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Recap / Blakes Seven S 2 E 10 Voice From The Past

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Written by Roger Parkes.
Directed by George Spenton-Foster.
Airdate: 13 March 1979.

A constant tone that only Blake can hear activates memories of his brainwashing, and he alters course to an asteroid to meet Ven Glynd, the Arbiter General at his trial in "The Way Back". Glynd claims that he has defected to the rebel cause, and in alliance with Governor Le Grand and a disabled ex-rebel leader called Shivan, he intends to present evidence of the Terran Administration's corruption at a conference of planetary governors.

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This episode has the following tropes:

  • All in the Eyes: Played With when a rectangular theatre screen is used instead. The rebel conspirators arrive at an auditorium only to find it empty of their supporters. Then Servalan appears on the theater screen to inform them that the Federation has known about their plot the whole time. As she speaks, Servalan's image is reduced from a Close Up On Head to an Eyed Screen to a single eye.
  • And the Adventure Continues: Once the Mind-Control Device is broken, Blake has no memory of the episode's events.
    Blake: Well what are we all standing around for? Or has the Federation disappeared? Our problem is to find Star One if you haven't forgotten. (strides off)
    Avon: I'm sorry to have to inform you, that he is himself all right.
  • Aside Glance: "The triumvirate, my friends."
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  • Asteroid Miners: Asteroid PK118 is a mined-out asteroid whose facilities have been left intact as a survival base for space crews. It makes a suitable covert rendezvous point for the conspirators.
  • Back from the Dead
    Servalan: We have heard rumors, nothing confirmed, of course, concerning the rebel Shivan.
    Le Grand: Shivan's still alive?
    Servalan: Severely incapacitated. A mere shell, in fact. But as we both have learned, while there's life, there's threat.
  • Bandage Mummy: Shivan has been so horribly tortured by the Federation that he's a bandaged cripple who can barely speak. Eventually he rips off his bandages to reveal himself as Travis in disguise. Why none of the rebels looked under his bandages to check his identity or treat his extensive injuries is not revealed.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: Servalan demands the conspirators surrender. They flee instead, preferring a quick and brutal death on the spot to the inevitable torture, brainwashing, show trial and execution or exile to a penal colony.
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  • Bodyguard Crush: It's implied Nagu is smitten with his "Lady Le Grand". He actually drops to one knee while begging her to let him accompany her down to the planet.
  • Brainwash Residue: The conspirators reactivate the brainwashing Blake received in the pilot episode, to make him go to their rendezvous.
  • Cat Fight: A verbal one with Governor Le Grand and Supreme Commander Servalan exchanging faux smiles over the Video Phone. After she signs off, Servalan relishes handing Le Grand over to the crimino-therapists.
  • Continuity Cavalcade: Reference is made to "The Way Back" (Blake's trial and the subsequent murder of his defence lawyer), Servalan's attempt to buy Orac in "Deliverance", the failed raid on Central in "Pressure Point", and breaking into Federation cyphers ("Seek-Locate-Destroy" and "Killer").
  • Destruction Equals Off-Switch:
    • A more justified version than just randomly blasting it with a firearm — Blake shuts the door, then rewires the control panel, sealing the others inside.
    • Having failed in every other attempt to unlock the control box, Avon resorts to just smashing it. It works.
  • Dramatic Unmask: Shivan removes his Bandaged Face to reveal Travis in Perma-Stubble.
  • Dull Surprise: Well he is being brainwashed!
    Glynd: How do you feel?
    Blake: [flatly] Excited.
  • Earth Is the Center of the Universe: Despite planning a rebellion of the Outer Worlds, Le Grand still needs someone from Earth as their leader for political reasons. This (she claims) is why she wants Blake to accept the role instead of herself.
  • Evil Gloating: Servalan, on an auditorium theatre screen no less.
    "Le Grand, the High Council have been aware of your pathetic plot from the beginning. Our only surprise is that you have come this far without realizing how transparent your intentions have been."
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Even if the governor's rebellion had successfully challenged the Terran Administration, we see in "Star One" that Servalan is entirely willing to take control of the Federation herself using the military forces at her disposal, and in Season 4 the rebellious Outer Worlds are reconquered easily thanks to Government Drug Enforcement.
