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Warlord

The name of the place is Xenon Base…

WarlordSue: What the hell is going on?

Stencilled zombies are roaming the planet Zondar.

Sue: Are we watching some performance art?

Bored security guards decide to amuse themselves by murdering a group of these doped-up civilians on an escalator. Even Nicol is disturbed, and she thought The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was a comedy when I caught her watching it aged twelve.

Nicol: It reminds me of that level in Call of Duty where you have to machine-gun all those innocent bystanders in an airport. It’s a bit grim.

Me: It’s basically Dawn of the Dead meets THX-1138.

And that’s when Nicol got up and left. Sue, on the other hand, remained slack-jawed throughout. And then she surprised me:

Sue: I don’t like the direction very much.

Me: What? Are you joking? It’s amazing.

WarlordSue: I hate the Picture-in-Picture effect. It looks cheap. We’re supposed to be watching a drama here, not the ****ing News.

Avon is hosting a conference on Xenon Base, and the delegates are an interesting bunch to say the least.

Sue: Earth, Wind and Fire have let themselves go.

One of the delegates is running a little late.

Chalsa: Zukan isn’t here!

Me: I don’t think Rick James acted again after this.

Sue: Oh, I think he gave up acting long before this, Neil. And Marge Simpson just called. She wants her hair back.

The conference hasn’t exactly got off to a flying start.

Vila: Hardly surprising. Avon’s idea of diplomacy is like breaking someone’s legs then saying, “Lean on me.”

Sue: Have Vila and Avon had a conversation about what happened on that ship yet? I’ll be very surprised if Vila is still talking to Avon, actually.

Avon hopes to forge an alliance that can defeat the Federation once and for all.

WarlordSue: OK, so this is basically Babylon 5, but with even weirder hair. And is he a thawed-out Ice Warrior?

She finds it hard to believe that Avon has managed to stage an important conference like this.

Sue: This must have taken weeks of adventures we haven’t seen. I’m surprised all the delegates weren’t killed before they arrived.

An unidentified spaceship appears on Orac’s radar.

Freighter: This is Betafarl commercial freighter Lodestar.

Sue: Paedophile?

Zukan: This is Zukan, President of Betafarl.

Sue: President of Paedophile?

It’s safe to assume that Sue thinks Betafarl is a stupid name for a planet, and that they should have changed it when they still had the chance. Just imagine her shaking her head every time somebody says “Betafarl”. And they’ll say it quite a lot.

WarlordAnyway, when Zukan arrives at the conference, he formally greets the other delegates.

Sue: Are you sure he isn’t there for the X-Factor auditions?

Me: Hang on, Rick James is attempting to speak again:

Chalsa: But words are no more than… words.

Sue: Jesus Christ. Make him stop!

Sue decides to focus on the delegates’ hair.

Sue: The stylist just went for it. One of them looks like he’s stuck his fingers in a plug socket. And as for the one with the pink knot on his head, I can just imagine how that conversation went: “Yes, you will look ridiculous BUT you will look ten years younger!”

But Sue ain’t seen nothing yet. Just wait until she gets an eyeful of Zukan’s daughter, Zeeona.

Sue: Toyah!

Me: (singing) Ooh, I miss my Japanese Boy…

Sue: They’ve run out of money. They’ve obviously spent all the budget on the big guest stars we’ve had recently. They’ve resorted to rank amateurs, now. It’s a shame, really.

WarlordZeeona and Tarrant first met during an untelevised adventure (when the team were running around the galaxy selling conference tickets), and Zeeona must have liked what she saw because she’s travelled a long way to see him again.

Sue: Oh dear. Tarrant’s got a stalker. I’ve got a number he could call…

It isn’t very long before Zeeona and Tarrant end up in bed together.

Sue: Tarrant can’t keep it in his trousers these days.

Me: And aliens aren’t forcing him do this, either. Unless you count her, of course.

Sue: This would make me feel sick.

Me: What? Kissing Tarrant?

Sue: No, the stupid green thing that’s spinning in the background. That would put me right off.

Zukan isn’t very happy when he hears about Tarrant’s extramural activities, and when Avon eventually catches up with the Lothario, he pushes him off the screen and into a corridor.

Sue: That was very funny, but we should have heard Tarrant cry when Avon slapped him across the face for being such a tart.

Zukan forbids his daughter to see Tarrant again and Zeeona cries herself to sleep over a sea of stars.

Sue: Wow… What a cheesy shot. Did that just happen, Neil?

Sue isn’t a fan of Avon’s new uniform, either.

Sue: The copper collar and the patches made from lace doilies isn’t really doing it for me. Put him back in black leather!

Soolin decides to teleport Zeeona back into Tarrant’s loving arms.

Sue: Sutekh will be furious when he finds out.

Me: Zukan.

Sue: Whatever.

WarlordZeeona and Tarrant can’t keep their hands off each other.

Sue: Oh, for God’s sake. Get a room!

Zeeona’s father, meanwhile, is definitely up to no good.

Sue: His hair must be giving him a terrible headache, the poor sod.

Soolin’s cupid stunt could ruin everything…

That’s the best sentence I will ever write on this blog. I may as well pack up and go home now. Oh, wait, I’m already here.

Avon: If it comes to a choice between the alliance and Zukan’s revenge, don’t think that I won’t sacrifice you.

Sue: We believe you, Avon. You’ve made it perfectly clear that’ll you’ll throw your so-called friends under the bus.

Zeeona and Tarrant waltz back into the control room, reeking of sex.

Sue: That was quick. Oh wait, they’re going back for another go. It’s probably Tarrant’s third shag in fifteen minutes.

When Orac detects a bomb in the teleport chamber, the earth moves for everyone.

Sue: Ooh, things are very exciting all of a sudden. And just as I was beginning to tune out. That’s lucky.

warlord8Xenon Base’s roof caves in on Orac.

Me: Orac’s dead.

No reaction.

Me: I said Orac’s dead.

Sue: He’s a computer, Neil. He’s broken.

Dayna surveys the damage.

Dayna: Channel one dead. Two dead… We’ve got Channel Five!

Me: I love Glen Allen. I just wanted to say that.

Servalan arrives on Zukan’s ship.

Sue: ****’s sake.

Xenon Base’s oxygen will run out in 18 hours.

Sue: Just think of the number of times that Tarrant will be able to shag his new girlfriend before he dies. Hundreds, probably.

WarlordAvon and Soolin arrive on Betafarl. It appears to be deserted.

Sue: What was the point of that cheesy effect? The director is over-reaching himself. There was no need for that.

Me: To be fair, he was only trying to disguise the fact that they’ve LANDED ON THE SAME PLANET THEY ALWAYS DO!

A Federation trooper is hiding under a sand dune. Yes, it’s an ambush.

Sue: How long has Rambo been hiding under there? He must be good at holding his breath. Can’t ****ing shoot straight, though, can he?

Federation reinforcements somersault over a ridge.

Sue: Now they’re just showing off.

Avon: Federation guards!

Sue: Guards? They look like they belong in a ****ing circus!

WarlordFederation guards start flinging themselves down ravines like there’s no tomorrow.

Sue: Weeeeeeeeeeeee!

But our heroes are outnumbered and outgunned, and Sue gasps when Soolin turns the tables on Avon and sticks a gun in his back.

Sue: See! It doesn’t feel very nice when a friend betrays your trust, does it, Avon?

It’s only when Soolin assumes Zeeona’s identity that the penny finally drops.

Sue: Ooh, that’s very clever. Soolin’s far too good for this show. Put her in charge. Let’s see what happens.

When Servalan hears about Avon’s capture, she demands that his corpse be sent to her ship.

Sue: She’s lying. She wants to marry him. It’s written all over her face.

Me: It really isn’t, Sue.

Servalan plants a bomb on Zukan’s ship before she leaves.

Sue: Tarrant’s girlfriend isn’t the only one who’s getting shafted this week.

The Federation guards decide to kill Avon by crucifying him upside down on a sand dune. Well you would, wouldn’t you.

Sue: Eh? What the ****? Surely they can’t be running that low on bullets.

Soolin attacks a guard with her sonic screwdriver; Sue’s words, not mine.

WarlordSue: Ooh, right where it hurts. You go, girl!

Soolin makes short work of the guards, although Sue is convinced that she had to break the laws of physics to do it.

Sue: She’s shooting into the air!

Me: The bullets fall back to earth and land on the guards’ heads. Clever, eh?

Sue: Or maybe the director is out of his depth. I mean, who’s flying the Scorpio right now? Whatever happened to continuity?! The direction is ****ing terrible. Sorry, Neil, but it is.

Vila has his second nervous breakdown of the week.

Vila: WE HAVEN’T GOT FOUR DAYS!

Sue: Calm down, Vila. You’ve been through worse than this. Only a couple of days ago, in fact.

Me: We’re almost at the end of Blake’s 7, Sue. So tell me, has your opinion of Vila changed?

Sue: Yes, it has. I feel sorry for him now; I certainly wouldn’t want any harm to come to him. He’s still a bit of a numpty, though.

Zukan’s sabotage includes the release of a radioactive airborne virus. The swine.

Sue: It never rains but it pours. I’d start shagging Tarrant right now if I were her.

WarlordZukan unloads his troubles onto his loyal assistant, Finn, who is the spitting double of Jeremy Renner by the way, although Sue can’t see it.

Zukan: Get me a drink.

Sue: I’ll have another Kia-Ora if there’s any going.

After Finn tops up the warlord’s fruit juice, he discovers Servalan’s bomb, which then goes off, killing him instantly.

Sue: It’s all gone a bit Top of the Pops. Just because the edit suite has a special effect, it doesn’t mean you have to use it.

When Vila, who is completely pissed by this point, blames Zeeona for getting them into this mess, Tarrant almost knocks his block off.

Sue: Bloody hell! Are the crew taking it in turns to kill Vila? Leave him alone!

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed this or not, but Sue isn’t the director’s biggest fan. Which is funny because I thought she’d love Viktors Ritelis. And then a hand-held camera gets into Zukan’s face as his ship begins to tear itself apart…

Sue: Oh, this is all right, I suppose. I just can’t take the actor seriously. He’s too theatrical.

Zukan wants to bargain with Avon. If he saves his life, Zukan will tell him how the crew can obtain a fresh oxygen supply.

WarlordZukan: If two of them volunteer to die, the oxygen they have left will last the rest of them.

Sue: That’s it? That’s his solution? I’d let him die for that, the sarcastic ****.

Zukan’s ship is on its last legs.

Sue: He’ll never survive fifteen hours like that. He’ll drown in his own vomit.

Zukan refuses to believe that his daughter is on Xenon Base.

Zukan: No! No! You’re not there! I DON’T BELIEVE YOU!

Sue: Switch your audio-only Skype call to video, you fool!

Avon finds a solution without Zukan’s help.

Sue: This bit is quite good, actually. They need to reverse the polarity of the whatsit. Obviously.

Zukan, meanwhile, is haunted by a vision of his daughter.

