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Recap / Blakes Seven S 1 E 2 Space Fall

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Written by Terry Nation.
Directed by Pennant Roberts.
Airdate: 9 January 1978.

Blake, Jenna, and Vila are still prisoners on The London, a prison transport ship taking them to the penal colony on Cygnus Alpha. Some focus is given to the crew, who talk to each other about the prisoners and flying conditions. While demoralizing the prisoners, the sub-commander takes a moment to offer Jenna (the only female prisoner) “better accommodations,” and is angry when she refuses him.

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Blake finds some followers, including Jenna and Vila, but also Gan, a large and intimidating man, and Nova, who seems untalented. He still needs someone to circumvent the computer systems, and eventually convinces Kerr Avon, a selfish computer expert, to help. There is a crawlspace along the ship that opens to the computer room, and Avon uses it to get inside. He knocks out a technician and gets to work. Meanwhile a nearby space battle is causing shockwaves to buffet the London and there are damages, though the automatic sealing systems handle it.

Avon disables the scanners, but the technician wakes up and gives him a bit of trouble, causing him to run behind schedule. Nova goes to check on him, but is trapped and killed by the automatic sealing systems. The guard notices the scanner is off, so the prisoners overpower him, but are still trapped, since Avon has not opened the doors yet. They threaten the guard into opening the door, and attempt to find the armory. Jenna and Blake head for the computer room, and are shot at by guards, but they make it inside, where Avon seals the door.

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The other prisoners can't find the armory, and are captured, but the crew still hasn't recaptured the computer room. They detected a large object in their path that they cannot avoid without computer control, so Blake threatens to cripple the ship and let everyone die if his terms are not met. Sub-Commander Raiker begins killing unarmed prisoners one by one, and Blake gives in. The crew regains control of the ship and finds that the object they detected was an advanced alien spaceship, undoubtedly worth a great deal of money, which they decide to salvage.

Three men attempt to board the ship and don't return, so the commander won't send any more. Sub-Commander Raiker convinces him to use prisoners, and Blake, Jenna, and Avon are sent aboard. They discover an advanced (and quite beautiful) ship, as well as the two remaining men, who are dead. A trap lured them in with false images and killed them when they touched it. All three are affected, but Blake overcomes it and saves the other two. Sub-Commander Raiker sees that they are not dead yet and attempts to board the ship to make sure they don't escape. He exchanges shots with Blake, but dies when the alien ship leaves and the transfer tube is ripped away. Jenna remarks that they can go anywhere they like, but Blake insists that they follow The London to Cygnus Alpha, where they can rescue the other prisoners.

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Tropes:

