Meagre, even with splitting the action, but entertaining if you like the notion of Avon being hailed as a god. If not, then there's not much else to speak for it. However, it's a story with a difference. :-) Up to now we've always seen Blake taking the initiative, yet here Avon has apparently volunteered for leading the rescue party without even checking the conditions on Cephlon. [And when he does he can't back out without loosing face. :-)] Compared with his behaviour in Project Avalon, where he did the sensible thing by staying in the warmth, it feels out of character. That jibe about making a better job of it than Blake is weak, Avon has a choice of safer methods to outshine him.
[In the original script Blake was leading the mission, leaving Avon healthy to go after the medicines and Orac in the next episode. Their roles were swapped because it was considered inconceivable to have Avon meekly handing Orac over to Blake. Still, it's a pity the writer / script editor could not come up with a convincing motivation for Avon to volunteer.] (Judith: Impossible filming schedules may also have contributed. The location shooting on 'Bounty' - which needed Blake and Cally - apparantly clashed with work on 'Deliverance'.)
Some other firsts here: Avon choosing Vila to accompany him [wanting to keep an eye on him? :-)]; a door that Vila really can't open; and Avon shooting someone. [We don't know yet about the visa-seller and neither did the writer. :-)] It is interesting how Avon has developed from a fairly unimportant supporting character to the one drawing the most attention. Loved or hated, he's simply impossible to ignore. :-)
Servalan is up to her usual deviousness, using Travis as well as the hapless Maryatt to lay her hands on the mysterious Orac. The callousness of her plan shocks even Travis, but only for a moment as we witness the last flicker of his conscience. Travis's obsession with killing Blake has reached the point where it's hard to take him seriously any longer. It only needs a change of actor to make him a total caricature. :-) A pity, as the character started out well.
Personal appreciation: *****
This is my favourite from S1, mainly for the hilarity of seeing Avon being hailed as a god. It's part of his ambiguous character that he reacts quite differently from what we would expect, his "That seems a poor reward somehow," being miles away from his usual arrogance - a nice indication of the difference between the real Avon and the image he wants to present to the world.
Zen not being obtrusive for a change is a relief. [The result of Avon having carried out some reprogramming? :-)] Regrettably the women do not fare well, Jenna being captured and Cally held hostage. On the other hand it's good to see Vila, when put on watch, revert to his familiar inaptitude. :-) Ensor junior surpasses Blake in single-mindedness and Maryatt seems too nice for a Federation army surgeon. [Can't imagine him involved in nasty experiments.]
Avon does the right thing in offering to go back to search for Jenna. Blake shows restraint in leaving him to it instead of stepping in to do the job himself. Gan is fitting in as never before. [Note how in the small group here he can be made to participate instead of just hanging around. No wonder he is never replaced - a team of six is one too many in B7. :-)]
The primitives are really primitive here, but aren't there any children and old people in the tribe? Blame the radiation [or BBC casting :-)] (Judith: or the legislation relating to child actors and the hours they can work). Meegat is convincing in her adoration. That kind of veneration can easily become a farce, something the actress manages to avoid. Which leaves us with the question how those brood units are going to be activated once they reach their destination, and who is going to tend to them. All on inbuilt automatics? Clever Kashell the Wise.
I'd have liked some more information on Meegat and her people. This kind of story always leaves me with practical questions like, does she live alone, where does she get food, who chose her for that guardian task? Not essential to the plot, I know, just questions that keep quietly nagging me. :-)
Servalan is elegantly evil in one of her best dresses. Avon is looking gorgeous in that silver-white parka, Gan looks good in brown and Vila's red anorak makes him stand out for miles in that snow. :-)
Why don't they take protective clothing, surely in that vast wardrobe aboard Liberator there must be something suitable? And isn't it remarkable how none of them ever gets lost? Do they all have compasses in their watches? [By the way, It must have been cold in that quarry during the filming as you can see their breath. :-)]
Avon is in charge, which is all right for Vila and Gan but I wouldn't expect Jenna being prepared to take orders from him. [Note how, when the four of them materialise on the planet, Michael Keating forgets to stoop and we can see that he is actually taller than Paul Darrow. He plays Vila slightly crouched to make his character look smaller. With Avon stealing most of our attention, it is easy to miss how good an actor Michael Keating is.]
"Respirator!" Avon knows his stuff about First Aid too. It's amazing how they all know exactly what to do in an emergency. But isn't it careless of Blake to leave Ensor in the care of the frail Cally? [If he falls off that bench she won't be able to catch him. :-)] Vila shows that he is a clever technician. Not surprisingly considering all those complicated locks he can pick, but something in which he is usually overshadowed by Avon. Here they work perfectly together to get that rocket launched.
"You'd better!" Rather peremptory, considering Blake's own blunder in not missing Cally after their raid on Centero. And Blake had no excuse, unlike Avon who's busy saving Ensor's life. Besides, Jenna was with Gan. Yet Avon accepts the blame as a leader should. [But how I wish he'd punched Blake on the nose for it real hard! :-)]
Why flee from those stone throwing scavengers instead of simply shooting them? Avon shoots one and that's it. Empty power packs? [Or is Avon too overcome by the fact that guns can be used for something else than tossing about. :-)] Avon must have taken some lessons in unarmed combat [from Cally? I can't see Jenna obliging him :-)] between Space Fall and here.
How does Meegat know Avon's name when the others don't use it in her hearing? Initially she just calls him Lord, later she suddenly knows his name. Oversight, or was the part where one of them tells her edited out?
Isn't Avon a cautious fellow, keeping his gun in his hand so long after it's clear to everyone else that Meegat is no threat? This being S1, he's not allowed to kiss (or kill) her. [Can that be why he's so miffed at the end? :-) I suppose it's because of Blake's remark about the responsibility of leadership hitting right home but it feels like overreacting. Probably too subtle for me. :-)]
What Could Have Been Done To Improve It:
- Let Vila or Gan use Avon's name in order to let Meegat know it.
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