, 2014 2:18 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Lawrence McIlhoney

        I think you’re right, actually.

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    July 26, 2014 11:11 amPosted 2 years ago
    Richard Lyth

    Sue’s dead right about this one. My DVD player conked out ten minutes before the end of the episode and I was relieved more than annoyed (though I did watch the ending on Youtube). I’d much rather have seen the backstory of exactly how Servalan transformed into Sleer, that could have made an excellent episode, but I’m pretty sure Robert Holmes didn’t have any idea how it could have actually worked and just preferred to gloss over the details. Not his finest hour.

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    July 26, 2014 12:00 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Robert Dick

    I agree with Neil – Babylon 5 is even worse than Shada.

    • July 26, 2014 12:01 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Neil Perryman (Author)

      Hey! Less of that, please.

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      July 26, 2014 2:19 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Rob

      You sound like someone who has only ever watched Dr Who all their life 😉

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        July 26, 2014 6:11 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Robert

        Not at all… I’ve seen Blakes 7 for a start.

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    July 26, 2014 12:25 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Robert Dick

    Just a joke, dear…

    I actually quite like Shada.

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    July 26, 2014 1:02 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Fiona

    I am in the middle of watching it and for the first time I have skipped to the blog and read Sue’s summary. This was deadly, deadly boring.
    But it began well, really well, the Federation guys looked cool and the set looked good and then it just went to bits.
    I actually lost the story completely. Had no idea what was going on and did not care at all.
    And as for recycling…the wheelchair was definitely Davros and that leather outfit…Avon wore that in series 2.
    What’s happened to Avon’s lovely refined voice with the emotion so deep beneath? Every. Word. Now. Has. A. Primary. Emphasis.
    I have a horrible stomachache from eating too many steamed vegetables. It hurts a lot. So I dont want to go out and I was going to watch Blake’s 7 instead, specially since there’s a massive rainstorm. And now this. I’m in a vile mood.

    I donr know if the stomachache or the show is worse.

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    July 26, 2014 1:18 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Anniew

    Blakes 7 the musical. O yes Sue. Yes!

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      July 26, 2014 2:01 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Fiona

      Oh God, no way…I can totally see it…the horror. Worse than Les Miserables. (Jesus its depressing, that, isnt it? I can’t get through it).
      There’d be some tortured Avon number, about Blake, or Anna, or betrayal generally. Gazing into space, reeling around the Liberator…that would be the Let It Go type song. “Whyyyy can’t I trust….whyyyyy can’t I rely….”
      Blake’s own tortured number would follow, very introspective, about whether Avon is right and he’s wading in blood.
      Then there’d be a comedy Vila number, along the lines of You’ve Gotta Pick a Pocket or Two. It would be a Cockney knees-up thing, a lot of people doing those sort of Cossacky dances.

      There might be a kind of yearning-for-Blake Jenna number. There’d be some kind of muscle-bound song with a lot of silhouetted buff guys for Gan, about how he doesn’t get noticed but like keeps it all together.

      And then Servalan, Wicked Witch Of The Western Spiral Arm Of The Galaxy. She’d kill Blake treacherously and Avon would, heart-broken, hold him in his arms as he died and then get up with a fixed and vengeful face. A second big Avon number as he swears revenge.
      And finally Avon would kill Servalan and they’d sing a duet. And she’d stab him with the last of her strength.

      I would watch it but I would hate it.

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        July 26, 2014 2:16 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Lawrence McIlhoney

        Oh my God, why didn’t I think of this before?! *Starts scribbling on sheet headed “Blake!: The Musical”

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        July 26, 2014 4:44 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Anniew

        Writes itself doesn’t it? Even I had a dream fits in. Pity les Mis has already done it but I’m relying on Lawrence.

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          July 26, 2014 5:52 pmPosted 2 years ago
          Lawrence McIlhoney

          I just need to say … well played Fiona and Annie, well played.

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          July 26, 2014 6:13 pmPosted 2 years ago
          Fiona

          Oh at least please make it a comedy. Do we need another Les Mis. Couldnt believe how depressing it was…and I’m from Manchester.
          A beaten dying prostitute with her teeth pulled out…oh save my orphan child!! Bit over the top, right?
          why do people like it so much? Is it just your own life looks so much better afterwards? Did it have a happy ending?

