The Discovery of Blake’s 7 (complete with spoilers)
I didn’t get to see all of this episode because the disc was a bit broked and kept skipping. I saw most of Blake and Cally going to convince an ex-president of a non-Federatation planet that he ought to return to his planet and stop it being subsumed by the Feds, and I saw that the Liberator was under possible attack… but I had no idea by whom until quite near the end. I had thought Zen the computer was acting very strangely and that we were about to find out more about the shifty AI! But no. Sigh. It was just ordinary run of the mill space pirates.
I am enjoying Blake and Cally working together. Her telepathy is of course an enormous boon, and presumably is one of the reasons she is so often used on missions requiring scouting etc – not that she can ‘hear’ guards or anything, but she can warn Blake when they are near. As well as that, though, she is resourceful and good at fighting. Of the other characters, Vila is a coward and Gan has the limiter chip and Avon is still not entirely trustworthy and Jenna has to fly the ship, so she’s a good choice for all of those reasons too. And there’s no flirtation. In this episode, I enjoyed their interaction with the ex-president, too, especially his infatuation with mid-20th-century Earth stuff. It’s a neat little device used to show how weird things we take for granted today might seem in the future; Blake’s reaction to an automobile was priceless.
Overall this is a fairly by-the-numbers episode I think. It shows how tricksy and sly the Federation can be in getting other planets under its sway, it shows how resourceful the crew is… but that’s about it.
It had to happen at some stage, I suppose. Avon being mistaken for a god, that is.
I think I’m beginning to figure out the general format for this show, and it often involves two parallel plots. With a crew of seven – even if one of them is constrained to the ship (I presume!) by virtue of being its computer, there are a limited number of plots that genuinely utilises every single one of them in a one-track story. So, two plots. In this case, after watching a spaceship ditch on a planet, the crew rescues one survivor and transports him back to the Liberator… while losing Jenna at the same time. So Blake and Cally stay on the ship, looking after the survivor and then being held hostage by him as he forces them to redirect the Liberator onto the course he had previously been following.
Meanwhile, on the planet, Vila, Gan and Avon are searching for Jenna, who has been kidnapped by a bunch of savages; the boys are saved by a mysterious woman in a cave who, naturally enough, greets Avon as a god. They manage to rescue Jenna and help out the mysterious woman, who is somehow part of a group of people who had been waiting for someone with just Avon’s talents to help them launch their own spaceship, packed with frozen embryos and seeds, towards a planet some 500-odd years away. Totally makes sense in context.
Once again it’s Avon who gets to be the most complex and interesting in this episode. For a start, his determination to save Jenna is a bit surprising – he has seemed mostly callous towards all of them previously – and is an indication that perhaps finally he is starting to feel some companionship towards the others. Mostly, though, it’s in how he treats his apparently divinity. Of course he makes light of it at times, and of course at other times there’s a glint in his eye that suggests he could get used to that sort of thing. But he does not, actually, take advantage of it at all. Instead he does exactly what the woman asks, fulfilling the prophecy and her dreams. It shows him to be a remarkably… moral, I guess, and peculiarly honest man. And there’s a wonderful exchange with Blake towards the end, where Blake asks him in an amused tone what he thought of being regarded as a god, and Avon asks back – somewhat archly, somewhat sarcastically – “Don’t you know?” or words to that effect. Blake looks at him, and acknowledges his point, and admits that he doesn’t much like it either.
So there’s one episode left in this series, and of course it’s on the next disc, so I hope Bigpond hurries up and sends it to me. I’m wildly excited to find out whether this is the sort of series that goes in for cliffhangers.