  • Fan Vid: Are You Being Subjugated? has this episode's credits In the Style of... the sitcom Are You Being Served?
  • Full-Circle Revolution: For all their talk of liberty, non-violence and brotherhood, the plotters are implied to be just as corrupt and power-hungry as the Terran Administration, wanting Blake only as a figurehead under Mind Control.
    Avon: So much for Blake's new epoch of peace.
  • Hell Is That Noise: Blake is bothered by a constant oscillating tone in his head. Then he starts Hearing Voices too.
  • Hope Spot: Blake finds a non-violent alternative to terrorism and revolution, with sympathetic members of the Administration who want to overthrow the corrupt High Council. Pity they're subjecting him to Mind Manipulation and Servalan knows about the entire plot.
  • A House Divided: Blake convinces Vila that his erratic behavior was due to him being drugged by Avon and Cally, who are planning to take over the Liberator themselves.
  • Human Aliens: Orac suggests that Jenna rather than Cally be used as a control for Blake's treatment. Cally is a bit miffed. "Well I'm not all that alien..."
  • Idiot Ball:
    • We're supposed to believe that the conspirators accepted Travis as the rebel Shivan Back from the Dead, without any attempt to look under the bandages to verify his identity or give medical treatment.
    • Blake is strapped to a chair and Not Himself, yet manages to convince Vila that Avon and Cally are trying to take over the ship.
    • Travis patiently forgoes his chance to kill Blake on sight, only to abandon the Liberator and teleport down to finish the job personally when Blake's capture is certain, then doesn't shoot him on the spot when he has the chance (apparently because Blake is unaware of him and therefore won't see his death coming).
  • Kneel Before Frodo: Le Grand insists on paying homage to Blake as their new leader. It's subverted as he's meant to be a Puppet King.
  • Large Ham
    • Nagu has a steely look in his eye and talks in rebel clichés. "To sustain the flame of liberty!"
    • Shivan: "Prootoocool forrr yourrr puppeeet, ehhh? Yourrr preeeecious boooox orf treeeks!"
    • Seeing as the rebels have been considerate enough to provide the theatre, Servalan makes a right proper production out of Le Grand's capture and humiliation, appearing as an Eyed Screen and revealing her troopers after a Big Blackout with Dramatic Spotlights.
    • Once he's designated as Blake's deputy, Vila does some ostentatious bowing to Le Grand.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Glynd is killed by a Federation mole, like the one he had kill Varon and Maja in "The Way Back".
  • Lotus Position: The episode opens with the crew of the Liberator doing relaxation exercises at Cally's behest. Cally is in the standard Lotus Position, Avon is in a Child's Pose, Blake in a Bow Pose, while Jenna just reclines on her couch in a tight leather bodysuit enjoying the sight of them looking very silly.
  • Madness Mantra: "Renounce...renounce... (Blake sits bolt upright) RENOUNCE! RENOUNCE!"
  • Magical Computer: Orac helps to diagnose and treat Blake. And without griping about it too.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Ven Glynd plans to operate this way, using the Mind-Control Device to control Blake as a Puppet King.
    Shivan: The eminence grise. You imagine I haven't smelt you out?
    Glynd: Sharp of you.
    Shivan: You think I am so damn enfeebled as to forget the rules of the game? Enthrone your puppet Blake to posture and proclaim whilst you enjoy the real fruits of power.
  • Manchurian Agent: The conspirators can affect Blake's behaviour via his Brainwash Residue. Also as per this trope, Blake has no memory of what happened afterwards.
  • Mortal Wound Reveal: Nagu staggers onto the flight deck, then collapses to reveal he's got a knife In the Back. Enter stage Travis.
  • Not Himself: Blake. Not that Avon is any happier when Blake is himself.
  • Oh, Crap!: The conspirators arrive at the conference only to find an empty auditorium. Then the lights start going out...
  • One-Eyed Shot: A chilling example from Servalan, with her taunting message to Le Grand eventually reduced to a single eye.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Shivan has a bandaged face with only one eye, and a bandaged hand. I wonder who that could be?
