Continuing my dive into Blake’s 7… spoilers aplenty!
The team breaks the not-quite-format-yet by going to the rescue of a ship that appears to have been stuck in the same orbit for a long time. Turns out they’ve stumbled onto a classic locked-door murder mystery: the crew all asleep thanks to some gas through the filters, and one dead. They’re a group of non-Fed humans trying to take a crystal back to their planet which will save the colonists from starvation. Of course, said crystal is worth a very large amount of money, and one of the crew has made a deal to sell it and pocket the proceeds, to everyone’s loss. There are a number of red herrings, as you would expect from this sort of story, and I’ll admit that I didn’t expect it to be the innocuous-seeming blonde woman. It was quite a nice twist, actually.
Still loving Avon. I remember being impressed by Battlestar Galactica and its depiction of genuine fights between men and women, where the men were fighting another person, not a woman. Here, Avon totally decks Sara because she is a genuine danger to him and his. I really do appreciate that egalitarian spirit.
Mystical blue women (who turn out not to be blue) start this episode off, which immediately put me in mind of Farscape, although these women seem even weirder than Zhaan. And their place of worship is particularly bizarre, with what looks like people stuck in the ground reaching up. Creepy. (Also, Zhaan would have done something about getting a tshirt bra under that outfit.)
helLO Travis! There’s something peculiarly attractive about that eye-patch. (Maybe it’s the leather pants….) But your pilots look like they have black capsicums on their heads, which is a bit weird. They’re also mutoids, requiring blood serum for some reason, which is neither here nor there at the moment but I’ll bet it has some impact on the story arc (yup. Stranded on the planet with no serum). Mutoids were mentioned, I think, in the earlier Travis episode, but we finally get some explanation here: they’re people who have been modified in such a way that their memories are completely removed, as well as whatever else happens to them. Travis appears to get a perverse pleasure from telling his pilot who she had been, although she doesn’t respond at all.
Travis and Blake face off in their first full-on space battle in this episode, and it gets manipulated by the creepy mystic women for their own purposes; time distortion and stasis and everything (with oh such awesome 70s colour freakiness to demonstrate what’s happening). Their calm in the face of the “primitive violence” of Travis is magnificent – especially given the history they reveal, of their long-lasting violent global upheaval. Ah pacifism. And yet they propose a duel apparently to resolve their differences! How quaint… and how nasty, involving Jenna and the mutoid from Travis’ ship, making it all the nastier! Travis enjoys this fight way too much… as does Giroc, the old creepy woman. She’s a bit too sadistic for my tastes. The effect of having the ships’ crews watching everything that’s happening is quite clever, too, although I don’t think they got enough airtime to make it worthwhile.
Avon once again gets the best lines. Travis and Blake up trees for the night: “unless they’re planning on throwing nuts at one another I don’t see much of a fight developing before it gets light.” Also, he admits that he does care about Blake, cutting Villa and Gan down with devastating po-faced wit, pointing that it shouldn’t be necessary to go irrational to prove you care – nor, in fact, why it should be necessary to prove it at all. Oh Avon, I really look forward to more of your story.
Weird Tales sold
Strange Horizons Fundraising Drive
What Culture Have we Consumed?
Alisa: Doctor Who Season 2, Outer Alliance Podcast
Alex: Trouble and her Friends, Melissa Scott; Only Ever Always, Penni Russon; Synners, Pat Cadigan; Blake’s 7.
Tansy: SF Squeecast #3, Panel2Panel (http://panel2panel.podbean.com/), Among Others by Jo Walton, Alcestis by Katherine Beukner, Stormlord’s Exile by Glenda Larke, KINDLED
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