Episode 3 – Weapon
So, I thought I’d have a little break from the A-Z thing and take a dip back into Blake’s 7, and as it’s already 10pm, I’m going to get straight to it.
Episode 3 begins with a spaceship exploding (not the Liberator this time). We are then greeted by the sight of two of the most astonishing collars of all time.
They belong to two people who have just blown up their own spaceship to stage their own deaths. The woman seems to have once been a slave but has been set free. Her older companion (who could fit in quite comfortably at a Rocky Horror showing at the Prince Charles) tells her they need to find somewhere to hide. He’s still treating her like a slave even if she isn’t one.
Cut to: organ music and Travis. Oh no, it’s not Stephen Grief any more is it? It’s Brian Croucher. We’ll have to see how this goes! He’s in a room and Blake enters – is it a dream sequence? Travis kills him so I’m guessing it is. Who’s going to wake up? Is it Travis’ dram or Blake’s. Or, in the style of Red Dwarf, could it be Avon’s? Cue lots of dry ice and a robed woman with a similarly outstanding collar (right now this episode should just be called Collar) enters, finding her way remarkably well down those stairs in the middle of that cloud in a long dress.
She asks Travis why he’s killed Blake and he asks for the ‘other one’. Then in walks another Blake. Hang on, this isn’t a dream. Are they clones? If they are then this reminds me of the start of From Russia with Love, where Robert Shaw chases James Bond around a garden and kills him before pulling off his Mission: Impossible style mask to show that it’s not actually 007 at all. Weird. I’m not going to get any answers yet as we cut to the Liberator…
They’re wondering where Blake is. Avon, sporting a very toned down outfit that’s just black with no high-vis detailing, tells them that he knows what Blake’s next target is: the Federation’s weapons development facility Turns out Cally knows this already. Avon gives her a fantastic line letting her know what he thinks of the plan. “It is considered ill mannered to kill your friends while committing suicide.”
Blake comes in and confirms that that’s where they’re going.
We then go back to the two collared spaceship exploding people wandering through what looks to be an abandoned gas works (actually Rutherford Laboratories, Didcot, Oxfordshire). I don’t know what planet they’re supposed to be on but it sure sounds like Earth what with the chirruping of what sound like sparrows accompanying them. It seems abandoned so they can probably hide here. We all know they’re not alone though, don’t we.
Back to Travis and he’s now been joined by Servalan. Yay! He gets annoyed and does this (guessing he’s going to pay for that later).
Actually, she’s got a pretty fabulous collar herself. We’re upping the ante collar-wise this episode. She planted the clone to test it by seeing if Travis would be fooled. He was. She also insinuates that he’s no longer a man. That’s what you get for being hands on with the Supreme Commander.
On the Liberator, they’re going over the plan to infiltrate the weapons facility. They bring in ORAC on a little hostess trolley (why is there such a thing on a ship built for and by andr.. oh never mind) and discuss what is going on. After some leaps of intuition, they figure out that the base is on alert because someone escaped with something very secret and they’re going to find out where that someone went. How much do you bet that it’s collar man and his one-time slave girl?
Those two are now inside the place they were outside before. It’s a filthy deserted lab with rats and stuff. She offers to make him some food and tells him to rest and he has a bit of a paddy, half-heartedly chucking a chair across the room and accusing her of treating him like a child. Bit harsh!
Servalan and Travis meet with the Clone master (other high collar lady from before). She brings in the clone of Blake. He’s not a full clone; just a physical copy grown from a DNA profile. He wasn’t grown from an actual cell so he doesn’t have any of the memories or experience (this explanation actually makes a lot of sense when you listen to it fully – credit to Chris Boucher for making it sound legitimate). The next bit is class. Some flunky comes in with a message for them and Servalan sends Travis off to find the collar man (whose name turns out to be Coser). She says she’ll join him when she’s “finished with this tiresome female.” I’m pretty sure that the female concerned is well within earshot when she says this. That could make the rest of their conversation rather awkward!
