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Recap / Blakes Seven S 1 E 11 Bounty

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Written by Terry Nation.
Directed by Pennant Roberts.
Airdate: 13 March 1978.

Blake and Cally attempt to convince a retired politician under Federation 'protection' to return to his people. But on returning to the Liberator, they find it has been seized by bounty hunters with the help of Jenna.


This episode has the following tropes:

  • Action Girl: Cally jumps on a Patrolling Mook and knocks him unconscious (or stabs him in the neck — it's not clear), while Jenna is knocking out space pirates left and right.
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  • Anachronism Stew: Blake and Cally are baffled by the sight of Sarkoff's vintage car and castle-like folly with iron lattice spire.
  • Bounty Hunter: Amagons. They also indulge in smuggling (explaining how Jenna knows them), space piracy and slave trading.
  • Call-Back:
    • The ambassador from Auronar did not return because he failed to make an alliance with Lindor against the Federation, a reference to Cally not returning for failing her mission.
    • Blake says they learnt of the Federation plan for Lindor via a captured cypher machine.
    • Cally mentions her companions for our death comment from "Time Squad".
    • Jenna tries to tempt Tarvin with the fortune hidden on the Liberator she discovered in "Cygnus Alpha".
  • Cat Scare: While Vila is trying to pick a lock without blowing Blake's head off, Gan makes everyone jump by throwing something at the wall in frustration.
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  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Gan is entirely willing to teleport over to check out the spaceship in distress, saying that if it is a trap they can just open fire regardless.
  • Department of Redundancy Department
    Vila: "Personal investigation." The next time Avon wants to make a personal investigation on how you work I shall make a personal point of handing him the instruments. [beat] Personally!
  • Dissonant Serenity: Sarkoff takes the presence of an intruder quite calmly, despite thinking that Blake is an assassin who's come to kill him.
  • Explosive Leash: Tarvin places them on the Liberator crew. Jenna's is removed once she proves herself by helping capture Blake. After some effort Vila is able to remove Blake's, who uses it moments later as an improvised bomb.
  • Evil Plan: The Lindor Strategy — the Federation had Sarkoff removed with a rigged election, and keep him in a Gilded Cage on another planet while they destabilise Lindor (sending false reports to him that everything was normal at home). They then plan to 'restore order' with a peacekeeping force after the Civil War that will ensue, whereupon Sarkoff will be encouraged to return as a puppet ruler.
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  • Fake Defector: Jenna is playing along with Tarvin, a New Old Flame of hers, until she can get the crew freed.
  • Fan of the Past: Sarkoff has decorated his home with artifacts from Earth's 20th Century, including a gas mask, cutlery, and clothes irons displayed in glass cabinets like a Priceless Ming Vase.
  • Foot Focus: We get a nice closeup of one of Tyce's hooker boots when she takes the pistol from it.
  • Foreshadowing: Avon and Gan's debate over whether Gan would give the order for his own death sets up Tyce's actions in the climax of the episode, as well as Gan's Heroic Sacrifice in the next series.
  • Future Imperfect: Sarkoff regards Earth's 20th century as a more civilised age, and his Big Fancy House is a "replica of a typical residence of that period" (actually Waterloo Tower in Quex Park, built in the 19th Century).
  • Get It Over With: Sarkoff has no objection to being assassinated, he just doesn't want to listen to Blake's justification for the act.
  • Ghost Ship: Blake and Cally return to the Liberator to find the crew missing. After searching in vain and getting no help from Zen, he finds a distraught Jenna who claims they were all killed when they teleported over to the spaceship in distress. It's just a ruse though, because he's gassed unconscious moments later.
  • Gilded Cage: Sarkoff is a 'guest' of the Federation.
