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Weapon

Travis 2: Electric Boogaloo…

WeaponThis episode begins with a space ship crashing into a planet.

Sue: Have we skipped a scene? Am I supposed to care about this?

There are two survivors: Coser and Rashel. They have faked their own deaths.

Sue: Are they from Gallifrey?

Me: No.

Sue: Well, they definitely bought their clothes there. It’s the only place in the universe where you can find collars as ridiculous as that.

Wait for it…

Sue: Is it the Master?

Meanwhile, someplace else, a one-eyed man, dressed from head to toe in black leather, is about to get a fright.

Sue: Who’s he supposed to be?

Me: Wait and see.

Sue: Why is this guy dressed as Travis? Has Travis started a fashion trend back on Earth? I’m confused.

Blake confronts the cosplayer.

WeaponSue: Eh? Why is Blake in a church? Oh, I get it: Blake is dreaming this and he’s mixed-up Travis’s face with Elvis’s face. That explains the quivering lip. Clever.

The Elvis/Travis hybrid murders Blake.

Sue: Blake must have eaten some seriously strong cheese before he went to bed.

An old woman named Fen arrives to chide the cold-blooded killer.

Fen: You’re a sad man, Travis.

Sue: Pause the bloody DVD, Neil.

Me: It’s not my fault. I didn’t recast him.

Sue: But he doesn’t look anything like Travis! Even the eyepatch is wrong. It’s too shiny. Why did the other Travis leave?

Me: I have no idea. Do I look like John Williams?

I press Play.

Sue: Please tell me that this old lady isn’t the new Servalan.

Travis: I want the other one.

Sue: Don’t we all, mate.

Travis: Get the other one.

Sue: Yes, for ****’s sake, get the other one!

And then another Blake appears.

Sue: So they’ve made some robots that look like Blake. How predictable.

WeaponWe cut to the Liberator, which means it’s time for Sue to pass judgement on what the crew are wearing this week.

Sue: Avon is popping out to deliver some chocolates to a beautiful woman on a boat; Cally looks like she’s been in the Liberator‘s sex dungeon with that gold collar around her neck; and thank God Jenna’s broaches aren’t any lower down. I wouldn’t have thought a dress like that would be very practical for freedom fighting. I just hope she’s wearing sensible shoes.

Luckily for them, Coser’s sartorial sense makes Blake’s crew look like catwalk models.

Sue: You know, I’m pretty sure Peter Gabriel wore that outfit when he was in Genesis.

Servalan arrives to chastise Travis.

Sue: Yes! She’s the same Servalan. That’s a relief.

Travis learns that Servalan was using him as a glorified Blake-detector.

Sue: Servalan always looks to me like she’s about to get married.

Travis physically assaults Servalan. She doesn’t seem to mind.

Sue: I’d have him shot for that. The real Travis wouldn’t do something like that. Who is this guy?

Meanwhile, Blake is planning his latest scheme to hurt the Federation. Avon isn’t impressed.

WeaponAvon: It is a triple-A security installation.

Sue: It runs on triple-A batteries.

Orac isn’t much help, either.

Blake: Orac, your information on the Weapons Development Base is unsatisfactory.

Orac: Define unsatisfactory.

Sue: Blake gets enough grief from Avon without Orac chipping in with his lip. I still think it’s unfair that Blake has to put up with two stroppy computers. Three, if you count Avon.

Meanwhile, Coser and Rashel find shelter in an abandoned dining room.

Sue: They’ve turned up for their Genesis tribute gig at the Student Union far too early. They haven’t cleared-up after the T-Rex covers band they had on last night.

Coser resents the position he’s been placed in.

Coser: They were trying to take the credit for my work. They were going to steal it right in front of me. As though I were so unimportant or stupid they didn’t even have to pretend it wasn’t happening.

Sue: He’s got a massive chip on his shoulder; I’m surprised there’s room for it with that collar.

WeaponServalan can’t praise the clone makers enough.

Servalan: They are a little awesome.

Sue: They may be awesome, chick, but I wouldn’t trust them to put my make up on. Look at the state of her face.

Servalan is surprised to learn that Fen is a clone too.

Fen: The child was identical in every way to the child that she had once been.

Sue: It doesn’t seem fair for them to be talking about identical looking people when this new Travis is in the same room. It’s very rude.

Me: What do you think of the new Travis?

Sue: It’s too early to tell. It doesn’t help that he doesn’t look or act like Travis. This isn’t Doctor Who, you know.

Blake’s clone doesn’t possess Blake’s memories.

Fen: We have given him some background knowledge, the beginnings of identity, and the basis of understanding.