  • Air Vent Escape: Blake finds a way to the computer room via the service channel.
  • The Alleged Car: The London emits a lot of smoke and sparks when engaging its hyperdrive.
  • And the Adventure Continues: Blake orders Jenna to follow the London to Cygnus Alpha.
  • And Then What?: Avon already has a plan of escape — he bribes the crew to dump their bodies and let him off elsewhere.
    Blake: A private deal with the ship's crew to fake the running log? You've had four months to think about that. And it didn't take you that long to work out that they would have to kill you afterwards to keep you quiet.
  • An Offer You Can't Refuse
    Leylan: I hope Mr. Raiker's made it clear to you that you can refuse to do this.
    Blake: Oh yes. He's also made it clear that summary execution's one of our options. We chose the other.
  • Armor-Piercing Slap: Raiker in response to Jenna's Silent Whisper.
  • Badass Boast:
    Avon: A new identity, a job in the Federation Banking System. Three months with their computers, I could lift a hundred million credits and nobody would know where they went. Then let anyone try and touch me.
  • Battle Discretion Shot: A space battle between alien forces of vastly superior technology is only shown via blips on a screen and the shockwaves hitting the London. Of course, being nothing more than a glorified prison bus, there really is little reason for the ship to have the means to watch the battle more closely.
  • Boarding Party: Having lost several of his own men exploring the deserted alien spaceship, Raiker sends a boarding party comprised of prisoners. Not like that's going to go wrong.
  • Borrowed Biometric Bypass: Discussed when Gan threatens to take off the guard's hand if he doesn't use it to open the door with a palm scan. The guard wisely agrees.
  • Cliffhanger Copout: Raiker sees Blake struggling with the airlock hatch, fires and wounds him. He then aims carefully and fires as we cut to the next scene. A Commercial Break Cliffhanger later, Blake is shown still alive and conscious, lying on the deck where we last saw him.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Avon knocks out the technician in the computer room by slamming his hands over the man's ears, in contrast to the ineffectual-looking karate chops and pressure strikes we'll see later in the series.
  • Cool Starship: The alien spaceship that will become known as the Liberator is introduced with a suitable dramatic chord. The Boarding Party gushes over the flight deck as well.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Jenna sees her mother being hauled off by Federation soldiers. This could explain why she's more open to Blake's call for revolution than Avon.
  • Ensign Newbie: Artix
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • Avon snarkily explaining how the door panels work, thus showing off his love of computers and his love of being rude to people he thinks are dumber than him. (Which is, of course, everyone.)
    • A smiling Gan threatening to tear a guard's hand off in order to make him open a door.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Before Blakes' team go over, a member of the previous boarding party bursts from the transfer tube, frothing at the mouth and totally insane. Avon morbidly quips to Jenna that summary execution might be the better offer after all.
  • Faux Affably Evil
    • Raiker drops his gentlemanly act the moment Jenna refuses his offer.
    • The guards have no objection to playing along with Vila's magic show, but later down unarmed prisoners in retaliation for their own losses.
  • Foreshadowing: Avon says he got caught because "I relied on other people." This takes on a whole new context later.
  • Ghost Ship: The crew has abandoned ship during the space battle, leaving their vessel under the protection of the Mind Rape device.
  • Good Is Dumb: Neither Avon or Raiker is impressed with Blake's decision to surrender in the face of Raiker's threat to shoot the prisoners one by one until he does.
  • Government Drug Enforcement: Leylan tells Raiker to put the maximum dosage in the prisoner's food so they'll have a quiet trip. Either Blake and the others worked out how to filter out the drugs, or the crew figured they could slacken off after four months without incident.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: The prisoners' room has one guard inside it, whose palm print can open the door from there. Naturally, once the camera is taken out he's overpowered and coerced to open the door by Gan threatening that they'll simply take off his hand if he refuses. Also the guard falls for Vila's magic trick distraction a second time; this makes sense when he's bored because there's nothing happening, but not moments after the ship has just grown endangered by the turbulence from a space battle.
  • Head-in-the-Sand Management: Captain Leylan just wants a quiet life so prefers to ignore Raiker's abuse as long as he keeps the prisoners in line, though Raiker eventually goes too far to be ignored.
    Leylan: There's a female prisoner on our manifest.
    Raiker: [Psychotic Smirk] I've noticed that sir.
    Leylan: Yes... well... err, be discreet.
  • Hostage Situation: Both guards and prisoners do this.
  • How the Mighty Have Fallen
    Raiker: So you're Blake. Well, made quite a name for yourself a few years back. Quite the celebrity. Something of a comedown for a leader of men, isn't it? Molesting kids?
    Blake: The charges were false.
    Raiker: [sarcastically] Oh yes, of course. Well, let me tell you something Blake, as far as I am concerned, you are just another piece of cargo. Remember that and you might just survive the journey.
  • Hypocritical Humour: When it's suggested Avon has made a deal to have the crew kill them while setting him free, Vila calls Avon a "cold-hearted, murdering..." and then immediately suggests they kill him now before he can do it.
  • Idiot Ball: Vila dropping his gun.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty:
    • Raiker implies to Jenna that the voyage will be a lot more comfortable if she shares his cabin. She whispers her reply in his ear and gets cuffed across the face.
    • After Jenna surrenders Raiker orders her taken to his cabin, but fortunately this time the Captain intervenes, feeling he's gone too far.
  • Informed Ability: Jenna says that the shaving cream, err...sealing gel goes solid in seconds. Despite this she makes no move to wipe it off her fingers.
  • It's All My Fault: Blake after the breakout fails. Avon snarks back, "We know."
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Avon and Raiker are right — Blake could have won, but he lost because he wasn't ruthless enough.
