(Jim Follett) reviewed by Marian de Haan


Weak, with a promising start but petering out after the collision with the asteroid. The Space Rats aren't a bad concept, but the idea is used badly here. If they've been destroying Federation patrol ships on a regular basis, surely the mighty Federation would have dealt with them long ago? Are we to believe that a scientist of Plaxton's calibre couldn't have found a better refuge than with a group of homicidal maniacs like the Space Rats? The writer leaves a huge loose end in not mentioning what happens to Plaxton's assistant.

The story lacks substance, all that running round in the quarry looks all too clearly like the padding it is. Atlan using the Space Rats for his own ambitious plans feels like something brought in as an afterthought, when the writer/script editor/director stumbled on the statement about the Space Rats being only interested in speed.

Vila again shows quick thinking in a crisis, his drunk act is convincing and for once the women are prepared to let him get away with it. He's again singled out for a dangerous mission, but at least Avon doesn't let him go alone, like Tarrant did in City. It looks like it takes Michael Keating an awful lot of trouble to drop his gun. The thing seems to stick to his hands and perversely refuse to fall.

Ten thousand frames a second seems a bit much. Dayna being quick-witted, in convincing their captors about them being Plaxton's students, is unusual but refreshing. Avon tossing something away again is nice continuity. Notice how he remains standing while Scorpio lifts off, the only occasion we see of someone not sitting down for take-off. [Yes, with Plaxton aboard all seats were occupied but it seems in contradiction with the other occasions, when they have to strap in tightly.]

By this time Avon has become the undisputed leader. Although they're all protesting against his decision about going so close to the asteroid, nobody sees fit to override his command. Likewise at the end, they protest against his decision to activate the drive, but don't stop him. It's clear Avon doesn't like his decision to sacrifice Plaxton but he rightly makes it when necessary to save his ship and crew, one of those tough decisions that come with the position of leader. In true B7 tradition, his cold "Who?" at the end can be taken anyway you like. [IMO it's just his customary practice of winding everyone up. :-)] (Judith: It's a relief to note that the scriptwriter avoided the pun that could have ruined the ending. 'Dr Who' would have been awful.)

Personal Appreciation: **

Avon's windblown hair looks good, but that can't *entirely* save the episode. :-) Fond of action that I am, I usually like to see Our Heroes run round in quarries, but here it's too obviously padding and only serves to make one realise how much this story could have used a second plotline. The purple filter for the planet scenes seems superfluous here. A coloured filter worked well in Time Squad and Hostage, but this bit of quarry is drab enough on its own. :-)

Tarrant seems to go merrily along with Avon's plan to use Vila and Dayna as decoys. Avon seems confident that he'll be able to get them out before the Space Rats will do something nasty to them. Still, I sometimes long back to the more responsible Avon of the previous Season.

At least the outfits of the Space Rats give some colour in the drab greyness of the S4 costumes and sets. Weird shoulder pads seem to have been a speciality of the costume designers; compared to some others the Space Rats' aren't all that remarkable.


That asteroid looks mightily dangerous to get near to - and even more to land on, which is probably why they don't try that.

Why didn't they bring Orac? It seems rather careless to leave the world's best computer on their base for any casual visitor to grab. And, later, why don't they kick it until it answers their question instead of wasting all that time watching those frames? [Avon usually manages to get Orac to do what he asks. :-)]

The exploding Federation spaceships - can one hear sounds in space? And it's interesting that Avon directs his question about what happened to Soolin, which must mean that he regards her as more reliable than Dayna or Vila.

Teleport teething trouble; Vila and Dayna landing so far apart - that never happened with Liberator's system. :-)

"I wonder what this thing does?" And then we hear nothing further of it. Apparently in the original script the device was the starter for the space choppers, and that's why the Space Rats couldn't pursue Scorpio. Storywise, it makes sense. One wonders why that scene got axed while such a lot of padding was needed. (Judith: Vere Lorrimer prefering action to exposition?)

Why does Plaxton work so slowly, knowing about the time limit?

"She's dead either way." Avon's right, waiting won't save Plaxton, it will just kill them all.

What Could Have Been Done To Improve It:

- Find another way for getting Our Heroes onto Plaxton's trail than having the Space Rats blow up those Federation spacecraft.

- Find a more plausible refuge for Dr Plaxton.

- Another twist to the story or a second plotline to reduce the padding.

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