Sue: Have they told him that he’s a convicted child molester, or did they leave that part out?

WeaponServalan: The Federation needs this man.

Sue: So Servalan’s got herself a toy Blake. Is this a sex-thing or a take-over-the-universe-thing? Or both?

Orac has some exciting news for Blake.

Blake: So something called IMIPAK is missing, together with a Beta class weapons technician named Coser.

Sue: IMIPAK sounds like something you’d shave your legs with.

Coser’s mood hasn’t improved since we last saw him.

Sue: I don’t know what his problem is. He’s stuck in a low-lit room with a beautiful woman who wants to be his slave, and he doesn’t even crack a smile.

Coser is a paranoid, aggressive, control freak with delusions of grandeur.

Sue: Am I supposed to care about this guy, because I don’t. If Blake saves this guy, I won’t be very happy. His companion can stay – she’s lovely – but he’s horrible.

Servalan is visited by Carnell, a brilliant Federation psychostrategist. The flirting is off the chart.

WeaponSue: WHAT IS SHE DOING WITH HER HAND?!

Carnell and Servalan want to steal IMIPAK from Coser.

Sue: Blake’s 7 is a very strange programme. On the one hand, you’ve got all this gritty terrorism going on, and on the other hand you’ve got camp scenes like this that wouldn’t look out of place in Dallas or Dynasty. It’s gritty glam.

Blake wants to get his hands on IMIPAK too, even though he doesn’t know what it is. Vila says he can live without it.

Blake: It’s just conceivable that you can’t.

Avon: Unless of course you want your last words to be, “So that’s IMIPAK.”

Sue laughs so much, I have to pause the DVD. In fact, from this point on, you can assume that Sue’s laughs at everything Avon says.

Sue: Avon gets all the best lines. I bet the rest of the cast hated Paul Darrow.

Carnell is so clever, he can beat a computer at chess.

Sue: If you owned an electronic chess set in the 1970s, you were seriously posh. I don’t trust this slime ball one bit.

WeaponCarnell: Always remember, the Officer Corps will forgive anything it can understand. Which makes intelligence about the only sin.

Sue: He reminds me of Francis from House of Cards, pulling the strings behind the scenes.

Me: I couldn’t possibly comment.

Sue: The only difference is I never wanted Francis to die a horrible, painful death every time I saw his face.

Coser is woken from his slumber by the sound of an approaching monster.

Sue: I can’t believe that he didn’t take his collar off before he went to bed. That won’t do his neck any favours. No wonder he’s in such a foul mood.

Coser and Rashel are attacked by a giant claw.

Sue: That claw has definitely been in Doctor Who. Don’t ask me what it’s called, but it’s definitely been in Doctor Who. And if it wasn’t in Doctor Who, it should have been. It’s right up Doctor Who‘s street.

Coser fires IMIPAK at the creature.

Sue: Your gun is rubbish, mate.

Oh no it isn’t. Death is just a button-press away.

Sue: OK, fair enough. I’ll give you that. But it isn’t very practical. What if someone came at you with a gun? You’d have to shoot them, put the gun away, switch on the box and then press the button. You’d be dead before you put the bloody gun away.

Blake’s clone arrives on the scene. Luckily for him, Coser is a fully paid-up member of the Blake’s 7 fan club and he welcomes the terrorist with open arms. He even has a present for him.

Clone: A gun?

WeaponCoser: Not just a gun – IMIPAK. It’s called IMIPAK: Induced Molecular Instability Projector and Key.

Sue: IMIPAK! Only 9.99. While stocks last.

Coser: IMIPAK!

Sue: I’m sorry, what’s it called again? I didn’t quite catch that.

Coser: This has a range of up to a million miles. Just think of it! You set the range here. If he’s within a million miles, you can kill a marked man anytime you want without even seeing him again.

Sue: It’s perfect for snipers who faint at the sight of blood, but the name needs work. What about Death Delayer 1000, or something like that.

Servalan arrives, dressed as the White Witch from Narnia. Avon, on the other hand, has teleported to the planet dressed as a lobster.

Sue: I’m not a big fan of lobster, but I think I’ll make an exception in this case.

Coser is killed with his own weapon. It’s called IMIPAK by the way.

Sue: Good riddance to bad rubbish. What a pompous git. Just think: if the real Blake had turned up earlier, this git would have joined the crew. What a nightmare that would have been.

Servalan shoots Travis in the back with IMIPAK when he’s not looking.

Sue: What a cow. Travis doesn’t know what’s hit him. Literally. It’s pretty good, this. So does Servalan get a decent henchman next week?

WeaponAvon, Blake and Gan storm the building, their guns drawn.