On the Liberator, ORAC has discovered that something called Immipak is what Coser has taken. Coser, meanwhile, is still acting very erratically down on the planet. Dude needs to chill out. As if it’s catching, Travis and Servalan have a shouting match of their own about him and we’re all set. Who’s going to find him first and what is this Immipak? From the conversation, it’s pretty deadly.
Yeah, at this point I’m sorry to say it but I’m missing Stephen Greif’s Travis.
Servalan calls in some guy called Carnell and they have a conversation about Coser, then we go back to the Liberator for a piece of sheer brilliance. Blake and the others are talking about where Coser is and they’ve got the markers out like Alan Hansen on Match of the Day. Turns out “Zen’s best guess is that he’s here.”
Now, is it me, or does that thing that they’re drawing a white circle around look like a GALAXY??? Because that’s a pretty big place to have ‘narrowed it down to’. They seem pretty satisfied with it though, and off they go to get him.
Servalan has found Coser and, after another conversation with her strategist, Carnell (along with my second Red Dwarf reference of the night in Travis looking every inch like Holly on the monitor) they decide to send in the Blake clone as their secret weapon to get Immipak back from him.
Coser’s got problems of his own, though. Turns out their not alone in the lab. there’s something in there with them and it’s making a lot of noise. We could be in for a “special effect” at some point! Not yet, though.
Carnell gets some info. that could save him in some way, then it’s back to the lab. The flimsy table and chairs that Coser and his slave girl stuck against the door must have worked because whatever it was making all that noise hasn’t managed to get in and make balloon animals out of their lower intestines. (Red Dwarf reference number 3)
Oh no, I spoke too soon. There it is. It’s a big… I don’t know what it is. It looks like a claw or something or it could be a head. It gives a nice opportunity for Coser to use his special weapon and kill it to death. he then breaks the fourth wall in spectacular fashion, talking to the audience like he’s selling us an electric razor or something. Cringe!
Cue high energy music and Blake entering the lab. Is it Blake, though, or the clone? He stops to adjust his collar on the way in as if that’s supposed to help us. He’s acting like a clone, short sentences and all but that could just be Blake. Coser gives him a full rundown of how Immipak works within seconds of meeting him, with no preamble whatsoever. I’m guessing he’s going to die. It’ll be decent karma after the way he’s treated the slave girl. Makes you wonder why he brought her in the first place! Sure enough, enter Servalan and Travis. It’s not Blake. The Supreme Commander has really dressed up for this outing. She looks magnificent.
Blake, Avon and Gan arrive on the planet and start searching, Servalan marks Coser with his own gun and kills him. Delicious. She then paints Travis and a guard without them knowing and can kill them whenever she wants. Travis marks Blake, Gan and Avon, who conveniently stop in his line of fire for just long enough for him to do this.
The three of them finally find their way to a very confident Servalan and Travis. Servalan kills one of her own guards who she marked earlier to let them know what she can do. She then tells them to run, saying she’ll give them a head start before trying to kill them. She explains to Travis that this will mean that everyone will assume that they have stolen Immipak.
She gives Travis the remote control to kill Blake with (there don’t seem to be a lot of choices on the thing, there’s like three buttons – how do you choose who you’re killing? There are about six people who have been marked. Will this kill all of them or just one at a time?) We don’t find out because in walks the slave girl and her new friend Clone-Blake. They’ve marked Servalan and use that to get her to leave. She acquiesces to this rather quickly and goes back to her ship, presumably to have that guy Carnell killed for his inept plan. that leaves Clone-Blake and the slave girl to explore their new home where no-one can ever get them as long as they have Immipak.
Servalan arrives back on base to find Carnell has had it on his toes, leaving her only a message warning her about Travis and giving her a very nice compliment that I can’t help but agree with. That leaves her with a smile on her face as she sniffs at her plastic flower or whatever that thing is for the umpteenth time this episode.
Not a bad episode. Some decent tension although the payoff seems a little light compared with the build up.
Thanks for reading.
Midnight. Two hours. Not bad going!
If you’d like to read any of the others, you can find a couple of them here –