Blakes 7. Series A, Episode 4: Time Squad

Posted: February 3, 2023 in Blakes 7, cult tv, science fiction, tv, TV reviews
Tags: , ,

Our valiant crew are getting to know Liberator, with Jenna teaching them how to operate the ship. There’s some great snippy dialogue early on. From Avon’s sarcastic “Well hurray for us.” To Vila’s “Outrun them? In this we could out stroll them.” But the best exchange is probably Vila (to Blake) “I don’t follow you?” Followed by Avon’s “Oh but you do, and that’s the problem.” Darrow’s gleeful delivery is, as always, worth the price of admission alone.

Despite out strolling the Federation Pursuit Ships, Blake doesn’t want to merely run and hide, he wants to strike back, and he’s already chosen a target, the planet Saurian Major. When the population revolted half were executed and the other half exiled to frontier planets, but Blake is sure there’s still a rebel army on the surface who he wants to contact, and with their help he wants to destroy the Federation communications complex.

Again Gan gets to prove he’s smarter than he appears. When Avon says he doesn’t see the point of attacking the station Gan remarks that “for a clever man, you’re not very bright.” If Federation comms are disrupted that means Liberator will be that much harder to find.

Before they can reach Saurian Major however there’s the small matter of a drifting spaceship transmitting a distress call. Jenna rightly explains that this is a trick pirates use, but Blake being Blake he ignores her and they teleport on board, interesting that the teleport reintegrates Blake and Jenna at an angle to account for the low ceiling! Also interesting that Blake gets to take a gun and Jenna doesn’t. Inside the ship they find aliens in suspended animation.

Suddenly the teleport won’t work and Blake and Jenna are running out of oxygen. Lucky Jenna showed people how to fly the ship earlier as between them they’re able to manoeuvre Liberator to bring the capsule into the docking bay. (Quick note to say that the alien spacecraft is a lovely piece of set design, expect to see it again in a few episodes though!)

After deciding, for some reason, to wake the frozen aliens, Blake, Avon and Vila teleport down to Saurian Major to join up with the rebels while Jenna and Gan mind the ship. Things don’t go to plan for either group; down on the planet Blake is accosted by what turns out to be the sole surviving rebel, while on Liberator the aliens are awake, and boy did they get out of bed on the wrong side!

I’ll be honest, this wasn’t an episode I recalled fondly, and so I expected this review to be a case of ‘and so we come to our first dud’ but as is often the case, I was wrong. I also remembered the Blake et al stuff on the planet being the interesting part of the story, while Jenna and Gan battling manic aliens was less exciting, but I’d say the reverse was true.

The A and B stories are both decent, and everyone gets something to do, and some juicy dialogue. Yes, Saurian Major appears to be a quarry, but at least they decorate it with some weirdly alien plants, and the arrival of Jan Chappell’s Cally as our final main cast member is nicely handled, even if her standing as another female badass will probably last even less time than Jenna’s. Her telepathy is an intriguing character trait, and while (I think) eventually it will become clear that Aurons are just another branch of humanity, here at least she’s played very much as an alien.

Up on Liberator Gan suggests that Zen perhaps has a limiter that prevents him from helping them too much, it’s nice foreshadowing, even if only foreshadowing for ten minute’s time when we get our first look at Gan’s limiter, and discover that there are limits (sorry) to how much good Gan can be in a fight. It’s a nice angle on the character, but it will somewhat restrict Gan going forward.

With Gan in chocolate teapot mode Jenna has to handle the dangerous aliens alone, and again she handles herself well, both in hand to hand combat (biting one of the men when he grabs her) and with her gun (interesting point but the guns seem to work even when not plugged into the powerpacks). It should be noted as well that the Liberator corridors can be quite eerie and there’s a nice feel to the scenes on the ship given Jenna might as well be all alone with the newly defrosted psychopaths.

Down on the planet Cally is telling everyone that she plans to attack the base, to kill and kill until she herself is killed. It’s quite grim and Cally will probably never be this nihilistic again. Vila lightens the mood by advising he plans to live forever, or die trying.

The attack on the communications complex (Oldbury nuclear power station near Bristol) is ridiculously easy, and Blake and co make it quite far inside before we get a hint of Federation troopers. Vila gets to open doors and Avon gets to reprogram the reactor to explode.

Cue another last second teleport because Jenna is a little distracted. The team vanish just as the door bursts open and the reactor…well I want to say explodes, but it’s more of a damp squib to be honest, though despite being little more than a firecracker the Federation troopers duly throw themselves to the floor.

Back on Liberator there’s one last guardian to deal with before Blake asks Cally to join them.

Cue Jenna’s “This should have taught us the wisdom of bringing aliens on board” while staring cattily at Cally.

Meow! Saucer of milk to table 2. I mean, come on, Jenna, it’s not like Cally will immediately be possessed in the very next episode and lead you all into danger…

All in all a better episode than I remembered, and a nice bookend to the first quarter of the season.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.