Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Candlelight, Apr 22, 2013.
You sacrifice pawns. That's what they're there for.
Terry Nation's 19th and final script for the series is a ripper, and leaves you with jaws wide open at the end of it. I vividly remember watching this as a seven year old, wondering how the crew would save the Liberator and suddenly BLAM, it's gone. Avon's storyline speaks volumes for his character. Despite his utter hatred for Blake he would still do anything for him, and his driving goal of wealth and safety overshadows all. Throw in the oh-so-prophetic line of "I always thought [Blake's] death and mine might be linked in some way" and you have a great storyline. The mental conditioning that allows Avon to see Gareth Thomas in his little cameo is a nice if creepy reference to the very first episode and the implanted memories of the two molested youngsters. Servalan's storyline is thankfully limited to the final 15 minutes as, for once, it gives a Nation script some air of mystery. Her screen time is great though, and you can see Pierce enjoying the gloating as she knows this time she's won.
The death of the Liberator however is the big draw card. Rather than have the big L go down in a space battle she's brought down by space cancer. It's almost like watching the Titanic sinking; you know it's coming but it happens in slow motion. Michael Keating and Peter Tuddenham really do both their big scenes well as Vila knows Zen is on the way out and actually feels sorry for the computer. Zen's last scene has been covered to death so I won't go into the "I am sorry..." speech, but it's very touching and sad to see him die.
It's not a 100% perfect; why Servalan has guards in flowing red and silver outfits instead of standard Federation guards is a tad confusing, Avon squints as if he knows he's about to be hit by Servalan, and the Links are just silly.
The episode lacks the urgency and scope of Star One but the personal cost is very high in this one, and is arguably my favourite of all 52 episodes.
I know this one splits the fans down the middle but I've always liked it. It would take a herculean effort to restart the series after the events of Terminal but Chris Boucher does a fine job. Some have complained that it was all too easy to replace the things they've lost (The Liberator, Zen, Cally with Scorpio, Slave, Soolin, etc) but on the flipside they couldn't hold back. The series needed to maintain the momentum and so the gaps were filled early - although the way Rescue ends everything is obviously still up in the air. Slave is a new twist for Tuddenham to play, and he needs to be. Zen was a legend but any new computer would have to stand out. Soolin is a gun-totting emo at this stage. Geoffrey Burridge plays Dorian like a pre-sex scene from a porno. He's over the top but it's a great homage to Oscar Wilde.
There are obvious plot holes from the previous episode; Terminal looks physically different, Xenon is only several hours from Terminal whereas before the nearest planet was four days away, Dayna is a wimp in this episode. The new season starts well but has a lot of ground to cover.
Does anyone know why they chose to make Scorpio orange? Just seems weird considering the pursuit ships are also orange...
Maybe they had a job lot of orange paint?
Terminal is wonderful. You have to admire the way Servalan plays Avon here, and Darrow really ups the cold bloodedness. The bit where Cally says he really would shoot Tarrant is wonderfully played by all three, Pacey looks genuinely spooked. I love Terminal itself, the barren landscape and the links (yeah they’re not wonderfully realised but I like the idea of them, and Servalan’s almost melancholic assertion that they are what mankind will become really got under my skin as a child).
It’s a good episode for Vila too, from his lovely interplay with Zen to him outwitting Servalan’s latest flunky by swiping Orac out from right under her nose, and you have to love the look of utter contempt he (along with everyone else) gives Avon at the end. It’s also great to see Blake again.
It has a few problems, I can see why Servalan (or maybe the writers) didn’t want her guards to be obviously Federation troopers, but they really could have had better outfits. It’s also odd that Servalan doesn’t seem to notice that the flight deck of the Liberator looks like it’s dying. She has been on it before after all. They’re really minor quibbles though, this is one of my top 5.
Count me in the ‘Rescue is great’ camp. Yes the story is far too similar to the Portrait of Dorian Grey (not calling him Dorian would have helped immensely) and yes they do seem to get all they’ve lost replaced, although Slave/Scorpio are, at least at this point, poor replacements for Zen/Liberator, and Soolin will never replace Cally. Plus it’ll be next episode before they get the teleport working, two more episodes before Soolin joins properly as a member of the crew, and several more before the Scorpio gets the photonic drive, so it isn’t like they immediately find another DSV and nothing has changed.
I like the addition of a base as well.
I love the early bits on Terminal, not sure when it started snowing though! It almost feels like they’ve been there weeks but really going by dialogue it hasn’t been very long since Servalan left. Some nice interplay and dialogue. I love Avon and Tarrant’s conversation about being able to get away whilst something is eating the other, plus this exchange:
Dayna: “Don’t you ever get tired of always being right?”
Avon: “Only with the rest of you always being wrong.”
Which is a pretty ballsy thing to say given that the only reason they’re in the shit is because of his actions in Terminal!
Villa gets some nice interplay with Dayna, and is yet again inadvertently hero of the hour by not trusting the clip guns right away and keeping hold of the Federation blaster.
I like the exterior of Scorpio, but the flight deck looks cheap.
