(Allan Prior) reviewed by Marian de Haan


Enjoyable although a bit flimsy. Blake getting them into trouble so blatantly feels a bit forced. This is the first time we hear about his desire for a base, an idea dropped again almost instantly. (Judith: Though Avon is seeking a base in 'Volcano') Zen not registering the freighter until it is practically on top of them is a weakness, as is the freighter travelling on minimum scan while carrying a fairly important official like the commissar.

Here the Federation's usual colonising technique of beating or drugging the natives into submission is abandoned for the more profitable tactic of educating the local ruler's son and setting him up as a loyal puppet king. The mentioning of Ro's friend gives a nice link to Blake's time on the London, although we didn't see Paura there. :-) Are we to understand he was one of the prisoners killed by Raiker to bring Blake to submission?

The guest characters are well portrayed. Ro as the weak, inexperienced and impressionable puppet king, with his betrothed(?) Selma twice as capable and strong-willed as he. The commissar as the dedicated Federation servant, convinced of his nation's superiority and too arrogant for his own good. [Watch his genuine surprise when Ro finally turns against him.] The Assistant, angry at being treated with contempt by his superior but forced to endure it.

As always, crew interaction is the highlight of the show. Blake's character is steadily becoming less appealing. He's always been ignoring his crew's wishes but now he's disregarding their welfare as well. Keeping the tired Jenna on duty is not conductive to their safety. [This is the point where you'd expect a mass mutiny - even the belligerent Cally recognising their need for a break. :-)] Avon entering quietly while taking the chance to eavesdrop is one of those recurring themes that make the characters so real (cf. Project Avalon and Trial).

The end falls a bit flat; if Blake is so eager to get a base, why not take up the subject with Ro? All right, he's in a hurry but once they dealt with the pursuit ships he could have gone back to discuss the matter. [End of episode, I know. :-)] Also, the fact that it is the magnetic barrier that destroys the ships could have been made more clear. On the first few times of watching this episode, I didn't understand what happened to the ships, having forgotten all about them encountering that barrier. :-)

Personal appreciation: ****

I love to see Blake getting himself and his followers into trouble. :-) Avon wrestling with his conscience is also a joy to watch. Yes, leaving the others in the mess *is* the logical thing to do. His resigned laugh when Zen tells him about the pursuit ships and he realises he is going to do the stupid thing and check whether they really are dead is wonderful. [The first time I saw this episode I really expected him to run, and got increasingly irritated as well as surprised when he didn't.<veg>] (Judith: Either I'm misreading Marian, or else my understanding of this scene is very different. Avon is told that he cannot take on three pursuit ships *alone*. With the others to help him he would stand a chance. Thus, he is given a logical excuse to do what a part of him wanted to do in any case - go back and see if they are alive.)

Vila's moaning being taken seriously [by Cally that is, the others look like they wouldn't give a damn if he did dissolve in a cloud of agitated atoms] is a first. The glorious "I'm not expendable, I'm not stupid," line sums up Avon's self image [or self-delusion, since he can be incredibly stupid at times :-)] succinctly. The scenes with Ro drag on, as do the torture scenes [poor Jenna, made to suffer for her beloved leader :-)], but there are enough good bits to compensate for it. Blake is at his toughest, urging Jenna to persevere. The scene of him taking charge of the miners during their lunch-break illustrates his managerial skills but you'd expect at least one of them to challenge his self-assumed authority.

Avon has certainly learned how to shoot - I love to see him blasting away at those Federation troopers. Did he aim at (and miss) Blake deliberately? [I wouldn't put it past him. ;-)] (Judith: I believe this is one of the cases where an actor changed the origanal line. It was originally along the lines of 'Can't you tell your frineds from your enemies any more?' Gareth, or someone else, changed it to 'Missed'.) It is remarkable how the cerebral character of S1 is changing over into an action hero without losing his credibility. [Proof that an intelligent man can indeed adapt. :-)]

Avon again displays his weird fashion sense with those boots, although they do come in handy here when he goes jungle trotting. Vila looks good in that yellow shirt, a pity he leaves it behind in the mines. Jenna's gear is pleasing to look at but absolutely unsuitable for strolling through dense woods (or doing slave labour in a mine). Cally is again done up in that hideous white-green dress from Redemption. [S2 gives the most erratic costume allocation, making one wonder whether there was any concept behind it. I can't get rid of the vision of the person responsible for the costume designation standing with closed eyes in front of the wardrobe, randomly picking out items. :-)]


If they're all so tired, why not give them a break? The Blake of S1 would probably have recognised the need.

"I'm curious..." Blake lacks Avon's skill for producing sensible reasons for his deeds. :-)

"Give the girl a chance!" Despite her snubbing him in the previous episode Vila again stands up for Cally. [The poor guy never learns. :-)] Like the others, he isn't in the least afraid to antagonise Avon. But how old is Cally supposed to be? She doesn't look all that 'girlish' to me.

"Judgement day" sounds like an anachronism. Religion has been banned for a long time in the Federation and none of the crew seems to be subjected to any lingering religious feelings. [I can accept them still using the word hell because that is now also commonly used by non-religious people.]

Poor Blake and Jenna, keeping silent under torture while Vila spills the beans at once! :-) None of the crew seems inclined to thank Avon for rescuing them. Blake particularly, shows himself singularly ungrateful. Did he fear that Avon really had run? :-)

Why does Blake waste time going back to Ro while those pursuit ships are approaching? Dealing with them first, then going back for a peptalk to Ro would have been more sensible.

"They might be protected." Avon knows what Blake is planning. Do the others? [I didn't! :-)]

What Could Have Been Done To Improve It:

- Give a reason for Blake not pursuing his wish to establish a base on Horizon. (Judith: Because the Federation know now that they have been there. Their presence would increase the danger for Ro and his people.)

- Give a reason for Zen not registering that freighter sooner.

- At the end, let someone make a clear reference to that magnetic barrier (for those feather-brained viewers like me who had forgotten all about it).

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