Voice from the Past
I’ve kicked the habit, shed my skin…
It’s yoga night on the Liberator.
Sue: What the ****?
Blake has adopted the notoriously tricky ‘shitting crab’ position; Avon has put his back out.
Sue: Seriously, though, what the **** is going on?
Avon: These exercises of yours, Cally, do not appear to improve the temper.
Sue: Is Cally in charge of health and wellbeing on the ship? Have they finally given her a job title? Oh dear. And Avon needs to hold back on the mascara a bit. I know it’s 1979 but that is ridiculous.
Blake hears a strange noise.
Sue: I’m not surprised with his arse stuck up in the air like that.
Blake manually adjusts the Liberator‘s flight path, taking it away from a pleasure planet and towards an inhospitable asteroid.
Sue: They’ve traded paradise for a shit-hole. What a surprise. And why were they going to paradise in the first place? I thought they were supposed to be looking for Space One.
Me: Most people don’t know where Star One is; you can’t even say it properly.
The crew are perplexed by Blake’s mysterious behaviour.
Vila: You’ve always explained, given us reasons for things.
Avon: When he had any.
Sue: Mutiny! Mutiny now, for God’s sake! Here’s your chance to get rid of this dangerous egomaniac once and for all. Jump him!
Blake struts around the Liberator like he owns the place.
Sue: You have to lead by example, and Blake is a loose cannon who needs putting down. I can’t believe that they named a television show after this loser.
Jenna: Is he sick, do you think?
Sue: He was hearing strange noises less than five minutes ago, so WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Blake is having a nightmare.
Blake: Renounce. Renounce. RENOUNCE!
Sue: The Federation must have put something in Blake’s head when they were setting him up as a child molester, and they’ve only just got it to work or something. That’s my best guess.
Avon: It doesn’t make for the most dependable of leaders, does it? Random course changes to random asteroids.
Sue: Blake is damaged goods. Just drop him on the nearest planet. He’ll be OK.
Jenna lends her brainwaves in an effort to break Blake’s conditioning, but things go awry and all hell breaks loose. So much so, Avon has to karate chop Blake – twice!
Sue: Avon’s wanted to do that for ages.
Vila rushes in to restore normality, whatever the hell that is.
Vila: You’ve all gone mad! STOP IT!
This cracks Sue up.
Sue: Vila sounds like he’s their mother! That was hilarious.
Orac recommends eradication therapy.
Orac: Maximum five-minute treatment periods interspersed with one hour rest periods. Hence, minimum rehabilitation period of twenty-six hours.
Sue: If we have to go through that twenty-six times, I’ll be the one screaming.
Blake has been interfered with.
Sue: Is this why Blake has been such an insufferable dick all this time? Have the Federation made him act like an idiot on purpose? That would explain a lot.
Blake is strapped to a chair with, according to Sue, a Stanley Tape Measure stuck to his head. However, he still manages to convince Vila that Avon and Cally are the bad guys.
Sue: Vila is either really funny or really, really stupid. There’s no middle-ground with him.
Blake is acting very strangely.
Sue: Is he reading the script from a cue card?
Me: I think he’s supposed to look shifty in this scene.
Sue: I don’t think he can’t remember his lines.
Vila sends the Liberator back to Asteroid PK One-One-Eight.
Sue: Poor Zen. He doesn’t know if he’s coming or going.
Blake locks Avon, Jenna and Cally in the Liberator‘s yoga room.
Sue: Blake is basically Gan, but with better hair. Is there anybody on this ship whose brain works properly?
Blake changes into a space suit.
Sue: Ooh, that’s a big helmet.
Me: You say that to all the space terrorists.
Blake teleports to the asteroid.
Sue: He’s landed in a children’s painting.
She sings Left Bank Two. Yes, she does.
Cally believes that Blake is being controlled by a telepathic transmitter.
Avon: If there is a telepathic transmitter, there must be someone down there to operate it.
Sue: If it isn’t Travis or Servalan, I’ll eat my hat. There was a time when just the thought of Travis and Servalan appearing in an episode was exciting, but not any more. It turns into a right shambles when they show up.
Blake enters the asteroid’s living accommodation. The lights and air supply have already been switched on. Back on the Liberator, Vila begins to panic.
Vila: That must mean there’s someone there. Mutants or… Blake? Blake? Blake!
Sue: Answer him, you twat!
Blake is menaced by a man with a beard. He leads Blake to a one-eyed man with a bandaged head.
Sue: WHO THE **** IS THIS?
Sue: He’s a mummy in a curtain!
Shivan: Is he come?
Sue: Easy go!
You really have to hear the line to appreciate that, so let’s try again:
Sue: Easy go!
And then the camera zooms in on…
Sue: Peter Gabriel!
Gabriel is playing Ven Glynd, who framed Blake for child abuse, way back in the first episode. Way back. Get it? Oh, please yourselves.
Me: Do you recognise him, Sue?
Sue: Yes, I think I vaguely remember him from the first episode.
Me: That’s probably because, even though they had to hire a different actor to play the part, they cast a man who looked exactly liked him.
Sue: Did they really?
Me: Did they bollocks.
Vila releases his comrades from the yoga room. Cally wants to know why Vila let Blake go.
Sue: To be fair, Avon and Cally have been known to flirt outrageously with each other, but Vila is such a dick for thinking the worst. They should drop Vila off on the nearest planet, too. He could keep Blake company.
Blake gives the crew a much-needed pep talk.
Blake: Look we’ve been on the run for a long time. But what have we achieved? Access to Federation ciphers that have been regularly re-coded; a raid on Central, an empty pretence; talk of Star One; talk of an alliance. Talk, talk, talk.
