Rewatching Blake’s 7 – Part 3

Season 1 – Episode 9

Thanks everyone for reading the last two of these.  I know I usually do four episodes at a time, but have only got time for one tonight.  This one I’m writing as I watch so it might be a bit different.

Episode 9 – Project Avalon

We start off with Travis and his mutoid companion (apparently now back in his good graces) on Hoth, or somewhere similarly chilly.  They make contact with a traitor in the ranks of a rebel leader called Avalon, who is expecting to make contact with Blake in order to be transported off planet to somewhere safe.

Blake and the crew duly arrive and get ready to combat the icy temperatures.  Vila’s recommendation that they wrap up warm for the -120 degrees that they are teleporting down to is noted.

b7alvalon2

The traitor leads Travis and his force to Avalon’s people and there ensues a small massacre of surrendering rebels much in the same vein as episode 1.  I can’t say that I’ve quite seen anything like this in prime time television before.  The casual way in which the rebels are dispatched is quite chilling and leaves us in no doubt as to the methods of Travis.  When Blake arrives and sees the carnage, he investigates.  One of the rebels (near death) points a toy M-16 assault rifle at him but collapses before he can get off a shot.

Back to Travis’ base and some bizarre medical interrogation stuff going on with Avalon, who is now his prisoner.  Travis is going to use her to trap Blake and take the Liberator.  All of a sudden this reminds me of Where Eagles Dare, with a prisoner in an impregnable base who has valuable intelligence and must be rescued before they spill their guts about it.  There’s just time for a bit of classic Avon here, as Vila doesn’t want to come down to the planet as he has a weak chest.

“The rest of you isn’t very impressive.”  Brilliant.

Enter Servalan, dressed up in furs like Vin Diesel in xXx.  A mink coat apparently gives protection in -120 degree temperatures.  She’s deliciously evil, delivering Travis a very nice, bouncy ball-sized special effect which is the last piece of a chemical weapon he’s making.  Alright, now I’ve seen some shocking stuff in this series already, but this is just nasty.  It melted the flesh off some dude in 23 seconds.  Now I know where they got the idea for those green balls in The Rock.

Blake and the away team arrive at the base and try to break in whilst avoiding a robot sentry.  Meanwhile, in orbit, Avon and the rest have to leave in order to avoid some trouble, leaving the others stranded without support.

Mutoid number one reports the presence of the Liberator to Travis and Servalan (who appears to be playing on a Nintendo GameBoy whilst wearing ski goggles at the time).  Travis again demonstrates flawless strategy by allowing his ships to pointlessly pursue the Liberator so as not to look suspicious.  He carries out an impromptu weapons inspection on his men and awaits Blake’s arrival.

gameboy
Predicting the future – no conversation any more – just people passing time on their handheld devices!

Blake’s party manages to overpower a security guard using the old “I’m a superior officer, what are you doing here?” gag, which works perfectly despite Blake being dressed nothing like a superior anything.  They then try to pull the Star Wars fake prisoner trick, marching into the detention area, and it is just about as successful as it is for Han and Luke as the alarms are triggered.  They scramble to find the cell in which the princess, I mean Avalon, is being kept.  They could just open all the cells at this point.  Battle in the corridor commences while Vila and Blake rescue the prisoner.

“Aren’t you a little short for a rebel leader?”

Jenna and the surviving rebel lay down a suppressing fire with the incinerators and they fall back by squads to the APC, or the exit; whichever is closer. This just leaves Metal Maximillian Mickey, the robot guard, to deal with.  Fortunately, Avon is back with the Liberator and they are teleported away.  Success!

Travis seems remarkably calm at this point, unlike Servalan.  There’s still over ten minutes to go and I’m left thinking: he hasn’t got some kind of tracking device on the Liberator, has he?  Because that would be leaning on Star Wars very hard, wouldn’t it?  Or has he just planted some of that chemical weapon stuff on Avalon to kill all of them.  That seems more likely.  We get a quick shot of the other rebel dude looking every inch like the cook from Red October, so I can only assume he is involved somehow.

Blake is worried about how easily they escaped and figures out that they were allowed to get away.  They quickly put two and two together and scour the ship for the traitor.  Gan finds Avalon and goes to look for her tunic, which she’s going on about incessantly so it must be important.

This traitor thing turns out to be a nice piece of diversion, however.  A shame it is all revealed a bit quickly but time is running out.  Avalon turns out to be the real danger.  She’s not really Avalon…

She’s a robot!!!  In her tunic she finds the special-effect-bouncy-ball-chemical-weapon thing, drops it on the floor then proceeds to make short work of putting the hurt on both Gan and Jenna (who are now hip to her skulduggery).  Fortunately, reinforcements arrive and she is subdued.  The nasty weapon thing is put in a glass box to be analysed by Zen and it looks like its all over…

No, Blake’s got a plan!  He takes Travis and Servalan completely by surprise by heading straight back to the planet and demanding an audience.  This is the first time that Servalan and Blake have met, so I’m anticipating something good here.  Yes!!  He’s going to threaten them with the special effect!  Brilliant.  He’s nicely cold with the pair of them, quite convincing that he’s willing to kill himself just to take them with him.  Time for a prisoner exchange.  Avon’s helpfully reprogrammed the robot Avalon to handle the weapon and kill them all if they move.  Nice, like a box of spiders between your teeth!

With Blake and the non-robot Avalon safely teleported away, Travis (very bravely) gets the weapon back but ends up prostrate on the floor in doing so.  Servalan again does not look happy!  She’s had it with Travis and relieves him of his command.  Maybe it’s time for Ray to get another look in.  In the meantime, Travis lies on the floor whispering about how he’s not done yet and Servalan orders some more pursuit ships to be launched in pursuit of Blake.

The End

Yay, that was a cool episode.  I know it borrowed from quite a few well worn standards but it was done really well and had some nasty twists along the way.  If I appear a little irreverent at times during this, please don’t take it the wrong way.  I’m really enjoying watching this again.  It’s quality stuff and I can’t wait to keep going with it.  Might be a few weeks before I get any more done as I’m off on holiday, but I’ll be back on the trail of the Liberator again very soon.

Thanks for reading.

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