Sue: Avon has been practicing that. You can tell.

Me: They’re not Charlie’s Angels, but they’ll do.

Servalan has marked all three of them for death, so they do the only thing they can: they run.

Zen: The planet has been seeded with small proximity mines in random orbit. Detection was too late for a warning to be given.

Sue: This is why they need to leave Orac switched on. He can see this sort of thing coming a mile off. Can’t he, Neil?

Back on the planet, Rashel and Blake’s clone turn the tables on Servalan and Travis.

Servalan: I’ll see that you never leave this planet.

Rashel: I know. But make sure you do it from at least a million miles away.

Blake’s clone and Rashel want to be left alone.

Rashel: We could start to explore our planet.

Sue: And after that, we could start to explore, you know, each other.

The episode concludes with Servalan receiving an answer phone message from Carnell.

Sue: Even in defeat, he’s a smug ****.

Carnell: One last thing, Supreme Commander. I must tell you this…

WeaponSue: I really, really fancy you.

Carnell: You are undoubtedly the sexiest officer I have ever known.

This renders Sue speechless. The last thing she expected was a character trumping her in the ridiculous comment department.

Sue: Did he really just say that? I… I… Have you spiked my tea, Neil?

The Score:

Sue: Now that was more like it. It was insanely camp, but I enjoyed it. I’m not sure about the new Travis but Servalan is always fun to watch. The direction and locations were pretty good, and even though the acting was all over the place, it was never boring. I like Blake’s 7 so much more when the bad guys are actually involved in the plot. Yes, it was a bit silly, but I really enjoyed that one.

8/10

Sue: I love the idea that there’s another version of Blake running around, having a nice life. I wonder if we’ll ever see him again.

Next Time:

Warning: Glen’s trailers may include spoilers for the next episode.

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70 comments

  • Visit site
    March 11, 2014 11:55 amPosted 3 years ago
    Ian Banks

    I expect it’ll be received with as much excitement as everywhere else I’ve mentioned it, but this is the first time Servalan’s name is mentioned in the show. And it’s pronounced wrong.

    I’ll be off now.

    Really loving the rewatch, btw.

    • Visit site
      March 11, 2014 1:15 pmPosted 3 years ago
      David Busch

      Wait, seriously? This is the first time Servalan’s name has been spoken on the show? I’ve re-watched B7 a hundred times, and I’ve never caught that! (Time for re-watch #101, methinks!)

      • March 11, 2014 1:22 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Neil Perryman (Author)

        Maybe she pronounced it correctly and everybody else gets it wrong?

        • Visit site
          March 13, 2014 11:33 amPosted 3 years ago
          Ian Banks

          I like that idea.

          • Visit site
            March 21, 2014 11:47 pmPosted 3 years ago
            Dan

            Turns out it was received with some excitement.

      • Visit site
        March 13, 2014 10:25 amPosted 3 years ago
        BWT

        What?! I never knew that either… 😮

  • Visit site
    March 11, 2014 12:31 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Dave Sanders

    Can you tell the same bunch responsible for Image Of The Fendahl made this one? Cos I certainly can. Is it the Chris Boucher script, constantly apologizing for how contrived it all is, before we can point it out? The directorial presence and purse-strings of George Spent-On-Fags-At-The-Corner-Shop? The heroes locked in a narrative cupboard, tapping their feet impatiently waiting for the subplot to go ‘BORED NOW’? The doomy old crone with psychic powers who is humored with barely-disguised contempt? Trying to figure out whether it’s Carnel or Stael’s punchable face that spouts the worse delivery? Or is it that bloody Space Organ from the planet Moog which World In Action would quite like to have back now please?

    • March 11, 2014 3:51 pmPosted 3 years ago
      encyclops

      Don’t listen to the mean duck thing, Image of the Fendahl. I’ll always love you.

      • Visit site
        March 11, 2014 5:03 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Dave Sanders

        I don’t like that red glow in your eyes. KILL THE DUCK THING. KILL THE DUCK THING.

        • March 11, 2014 6:57 pmPosted 3 years ago
          encyclops

          Orders accept, accept, accept, accept, accept, accepted.

          (IS it a duck? I’ve always wondered.)

          • Visit site
            March 12, 2014 2:39 amPosted 3 years ago
            Dave Sanders

            Swan.

            (Unmade season five episode by Tanith Lee.)

    • Visit site
      March 12, 2014 6:15 amPosted 3 years ago
      Please Don't Stop The Music

      And the chap who Carnell gives his chess computer to was played by Graham Simpson, who also played the hiker in Image of the Fendahl.

