(Roger Parkes) reviewed by Marian de Haan


Boring and predictable - another cunning plan of Servalan to get hold of Liberator destined to fail. The only difference is that this time she takes the opportunity to indulge in her urge to breed. But since it's evident that the Series won't want to be landed with a whole horde of Servalan-clones, we can expect her offspring to be dealt with before the episode's end.

Servalan commits genocide on a scale Hitler could only dream of. She mourns her foetuses [after having killed them herself] (Judith: she was fooled into thinking that they weren't hers, but knew the truth when she felt them die) but never gives a thought to her other victims. Even Travis showed pangs of conscience sometimes, Servalan doesn't seem to have one.

This episode is weak in continuity. Not only does the Auron policy of isolation conflict with what we were lead to believe in Time Squad and Bounty, we also get that vicious and uncharacteristic row between Cally and Avon where they both seem intent on really hurting the other.

One of the Series' strengths is the quality of the guest characters and we get a good example of this in the Deral-Ginka interaction. The calm, experienced Deral seems a decent chap, while the young and ambitious Ginka is presented as a nasty piece of work. [Was he passed over for promotion because he's too cruel even for the taste of his assessors? :-)] (Judith: Or perhaps racial prejudice is alive and well in the Federation.) Characterisation works less well in the Auron camp. The Auron commanders don't convince. [Ronald Leigh-Hunt gets my vote for second worst supporting role right after Brian Blessed.] Zelda remains almost totally without personality and is written out in the most predictable manner. Franton fares only slightly better. The escape scene is badly executed: Franton ducks far too late to evade that guard's shot. Avon's dash into the corridor makes him look awfully brave but seems hardly wise. What's he supposed to do - impress Tarrant? :-) At least he ducks at the right moment.

A combination of clever make up and excellent acting make Cally, Avon and Tarrant look convincingly and increasingly ill. Those foetuses look almost as revolting as the Saymon-entity in The Web. For such a clever, ruthless woman Servalan is too easily tricked by Ginka's suggestion about the foetuses. And wouldn't it have been more prudent of Dayna to knock Deral out before going on the rescue. What's preventing him from jumping Vila while she's gone?

As usual, we don't get to see the repercussions of Servalan's crimes. Or are we to believe that the Federation can get away with wiping out whole populations without any of the neutral worlds caring? The laughter at the end of the episode sounds awfully strained and no wonder as it's in reaction to what must be the poorest joke in the entire Series!

Personal appreciation: *

For me this is one of the most depressing episodes of the lot. Granted, the Auronar are no more appealing then Volcano's Pyroans, so maybe it's just the fact that they're Cally's people that make their annihilation hurt more. Servalan unleashing her clones on the universe is too horrible to contemplate. [Imagine the infighting if her offspring had survived. Maybe *that* would have served to bring down the Federation. :-)]

The fireworks between Cally and Avon are amusing, although slightly bewildering. This pacifist Cally has come a long way from the companions-for-my-death guerrilla from S1. (Judith: Or possibly - wishful thinking maybe - she resents him harking back after Anna when she's in love with him herself and thus she gets angry with him.)

Deral reminds me of Durkim from Star One: an experienced officer who appears to be basically decent but adaptable enough to be able to make promotion within the evil Federation.

Is Servalan supposed to have a telepathic link with her foetuses that she can feel them die? (Judith: there is an implication that telepathic links are stronger between clones. In my personal universe, the Auronar also insert the telepathy gene in to any children they clone) Sending Deral back to her is a bit harsh on the poor chap but Avon clearly isn't in a benevolent mood. Zelda sacrificing her life for the clones of the woman who wiped out her people - how wet can you get?

Avon looks good in the costume with the V-shape design. The same design is used in Cally's outfit. Red and blue aren't her usual colours but they suit her well enough. Vila's thick-folded orange tunic looks much too warm for indoors. [Afraid of catching a cold? :-)] And what's that enormous sash supposed to mean? Servalan, again in a frock with one bare shoulder, seems impervious to cold. Dayna's outfit looks uncomfortable to wear and Tarrant's is barely noticeable except for the strings.


Apparently Avon told Vila and Tarrant of his plan for capturing Shrinker, but not Cally. Did he tell Dayna? And why is Cally so against the elimination of a professional torturer?

"She was important to me." Is this the Federation's society's way of saying "I loved her?" [Blake uses the same phraseology in Hostage]

Avon's right, going down to the planet and risking infection *is* crass stupidity. Yet he not only gives in after only the slightest persuasion but actually goes with them! Can this indicate that Cally has become "important" to him? :-) Leaning over her chair in the control centre he seems quietly protective of her.

"It's only Vila up there." Doesn't Servalan miss Dayna among her prisoners?

Vila's unsealed helmet would be of no use as protection against the plague germs. His concern when told that the only cure for the plague is on Servalan's ship seems strange as he knows Orac has already cured Patar. What happens to the elder Auronar, who are supposed to be resistant to the disease. Are they all lined up against a wall and shot?

"I'll take him." Why not leave the dangerous work to Tarrant? :-)

Why not blast Servalan's ship out of existence the moment they're all back on Liberator? Surely she can't get out of Liberator's firing range so quickly? Apart from being a fitting revenge it would have prevented Servalan from committing any future genocide.

Isn't Dayna a muscular woman, being able to carry Cally single handed?

Like in Shadow, Avon's the one who's gone to check in on Cally. [Nice to see *some* continuity.] What makes Avon so certain that Cally will stay with them? Not affection for him, surely? :-)

What Could Have Been Done To Improve It

Preferably an entirely different script, but failing that:

- Give an explanation for Auron's apparent policy change since Time Squad (or at least let someone comment on it for the sake of continuity).

- Better choreography of the escape scene.

- Leave out the joke at the end.

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