(Allan Prior) reviewed by Marian de Haan


It is always difficult for a writer to make clever people do stupid things in a convincing manner and here Allan Prior is failing dismally. The women come off well in the small contribution they're allowed, but every one of the men is behaving unacceptably stupidly. In Seek-Locate-Destroy Blake was able to come up with a viable plan to rescue Cally from her captors. Here he is reduced to blindly rushing in. Vila falling asleep on duty in the warm, comfortable environment of Liberator is one thing, but out in the cold on a planet surface?

This is the first and last time we hear of Crimos. They are supposed to have a high intelligence quotient but that isn't apparent in these specimens; they seem even more stupid than Travis, and he's far gone. :-) What use does Travis have anyway for intelligent underlings if all they have to do is obey his orders? Although an original concept, those crimos are totally wasted in this story.

It's also the first time Avon takes the initiative behind Blake's back, with disastrous results. [And foreshadowing the following seasons, where it will become clear that Avon simply lacks Blake's uncanny luck. A realistic take on the unfairness of life - very B7.] Avon's ambiguity is used to advantage here, as we can't guess his reason for going down after Blake. At least that brings some tension into the story. (Judith: Well, we can *guess*. My take is that he feels guilt and a sense of responsibility.)

Ushton's turnover from co-operating coward to crimo-bashing die-hard I find totally unbelievable. I know he's supposed to protect his daughter, but it doesn't feel right - if he's really such a superman he would have found a way of eliminating Travis and his bungling crimos long before Blake arrived.

IMO the end would have been more convincing if Jenna and Cally had come to rescue the others, instead of Ushton doing the job. At least they get to deal with one crimo, and that's a mighty kick Cally delivers! Of course Travis is allowed to live. :-( I know this is too callous for B7, but the logical thing to do would have been to kill Travis, then wait for Servalan to arrive and kill her too. [If nothing else, their deaths would serve to encourage the resistance movements.]

Personal Appreciation: *

There are a few scenes that I like - the space fight at the beginning, Cally sensing Avon hiding something, Servalan being beleaguered by Councillor Joban, the snapping in the airtight cell, Avon being wounded - but the rest is so awful these get snowed under.

Can we really be expected to believe that the crew would not have made repairing the detector shield their top priority? Also, the way the rest of the crew is prepared to let Blake go alone to Inga's rescue strikes me as improbable. Surely Cally would have volunteered to go with him? And why doesn't she later insist on accompanying Avon? Considering the fact that she's already suspicious of him, you'd expect her to want to see what he's up to. :-) [Yes, I know the plot needs for Vila to join them, but that's my main objection against this story: nearly everything the characters do feels wrong.]

I can accept Avon choosing Vila to assist him rather than the more capable Cally or Jenna. After all, Jenna might well refuse to go and he would want to keep Cally away for fear that she'll be able to probe his mind. [Feeble excuses, I know, but with so many improbabilities one likes to have *something* make sense. :-)] (Judith: Avon sometimes tended to regard Vila like a pet dog. His great advantage was that you could boss him around and he would generally do what he was told.) Warning Servalan is utterly stupid - if she'd got there first Blake would have found two enemies waiting for him. Or did he think she would just have taken Travis and departed without checking what he was doing there? At least, seeing his action may have brought Blake into danger, he does the honourable thing in going to his rescue [and failing dismally :-)].

No memorable outfits for the crew, most of them we've seen before anyway, and those silver thermal suits make the men look very bulgy, but I like Servalan's dress. The mutoids look very good too, more human than the previous ones.


One thing that always baffles me is how a space fight can cause so much damage in the form of explosions, smoke and fires inside a spacecraft. For obvious reasons they can't be caused by direct hits penetrating the outer hull, so is it all caused by fuses blowing out? I'm sure there's an explanation [I'm hopeless with all physics and science] but it would have been nice to have it explained somewhere in the Series.

"I was rather hoping to sell them the idea..." But not before his retirement, surely? :-)

How fortunate that Blake enters the flight deck just in time to hear the Exbar code while Vila is sleeping. [A needless and irritating plot twist - if the message is intended for Blake, Orac could have warned them. I suppose the intention was to stress Vila's habit of falling asleep and thus make his later nap in the cold on the planet more acceptable.]