  • Visit site
    March 11, 2014 12:57 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Dave Sanders

    Avon doesn’t get all the best lines this week, he can’t compete with Sue. 🙂

    What, precisely, does Servalan plan to do with this somewhat insubstantial Doctor Strangelove weapon other than the personal power-trip satisfaction of killing people on the sly with it? Because that’s really about all it’s good for. A deterent only works if everyone knows you’ve got it, it’s much easier to be scared of a whacking great mass-produced bomb, and as Sue points out, gun versus gun-plus-box = gun wins. Fair enough you can vapourize a marked man from a million miles but there’s nothing to stop the Federation swamping you with a million unmarked troops to get it back. That’s assuming clone-Blake’s pro-life morals don’t have him destroy Imipak as soon as the bluff is called, since only the one prototype exists and Servalan couldn’t help herself nobbling its creator with it. Berks.

    • March 11, 2014 3:52 pmPosted 3 years ago
      encyclops

      Aren’t whole businesses built around killing people on the sly?

    • Visit site
      March 12, 2014 3:56 amPosted 3 years ago
      kate

      Well. Plot, that’s what. More of a behind-the-back sort of woman, Servalan.

  • Visit site
    March 11, 2014 1:29 pmPosted 3 years ago
    executrix

    This week in Game of Quarries: the new Hand of the King, Ser Vlan, shows up, covered in mud up to her glass lizard. Nobody’s happy about it.

  • March 11, 2014 1:45 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Alex Wilcock

    Even though I knew it was coming, I was gurgling helplessly at Sue’s reaction to Travis 2. Given her disdain for all things posh, I wonder how she’ll settle into his reimagining as from-the-ranks. Just a shame for Brian Croucher that by all accounts his first director didn’t care to give him any direction, so it took him a while to find his jackboots.

    When Season 2 finishes (for spoilerphobes), it’s worth watching the DVD trailer – partly that it uses Mark Ayres’ most exciting bit of music, but mostly because it does a brilliant job with Travis. Even using a disbelieving reaction out of context to take the recasting head-on.

    Other than that, I loved Sue’s reactions to possibly June Hudson’s most extreme costumes – and I still think Servalan and Jenna look great in them. My Mum, who hates all things sci-fi, would come in every week just to see what Jenna was wearing. And sorry, Sue, I liked Carnell (and he’s a bit of a hottie. Shame he gets no scenes with Avon).

    • Visit site
      March 11, 2014 3:36 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Marky Mark

      Well, thank God for that – for a moment then, I thought I was the only gay Blakes 7/Sci-fi fan (chortle !!!).

      I’m not sure, Alex, I’d describe Carnell as a “hottie” ! Personally I preferred the lovely Karl Howman & his very nice chest from the week before….

      Right, enough of this camp nonsense….

      • Visit site
        March 18, 2014 12:11 amPosted 3 years ago
        Mark B

        Nope, you’re not the only one!

        And the thought of Avon/Carnell has made me look around the room for a fan or something.)

  • Visit site
    March 11, 2014 1:46 pmPosted 3 years ago
    John Miller

    ”Coser is killed with his own weapon. It’s called IMIPAK by the way.” Thank you, I would never have known. 🙂 Really glad Sue liked this. it’s a strong episode, but not legendary, and ‘8’ seems perfect.

    Q1: How long until someone claims that Stephen Greif and Brian Croucher are playing two totally different characters(you know who you are)?

    Q2:Why didn’t Neil point out the significance of the Carnell character to Sue? He’s every sad bastard’s crossover dream come true?

    • Visit site
      March 11, 2014 3:21 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Chris Allen

      Hi John, I’d forgotten about the Kaldor City audios. I really must get hold of them. I’m not really a big fan of the Big Finish type of spinoff but these are supposed to be very good.

    • Visit site
      March 11, 2014 6:05 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Nick Mays

      In answer to Q1 John, it’s obvious. Travis #2 is Travis #1’s cousin.

      • Visit site
        March 11, 2014 8:37 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Frankymole

        Travis 2 is what Travis would’ve been if another sperm fertilized the egg: The Inquisitor from Red Dwarf dropped by between seasons. Part of the Inquisitor’s replacement strategy is that no-one notices the substitution, since it changes history. For Blake, Servalan etc, Travis 2 was always there in the events of the first season…

        • Visit site
          March 12, 2014 12:01 amPosted 3 years ago
          Nick Mays

          Of course! That makes perfect sense now! Thanks Franky – always on the money with the answers! 😉

          • Visit site
            March 12, 2014 8:45 pmPosted 3 years ago
            Frankymole

            I wish I could claim credit for the idea… but since I don’t remember now who told me it, I will take the credit anyway 😀

  • Visit site
    March 11, 2014 1:52 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Gareth M

    One of the first things I do when I start reading each new entry is to google image search the episode title to remind myself what everyone’s wearing. I admit it’s something I never paid any attention to.

