So, the Travis character was recast starting with this episode. This guy looks shorter and he seems to have a different accent, but it’s still basically Travis, the sociopathic space commander who deserves every loss he suffers.
If anything, this episode focuses quite a bit on Travis and Servalan as they work to both reacquire a superweapon and take Blake down only to replace him with a cloned copy. It’s obvious from the beginning that Travis is not a very helpful fellow. He’s in some mystery room when Blake walks in, but Blake is also somewhere else, so probably not the real Blake. Travis doesn’t even hesitate to shoot Blake with his ray gun hand. But this Blake was a clone, and the Clonemasters, who do work for the Federation in exchange for protection, don’t appreciate that even as there’s a second Blake clone on hand.
And then there’s a scientist who built a superweapon. He’s full of himself and isn’t happy that someone else was going to get credit for this weapon, a ray gun that sets an unstable molecular patch into a living being that can be detonated over very long distances. Now, this inventor, Coser, took a slave with him, and while she keeps calling him “sir,” he keeps reminding her she’s a free woman now. But still he still talks down to her and expects her to do a lot of the work, and yes, she eventually calls him out for it. Good for her.
Now, the crew of the Liberator are putting their own plans together, namely a raid on a weapons facility, but they do get word of Coser’s escape and the destruction of his ship. But for the most part, this is an episode about the villains.
Travis and Servalan are not necessarily getting along these days, and it does seem as if Travis will be killed as soon as Blake is taken care of. That’s not too surprising to Travis, and Servalan actually says it’s a compliment. Likewise, neither of them respect the Clonemaster and her reverence for life and what she does. The big difference is Travis will be rude to the woman’s face while Servalan will just stage whisper stuff outside of earshot. Likewise, Servalan spends a lot of time this episode consulting a profiler to find Coser. She is ultimately successful, finding and killing Coser, reclaiming the weapon, and tagging Blake, Avon, and Gan when they beam down to investigate. But these are bad guys in a sci-fi story, so she gives them a chance to fly out of range of the weapon (said to be millions of miles), and Blake’s best answer, one that works, is to fly to the other side of the planet and hope it blocks the signal. Otherwise, he figures the villains wouldn’t chance it that he and the others got away.
But Servalan and Travis don’t get the weapon either. That comes more from the fact that their general disrespectful treatment of others gets them a rebellion in the form of Coser’s former slave associate and the Blake clone. Both turn on Servalan and Travis and tag them with the superweapon as well, telling the two to get lost or else. Apparently, making a clone with as much information on Blake as possible and giving a slave the smallest taste of freedom doesn’t do many favors for evil overlord types.
But still, much of this would have been avoided if the Federation representatives in this episode were, well, nicer and more respectful of others. The series may be giving the good guys a more complex look at who they are and why they do what they do, but that doesn’t seem to extend to the main villains. I’m actually fine with that, but it’s still true nonetheless.