(Terry Nation) reviewed by Marian de Haan


Jolly good, with a convincing plot, lots of action and excellent fight scenes. Travis and Servalan are delightfully scheming (with Servalan making sure Travis is going to bear the blame if things fail) and Blake is falling for it beautifully. The robot Avalon seems a bit too perfect [until we get to see the inside of its head :-)] but never mind! It is a nice contrast to that flame throwing security robot! [Rule One For Makers of SF TV-series: don't waste time and money on building clumsy robots. Just dress up a person and call it perfect robotic engineering; equally unconvincing but a lot cheaper! :-)]

Jenna gets something else to do apart from piloting and her character is given some depth here in her antagonism towards Cally. [Doesn't make her loveable, I know, but one of the charms of B7 is that the 'heroes' are not flawless.] And she is the one who points Blake to the reason they've been allowed to escape. A pity about that scream, though - totally out of character.

There's real tension when the fake Avalon asks for her tunic and Gan goes and fetches it for her. It is nice to see the strong Gan overcome by such a seemingly fragile lady. Isn't he bemused? :-)

In such a good plot, the few errors stand out all the more. Firstly, Blake ordering Gan to stay on the flight deck when they're going to search for Chevner. Surely you want to include your strongest man in the search party? Leaving Jenna on watch would have made more sense - she's the pilot after all. [Plot device, I know: Jenna wouldn't have so gallantly gone to fetch Avalon's tunic, but it still seems stupid.]

And where does Avon go to when left to take care of Cally? Was there a scene, cut out later, of Cally coming round and telling him it was Avalon who attacked her and him setting off on the hunt? Or must we simply put it down to sloppy directing?

Vila is at his best, helping to threaten the guards and generally getting in nobody's way. Luckily we have him protesting and dawdling before that, otherwise the character wouldn't have been recognisable. :-)

A last minor dig: how can a machine be more sensitive to suspicion than a human? I can't see any robot capable of that kind of instinctive reaction. [All right, that's just Avon getting carried away by his favourite topic of machines being superior to humans. :-)]

(Judith: Of course, the biggest flaw of all is the android examining the sphere before crushing it, thus giving time for it to be taken away.)

Personal appreciation: ***

This one has a lot going for it. The reason that it's not among my favourites is solely that Avon has not much to do in it. But we do get his nicest smile of the whole Series [IMO]. Doesn't he look like a mischievous boy, sharing glee with Cally about having dispatched Vila so swiftly? It's one of his most relaxed moments and I like to imagine that here we see a glimpse of the real Avon, when he's feeling relatively safe. [Can't last, of course! :-)]

I love his jibe about the Liberator supporting intelligent life. Bit of an own goal, though. <evil grin> [Or maybe not; following Blake doesn't seem the most intelligent action for someone primarely concerned with his own safety.]

With Blake and Jenna gone it is Avon who takes charge of Liberator, although he seems a bit reluctant to take command. [It's much more fun sitting aside telling others what they're doing wrong! :-)] He shows confidence in Cally by letting her do the piloting. Still, it's a pity that it had to be the woman again that got knocked down, although there is some satisfaction later in seeing the Avalon robot dealing with Gan. Isn't Blake the gallant hero, giving his anorak to Avalon? And it's good to see Vila holding a gun without dropping it. :-)

Avalon seems a bit too youthful and groomed for the tough resistance leader she's supposed to be, but one should never judge by appearances. I like Chevner; a pity he had to die. [Yes, this is the BBC, so all the good-looking guys have to die! :-)] At least that traitor Terloc gets his comeuppance. Glynis Barber as the mutoid I don't recognise at all.


So Avon has a knowledge of Federation weapons too? What a very useful man to have around. :-) Still, he can't reprogram the Avalon robot [but does it anyway - isn't it fortunate he can do just the few minor functions Blake needs?].

Why is it necessary to undress Avalon for that torture scene if the sole object is to suck her brain? [Yes, I can answer that one. <grin>] (Judith: I get the impression the machines operate on more than one level. I think humiliation is part of the reason here. If Avalon is feeling vulnerable then she may be less able to resist the machine) The prisoner chosen as guinea pig for the virus experiment seems to be drugged. Standard practice like on the London, or just for this occasion?

"Have you got any better ideas?" Avon doesn't like leaving orbit any more than the others. All through this episode his concern for his companions slips out beautifully. Watch him run to the teleport on hearing Blake's urgent request, and his rush to the unconscious Cally, followed by the tender caress when there's no-one around to watch him. But then he leaves her ankwardly propped up on that chair - his bedside manners leave something to desire. :-)

"What went wrong?" "I was about to ask you that!" Did Blake fear that Avon had taken Liberator and run? :-)

Judging by their reactions to Blake trying out that Federation gun, Gan must have faster reflexes than Avon: he looks up a full second before Avon does. A pity they couldn't have synchronised that better. (Judith: I think I always thought that was just Avon demonstrating how cool and unconcerned he was.)

There seem to be a horde of Federation prisoners in the complex, so why rescue only Avalon and let the others rot? Another example of Blake's single-mindedness. :-) (Judith: without knowing their crimes, I'd hesitate to let a bunch of potential thieves, murderers, embezzelers, child molesters, etc. loose on the planet - though come to think of it, that's pretty much what he had on his ship <grin>)

Travis's quick reaction in catching that virus marble saves his own life and that of his Supreme Commander. In view of her later treatment of him he may come to wonder why he bothered. Blake could not have foreseen that someone would manage to catch it. Seems like he's prepared kill them after all, as long as he doesn't have to pull the trigger in their faces. :-)

Servalan in fur, Travis in leather - the Federation does not appear to be a suitable place for vegetarians.

What Could Have Been Done To Improve It:

- Spare us the sight of the inside of the Avalon robot's head.

- Give an explanation for Avon's disappearance during the search for Chevner.

- Don't make Jenna scream.

Episode Review Index

Back to B7 Top