    “Gritty glam” and “insanely camp” along with “spiked tea” basically sums up Blake’s 7.

    This episode basically features another kinda interesting though ultimately useless weapon of the B7 universe arsenal.

    Why does Servalan go herself, is she so worried about her position as Supreme Commander that she has to get her hands (and her dresses) dirty doing all the manual work?

    What was all the clone stuff about? It seemed like an odd way to introduce new Travis and get an extra Blake into the story. Was the suggestion meant to be new Travis is a (bad) clone?

    • Visit site
      March 22, 2014 12:01 amPosted 3 years ago
      Dan

      I think she goes herself because she wants the Imipak, or whatever it’s called, for herself, the same as with Orac last season. That’s not to say that much about this episode makes sense.

  • Visit site
    March 11, 2014 1:57 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Marky Mark

    I actually rather enjoyed this episode – Servalan (Servalon ?!) flirting outrageously with virtually every hot-blooded male, Coser (aka Li H’Sen Chang !) being a right stroppy bastard with everyone, but my favourite bit was when Blake, Avon & Gan were being ‘marked’ by the IMIPAK when they were all conveniently running somwhere, then stopped, individually, at exactly the same spot – made me roar with laughter….

    Keep up the good work – loving Sue’s commentary

    • Visit site
      March 11, 2014 6:13 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Mat Dolphin

      Right with you on that one, Mark. It’s so funny how they all stop at the same place! What was the director thinking?

  • Visit site
    March 11, 2014 2:11 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Chris Allen

    The new Travis does take a bit of getting used to (Brian has some very strange ways of pronouncing his lines at times).

    Stephen Greif (in an interview with Den of Geek) claims that he chose to do a “caper” movie (this must be The Great Riviera Bank Robbery) which conflicted with the filming schedule for series 2.

    I’m sure there are plenty of other explanations for his departure floating around out there.

    • Visit site
      May 13, 2014 6:52 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Fiona

      I got to love him pretty quickly. Everyone else on the show is so posh. This new Travis has a proper East End bad boy accent, plus I like how he is so slim.

  • Visit site
    March 11, 2014 2:30 pmPosted 3 years ago
    executrix

    Unfortunately BBC budget constraints precluded the “Orphan Blake” spinoff starring Tatiana Maslany’s mum as three Blakes, two Travises, and Servalan.

  • Visit site
    March 11, 2014 3:41 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Rassilon

    No outright comment about Vila from Sue this week & why Gan instead of Vila to go down with Blake & Avon (Peace offering, placation or SPOILER REMOVED?).

    Hopefully Sue is starting to see the worth of him if she’s paraphrasing his lines.

    Sue: Blake gets enough grief from Avon without Orac chipping in with his lip. I still think it’s unfair that Blake has to put up with two stroppy computers. Three, if you count Avon.

    I was really stumped about where I had seen Coser before.

    Honorable mentions…

    Any of Sues comments about IMIPAK.

    Sue laughs so much, I have to pause the DVD – That I would have paid good money to see\hear (Ohhh I did on the Kickstarter).

    The trumping of Sue

  • Visit site
    March 11, 2014 3:47 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Paul Shields

    Brian Croucher was a regular in Eastenders at one point. Surprised Sue missed that. And of course in Boucher’s Robots of Death he’s a classic example of the inverse ratio between the size of the mouth and the size of the brain which is an Avon level put down…

  • March 11, 2014 4:01 pmPosted 3 years ago
    encyclops

    On the one hand, you’ve got all this gritty terrorism going on, and on the other hand you’ve got camp scenes like this that wouldn’t look out of place in Dallas or Dynasty.

    Yes, yes, yes! That’s it EXACTLY, Sue. Hence why this show is so terrific, and why it’s never going to be remade correctly. Actually, Joss Whedon could almost have done it, but instead he made Firefly instead.

    As for Travis: I’m pretty sure I saw Croucher first, so then when I went back to see season 1 finally, Greif seemed wrong to me. Then I got used to Greif and then Croucher seemed wrong. I suppose ultimately I like them both, but it IS jarring. Somehow I had it in my head that Travis could have been seriously injured (again) and needed reconstructive surgery, but it wouldn’t explain the personality, or the eyepatch, or really anything else, so never mind.

    So many great comments from Sue I can hardly pick one. And her speechlessness at Carnell’s line is priceless.

    • Visit site
      March 18, 2014 3:21 pmPosted 3 years ago
      The Grouchybeast

      The personality is about the only thing they do try to explain, with Travis’s reference to ‘the retraining therapists’. Maybe Federation ‘retraining’ also requires a facelift.

      • Visit site
        March 18, 2014 4:05 pmPosted 3 years ago
        Frankymole

        Or a body transplant…

  • Visit site
    March 11, 2014 6:01 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Nick Mays

    Awww! I loved this one with the Happy-Ever-After for the Blake clone! 🙂

    I always felt that Brian Croucher wouldn’t have been a bad replacement for Harry Fenning’s Travis if they’d made him look a bit more like Mr Grieff. Or even said in the programme that Travis had undegone some sprt of face augmentation – he could have done without the eye patch then.

    Tech Surgeon: “Well Comander Travis, we can certainly replace your hand. Whilst we’re at it we’re doing a 2-for-1 on facial surgery.”

    Travis: “Make it so, But don’t f**k it up, because there will be nowhere to run if you do!”

    • Visit site
      March 11, 2014 11:22 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Dave Sanders

      “Awww! I loved this one with the Happy-Ever-After for the Blake clone! :)”

      …for about five minutes, realistically speaking.

  • Visit site
    March 11, 2014 6:10 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Mat Dolphin

    Thank goodness for that! We’re seeing signs of improved ratings from Sue, though I still think Shadow is a better episode.

    After the largely bleak first season, Weapon feels like where the ‘tone’ of the series often settles – i.e. The mixture of serious situations and camp production values that we enjoy so much.

    If Sue likes Weapon, then the future of this blog looks promising!

    Some have asked why Servalan keeps doing things herself (like in Orac) rather than sit behind a desk at Space Command. The answer is… It’s a lot more fun for us viewers!

    I liked the Coser character, he’s so ridiculous. The actor also turned up as Brian Blessed’s doctor in I, Claudius and later was in the first scene of The Fifth Element.

  • Visit site
    March 11, 2014 6:53 pmPosted 3 years ago
    hperson

    8/10: I am agog. This is the probably only episode I would have marked lower than Sue.
    Crazy collars, crazy eye-liner, crazy clones, endless repetition of IMIPAK – completely nonsensical.
    If we had seen Avon and Carnell sans kit (as per others’ re-imaginings) it might have been different, but as it stands shurely this hodge-podge is bottom five for the entire show, no?

  • Visit site
    March 11, 2014 7:08 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Richard Lyth

    This is one of my favourite episodes so far as well. I don’t even know why – Blake and the gang are hardly in it, the new Travis is awful, hardly anything happens, but still it’s insanely entertaining.

    They’ve just republished Chris Boucher’s Doctor Who novel Corpse Marker, featuring Carnell, so I might have to get that. If only to see if the smug git gets his head ripped off by a killer robot.

  • Visit site
    March 11, 2014 7:11 pmPosted 3 years ago
    django

    I always thought Blakes 7 perfectly represented the time it was shot. “It’s gritty glam” pretty much sums up all of the 70’s 🙂

  • Visit site
    March 11, 2014 8:03 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Geoff

    I think I am the only person in the world who rates Brian Crouchers Travis over Stephen Greifs one. I rewatched the whole run about 2 years ago with my wife (although neither of us are anywhere near witty or funny enough to have made it worth doing a blog on) who like Sue had no preconceptions of the show at all, not having been born until 1979.

    We both thought that Brians version of Travis was more twitchy, psychotic and unpredictable, and we liked his more gritty accent e.g: “Crimows, get the gerwl!”.

    Without going down the spoiler route I would just say that I think he plays a man falling from authority and respect into a place of bitterness and self destructive obsession in a way that I struggle to image Stephen Greif doing: his Travis was more the self assured ruthless leader of men

    When we’d finished watching the whole show I realised how much I’d enjoyed Travis’ story arc…I’d like to add a bit more but I’m not going to in case anyone reading this is totally new to the show and I don’t want to reveal all the future developments for this actually quite complex character.

    • Visit site
      March 11, 2014 8:15 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Geoff

      Just to add a small morsel…I love the scene in a future episode where after having given a quite impassioned speech Travis pivots his body around abruptly turning his back on who he’s been speaking to and then drops into his chair, I always think his body language in this scene, especially the way he sits down expresses pure disrespect and contempt for who he’s talking to. Its just one of many examples of how Brian Croucher uses his physical movements to express how Travis is feeling. Again I think Stephen Greifs performance was so much more measured that I don’t think he could have done it quite as well.

      • Visit site
        March 13, 2014 8:41 pmPosted 3 years ago
        wyngatecarpenter

        When I watched B7 back in the 90s I preferred Croucher as well, probably for the reasons you’ve given. Grief is more measured, and I would say is the better actor, but Croucher seems to get across the madness and unpredictability slightly more. Hopefully it’s not a spolier to say that Croucher does get the best Travis script midway through the season, and I can’t actually imagine Grief doing that episode in the same way.

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          March 14, 2014 1:17 amPosted 3 years ago
          Frankymole

          David Maloney did say in his Starburst interview in 1979 that they wanted to keep Travis on because they had ideas for where the character would go, and I’m glad they did, recasting or no (as it is, I don’t mind Croucher: you sum up very well why he suited the character as written). Travis could’ve been a generic “Guy of Gisbourne” henchman to Servalan’s Sheriff of Nottingham if he was not seen again after Orac – little better than a Muto. I can’t say anything about future appearances until they come up, of course, except to say they’re interesting and (to me) were unpredictable.

    • March 11, 2014 9:59 pmPosted 3 years ago
      encyclops

      No, I agree with pretty much everything you said about Croucher’s Travis. Plus he’s better-looking, haircut aside. I think they both could have pulled off some of the scenes you’re alluding to, just in very different ways.

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        March 12, 2014 12:07 amPosted 3 years ago
        Nick Mays

        Interesting points. I wonder how the change of actor would have been perceived if Trtavis had been played by Croucher in S1 and then Greif in S2?

        The change was just so jarring though, no attempt to make Croucher look like Greif’s Travis. Just a black suit and an eye patch doesn’t a Travis make.

        Croucher isn’t bad, it’s just that you’re aware that it’s a very different ‘take’ on a major character. Suppose Blake had been recast with, say, Lewis Colins playing him- jarring. Although obviously Martin Shaw would’ve been more a lookalike and with a whole lot more charisma.

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    March 11, 2014 8:04 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Sally M

    I love Rashel, and the fact that she gets her very own Blake always makes me happy 🙂

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    March 11, 2014 8:53 pmPosted 3 years ago
    wyngatecarpenter

    “On the one hand, you’ve got all this gritty terrorism going on, and on the other hand you’ve got camp scenes like this that wouldn’t look out of place in Dallas or Dynasty”

    The dichotomy of Blakes 7 summed up very neatly.

    First time I watched this episode I was utterly bored by it, but then it was at about 2am at the end of a marathon B7-watching session. It’s grown on me each time I’ve watched it, although I’m not sure it’s quite 8/10. I’m still not sure about the practical uses of IMIPAK though. Possibly as a weapon of mass destruction, but with the inconvenience of having to shoot everyone individually first. Coser is obviously mad, so I can see why he thinks its a great idea, Servalan not so much.

    It’s not the best start for Croucher, he does have some better episodes later. But at least they didn’t do the whole “Blake decides he’s not important enough to kill” scenario yet again, in fact Travis lets him get away.

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      March 12, 2014 8:43 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Frankymole

      Uses for IMIPAK, for people like Servalan? It’s the ultimate in blackmail tools. A megalomaniac like her would love it if everyone has to do as she says – for the rest of their lives – or they die instantly, at any distance. She might even have been able to cajole the likes of Avon into doing what she wants.

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        March 13, 2014 8:36 pmPosted 3 years ago
        wyngatecarpenter

        I should have known I could rely on you for a rational explanation, but I’m still not convinced. It seems to be fairly indiscriminate once you actually press the button (at least if it’s not this isn’t made clear in the episode) so you have to be pretty sure that you want to kill every person that you’ve marked. So yes, it would be a good mass blackmail tool, but some kind of interplanetary nuke or biological weapon might be more effective here.
        My theory is that Servalan sees it as a prototype for future weapons and wants to get her hands on it for that purpose, orat least to stop it falling into the hands of Blake or other enemies. Or just maybe Boucher didn’t particularly think through the pitfalls when writing the script.
        I’m not sure either why Travis didn’t just shoot Blake dead when he got the chance. I suppose he just liked the idea of Blake knowing that death was imminent and not being able to prevent it. So I’ve answered my oen question.

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          March 14, 2014 1:12 amPosted 3 years ago
          Frankymole

          It doesn’t kill every person you’ve marked, indiscriminately. Coser says that there is a different molecular marking for each target. That’s why there’s a compex key – you can select individuals or whole groups to die (or groups of individuals). It’s stated on screen but there’s such a lot of info-dump I’m not surprised that it’s easy to miss.

