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Blake's 7: Project Avalon

Today we're on a fabulously chilly ice planet, where it's already -120° and still falling, on the way to a winter that lasts eight and a half Earth years. Although admittedly they don't say what it's -120° of. They might have a different temperature scale in the future, and -120° of it is just mildly uncomfortable. But anyway, it's snowing. This, naturally enough, means that for all planetside activities, the cast will be running around dressed in bad seventies cold weather gear. Even worse, the B7 gang have added furry hoods to their naff anoraks. Oh 1970s, thou dost giveth me good television with one hand, and then taketh it away again with the other, as soon as the wardrobe department rears its ugly head.

So, there is a chilly planet far away, where the Federation is using slave labour to mine fabulous jewels from out of the ice. A rebel group led by a woman named Avalon have set up operations there, and Blake and co are on their way for a rendezvous. Travis gets there first though, and with the aid of a traitor, captures Avalon and whisks her away for general evilness and plotting. Travis is in fine, supercilious form, glowering and smirking and being enjoyably unpleasant. All we really need to spark things off is for Servalan to appear, wearing something downright hilarious. Agreeably enough, she soon does just that. There's a lovely dynamic between her and Travis. She flirts with the furniture of course, so there's always that, but she's almost properly friendly towards Travis #1. Almost.

Their plan this time is a little hard to figure, though. They've acquired a fabulously expensive chemical weapon, which kills a test subject in twenty-three seconds. That's not terribly fabulous, is it. While they concern themselves with that, and setting up a trap for Blake, Blake and co break into their complex, intending to rescue Avalon. This leads to lots of gunplay, which is very entertaining, even if everybody is a lousy shot. Of course Avalon is supposed to escape, so that she can poison everybody with the fabulously fabulous chemical weapon of fabulosity, but twenty-three seconds to kill one man in a tiny room? They had better chemical weapons than that when they'd barely started inventing them yet. Turns out that the future is quite rubbish at some things.

Questionable plot ingredients aside, I can't help but feel sorry for Travis here. Yes, the gas is rubbish, but his basic idea is good, and once again he shows himself to be capable, intelligent and brave. He really doesn't deserve to keep being beaten by Blake, especially when it leads to being scowled at by Servalan. Or I suppose he does deserve it, strictly speaking, since he's mostly a total bastard; it's just that he's an entertaining one. Also, his final confrontation with Blake in this episode can't help but put me firmly on his side. Blake, after all, is attempting to do the swashbuckly hero thing whilst wearing a stupid anorak with a fluffy hood. Travis may have just attempted to poison Avon (and some other, less important people), which I naturally can't condone, but at least he hasn't done it whilst dressed like a total prat.


Avalon.


Servalan arrives.


A super amazing genetically engineered virus type weapon thing. Apparently.


Once aboard the Liberator, 'Avalon' is revealed to be a robotic copy of the real thing.


The inside of robot Avalon's head.


Travis's mutoid assistant this week is played by Glynis Barber. Hello, Glynis Barber.


Blake attempts to look heroic whilst dressed in a fluffy hood.


Poor Travis. He may have lost yet again, but at least he can console himself with thoughts of how much cooler he looks than Blake.


Servalan is not impressed. Neither is she especially inclined to be friendly towards Travis any longer. Poor Travis. Yes, I know I already said that, but it's not easy being the bad guy. You're so rarely allowed to win.

I enjoyed this episode, but it's the ninth one, and Gan has done nothing yet. Cally has also done nothing yet (save get possessed, and that was hardly helpful). Perhaps Blake's 7 is a much more impressive-sounding title than Blake's 4 (even if it doesn't make any sense, since there's still only six of them). But so many of these people are surplus to demands. Gan has no point at all, and Cally and Jenna could easily be combined. That way we could dispense with some of these scenes that are so obviously stuck in just to give the rest of the cast something to do. Still, the good far outweighs the bad. Certain gripes aside, I certainly could never deny that.

Comments

( 3 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )
ladygretchen
Aug. 11th, 2012 11:41 pm (UTC)
Why can't Cally use her telepathy to take over minds instead of the other way around? Nothing good comes from a useless telepathic!

Seventies shows usually start out with some very interesting heroine and then gradually reduce her to nothing or make her annoying as heck. Like Man From Atlantis and even Dallas and Pam. lol
elenopa
Aug. 13th, 2012 03:50 pm (UTC)
So Soolin turns up early. Never spotted that before.
swordznsorcery
Aug. 13th, 2012 05:53 pm (UTC)
I'd never have recognised her if I hadn't seen her name in the credits. She's pretty well disguised!
( 3 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )

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