A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Bowel…
Avon is barking orders at the crew.
Sue: Finally! Avon is finally acting like he’s in charge. It should be like this every week. They should call him sir. Especially Tarrant.
The Liberator has detected a mysterious object floating in space. Again.
Avon: All right, let’s see what this mysterious lump of nothing looks like.
Sue: Cut to Vila.
We cut to Ultraworld instead.
Sue: Oh look, it’s the Sontarans.
It is, in fact, an artificial planet.
Sue: Blake’s 7 has definitely turned into Star Trek. They just drift through space bumping into things.
The crew decide to keep their distance.
Sue: They don’t usually care about the danger; they usually rush in like a bull in a china shop. This isn’t like them at all. Maybe they’re learning from their mistakes. And we should keep our eyes on Cally. She’s bound to be taken over any minute now.
And then they all go to bed.
Sue: What? Don’t they do shifts? Shouldn’t they pull into a space lay-by if they fancy a quick snooze?
Cally is left alone on the flight deck. Either Zen has decided to throw an impromptu disco or Cally is hallucinating.
Sue: Surprise, surprise: Cally is being taken over again. That is quick, even for her; it’s got be a new record.
Cally balls up her fists and places them in front of her eyes, but when she lowers them again…
Sue: Oh, I expected her to have glowing eyes or at least some weird coloured contact lenses put in. That was a bit lazy.
Dayna seems to be perpetually annoyed with Vila. No wonder Sue likes her so much.
Sue: Vila must have tried it on with Dayna at some point. It’s written all over her face. And Vila is really annoying in this story. Come on, Neil, admit it: you wouldn’t want Vila on your team. Actually, you’d be the Vila on your team. Forget I said anything.
Cally has been taken to Ultraworld against her will, but Avon isn’t in a hurry to mount a rescue operation, even though Cally is his girlfriend. She is, you know. Sue says so.
Sue: Avon doesn’t suit brown very much. Nice jumbo corduroy, though. And Tarrant doesn’t look that great, either; his costume seems to be based on a mankini.
Tarrant is itching to visit Ultraworld.
Avon: You really believe in taking risks, don’t you?
Tarrant: Calculated ones.
Avon: Calculated on what? Your fingers?
Sue (laughing) I’ve noticed that it doesn’t matter who’s writing the script, Avon always gets the best lines. Either Paul Darrow writes them himself or everybody just gets Avon. No one gets Vila, though. We’ve glimpsed his hidden depths but nobody can be bothered to explore them. It’s a shame, really.
von, Tarrant and Dayna teleport to Ultraworld, which Avon believes is a giant computer. It isn’t long before our heroes stumble across three humanoid men.
Sue: It’s the Blue Man Group.
Me: Which one is Tobias Funke?
They are the Ultras.
Me: If Nicol was here, she’d tell us that the Ultra nearest to us looks like Richard O’Brien from The Crystal Maze, so I’ll have to do it for her.
Sue: I like their clothes. It’s a very imaginative design. The make-up is a bit dodgy, though. It’s a good job this isn’t in HD.
There then follows an amazing scene where Vila tries – and fails – to school Orac in the art of comedy. And Sue loves every single moment of it.
Orac: Do you have another riddle for me to analyse?
Vila: You’d only spoil it.
Sue: That was very funny. They bounce off each other really well. I’m not sure what that scene has to do with anything but it was fun to watch.
Avon uses his teleport bracelet to contact Vila.
Sue: Avon is making a shadow puppet of a dove on that wall. It’s the only explanation I can come up with for what he’s doing with his hands.
When Tarrant investigates the Ultras’ control room, he ends up placing a round peg in a round hole. Clever Tarrant.
Sue: What possessed Tarrant to do that? That could have set off the planet’s auto-destruct system for all he knew. It could have done anything!
A man appears on a monitor – Sue reckons he’s a bored accountant – and Tarrant questions him. When the Ultras return, Tarrant hides.
Sue: I hope they don’t check their browser history.
Tarrant confronts the Ultras when he discovers that they have siphoned off Cally’s personality for their own needs, but Tarrant cannot resist the power of the core. Whatever that is. Luckily for him, Dayna sends in one of her explosive drones to blow everybody up.
Me: I’d like to know how she hid that bomb in her trouser suit. Actually, it doesn’t bear thinking about…
Avon is keeping watch over Cally when he is attacked by one of Ultraworld’s menial workers.
Sue: Taken down by a bald, middle-aged accountant. Bloody hell, Avon, what are you playing at?
Tarrant has finally worked out the plot.
Tarrant: Ever seen a lizard suck a bird’s egg dry? Well, that’s what they were doing to Cally’s brain. Draining her memory and personality and transferring them to the memory store.
Sue: If they try that with Tarrant, they won’t get any personality out of him, no matter how hard they squeeze.
The Ultras want to put the Liberator in their museum.
Sue: Everybody wants that bloody ship. It’s more trouble than it’s worth, anyway; they’d spend the rest of their lives dealing with Servalan if they ever got their hands on it. I don’t think she’s in this story, by the way. Good, isn’t it?
Vila is panicking on the Liberator but Orac offers little comfort.
Vila: Oh, shut up you arrogant pile of junk.
Sue: The “Wahaaaaaaa” noise Orac makes when they turn him off always make me laugh. He sounds like a bee falling off a tall building.
Tarrant uses a map to determine their location on Ultraworld.
Tarrant: That’s where we are. Here.
Sue: There’s a Starbucks down on the left. Come on!
When Dayna inadvertently disturbs a menial, he looks straight through her before going about his business.
Sue: They remind me of the Borg, except for the fact that they look like chartered surveyors. If I’m honest with you, the Borg were a bit scarier.
The Ultras want to suck Avon dry.
Avon: First of all you have to make me sleep. I tend to suffer from insomnia.
Ultra 2: You will sleep.
Sue: Make him watch Doctor Who from the beginning. That’ll do it.
Me: They could always make him watch this.
Sue: Don’t you like this story, Neil? I’m rather enjoying it.
Avon: I will not sleep!
Me: I know how he feels. If I wasn’t keeping notes, I’d be out like a light.
Sue: Maybe I should take over the blog since you seem to be the one struggling with Blake’s 7. Come on, Neil. It’s all right, this.
Dayna and Tarrant find themselves in a room with a conveyor belt.
Sue: Meanwhile, in Ultraworld’s cake factory…
Dayna: They’re feeding something.
Tarrant: But what?
Not only is Ultraworld alive, this is the place where they feed the dead accountants to it. Tarrant hears a strange, throbbing sound…
Sue: Whatever it is, I think it’s got indigestion.
Tarrant and Dayna search for the planet’s core.
Sue: Are they in the bowels of the planet? And by bowels, I really do mean bowels.
And there it is: a huge ever growing pulsating brain that rules from the centre of the Ultraworld.
Sue: Are you sure it isn’t a giant colostomy bag?
The Ultras monitor Tarrant and Dayna’s every move. Ultra 1 demands a large pointy stick so he can point out their position on a map.
Sue: You’re sitting right in front of the screen. Use your bloody finger!
It turns out that the large pointy thing can set off explosions in Ultraworld’s tunnels. And it’s great for PowerPoint presentations, too.
Sue: This episode reminds me of Doctor Who.
Me: The giant pulsating brain?
Sue: No, the endless corridors. There’s lots of running up and down for no apparent reason this week. I quite like it, though. It’s just like old times.
Vila is still worried about Avon.
Sue: Why didn’t Vila contact Tarrant when Avon lost contact with him? What has he been waiting for? I’m sorry, Neil, but Vila is completely hopeless. I feel sorry for the actor who plays him.
Tarrant instructs Vila to stand by the teleport.
Sue: Why don’t they just get Orac to do that? He’s more reliable than Vila – and Orac is shit!
Dayna and Tarrant are captured by the Ultras, which leads to a scene that almost makes this adventure worthwhile…
Sue: The dirty bastards!
