Rewatching Blake's 7

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Candlelight, Apr 22, 2013.

  1. diankra

    diankra Commodore Commodore

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    Exactly. Suddenly, quietly, Vila is the menacing guy (speaking lines originally written for Arco) from the first episode. Suspect that's more Michael Keating than the script, but the others go with it and it's a territic little moment.

    Also says something about how Tarrant has changed: he's still a bully, but by now he's the closest thing to a conscience the crew has got.
     
  2. Candlelight

    Candlelight Admiral Admiral

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    D11: ORBIT

    The fiftieth episode of the series is one of the best. The tight cast and Robert Holmes script never falter. John Savident is always fun to watch, especially when he's got a crazy character to portray. The double cross and double-double cross is excellent, Avon and Vila shine, the others - despite being confined to the ship for the whole episode - get a few good one liners but the episode is remembered for Avon's desire to survive (and Orac's - I always wondered why he would suggest another crew member, although then again he was asked a direct question by Avon). Great stuff.
     
  3. auntiehill

    auntiehill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    ^ I love Orbit. I find Avon's, "Vila, please help me," particularly chilling.
     
  4. Starkers

    Starkers Admiral Admiral

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    That's a valid point. I think Tarrant always saw himself as one of the good guys, its just his motivations were more about ego than nobility (Though you could probably make a similar argument for Blake- "I've done it!" for example.)

    Orbit is great. It still amuses me that, as a kid, I thought Vila was being paranoid and that Avon always knew how to save them :lol:

    I think Orac's words make sense, Orac has always had a good survival instinct, can you see Vila being able to kill Avon and dump him off the ship as easily as the reverse?
     
  5. Candlelight

    Candlelight Admiral Admiral

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    One other thing about Orbit is it's the only episode in Blake's 7 history where no one fires a weapon (no one in the crew fires a gun in Sarcophagus but someone in the flashback at the start does).

    FYI I'll be finishing my run of this series Wednesday New Zealand time as I'll have a window to watch the remaining two episodes. :)
     
  6. Candlelight

    Candlelight Admiral Admiral

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    D12: WARLORD

    Simon Master's only script of the series is brilliant from start to finish. The opening shots of the drugged population on Zondor are very Orwellian, the destruction of the base is well realised, although the explosion that destroys the base' teleport system doesn't appear to have seriously damaged it in the following scene. Zeeona looks a bit silly in the pink wig, as does the delegates of the non-aligned planets, who look more like a convention of the village people. Still Tarrant does get to have it off one last time in the series (although he does get 'shagged' by Scorpio next episode :D). Zukan plays a calculating villain who tries to hold his own against Servalan, and, naturally, ultimately fails. The cast get some good dialogue. Soolin uses her brains and saves Avon on Betafarl. The ending is predictable with all the characters involved, and leaves the series with a great cliffhanger leading into the finale - now what? Jacqueline Pierce's final episode is little more than a cameo; an episode like Sand would've been more appropriate but then Boucher and Lorrimere clearly wanted to focus the final two episodes on the Seven.

    I like this little analysis on Den of Geek regarding Zeeona's death:

    One to go...
     
  7. Starkers

    Starkers Admiral Admiral

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    Warlord is one of those episodes I always remember being rubbish, then I watch it again and rather enjoy it. I think it’s the stupid delegates that put me off, plus Zeeona’s wig and those awful space suits they use (and have used before). One of those episodes that would have benefited from better costuming!
     
  8. Candlelight

    Candlelight Admiral Admiral

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    D13: BLAKE

    All good things must come to an end...

    The super-secret base is blown to pieces to prevent the Federation finding out where they've gone and being shot down, despite only lasting about 20 minutes before being shot down. There are soooo many planets near Xenon it makes the line in Terminal about that area of sector six being virtually empty even more silly.

    So to the episode. Avon is as paranoid as ever, chancing the lives of the crew to track down Blake, as - with it also being mentioned in the episode - the last time they went after Blake they lost the ship. It's interesting how Boucher tackles the finale, as the ship has always been an intergral part of the series since the third episode, but here Boucher writes it off before the half way mark is done. Slave gets his final scene, while not as emotional as Zen's departure, this isn't too bad, and he isn't as dead as Zen was. With some repair be might be salvageable, though the local population on GP are hardly the sort to repair chashed planet hoppers.

    Mary Ridge is brought back for her sixth and final time as director, and it make perfect sense. Her style is excellent and she already has experience at destroying well know space ships in Blake's 7 before...

    Gareth Thomas does a great guest role as Blake, it has to be said. For most of the episode you believe he's actually the bounty hunter, and yet towards the end you start to see the Blake of old, but even more so. He's got the paranoia of Avon, the cunning of Servalan and - probably deliberately - the physical injury of Travis. :)

    Everyone gets their own little bit of dialogue, with Soolin's homeworld and Vila's worries. Michael Keating of course starring in his 52nd episode, making him the only actor to appear in all episodes of the series. Jenna and Cally get a mention (in fact the only characters not mentioned are Gan and Zen), Servalan is nowhere to be seen (as I said in my last review of Warlord is makes sense to only focus on the Seven for the closing chapters).