Me: NO! YOU’RE NOT THERE!

WarlordSue: (singing) Heathcliff, it’s me Cathy!

And then another face appears outside Zukan’s window – Servalan.

Me: NO! SHE’S NOT THERE, EITHER!

When Zukan finally accepts his own death, his does so with his arms outstretched and his mouth wide open.

Sue: He looks like he’s expecting to regenerate. The idiot.

Crash-zoom into Zeeona’s startled face.

Sue: Now I’ve lost count of the number of times the director has annoyed me.

Zeeona volunteers to return to the base so she can fix the damage caused by her father.

Sue: She’s dead, then.

Tarrant isn’t very happy about this, but Sue doesn’t have that much sympathy for him.

Me: I thought you liked Tarrant?

Sue: I did, but he’s turned into a right space slag. He thinks he’s James Bond, shagging his way round the galaxy. But he isn’t.

When the director cuts to another scene with the help of Tarrant’s back, Sue refuses to cut his Rope homage any slack.

Sue: The director thinks he’s Alfred Hitchcock. What a joke. He couldn’t direct traffic. They should have got a woman in to direct this. When will they ever learn?

Tarrant desperately wants to save Zeeona, which makes Avon break into a smile/grimace/God only knows what.

Sue: So what was that look for? Is Avon pleased that Tarrant’s girlfriend is dead? Ooh, what a bastard. Never get on the wrong side of Avon.

Tarrant and Dayna teleport to Xenon Base.

Tarrant: Zeeona! Zeeona!

WarlordSue: It’s too late, Tarrant. SHE ISN’T THERE!

Yes, Zeeona was killed thanks to a rookie mistake. Or maybe she sacrificed herself for Tarrant’s sake? It’s difficult to tell.

Dayna: She took her glove off.

Sue: That will teach her to paint her nails in the middle of a radioactive crisis.

Cue credits.

The Score:

Sue: I didn’t like that episode very much. The direction was appalling, the editing was shoddy, and the acting was all over the place. Some of the action scenes were great, but some of the action scenes were hilarious. It had its moments, I suppose, but at the end of the day it was simply… average.

Me: Orac’s still dead.

Sue: Shut up, Neil.

5/10

Next Time:

WARNING: Glen’s trailer includes MASSIVE SPOILERS for the final episode. Please don’t listen to it if you haven’t seen it yet. However, as soon as you have seen the final episode, come back here and press play. You won’t regret it.

We plan to watch the final episode this Monday at 8pm UK time, and I hope to publish the very last (and this time we definitely mean it) blog early next week.

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168 comments

  • Visit site
    August 23, 2014 10:08 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Smile

    I agre about the comparisons to Toyah and Aneka, but there’s also something about the costume designs and make up of this episode that remind me of this…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Wz_9dVJ-Ew

    • Visit site
      August 24, 2014 12:11 amPosted 2 years ago
      Anniew

      The dancer on the left moves and looks just like Rick James too!

  • Visit site
    August 23, 2014 10:08 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Ade Jacobs

    Del (James Blunt) Tarrant

    From Betafarl, From Betafarl,
    From Betafarl, it’s true,
    I saw your face, at Xenon Base,
    and I knew that it was love,
    But then you took off your glove!

    • August 23, 2014 10:13 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Andy Luke

      Lol Ade, but really Betafarl? Is that like a soda farl? A not properly baked one?

  • Visit site
    August 23, 2014 10:12 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Ramiste

    First!

    Did anyone else spot Queeg from Red Dwarf?

  • August 23, 2014 10:15 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Andy Luke

    Some good back and forth between Avon, the video tape and Scorpio crew:
    the footage of drones and mannequins with inset Federation paramilitaries was i admit a bit terrifying, watching in my darkened bedroom. I could have hid under the covers but im too old for that!

    I disagree with Sue on Avon’s new uniform but that Marge Simpson comment was well called for. In the League I spotted Joey Dredd, Shameless, Mr.T-ufty, Cities of Gold II, Zukan Orangebob Ker-Plunk and his daughter, anime cosplayer…wait, did Blake’s 7 just invent Brit manga cosplay?

    Was that white lightning cider in those champagne glasses?

    Avon’s ‘taking Del-Tarrant-Boy aside’ shove on catching his act of betaphilia was priceless. I’ve been paying close attention and i figured out why Tarrant walked
    towards the bomb in the teleporter. Its because he’s very stupid. Fast moving, plenty of good pace and all of Avon’s boasting to Soolin has made for some treachery. What the hell’s up with Avon this week? Up until his final smile, he seems really normal and well adjusted. Maybe it’s the new threads. However, YES Somersaulting Federation Ninjas! Ten Points! Or an 8 or 9 or 7. Sue yer too rough on the director. ‘Glove off’ was terrible, I’m thankful for that nail-painting remark. Well done you both.

    • Visit site
      August 24, 2014 12:41 amPosted 2 years ago
      RLF

      I will now attempt to use the expression Betaphillia in my daily life. Although beyond “an attraction for very pretty girls with questionable taste in wigs”, I can’t think what it could mean.

      This is the one and only joke at the expense of Zeeona’s wig I shall make.

    • Visit site
      August 24, 2014 12:53 amPosted 2 years ago
      RLF

      “Somersaulting Federation Ninjas”
      OK. Does anyone else remember an advert for some kind of car-paint damage repair product featuring a ninja who leaps over a car, weilds his sword (historical note: ninjas were peasants and therefore forbidden from owning swords. But a farm scythe or fishing net wouldn’t have worked so well.) around, unitil he makes a tiny nick in car’s paintwork, and then leaps offscreen again. (hmm. Maybe he’s the Rebel MC, leaping like a ninja, stinging like a bee.)? This advert was the origin of a phrase amongst my friends, where upon witnessing any kind of whose-idea-was-that non-sequiteur, someone had to say “I know, let’s have this ninja, and….”

      I’d completely forgotten this phrase until last night, when the federation ninja leaps over the slag-heap in Gerrards’ Cross Quarry, and, even though it’s a pretty cool moment, I couldn’t help imagining Viktors chatting to his DoP like: “right, let’s have this ninja…”. I broke out into an uncontrollable laughing fit.

  • Visit site
    August 23, 2014 10:16 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Karyl

    Well, the fun is drawing to a close (the kind of fun that ISN’T!)

    Everything is taking a downward turn for our anti-heroes; the base was blown up; Orac is broken; Avon and Soolin are off planet; Avon’s grand alliance is shot to hell; they have no where to go, no one to turn to except each other (or is that ON each other?)

    Their nominal leader is Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs; their ship is a worst piece of junk than the Millenium Falcon ever was, and they are on their last legs as a team.

    The episode could have been better, WAY better! The costumes look like they came from K-mart’s Halloween Special Sale; the wigs (especially Zeeona’s!) were just plain GHASTLY!

    I remember the weird hair of the early 80’s, but that wig took the entire bakery, never mind the cake!

    Poor Vila is being (sorry for this) vilified by his crewmates; Tarrant is a man-ho; Dayna is a seething ball of anger; Soolin and Avon are on the outs; Orac is down for the count, and Slave is beyond useless.

    There is no hope left for this bunch.

  • Visit site
    August 23, 2014 10:16 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Dave Sanders

    A fright-wigged Zeona shows two can
    Play backstabbing games like dad Zukan,
    ‘Cause she bites the pillows
    Of Del’s peccadillos,
    Who’d thunk it? I’m betting that Sue can.

  • August 23, 2014 10:35 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Andy Luke

    Glen Allen, fantastic trailer man!

  • Visit site
    August 23, 2014 10:55 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Anniew

    Oh dear. I had a feeling Sue would hate this – but hate does bring out the best in you both. It’s a perfect evening. Brilliant Dr Who ( loved Peter Capaldi and Clara and the gang – arc has some potential and it was an exciting creepy story but wasn’t too sure about Mary Poppins at the end there.) And now a very funny blog post to read ,containing (I agree) your best ever line and more laugh out loud moments than I can count. My only complaint is that I wanted to tell you how brilliant it was but you already knew. The husband isn’t too impressed. He can’t stand any sci if stuff and thinks I spend far too much time on the tablet but hey – we’re off to a steam rally tomorrow ( don’t ask) so what’s he got to complain about? Anyway, I enjoy Warlord because it is such a strange mixture of the school play and some exciting stuff. I agree Zukan overacts, the delegates can’t act and the Tarrant/Zeeona act makes me sick. I love Avon’s grimace at the end however because I think this is the moment when he gets back a little empathy and feels sorry for Tarrant. A kind of ‘ yep could have told you life’s a rebel’s whore.’ Ending does leave the viewer with the question, what the hell sort of biochemist was Zeeona if she didn’t know to keep her glove on – but probably Avon knew that she’d have to do it to deactivate the device and that’s why he made her go alone. Ruthless Bastard. Just hope Sue rates the last episode……

    • Visit site
      August 24, 2014 12:05 amPosted 2 years ago
      Frankymole

      I think you’re right – Zeeona knew full well what she was doing.

    • Visit site
      August 24, 2014 1:14 amPosted 2 years ago
      RLF

      The school-play aspect of ’70’s and ’80’s TV is something I’ve come to mind not even one little bit (except in the case of the arse-end of ‘Doctor Who’. I hate that.), and I need to explain to myself why that it. I think it’s like this: it makes the performance and production of drama that actually packs a punch seem much more approachable, sort of like the way that Crass or JAMC make the idea of composing and performing music much more approachable.

      So I guess this very episode might be the beginning of a lifetime obsession with trying to find ways of ‘reading’ nominally terrible executions of performing arts and trying to understand how the off-kilter performances, make-it-yourself costumes and leaden dialogue might actually communicte emotion and existential content in their very execution.

      (side note: I can’t do this with draftsmanship, craftsmanship, graphic design or architecture for some reason.)

      Does anybody else feel like this? I think we have some pro actors amongst our numbers, and maybe they’d know if there is a correct expression for it (apart from Stockholm Syndrome, I mean)

      • August 26, 2014 7:50 pmPosted 2 years ago
        encyclops

        I don’t know if this is what you’re talking about, but I find that the less well-executed technically a horror film is, the scarier/creepier/more haunting I find it. I don’t know if it’s something about erasing the presence of the director and the camera, or about the crappiness of the whole production layering some meta-despair over the regular despair. So actually I find the opening sequence a lot creepier than if it had been “well-directed.”

        I’m not sure you can extend this to other genres, at least not for me, except insofar as the absence of obvious “rules” about what’s professional and what isn’t seem to open the way for more surprises.

    • Visit site
      August 24, 2014 3:26 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Louise

      I agree. Zeeona knew, and Avon knew she’d have to. Zeeona had already said that it had to be her, because of the damage her father had done. Why would it matter who it was, if it was just a matter of go down in a suit, clean up and get on with life?

      • August 25, 2014 3:56 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Andy Luke

        How much of that came out? She might have some power that could re-stabilise the alliance with psycho-daddy dead.

