(Roger Parkes) reviewed by Marian de Haan


One of the worst of the Series. I can imagine the synopsis having looked good, and another writer might have made something coherent of it, but this plot simply doesn't hold together. [The drawback of having different writers: it plays havoc with the continuity, and this is the worst example of S2.] There's the confusion about Blake's trials, it seems the two are treated as one here. The whole idea of Shivan being accepted by the others at face value [without identity proof or even a medical check] defies belief. Apparently Governor LeGrand could openly hold dissenting views without being sacked [but maybe they "let her run" in order to catch her accomplices]. How did Ven Glynd get hold of that mind control device? And why didn't the Federation (or Glynd before his defection) use it to make Blake deliver his ship and crew into their hands?

Yet another aspect of Avon's wide ranging expertise is revealed: he now suddenly knows all about Federation indoctrination tactics. I can accept a man of his talents and scientific curiosity striving to gain every knowledge there is about technical matters, but you'd expect things like brainwashing to be out of his sphere of interests. [Not to mention the fact that it seems hardly the kind of information available to outsiders.]

Vila being stupid is in character but even he should have felt suspicious when Blake orders him to convey the course change to Zen while Blake can do it just as well himself. Leaving Blake in his care is crass stupidity and not in character for Avon.

Why don't Avon and Jenna try to teleport Blake up from that asteroid (he's still wearing his bracelet) instead of going down after him? And why do they take *two* spare bracelets with them while one would suffice for Blake in case he'd lost his own. And how can Blake know that they have them?

Travis's actions make no sense at all. His driving force is his obsession to kill Blake, so why doesn't he kill him the moment he sets eyes on him (like he did in Weapon)? Here he not only sits quite companionably at Blake's side, but when they prepare to teleport to the Conference Centre Travis even asks to remain behind, letting Blake effectively go out of his reach. If his aim is to conquer the Liberator, why then does he force the remaining crew to teleport him to the Centre after he's killed Nagu? One gets the impression that the plot is twisted here simply for the effect of having Nagu staggering dying into the teleport room.

Why did Servalan choose Travis for the role of mole. With his disfigurements needing such an elaborate disguise, he seems the least suitable person for that task. [Are we supposed to assume that the Supreme Commander of the Terran Federation doesn't have anyone else available?] Ven Glynd's role I can't figure out at all. Did he really defect or not? If he did, what was his aim? Taking the power for himself, as Travis suggests? Or is he also a pawn of Servalan, who seems to know all about the conspiracy? I'm sure a creep like him must be betraying someone [but at least he gets his come-uppance]. (Judith: My personal guess is that he really had defected, but he wanted to be in control of the new govenment and was thus prepared to be very underhanded about how he gained control.)

As Travis seems to be still wearing his bracelet, why isn't he teleported up along with the others. [Or, if he can be singled out, they could have reset the co-ordinates and sent him into space. :-)] And why doesn't he kill Blake the moment he materialises beside him? [He's got plenty of time for that before Glynd distracts him.]

If that mind control beam keeps on sending, why doesn't Blake hear it constantly, and what makes him hear it again suddenly after the shooting starts.

On the positive side, the women do get to play a part, with Jenna protecting Blake and Cally assisting Avon. And although more dictatorial than ever, Blake's behaviour is not out of character. [Take his reneging on their agreement about restricting access to Liberator - he started breaking his promises to his crew as early as Time Squad.]

Like in Breakdown, the consequences of the episode are not dealt with. How does Blake feel about having his mind tampered with again? As Avon says, it doesn't make him a reliable leader, a fact Blake is intelligent and courageous enough to recognise. Yet in the next episode they proceed as if nothing has happened.

Personal Appreciation: *

I find this episode excruciatingly painful to watch (another thing it has in common with Breakdown). The story is bad enough in itself, yet the production has managed to make it worse. When that walking mummy appears, things begin to look like a cheap horrorfilm. One must admire the actors for keeping a straight face.