  • Ye Goode Olde Days: Sarkoff proudly shows off his 20th century records. "Echoes of a more civilised age." This is the age that saw two world wars, the invention of nuclear weaponry, genocide on an industrial scale, and cheap British sci-fi.
  • Good Republic, Evil Empire: Sarkoff's demeanor and political naivety is more that of a deposed royal than a politician, but as it wouldn't do to have our heroes supporting the restoration of a monarch instead of a democratic leader, he's made a former president instead.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: Loads of this even for a B7 episode. The review in "Liberation" (by Alan Stevens and Fiona Moore) puts it best.
    "...to say nothing of the guards' color codes, which include Red Standby Alert (apparently meaning stand around and do nothing), Red Mobilisation (wander around outside the house), and Blue Mobilisation (allow the President and his daughter to escape in a vintage car accompanied by two terrorists)."
  • Hammerspace: Inverted for once — Blake lugs around a bulky cooler box to carry a coil of rope and grappling hook that he could have just slung over his shoulder.
  • Hidden Weapons: Tyce has a small automatic pistol hidden in her boot.
  • Historical In-Joke: One of the artifacts (visible through the archway behind Blake and Sarkoff when they discuss natural history) is the charred remains of the infamous Sunderland portrait of Winston Churchill. Just a short time before filming this episode, it was revealed that Churchill's wife had the portrait burnt.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: An Amagan goes to activate Blake's explosive collar which has just been removed, so Blake chucks it at him so the explosion kills the Amagan instead.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Avon snarks at Vila for having a bad feeling about the approaching spacecraft, then admits he feels the same way.
    Vila: He agrees with me. Makes it all seem worthwhile somehow.
  • Impractically Fancy Outfit:
    • The opening shot is of Cally hiding from Federation soldiers in a... leopard fur coat?
    • The Amagan robes seem more practical for the desert than a spaceship.
  • Insult Backfire
    Tyce: You'd sell your own grandmother, wouldn't you?
    Tarvin: I did. She was going to sell me — I got in first.
  • Interrogation by Vandalism: Blake smashes Sarkoff's vinyl record, and threatens to do the same to his butterfly collection unless Sarkoff comes with him.
  • It's Probably Nothing: A sensor picks up Blake and Cally creeping through the woods.
    Control: Our electronic surveillance is usually reliable.
    Subcommander Cheney: Very reliable, yes. Last time it turned out to be a local rodent digging a hole under one of your listening devices. We spent two hours chasing our tails on that occasion.
  • Knockout Ambush: Blake finds Jenna doing a double Face Palm in apparent distress over the crew being killed. He finds out otherwise when he's sprayed with Knockout Gas.
  • Leave Me Alone!: President Sarkoff lost all confidence after his crushing defeat in a referendum over whether Lindor should stay out of the Federation, and now lives in exile under Federation 'protection'.
  • Look Behind You: Tarvin overcomes Tyce this way. Fortunately Blake and Jenna do the authentic version shortly afterwards, giving Sarkoff a chance to shoot him.
  • Master of Unlocking: Vila works on the explosive collars while Avon works on the doorlock computer.
  • My Car Hates Me: Just when they're making their big escape, Sarkoff's vintage car has to be crank-started.
  • No Peripheral Vision: Several examples including missing a white rope being pulled up the side of a wall and two terrorists creeping through the woods, one wearing a white leopard cloak and the other holding a large red icebox. In fairness, the guards are wearing those helmets.
  • No-Sell: Blake just laughs when Tarvin tries to activate his explosive collar, as Vila has removed it.
  • Obscured Special Effects: The car crash is only shown via a Reaction Shot of the guards flinching at the sound, as the producers could hardly afford to damage a vintage automobile.
  • Obvious Trap:
    Avon: The test is not whether you are suspicious, but whether you are caught.note 
  • Only Electric Sheep Are Cheap:
    Sarkoff: Beautiful, aren't they. Earth insects of the order Lepidoptera.
    Blake: Butterflies.
    Sarkoff: Ah, so you're an historian, are you?
    Blake: No, but I did study some natural history.
    Sarkoff: It's interesting, isn't it, that when that term "natural history" was originated, it referred to the study of living things. It was much later that it came to mean the study of things long since past and dead. History in its more conventional sense.
  • The Only One: Sarkoff is the only one who can fix things on Lindor.
  • Out of the Frying Pan: Our heroes teleport up Just in Time before they run into a Federation roadblock, but it turns out Space Pirates have seized the Liberator.
  • Outside Ride: Blake stands on the running board of Sarkoff's vintage car during the escape. Fortunately none of the guards are willing to risk shooting at this blatant target, with Sarkoff in the car.
  • Price on Their Head: Tarvin is being paid 13 million credits for the Liberator and its crew. 12 million if he decides not to hand over Jenna.
    Tarvin: I wonder if there's a price on your head anywhere?
    Sarkoff: No. But I imagine there is on yours, though.
    Tarvin: [laughs] I'd be ashamed if there weren't.
  • Properly Paranoid:
    • After she helps capture Blake, Tarvin removes Jenna's explosive collar but doesn't fully trust her.
    • Avon has a lockpick hidden in the heel of his shoe.
  • Quit Your Whining: Tyce repeatedly tries to coax her father from his self-imposed isolation. When Tarvin threatens to detonate her explosive collar, she urges Sarkoff to shoot Tarvin regardless of the possible consequences. It's this which shocks Sarkoff out of his self-pity.
  • Space Pirates: The Amagons, who engage in criminal activities including smuggling, bounty-hunting, slave trading and piracy. They have their own unique culture that's more like Qurac IN SPACE! rather than the Type 2 version.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: When Avon and Vila aren't having much success with their respective locks they start snapping and snarking at each other. Avon can't help grinning when Vila for once gets in the last word.
  • Telepathy: Cally uses it to silently warn Blake of patrolling guards.
  • Teleportation Rescue: Subverted; see Out of the Frying Pan.
  • Throwing the Distraction: Blake throws a gas cylinder and shoots it. The explosion sends all the guards running round the back of the house so they can drive out the front in a slow vintage automobile. Despite the fact that the house was surrounded, so there should have been guards at the back of the house already.
  • Vinyl Shatters: Sarkoff spends a lot of time listening to a song on an antique 20th century gramophone. (The writers have admitted that this was a ruse to fill in time because the script was too short.) Blake snatches the disc off the turntable and smashes it.
  • World of Snark: Everyone is in fine form.
    Vila: I'm entitled to my opinion.
    Avon: It's your assumption that the rest of us are entitled to it as well that is irritating.
    • Vila is trying to pick the lock on Blake's Explosive Leash.
      Vila: And if I get it wrong: bang, no head!
      Blake: I trust you.
      Vila: And if it blows up and I'm right behind you...
      Blake: That's why I trust you.
    • When he can't get the collar off...
      Vila: I told you I couldn't do it!
      Avon: I believed you all along.
    • Avon on their Chronic Hero Syndrome.
      Avon: First sign of trouble, we get out, right?
      Jenna: Goes without saying.
      Avon: I only wish it did.
    • Even President Sarkoff gets into the action.
      Tarvin: You talk too much.
      Sarkoff: Yes, it's an occupational hazard.
    • Also...
      Tyce: Goodbye, Blake. You'll always be welcome on Lindor.
      Sarkoff: Yes, we may have need of thirteen million credits.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: The Amagons pretend to be a spaceship in distress. Once Gan teleports over to make sure it's not a trap, they fake his voice electronically to get the Liberator crew to teleport him back, then send over their own people instead.
  • You Wouldn't Shoot Me: Sarkoff has a gun pointed at Tarvin, who's pointing the control unit at the explosive collar worn by his daughter.
    Tarvin: Throw it away. You couldn't kill me in time to save her. A reflex, a dying spasm, and she's gone.
    Tyce: Shoot him, father! You owe it to me! You owe it to our people!
    Tarvin: Put it down, Sarkoff, you can't win. You haven't got the will for it.

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