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            March 14, 2014 1:13 amPosted 3 years ago
            Frankymole

            ^ complex key, not compex. Though it looks clunkier than my TV remote control, even then…

  • March 11, 2014 9:46 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Robin

    If the Two Travis Theory held any water Big Finish would have produced a 40-CD box-set now starring Greif and Croucher. With that bloke who plays Kellman popping up from time to time as a guest star (sure he was called Tarrant – usually a safe bet).

    On that note I always liked the fact that Travis was played by men with sinister surnames. Oh, and Borg from Robots of Death would have made for a pretty good Travis, rather than a floppy-haired cockney thug. Something went badly wrong there. Oh Lord, I just remembered V**** F*** T** P***.

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      March 11, 2014 9:58 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Geoff

      I would love to see the two Travis’ go head to head. Imagine them in a fight: Greif obviously has a natural advantage in terms of size and reach but Croucher Travis is a sneaky vicious little bastard who would probably win by virtue of a swift boot in the nuts or flick knife in the back, and that’s why I love him so!

  • March 11, 2014 11:24 pmPosted 3 years ago
    encyclops

    I used to confuse Chris Boucher and Brian Croucher all the time as a kid. It seemed like such a weird coincidence that the two of them kept popping up in the same episodes’ credits.

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      March 13, 2014 8:43 pmPosted 3 years ago
      wyngatecarpenter

      Have you ever seen them together? Pen name and stage name of the same person?

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        March 14, 2014 1:18 amPosted 3 years ago
        Frankymole

        Chris Boucher famously resembles a Sensorite and Brian Croucher doesn’t. They may have been a convention together, they’ve certainly been to ones separately!

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    March 12, 2014 2:58 amPosted 3 years ago
    Dave Sanders

    “You know, I’m pretty sure Peter Gabriel wore that outfit when he was in Genesis.”

    I think Alice Cooper wore it when he was in rehab.

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    March 12, 2014 8:16 amPosted 3 years ago
    Marian de Haan

    The only use I can think of for Servalan wanting IMIPAK is that she can kill someone while having an iron-cast alibi that she was elsewhere. Suppose she wants to assissinate the President, then she can mark him when they’re together and then go away to establish an alibi before killing him.

    And I still tend to confuse Chris Boucher and Brian Croucher 🙂

    This one only gets 4/10 from me, but I’m glad Sue is enjoying it.

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    March 12, 2014 1:30 pmPosted 3 years ago
    rob

    I found this episode oddly enjoyable when I watched it recently but surprised that Sue rated this one above ‘Shadow’. It does confirm though that this series is still a massively enjoyable watch even when it misfires.

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    March 12, 2014 11:54 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Shan

    If only it had been called IPECAC and not IMIPAK …

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    March 13, 2014 10:27 amPosted 3 years ago
    BWT

    Carnell: “One last thing, Supreme Commander. I must tell you this…”

    Sue: “I really, really fancy you.”

    Carnell: “You are undoubtedly the sexiest officer I have ever known.”

    Worth the price of admission for that alone… 🙂

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    March 13, 2014 12:09 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Chris-too-Old-to-Watch

    Loved the comment about being the only gay Blakes 7/SF fan (Marky Mark & Alex Wilcox). With such outrageous camp – Servalan and Avon, not to mention the costumes – there must be thousands of us out there.
    But that was one of the things that led to the programme’s success; the so-called “witty one-liners” that could have come from Jules ‘n Sandy, the bitchy comments straight from Alexis Colby and the most impractical costumes that could have otherwise only appeared on Come Dancing….

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      March 17, 2014 9:04 pmPosted 3 years ago
      Dave Sanders

      This should be David Walliams’ ‘The only gay in the Federation’ sketch, but with Gareth Thomas instead of Daffyd.

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    March 16, 2014 10:53 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Frank Collins

    Camp, camp and more camp. Servalan’s frocks, Cozer’s bling collar, even Cally and Jenna are accessorising. Only one reason for it: June Hudson.

    And Spent-up Foster’s directing the rep company from Fendahl, the story is quite bonkers and Dudley Simpson’s gone mad with his organ.

    Thoroughly entertaining 50 minutes.

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    May 13, 2014 6:49 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Fiona

    Just describing Avon as ‘a stroppy computer’ would make me love this blog. It is wrecking my enjoyment of the show though. I never even noticed all these things wrong Sue does. I only saw, well, Avon really. Plus, you know, the story. I guess.

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    May 13, 2014 6:56 pmPosted 3 years ago
    Fiona

    I think IMIPAK actually sounds more like the stuff that dissolves the hair. Now with fresh jasmine fragrance, that kind of thing.

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