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Blake's Seven [Season 1, Episode 1]
The Way Back
Original premiere 2nd January 1978
Last episode [Ep. 2?] Blake, Jenna and Avon escaped from the Federation prison ship on an unknown alien vessel. They now explore the ship, christen it the Liberator, and discover the resident AI, Zen. In another reference to Star Trek [the evil Federation uses the Star Trek symbol, turned sideways].
Blake beams down to the penal world, Cygnus Alpha, and tries to rescue Villa and the other prisoners. The colony is run by religious fanatics [including the babelicious Pamela Salem ] led by Brian Blessed [ Flash Gordon, SW: TPM ]. Meanwhile, aboard the Liberator, Avon is intent on double-crossing his companions and escaping with his life and the loot.
The worst thing about this show is that it indicates the malaise in British television. It is over 12 years since Dr Who left us, and about 20 since B7 went. What has become of us?
New girl Callie [apparently an alien] is possessed, and forces the Liberator to fly into a silicate-based life-form reminiscent of a spider's web. In order to escape before the Federation pursuit ships reach them, Blake beams down to a research base [well, a bunch of tents in a forest] so he can trade with a creature that looks like a dalek without its motorized transporter. However, the creature and his assistants are besieged by a gang of ugly spud-faced midgets, genetic experiments gone wrong. Will the Ewoks storm the bunker? Will the Liberator escape? Guess.
We actually get a plot involving the Federation! Blake takes the fight to the enemy, and leads an attack on a Federation communications station to steal a decoding machine. Unfortunately Callie gets seperated from the others. She beats up a Fed trooper [in an extremely unconvincing scene!] and gets trapped when the demolition charges go off.
The Federation's Supreme Military Commander, Servalan [Jaqueline Pearce], assigns the overzealous Space Commander Travis to hunt down the rebels. Travis only has half a face, on account of being shot in the head by Blake during a previous encounter.
This episode is a Whodunnit in space. Blake's team find and board an apparently derelict ship. They discover that the crew were gassed unconscious, the controls sabotaged and the pilot murdered.
Blake takes the ship's valuable cargo to its destination while Avon and Callie stay aboard to complete repairs. But can Avon solve the murder before the killer strikes again?
Space Commander Travis and his Federation pursuit ships corner the Liberator. Blake decides to ram his opponent, but just before the ships colide they are both frozen in space and their respective commanders are teleported to a nearby planet. Yes, this is a shameless rip-off of the Star Trek: TOS episode where Captain Kirk fights the Gorn. In fact, this episode was itself ripped off by the more recent Farscape , which in all fairness has far more sources than Blake's 7 [the notorious Trek rip-off] ever did.
The good things about this episode? The babes, of course. The ringmasters include Isla Blair , later famous in the UK as a game-show hostess but most notable here for the fact that she is not wearing a bra. Travis' 2ic is a babelicious mutoid, a modified human who had her memory wiped before she was enlisted into Federation military service. As an effect of the surgery she needs a special serum to survive, or failing that human blood will suffice ...
This was an opportunity to develop Travis and characterise him with far more depth. Not to include spoilers, but Farscape did it all far better.
1- 9 27 Feb 78 Project Avalon 1-10 6 Mar 78 Breakdown 1-11 13 Mar 78 Bounty 1-12 20 Mar 78 Deliverance 1-13 27 Mar 78 Orac
2- 1 9 Jan 79 Redemption 2- 2 16 Jan 79 Shadow 2- 3 23 Jan 79 Weapon 2- 4 30 Jan 79 Horizon 2- 5 6 Feb 79 Pressure Point 2- 6 13 Feb 79 Trial 2- 7 20 Feb 79 Killer 2- 8 27 Feb 79 Hostage 2- 9 6 Mar 79 Countdown 2-10 13 Mar 79 Voice from the Past 2-11 20 Mar 79 Gambit 2-12 27 Mar 79 The Keeper 2-13 3 Apr 79 Star One
3- 1 7 Jan 80 Aftermath 3- 2 14 Jan 80 Powerplay 3- 3 21 Jan 80 Volcano 3- 4 28 Jan 80 Dawn of the Gods 3- 5 4 Feb 80 The Harvest of Kairos 3- 6 11 Feb 80 City at the Edge of the World 3- 7 19 Feb 80 Children of Auron 3- 8 25 Feb 80 Rumours of Death 3- 9 3 Mar 80 Sarcophagus 3-10 10 Mar 80 Ultraworld 3-11 17 Mar 80 Moloch 3-12 24 Mar 80 Death-Watch 3-13 31 Mar 80 Terminal
4- 1 28 Sep 81 Rescue 4- 2 5 Oct 81 Power 4- 3 12 Oct 81 Traitor 4- 4 19 Oct 81 Stardrive 4- 5 26 Oct 81 Animals 4- 6 2 Nov 81 Headhunter 4- 7 9 Nov 81 Assassin 4- 8 16 Nov 81 Games 4- 9 23 Nov 81 Sand 4-10 30 Nov 81 Gold 4-11 7 Dec 81 Orbit 4-11 14 Dec 81 Warlord 4-13 21 Dec 81 Blake