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Recap / Blakes Seven S 1 E 9 Project Avalon

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Written by Terry Nation.
Directed by Michael E. Briant.
Airdate: 27 February 1978.

Travis captures a famous rebel leader called Avalon, and creates a gynoid duplicate of her to kill the crew of the Liberator with a lethal virus.

This episode has the following tropes:

  • Action Girl: Jenna battles the guards during the rescue.
  • Affectionate Gesture to the Head: Avon to an unconscious and bleeding Cally.
  • Air Vent Infiltration: Blakes asks about this trope, but is told the vents are sealed off during the Long Cold.
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  • All According to Plan: Our heroes pull a skin-of-their-teeth rescue of Avalon. Travis' response? "In a couple of hours it should all be over."
  • Bad Boss: Quite a few guards get killed just to make Travis' plan look good. Unlike them the rebels aren't firing blanks.
  • The Bait: Knowing that the Liberator is coming to take Avalon to a safer planet, Travis aims to capture the Rebel Leader and substitute her with a Robot Me, who will then be rescued by Blake.
  • Bait-and-Switch: A bloody hand reaches out...the virus must have been released! But it's Chevner, having been attacked by the robot.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill
    Vila: [Whispering] What are you doing?
    Blake: Getting us a guided tour. [Loudly] You, there! What are you doing in this section?
    Guard: I was posted here by the security commander.
    Blake: My orders were that no one should enter this area. What is your security commander's name?
    Guard: Sergeant-Major Garven, may I have your name and authority, sir?
    Vila: His name is Blake, and this is his authority. [sticks gun in soldier's ribs]
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  • BBC Quarry: Milton Quarry in Wells is the cave entrance, though it's covered in fake snow rather than sand. The cave interiors were filmed in the nearby Wokey Hole Caves, now free of vengeful Cybermen.
  • Black Cloak: Travis in the snow.
  • The Big Board: Zen creates one on his viewer.
  • Big "WHAT?!": Travis when told the Liberator has returned.
  • Bridal Carry: Gan to Avalon.
  • Canned Orders over Loudspeaker: Heard in the detention centre.
  • Chickification: Having been introduced as a kick-ass guerilla fighter in "Time Squad" (though she did say her specialty was in Communications), Cally stays to pilot the Liberator while Ace Pilot Jenna goes on the mission.
  • Compromising Call: Cally tries to beep Blake's Comm Link just as a Security Robot is trundling past.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: The pathogen causes a fungus to form over the victim's face, then he's Stripped to the Bone.
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  • Cyborg: The mutoids respond wordlessly to a transmitted command from their leader.
  • Descriptively-Named Species: The Subterrons live a subterranean existence. What they call themselves is anyone's guess.
  • Desperate Object Catch: Avon reprograms the gynoid for a Hostage for MacGuffin trade so it will drop the sphere on a verbal command or (unstated) movement. After Blake beams out with the real rebel leader, Travis tries to edge close to the android...then makes a desperate lunge as she opens her hand, grabbing the sphere before it hits the ground.
  • Dogpile Of Doom: Robot Avalon is overpowered this way.
  • Dress Hits Floor:
    • Servalan slips off her mink coat and lets it fall to the floor, to be picked up by one of her Bodyguard Babes.
    • Avalon drops her tunic onto the floor after taking out the container of pathogen, which is just as well.
  • Endless Winter: The Long Cold, lasting the equivalent of eight and a half Earth years.
  • Expecting Someone Taller: Servalan was expecting someone more impressive for the famous Avalon than a slip of a girl.
  • Face-Revealing Turn: Avon places a piece of circuitry on the table attached to some skin and hair, before a reverse shot shows a hole in Avalon's head through which moving circuitry can be seen.
  • Foreshadowing: Travis examining the new carbine issued to a soldier foreshadows the reveal that they are non-lethal weapons.
  • Goggles Do Something Unusual: Servalan is using hers as a viewer. Travis on the other hand has perfectly ordinary snow goggles, even though he only needs one lens.
  • History Repeats: Travis' actions with the rebel group are similar to that described by Blake in "Seek-Locate-Destroy". He spares the Rebel Leader for his own purpose and massacres the others, even though they've surrendered without resistance.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Avon does some crude reprogramming of the Avalon robot, and it teleports down with Blake to hold everyone on the Federation base hostage with the sphere of pathogen.
  • Human Aliens: Subterrons, humanoid aliens who are being used as a slave labor force by the Federation. Avalon is helping organize La Résistance.
  • I Am Spartacus: Played with; when Travis demands to know which one of his captives is Avalon, a man steps forward subtly blocking his view of Avalon. Travis just puts his gun to the man's head and says he'll shoot if the real Avalon doesn't come forward.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • Avalon has the details of a dozen resistance organisations in her head, which she knows the Federation has the technology to extract, yet has no means of killing herself when facing capture.
    • Despite thinking that Chevner is planning sabotage, Gan is sitting with his back to the door having a drink when Avalon walks in.
  • Improperly Placed Firearms: Chevner is armed with an AR-15 Armalite rifle, which would be an antique.
  • In the Hood: Anyone wearing a thermal vest.
  • Just in Time: After having to Run or Die from a Federation patrol, Avon returns with the Liberator and opens communications to find Blake demanding an immediate Teleportation Rescue. He runs for the teleport and brings them up just before they're burnt alive by the Security Robot.
  • Killer Robot: 'The Flasher' returns to piss fire.
  • Master of Unlocking: Vila is ordered to teleport down to get them inside the Federation base.
