(Terry Nation) reviewed by Marian de Haan

Story: Solid. Well, I'm a bit sceptical about cells being able to develop into a fully grown human being within less than two minutes, but that's a minor and very personal thing. The title is so obscure I had to have it explained to me [and still can't see it making much sense :-)]. But we have the first fireworks on Liberator's flight deck and they're among the best. Blake is consistent in disregarding the others' wishes to the point of not keeping to the agreement about discussing his missions before embarking on them. [Not that the poor man can be blamed; with a crew like that it's the only way to get something done. :-)] There is an inconsistency when he tells Avon about the danger of staying in orbit too long and then wastes such a lot of time waiting for the Resistance fighters to contact them. Vila's reluctance to enter into potentially dangerous situations is amusing, as is the scene of him admiring Saurian Major's plant life. That rosy mist does give a feel of alieness to the place and Cally's red camouflage suit blends in nicely. This is the only point in the Series where we get some information about Gan's past. He is a murderer but can be excused because it was self-defence and besides, the man he killed had killed Gan's 'woman'. [You can have a dashing smuggler, amusing thief or brilliant embezzler among the band of heroes, but never a nasty murderer! :-)] Zen is at its most independent and unhelpful, holding back important information and nearly causing the death of those two crewmembers it actually said welcome to. The bit where Jenna shoots that second guardian is confusing. It looks like she's hitting Gan by mistake. He seems to be hit in the chest but later he limps. All very unclear. The heroes getting out in the nick of time is standard, but done well enough here to provide some suspense.

Personal appreciation: **** I love stories featuring deserted space ships so this one has a plus just for that. Avon's apprehension about his first teleportation experience is a nice detail. ["Ready?" No, but he's never going to admit that he's scared! :-)] It is that kind of small matters that makes the characters so lifelike. "Are you sure you can trust me?" - here Avon is in character. Blake's reply seems irritatingly arrogant; in what way does he think he can be useful to Avon? Note how Blake forces his trust upon him. And Avon responds, first getting the co-ordinates right for that tiny capsule and then doing some clever piloting to bring it aboard. We've seen Jenna instructing only Blake, but she must have given Avon a few lessons too. It is difficult to get a grip on Jenna's character. On the one hand we have the tough independent smuggler and pilot who takes charge of Liberator (The Web, Bounty) and can stand her ground in a hand-to-hand combat. On the other hand she's the frightened girl who runs to others for advice/protection (Cygnus Alpha: "Blake, I think you'd better come.") Here both aspects are present. [With writing like that it must have been hard for Sally Knyvette to present a consistent and convincing character and one must respect her for making such a decent job of it.] Cally is presented as a tough experienced warrior, yet Blake is able to trick her. [Well, it's written by a man so we can't have the woman win, can we? :-)] Seriously, despite all this nit picking: Terry Nation has done a good job in creating strong female characters for B7.

Observations: Jenna is a pilot, Blake (allegedly) an engineer, yet Avon is the expert on spacecrafts [the omnipotent-computer-wizard syndrome again]. Why does Jenna volunteer to accompany Blake to the capsule? She's less prepared to trust Avon than Blake, so why risk him abandoning them (or teleporting them into space)? All right, Vila and Gan are there too and the latter is big... :-) At least Jenna's decision provides some nice scenes of her and Blake holding hands. <grin> In these early episodes they seem very companionable together. "Bring your bag of tricks," appears to indicate that Blake knows about Vila's lock-picking skills, yet at the first locked door they come to he is surprised that Vila can open it. Why does Gan volunteer to deal with the guardian when he must know that his limiter will prevent him from killing him? [All right, he probably thinks he'll be able to knock him out but it still is irresponsible. At the very least he should have told Jenna about the limiter before setting out.] Is Gan a paramedic of some sort? He seems to have spied out the location of Liberator's First Aid kits, and can find the right piece of equipment at a glance. Jenna is amazed at its instant healing capacities, indicating that this is not something common in the Federation. Why doesn't Blake leave Avon on Liberator as backup until he's made contact with the Resistance fighters? "I can do what needs to be done faster with your help" must refer to sabotaging the paraneutronic generator. [And Avon delivers, of course: "Five minutes, I know, make it two."] Despite his nasty comments, Avon is showing himself from his best side all through this episode - the first example of his deeds belying his words. :-) Why does Avon look so murderous when Blake tells him that Jenna will teleport them. Is he afraid that she will send him into space? :-) Cally and Avon seem to be hitting it off right from the start. Note her appreciating look and his quick smile; mutual interest there. :-) [Yes, I know the actors deny it, but what do they know? <grin> The fun of B7 is that you can interpret it any way you like.] It looks like Blake almost forgets to give Cally a teleport bracelet. Surely that should have been done before they entered the complex, in case they need emergency teleportation? Back on Liberator, Blake immediately asks after Jenna, but nobody seems very concerned for Gan. Well, he is expendable. :-)

What Could Have Been Done To Improve It:

Find a better title. - Show us Jenna instructing Avon instead of Blake to fly Liberator (as a prelude to him bringing that capsule aboard). - Give a clearer presentation of the scene of Jenna shooting that second guardian. (Does she hit Gan or not?)

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