  • Kick the Dog: Raiker shoots a prisoner every 30 seconds until Blake surrenders. And when he does surrender, Raiker shoots another prisoner anyway.
  • Machine Empathy: Jenna can tell the hyperdrive of the London "needs restressing, by the feel of things."
  • The Mad Hatter
    Avon: I thought you were probably insane.
    Blake: That's possible! They butchered my family, my friends! They murdered my past and gave me tranquilized dreams!
  • Malevolent Architecture: There's a hull breach while Nova is in the service channel. A hatch seals him in and the space floods with sealing gel.
  • Manipulative Bastard
  • Mind Rape: Used as a Booby Trap to prevent unauthorized persons from entering and using the alien vessel.
  • The Millstone: Vila inadvertently drops his own gun when Gan tells the guards to drop theirs. This blunder undoes the entire breakout.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: The start of Avon's dislike for Vila:
    "You've got an army of five, Blake. Five and him."
  • No-Sell: The mental attack doesn't work on Blake, because he's been giving a lot of thought to Fake Memories given recent events.
  • Not My Type
    Jenna: That one's going to give us a hard time.
    Vila: And you've improved his mood no end. Why couldn't you be nice to him?
    Jenna: He's not my type.
    Vila: You can't afford to be choosy now.
  • Oh, No... Not Again!: Jenna mutters "Here goes..." when Raiker invites her over for a quiet chat.
  • Off-the-Shelf FX: The sealing gel is clearly shaving cream.
  • The Pardon: The captain offers to get their sentences quashed if they take part in the boarding party, presumably for their escape attempt rather than the original charges, which the captain wouldn't have the power to rescind.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: The captain of the London is merely a man trying to do his job and get through the day.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: The captain of the London is civil and reasonable when dealing with Blake and is disgusted with Raiker enough to put everything in his log.
  • Red Alert: Until Avon turns it off.
  • Red Shirt:
    • Nova only gets a speaking role just before he volunteers for death by shaving cream.
    • Of the Boarding Party, two men die and another goes insane before the protagonists are sent across.
  • Salvage Pirates: Averted; the captain lets the Boarding Party know that if there are any alien survivors they are to make peaceful First Contact.
  • Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!
    Jenna: At least you're still alive.
    Blake: No! Not until free men can think and speak. Not until power is back with the honest man.
    Avon: Have you ever met an honest man?
    Jenna: [Glances at Blake] Perhaps.
    Avon: Listen to me. Wealth is the only reality. And the only way to obtain wealth is to take it away from somebody else. Wake up, Blake! You may not be tranquilized any longer, but you're still dreaming.
    Jenna: Maybe some dreams are worth having.
    Avon: You don't really believe that.
  • Screen Shake: As shockwaves from the space battle strike the London.
  • Slow Doors: Played with; the airlock hatch won't budge until the alien ship gets underway, then closes automatically leaving Raiker on the wrong side of it.
  • Sound-Only Death: The first three people to enter the alien spaceship. The last one lives long enough for a Big "NO!".
  • Scotty Time: When Jenna tells Blake that she might eventually work out how to make the spacecraft start and stop, Blake informs her that she's got two minutes to work out how, and goes to seal the airlock before anyone else comes over. They work it out Just in Time to save Blake's life.
  • Stealth Insult: Jenna (while standing next to Raiker). "I've had worse offers."
  • Steel Eardrums: Averted; people are shown clutching their ears from the shock waves.
  • Suddenly SHOUTING!
    Raiker: You didn't hear an order, "sir". [Blake doesn't reply] SAY IT!
  • Swiss Cheese Security: On the London, a guard has been stationed inside the cell where the prisoners are. When he's inevitably overpowered when the camera is taken out, they then force him to open the door with his palm print (which, of course, opens from the inside).
  • Thrown Out the Airlock:
    • The prisoners discuss the rumor that the crew intends to dump them in deep space to save money.
    • Raiker is killed when the alien ship flies off, rupturing the transfer tube with him inside.
  • Time Skip: The opening scene happened not long after the previous episode, but then there's a four month gap before Blake has an opportunity to carry out the escape.
  • Uriah Gambit: Raiker volunteers Blake and the other potential witnesses against him for a Suicide Mission.
  • Used Future: The London is an old clunker that should have been scrapped years ago.
    Leylan: I thought Maintenance was supposed to have fixed that high-dee shift vibration.
    Raiker: That's what they said.
    Leylan: That's what they always say. They don't bother! Nobody bothers anymore.
  • We Need a Distraction:
    • As Vila distracts the lone guard with magic tricks, the other prisoners block his view of the access hatch while Jenna waits till the security camera rotates away before letting Blake back into the messhall.
    • Blake decides to carry out their escape while the London is being rocked by blast waves from the space battle despite the added danger, as the crew will have their hands full trying to repair the damage and control the ship.
  • What Does This Button Do?: With limited time to make their escape, Avon and Jenna push some likely-looking controls which fortunately turn out to be the right ones to get the alien spaceship moving.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: There was no mention of the child-molestation charges against Blake after this episode, despite the propaganda potential when Blake becomes a famous outlaw. Avon's brother isn't mentioned either.
  • What the Hell, Hero?
    Avon: What a fiasco. You could take over the ship, you said, if I did my bit. Well, I did my bit, and what happened? Your troops bumble around looking for someone to surrender to, and when they've succeeded, you follow suit.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: Avon refers to the five people going along with Blake's rescue plan, though there's clearly more than that. He may be referring to those actively taking part, with the rest deciding to join when the escape appears to be going well.
  • You All Meet in a Cell: Blake meets Avon and Gan while onboard the London.
  • Zeerust: Avon hacking the Master Computer by breaking into the computer room and physically adjusting circuits.
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