Story: Coherent, consistent and chilling in its portrayal of the fascist-like Federation. The brainwashed Blake we're introduced to, his confusion and gradual 'awakening' is presented well. The tension increases with the false accusation, the forwarding of the London's launch time and the lawyer working against the clock to find the evidence that will release him. The first time I saw this episode it kept me gripped throughout [and I was expecting a happy end to the very last minute.:-)] The horror of those final scenes - Dev Tarrant standing over the lawyer's body and the London launched...
Personal appreciation: * Despite the excellent storyline this episode has some fatal flaws. Firstly, it loses much of its appeal once you know how it's going to end. Secondly, the only dialogue worth remembering, as well as the sole light relief, is the introduction of Vila. Thirdly, Avon's not in it (although he was in Terry Nation's first draft, as the one who says "Take a long look, that's the last you'll ever see of Earth!") and for me that brings it right to the bottom of the list. [There, I had to bring in Avon somewhere! :-)]
Observations: Jenna comes over as a strong character, making her moment of despair all the more touching and believable. Vila is presented as a kleptomaniac rather then the proud-of-his-skills professional lock-picker of later episodes. Blake changes over well from the complacent model citizen to indignant, ardent rebel. Ven Glynd, Dr. Havant and Morag are evil with the detachment of officials dedicated to the smooth running of the country. (Nothing personal, they just can't allow Blake to disturb the public order - the end justifying the means.) Varon the lawyer seems a bit naive; can he really be part of the system without catching on to its corruption? But maybe we should blame the suppressants for that. :-) Some of the 'Outsiders' look like they've stepped straight from a Cecil B. DeMille movie, much too biblical and totally out of place here IMO. The Federation citizens are given a distinct and acceptable fashion style. In contrast to Avon's coverall in 'Rumours', the prisoners seem to be wearing their own clothes here. Only Vila's outfit goes against the fashion. Blake's costume is his simplest and IMO his best of the whole series.
What Could Have Been Done To Improve It: - More humour, sorely needed in a grim story like this. - An explanation for the fact that the ruling class seems unaffected by those suppressants in the food and water. An antidote? Special food and beverages? Immunisation? - Include Avon. :-)
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