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Recap / Blakes Seven S 2 E 12 The Keeper

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Written by Allan Prior.
Directed by Derek Martinus.
Airdate: 27 March 1979.

The crew of the Liberator go to the planet Goth seeking the brainprint of the cybersurgeon Lurgen, the only person who knew the location of Star One. There they get caught up in a struggle for power between two brothers.


This episode has the following tropes:

  • And Now You Must Marry Me: Gola is smitten with Jenna on first sight, and decides she'll pair-bond with him. Jenna plays along so as to get a look at his amulet.
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  • And the Adventure Continues
    Jenna: [Course] One eight nine, Standard by Ten — and on, with luck, to Star One.
  • As You Know: The crew helpfully recap the information they got from Docholli in the previous episode.
  • BBC Quarry: A more lush and visually interesting version of this trope with Bream Scowles in Gloucestershire as the surface of Goth.
  • Beneath the Earth: The inhabitants of Goth live in tents in deep caves, as the noxious fumes on the surface are fatal given long exposure.
  • Breaking the Bonds: After Blake kills or drives off his guards, Rod snaps the yoke that his arms are tied to.
  • The Caligula: Gola, the Charl of Goth. Lurgen might have cured his pain, but he clearly misplaced several of Gola's marbles in the process.
  • Chain Pain: Rod dies when Gola throttles him with the chain binding their hands together.
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  • Chewing the Scenery: Gola, Rod and Tara all have their moments.
  • Combat Pragmatist: The Liberator is manoeuvring in close to Travis' spacecraft.
    Cally: No indication that he's seen us.
    Avon: Good. I have no objection to shooting him In the Back.
  • Comm Links: Travis has a bulky communicator, but it doesn't have the range to reach another planet, so he has to go to Servalan's spaceship to get reinforcements. Or so he claims.
  • Continuity Nod: Vila's skill with conjuring tricks was shown in "Space Fall".
  • Costume Porn: Jenna in her Goth dress with Cleavage Window.
  • Deadly Decadent Court
  • Death Song: The Fool sings one for his former master as the old Charl dies.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Jenna, though it's all an act.
  • Desk Sweep of Rage: As usual whenever there's a medieval fight in a throne room, Rod and Gola have to sweep the banquet table clear in the process.
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  • Do You Trust Me?
    Travis: Don't you trust me?
    Servalan: No, of course not!
    Travis: Then trust my ambition. You will be the new keeper of the secret.
  • Enemy Mine: Travis and Servalan are back to working together, regardless of their hostile interaction in "Gambit". Subverted when this time it's Travis who's the manipulative party.
  • Evil Laugh: Tara does this so often you'd think she was sniffing laughing gas instead of prophetic vapor. Her biggest one is when she takes the throne for herself.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Servalan muses that she might not kill Jenna after all, given that she might be spending the rest of her life with Gola.
  • Faux Action Girl: When Jenna is ambushed by the Goths, she's lifted up in their arms kicking and screaming instead of blasting a few like in "Project Avalon".
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Avon finds the destruction of Travis' spaceship surprisingly easy. Travis likely set this up so he would have an excuse to take Servalan's spaceship, ditching her on the planet.
    • "There'll come a time when such ideas seem unambitious." Servalan launches a Military Coup in the very next episode, seizing the Federation presidency for herself.
    • There's several references to poison before someone is poisoned for real.
    • "She will be out of range in one minute! We will never get her." Avon's right, they never do get Servalan.
    • Tara laughs mockingly when Jenna says that Gola is the only other person of royal blood.
  • Get Out!: After taking power, Tara tells our heroes to take what they want from the old man in the cell, and get the hell off her planet.
    Tara: Go now. Take this key and take the bracelets. Leave this place. Go!
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy
    • Blake has been knocked unconscious, so a Goth stands with his back to him until Blake recovers and returns the favour.
    • Rod is able to just walk into the throne room as the guards are apparently asleep (though it's implied that Tara set this up).
