(Chris Boucher) reviewed by Marian de Haan


Simple, slow paced and dreadfully dull. The mind-sharing device deserves a better plot. The scene with the debonair Vizcast presenter is entertaining, but sadly that's as exciting as the story gets. Steven Pacey is doing his best but his underplayed performance can't alleviate the tedium. Tarrant's reaction to his brother's death is symptomatic for the lack of spirit the crew display in this episode. The only crewmembers who seem remotely awake are Vila and Dayna. Is Vila supposed to have put valium in the others' drinks so he can chat Dayna up without interference from them? :-)

The man who could stab an enemy in the back in Powerplay here can't shoot the machine responsible for the death of his brother in the back. One can take chivalry too far! [Maybe Tarrant is influenced by the knowledge that the android regards himself as human, but we can assume that the members of Clegg's death squad did likewise.] (Judith: I assume that he was doing what he felt Deeta would have done here. Deeta, we already know, was not a back-shooter.)

Nice to see the crew relax, drink and munch, but it's not very exciting. This episode must be top of the list for seeing people pop something into their mouths: Deeta, the television presenter, the crew, Max.

Even the chemistry between Avon and Servalan, so evident in Aftermath, is lacking here. The way he kisses her makes it look like rape. (Judith: I believe Paul and Jacqueline added the kiss to the script. The director decided that he liked the idea and allowed it to stay. (Virtually my only B7 claim to fame is that my sister-in-law's uncle was the director for this episode. I heard the story from Paul, though.))

Project Avalon and this episode show that the Federation can build extremely sophisticated androids, which leads to the question of why they didn't make more and better use of them. [But maybe they did, and all those drugged people we see roam about in "The Way Back" are androids. Or those expendable troopers. Or... could Avon be an android? That would explain his remark in "Shadow" about Cally being more human than he. :-)]

Personal appreciation: **

Being fond of chivalry and medieval pageants, a story that sets two champions fighting for their planets should appeal to me. Yet I find myself yawning through the episode. It's only towards the end, when Avon gets decisive and starts issuing orders, that I sit up, but even than the feeling of boredom lingers on.

All the gun-slinging scenes feel wrong to me. Putting away your gun when your life depends on your ability to outshoot your opponent defies common sense. In those circumstances you want to hold your weapon ready. <Shameful confession:> When I first watched this episode I didn't recognise Steven Pacey in the role of Deeta, which pretty much proves that I never looked further than Tarrant's curls.

Although it is nice to see that the crew can relax, Vila chasing Cally - and especially she playfully running away from him - feels out of character.

Avon seems to be so cowed by the fact that he's moving in diplomatic circles that he has restyled his hair for the occasion, resulting in what in Dutch is known as a bare bottom face. His choice of attire is regrettable. Cally and Tarrant also did not have their day when they were choosing their outfits. Dayna looks lovely in green and Vila has one of his simplest and nicest tunics. I like Deeta's first costume. Max looks like a sissy with that pseudo sailor collar. The costumes of the fighters look like modern-day armour-suits. Bare arms and an unadorned neckline don't suit Servalan, nor are her scenes helped by being shot through a purple filter. I suppose it was done to set the jury quarters apart but it isn't beneficial to her complexion.

As for Avon's contemplating gaze at his hand after Max's cordial but unexpected handshake, my people have a saying (mostly used on politicians): "You have to count your fingers after his handshake!" To me that looks exactly what Avon's doing: counting his fingers. :-)


Deeta isn't the brightest of lads: turning his back to Karla when her associate has just tried to kill him.

Nice to see Avon recognising Dayna's talent as a natural fighter.

"He should have killed him when he had the chance." Yes, but in B7 nobody ever kills their enemy when they have the chance.

(Judith: It was ages before I spotted the crude pun in "I'm ready to come up now.")

What Could Have Been Done to Improve It:

- Wake up the actors.

- A secondary plotline to give the other crewmembers something to do.

- Give Avon back his fringe.

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