  • Visit site
    August 23, 2014 11:02 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Anniew

    Oh and amazing trailer! Echoes of Tom Baker cameo but much much funnier. I do love Glen ( and Paul Darrow and Sue and Neil and Fiona and Franky and Smile and Wyngate and Andy and the encyclopaedias and oh for God’s sake I sound like the ending of the Waltons.) Goodnight everybody.

  • Visit site
    August 23, 2014 11:03 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Anniew

    And Dave. How could I forget Dave?

    • Visit site
      August 25, 2014 6:28 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Fiona

      Ah Annie, bless. Enjoy the steam rally. That makes me feel suddenly very nostalgic for England. That kind of gentle domestic-type pleasure, day-out in green pastures. Hong Kong is staggeringly beautiful, but it is stunning and atmospheric in a Blade-Runner type way, it really is like living in a movie set. There’s no gentleness. Even Lamma Island, the hippy island, is full of snakes and centipedes. Six-inch-long, half-inch diameter, bright-red centipedes with a poison bite. My ex was bitten in the bollocks by one of those I kid you not. Right in the bed. Crept right in.
      Sigh, steam rally. Its made me feel all hot chocolate, watching by the fire Blake’s 7 or Doctor Who, lots of snow outside.

      • Visit site
        August 25, 2014 8:12 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Anniew

        Fiona. My abiding memories of Hong Kong are sunshine, red bean icecream (even more disgusting than it sounds), reflexology in a seedy flat with a curtain behind which God only knows what was going on although it was making a string of men very happy and butterflies. Steam fair: rain, muddy dogs, fair swings, lots of engines steaming, amazing views. Neither experience equated to my idea of paradise but both very memorable.

        • Visit site
          August 28, 2014 5:39 pmPosted 2 years ago
          Fiona

          When were you in HK, Annie? You probably find it a lot changed whatever time..always changing. They even knocked down Star Ferry.

      • Visit site
        August 25, 2014 8:39 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Frankymole

        !!! Ouch !!! How the heck did he get the poison removed? Perhaps I’d better not ask…

        • Visit site
          August 26, 2014 4:00 pmPosted 2 years ago
          Fiona

          Its a good story. I was deeply deeply asleep, you know that well past REM sleep. and all of a sudden, I was standing outside the bedroom door. In one movement. Like a giant hand had just wrenched me from the bed and flung me across the thresh-hold. Body communicated to brain and back again in a beyond-flash….I can still feel that thing squirm over my back. They have feet of fire…I had a welt right over the shoulder-blade.
          I knew what it was, all right.
          And then, this still, small voice came terrified out of the darkness..imagine this written in very tiny letters….”what’s the matter?”
          “There’s a centipede in the bed!”
          Tiny voice: “I know…it just bit me in the bollocks!”
          Well, lucky for him, he’d been bitten before, so in fact, it was only some red swelling. The first time can put you in the hospital. We stripped that room and it was a very small room, 2 pieces of furniture. Nothing. How they conceal themselves, its a mystery.
          Following night, I heard my cat screaming and I leapt into the living room…such a clever cat! there was the centipede…hideous bright red horror thing, running like a train along the floor-edge of the sofa. It was trying to get beneath. The cat could not touch it, it was burning her. So she was putting her paw in front of it, making it swerve around and try and get back…it ran all the way to the end of the sofa and doubled back and the cat leapt over it and carried on preventing its escape, squalling all the time…clever clever Mooncake! I yelled her to keep going and John came out: he simply leapt onto the sofa back in one bound…and I got the big Chinese chopper and whacked it in half. Clear poison poured out of it. Vile disgusting things. I cant see any purpose in them.
          So I was certainly glad to leave Lamma-side and get away from the creepy-crawlies and the snakes and the ferry with its drone, so enervating, and move to concrete Hong Kong-side where there are only rats and roaches to contend with…touch wood…

          • Visit site
            August 26, 2014 9:59 pmPosted 2 years ago
            Anniew

            What an episode of Blakes 7 that would have made.

        • Visit site
          August 27, 2014 9:03 amPosted 2 years ago
          RLF

          In my case, hours of IV and antihistamine injections, plus overhydration and diuretics. I probably should have taken the hint and sought treatment when my balls blew up and my leg-veins went black and before I started discharging from my eyes. Envenomation + allergy + infection from whatever carrion-eater the centipede had been eating makes a charming combination.

          And that wasn’t even a bad one.

          • Visit site
            August 27, 2014 11:41 amPosted 2 years ago
            Anniew

            Too bleak and graphic. Remember a lot of children watch this show and the only balls we want to see are those laid by Decimas!

          • Visit site
            August 27, 2014 4:34 pmPosted 2 years ago
            Fiona

            Jesus…in Japan? Maybe they are weirder there (everything else appears to be). HK ones arent as horrendous as that, you must be allergic. And as Annie says, what a Blake’s 7 episode it could have been: better than giant ants anyway.

          • Visit site
            August 27, 2014 5:05 pmPosted 2 years ago
            RLF

            Lots of people are allergic to centipede venom (spider venom allergy is a bigger cause of fatalities worldwide than spider envenomation). And centipedes are dirty. They root around in filth and rot and decomposing dead things. It wouldn’t even have to be a particularly big one, or a dangerously poisonous one.

  • Visit site
    August 23, 2014 11:09 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Dave Sanders

    Given that Blake’s 7 was being influenced so heavily by then-current political figures, did Rick James model his performance on Michael Foot?

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      August 24, 2014 12:06 amPosted 2 years ago
      Frankymole

      I think Richard Hurndall did, as Nebrox in “Assassin”!

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        August 24, 2014 11:04 amPosted 2 years ago
        RLF

        Neebrox’ threads are a step up from the shabby flasher-mac, worn-out Hush Puppies and pocket-hanging snotrag favoured by mr. Foot when he dressed to make an impact.

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          August 25, 2014 8:43 pmPosted 2 years ago
          Frankymole

          I preferred him in the donkey jacket. Maybe Rick James could’ve sported one to go with his Trigger-from-Only-Fools delivery.

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      August 24, 2014 12:24 amPosted 2 years ago
      RLF

      No, I think Rick James was at least paying lip-service to trying to present a credible voice of opposition.

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    August 23, 2014 11:16 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Amethyst

    Really enjoyed this one; cracking action sequences, an intelligent script, and Soolin shines strongly. Very creepy opening sequence (marred slightly by split-screen) but I think I found Avon’s final smile more
    sinister yet!

    *Shallow moment*: Paul & Glynnis look gorgeous in this episode.

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      August 24, 2014 4:00 amPosted 2 years ago
      Dave Sanders

      Mmm, as stylish and avant-garde as that opening sequence is, I can never look at that Quantel inlay box without thinking of the old Kenny Everett Video Show.

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        August 24, 2014 9:55 amPosted 2 years ago
        RLF

        WE CAN HAS OUTSOURCED FACILITIES HOUSE! MUST USE QUANTEL AT EVERY OPPORTUNITY, REGARDLESS OF APPROPRIACY! AND NEVER MIND THAT IT LOOKS WORSE THAN INLAY! SHINEEE! (see also: Lovatt “what do you mean, you need 24 minutes of completed material per episode? You’ll have 18 and like it” Bickford)

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      August 25, 2014 6:31 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Fiona

      Oh Amethyst glad someone agrees. I really enjoyed it and I thought they looked wonderful too. Havent seen Avon look so breath-taking for ages. I dont agree about the clothes. I thought having him basically wear Soolin’s outfit was powerfully erotic, because it brought out this androgynous quality…so much better than the leather and studs which does absolutely nothing for him.

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        August 25, 2014 6:32 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Fiona

        I mean, I dont agree with Sue about the clothes

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          August 28, 2014 2:41 amPosted 2 years ago
          Doloho

          You can take Avon out of the Leather and Studs, but you can’t take the Leather and Studs out of Avon.

          • Visit site
            August 28, 2014 5:39 pmPosted 2 years ago
            Fiona

            Oh you can, you can!

  • August 23, 2014 11:32 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Philip Ayres

    I thought Orac was dead when I first saw this. 8 year old me was upset.

    • Visit site
      August 24, 2014 12:26 amPosted 2 years ago
      RLF

      When Orac gets bashed, the base gets blown up and Vila gives up was when small me realised that the shit had really hit the fan. Yes, this one upset me a lot.

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        August 26, 2014 4:03 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Fiona

        It was a really pitiful dying noise Orac made, wasnt it?

        The bee fell off the building…and splat.

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          August 27, 2014 11:43 amPosted 2 years ago
          Anniew

          Too bleak and graphic. Remember a lot of children watch this show and the only balls we want to see are those laid by Decimas!

          • Visit site
            August 27, 2014 11:45 amPosted 2 years ago
            Anniew

            Sorry that was directed at RFLs graphic exploding balls story!

            And Fiona! Orac is Broken not dying. Please keep up!

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            August 27, 2014 1:00 pmPosted 2 years ago
            RLF

            If you can’t get Aubrey Morris, a Centipede will do.
            If you can’t get a Centipede then God Bless You.

        • Visit site
          August 27, 2014 4:46 pmPosted 2 years ago
          Fiona

          Right, right, broken, not dead. Watching the last episode (and why, why couldnt it always have been as wonderful as that, it just flew by when sometimes I’ve got so fed up like in Animals or Power, I have to pause and go and do something else, or read along with Sue in the hope that comic relief will get me through) I was so struck, suddenly, by how awesome Peter Tuddenham was. Listening to Orac berate Slave and then remembering he did Zen too: fantastic.
          And is Orac maybe the best character? (Well, second best). Should Orac get an Orac? He’s got more, I dont know, character, than the rest. And are we, the viewers, meant to see Orac as a person, a brain, not just a computer? Like, if Avon could have pitched either Vila or Orac off the ship, obviously its Orac? what would Orac say about that?
          Lets say that Orac plus the tachyon funnel weighed 73 kilos…would Orac try and persuade Avon that he and the funnel are more useful than Vila?

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    August 24, 2014 12:39 amPosted 2 years ago
    Katie c

    Yeah I agree Annie, I think both Avon and Zeeona knew it was a suicide mission.

    The Avon and Soolin bits are my favourite in this, Soolin’s great and love her reaction to Avon’s threat “…don’t think I won’t sacrifice you,” yeah right Avon, whatever….(Watch out Soolin he actually means it)

    It’s a shame Zeeona died because I wanted to see hers and Tarrant’s kids hair!

  • Visit site
    August 24, 2014 12:55 amPosted 2 years ago
    Rob

    This wasn’t classic Blake’s 7 but after watching Dr Who’s ‘Deep Breath’ tonight, ‘Warlord’ easily grabs a 9/10…words are…just words 🙂

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    August 24, 2014 12:58 amPosted 2 years ago
    Anniew

    ‘When the crew were running around the galaxy selling conference tickets’. Your second best line Neil.

    • Visit site
      August 26, 2014 4:05 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Fiona

      Maybe we should have an Orac for best Sue line and Neil line. Let me start with Sue’s line about Orac sounding like “a bee falling off a tall building” which is easily the most perfect description of a noise I ever heard.

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        August 27, 2014 12:48 pmPosted 2 years ago
        RLF

        Is it a reference to Oliver Postgate’s description of the EMS Synthi-100 ‘Delaware’ sounding like ‘a cat chewing a bee’?

        Only bettered by the positively pornographic description and pronunciation of the word ‘wobbulator’. In these progressive times, of course, no woman should need to feel ashamed to leave their wobbulator on it’s Salvatore Fernangamo cushion in the living room, but anybody would try to hide their Synthi-100 behind a Welsh Dresser when visitors came around.

        • Visit site
          August 27, 2014 4:48 pmPosted 2 years ago
          Fiona

          No, it was a Sue comment, that’s what Orac sounds like when the ‘key’ is removed.
          I have no idea what all the rest of what you said is!

  • August 24, 2014 1:06 amPosted 2 years ago
    encyclops

    Sue’s right. This one’s a stomach-turner, more of a piece with the first half of the season than the second half; what is it about Blake’s 7 that can make a fairly run-of-the-mill Romeo and Juliet plot seem so sordid? Is it the “Betafarl” play on words, which never would have occurred to me since we don’t pronounce it that way over here? Or is it that Zeeona is part poodle?

    The only reason I like this a little is that it’s so doom-laden, disposing of Xenon Base and setting the stage for the finale. And, I suppose, it’s nice to be reminded of where this all started, with the “oh yeah, there’s a totalitarian empire breathing down our necks” bit. But as Sue points out, it’s too jarring — Avon’s priorities have seemed all over the place and we’d almost forgotten he cared about this stuff at all.

    Oh, and of course the Soolin moments:

    Sue: Ooh, that’s very clever. Soolin’s far too good for this show. Put her in charge. Let’s see what happens.

    Hell YES. I feel vindicated.

  • Visit site
    August 24, 2014 1:22 amPosted 2 years ago
    Rob

    Finale tresser from Glen – absolute fab 🙂

    You three have been absolutely great and the internet will miss you all 🙁

  • Visit site
    August 24, 2014 2:41 amPosted 2 years ago
    Ste

    Neil

    Any chance you can (secretly) video Sue’s reactions to the final scenes of Season 4?

    Like all those Game of Thrones readers that knew in advance what to expect during the Red Wedding in the “The Rains of Castamere” and filmed their partners’ reponses.

    I’ll buy the e-book (honest) if you do!

    • August 24, 2014 9:07 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Andy Luke

      I’m sorry but that’s wrong and I’d reallly like that.

    • August 26, 2014 9:27 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Andy Luke

      Ste’s computer and mine got hacked! I don’t know who wrote that!

  • Visit site
    August 24, 2014 3:17 amPosted 2 years ago
    Jason

    I personally didn’t care at all for this episode. The unceremonious (and unmentioned) death of Orac was pretty lame, and the Lady Gaga guest star wasn’t all that great. Mostly though, this episode suffers from having to follow up the last episode.

    When are you guys going to watch the finale? I’m in the middle of making a projector screen for my HD projector, so if I get it finished in time, I’ll inaugurate it with standard def low quality 80s British scifi.

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      August 24, 2014 5:08 amPosted 2 years ago
      Jason

      Wait, is Orac not dead? Argh, I need to watch the last episode!

      • Visit site
        August 24, 2014 5:39 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Anniew

        It’s BROKEN Jason – listen to Sue. Always listen to SUE.

        • Visit site
          August 25, 2014 9:47 pmPosted 2 years ago
          Jason

          Bwahaha, in Sue we trust.

  • Visit site
    August 24, 2014 7:56 amPosted 2 years ago
    Marky Mark

    I liked this episode far more than Sue, especially as there was a real feeling of despair & desperation when the base was blown up.

    About half way through this episode, though, I thought that the actress playing Zeeona was Carole Ann Ford. Just me ? Great hair, although all the sex scenes with Tarrant we’re vomit-inducing.

    And yes, Neil – your best line ever !!! Just as well it’s all about to end (sniff)

  • Visit site
    August 24, 2014 11:18 amPosted 2 years ago
    Robert

    I’ve been looking forward to seeing Sue react to how appallingly directed this episode is, so the most surprising bit was reading how much Neil thought she’d love the direction. 🙂

    • August 24, 2014 11:25 amPosted 2 years ago
      Neil Perryman (Author)

      Well, I like it. It’s different.

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      August 24, 2014 12:58 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Rob

      Got to agree with Neil regarding the direction. Whilst it is over ambitious in places (the daft CSO quarry shot), there were some lovely moments. I particularly liked all the hand held camera stuff in Zukan’s ship as it begins to disintegrate and how brilliant was that shot of Scorpio taking off?

      I would also nominate Roy Boyd for an Orac but I’m probably alone in loving Zeeona’s pink wig – Bobby Brown is so wonderfully New Romantic looking.

      • Visit site
        August 24, 2014 2:07 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Frankymole

        I love both her wigs – one worn on top of the other (one red, one pink)! Surely the precursor of Johnny Two-Hats.

        • Visit site
          August 25, 2014 6:34 pmPosted 2 years ago
          Fiona

          Me too, wigs are brill. And the episode was a festival of cheekbones.

      • Visit site
        August 24, 2014 4:33 pmPosted 2 years ago
        DPC

        Mixing video and film never looks good. Doctor Who would still do it 2 years later with “Enlightenment”…

        In concept, it was nice to see, but being overambitious can’t work when the money isn’t there. Yet the CSO, lighting matching, experimenting with video for f/x to reduce cost, etc, were pioneered by these old shows.

        • Visit site
          August 24, 2014 10:47 pmPosted 2 years ago
          RLF

          I’ll take overreaching over-ambition any day over sticking-to-stuff-we-know. Over-ambition ends up looking a bit silly. Reliance on tried and tested ends up looking dull.

          Or try it this way: the purpose of an experiment is to fail, and therefore to demonstrate what was wrong with your hypothesis. You fix your hypothesis and carry on fixing it, and eventually you’ll get repeatable, reliable experimental results. Good. Nice. Now you get to start work on your next hypothesis.

          Please note: the reliability of my opinion on this subject should be understood in the context of coming from someone who has absolutely no problems with ‘The Web Planet’ or ‘Invasion of the Dinosaurs’ , and very little with ‘The Tomorrow People’. This opinion is, it is understood, not a popular one.

  • Visit site
    August 24, 2014 11:24 amPosted 2 years ago
    Richard Lyth

    Neil should write the audio description script next time Blakes 7 gets re-released on shiny disc. Even those of us who aren’t partially sighted would switch it on to hear lines like “Zeeona and Tarrant waltz back into the control room, reeking of sex.”

    • Visit site
      August 24, 2014 4:34 pmPosted 2 years ago
      DPC

      LOL!!

  • Visit site
    August 24, 2014 2:02 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Anniew

    8 year old me….little me..just how old are you people? I was 37 when I first saw this episode! Paul Darrow and I have grown old together ( but not quite in the way I sometimes fantasised). And I love it ( apart from the Tarrant/Zeeona side show and all the other things I mentioned) and all those drugged people at the beginning – well the image has haunted for years ( okay I’m easily spooked). Avon and Soolin do look great and I thought the direction was fine until I read Sue’s comments and realised I know nothing. The pink hair is crazy but hey.
    I think you are right RFL that the school production values give a real life context to the action in a way that , for example, modern Star Trek and even Who doesn’t . Clever CGLI is too clever – you can do anything and the world it often creates all looks so slick and shiny that you can’t even imagine the people living there peeing or having dandruff or BO or the kind of sex that doesn’t involve the earth moving. Because the school play atmosphere feels very human, the characters become the important thing and their emotions rouse strong feelings in us watchers. Obviously it can’t all be shit, the fights and acting need to be convincing or it doesn’t work but a little bit of school play evokes the aw bless factor and increases the viewers’ affection and therefore emotional commitment to the show. All you can do, faced with a Jurrasic Park or Guardians of the Galaxy is marvel, wonder and react – empathy and tenderness is more difficult I find.

    • Visit site
      August 24, 2014 10:59 pmPosted 2 years ago
      RLF

      Thank you Anniew. I was thinking about this again today, and all I can come up with as a rejoinder is that somehow, ‘convincing’ isn’t always the same as ‘effective’ or ‘affecting’, but I can’t put my finger on what that might be.

      I think it works like this: I establish a covenant of sorts between myself and the director. The director asks me to please follow the story he’s trying to tell, and please not pick holes in the bits that can’t quite be pulled off in the execution. In exchange, I agree, but ask the director to please maintain tonal consistency and forgawdssake make the story a good one.

      This is why I get much more nitpicky about big-budget productions that think it’s OK to make slipshod, easily-corrected errors than I am about shoestringers that drop clangers all over the place.

      Make sense?

      • Visit site
        August 24, 2014 11:15 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Anniew

        Yep. I still think it’s an Aw bless moment. Great story, great ideas, tiny budget. Aw bless they’ve really tried with the £50. And it’s a really terrific story and I’m hooked!

        • Visit site
          August 25, 2014 6:17 pmPosted 2 years ago
          Anniew

          Though actually RLF – convincing doesn’t equal affecting or effective is a great summing up. perhaps it’s got to do with theatre which demands a lot of suspension of disbelief but is hugely affecting if done right. It does need to be convincing to the spirit not the letter however and in a weird way I am convinced by the school play war lords because all of the blakes 7 world seems a bit seedy and run down.

        • Visit site
          August 25, 2014 6:39 pmPosted 2 years ago
          Fiona

          That’s how I feel too. What can you do with 50 quid? This is why I might sometimes feel a bit irritated at Sue pointing out shit this and that…how far could the money go? Not to mention, when you are looked down on and mocked left and right. there’s a documentary, think I mentioned before, where the cast, nowadays, are reading the critics responses back then. And Gareth Thomas, reading these mean-spirited jibes, is clearly still upset and hurt. You can hear it. Paul Darrow isnt on this one…good job I reckon….I wouldnt like to see Paul Darrow upset and hurt by mean-spirited jibes, I might have to kill someone.

  • Visit site
    August 24, 2014 2:16 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Amethyst

    I think ‘Warlord’ was an influence on the great ‘New Patterns and Old Friends’ saga by Kalinda.

    • Visit site
      August 24, 2014 4:38 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Anniew

      I love kalinda’s stuff. I just wish she’d finish the ends and beginnings series. She’s stuck a naked blind Avon in a cave with a concussed Servalan ( trust me it reAds better than you’d think) for over 2 years now.

      • Visit site
        August 26, 2014 4:29 amPosted 2 years ago
        Vera

        They should have babies by now

      • Visit site
        August 30, 2014 7:30 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Fiona

        You know I am absolutely not a fan of slashfiction or whatever but there is this series called The Administration by Manna, featuring a character called Keir Warwick. The thing is, although it full of just totally explicit stuff ..seems like a lot of these stories are really about heterosexual sex but just with a hot guy playing the female role….anyway, the thing is, it could be good.
        Unfortunately, it rambles on and it doesnt really have a story and the female characters are so unrealistic and unlovable (we need more Bridget Jones in the world, I’m sick of all these perfect talented competent females when I cant even find my hairbrush in the morning). But, it has its points. She does have an eye for a setting, and the character of Keir’s lover Toreth, a psychopath who works as a Interrogator for the Administration, is actually pretty good.
        The trouble with putting eye-wateringly explicit scenes into a book is that it tends to overshadow the rest. Have to be good at keeping the story popping if you’re going to do that. Lace, that was a good one.

  • Visit site
    August 24, 2014 2:23 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Robert Rowles

    Oh well, Sue didn’t like it. Different strokes for different folks. I love it. I watched it last year and thought it was Jacobean tragedy as space opera. I watched it last week and could see why some people were critical of the acting. Poor Rick James, until you see him act. But Roy Boyd was mostly pretty good I thought, producing the character as written. And considering what actually happens in the story, ‘overwrought’ dialogue and characterisation seemed natural to me. The director I’m not really qualified to comment on, but I do think the ‘amateur’ footage of a federation atrocity was quite brilliant. What I can talk about is how much Zukan reminded me of Macbeth, consumed by ambition, haunted by bad dreams, visited by hallucinations (Banquo’s ghost real or not – discuss). Also, the scenes where he’s betrayed by Servalan, and commits his final act of murder, made me think of Richard III, or Middleton’s ‘Women Beware Women’, where most of the characters merrily plot to kill each other. The big difference being Servalan gets away with it.

    Above all, I was left numb (in a good way) by how bleak it was. The crew of the Scorpio survived, barely, but they seemed like rats scurrying desperately around a trap. Also, Zeeona’s death at the end: on one level it was senseless, at another it was the logical culmination of the plot. Perhaps because I’m inclined to see it as Jacobean tragedy, I immediately thought it was voluntary suicide. Playing her last conversation with Tarrant a few times, it’s not clearly predicted – her being the right person for the job could just refer to her training – but I’d argue there’s an implicit suggestion of twisted guilt, or some kind of honour debt. Also, there’s Avon’s smirk, which I’m inclined to think gives his opinion. Nasty of Avon that, but understandable given his predicament and state of mind: surrogate revenge, and part of him wants Tarrant just as miserable as him. I know I’ve been there sometimes. Finally, it’s not a puncture, it’s removing a glove: a deliberate, almost ‘courtly’ act to me. But I know all this would be much more plausible if we knew more about the culture of her own planet, and if her dad were less of a complete shit.

    Oh yes, a word or two about Bobbie Brown. When I watched it last year I thought she was a weak link, but last week I thought she was excellent. If at times she seemed a pretty blank, that was the character as written: an innocent (and contrast to her father), in some ways like Cordelia. A sign of how engrossing this story was, her appearance never bothered me.

    One final comment: this episode sets up the next one beautifully. After this black pit, where could they possibly go? Only Gauda Prime, and the T – – – – – – o- E – – – – -. Bring it on.

    • Visit site
      August 24, 2014 3:51 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Anniew

      Jacobean revenge tragedy oh yes! It’s that alright. A corrupt world with a scrunch or be scrunched vibe where you have no idea who to trust. Typically in such drama there is madness, over wrought emotion, the supernatural, casual murder, extortion, plotting and thieving, poison/drugs, cruelty and torture,perversion and black, black humour all laced with sublime metaphorical language. ‘Like diamonds we are cut with our own dust’. ‘ it is an unweeded garden that grows to seed…. Things rank and Gross …..possess it merely’ and witty exchanges. It’s loads of fun. The hero often becomes obsessed with taking revenge for the cruel way he and all he loves have been treated, losing the moral compass that identified him as the hero in the process.

    • Visit site
      August 24, 2014 4:31 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Frankymole

      Robert Holmes would’ve been one of the most venerated Jacobean playwrights had he been born in his correct century…

    • Visit site
      August 24, 2014 11:08 pmPosted 2 years ago
      RLF

      At the risk of making a really obvious point viz. Renaissance melodrama: isn’t ‘removing the glove’ actually ‘throwing down the gauntlet’?

  • Visit site
    August 24, 2014 3:45 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Louise

    It’s almost like Viktors Ritelis was trying to deliberately sabotage the episode, the direction is so awful. Maybe he was just being experimental, and trying out new techniques, but if so, he was doing it in a format where there would be no time for reshoots if looked bad. He had never worked on B7 before, he had no attachment to the series, and it really shows.

    The other problems with Warlord are the poor acting and the excesses of the costume department, which make it difficult to take some of the guest characters seriously even when the acting is okay.

    Simon Masters wrote a solid script – a little derivative with the Tarrant/Zeeona plot, but those relationships still work emotionally when handled well. There is political intrigue, double-crossing, and a genuinely good attempt by Avon to form a solid anti-Federation alliance. There is drama and destruction, and all people can do when they watch is laugh at how awful it all looks. Masters must have been horrified when he saw the finished episode.

    • Visit site
      August 24, 2014 9:15 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Rob

      I would actually pat this director on the back for taking a few risks and actually managing to come up with some dynamic shots that we hadn’t previously seen in this series. I don’t think he can be blamed for a few poor performances from bit part actors/extras either. Money was certainly tight by the time Warlord went into production but the destruction of the base was very well realised. A terrific CSO shot of Tarrant being thrown from the bomb in the teleport, wonderful model work of the entrance doors blowing up and possibly the best model shot of Scorpio as it takes off and isn’t the opening sequence in Guildford shopping center one of B7’s creepiest moments?

      • Visit site
        August 25, 2014 4:04 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Louise

        There is some good model work in the episode, I’ll agree with you there. The opening sequence in the shopping centre *should* be one of B7’s creepiest moments, but unfortunately for me it is too overblown to succeed. The people are obviously too drugged to be capable of work, and are therefore useless to the Federation.

        This can’t be the way a substantial proportion of the population are being treated – I’m left with the feeling they’re more likely to be prisoners, which doesn’t mean they should be casually shot down by Federation guards, but it does mean that either a) Avon is lying to his alliance candidates or b) Avon believes it himself and is missing the obvious.

        I can appreciate a Dawn of the Dead reference, as I love the film, but not when inserting the reference works to the detriment of the plot. Toning down the drugged nature of the people, having them perhaps more like the trippers on the Space Princess than like zombies, would have been more credible. A population of colourfully dressed, initially normal-seeming people drugged into a state of happiness where they don’t even react negatively when people are shot dead around them – now that would have been creepy.

      • Visit site
        August 26, 2014 12:44 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Robert

        >I don’t think he can be blamed for a few poor performances from bit part actors/extras either.

        I think it’s hardly unfair to blame a director for poor performances from poor actors *hired by him*.

  • Visit site
    August 24, 2014 4:30 pmPosted 2 years ago
    DPC

    “Warlord” is a fantastic story/script of taking chances out of desperation and failing… and with a crew that is not there out of camaraderie but necessity and now with base essentials gone… Great take on Vila going into the bottle, after the disaster – especially after what Avon did in the previous episode and Vila clearly remembered as much… So many great things about this script are so perfect and yet…

    So much is indeed wrong:

    * f/x of the airborne virus looking like electric disco
    * orange hair (yes, humanoid aliens, but still – it doesn’t convince)
    * bad acting (words are just… words (especially when said like THAT))
    * crack troops burying themselves in sand to spring on cue since that’s always the most efficient way to trap someone
    * the Picture-in-picture perspective of Federation guards taking potshots at people just fails to work (and behind a semi-transparent letter “R”? I’d love to see the shopping mall they filmed in… at least it’s not the same quarry)
    * depressurization of Zukan’s ship and bomb explosion effect on that budget
    * raiding Doctor Who’s department for numerous costumes
    * etc

    But so many moments are strong and grim, thanks to the same direction that screws up other aspects.

    I still rate it highly; 9/10 and being let down by a weak budget with no money, but I don’t watch B7 for the effects…

    • Visit site
      August 24, 2014 7:37 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Anniew

      Go to Guildford. The Friary Centre. The shopping mall and the escalators are still there- similar.

  • Visit site
    August 24, 2014 5:38 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Robert Rowles

    Frankie, I agree about Robert Holmes. I can only comment on his DW and B7 scripts, but the love of language and jet black humour stand out, and seem pure Jacobean. I can wholly understand RTD’s high praise for him. In fact am off to bed now (very late here), but will treat myself to an episode of Weng Chiang before I go – what was it, ‘pixillated’. Wonderful windbags.

  • Visit site
    August 24, 2014 8:46 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Chris Allen

    “bored security guards decide to amuse themselves by murdering a group of these doped-up civilians on an escalator”

    I hope they didn’t shoot anyone with an important job. Come to think of it, what job could these guys safely do? They’re so zonked out that even answering the question “do you want fries with that” might be beyond them, let alone asking it.

    Still, nice use of an urban setting, something B7 tends to avoid. Most of the Federation seems to consist of empty quarries.

    Avon is really playing the Blake role here (or trying to). I’m sure season 1 Avon would have some cutting remarks to send his way.

    “he can’t win. You know he can’t win”.

    • Visit site
      August 24, 2014 11:28 pmPosted 2 years ago
      RLF

      Chris – as Neil said, it’s a very, very purposeful quotation of the middle section of Dawn of the Dead. The make-up, camera angles and tone of the scene are taken blow for blow.

      Even the ‘meaning’ of the scene is the same: either the doped-up citizens or the zombies continue to come to the shopping mall as it was ‘once an important place in their lives’.

      I like that we never find out why the Federation guards are firing on the subjugated citizens: is it sport, or genocide, or surgical removal of people whose records show they’re likely to become troublemakers? Is it a drill to brutalise the green recruits and get them used to killing? Is it a propaganda exercise to further reinforce how beaten down and valueless the occupied citizenry are, or to pick out the ones who might have a spark of life or resistance, perhaps to train as proxy occupiers or some sort of sonderkommando?

  • August 24, 2014 9:17 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Andy Luke

    Reading the comments on Orbit, I began wondering why Vila is still with the crew. He’s Father Jack but he can get off the island at any time. So he’s caught between being a wanted man, and the safety of Avon, than at large, alone. He has no interest in the revolution, merely picking up drinks, tricks and chicks from the planets they visit. There’s probable manipulation for him to stay for his skill-set. He’s the least-stiff member of the crew (besides Bendy Tarrant), certainly the most easy-going. He doesn’t need the Scorpio bullies for a social life. He’s been in a lot of pubs and made a lot of friends. The down-side to this is he’d be recognised quite easily.

    How did I do? Your thoughts please.