There are good bits, quite a few of them even - Blake suffers beautifully; Avon's concern for him splashes from the screen [and he isn't even trying to find an excuse :-)]; the scenes between Cally and Avon are enjoyable as always - but these are overshadowed by the bad parts. Travis's disguise is so ridiculous it leaves one stunned. The rather handsome Ven Glynd from The Way Back has changed into this creep you wouldn't buy a second hand car from, let alone follow into conspiracy to overthrow the mightiest force in the galaxy. Governor LeGrand is as charismatic and sparkling as clonemaster Fen. [At least we're spared the angel choir here. :-)]

"The triumvirate, my friends," makes me shudder in agony, IMO it's the worst line in the whole Series. All that politeness and reverence the conspirators accord each other and Blake gets irritating, and what is Vila thinking, bowing for LeGrand? She's a Governor, not an empress - the solemnity of the occasion must be going to his head. :-)

Avon looks adorable in that black shirt and Blake's white outfit from Shadow makes me for once notice what he wears - a pity we weren't more often allowed to see them in casual gear. Liberator seems to stock different kinds of space suits (cf. Dawn of the Gods) and Blake inevitably chooses the ugliest. :-) Before donning it he must have taken time to change back into his green leather vest, which makes him look rather shabbily dressed compared to those flowing robes of the conspirators. Servalan wears one of her worst dresses ever and Travis as the mummy is too preposterous for words. At least Cally has a sensible outfit, but Jenna is able to do yoga exercises in a tight leather bodysuit. Poor Vila is again in his drab grey - one rule you can rely on in B7 is that the less fetching a costume is, the more often the character gets to wear it.


The description of Del Ten gives the impression of a holiday resort, which leads to the question of how they got Blake willing to take time off for pleasure in the middle of his frantic search for Star One. [Or were they expecting to find Docholli there?]

Does that mind control beam bring out Blake's true nature? I hope not, for in that case he's a nasty liar, cheater and manipulator. :-) I know he can't help it, but I hate him for feeding Vila those lies about Avon and Cally while they're working so hard and loyally to save him from himself. And I long to kick him for removing Orac's key. [One of the reasons I hate this episode is that it hurts to see him so intent on self-destruction.]

"You can't blame them for being human..." But one is an alien and the other likes to compare himself to a machine. :-) Vila doesn't seem surprised by Blake's claim about Cally and Avon having paired up - an indication that he must have considered it possible.

Why does Jenna at first object to resuming their former course when that seems the most rational thing to do? They can use Orac anyway to try to figure out what is going on, and change back to the new course later if necessary. [Avon's habit of giving in to women without much resistance is demonstrated perfectly here. Both Jenna and Cally seem to evoke much less contrariness in him than Blake does. :-)]

"That's the problem: no heart." I can't understand that remark. Is Avon, who always claims to prefer machines above people, complaining about Orac's lack of feelings? And note how helpful Orac is, it doesn't complain once about wasting its resources!

"Don't overreact! Remember, this is for your beloved leader." That's how we know him, gentle and charming. :-)

Avon shows a lot of compassion for Blake in this episode, and he isn't even trying to hide it (a first!). Clearly the Federation's brainwash tactics are something Avon feels strongly about. That, and the fact he knows so much about the subject, must mean that he's been confronted by them before. [His brother comes to mind here.]

"They could make an effort..." I suppose Jenna is sarcastic, as she doesn't strike me as the type to worry about ecological issues. :-) Is Blake really planning to leave the others on the asteroid? And what is all that talk of mutants for? First Vila uses the word, and then Servalan has it in her message.

If Avon can pick Liberator's locks in Bounty and Powerplay, why not here? Different lock or is it because Blake has damaged it?

Why do Jenna and Avon give in to Blake's order to let Shivan and Glynd come aboard? Why not tell Cally to teleport them and Blake (who's still wearing his teleport bracelet) up again? It's clear that Blake is in no state to make decisions, so why do they comply?

A nice symbolic scene is Avon sitting at his position with Cally at his side while Blake and Glynd sit with the others on the couches. Although probably just due to camera angles, it conveys the impression of Avon and Cally as outsiders on their own ship, the flight deck having been taken over by the conspirators.

"Acclaim it for that" sounds much too Shakespearean for Blake IMHO. :-) And how can he, even under the influence of that telepathic beam, be happy with having his brain tampered with again?

"I'll wait for you in the antechamber..." Isn't Vila bashful? :-) You'd expect him to want to share in Blake's glory. [Or is he getting cold feet about the whole enterprise and deciding he'd rather not be in the thick of it?]

Who can take the trio of LeGrand, Ven Glynd and Shivan seriously as candidates to bring down the Federation? From the first look at them you know they're doomed to fail. [And one wonders what is worse: a Federation ruled by an evil but competent regime, or by those goons? :-)]

What Could Have Been Done To Improve It:

- A total rewrite.

Episode Review Index

Back to B7 Top