  • Pleasure Planet: The crew is heading for Del Ten and aren't happy when Blake changes course.
    Vila: It's an ultra planet, fantastic mountain scenery, and the gravity's so low you can practically fly.
  • Pstandard Psychic Pstance: Blake when the conditioning starts to break down.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!
    • Struggling with an insane Blake, Avon shouts at Vila to get the TRAN-QUIL-LIZ-ZER PAD!
    • Shivan labours out every word, ostensibly because his tortured body is on its last legs, actually in a not-entirely-successful attempt to obscure from the audience that he's Travis in disguise.
  • Puppet King: A mind-controlled Blake is intended for this role, a Man of the People with Glynd and Le Grand pulling the strings.
  • Remember That You Trust Me: When Blake puts them on course for some rogue asteroid and refuses to provide an explanation.
    Blake: For once just try trusting me. [Exits]
    Avon: He's used a number of ploys to get his own way, but "Just try trusting me" — that's weak even by his standards.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Travis has control of the Liberator, the most powerful ship in the galaxy. He could hand it over to the Federation to restore his reputation with Star Command, or go rogue and become a wealthy and powerful space pirate. Instead he leaves Avon and Cally up there so he can teleport down to get revenge on Blake, who would have been killed or captured shortly after by Federation troops.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: The plot to overthrow the Terran Administration involves Mind Manipulation of their intended figurehead.
  • Series Continuity Error
    • Servalan is stated to have embezzled the money used to buy Orac, which doesn't fit with the events of "Deliverance". Servalan couldn't get hold of the money in the first place, which is why she decided that Murder Is the Best Solution.
    • Blake's trial for rebellion in his Back Story is mixed up with his trial for pedophilia in "The Way Back". There's no mention of the latter either — surely the brainwashing of children to frame a political dissident would be a more useful scandal than Servalan embezzling funds?
  • Ship Tease
    Blake: Avon and Cally.
    Vila: What about them?
    Blake: Paired up. Mutual affinities.
    Vila: You mean...?
    Blake: Oh, it's been going on for some time now. I didn't realize it had gone as far as this.
  • The Snark Knight: Guess who...
    Vila: You’ve always explained, given us reasons for things.
    Avon: When he had any.
    Avon: Don't overreact. Remember, this is for your beloved leader.
    Vila: ...and then he just stopped talking!
    Avon: The two don't necessarily follow.
  • Space Clothes: Blake wears a silver spacesuit with a large streamlined helmet (and no oxygen tanks!). In Space, Everyone Can See Your Face is averted though, because he's not wearing it for long.
  • Space "X": The crew wonder if Blake is suffering from "space fatigue". At least it wasn't Space Madness!
  • Spy Speak
    Servalan: Transmit a message using pre-revised ciphers. Message to read, "Behold, the mutants shall wither."
  • Synchronization: When Blake leaps out of his couch, Avon tries to karate-chop him into unconsciousness only for Jenna (who's mentally linked to Blake) to feel the blows.
  • Take Our Word for It: When landing on the asteroid, Blake is shown walking in front of a painted backdrop, then we see Vila receiving his call saying that gravity is low and he can move fast as long as he keeps his feet.
  • Teleportation Rescue: Subverted as Travis is waiting up on the Liberator for them, but he teleports down to kill Blake after the latter rips off his teleportation bracelet.
  • Tempting Fate: Le Grand says they have the element of surprise, but Servalan has known about their plot from the beginning.
  • Terms of Endangerment
    Shivan: You still need me, brother.
    Glynd: Did I deny it...brother?
  • Throwing Off the Disability: Shivan can barely walk, but he's actually Travis in disguise.
  • The Unintelligible: Shivan has to talk through a tracheal vent, but as The Reveal that he is Travis has to be concealed from the audience, his voice is altered not only beyond recognition but also comprehension. It doesn't help that he's using words like eminence grise either.
    Shivan: Entrol your bloodbeard blabe to booster your emperor clam olts you enjoyyyy the reeeal fruits of powerrrr!
  • Velvet Revolution: Or that's the plan; unfortunately it's crushed under the jackboots of Servalan's soldiers.
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