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      August 24, 2014 10:38 pmPosted 2 years ago
      RLF

      You’re not alone in your thoughts. In “City at the Edge of the World”, Vila says that a thief is who he is, not what he is. I’m interested in what Vila thought Blake would do with him once the Revolution happened and Blake went full-on Pol Pot; or once there was nothing to steal or subvert.

      You can track the progress of Vila from a real radical, an independent free spirit who can survive and prosper anywhere, because the wealthy and powerful are idiots and suckers, until Now, when he’s the dependent partner in a monstrously abusive power dynamic. I’m only surprised there hasn’t been a scene where Ray Winstone backhands his teeth across the base and force-feeds him cold baked beans while Dayna and Soolin split their sides laughing.

      I can’t come up with any reason why he’s stuck around so far.

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      August 24, 2014 11:27 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Anniew

      They’re all trapped really. And how would Villa get away? He’d have to persuade one of the others, or Orac to teleport him to a suitable planet. Avon isn’t likely to allow him to leave as he needs his skills and the others despise him so are not likely to stick out their necks for him. He’s always in the company of one of the others so smuggling any of his stuff onto Scorpio with the plan to leave would be nigh on impossible and he’s not getting access to Orac for information that would help him formulate an escape . Do they ever go near any suitable planets anyway? – they seem to me to have gone to the edge of beyond and all the planets they go to are pretty alien or dangerous. And he’s a sociable man needing booze and company, things he’s not likely to find away from Xenon. I reckon he reasons better the devil I know.

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      August 25, 2014 8:01 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Fiona

      He’s an alcoholic by now. When was the last time we saw his skill-set in operation? He used to be this lively cheeky chappie, boasting of his magic fingers and always in use: now he seems to be a hopeless demoralized soak. He gives up on everything at once, you never hear Vila have a good idea anymore.. He used to have vibrancy and bounce….now he seems a shell….and the scene with Avon must have cut the world from under him.

      Vila loved Avon. He had a sincere affection for him. You never saw Vila angry at Avon’s jibes. He used to smile affectionately, like “Avon: what’s he like?”
      “He agrees with me! It makes it all seem worthwhile…” such a funny line. …and to have your oldest comrade do that terrible thing, even if he wasnt really going to do it…can you begin to imagine how much Vila drank that night?

      How old is he by now, too? Where would he start again and with what? He’d need a stake at the very least, and they dont have Liberator’s treasure now, and he is also still a wanted man. Its not like the days of being with Blake, one of the famous 7, can just be expunged.

      Where can Vila go? And the crew may be bullies, but they are the devil he knows.

      If he leaves, what will happen is this. Lonely and scared back out there without the comfort of the crew behind him, he will hit a bar, reasoning that he’ll find a place to live by asking around. He’ll meet a very nice girl. He’ll wake up a few hours later, picked clean. In a hotel room, for which he will be unable to pay, so he’ll get beaten up and thrown out.

      Battered, withdrawing from alcohol and penniless, needing money immediately, he’ll go and try a break-in somewhere, misjudge it, get caught, be identified as the wanted Vila Restal and turned over to Shrinker’s pals to find out what gives with Avon and the rest.

      Physically debilitated, and with by now every cell screaming for drink, Vila will nonetheless access a tiny core of heroism. He wont give in right away. He’ll tell himself that Avon and Tarrant and the girls too would at least try and withstand the torture. He’ll remind himself that Avon stood five days of it. He will try very hard…

      …and he will fail. He’ll tell them everything. And it wont take very long. They will throw him back in his cell, bloody and weeping, tormented with wretched self-loathing. The guards will laugh at him, and during the night, the door hatch will click open, and a jeering voice will tell Vila that thanks to his co-operation, they got all of them, and that Avon put up a real struggle but he’s lying in the common grave for criminals now…thanks, Vila! Slam.

      In the morning, they will find him dead. Not suicide. He will have tried to escape and succeeded in getting a tiny window high up in the wall open and tried to climb out, but got stuck and suffocated. An ignoble death.

      Bleak enough for you?

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        August 26, 2014 8:44 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Jess Patton

        Fiona, you seem to be very good at coming up with bleak but very realistic scenario’s for Blake’s 7. If the long mooted remake ever happens I’m nominating you to write an episode or two.

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          August 27, 2014 4:52 pmPosted 2 years ago
          Fiona

          Well thanks Jess!
          Maybe Paul Darrow would write them with me….(I can dream….)

      • August 27, 2014 4:58 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Andy Luke

        Haha. Yes, I’ll put my nomination in too. I would have replied earlier but I was bowled over in shock. You answered that question.

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          August 28, 2014 5:44 pmPosted 2 years ago
          Fiona

          Ah thank you! I do feel happy….

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    August 25, 2014 7:26 amPosted 2 years ago
    Smile

    I really don’t like that opening shopping mall scene. The whole ‘doped-up citizens with identity numbers on their heads’ is so facile and cliched a concept, reducing it to its most obvious and shallow level, that it’s just rather tiresome ultimately.

    As this drugged-up-to-the-max population is clearly incapable of working in any meaningful sense and hence producing anything, there wouldn’t really be anything they could do to benefit the Federation. They don’t seem to be a viable labour force, so there’d be no industry, which means no food and clothes, money, or any other material that can be produced, so are the Federation going to have to supply all of that themselves? Maintaining a population while ensuring that they’re incapable of doing just about anything would be practically throwing money and resources down a pit indefinitely. You wouldn’t need to fight them in the long run, an empire as stupid as that would probably finish up bankrupting themselves anyway. It doesn’t fit very well with previous depictions of a drugged and occupied populace in the programme either, which were rather more effective in not taking the easier or more superficial option. This is all just about image.

    I’m calling forgery. Someone’s mocked this up as propaganda. You can tell because a genuinely secret film recording would be unlikely to have relatively advanced features such as including insets of other shots in the corner – what, this person privately filming it had Quantel as well, did they, and they somehow managed to edit the shots together even after the guards had either captured or killed them? If it had been made in the circumstances implied, with the guards finding it very early on, then any recording would have been destroyed long before it could have gotten out. Avon’s been sold a pup.

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      August 25, 2014 10:51 amPosted 2 years ago
      RLF

      Nice one. I buy that.

      But try this on for size: It’s Blake who made it. He’s been doing a POLISARIO and quietly running false flag operations for ages.

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      August 25, 2014 2:04 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Rob

      ‘As this drugged-up-to-the-max population is clearly incapable of working in any meaningful sense and hence producing anything, there wouldn’t really be anything they could do to benefit the Federation. They don’t seem to be a viable labour force, so there’d be no industry, which means no food and clothes, money, or any other material that can be produced’

      Sounds like modern Britain….

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        August 27, 2014 1:34 amPosted 2 years ago
        dpc

        Television is ironic, reality TV doubly so.

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      August 25, 2014 3:26 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Frankymole

      Clearly the pictures were transmitted from the cameraperson to a receiver (much like OB), otherwise the recording would not exist.

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      August 26, 2014 7:14 amPosted 2 years ago
      Dave Sanders

      THX £11.38 .

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    August 25, 2014 8:23 amPosted 2 years ago
    Fiona

    Surely to God, Hazel O’Connor, not Toyah! that’s who I first thought of anyway! “These are decadent days….” should have been the theme tune

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    August 25, 2014 10:56 amPosted 2 years ago
    RLF

    …or, Avon has just popped down the video store and rented a shitty exploitation movie to pass off to the natives as secret filming. This explains the directorial choices in the episode: Viktors is just emulating Future Ruggero Deodato. Suddenly everything makes sense.

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    August 25, 2014 6:02 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Fiona

    Say Radioactive Airborne Virus again, motherfucker, I dare you, I double dare you, say Radioactive Airborne Virus again…..

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    August 25, 2014 7:18 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Fiona

    I really enjoyed this episode, cant understand 5/10. I was saying to myself…no! only one more!

    Some things I didnt get:

    Why were the guards wasting people? Were they showing signs of not being drugged?

    Is this the same drug at the very start, that was given to people in The Way Back?

    What has become of the Judeo-Christian ethic that we cant let people take drugs every day because even though it wont harm them, it means they will avoid suffering and the pain of life, and we cant have that, can we?

    Where did Servalan hide that bomb? Dont say “in her knickers” because that kind of frock is commando or nothing;

    Why does everyone seem to think Avon is so smart and remarkable when he never gets anything right, trusts all the wrong people and is tricked yet again…is he doing this on purpose?

    Why doesnt he drop everything and go after Servalan to kill her? Why does he keep letting her catch up with him?

    What made Paul Darrow choose this moment to drop the dramatic stuff? He was beautifully understated and restrained. Only one snap at Slave. And you see, as he does that, you relate to him and care about him again….that stamping megalomaniac in leather is so almost detestable and now here is Avon again, with those big doe eyes that sometimes just appear…that flash of the suffering man beneath…it gives me such a shock to see that.

    How does he do that? His eyes will look so closed off and intense and focused and suddenly the pupil dilates and they look ten times larger, and he looks helpless and I want to take him home in a basket, he’s tiny enough.

    Oh My God he’s so gorgeous. You know, guys who feel bad about being small in a culture that values big guys should check out how Paul Darrow makes every other guy look clumsy and over-sized.

    And those soft clothes, and the way he was dressed just like Soolin, he seemed almost helpless next to her like she was in charge….

    And so much to love: Avon unexpectedly grabbing Tarrant and hauling him away for a scolding, great. Avon’s shock at Soolin apparently betraying him, I felt like he was thinking, Soolin don’t you know I wouldnt really ever sacrifice you? Any of you? I dont mean it….

    You know, when Paul Darrow does do the over-acting bit, I find I am thinking, here’s Paul Darrow, playing Avon. But when he does it this way…this is Avon. This is a real person. What is real, anyway, who knows, but this is as real as Antonio or Macbeth or…who? Is there a classic tragic hero whose fatal flaw was an inability to trust the right people?

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      August 25, 2014 11:26 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Anniew

      Well Lear should have trusted Cordelia and Kent, both of whom stand up to him. Avon has Lear’s arrogant belief that he knows best, a tragic flaw they share with Macbeth – they all commit ruthless excesses in order to maintain the control and power which they feels they are best equipped to wield. As many have pointed out Soolin actually seems to have better leadership qualities but Avon, while showing her more respect than the others, would never change his plans for her or listen to her advice- or anyone else’s for that matter. He never recognises that he’s not a great judge of character, especially his own which may well be why most of his plans fail. I guess he seems more reasonable this episode because he’s playing statesman. But he may actually be feeling relieved that he can resume the second in command position behind Zukon.

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        August 26, 2014 2:05 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Fiona

        Ah, Lear…yes, that is a good comparison.
        Still, more and more I think Avon is a unique creation. Has anyone actually done any serious (and readable) deconstruction of him? I absolutely do nit mean Deconstruction when I say deconstruction because I mostly think that whole thing is a big scam.

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          August 27, 2014 10:05 amPosted 2 years ago
          RLF

          Deconstructionism is just Derrida having a larf, isn’t it? Good god, fifteen pages to tell us that the opening line of ‘The Communist Manifesto’ is a reference to the opening scene of ‘Hamlet’. Although I’m fond of the concept of Hauntology.

          I do rather gather that ‘reading texts for their meaning or characters’ is deeply unfashionable in media studies right now (and that’s before I even say anything nasty about media studies.), and B7 is never going to a mainstream corpus text in literature. I’m by no means saying that doing a proper deconstruction is futile or pointless, far from it. But where would you start? Marxist, feminist, Freudian, archetypal or dramaturgical? Would you assume that each writer had ‘their own’ Avon, or that the character was defined to a large a extent defined by Paul Darrow?

          I’m hijacking Fiona’s statement a bit, but the fact that Avon has only a rudimentary back-story and no Future story makes him a much more interesting character. He’s not defined by beginning or endings, only existance, which makes him per se an existential character, short of any ontology or phallocraticism (go me, I know Lacan), and he neatly side-steps any tedious ‘hero’ dynamics which means we can satisfactorily leave out Aristotle and Nietzsche (and leaving out either of those tiresome old windbags is a worthwhile reason for doing anything).

          If there’s a critical angle to take on Avon at all, it’s that he’s a romantic heroine, and I’m quite serious about that. ‘the heroine’s journey and travails end only with her exhaustion, and her incapability of further orgasm, unlike the Tragic Hero’s adventure which ends with a single explosive discharge of accumulated tension’, or at least a protagonist in the Early-Romantic tradition. I think it’s interesting that, let’s say, Cretien de Troyes’ Perceval, or any other Percevali don’t have ‘beginnings’ or ‘ends’, and all the tedious Canonical Backstory And Extended Universe stuff is added later.

          Avon makes a lot more sense to me if you filter him though the lens of a feminised version of a grail knight. The Quest is the thing. Possessing the Grail or becoming King is never the point and never an option, and neither is maintaining purity or even ‘winning’. It’s temptations, mistakes, disgraces and occasionally redemptions that are the real point.

          I know this isn’t a good answer to Fiona’s question, it’s where I’d start if I was about to embark such a task myself.

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            August 27, 2014 3:40 pmPosted 2 years ago
            Fiona

            The feminised grail knight…I cant imagine someone hasnt done him as a thesis and if not why not. Wish I’d had the chance when I was at college myself, fighting through text now mercifully forgotten. The first time I read anything like that, was an extract only! Levi-Strauss. Only 6 pages. It took me four and half hours. Every single word, never heard of. Every sentence, half a page long. Festooned with dependent clauses like baubles on a Christmas tree. And every result, was something you already knew: No! that everyone knows! Just common sense!
            What a scam, I thought, but didnt say: it takes the brashness of Americans to stand up to the fucking French system.
            Did you ever see the one where they made total fools out of these people by suggesting a deconstructed mathematics…
            Yeah, what would they make of Avon…

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            August 27, 2014 10:53 pmPosted 2 years ago
            RLF

            “Did you ever see the one where they made total fools out of these people by suggesting a deconstructed mathematics…”

            The Sokal Hoax? That one?

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          August 27, 2014 9:22 pmPosted 2 years ago
          Anniew

          Have you read kalinda’s post GP stories. Interesting take on Avon’s backstory and personality. But really the point about Avon is that he works if you ‘construct’ him as a totally bastard or a damaged angsty hero. His weird voice to Villa in Orbit could be inner conflict or simply that he’s just such an arrogant sod he’s unable to convincingly persuade others cos he’s had no practice at it. He’s used to saying ‘ do this’ and being obeyed. You could even argue that the biggest blow about Anna is to his self esteem ( I never recognised the fool) rather than the shattering of dreams. I guess you takes your Avon and pAys the price. And how!

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            August 28, 2014 12:47 amPosted 2 years ago
            Fiona

            **“Did you ever see the one where they made total fools out of these people by suggesting a deconstructed mathematics…”

            The Sokal Hoax? That one?**

            It was in a Francis Wheen book called “How Mumbo-Jumbo Conquered The World.” Yes, just checked it…the Sokal Hoax. Hilarious. Anyone who isnt aware should check this for a laugh….

            But you know these people are unrepentant. Their attitude is, that their bollocks has to be deliberately unclear so you have to work to extract meaning, and then when you finally, exhausted and ten years older, dig it all out, you’ll feel it is valuable.

            Reminds me of the people who say welfare must be made difficult to obtain, otherwise the poor wont cherish it.

            “In the first place singularities-events correspond to heterogenous series which are organised into a system which is neither stable nor unstable but rather ‘metastable’, endowed with a potential energy wherein the differenced between series are distributed….In the second place, singulariies possess a process of auto-unification, always mobile and displaced to the extent that a paradoxical element traverses the series and makes then resonate,enveloping the corresponding singular points in a single aleatory point and all the emissions, all dice throws, in a single case.”

            All you can say is wtf. That’s all any reasonable person can say.

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            August 28, 2014 6:26 pmPosted 2 years ago
            Fiona

            I must have a read of these. I sort of recognise that name.
            and I totally agree about the self-esteem thing. Remember that supercilious voice when Blake asks of a planet: “Does it support intelligent life? ‘”Does the Liberator?”
            And avon’s simply awful comment to Gan about something being slow..’You should understand that…” eek, I thought that was so pushing it..would have loved B7 for something as daring as that alone. Just when you’re thinking Avon is the coolest creation to breathe, he does something as vicious as bitchy as that…so do you make excuses for him? Once again, answer is Yes, but shouldnt have, really. Found myself saying, well Gan is slow…

            Bitchy waspy Avon. He is a bit of a Mean Girl in that earlier incarnation.

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      August 26, 2014 2:39 amPosted 2 years ago
      Geoff

      And mistrust the wrong people….but that’s another story….

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      August 26, 2014 12:48 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Robert

      >Why were the guards wasting people?

      Sport.

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        August 27, 2014 10:35 amPosted 2 years ago
        RLF

        Or training. Gotta man-up those pantywaist locals if you’re gonna turn them into stone killers. Make sure they understand that if you won’t kill, you have no right to live. That if the weak inherit the Earth, the Strong will take it away from them. And that hell is nothing to be scared of if the devil is scared of you.

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      August 26, 2014 9:47 pmPosted 2 years ago
      wyngatecarpenter

      “Why were the guards wasting people?”

      They were doing it for fun – the bastards!!!

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      August 27, 2014 10:28 amPosted 2 years ago
      RLF

      ” Is there a classic tragic hero whose fatal flaw was an inability to trust the right people?”

      Just about any of Chikamatsu’s. Nominally well-intentioned people who get suckered by their sleazy friends, humiliated by their superiors and ignore the golden-hearted whores and lovable urchins in their misdirected attempts at aspiration.

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        August 27, 2014 5:07 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Fiona

        Not familiar. Japanese writer? I read Mishima, but its a bit of a slog, probably the kind of thing that’s better in the original.

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          August 28, 2014 9:09 amPosted 2 years ago
          RLF

          If you’ve heard of anything, probably “Sonezaki Shinju” a.k.a ‘the Bunraku Romeo and Juliet’. There’s probably many Kabuki adaptations as well.

          Not nearly as overwrought, self-pitying and narcissistic as Mishima, but then what is?

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        August 28, 2014 11:43 amPosted 2 years ago
        Frankymole

        ” Is there a classic tragic hero whose fatal flaw was an inability to trust the right people?” Famously, Othello.

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          August 28, 2014 5:14 pmPosted 2 years ago
          Fiona

          But his fatal flaw was insane jealousy and that’s what led him to mistrust. Jealousy didnt lead Avon into this trap . I swear, sometimes I think Avon is just looking for suicide by cop…

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            August 28, 2014 8:10 pmPosted 2 years ago
            RLF

            Well, suicide by warrior of noble birth and faultless lineage who is his equal. Whilst reading aloud from T.S. Elliott. ’cause he’s crossed the waste land into the heart of darkness.

            Possibly going to get Angel along the way, y’know.

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    August 25, 2014 8:42 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Pete

    Hi Neil, after the final episode will you be showing Sue ‘blakes junction 7’ for some light relief?

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    August 26, 2014 5:43 amPosted 2 years ago
    Chris in New Jersey

    When I first saw this, the first thing I thought at the opening scene was the Doctor Who Weekly comic City of the Damned.

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    August 26, 2014 7:00 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Fiona

    I cannot believe Paul Darrow. He’s beyond hilarious.

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      August 26, 2014 10:02 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Anniew

      Are you referring to the trailer or some other hilarity I’ve missed?

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        August 27, 2014 3:44 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Fiona

        Trailer. I cant believe he’s done this. How utterly nice. What a petal he is.

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    August 26, 2014 9:41 pmPosted 2 years ago
    wyngatecarpenter

    I’m with Sue for the second time in a row! Average sub-Shakespearean directed by someone who appears to be on crack!
    My only thing I remembered from when it was first broadcast was thinking that Zukan had done the “Prince Charming” on entering the conference room.

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    August 26, 2014 9:43 pmPosted 2 years ago
    wyngatecarpenter

    Darrow-watch – I didn’t get round to it last week, there were a few moments , but I think the “Vila I need your help” scene wins – I know Avon himself is acting but why would he do it that badly. It almost ruins one of the most famous scenes in B7.

    This episode Darrow gets a free pass because nothing he does comes close to Rick James’ performance.

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      August 28, 2014 8:05 pmPosted 2 years ago
      RLF

      “It’s about thee mar-shal, and about Miss Grant. I have been chatting to Stubbs. He is kind-of a mate of mine. And as far as I know, she is still with Ky”

      Mesmeric.

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    August 26, 2014 11:32 pmPosted 2 years ago
    DoctorMe

    Obligitary follow-up blog idea:

    Adventures with the Wife and Mark E Smith.

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      August 27, 2014 12:07 amPosted 2 years ago
      DoctorMe

      A long lasting music act with ups and downs in quality could be easier going for both of you and fun for the rest of us.

      Just the cannon Fall albums not him reading out the football results or anything.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBUiPs1PxKo

      (From yer book I’m guessing Adventures with the Wife and Tangerine Dream has been on-going for a while).

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      August 27, 2014 10:34 amPosted 2 years ago
      Anniew

      Surely beyond comment. A blog of boggling and open mouthed admiration would be less entertaining than the original.

  • August 27, 2014 11:08 amPosted 2 years ago
    Michael Clark

    I think when I first saw this episode on the tv I threw things at it. It was like Blue Peter talent contest to find a new director, writer, make-up and effects team in the 5 to 8 year old category. Bloody awful; pants, in fact – space pants!

    The surprise appearance by Rassilon in the role of ‘grumpy delegate 4’ wasn’t enough to make me like this balls. This season had some of the best and worst of any Blake’s 7. Never understood the lack of consistency.

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      August 27, 2014 8:02 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Rob

      Much of the inconsistency is all down to the way the BBC worked in those days. BBC staff were assigned to shows via a rota whether they loved sci-fi or not (and back in those days, most of them hated having to work on anything that wasn’t considered prestige drama or ‘Play For Today). This is how something utterly dreadful such as The Twin Dilemma immediately followed one of the greatest ever Dr Who stories ‘Caves of Androzani’ 2-3 years after Blake and ‘Warlord’ is *nowhere* near as bad as that Colin Baker debut so let’s keep some perspective.

      • August 28, 2014 11:34 amPosted 2 years ago
        Michael Clark

        You mentioned the Twin Dilemma! That’s a capital offence on some worlds:)

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          August 28, 2014 11:50 amPosted 2 years ago
          RLF

          I’m going to mention ‘Warriors of the Deep’. The unspeakable abomination that man was not meant to gaze upon.

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    August 27, 2014 12:12 pmPosted 2 years ago
    The Grouchybeast

    I’ll go with a 5/10 for this. It has a lot of ideas in it that ought to make it an episode I loved, and a decent script overall, but it’s dragged down by the implementation — guest actors, costumes, direction. Shame that’s it’s the second to last episode, too.

    Ah, well. On to the last episode.

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      August 27, 2014 3:48 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Fiona

      Even if it had been terrible which it wasnt, it would have been redeemed by theAvon-and-Tarrant stuff which was starting to shape up to nearly as good as Avon-and-Blake. To see Avon absolutely smirk at knowing that poor girl was dead and Tarrant was running off looking like a love-sick schoolboy to find her dead…now remember how Tarrant had a very very nasty go at Avon right after the Anna, Rumours of Death thing? “Youve failed at everything, I’m younger and cooler than you”…that bit? Now Avon can get his own back. See how you like the love of your life stone dead, Tarrant.

      • August 27, 2014 5:52 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Andy Luke

        Jaze. I’d forgotten about that. That’s dark. This epitomises a lot of what I’m coming to appreciate, that it’s a really packed show outside the mise-en-scene. There are call-backs, and industry just off to one side. There’s..I think it’s fair to say, a humility about the series that’s very odd. Give this to other modern productions teams and you’d hear it in their voice, you’d *know* that was a call-back, you’d see the Andromeda invasions. It’s as if B7 only returns the love it’s given. Maybe. Thanks Fiona.

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          August 27, 2014 8:15 pmPosted 2 years ago
          RLF

          ….which is precisely why I like longform shows better before there were story editors and blasted ‘arcs’ everywhere. Except Andy put it better than I would.

          Now here’s a thought. Does anyone else feel like there is a good chunk of offscreen action between ‘Orbit’ and ‘Warlord’? Time for the resistance leaders to get organised, the Federation to do more Federating and for some contingency plans to be put in place ready for next episode?

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            August 27, 2014 11:40 pmPosted 2 years ago
            Fiona

            But that’s been the way throughout the entire show. It drove me mad in series 1&2. I thought a good many times then that what was needed was a situation map so we could see how the rebellion was progressing. Instead there were jumps, so in Star One we learn that the crew have killed a lot of people….but when? who? Just a bit of connecting narrative at the start, anything.
            Nowadays, there could be a linked website and a backstory and you could check the rebellion at anytime. Cool.

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            August 28, 2014 4:00 amPosted 2 years ago
            Frankymole

            No websites – Dayna’s dad had to piece together how the rebellion was doing by monitoring his crystal radio set – very WWII, and very cool. Besides, the current website son things like the middle east, even the BBC ones, are horribly compromised by government directives and bias (been the same since the Falklands censorship, thanks Maggie).

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            August 28, 2014 2:35 pmPosted 2 years ago
            RLF

            It’s more like the Boer Wars. There you are, hunkered down in the bush, picking off UK troops like flies with your trusty Mauser rifle. Ha ha. Silly bastards. They’re shitty marksmen, they don’t know the land, don’t know how to survive in Africa and don’t have any support network. Then one day, you get the news. Your wife, kids, cousins, all rounded up and stuffed into a concentration camp. Starvation, cholera, typhoid, malaria, does it matter? All dead.

            That’s the big problem with being ‘the fish that swim in the lake’. You need a lake. The rebel movements which typically win are the ones that stay completely underground or underwater in tiny cells. The ‘big’ push’ or the ‘resistance army’ is a massive gamble for an insurgent group, because unless you win, the reprisals will be terrible, even assuming you’re not wiped out in one go.

            If you’re Hal Mellanby, listening to your scanner, trying to pick up bits of information is probably as much intelligence as anyone can get. What’s on FederationTV is nothing but the barking, noisy poseurs that the Rebels put up front to fire their AK47’s in the air, or the rowdy, drunken loudmouths throwing bricks at the Police.

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            August 28, 2014 5:30 pmPosted 2 years ago
            Fiona

            No, I mean, if B7 was remade, you could make a website to go with it and the viewers could check the rebellion in between episodes. In fact you could add to the rebellion without putting it in the episodes themselves. As if in a kind of real-time. Only not real-time, you know what I mean.

            Maybe viewers could engage in a game of Blake’s 7 vs the Federation and engage in battles between episodes…well not with the 7 but with other rebel groups. They could then be really wiped out or not.

            Wow, how about a kind of live Blakes 7, where the viewers Rebs/Feds wins or losses results would then have to play out in the next episode? It mightnt work on TV but web-streaming….have to be top improv actors…

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          August 28, 2014 12:26 amPosted 2 years ago
          Fiona

          *It’s as if B7 only returns the love it’s given. Maybe.*

          Nicely expressed, Andy.

          What’s a call-back, though? Is it the same as a reference or allusion?

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            August 28, 2014 9:55 amPosted 2 years ago
            RLF

            In Lambda Calculus ind its derivatives particularly in software engineering, a callback would be something like this: “a procedure, or set of actions, which are carried when and only when a certain set of criteria have been fulfilled, when the fulfilment of the criteria is by no means a certainty”

            An example of this is what happens when Gmail saves drafts of your email. Your machine asks Google to save the draft. It’s by no means certain that this will actually happen (maybe you went offline), BUT Gmail can’t ask you to wait while it tries and succeeds or fails. So Gmail tries to save a draft, and lets you carry on working; if and only if it succeeds, it flags a “Draft Saved” message. The thing that shows the message is the callback.

            Now how might this work in narrative literature? We might have a ‘callback scene’ which can be declared (shown in the text) but invoked elswhere in the text. Like in ‘Pulp Fiction’, we see Vincent get shot while he’s taking a crap. That’s a callback, which isn’t invoked until the criteria of ((Butch and Vincent don’t like each other)(Butch wins the fight)(Vincent is send to kill him)) are fulfilled.

            The key here is that callbacks are asynchronous. They aren’t invoked at a certain time or at a certain point in a contiguous narrative (hence, different from flashbacks) – in fact, they can be anywhere in the narrative, or even external to it (the specific case of a callback of an allusion) but upon fulfilment of a set of criteria. ‘Things which must happen before the narrative can proceed’ are synchronous.

            I think I got that right.

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    August 27, 2014 6:25 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Robert Rowles

    Fiona, agreed. This one is awesome. And, before we go to Gauda Prime, I must say: along with Annie, thanks for that analysis of Avon’s conflicted voice in Orbit. I hadn’t seen it, and it opened my eyes to a whole new layer of subtlety in Darrow’s performance. It’s the reverse of bad acting.

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      August 28, 2014 12:22 amPosted 2 years ago
      Fiona

      Well, thanks for that. I do appreciate it.

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    August 28, 2014 12:59 amPosted 2 years ago
    Robert Crowder

    I never really understood why anyone would want Zukan to lead them, with a hairstyle borrowed from Little My in the Moomins, but now I remember most planets produced leaders with the oratory skill of Rick James. Sue’ s right, he gave up acting around 1970, and stopped accepting roles just over 10 years later.

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      August 28, 2014 3:57 amPosted 2 years ago
      Frankymole

      If people refused to follow leaders based on stupid hairstyles, Maggie Thatcher, Boris Johnson and Adolf Hitler never existed. Phew.

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        August 28, 2014 5:21 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Fiona

        Yeah, funny that. You never see political leaders setting trends with hair. Never hear anyone in the hairdressers going: I’ll have an Angela Merkel, please.

        I suppose good hair could make you a sex symbol and hence not taken seriously, cf Avon right here, beautiful cropped style exchanged for the bouffant thing…but why awful hair, like most of them have, doesnt seem to matter…I suppose, it makes them look like they’re so busy and important they dont notice and at the same time, makes them memorable.

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      August 28, 2014 9:47 amPosted 2 years ago
      Dave Sanders

      If you were around in Northern Ireland in the 70s and 80s as I was, you’d have been witness to then small-fry Gerry Adams’ oratory career, and he was the flattest, dullest, most monotone spokesperson you could imagine back then. The decision to politically censor him by having the BBC dub over his voice with an actor was utterly ludicrous, because what nobody in mainland UK could tell was this move was guaranteed to give Sinn Fein a ‘voice’ every time that could put their points across a damn sight better than Adams could himself.

      Compared with this, Rick James not only looks plausible, but his “Words. ARE. No more than. …Words.” seems positively profound.

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    August 28, 2014 3:51 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Anniew

    Blakes 7 gets lots of flack because of the lousy shooting of their enemies but I just caught the last half an hour of Indiana J . and the Crystal Skull. 20 people shooting at Indy and Co with machine guns and not a scratch! And the vehicle in the tree stunt ( which I seem to remember from Jurrasic Lost Dinosaur films ) made Blakes 7 seem grittily realistic by comparison ( feathers/leather and coloured plastic not withstanding). Special Effects seem to be used today just to pretend the impossible can happen. NO IT CANT. And Indy can’t even kiss worth a damn. Rant over.

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    August 28, 2014 5:06 pmPosted 2 years ago
    RLF

    “Blakes 7 gets lots of flack because of the lousy shooting of their enemies”

    Random stuff I remember….

    Congressional report viz. the Vietnam war suggested 1,500 rounds per confirmed kill for personal weapons, and closer to 10,000 for vehicle or aircraft-mounted. (as Wkpdia would say, ‘cite needed’)

    I remember about 20 years ago, big gang war in Liverpool, two guys broke into a boxing gym and unloaded 2 Ingram MAC-10’s (60-80 rounds) in under 1 minute. Result: 2 serious woundings, 3 minor woundings.

    Killing people with guns, on purpose, is more difficult than it seems, especially in Urban or Jungle-type situations. I don’t have any data for shale quarries in Berkshire.

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      August 28, 2014 5:16 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Fiona

      Like Pulp Fiction. “I want you to acknowledge this was a fucking miracle”….but it’s really not.

      I bet the VC werent such crap shots though. Those tunnels, man, oh my God, they are too much. Everyone in my tour group came out after 30 yards.

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    August 28, 2014 5:36 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Fiona

    Hey I just went to heat up my leftover food in the microwave and I realised what that sound it makes when you switch it on reminds me of: its the opening …chord…or whatever, of the theme tune! When you turn the knob to the time…Its identical!

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