(Allan Prior) reviewed by Marian de Haan


Very meagre and dull. This is the second time that an episode of B7 deals with genetic engineering, and here the result is even more disastrous than in The Web. The shape of the genetically engineered animals, Justin's lack of charisma, the clumsy aversion therapy method, the lack of screen time for the rest of the crew, all contribute to make this the Series' worst episode.

The only bit to produce tension is the attack by the pursuit ship. But the writer should have come up with a reason for Dayna not responding to Tarrant. Tarrant doing the sensible thing and running for base seems out of character, but that is dealt with later when he apparently wants to go back for Dayna but is overruled by Avon.

Nor Dayna nor Justin convinces as being in love. Justin's act verges between dirty old man (leering at Dayna) and wet floor-cloth (his self-pity). The scenes between Dayna and Servalan feel all wrong. Surely even as a prisoner, Dayna would have been utterly hostile to the murderess of her father? She seems cowed by Servalan even before the latter has laid a finger on her.

Dayna being so disgusted by Justin's work feels out of character for someone who'd been hunting Sarrans for sport. I know that the original story was written with Cally in mind, and was reworked to fit Dayna when Jan Chapel quit the show, but I can't see it working for Cally either. The indignation about the experiments would be all right for late-series Cally, but I have my doubts about the old-love-rekindled bit. Maybe if they'd made Justin an Auron - and cast someone else in his role. :-) IMO they'd have done better to rewrite the episode for Soolin. For Dayna the story would have benefited by leaving out the love element and making Justin simply a friend of her father, whom she likes/reveres for the sake of her father's memory.

A memorable performance is Ardus, the Federation official who's destined for the axe the moment Servalan's eye falls on him. Servalan taking no precautions when summoning someone who's bound to recognise her defies belief. [Remember that she doesn't know about his blindness at that stage.] The whole concept of a former president thinking she can get away with killing everyone who recognises her, is so utterly against common sense that it's difficult to take seriously. When Servalan has Dayna at her mercy, why doesn't she make Dayna tell where their base is? It's the kind of chance one would expect Servalan to jump on. Regrettably, Servalan seems to have lost much of her brain in the transformation to Sleer. [Shades of Travis II. :-)] At least she is consistent in her self-centred ruthlessness.

Personal Appreciation: *

Action in the first five minutes, action in the last five minutes, one good scene between, and one can snooze through the rest. Not for a single moment do I get gripped by Dayna's plight, or that of Justin, or Og's. It's telling that the person I can identify with most and feel most concerned for here is Ardus. I find Justin plainly disgusting. I don't know whether it's his bulging eyes or soppy self-pity, but he has something which turns me off in a big way. Thankfully, unlike in Sand, the question of do-they-or-don't-they is left unresolved here.

Poor Vila of course gets the dirty job. I hate the way they're all ganging up on him. A pity he didn't shove Tarrant into that tank when he was standing in just the right position for it. :-)

Og vies with Moloch for worst monster of the series. [No, Brian the Spider's no contestant - he's cute. :-)] Og gets my vote because Moloch makes me laugh while Og just makes me shudder.

Justin's horrible outfit seems to be designed in a way that it gives the impression of not fitting him. [Could it have been designed for someone else?] And Servalan, with those feathers! She's become a parody of herself now, and I really can't take her seriously any more. The mutoids have yet another hairstyle, one wonders why anyone bothers when they're no more than robots for all practical purposes. Avon's hair looks awful. [One notices things like that when there's nothing of more interest to watch. :-)]


Clever of Justin to recognise Dayna immediately, when he last saw her six or seven years before. (Judith: and work out what age Dayna was when she originally fell in love with Justin. Then you can add paedophile to his sins.) Volunteering to go parlay with Og isn't one of Dayna's better ideas. [But the writer had to get her to lose her gun somehow before she could be captured convincingly. :-)] (Judith: I was told once that the Cally version of the scene had her intending to use telepathy to help soothe Og - it does make better sense then.)

Why did Justin think that the animals had killed Dayna? Wouldn't he have expected to find some remains in that case? Or did he think they'd eaten her with hide, hair and leather? Him going berserk is almost as painful to watch as Gan going amok in Breakdown, and just as unconvincing.

"But don't kill him." As soon as we hear these words we know the bugger will end up dead.

Avon kicks that chair out of the way as a real professional. :-) That unintentional slip looks good, it's one of those details that give a real life feeling to the show and I'm glad that the director left it in.

How long does the aversion therapy take? The first time it can have taken hours or even days but the second time it must have been very quick, unless one assumes that the rescue party took hours to reach Servalan's ship.

Justin must be the one character in the whole Series who looks better dead than alive. [Maybe it *is* those bulging eyes.]

What Could Have Been Done To Improve It:

- Cast another actor in the role of Justin.

- Less ridiculous "animals".

- Find a more convincing way (drugs?) to brainwash Dayna.

- Add a second plotline to give the other crewmembers something to do.

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