(Roger Parkes) reviewed by Marian de Haan


Highly entertaining with a nice build up of tension when the routine pickup mission turns into a nightmare with Scorpio's systems failing one by one. After the chaotic Voice from the Past and dull Children of Auron, the writer proves his skill this time. The headless robot must have given the special effects department some headache, but they hit on the most practical solution. [A thing to be grateful for, considering the robot in Seek-Locate-Destroy and Project Avalon.]

Scorpio's sleeping alcoves seem a lot more utilitarian than the little we saw of Liberator's cabins. This is the first time we see Avon entertain guests on Xenon base. He seems rather smitten by the buxom Vena, who isn't his usual type if we go by Anna, Cally and Servalan. :-) (Judith: I always saw it as courtesy rather than attraction.) Vila is less cowed by Tarrant than in the previous Season. Tarrant taking the box with him to Scorpio, apparently for no other reason than that "Muller" tells him not to, ties in perfectly with him rushing off after the intruder in Sarcophagus against Avon's advice. The usually cautious Vila being so eager to open the box feels a bit out of character, but is sufficiently explained by his professional urge to open all locks. Avon being wasteful in tossing his equipment away is consistent, but him and Vena leaving their helmets behind when they teleport back from Scorpio is downright stupid - without helmets those suits won't be of much use next time.

That hydro plant seems a bit too convenient, but it isn't as bad as some of the other coincidences we've had. Did they somehow manage to save the bomb case from Liberator or is that tube a universal design?

Personal appreciation: ****

Lots to enjoy here for me, and it's a bonus that Servalan doesn't appear. Not that I dislike her character - as a truly evil Baddie without the slightest conscience she's hard to beat - but so often the story gets tediously predictable the moment she turns up.

I like it that Vila and Tarrant are getting on somewhat better now. Tarrant making Avon's life difficult is one thing - Avon's up to it, anyway - but the way Tarrant picked on defenceless Vila in S3 really hurt. The line "A little work never hurt anyone." is great, coming from Vila - as Tarrant says, how would he know? :-) I suspect Avon of being as lazy as Vila. Note how he leaves it to the women to get Vila and Tarrant back to base and then to the resurrection room, while he goes off and chats with Vena. :-) Vila looks almost as fetching when he's unconscious as Avon. :-)

Nice to see Avon still in the mood for a bit of teasing with his "It will be Vila or me." His smile indicates that he knows very well that Vila will decline the offer.

Vena must buy her clothes at the same store as Dorian - dull grey with a bit of colour in the elaborate, geometrical collar. Those golden space suits look much better than Blake's gear in Voice from the Past. That gap between helmets and neck seems a bit odd, but maybe they've a mini force field that keeps the air in. :-) Who braided Soolin's hair for her? It's the kind of model that's impossible to do by oneself.


"That's a very valuable head you hit!" Methinks Tarrant could have been a bit more grateful to Vila for saving his life. :-)

Why do they leave the bracelet on "Muller" once they've teleported him to Scorpio? [I know, plot device to enable him to teleport to the base. :-)]

"Try not to be stupid!" Avon couldn't keep up the polite chatter, of course. :-)

"You're the computer wizard." Note how Tarrant gives Avon his due in this respect. It's a nice contrast with Blake, who seemed to be forever doubting Avon's abilities. ["Are you absolutely sure?" (Seek-Locate-Destroy), "Will it work?" and "Can we rely on it?" (Trial.)]

How will they get rid of Vena's body? Bury it or burn it or just dump it somewhere?

How vain is Avon? When you've got a homicidal robot loose in your base it seems hardly the right moment to waste time on changing your clothes. But maybe the spacesuit hampered his movements; in that case donning something you can run very fast in seems sensible. :-)

What Could Have Been Done To Improve It

- Closed helmets on the space suits.

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