    And then there's the shootout. Orac is absent (cue fan fiction), Avon's paranoia reaches it's peak and guns down Blake as he tries to explain his base is actually an anti-Federation recruitment drive, but doesn't get the chance. Everyone then gets blown away, leaving Avon to stand over his old comrade, realising he's finally won, because "winning is the only safety", and in this drug-filled universe of the Federation the only winning you can do is, basically, die.

    It's not 100% perfect; Scorpio's sets fall apart at random, Tarrant suddenly ends up beside Slave and slides in the opposite direction, only to end up back near the consoles. Scorpio itself seems to survive almost intact when it stops sliding about on the planet's surface but is later seen to be torn apart. When Avon shoots the hunters in the cabin his gun has no clip in it. The flyer Blake shoots from within Scorpio at night crashes and explodes in daylight. But these are minor issues.

    The episode is great, and a very egnimatic and memorable way to end the series. I can still remember shaking as a 9 year old in 1987 watching the closing credits roll, trying to comprehend what I'd just watched. I'd grown up on Star Trek so where was the happy ending?? :)

    Well... that's it. I suppose I could review Blake's Junction 7...

    (Thanks for reading!)
     
  9. Starkers

    Starkers Admiral Admiral

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    A great episode, but as you say a far from perfect one, the final few minutes cover a multitude of sins. Whilst it’s great to see Thomas back, and the new version of Blake really is a sight to see, his grand plan holds about as much water as a sieve. How exactly Arlen goes from effectively dobbing Blake in, to being accepted into the rebel army within the space of a few minutes doesn’t make any sense. Nor does Blake not just levelling with Tarrant earlier given he must know who he is and that he can be, to a certain extent, trusted. It really is a sitcom level of comedy misunderstandings. And as you say they get to GP rather too quickly, even with the Stardrive.

    None of this really matters that much however, though the absence of Servalan is grating it’s hard to see how she could have been shoehorned into this one. There is so much good character stuff here. I love the way Keating delivers the “You’ve found Blake,” line, love the way the camera focuses on Avon just as he says “psychopaths”. I love Tarrant’s “It takes talent to fly a dead ship”, love the references to Cally and Jenna, love the way Blake looks at the teleport bracelet in the ruins, and of course there’s the best line in the episode. “The fire was stupid, leaving Vila on guard was suicidal. What’s the matter, is staying alive too complicated for you.”

    A wonderful, perfect end to a great series though.

    As a kid I really still expected the show to come back though! :lol:
     
  10. Marc

    Marc Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    From the review on Den Of Geek, I gather Chris Boucher got the reputation of the man who killed Christmas 1981 because of the timing of the episode.

    In Australia it aired in early January 1982 because I can remember watching the episode though for what ever reason I had missed warlord the previous week.

    I'd also missed Animals because we went to see my sister who was in hospital at the time. She wasn't particularly grateful and my dad pointed out I'd missed Blake's 7 to come see her.
     
  11. Candlelight

    Candlelight Admiral Admiral

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    It does beg the question how "Blake tests each one himself", and what exactly is the proof that so easily sways people to join him. But the conversation near the end with Deva really explains everything. Blake likes to 'indulge' himself in picking his allies, but likes to stretch them first. Yes he knew who Tarrant was very early on, and begs the question why he didn't bring Tarrant on board sooner (though as has been pointed out, series 4 of Blake's 7 is about the crew loosing pretty much everything they go up against). Blake managed to sway an entire planet to remove the mercenaries, etc, and get them on his side. How he did that we'll never know. It also begs the question how far through the plan he was, and how many followers he had. Probably six. :)

    It's funny but in all the times I've watched that episode (too many to count) it was only last night's viewing that I spotted Blake pick up the bracelet for the first time. It was a nice little reference.
     
  12. Candlelight

    Candlelight Admiral Admiral

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    A couple of other things I'll say about the last two episodes:

    - The poses Avon does in Warlord. Such as when he says "I know what it makes us!" on Betafarl or "Find it Slave!" when returning on Scorpio. It's like he's become a card board cut out of himself.

    - Where does Tarrant run off to when the final shootout starts? After Soolin is shot dead he runs out of a corridor before being shot himself - and yet he was in the room with the others when it began!
     
  13. auntiehill

    auntiehill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I'd always seen it as Avon moving oddly because he had completely lost his mind by that point.

    Or it could just be Paul hamming it up. :)
     
  14. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    A reasonably gay friend of mine tried to convince me that after Avon killed Blake, that he straddled Roj, standing above his friend's corpse, so that when the Federation Stormtroopers shot him dead, that they would die on top of each other snuggling.
     
  15. diankra

    diankra Commodore Commodore

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    Very deliberately. I've got the script, and without digging it out to check the exact wording, the description is something like:
    "The bounty hunter turns, and we see it's Blake. Older, harder, and wearing an eye-patch identical to that once worn by Travis".

    I think it was Gareth Thomas who suggested changing it to the scar, which would make the same point, but more subtlely.

    The Blake's 7 audio play I was script editor on (starring Brian Croucher and Gareth Thomas!) explains how Blake's missing eye is a direct ladder-effect from someone who once encountered Travis... and got maimed in the process, and hits out in turn.
     

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