  • Mind Probe: Which apparently never fails, though that doesn't stop the Federation from using more primitive methods in later seasons.
  • Neck Snap: Blake breaks the neck of a guard.
  • Never Recycle Your Schemes:
    • Notably the marble-sized plague sphere which came within a gnats whisker of killing the crew. There should have been any number of ways of smuggling that weapon about the Liberator, and it would have been a short show if Servalan had bothered to try.
    • Later seasons will show Federation Torture Technicians despite the alleged infallibility of the Mind Probe.
  • No Intelligent Life Here
    Blake: Does it support any intelligent life?
  • Noodle Incident: There have been two assassination attempts on Servalan, which she blames on Blake's actions stirring up the populace.
  • Noisy Robots: Robot Avalon gives a whirring sound when using her Super Strength to overpower Gan and the others.
  • No Peripheral Vision: Despite having sensors placed all around its rotatable head, the Security Robot fails to notice our heroes pressed up against the side of a cave, even though it comes back again from the opposite direction.
  • Not Afraid to Die:
  • Not Herself: Chevner notices something strange about Robot Avalon.
  • Not Quite Dead: Chevner, only to become an Almost Dead Guy.
  • Obscured Special Effects: The security robot had to run on rail tracks which were then obscured from the camera by Styrofoam Rocks.
  • Pistol-Whipping: Travis knocks stuntman Stuart Fell flying.
  • Pull the Thread: After shrugging off a shot that should have blown his arm off, Blake starts to ask himself why.
  • Pretty in Mink: No unfashionable huge cloak for Servalan!
  • Quizzical Tilt: Avon and Cally watching Vila rug up. After he's gone they share a smile.
  • Red Alert: "Detention Block 7 — Condition Red."
  • Resistance Is Futile: Subverted; while arguing this trope, Travis also accepts that resistance is inevitable.
    Avalon: Every year more people defy the Federation, thirty planets in this sector alone, and others will follow — many others.
    Travis: Yes. Well, you'll tell us about those, won't you? Their leaders, locations, their plans. I'm sure we'll be able to convince them that loyalty to the Federation is after all in their best interests.
    Avalon: I know enough about these machines to realize that I will tell you everything. You will murder hundreds of people, maybe thousands. But you won't end the opposition, you'll never end it.
    Travis: Perhaps not. However, we shall persevere.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: Terloc is gunned down with the others.
  • Robots Are Just Better: Even if Chevner concealed his suspicion, the Robot Avalon would likely have detected it from his body language.
  • Rule of Three: Robot Avalon is programmed to crush the virus capsule on hearing a particular sound (presumably a gunshot), a word (presumably "fire!") or a certain movement.
  • Run or Die: Avon's response to being caught in orbit by a Federation patrol. Unfortunately this takes them out of teleport range.
  • Samus Is a Girl: When Travis threatens to start shooting if Avalon doesn't step forward, he's approached by a slight figure in a thermal suit and facemask, which she removes to show a beautiful young girl.
  • Sarcasm Mode: Avon can barely contain his enthusiasm for meeting another idealist.
  • The Scapegoat: Servalan warns Travis that people have been criticizing his lack of success, despite Travis being hampered by the requirement that he capture the Liberator intact.
  • Scenery Censor: Avalon is Strapped to an Operating Table with wide restraints covering her breasts and groin.
  • Ship Tease: Cally keeps giving Avon approving looks.
  • Shout-Out: The influence of A New Hope (which opened in London just four weeks previously) on the rescue from the detention centre is obvious.
  • Sleazy Politician: Servalan makes it clear that Project Avalon doesn't have her official approval until it turns out to be a success.
  • Spanner in the Works: Avalon is shot during the escape, then has her tunic removed meaning that when she recovers consciousness she doesn't have access to the container of pathogen inside. Then when she drops the ball of virus, it bounces harmlessly off the tunic instead of smashing on the deck.
  • Spaceship Slingshot Stunt: Avon uses a 'fast orbit' to evade the pursuit ships.
  • Squib: We get several bulletholes in the wall, despite energy weapons mostly being used. You can see the actor playing Chevner flinch when one goes off too near to his head.
  • Stun Guns: Blake and Avalon are both shot during the escape, but the impact only knocks them down. This makes Blake suspicious and he has Avon examine a captured paragun.
    Avon: It's not standard issue. Low energy bolt discharge. This could bruise or stun, but it couldn't cause any serious injury.
  • Synthetic Plague: Federation scientists have modified a pre-existing plague so it will kill quickly, then dissipate within seconds, leaving the Liberator ready for capture.
  • Tested on Humans: Travis orders that a Labour-grade prisoner be selected to test the pathogen. The mutoid asks what they're to do if there's no such prisoner available. Travis just orders them to go out and detain someone.
  • Title Drop
    Travis: We need you for a far more important venture. We've codenamed it Project Avalon.
  • Trojan Prisoner
    • Using a captured guard, Blake and Vila pretend to be his prisoners. The guard plays along briefly, then shoves the two into the other guard and does a runner.
    • Avalon is Actually a Doombot.
  • Underground City: The Centre.
  • Ungrateful Bitch: Travis saves everyone's life with a spectacular catch, but that cuts no ice with Servalan who relieves him of command.
  • The Vamp: Servalan strokes Travis' leather-clad chest.
  • We Will Meet Again: Travis gives this trope. Again.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The files show there were other detainees, but they only have time to rescue Avalon.
  • You Have Failed Me: Though Travis gets off lightly compared to other bungling minions who will piss off Servalan in the future, "Deliverance" reveals that he's been relieved of command.
  • You Must Be Cold: Blake takes off his thermal jacket to give to Avalon so she won't freeze to death on leaving the Centre.

Example of: