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Recap / Blakes Seven S 2 E 13 Star One

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Written by Chris Boucher.
Directed by David Maloney (uncredited).
Airdate: 3 April 1979.

The crew of Liberator have finally located Star One, the Master Computer that controls the Federation, and Blake is prepared to destroy it regardless of the cost to innocent lives. But it turns out someone else has got there first, with far more terrible intentions.


This episode has the following tropes:

  • Alien Blood: Averted; there's a big splash of red when Avon shoots an alien, before it reverts to its true form.
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  • Alien Invasion: The All-Out Attack version, but preceded by an Infiltration takeover of Star One.
  • All Planets Are Earthlike: Averted; the planet is only (barely) habitable along the equatorial region, though as usual it still has a breathable atmosphere and looks like a BBC Quarry.
  • Apologetic Attacker: Lurena starts to say, "I'm sorry..." after apparently shooting dead one of her colleagues...until we see her horrified Reaction Shot over what her colleague is turning into.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Lurena appears to have gone insane from the Federation's brainwashing, seeing traitors and conspiracy everywhere. That alien shapeshifters are involved is only revealed gradually.
  • Big Red Button: Averted; both Travis and Avon hit an ordinary button above a Big Red Light. Played straight with the red button (that contrasts well with Servalan's all-white office) which she uses to mobilise her fleet. Unlike most examples of this trope, there's a transparent panel protecting it from being pressed accidentally.
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  • Bavarian Fire Drill: After the aliens mistake him for Travis, Blake tells Cally to put the rest of the bombs in place.
    Blake: You work your way through the other control rooms. If anyone questions you be arrogant: you're with Travis, and he's about to become Emperor of the Galaxy.
  • Black Site: One whose excessive secrecy has now backfired.
  • BBC Quarry: Old Lightmoor Colliery, in Cinderford.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: In-Universe; the aliens are carrying out a Guilt-Free Extermination War, but are curious as to why Travis would help them wipe out his own race.
  • Bolivian Army Cliffhanger: The second season ends with the crew launching a seemingly suicidal Delaying Action against an alien fleet. Two characters were written out: Blake and Jenna. The former returned for the next two finales, dying in the last episode. The latter was killed off-screen.
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  • Bolivian Army Ending: The second season ends with our heroes facing down an alien armada while awaiting the cavalry. Avon yells "Fire" just as the credits roll.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Travis fails to give Blake the Coup de Grâce. Averted with Blake, who insists that Avon check that Travis is truly dead... Avon whirls and fires just as Travis is about to shoot them In the Back.
  • Brainwashing for the Greater Good: Everyone who knows where Star One is has been brainwashed not to reveal it, despite the best efforts of Servalan's torturers. Lurena can't even give details on the base to our heroes, just saying "You don't have security clearance!" when Avon tries to bully her, until Cally points out that she is literally unable to tell him.
  • Brick Joke: Blake tells Cally to scan the planet for signs of an Elaborate Underground Base such as a door, preferably marked ENTRANCE. When they do find the door, Avon snipes that the ENTRANCE sign is missing.
  • Cliffhanger: Avon's "Fire!" would predate Commander Riker's by over ten years.
  • Conflict Killer
    • The moral question of whether Blake should destroy Star One is averted when a far worse enemy than the Federation turns up.
    • Avon demands the Liberator in payment for helping Blake carry out his revolution. The others aren't exactly happy about Avon being The Captain, but are forced to accept the situation when Blake is wounded. Even so Avon's position as their leader will be tenuous, especially after Tarrant turns up as a rival in Season 3.
  • Crazy-Prepared: The Federation has spent years building up the minefield in case of an intergalactic invasion. Such a vast outlay of time and resources would only be allocated if a previous First Contact by Subspace Ansible or scout ship had alerted the Federation to a threat in the first place.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: Lurena looks like she's gone insane when she draws a gun on her colleagues and accuses everyone of plotting against her. Turns out she's right, as they've all been replaced by aliens.
  • Dead Guy on Display: Lurena discovers the dead bodies of her colleagues hung up in a room.
  • Description Cut
    Servalan: No one knows where Star One is! No-one at all!
    [cut to Liberator flight deck]
    Blake: So, if Lurgan's coordinates are correct Star One is somewhere in there.
  • Disney Villain Death: Made rather nasty by Travis screaming as he falls down a reactor well.
  • The Easy Way or the Hard Way
    Avon: Now talk or scream, Travis. The choice is yours.
  • Eldritch Abomination: We know nothing about the aliens' motives for launching a genocidal assault on humanity, and only get a glimpse of their true form.
    Lurena: What are they?
    Avon: Unfriendly. Which is fortunate really; they'd be difficult to love.
  • Enemy Mine: Jenna sends a message to Star Command warning them about the impending invasion.
  • Face-Revealing Turn: Travis arrives hidden in a Black Cloak, and performs this trope when Avon challenges him.
  • Fakeout Escape: Lurena opens the door of the base, so the aliens waste time searching for her on the planet's surface.
  • Fanservice: We get a nice view of Jenna's cleavage as she bends over a console in her leather jumpsuit.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: Stott asks Blake about his artificial hand, and why doesn't he have an eyepatch? Blake and Cally exchange a Meaningful Look. Enter stage Travis.
  • Friendship Moment: When Blake staggers onto the flight deck from sickbay, Avon accuses Blake of having come to check on him, because he doesn't trust he's keeping his word to stay and fight the aliens.
    Blake: Avon. For what it is worth, I have always trusted you. From the very beginning.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Jenna summons the Federation fleet to fight off the alien armada.
  • A Good Name for a Rock Band: Dutch metal band Star One — their song "Intergalactic Space Crusaders" is pretty much a progressive metal Filk Song with the two singers playing the parts of Blake and Avon.
  • Hero of Another Story: Lurena is the Final Girl heroine of a Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) meets The Thing (1982) plot.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Laurena.
  • Human Disguise
  • Hyde Plays Jekyll: Blake pretends to be Travis, but he underestimates the insanity of his Arch-Enemy, assuming Travis is in a We Can Rule Together plot with the aliens.
  • Hypocrite: Servalan's actions in "Gambit" have a lot to do with why the security of Star One has been compromised, yet that doesn't stop her from seizing power and accusing anyone who opposes her of being involved in the sabotage.
  • I Gave My Word: Avon says this to explain why he's making a noble stand at the end, because he promised Blake he'd do so.
  • I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder: When Orac is asked to send a warning to Star Command the computer responds with irritation, "I am not a communicator!"
  • Incredibly Obvious Bomb: Averted; the bombs are innocuous enough for Blake to place one in plain sight on an instrument panel.
  • Inscrutable Aliens: What motivates the Andromedons in their genocidal invasion of the Milky Way galaxy? A pre-emptive strike against the aggressive intergalactic colonisation foreshadowed in "Horizon"? A belief in survival of the fittest? Fear and contempt of a species so different in appearance and motivation from their own? We never find out.
  • It's All About Me: At least Servalan has the pretext that she's protecting billions of lives.
    Cally: Are you sure that what we're going to do is justified?
    Blake: It has to be. Don't you see, Cally? If we stop now then all we have done is senseless killing and destruction. Without purpose, without reason. We have to win. It's the only way I can be sure that I was right.
    Cally: That you were right?
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique
    Travis: Be polite, and I may let you live.
    Avon: Be informative, and I may let you die. You'll want that, after I've shot off an arm or a leg or two.
  • Just a Flesh Wound: Zigzagged; Travis assumes his shot to Blake was fatal. It's not, but it's serious enough to prevent him from physically helping for the rest of the episode. Avon has to take over as The Captain in his place.
  • Kill All Humans: Thought unlike other examples of this trope, there appears to be no rancor attached to the genocide of humanity.
  • Killed Off for Real:
    Blake: Is Travis dead?
    [Avon whirls round and shoots Travis, who falls screaming down a Bottomless Pit]
    Avon: He is now.
  • The Mad Hatter
    Vila: Avon, this is stupid!
    Avon: When did that ever stop us?
  • Master Computer: Star One — apparently We Will Use Dumb Terminals In The Future.
  • Meaningful Name: Star One is located on the only planet orbiting a white dwarf star.
  • Mistaken for Special Guest: Blake turns up to sabotage Star One, only to find it's already been taken over by alien invaders planning to conquer humanity. Blake is assumed to be a human traitor who's helping the aliens; as Blake himself points out, the location of Star One is Over-the-Top Secret (those manning it have literally been marooned there) so who else would be turning up? Unfortunately the real traitor, Travis, does show up, and being an old enemy of Blake instantly attacks him.
  • No Endor Holocaust:
    • Averted; the collateral damage from the destruction of Star One will be millions of innocent lives.
    • Also averted with the opening space accident. The ship's reactor fell onto the planet below and wiped out a city.
  • Not So Different:
    • After describing Blake as an idealist, Avon encounters the Federation technicians who volunteered to maroon themselves on Star One, and sardonically comments: "More idealists."
    • Blake ends up defending the Federation he swore to destroy, while former Federation officer Travis turns traitor and helps the aliens inflict the same sabotage that Blake was intending.
    • Instead of crushing treason and rebellion, Servalan commits treason by overthrowing the government in a Military Coup.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Travis. Blake is initially mistaken for him.
  • Over-the-Top Secret: Star Command realises that someone has sabotaged Star One, but due to their own excessive security precautions, no-one knows where it's located.
  • Picture-Perfect Presentation: Servalan is studying file photographs of the staff of Star One, including Lurena. Cut to Lurena on Star One, standing in the same position. Unfortunately she's the same age as well.
  • The Plot Reaper: With Blake Put on a Bus there was no dramatic purpose for the Arch-Enemy who was obsessed with killing him, so Travis loses his Plot Armor and gets shot dead like he should have been long ago.
  • Put on a Bus: Blake and Jenna.
  • Red Alert: Servalan calls for a Red One Mobilisation of Star Command to fight the invasion.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized
    Blake: I meant what I said on Goth, Avon. We are not going to use Star One to rule the Federation. We are going to destroy it.
    Avon: I never doubted that. I never doubted your fanaticism. As far as I am concerned, you can destroy whatever you like. You can stir up a thousand revolutions. You can wade in blood up to your armpits. Oh, and you can lead the rabble to victory, whatever that might mean. Just so long as there is an end to it.
  • Sanity Slippage: Travis is so far gone he's willing to help destroy his own race.
  • Science-Fiction Writers Have No Sense of Scale
    • Thousands of anti-matter mines block the direct route from Andromeda to the Milky Way. However a miniscule deviation would simply take the invasion fleet around the minefield. It's not like the aliens don't know they are there (even the Liberator's scanners pick them up).
    • Averted with the Nova Queen disaster — by the time the oncoming spacecraft is close enough to see, it's too late to avoid it. The alien invasion fleet however is clustered right on top of the mine they're waiting to be deactivated.
  • Space Mines: Makes the 2-D Space error, though the resource issue is acknowledged. An obvious solution would be to have the minefield surround Star One, but then the plot wouldn't work.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Cally hurls away the container of bombs moments before they detonate. The explosion was so loud that emergency services rushed to the site during filming, and assistant cameraman Paul Godfrey found himself in a real-life Outrun the Fireball because the wind was blowing in his direction, engulfing his camera in a ball of flame.
  • Telepath: After they're captured the moment they enter the base, Cally sends a telepathic warning to Avon so he won't follow them in.
  • Tempting Fate
    • Avon wants to be free of Blake and finished with his cause. He wants to be captain of the Liberator. He gets the Liberator free of Blake...and spends the next two seasons tied his cause.
    • The bland assurances of Mission Control that the oncoming computer-controlled vessel is no danger is contrasted with the increasing Oh, Crap! reactions of the Nova Queen's captain.
    • Vila scoffs at the idea of an alien invasion force. Which then appears on the detector screen.
  • This Was His True Form: The shapeshifters are actually Starfish Aliens, and revert to that form when killed.
  • This Cannot Be!: Even Servalan is rattled when told that the fault must be at Star One, not least because she has absolutely no means of resolving the situation.
  • This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself: Travis has insisted on deactivating the minefield personally, and his only regret is that the Federation will never know that he was responsible.
  • Unusual Euphemism
    Servalan: The head of the psycho-manipulation team has just finished... reassuring my interrogators.
  • Villain Ball:
    • The aliens assume Blake is Travis, despite not having an artificial hand or eyepatch as they've been told he has. Still as Blake points out, it should be impossible for anyone else to show up there, and he's able to bluff them into thinking he has exceptional prosthetics.
    • Servalan's self-centered scheming in "Gambit" has lead to an enemy of the Federation seizing control of Star One.
  • Villainous Valour: We see that some people are just as willing to sacrifice themselves for the Federation as the rebels are dedicated to destroying it.
  • Weather-Control Machine: Drought, torrential rains and snowstorms are devastating Federation planets as the climate control systems controlled by Star One go haywire, creating chaos and famine as a precursor to the alien invasion.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Blake. Destroying the Master Computer for the whole Federation would severely weaken the Federation's hold over its territory, but at the cost of a massive humanitarian crisis and a complete breakdown of law and order.
  • Wham Episode
    • Servalan seizes control of the Federation and becomes President. With the death of Travis, she is now the unquestioned Arch-Enemy of our heroes.
    • Instead of destroying the Federation, the crew of the Liberator defend it against a greater threat.
    • Avon becomes The Captain of the Liberator, replacing Blake as leader of the rebels and the lead character of the series.
  • Wham Line: After Vila and Jenna discover that an alien invasion fleet is approaching the galaxy:
    Vila: Do you think Blake knows what's happening? Why hasn't he come back yet? What are we supposed to do, Jenna?
    Jenna: Give the alarm.
    Vila: Terrific idea, who do you suggest we tell?
    Jenna: Servalan.
  • With Us or Against Us: With computer sabotage on a massive scale taking place, Servalan seizes control of the Federation from its political leaders, and states that anyone who opposes her is part of the sabotage conspiracy.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Blake assumes Travis is helping the aliens so he can become leader of the Federation. His motives are actually a bit more extreme than that.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: The Liberator has to Hold the Line against a fleet of 600 warships trying to get through the gap in the minefield until reinforcements arrive from Star Command, all of whom are several hours away.
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