"She meant a lot to me once..." A nice, ambiguous phrase. Avon is taking notes, he'll be using it later to describe his feelings for Anna. [But why can't any of those oafs just simply say: "I loved her?"]

Why does Avon ask for Vila's opinion when they're discussing Blake's intention of going to Inga's rescue? Nobody ever bothers, and Vila's answer makes clear why.

Servalan is rather parsimonious in the measure of the drink she offers Joban. [Or is the stuff so strong it can only be taken in small quantities? :-)] She has no mercy with her failed captain, which can't do much for the motivation of her underlings. Am I mistaken or did she take his mutoids to fly her ship?

In Time Squad a red camera filter was used to give the quarry a desert look, here a blue one is used to convey the sense of cold and it works equally well. Nice to see the buddleia thriving on other planets, and in the bitter cold too. :-) A prime example of how a species can adapt, like Inga. The men need thermal suits but she's able to survive half-naked. [I can understand the producers wanting to attract the male viewers but this is ridiculous.]

"I don't believe it!" My reaction exactly on the first viewing. :-)

Isn't Avon a genius, finding that broken twig and matching it to the tree? I can imagine Blake thinking of that, he strikes me as the Boy Scout type :-), but not a dome-dweller like Avon.

Blake, Avon and even Vila are caught much too easily. One might put that down to a component in the planet's atmosphere that reduces the human capacity for clear thinking (which would explain Cally and Jenna staying unaffected) were it not for the fact that they start acting stupidly even before teleporting down. (Judith: Maybe you could attribute it to the low oxygen levels on Exbar?)

Is there no headgear to go with the thermal suits? (A lot of body heat can be lost through the head.) And is the colour off in my videotape or are Blake and Travis wearing pink lipstick? (Watch their first scene together.) No, it must be the lighting. :-)

Where did Travis get hold of those crimos? Is there an agency that hires them out?

What has Ushton done to be sent to a penal colony? Was his family exiled with him? And why were they allowed to have visitors? With the Federation apparently in charge of all its citizens to the point of feeding them tranquillisers, why would the regime want to waste resources by providing transport for visitors to exiled criminals? [I wish the writer had made Ushton a colonist and spared us all those questions.]

Why does Ushton stop faking his limp after he's seen Blake off? Before that point he's keeping up the pretence even when he thinks he's alone, like when Blake gets his first glimpse of him. [Yes, it's a plot device to rouse Avon's suspicion but it is of the clumsy sort that grates on me.]

"Who is the weakest?" "The word!" The weakest parts of a very weak episode, the latter scene is only worth watching for Michael Keating's convincing acting.

Why does Avon tell Blake about his message to Servalan? He's not the type for deathbed confessions and it's unlikely Blake will get the chance to find out. Or is it meant as morbid consolation: "She'll get Travis after he's killed us." [Yes, I know, it is to reveal his action to the viewers, but that doesn't make his confession credible.]

Interesting to see that there seems to be a universal law for how bodies explode when teleported into space. Molok's demise follows that of Vargas atom by atom. :-)

In the tower, why doesn't Ushton kill Travis instead of merely knocking him out. And why don't they shoot those crimos that are running away from those falling rocks? (Judith: reminds me of a comment Gareth Thomas made. Apparantly he came home after shooting and said they'd spent all day hurling polystyrene rocks at the bad guys. He wondered how come they didn't just shoot them with all this wonderful futuristic technology.)

"Leave me!" A nice example of Avon's self-preservation. Since Travis is obsessed with killing Blake - a fact we can assume the crew to be aware of by now - the further away from Avon Blake gets, the safer Avon will be. ;-) (Judith: <grin> and I see it as Avon trying to get Blake to safety as fast as possible.)

Is Ushton his first or his last name? If he's a brother of Blake's father, shouldn't he be called Blake too? I wish the Federation's custom in naming (and its class system) would have been thought out and explained a bit more. (Judith: My take is that Roj would have called him Ushton as you generally call uncles by their first name. Ushton called him Roj, not Blake)

What Could Have Been Done To Improve It:

- Too much to list.

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