(Chris Boucher) reviewed by Marian de Haan


Entertaining, with the action compensating for a rather uncomplicated plotline. After the previous atrocity most of the regulars fall again in character here. The additional characters are also believable and the roles performed well by the guest actors. Chris Boucher has done an excellent job in making Vila the hero while keeping him entirely in character. For once he dares stand up to Avon. [And Avon takes it. :-)] Cally regains some of her combative personality of S1. Dayna again gets the chance to use one of her explosives. Although we never see her work on them, we get at least to see the fruits of her labour. :-)

Tarrant's character remains a problem: we have the clever and ruthless mercenary from Powerplay, the loyal follower from Volcano, the hostile moralist from Dawn, the honourable and capable commander from Harvest and now the nasty but naive bully. Will the real Tarrant please stand up! [I'm all in favour of character development but regarding Tarrant we're presented with a different personality in every episode.] Can we really believe that a seasoned mercenary would strike a deal without wanting to check the merchandise? Tarrant's stupidity here seems difficult to match with his competence in Powerplay.

Kerril's transformation from tough bandit to doting companion with just a change of clothes seems a bit forced but the actress brings it off well. Avon leaving the guarding of the dangerous Bayban to Dayna is too much of a plot device to be credible, however satisfying it is to see him letting the women in his group participate in the action. Bayban the Berserker is a delightful villain, although one can wonder how a madman like him can have survived until this point. [Maybe his mother held him in check and this was his first independent enterprise? :-)]

Personal appreciation: ****

Getting rather tired of Servalan's pursuit of Liberator, it is a relief to have another story where she doesn't appear. And it's nice to see Vila playing the hero for once - and still staying in character. Also good to see Avon and Cally working so companionably together, and she's every bit his equal. And we have the first real pawing of the ground between Avon and Tarrant. Usually Avon refuses to enter the game, just ignoring Tarrant's challenges, but here he is forced to react.

Tarrant's treatment of Vila is utterly unforgivable. [Yes, they're all nasty to him at times but not like this. The only other time someone has threatened to throw a crewmember off the ship was in Time Squad, when Blake told Avon to warn them when he wants to be dropped off. But that's no comparison: Avon can defend himself, Vila is helpless.] This is such a different Tarrant from the revered hero of the previous episode - clearly Chris Boucher's take on the character and Ben Steed's don't match. :-)

Avon's behaviour isn't that much better here. He stands up for Vila, yes, but only after the deed. The thing I hate Avon most for is that he always waits until Tarrant's done with bullying Vila before coming to his defence. All right, they need the crystals, but neither man should have let Vila go alone! In accordance with his 'nicer' image of S3, Avon is at least prepared to go searching for Vila. Tarrant's redeeming trait is that he can say sorry, and seems to regret his action somewhat later on. But Cally's right: the risk wasn't his to take.

Blake no longer being there to keep them occupied, Liberator's crew apparently spend a lot of time in the wardrobe room, selecting something new for nearly every episode. Avon's costume is unmemorable although the v-shape design of the tunic suits him well. Cally looks good in white and dark red. Vila has now chosen a real judo outfit, but I can't make out whether it's grey or blue. Tarrant seems to favour pastel-tinted shirts, this time a pale blue one. Dayna's dark skin goes well with bright colours. Her red suit has again one bare shoulder. Kerril also sports a bare shoulder after she's changed out of her bandit leathers.


- Vila keeps talking about his man, but what makes him so sure that the constructor of the force field can't have been a woman? :-)

"I don't have to take any rubbish about it from you!" Good for Vila to stand up to Avon. He should have done that more often. :-)

Vila to go alone, unarmed, no inspection of the crystals... Tarrant's naivety is breathtaking here.

Do the ferocious looking guns of Bayban's gang really have six barrels or is that just the poor image of my video? What is Bayban feeding Vila? It looks like dogfood to me. Bayban seems not very clever and easy to manipulate. And doesn't he notice that Cally and Avon are throwing down his men's guns while retaining their own? [Nice scene, that.] The fight between Bayban/Sherm and Cally/Avon looks convincing. Cally certainly is back in her fearless warrior character.

"We can't all be as reliable as Zen." "But I thought you were..." Nice bit of teasing - Avon looks like he doesn't know what to make of it. Judging by his reaction to her "Let me do it", he is more open to suggestions than Blake. [I'm thinking here of Blake's refusal to listen to her in Orac.]

Why does Avon order Dayna to take Bayban outside while it's safer to watch him together? [Plot device, I know, but not very logical.] And why doesn't Vila go with Kerril? [Yes, I know the answer to that one too. At least she's allowed to live - if this was S4 she would have met with a horrible end. :-)]

What Could Have Been Done To Improve It

- Not leave the guarding of Bayban solely to Dayna and find a less easy way for him to escape.

- Let Vila take a suitable revenge on Tarrant. :-)

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