Our *#!@ video decided to record BBC1 instead of BBC2, so we didn't get "Deliverance" on tape; we just watched it as it aired. It's a pity, as it's an episode I'd like to see again -- and *not* at 11:50 when I've just stumbled out of bed! Between this and the fact that we had guests this week-end, this is going to be a rather patchy review.
I really liked this one. Lots of nice character interaction, some interesting themes, and the return of Travis and Servalan. Plus, of course, some foreshadowing of the Liberator's next mission (I'd have to be living under a large rock not to know about Orac).
As usual, we have two interwoven threads. On the one hand, there is Ensor's rescue, and on the other, the Avon-as-a-god storyline. I felt that the first aspect had some weaknesses. Tony Caunter was convincing neither as a delirious man, nor as a hostage taker. Maybe I'm just too used to seeing him as Roy Evans in EastEnders.
In fact, the hostage taking bit went on too long, IMHO; there was no obvious reason why Cally couldn't have overpowered the weakened Ensor from the start. And there's that Liberator-buggers-off-just-when-the-away-team-needs- teleport gizmo again. However, these weaknesses were amply counterbalanced by the scenes with Servalan and Travis, and the mysterious revelations about Orac. I'm looking forward to next week's episode already!
While Servalan was telling us about Orac, and Ensor was providing this week's excuse for the Liberator to scamper off, the other plot took us to a frozen wasteland inhabitated by cavemen and vestal virgins. The cavemen didn't have much going for them, but their existence was amply explained, and I rather liked their Ice Age huts. Although their motives for capturing Jenna were obscure (Judith - I'd go for them wanting a potentially fertile female who hadn't suffered genetic damage from the radiation fall-out), they provided a suitably expendable backdrop for the main action, namely Avon's sudden promotion to godhood.
Okay, I've complained before about oft-used scifi themes cropping up in Blake's 7, so I just have to mention that this is definitely one of them. Our SciFi Hero turns up in a backward culture and is mistaken for a deity. However, I liked this version a lot. The usual tendency is for Our Hero to give his would-be worshippers a lecture about false gods (or have I watched too much Star Trek?), but Avon's approach made more sense, IMHO. A long argument with Meegat would have achieved nothing since he knew he would be on his way by the end of the episode. The whole idea of the seed ship was nice, too, though Avon, Vila and Gan seemed to be jumping to a lot of conclusions as to its purpose.
One could argue, as Vila did, that he was getting a kick out of the whole business. I don't think Avon doubted for one minute that he would make a suitable god for Meegat. However, I do get the impression that his behaviour was prompted by pragmatism at least as much as vanity. He seemed cautious when she first rescued them -- there was no point antagonising the person who had just saved them, after all -- and embraced the role only once it became clear that he would be able to fulfil it completely.
There are some nice Vila moments in this episode too; he was obviously tickled pink by Meegat's reaction to Avon. Aside from that, Jenna gets abducted, Cally spends a lot of the episode with her face on the floor, Blake doesn't do much and Gan... is Gan, but at least he gets something to do.
Apart from Avon, the one character who benefits most from this episode is Travis. It was interesting to see the consequences of his last appearance in "Duel". He's very subdued in "Deliverance", and the hint of sentimentalism which he showed when talking to the mutoid in that episode appears again when he's talking about Maryatt. For all his cybernetic implants, Travis is still a human being.
Servalan, on the other hand, might as well be completely cyborg. Her casual attitude to Maryatt and his family shows that she's prepared to go to any lengths to achieve her ends. A nasty piece of work -- but someone who should be interesting to watch in future episodes!
I've already expressed my misgivings about Ensor Jr, so I'll move on to Meegat. I found her Bible-style declamations a bit tiresome, but as they elicited interesting reactions from Avon and Vila, I think they were just perfect for the episode. I have a feeling I've seen the actress in other things -- no doubt someone will refresh my memory as to what.
Subtext: nothing obvious, but the first scene with Avon and Blake possibly qualifies.
Some conspicuous blue-screen work on the first scene with Ensor's ship. Also, Blake and his crew saw the ship break up on their screen, but when we cut back to it, it was still ages away from the planet.
|BLAKE||None of which sounds very promising. [To Avon] You're sure you want to go down?|
|AVON||Are you afraid that I'll be able to cope with it better than you?|
|AVON||Well, perhaps you ought to be.|
|TRAVIS||You're almost as ruthless as I am.|
|SERVALAN||You underestimate me, Travis.|
[[And as the subsequent conversation proves, that's an unwise thing to do]]
|AVON||[pointing gun at her] Who are you?|
|MEEGAT||And you shall answer. [She approaches and prostrates herself before him.] My name is Meegat, Lord.|
|MEEGAT||[still kneeling before Avon] I will describe the way to the scavengers' camp so that you may rescue your follower.|
|AVON||My follower? I never really thought of her [Jenna] in those terms.|
|MEEGAT||Yes, Lord. Everything is as it was written. One waits.|
|VILA||[aside, to Gan] I told you she was mad.|
|MEEGAT||Welcome, Lord, welcome! [She embraces Avon's ankles.]|
|AVON||[extricating himself] Yes, well, let's not start all that again.|
|GAN||You've hurt her feelings now.|
|MEEGAT||I have offended you.|
|AVON||No, you haven't offended me.|
|AVON||I forgive you. [Stoops and brings her to her feet.]|
|VILA||You're enjoying this, aren't you?|
|MEEGAT||But it does not provide light.|
|GAN||Well, it could, Meegat, if it was working.|
|AVON||Of course. That's why they were waiting for us.|
|MEEGAT||All things are known to you. You are truly Lord. [Kneels before Avon, holding his hand.]|
|VILA||Counting yourself, that makes two people who think you're wonderful.|
|MEEGAT||[as if reciting] He shall recognize deliverance and speak its name. He shall speak its name as a thing known and understood. As to him all things are known and understood. [Kneels before Avon.]|
|VILA||[aside, to Gan] Been alone too long, definitely.|
|GAN||Do you really think we could launch that ship?|
|AVON||If the people who built it did their job properly, I don't see any reason why not. And it does seem we have a reputation to live up to.|
|VILA||Oh, you certainly do, Lord Avon. I wonder why she picked on you?|
|AVON||Well, now, you are hardly the stuff that gods are made of.|
|VILA||And you are, I suppose?|
|AVON||[to Meegat] That was close.|
|VILA||No respect. They obviously didn't realize who you were.|
|AVON||Meegat, I'm sorry you've waited so long.|
|MEEGAT||Our waiting brought you.|
|AVON||That seems like a poor reward, somehow.|
|ZEN||It is calculated that the rocket will make planet-fall in the system Magdalen Alpha.|
|AVON||How many suitable planets are there in that system?|
|ZEN||There are four with compatible biospheres.|
|ZEN||Five hundred earth years.|
|VILA||You won't be a legend in your own lifetime, then.|
|CALLY||Did she really think you were a god?|
|AVON||For a while.|
|BLAKE||How did it feel?|
|AVON||Don't you know?|
|BLAKE||Yes. I don't like the responsibility, either.|
Ariana: "Counting yourself, that makes two people who think you're wonderful." -- Vila to Avon in "Deliverance"
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