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!
I 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.
Sue: 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.
Sue: 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!
We 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.
Sue: 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.
Hunda’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…
A 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.
Sue: 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.
Sue: 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:
Avon 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.
Avon 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.
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…
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.