(Chris Boucher) reviewed by Marian de Haan


Entertaining and fast paced although relying too much on coincidence, with Dorian turning up rather too timely. How did Dorian know where to find Liberator? And, as he couldn't have foreseen her destruction, how had he planned to get the ship and crew to Xenon?

Cally's death makes it a sad story, but is in line with the realistic concept of the Series. As pilot, Tarrant seems a more suitable person to go checking on the wrecked spaceship than Avon. Also Dayna isn't Avon's natural choice as companion. [Yes, I know he couldn't have taken Cally for obvious plot reasons, but an explanation for Dayna's presence and Tarrant's absence would have been nice.]

Avon is quietly protective of Dayna when he shields her from the blast - and later of Soolin when he prevents her from getting too near the "monster" - but when Dayna wants to be stupid, he doesn't stop her; a nice bit of characterisation. Vila's character is also spot on, he's prepared to help the others but not at the cost of his own life, abandoning his rescue attempt of Cally to avoid being trapped in the exploding base.

How long does it take Scorpio to reach Xenon? In Terminal Zen says that the nearest planet - which isn't Xenon - is 96 hours away, presumably at Liberator's speed. But they can't have been travelling for four days or more on Scorpio, Dorian wouldn't have managed to sham unconsciousness for that amount of time. [Maybe Terminal is travelling through space as a rogue asteroid? That would explain why it got lost.] And why doesn't Avon check whether the equipment to repair Orac can be found aboard? [One can expect an obsolete spaceship to carry a well-filled repair toolkit.]

Vila is again shown from his best side, his character has toughed up quite a bit since he dropped his gun in Space Fall. Tarrant's "You'll be old some day!" must be a residue from the original intention of having Tarrant played by an older actor. From Steven Pacey the line sounds ridiculous. Dayna's screaming and falling into Tarrant's arms doesn't match what we saw of her in the previous Season. [I know it's a set up so Dorian can make his point about them having formed a bond, but Dayna is ill used here.] Avon has his priorities right in shooting the "monster" first, but why doesn't he shoot Dorian too? [Run out of ammunition?]

Personal appreciation: ***

Like Redemption, this is one of those episodes that stay in my mind as nothing special but on rewatching prove more entertaining than I remembered. Avon looks fetchingly heroic, waving his gun about and threatening Dorian. Him going back for Tarrant, and coming up with a selfish reason for doing so, brings back shades of the Avon-Blake interaction. Also nice to see Vila save the day again. Tarrant gets the chance to prove his worth as a pilot, something we haven't seen since Harvest of Kairos. Dayna shows her independence and spirit by consistently not doing as she's told. I love Avon's look of resigned indulgence when she tells him to go out of her way.

The one thing I hate is Cally's death. Avon's reaction to it is in character. [Well, we can't expect him to burst into tears in public, can we? :-)] Vila's too, his flirting with Dayna can be considered as his way to deal with a too harsh reality. Still, Cally gets a poor send off - Tarrant and Dayna don't seem to mourn her at all. [Maybe that's the reason she calls for Blake - the knowledge that he's the only one who won't balk at mourning her openly? :-)]

The ominous music at the emergence of Scorpio fits in well. I love Scorpio, she may be no match for Liberator in looks, but her flight deck provides a better overview. The camera can catch the whole crew, sitting at their positions, in one shot, which gives a nice feeling of intimacy. That wall doesn't look so obviously like a teleport bay that it can't be anything else, so why do they all immediately recognise it? I like the Scorpio guns - an improvement to Liberator's curling tongs. :-) (Judith: I love the Liberator guns. They're so different from the typical SF weapon.)

This being done on a BBC budget, neither Links nor snakes are remotely scary. Dorian is suitably sinister, from the beginning you can feel he's not quite the friendly, helpful chap he pretends to be. Soolin is a worthy replacement for Cally. She could have done with some more colourful outfits, but that applies to them all. I love the way she pushes Avon's gun aside - she's not in the least impressed by him. :-) A pity we don't get to hear how she got involved with Dorian.

"His taste in wine and women is impeccable" seems a strange assessment for Avon to make. I take it as a quick cover up for the fact that he hasn't got a clue what to think of Dorian. :-) The thing I like least in this episode is Avon's interacting with Dorian in the scene where the latter is explaining his plans. For example the way Avon says "Appetite?" I suppose it's meant as Avon appeasing a madman, but to me it looks out of character. (Judith: I feel it more as Avon mentally measuring the depths of Dorian's probable depravity.) My favourite moment is Vila on the stairs, overhearing their conversation and deciding on the sensible course of action to stay in hiding.

That eerie end scene in the cellar is one of the few scenes I remember from my first watching the Series. I also remember Soolin silently climbing up the stairs while the others are staring at the dead young man, a scene that was sadly cut from the commercial video. Another cut they made is Vila looking longingly from the gun to his glass after he's found the Federation gun. A pity, as both scenes are conductive to the plot.

Vila shows his talent as magician, he's managed to conjure a costume from the destroyed Liberator. :-) Where did he and Dayna get those gloves - found them on the base? The crew's new costumes are terrible! The person responsible for all that dull, depressing grey deserves to be shot. Didn't s/he know that colour television had been invented?


Did Terminal's shape change since the last episode or are we seeing the planet from another angle?

Poor Avon, in this episode nobody does what he tells them to do. Interesting that Vila is the one to know about old cargo ships only having the flight deck pressurised. This ties in with him having been in space before.

That's a nasty bruise Dorian has on his forehead, even before bumping his head. Did Slave make a rough landing? :-) Those lava eruptions look a lot like those in the Dr Who story Inferno.

"Name six!" Somehow this sounds out of character for Vila. Nice to hear him shout for help louder than Dayna.

"Beneath that cold exterior beats a heart of pure stone." Does Dayna still know Avon so badly?

Why are they all reacting so strongly to Dorian's "You mean you're here by choice?" (Judith: beacause he says it in a way that implies he knows something important that they don't.)

"No! Why should I?" Always nice to see Vila rebel.

Was Ensor in hiding for 20 years or 40, as stated in Orac? Maybe Avon is testing Dorian here?

"I was just about to summon you." If this is Dorian's usual attitude towards Soolin, one wonders why she ever took up with him.

What Could Have Been Done to Improve It:

- Use the same footage for Terminal as in the previous episode.

- Explain about Dorian's plans for capturing Liberator and its crew.

- Explain why Cally is calling Blake's name.

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