Rewatching Blake’s 7 – Part 5

Before I start, I should state for the record that I’m not going to post this on the Firefly/Serenity Facebook group.  I was told in no uncertain terms that Blake’s 7 has nothing to do with Firefly or Serenity.  Hey, I thought there was a passing connection but who am I to say?  The good folks on the Battlestar Galactica and Caprica Facebook pages have had no such problem with reliving a bit of Blake, so if you’re reading this, nuggets, thank you for going along with me.

I’ve been working on my book for the past couple of weeks and haven’t watched much of anything.  Tonight, however, I’m all YouTubed up and ready to go.

Season 1 – Episode 11 – Bounty

We open in a forest not unlike the forest we saw earlier in Duel. I’ll have to check to see whether it is the New Forest again.  Cally is running around in a cheetah print coat that wouldn’t look out of place on Pat Butcher or along a High Street somewhere.  Federation troops are about. Blake comes along with his picnic box (must have borrowed it from Vila) and she warns him to watch out.   The guards are making so much noise and paying so little attention to their surroundings, however, that I’m sure Blake could be driving a Hummer, leaning out of the window blowing Yankee Doodle Dandy on an air horn and they wouldn’t have noticed him.

Blake is here to spring someone from prison – Hang on, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang just appeared.  I must be watching the wrong thing.  No wait, I’m not.  There’s a Federation trooper sitting up in the back like Cameron in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Also in the back is the President.

Cut to the troops who are being made aware of intruders.  Red Alert!!  The President arrives at his destination, a castle with the Eiffel Tower on top (actually The Waterloo Tower in Kent.  The doors were painted white and gold especially for this episode and stayed like that for many years afterwards apparently – thanks Hermit.org for that one).  He’s ex-President as it urns out, here in exile in the style of Napoleon.

It’s off to the Liberator now, up in orbit and being approached by an unknown spacecraft.  Avon, who seems to gain extra high-visibility stripes on his outfit with every episode that passes, and Jenna decide to investigate.

high vis

Blake and Cally are about to try to enter the castle and the guards are hip to their presence now so time is a factor.  In fact they say there are ‘at least’ two intruders.  The pair of them must have been doing an especially poor job of covering their tracks if it actually appears that there are more of them.  The Liberator makes contact with the ship in distress and Gan volunteers to go over at great personal risk (that head surgery in the last episode must have shaken loose a few things) to himself.

Back on the planet, Blake and Cally get caught in the most obvious hiding place since someone decided to stand up straight and stick a lampshade on their head.  I’m not even going to describe it, go see for yourself.  She jumps on the guard and then slaps him into unconsciousness.

Meanwhile, Gan has been over on the other ship for a while and Avon is about ready to blow it up.  Gan makes contact and asks to be brought back on board but Vila finds out too late from Zen that it’s not actually him speaking!!  Now things are getting interesting.  Vila can’t react in time to stop whoever it is from being teleported over and now has to find out what’s happened to Avon and Jenna in the teleport area.  That was a nice bit of TV.

Blake has found his way into the castle into some kind of museum where he is greeted by the ex-President, who is ex-pecting him.  He thinks Blake is an assassin come to kill him. Blake tries to reassure him but ends up facing the barrels of two flintlocks in the hands of his driver.  Blake gets the hump with both of them and tells them he is here to take the President back to his people.  He’s not keen on this idea though.

It’s a nice plot, I have to say.  I like the way he has been manoeuvred out of his position by the Federation so they can take control of his planet and put him back there as a puppet figurehead.  He’s beginning to see the truth of it and how he’s been duped.  Time to leave.  Hope the Liberator is there to pick them up.  Oh no, wait… it’s not, is it?

They’ll have to get past the guards.  ex-President dude is still not keen so Blake starts smashing up his museum collection to persuade him.  It doesn’t take much and he’s on board.  They send the bumbling guards one way and skip out another.  We’re no closer to finding out what is happening on the Liberator but just in time Blake and the others are teleported out.

They find the Liberator empty and Zen devoid of answers.  Blake eventually finds Jenna who tells him that everyone else is dead.  I just realised we’re only just over halfway through, so there’s some major stuff to go down yet.  Sure enough, Blake is surprised by someone with a gas gun who unloads on him.  What’s going on here then?  It’s an interesting development to say the least.  I was just thinking of the episode title, Bounty.  I was wondering what it related to.  Guess I’m about to find out.

The rest of the crew are alive and well, the victims of space pirate bounty hunters who have overrun the ship.  Also it would appear that Jenna has switched sides and is working with them.  Not convinced for a second.  The chief pirate is one of her old associates and she’s clearly playing him.  He’s bent on turning Blake and the others over to the Federation.  Meanwhile, they’re trying to escape from their cell.  I must say at this point, what is it with exploding neck collars in science fiction!  They do seem to be a recurring theme.  Vila is trying to get one off Blake while Avon works on the door.

space pirate
Chief Bounty Hunter – soon to be appearing as Balthazar at your local Primary School Nativity

Good old Jenna.  I knew it.  She takes out one of the pirates and leads another into the cell with the others, who seem all too ready to believe she’s switched sides given the time they’ve spent together.  She dispatches another pirate and now she has a gun!

Meanwhile Vila finally relieves Blake of his collar and Avon cracks the door.  However, a moment of hubris almost gets all their heads blown off.  Strange that the guard happened to be waiting outside with his microwave emitter at the ready.  There’s a lot of luck at work in this series, mind you I suppose that’s true elsewhere.  Blake meets Jenna in the corridor and now they’re both armed and out to take back the Liberator before the Federation ships arrive.

They may be too late if they’re going to exact some revenge on the pirate leader as the President (remember him) and his driver (daughter, yes I saw that coming) have successive opportunities to kill him.  Blake and Jenna arrive just in time for him to try to blow their heads off but that only works with the collars on.  Oops.  Blake gives a little laugh and the President finally recovers his will and strength by pumping our pirate friend full of 20th Century lead.

All’s well that ends well.  The President gets dropped off at the planet Lindor (home to purveyors of fine chocolate) and the Liberator is off to the next mission.

This felt like two episodes.  I appreciate the links but for me it feels like neither storyline is fully developed, like too much was crammed into one story.  Maybe there were two stories originally but they got crammed into one final draft.  Final verdict: entertaining but by no means the best I’ve seen so far.

Also, Bounty Hunter takes over the ship, no nothing to do with Firefly there.

Thanks for reading

Richard

 

 

 

 

 

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