Season 1 – Episode 12 – Deliverance
(not starring Ned Beatty)
Yay. After opening with a bizarre shot of two people in a very small spaceship, we cut to Servalan. Always a good omen. She’s laying down the law to some subordinate over the intercom about not being disturbed. Makes you wonder why she didn’t turn the intercom off. She’s busy keeping tabs on the little ship we just saw.
There’s a little exchange between the two occupants of the spaceship, who are on some kind of mission, before everything goes wrong and there’s a massive explosion. This is all being watched by Blake and the crew too. The ship crash lands on a nearby planet and Avon takes Gan, Vila and Jenna down to look for the escape pods/life capsules. These are quite amazing by the description. Who needs a parachute? One of these bullet shaped pods, which you get into, can free fall from the edge of the atmosphere, hit the ground, and you won’t even be bruised. Ingenious. We’ll just ride right past the part where anyone actually explains how this is possible. It must have been winter when they filmed this as the planet Cephlon looks very much like Surrey with a dusting of snow.
Surprise, surprise, one of the capsules contains a dead person. The interior of the capsule is filled with loft insulation foam or something. I’m a teacher, so this is the kind of solution I would expect from children if we did one of those “egg drop challenges.”
Me: Listen, Year 6. You’re going to drop a person fifty miles at terminal velocity and you need to design a container that will stop them from breaking when they hit the ground.
Pupil: I know, Mr Austin. We’ll wrap the person in bubble wrap and loft insulation foam. They’ll be fine.
I wouldn’t mind but the two capsules have not even made a dent in the ground. They’re just resting as if they were pulled off a low-loader. The other one is open and its occupant has managed to crawl away a few yards and pass out.
Avon calls up for them to be teleported back to the ship. Now, Cally and Blake said that one of them would stay by the desk in case of emergencies, right? Well, they’re not. Cally has some funky shades on and is listening to dinner jazz on her Walkman while Blake sits next to her with his head in his hands like he’s thoroughly bored. One of them could at least be sitting at the desk!
Everyone comes up except Jenna. Where is she? Has she been captured by the cavemen people I forgot to mention? Yes, she has. After repeated attempts to teleport her back, Avon volunteers to go back down and get her. Blake totally makes out it’s Avon’s fault and gives him an icy “I think you’d better.” Jenna is a grown up, you know. It’s not like it was Avon’s fault.
So it’s back down for Gan, Vila and Avon to go and look for her. Meanwhile Blake is looking through the pockets of the survivor while he’s writhing in pain on a gurney. Loving the bedside manner. There are some energy cells stuffed away in there which the man seems very worried about. He makes Blake and Cally promise to deliver them to his father. Also, he says that they have to tell him the Federation have agreed to pay (Dr Evil voice) 100 million credits for ORAC.
This has Blake interested, but he’s not about to ditch the others and go straight away as the man is insisting on. This seems to be a bit of a trope. Ship has to go and leave people behind. It’s happened a few times now. Blake’s got absolutely no motivation to leave them all behind so it looks like the guy will have to produce a gun or a knife or something and hold Cally hostage in order to force them to. Sure enough, he gets the drop on her with considerable ease (again, way to go with the mind reading, Cally) and off they go.
Back on the planet’s surface, they’re still searching. I’m wondering why Gan hasn’t mentioned the hatch they found in the side of a hill before. Sure he’ll get to it. I’m enjoying this episode so much more than the last one.
Servalan, meanwhile, welcomes Travis back. Yay, Travis. We’ve missed you. Now I’m enjoying this episode even more. She messes with him a bit then gives him a job: ORAC. Turns out that the man who’s currently holding a gun to Cally’s head went and offered to sell it to the Federation. There’s a delicious look inside the mind of Servalan here as she lays out her diabolical plan to get ORAC. It even involves sacrificing one of her own people (you remember him, he was wrapped in loft insulation before), something which seems to shock even Travis, especially learning that the man’s family will be forced into slavery when she labels him a deserter to cover her tracks. He’s human after all. Bless.
Back on the planet Surrey, some cavemen attack the crew with rocks and big sticks. They have to take cover near, you guessed it, the door in the hill that Gan had forgotten about. Open sesame and in they go. They are immediately greeted by a woman in a nightie who calls Avon my Lord and kneels at his feet. The plot thickens.
We now find out what’s happened to Jenna. She’s tied up in Caveman Town but not for long. She’s worn down her bonds and, as soon as she’s free, makes short work of the guard. She manages to creep out of the tepee she’s been kept in but doesn’t see one of the free folk standing right there and is instantly recaptured.
Back on the Liberator, Blake’s waiting for his chance to jump their, now very tired, captor.
Straight back to Avon, Gan, Vila. The lady in the caves with them gives me an Eloi/Morlock vibe; if the Morlocks were the ones who lived above ground. For an Eloi, however, she’s technologically savvy. She has a rocket buried under there loaded with cells for seeding a colony. All the equipment is cobweb strewn but Avon’s got it up and running in no time. Next, time to storm Caveman Town and rescue Jenna. Avon finds her and they escape with the cavemen in hot pursuit. Gan fights them off and they all make it back to safety of the cave.
Blake and Cally finally get back control of the Liberator and head back. There’s just time for Avon to push some buttons and then we’re treated to some stock footage of a rocket taking off (probably not in Kent).
All back on the ship and Avon can feel quite satisfied at having done something nice. Really good piece of dialogue here. Blake asks him how it feels to be a God and Avon says very coolly “Don’t you know?” Meow!.
Off to see Ensor, setting up the Season finale, a race between Blake and Servalan to get their hands on ORAC.
Good episode. Lovely to see Servalan and Travis on screen again.
Thanks for reading. I’ll be back soon with the finale!
5 thoughts on “Rewatching Blake’s 7 – Part 6”
I wonder if the Firefly episode Jaynetown was partially influenced by this episode
Reminds me of the Doctor Who episode Utopia also.
Hmm hadn’t thought of that, there is a parallel between the infatuation with Avon and the Ching-Toh/Master relationship