This episode is full of strong guest characters: Bek and Hannah, Largo and his enforcer. Even that shapeless force of darkness is evilly and threateningly present when speaking through Orac. And let's not forget the moondisks, one of the most original alien life forms in the whole Series.
There's a similarity in Largo and Blake both pushing their underlings too far, causing them to cast off their chains. Largo doesn't learn from Bek's rebellion and pays the price for disregarding his enforcer. Blake equally chooses to ignore the warning of Vila's defection, denying his crew the much-needed break. Also, in his impatience, he cuts off Zen just when it is about to inform them about the tracer element in the shadow sample.
Crew interaction is great, even Gan getting his due for once. Suddenly Blake's staunchest follower dares to stand up to him. This is Gan's best episode, demonstrating that the character has potential after all. Jenna is consistent in taking things at face value ["I don't think you care."] and Blake is again expressing doubt about Avon's technical skills ["Will it work?"].
The theme of the newcomer turning out to be a liability (Cally in The Web) is repeated here with Orac. Cally gets to shine here, her threat to Space City's Central Control being one of her best moments. This is how she started out: the fearless guerrilla fighter. No hesitation, no conscience searching - she gives the gunship's crew a fair warning and that's it. A pity the character could not stay this way. [One of the strong points of B7 is the character development, and in principle there's nothing wrong with Cally stopping now and then to contemplate her actions. What is so riling is that the various writers never get a unanimous grip on her, resulting in her character haphazardly shifting from one extreme to the other.] Even her telepathy is used to advantage here (something that doesn't happen too often.)
The story's only weak point IMO is the use of telekinesis. Surely a technician of Vila's worth would have thought of using some insulated tool to remove Orac's key? There's nothing like the threat of immediate death to activate the grey cells [something Vila was showing in the previous episode when he suggested to fire those seekers]. :-)
It's a pity that the scene of Avon and Gan dashing into Largo's office to free Blake and Jenna is so unclear. [Even with the tape on 'slow' I can't follow their movements as described in the transcript.] (Judith: bear in mind that they are transcrips, not scripts. ie. They are a fan-written record of what was seen on screen - they are occasionally inaccurate due to worn video copies, etc. so if anyone has corrections, I'll happily edit them in) Avon rescuing Blake is getting routine, this is his third time in a row - although, to be fair, he's only a nose-length in front of Cally here. :-)
Down on the planet Avon embarks on his career as a sharp shooter. Yet his "Next please!" sounds out of character. Although from here on he doesn't hesitate to shoot if necessary, he'll never again give any indication of enjoying it. [Maybe, like when knocking out Sara, he's shocked to find that he *can* enjoy it? :-)]
Cally looks elegant in that dress but incredibly slim. [Proof that she's an Alien, no healthy human can be that thin. :-)] Jenna's purple top is excellent (but then, she looks good in almost anything). Vila manages to keep his whitish outfit clean right through his orgy. :-) Avon's silver top is gorgeous, making him look truly aristocratic. (Judith: and it's made of leather <grin>) [I never noticed the thigh length boots until reading about them, something to blame the quality of the videotape for.] Jenna, Avon and Blake all look good in their tropical costumes. [I bet it was very cold in that quarry during the filming; you can almost see them shiver while commenting on the heat. :-)] The contrast between the smooth, impeccable suits of the Terra Nostra grandees and Bek and Hannah's outfits and hairdos works excellent.
"The One called Orac..." Doesn't it sound like Zen's jealous? Makes one wonder whether that could be the reason for it being so co-operative suddenly: does Zen fear they'll make Orac take its place? :-)
Why does Blake, who comes over as a bit of a control freak, let Avon do the negotiations with Largo? And why does Avon comply? [He doesn't believe it will work so why bother?] That scene with Blake silently demanding back the jewels - are they laying it on for Largo?
How did Vila come back? Judging by Blake's description he was hardly in a state to put on his bracelet and request for teleport. :-)
Why does Blake change his mind about taking Bek and Hannah with him? The reason he gives them is crap. Has he done some quick thinking in recognising Hannah as an addict and seeing the merits of using her shadow supply for analysis to find the source of the drug? (Judith: I think he just had a twinge of guilt about leaving them and used Vila as an excuse.)
"*We* chose the wrong approach?" Avon actually gets Blake to admit that he was wrong. A great moment!
"She's more human than I am." Do we have to infer from this that Avon is an alien? :-) Anyway, he's consistent in only paying compliments when the recipient isn't around to hear him.
We see Blake at his most obsessed here, pushing on with his mission regardless of Cally's condition. It's true there seems to be nothing they can do to help her, but wouldn't it have been prudent to try harder finding the cause? After all, it might present a danger to them all.
Why does Cally climb up that dangerous slope when she can be teleported just as well from the bottom?
"Whose is this?" Avon is ready for verbal battle, only to back down quickly when Cally reveals herself as the moondisk's owner. We can almost see him biting back all those witty stings he'd prepared, coming up with that dig at Vila instead. A nice bit of crew interaction.
At the end, when they're preparing for the attack, why do Avon and Vila take each other's position? Avon wanting to do the shooting for a change? No, probably just an oversight by the director. :-)
- Leave the telekinesis out.
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