          Anyway, anything so long as it isnt as bad as Rent.

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            July 26, 2014 7:27 pmPosted 2 years ago
            Lawrence McIlhoney

            I’m thinking more Roj Blake: Hyperstar …

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        July 26, 2014 8:10 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Anniew

        Bring it on. I’d LOVE it.

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          July 27, 2014 9:59 pmPosted 2 years ago
          Doloho

          It would be a three hour long musical, but Blake would disappear after the first hour.

          • July 28, 2014 9:24 pmPosted 2 years ago
            Andy Luke

            Yes, Yes, Yes!

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    July 26, 2014 8:06 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Anniew

    I’d got
    Bye Bye Blakey
    Little Ship of Horrors
    Kiss me Blake (for a certain kind of Shipper)
    Maim
    A funny thing happened on the way to the rebellion ( for Fiona)
    A Ham is born ( for Wyngate)
    Miss Servalan ( for the number if times they failed to kill her)

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      July 27, 2014 2:32 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Frankymole

      Or Miss Star One 🙂

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        July 27, 2014 7:44 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Anniew

        LOL

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    July 27, 2014 8:21 amPosted 2 years ago
    Fiona

    No Sex, Please, I’m Series 1 Avon

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    July 27, 2014 9:57 amPosted 2 years ago
    Harriet

    The plot’s not very interesting, but I love the scenes with the Federation officers chatting in the mess. I think it’s one of those episodes where I’d have dumped the main cast and stuck with the guests.

    Surprised Sue didn’t mention Hunda’s dishy second-in-command.

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      July 27, 2014 1:47 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Fiona

      was he the one with the cheekbones and the badly applied blusher? The one they called General? Because he was certainly dishy

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        July 27, 2014 2:26 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Frankymole

        I think that was Nick Brimble with the cheekbones. Hunda was the rebel leader so his sidekick would be one of the muddy rebels

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          July 28, 2014 12:17 pmPosted 2 years ago
          Licence

          I wonder why he didn’t have a name (Nick Brimble’s ‘General’ that is)? I’m gonna call him ‘General Corder’ and imagine he’s a decendant of Brimble’s character in ‘House of Cards’.

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        July 30, 2014 2:07 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Harriet

        No, no, Hunda’s dishy sidekick! He was called Avandir and played by Neil Dickson. Vague memory that Dickson may have been a late substitution when another actor was ill or injured…

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    July 27, 2014 1:19 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Licence

    Couldn’t place the fellow who played the federation communications guy. Turns out he was the butler in ‘The Unicorn & the Wasp’.

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    July 28, 2014 12:31 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Nick

    I think, apart from the “big reveal” about Servalan still being alive (yawn!), Traitor is one of those episodes which could be easly excised from a “Best Of” run for B7. That is, all the crap, Jarvic-type episodes would be left out and any significant snippets they may contain edited in elsewhere.

    I think if you did this with the whole run, you’d most likely end up with 26, possibly 30, 31 good and/or cracking episodes which would still make sense and, crucially, make for an enjoyable viewing experience!

    What say you Guys? (And I bet someone’s already actually done this!)

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      July 28, 2014 12:39 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Anniew

      Except you’d lose the Pylene 50 +antidote thread. Who knew that cake sprinkles had this bonus feature. Probably why kids are immune to pacification.

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        July 28, 2014 4:51 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Fiona

        But Nick’s right. YOu could just edit that bit into a linking piece and scrap the rest, cheekbones and all.
        And is that right, the blusher guy didnt have a name at all?
        He has terrible eyeshadow as well. Its amazing stuff though, make-up. Look at Avon in Countdown where he’s just wearing black eyeliner. Looks great, but so different..

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    July 30, 2014 11:24 pmPosted 2 years ago
    The Grouchybeast

    I might be alone, but I really enjoy Traitor.

    I often get the feeling that Robert Holmes just doesn’t like writing B7. Normally he gets away with it by writing fun original characters along with his version of Avon and Vila’s comedy double act. I kind of prefer Traitor, where he doesn’t pay much attention to the crew at all, and just sticks with Federation minions. In fact, this might be my favourite Holmes B7 story.

    Peter Davison could have been Paul Darrow’s companion. Imagine that…

    I think we need a campaign to make the BBC sack Steven Moffat and employ Sue as the new Who showrunner.

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