  • Hammerspace: Averted as Vila is shown packing a container before teleporting down. At least they replaced that silly red icebox for something that looks more sci-fi.
  • Interesting Situation Duel: Gola and Rod duel each other with spiked gloves while connected by a chain attached to their other hand.
  • If I Do Not Return: Underplayed; Blake says if he's not back in six hours Avon and Cally are to come down after them, instead of the usual "take off and leave us there". When Blake returns at the end of the episode, Avon claims he was about to leave anyway.
  • Ironic Echo: Rod repeats Blake's "That is the difference between us" line from the episode "Hostage", making the audience think that he's a good guy. Turns out he's no better than his mad brother.
  • The Jester: The Charl has a Fool but his tricks are old hat, so Gola decides that Vila would make a good replacement. Fortunately Vila knows enough sleight-of-hand tricks to keep him amused.
  • Joker Immunity: When Avon blasts Travis' ship, the subsequent reveal that Travis is still alive isn't even played for drama. He just walks on set in a wide shot.
  • Just in Time: Blake teleports out just as he's about to be shot by an explosive quarrel.
  • Kick the Fool: Gola invites Travis to kick his fool and share a laugh with him over it.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: The Fool frames Vila so he gets thrown into the dungeons, so Jenna frames the Fool so she can get Vila back.
  • MacGuffin: The brainprint of the cybersurgeon Lurgen is allegedly on a thong around the neck of a royal personage.
  • Magnificent Bastard:
    • After all this time as Servalan's catspaw Travis outsmarts her. He lets the Liberator destroy his ship so he has an excuse to take Servalan's spaceship to fetch reinforcements. He plants the idea of Servalan stealing the secret location of Star One for herself, when he's already got the brainprint and is just using the opportunity to get there first.
    • Tara manoeuvres one brother into killing the other, then poisons the winner, taking the throne for herself.
  • Malevolent Masked Men: The Goths who ambush our heroes are masked against the fumes on the surface.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Tara predicts that Jenna and Vila will turn up (but that's right before they're brought into the room so she could have been tipped off that they'd been captured), that Rod will return and Gola will die (she arranges both events), and that Gola desires Jenna (which as the latter points out is obvious to anyone). Tara admits herself that her own powers are limited from what they used to be, though she's still able to freeze Jenna in place with some kind of psychic power.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Avon takes the Liberator out of teleport range when he sees a chance of bumping off Travis. Of course that's just when a Teleportation Rescue is needed, and Travis was never on the spacecraft anyway. On seeing Servalan's ship leaving orbit Avon wants to ambush it as well, but Cally refuses this time. Ironically this time it really is Travis, as Servalan is still down on the surface.
  • No Man Should Have This Power: Both Avon (to Blake) and Travis (to Servalan) point out that anyone who knows the location of Star One can potentially control the entire Federation. Blake angrily rejects the idea, with Avon snarking that he's afraid of being corrupted by power. Even Servalan is thrown by this treasonous suggestion, but is clearly tempted by it too.
  • Over-the-Shoulder Carry: Vila is carted off to the dungeon this way. The Fool just gets picked up by an arm and a leg.
  • Passive-Aggressive Kombat: Servalan versus Gola. She wins.
  • Pet the Dog: Tara tries to protect the Fool from her brother's bullying, and the Fool himself shows touching affection for his former master, now an insane old man dying in the dungeon.
  • Proud Warrior Race
    Gola: I live as my ancestors have lived. We are a warrior people! We fight to live and we live to fight! What can the Federation offer us but slavery?
  • Public Secret Message: While doing a magic trick for Jenna and the Charl, Vila passes on a message to her that Blake is waiting below to rescue them.
    Vila: In this trick, the captive ring is liberated without breaking the rope. Watch closely; is there a break above? [looking Jenna in the eye] or a Blake below?
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!
    • Avon: ZERO! SEVEN! THREE!
    • Rod: Let me go you dogs! Let me fight you ONE-BY-ONE!
  • Red Herring: The brainprint of Lurgen is on the amulet of a royal personage. Jenna thinks Tara is an obvious choice for a Secret Keeper, but it's not her. Nor Gola either. The man Blake rescues turns out to be the king's brother, only it's not him either. Viewers assume the old man in the dungeon is Lurgen, but he's actually the former king. He's the one with the amulet, but Travis has stolen the brainprint before Blake arrived.
  • Reclining Reigner:
    • Servalan is introduced in a tent reclining on a fur rug, eating Grapes of Luxury.
    • When Jenna has to lie down after her feigned poisoning, Gola has no objection to doing the same beside her.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Averted; for once Travis isn't interested in Blake, leaving the planet even though he knows the Liberator has arrived. We find out why in the next episode.
  • Rightful King Returns: Subverted as you'd expect in Blake's Seven. Rod looks like he's a classic example, but instead of deposing his mad brother he gets killed. Then it's revealed that the rightful Charl is the old man in the dungeons — the two brothers deposed their father and then fell out over who would take the throne.
  • Right Under Their Noses: Despite spending some time outside his cell Blake pays little attention to the harmless old nutter, not knowing that he had the MacGuffin all along.
  • Sad Clown: The Fool's tricks no longer amuse his Charl, so he knows his time is running out. "It's a sad life, that of a Fool."
  • Secret Keeper: The Fool as it turns out, and he doesn't even know it.
  • Screaming Warrior: The Goths leaping into the scowle to ambush our heroes.
  • Smart People Play Chess: When Jenna loses a game of Variant Chess with Gola, Servalan promptly mocks the idea that a Federation citizen would lose to a hairy primitive.
  • Sneeze of Doom: Vila hides from the Goths in a crack in the rocks, but the sulfur fumes emitting from the crack make him sneeze, drawing the searchers down on him.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • Vila: Seems deserted; shame about that. [Goths attack]
    • Gola tells Tara her prophecy of his death is bunkus and then drops dead.
  • Thinking Tic: Waiting for Blake on the Liberator, Avon plays with his balls of steel.
  • Too Dumb to Live: After being Properly Paranoid about accepting a drink from his sister, Gola takes a celebratory drink from her after killing Rod and promptly dies of poisoning.
  • Trapped by Mountain Lions: Rather than rushing to Jenna and Vila's rescue, Blake spends most of the episode down in the dungeon waiting for Rod to return. At least this gives Jenna something to do besides man the teleport alongside Cally.
  • Traveling at the Speed of Plot: Travis and Servalan had time to travel to Goth before the much-faster Liberator arrived, despite finding out about Lurgen's brainprint at the same time that Blake did.
  • Trigger Phrase: The spatial co-ordinates of Star One are revealed by saying the phrase "A fool knows everything and nothing" as they were implanted in the mind of the Charl's Fool.
  • Villainous Demotivator: When Vila is released from his cell the guard tells him that if he's not funny, he'll be coming back there.
  • Voice Changeling: Jealous of Vila usurping his position, the Fool mimics Vila's voice so he appears to be mocking Gola, getting Vila thrown into the dungeon.
  • We Can Rule Together:
    Travis: Look, Star One is the computer control center. It controls the climate on more than two hundred worlds; communications, security, food production, it controls them all. It is the key to our very lives. Think of all that power.
    Servalan: You can see why the Council themselves don't know where Star One is. In the wrong hands—
    Travis: Yes, but in the right hands, yours and mine...
    Servalan: Be very careful you don't overreach yourself, Travis.
    Travis: There'll come a time when such ideas seem unambitious.
  • Whole Plot Reference: Draws on several Shakespearean plays including King Lear (the mad king deposed by his offspring who then struggle for power) and Hamlet (a duel with the victor poisoned as he drinks a celebratory cup).
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: What happened to Lurgen? It's suggested that he might be dead in "Gambit", but neither Gola or Tara confirm this.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Averted; Avon recognises Travis' ship leaving orbit and decides to blast him out of space. He wants to do the same to Servalan's ship, and when Cally opposes him, Avon warns her that they may never get another chance.
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