It strikes me that the one thing missing from Series 4 was a moral compass. Gan and Cally provided this in the first two series, and Cally again in Series 3, but from here on in they’re all just in it for themselves, and whilst I love the mercenary element to B7, it was always nice to have at least the odd dissenting voice.
On the subject of Rescue, I think the FX shots when Servalan's old ship blew up were filmed for the Weapon and used the model used in Deliverance.
It was just the model they blew up. The actual prop was seen as late as Countdown.
Given the show was sprung on them late they had to film in the winter/spring time so there was heaps of snow still around. Still, it's likely only a matter of hours; as soon as the Liberator had been destroyed they needed to secure their way off the planet. What I don't get is there must've already been an explosion in the base, as Tarrant was unconsious and Cally was injured. The secondary explosion, possibly on a timer, was larger.
I liked Scorpio's flight deck more than the Liberator as a kid, but I've changed that view as an adult. That said, I love the design of both ships on this show, inside and out.
Well I guess sudden environmental shifts aren't that unexpected on an artificial planet, especially one undergoing major seismic shifts!
Dorian is the one fly in the ointment for your theory. He was looking for Avon & Co (remember he asked Slave if the big explosion could have been that Liberator)
So how would he have known to be in the area and how did he plan on capturing people from very advanced ship with a Wanderer Class star hopper?
Or perhaps it's best we don't think too hard about it
"Rescue" has plot holes worthy of a Terry Nation script.
I love Den of Geek's review, in particular their - and my - opinion of Dayna;
Dayna does get better at least after this point, although perhaps not until after her fight with Gunsar.
She's a difficult character to quantify at times, because for all her tough girl feistiness she's also effectively a home schooled kid who barely left her father's side, so perhaps in hindsight she should have been more shocked by things than she was, and it does add something to the creepiness of the cave that it has that effect on her (remember as well that the creature saps the will of it's 'victims' so her falling apart does make a bit more sense.)
Ben Steed's final contribution to the series and it's about as subtle as an air raid siren. All of his scripts have had some form of battle of the sexes but this one is over the top. Entertaining mostly, although I remember in the 1980s when I first watched it wanting to get them back onto Scorpio and away, still on the mindset of the Liberator ship-only setting. It's a pity Soolin, and Slave I guess, is left to the final two minutes of the episode - it's a bizarre way to introduce a character who also didn't really do much in the first episode - still, it's good to know she's back. The new teleport is very funky, although it does present a small plot hole - the teleport effect on Scorpio should've been the landing version, as the teleport bay on Scorpio wasn't fully functional at this stage.
An unbelievably boring episode by the usually stellar Robert Holmes. Most of the cast take a back seat to the events on Heliotrix. Servalan's return is very low key. The Federation officers are all boring and trying to out evil each other. Not much more I can say about this one.
I always enjoy Power, despite its somewhat questionable politics at times (although in fairness as much as it suggests women are weaker, the Homicks are all portrayed as idiots apart from Gunsar’s advisor.) This episode might hold the record for how many times Avon is knocked out. There’s some good stuff for Vila (as always)and Avon gets a great payoff line after he shoots Pella (who’s a great villain) Soolin’s reappearance is a bit meh however.
I quite like Traitor, though clearly trying to do a planet wide war on a budget isn’t a great idea. I like the rabble giving themselves grand titles, and the Federation officers sitting around drinking brandy whilst launching artillery strikes is very stiff upper lip/the Raj. Yet again Dayna misses her chance to kill Servalan (are we in double figures yet?). I like Servalan’s reappearance, and her almost bored musings on just how many men she’s killed to keep her identity a secret is a hoot!
I'm very much looking forward to your review of the next two episodes; one is my guilty pleasure (even though its rubbish) the other is my least favourite B7 ep of all time!
Oh, Gunsar isn't an idiot, he's bright enough to a) take advice from people brighter than him, and b) play the muscle-bound idiot as it's the image his tribe expect of a chief. One thing I do like about Power is his little asides to Avon about ("Sorry about all that, but it's expected of me."
^ yes those are quite amusing
I think you have a point about how smart he is, there's also the "You talk to computers, you understand computers." the tone markedly changing between the two halves of the sentence.
A couple of other things I'll say about Traitor:
- The Federation officer with the eye patch. Seriously, if you're wanting to bring back a Federation officer with an eye patch, do it properly.
- The studio scenes in this story are the worst for the entire series. The exterior scenes shot in the flooded quarry during daylight hours on film is very harsh cutting to the studio scenes shot on video which were either filmed or graded to appear at night or at the very least twilight.
Of the remaining 10 eps, I've only seen Headhunter, Assassin (purchased VHS), Orbit, Warlord and Blake (recorded off the tv in 1987 and kept for ages) in recent years. The rest I last saw in the 90s on tv repeats, and one episode (Sand) I've not seen since I first watched the series in 1985! So should be an interesting rewatch.
Yes I know Animals is the Spock's Brain of Blake's 7 so it should be good to review it. Providing it's not boring I can sit through it - the only episodes I've had to skip through are Death Watch and Traitor so far.
Ah.. out of those 10 you've seen 3 ok and 2 greats, missing 3 greats and 2 !@!@!@!! was thats! IMHO.
I'd like to know which you think is which
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