Yes, the Ultras want to watch Tarrant and Dayna, you know… do it.
Sue: I know the aliens are blue, but this is taking it to extremes. Is this really happening, Neil?
Ultra 1: We have collected a great deal of information about Earth and its dominant species, with one important omission. We intend to rectify that deficiency.
Me: They’ve collected a great deal of information about Earth but they’ve never downloaded a single porn film. I find that very hard to believe.
Sue: I notice that Tarrant isn’t arguing about this plan of theirs very much. I bet he can’t believe his luck.
Me: I just hope they win a crystal at the end of this challenge.
Ultra 1: Has the bonding ceremony begun?
Sue: Tarrant is always asked that when he’s in bed with a woman.
A camera records their every move.
Sue: The dirty perverts. This is going straight on Ultraworld’s Intranet.
Sue doesn’t understand why the Ultras couldn’t extract the information they needed from Cally.
Sue: Unless Cally is a virgin, of course. And we all know that’s bollocks. And if they are really that desperate to watch people having sex, why didn’t they get their army of bald accountants to put on an orgy for them? It doesn’t make sense.
Tarrant: How’s that, darling? More comfortable?
Dayna: Oh yes. Much better. Thank you, darling.
Sue: But if you ever put it there again, I’ll kill you.
Dayna removes a small object from her mouth.
Sue: She’s picking Tarrant’s pubic hair out of her teeth.
It turns out that Dayna really has been hiding explosive devices in her cavities after all…
Me: I don’t think that was the sort of bang they were expecting.
Sue: At least the earth moved for Tarrant.
As the Liberator is dragged towards Ultraworld, Vila is desperately reciting limericks.
Vila: There was a young man from… from…
Orac: From where? Think.
Cally is about to be fed to the core when Dayna and Tarrant intervene.
Sue: This is officially the worst fight I’ve seen in Blake’s 7. He’s in his fifties! Come on, Tarrant, you can take him!
The pulsating brain/bowel is showing signs of strain.
Sue: When that thing finally goes off, it’s going to spray shit everywhere. It probably ate an accountant who was past his sell-by date.
Tarrant retrieves Avon’s and Cally’s personalities, which have been stored in a couple of jars.
Sue: They should return them to the wrong bodies. That would be fun. They could leave them like that for an episode. It would be interesting. It would be especially interesting to see if they still fancied each other.
Sue is disappointed when the script raises this tantalising possibility and then fails to do anything with it.
Sue: What a waste. They had a new and exciting episode right there and they threw it away.
The core begins to collapse.
Sue: I’ve heard of acid reflux but this is ridiculous.
The Ultras don’t understand what is causing the core to fail, but they suspect that it must be emanating from the Liberator.
Sue: It’s Vila. Vila is going to save the day because the giant bowel hasn’t got a sense of humour. Genius.
Tarrant kills two Ultras in cold blood.
Sue: How weird was that? Tarrant looked really sad after he killed them, like it was the first time he’d ever killed anyone. Maybe Tarrant isn’t as hard as likes to think he is.
Me: I didn’t hear Dayna complaining.
The Liberator attempts to break free of its display cabinet.
Sue: It’s going to snap in two! You have to take the pins out first!
The ship miraculously breaks free.
Tarrant: Brace yourselves!
Sue: At least they are trying to match the wobbling set with the wobbling model. It’s just a dinky toy, isn’t it? It’s pretty good, though. For its time.
The core explodes and the last remaining Ultra falls to pieces.
Sue: You know, that really wasn’t that bad.
The episode concludes with Vila taking credit for their escape. Avon gives him a backhanded compliment and everybody laughs. Especially Sue.
Sue: That was a lovely scene at the end. You know, I really enjoyed that.
Sue: It was a bit daft, but it was exciting and quite funny, too. I liked the location they used, and the sets were all right. And Servalan wasn’t in it, which is always nice. Yeah, that was fun. Why are you looking at me like that?
Sue’s scores are officially beginning to worry me.
We’ll be updating on Wednesday and Friday next week. Until then, I’ll leave you with this: