May 23, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Blake’s 7 “Star One”

Blake and his crew find Star One, just in time to try and stop something much worse than expected.

Blake’s 7 creator Terry Nation actually wanted this episode, the second season finale, to use his most famous creation as the antagonists:  Doctor Who‘s Daleks.  Apparently, Tom Baker and a number of the Blake’s 7 cast were actually keen on the idea of doing a crossover between the two shows, but it never came to be.  Nation was talked out of using the Daleks by others working on the show, but it may be one of the big “What if?” of BBC sci-fi if the Doctor had appeared with the crew of the Liberator.

Instead, this finale does a good job of showing a number of things, including why Blake might be wrong.  Star One may give the Federation a lot of power, but misusing it causes even more.  That’s the result of what turns out to be an alien invasion, where beings from the Andromeda galaxy are taking the form of the human technicians who keep Star One functioning in order to weaken the human race and make their take-over easier.  Servalan, when we see her, is consolidating power as she tries to simply find Star One because, as stated, nobody even knows where the thing is.

That includes Blake.  He got some vague coordinates on the end of known space, and it’s more dumb luck than anything that they manage to find the hidden base.

So, for all that Blake has the best ship in the Federation, that still doesn’t mean he can take on 600 invading ships.  Even Blake, initially planning on simply destroying Star One, changes his mind.  It says something when Avon is more in the right, but showing what a malfunctioning Star One is doing to Federation territory does suggest simply shutting the thing off may be a bad idea.

As it is, it’s noteworthy that this episode is actually the last appearance of Jenna and the last regular appearance of Blake himself.  Yes, somehow Blake’s 7 kept going for two more seasons without Blake doing more than an occasional guest appearance.  I can easily understand why.  Upon arrival at Star One, Blake and Cally get themselves caught, and only Cally’s telepathy sending Avon a warning keeps him free.  It turns out the aliens are expecting someone human to help them, and it’s Travis.  Blake pretends to be Travis for a bit, and when the real Travis shows up, Avon uses him to get inside.  But Travis does later shoot Blake, not fatally, but enough to get Blake off the command center of the Liberator and put Avon in charge.

Then again, Avon killed Travis in a manner that would look familiar to Emperor Palpatine.

That actually leads to a conclusion as the Liberator is the one thing standing between the invading aliens and the Milky Way, at least until the Federation shows up.  Blake did get a distress call out, but one ship against 600 is not good odds.  Still, Avon does order the others to get ready for a fight, and not even Vila is objecting.  They don’t really have any other options, and the episode ends in a manner that might be familiar to fans of Star Trek the Next Generation.  Avon orders the Liberator to attack a fleet many times their size and hope they all survive until back-up arrives.  It’s a big moment, one that will help to make sense should Avon becomes the new leader of the remaining crew, even if the remaining crew by that point is just Cally and Vila.

In many ways, this was a conclusion to a lot of things that were happening.  Was it explicitly said the Andromedans were the ones responsible for that alien virus a few episodes earlier?  I didn’t hear it, but my hearing is spotty anyway.  Travis’s general murderousness has been dealt with, and even if Servalan is in charge of the Federation now, she still has an invasion to push back.  Blake may be a fanatic, but he’s been sidelined in part by that very fanaticism.  And now he and Jenna are effectively gone.  Sally Knyvette apparently wasn’t happy Jenna didn’t do much (she wasn’t wrong).  I don’t know Gareth Thomas’s reasons, but apparently he did an episode of Torchwood that I watched when I went through that show before he died, and it looks like he had a good career in British television.

But this is only the halfway point for Blake’s 7.  The difference is the seven are now under new management…