Sue: He’s right, you know. That basically Blake’s 7 in a nutshell. Talk, talk, talk.
Me: At least they’re addressing the fact that their so-called crusade has been hopeless.
Sue: That doesn’t really help the audience, though. Saying ‘we’re shit and we know it’ doesn’t make it any less shit.
Ven Glynd says he’s a reformed character, and he’s gathering evidence to bring Servalan down.
Ven Glynd: Surveillance report on Supreme Commander Servalan’s attempt to cheat the Federation of one hundred million credits in return for the supercomputer Orac.
Sue: If Orac was really worth one hundred million credits, you’d think they’d use him a bit more. They just leave him in a box most of the time. They definitely aren’t getting value for money. He can’t even do yoga.
Meanwhile, Servalan is talking politics with Le Grand, Governor of the Outer Gaul region.
Sue: Le Grand is basically an attractive version of Princess Anne.
The Liberator is hanging around in space.
Sue: That’s a beautiful model. Just look at the detail on that. Why doesn’t the ship look like that all the time?
Sensing a trap, Avon asks Orac to verify Shivan’s identity.
Orac: A voice scan is incompatible with that tracheal vent. But he conforms with records of size, weight and gender.
Avon: What about Ven Glynd?
Orac: Records confirmed his identity.
Me: But he doesn’t look anything like him!
Sue: Shock the monkey tonight!
Shivan possesses the telepathic transmitter that controls Blake.
Sue: Is he supposed to be French or German?
Sue lasts fifteen seconds before hysterical laughter takes over.
Sue: Wanna buy some pegs, Dave? Dave? Is that Dave?
I have to pause the DVD. She’s completely lost it.
Sue: Oh my God. I didn’t catch a word of that. You’ll have to play that scene again. God help us.
So we watch it again. And we still can’t understand it. Can you?
She’s gone again.
Le Grand arrives on the Liberator via a shuttle craft. She tells Blake that the next leader of Earth must have a messiah complex.
Sue: Don’t make me laugh! The only thing he’s good for now is an advert for Injury Lawyers 4 U.
Le Grand wants Blake to lead them.
Sue: It’s obviously a trap, but it sounds plausible. If only Cally was telepathic, she’d know if they were telling the truth.
Blake, Shivan and Ven Glynd hold hands.
Le Grand: The triumvirate, my friends!
Ven Glynd smiles.
Sue: Shock the Monkey. Hey! Hey!
Glynd and Le Grand plan to indict Space Command at a governors’ conference on the planet Atlay.
Sue: I know this is a trap, but I really want it to be true. It’s quite tense, this.
As the shuttle docks at Atlay’s conference center, Sue hums the Thunderbirds theme.
Sue: That model looks pretty good, but they aren’t half dragging this out.
Le Grand and Ven Glynd disembark at the conference center.
Sue: They’ve checked into a cheap conference hotel and now they’re wondering the same thing: where’s the swimming pool? And is there a jacuzzi?
Back on the Liberator, a man with a beard is knifed in the back.
Sue: That was incredibly realistic. Sometimes, this is the most realistic science fiction programme I’ve ever seen, and then you get rubbish like this!
She’s pointing at Shivan. And Shivan was Travis all the time.
Sue: I knew it! I bloody knew it was him!
Me: No, you didn’t.
Sue: I knew it was a trap – it was so obvious – but I’m disappointed. I wanted Blake to join the rebels. It would have given him something to do. Bloody Servalan.
Le Grand and Ven Glynd enter an empty auditorium.
Sue: Does this remind you of the university lectures you used to give on Monday mornings?
Me: Yes. And some of them were about Blake’s 7.
Sue: No wonder the turnout was so poor.
Servalan appears on a cinema screen. Ven Glynd really was a traitor to the Federation.
Sue: Shock the ****ing monkey! I did not see that coming.
Ven Glynd and Le Grand are ambushed by Federation guards. Le Grand is killed.
Sue: Execution by art installation.
Jenna and Blake escape to an anteroom with a wounded Ven Glynd.
Sue: (singing) Don’t give up. You’re not beaten yet. Don’t give up, I know you can make it good.
Jenna struggles to place a teleport bracelet on Blake.
Sue: Stick it on his ankle!
Travis teleports into the anteroom and Ven Glynd attacks him.
Me: I bet he wishes he had a sledgehammer.
Sue: Stop it, Neil.
Back on the Liberator, Avon smashes the telepathic control unit, which gets a big laugh from Sue, and Travis roars when Blake and Jenna escape from his evil clutches. Yes, he actually roared.
When Blake returns to the Liberator, he don’t remember, he can’t recall, he has no memory of anything at all.
Blake: What are we all standing around for? Our problem is to find Star One if you haven’t forgotten.
Sue: That’s right, Blake. Rub it in.
Sue: That was frustrating. The plot with the Federation traitors was excellent; it kept me guessing to the very end. I really liked the political bits; the scene in the cinema was very creepy. But all that nonsense with Travis was ridiculous. But it was so ridiculous, I actually enjoyed it. I don’t think I’ve laughed so much in ages. And the direction was a lot better this week, too. There’s probably a great episode struggling to get out of that mess. And if the next episode isn’t called Star One, I’ll have to kill you.
And if you think that’s mad, take a look at this video from the crazed minds of Clayton Hickman and Gareth Roberts:
Now, if somebody would edit some Blake’s 7 footage to the theme from BJ and the Bear, I could die happy.
Warning: Glen’s trailers may include minor spoilers for the next episode.