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Recap / Blakes Seven S 2 E 4 Horizon

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Written by Allan Prior.
Directed by Jonathan Wright Miller.
Airdate: 30 January 1979.

Worn down by constant pursuit, the crew of the Liberator have taken refuge in the outer rim of the galaxy. There they discover Horizon, a planet annexed by the Federation currently being exploited for its mineral resources. Blake tries to convince its puppet ruler to revolt.


This episode has the following tropes:

  • Alpha Strike: The three cruisers are in line astern so they can all fire on the same part of the Liberator's hull.
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  • BBC Quarry: Scenes in the mine were filmed at Clearwell Scowles in Gloucestershire, the remains of an iron ore mine dating back to the Iron Age.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Avon refuses to teleport down, so he's in a prime position to rescue everyone. Then Blake teleports down to help out Ro, whom he knows has been targeted for death.
    Avon: More last-minute heroics?
  • "Blackmail" Is Such an Ugly Word
    Ro: I'm Ro. I rule this planet.
    Blake: Do you? I thought it was a Federation colony.
    Ro: I dislike the word "colony."
    Blake: Which word would you prefer?
    Ro: I rule here, and you're my prisoners.
    Blake: I dislike the word "prisoner."
  • Bottled Heroic Resolve: The crew are strung out and functioning on adrenaline and soma. Cally tells Blake they need to get some natural form of relaxation before they suffer a Heroic BSoD.
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  • Broken Record
    Blake: What are the surface conditions on Horizon?
    Zen: Negative information.
    Blake: Population?
    Zen: Negative information.
    Blake: Well, is there any information on Horizon?
    Zen: Negative.
    Blake: Well, is the information on Horizon classified?
    Zen: Negative information.
    Vila: Well, that was a whole lot of nothing.
  • Call-Back / Contrived Coincidence: Blake tells Ro he met his friend Paura on the prison ship to Cygnus Alpha.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The magnetic screen is used to destroy the pursuit ships.
  • Classified Information: All information on Horizon has been classified. Blake uses this to his advantage, betting their lives that the Federation flotilla doesn't know about the magnetic shield.
  • Cool, Clear Water: Ro offers Jenna water. She hesitates to drink it, fearing poison or drugs, so he assures her it's natural water from a stream. Jenna comments that it's likely full of lethal bacteria, but drinks anyway.
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  • Curiosity Killed the Cast
    Cally: You're not going to follow the freighter all the way to Horizon?
    Blake: Why not? I'm curious.
    Avon: Oh, you are curious. Well, I'm glad we have a worthwhile purpose.
    Blake: Doesn't it interest you a little?
    Avon: No. There's nothing out there. We are on the edge. Even Zen has nothing on it. That could mean anything. An experimental war zone, anything.
  • Defiant to the End: Selma accepts working in the mines till she dies of radiation poisoning rather than be sent off for Federation 'training'.
  • Dissonant Laughter: Avon on hearing that a Federation flotilla is on its way, so he's going to have to either abandon his crewmates or do something stupidly heroic to rescue them.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The anti-colonial theme.
  • Dwindling Party: Blake and Jenna teleport down and are captured, then Vila and Gan, then Cally.
    Avon: And then there was one.
  • Emotions vs. Stoicism: Cally has a bad feeling about this.
    Avon: Wonderful. We have all the resources of Zen, Orac, and the Liberator, and you FEEL that they are in trouble. You do not FEEL it, you REASON it. They have not called in, therefore they must be in trouble. You don't have to be telepathic to know that.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: The Kommissar regards Resisters like Blake as suffering from some kind of genetic disorder.
  • Evil Mentor: The Kommissar acted as a mentor to Ro at the Central Educational Complex. It's also implied that he's become a Parental Substitute after the death of Ro's father (which it turns out the Kommissar arranged because the previous ruler would not make an effective Federation puppet).
  • Face, Nod, Action: The Kommissar and his assistant exchange a Meaningful Look when it looks like Ro has become too sympathetic to the Resister Blake. The assistant then walks off to send a call for assistance to any nearby Federation vessels.
  • Famed In-Story: At first it looks like the Kommissar is so far from the Federation he doesn't know who Blake is. Turns out he's known all along and is hoping to get the reward on the Liberator too.
    Kommissar: Blake and his crew are the most sort after criminals in the galaxy.
  • Fantastic Drug: Adrenaline and soma (the latter a Shout-Out to Brave New World). The adrenaline is drunk as a stimulant (whether it's actual adrenaline or just a brand name is unknown), with the soma presumably a downer to take the edge off. Cally uses an increased soma-dosage to knock out Vila for a while.
  • Foreshadowing
    • Blake says that Avon will calculate the odds before deserting them. Avon is later shown doing exactly that, consulting Orac on the odds of survival if the Liberator has a Crew of One.
    • Avon remonstrates Cally for making a decision based on emotion rather than logic. He later makes just such a decision himself.
    • The Federation is mining Monopasium-239 to power hyperspace starships to other galaxies. In "Star One" it's revealed that aliens from Andromeda are planning an invasion. It's possible that one side or the other is hoping to launch a preemptive strike.
    • Ro says that while they may have been primitive, their weapons had their uses. The Kommissar finds that out the hard way.
  • Fantastic Racism: Ro is encouraged to believe he's more enlightened than his primitive people, whose deaths are a Necessary Evil for his planet's advancement. Selma also thinks she is superior even while working in the mines with them, as she was part of the old power structure before the Federation.
  • Friend or Foe: After blasting several guards, Avon nearly blows Blake's head off when he come charging out wielding a pickaxe. Blake responds with a Disapproving Look.
  • Good Costume Switch: Like the Kommissar and his assistant, Ro wears a dark Nehru jacket. He announces his Heel–Face Turn by appearing in his 'primitive' ceremonial headdress and killing the Kommissar with a poisoned dart from a blowpipe.
  • Green Rocks: Monopasium-239
  • If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten: The Kommissar realises that Ro's loyalty to the Federation is wavering and decides to eliminate him. However he decides to test that loyalty first by placing Selma in the Disorienter, which is likely to be fatal. Ro pretends to go along, but eventually turns against him.
  • Impractically Fancy Outfit = Costume Porn: Cally in her off-white long-sleeved tunic with Shoulders of Doom, and Jenna in a pink split gauzy tunic over a white bodysuit with silver boots. Neither bother to change into something more practical when teleporting down to Horizon or slaving away in the mines. When Avon teleports down to make a stealthy infiltration, he's wearing a silver tunic that makes him stand out like a bicycle reflector.
  • Infinite Supplies: The Liberator is self-regenerating and has concentrated food for one person for a thousand years. So if Avon wants to do a runner, there's nothing to stop him.
  • Instant Sedation:
    • One-third adrenaline, two-thirds soma knocks Vila out for half an hour.
    • Blake, Jenna and Vila are knocked out instantly by a blowpipe dart each. Gan takes two before he goes down.
  • Knockout Ambush: Happens to all our heroes, until Avon is finally smart enough to teleport down to a place not covered by the scanners.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: The Liberator's forcewall is the only thing that prevents them from being destroyed by the magnetic shield around Horizon.
  • Made a Slave: The Primitives have been forced to mine the radioactive ore by their Federation overseers (one out of ten die in the process). Both Selma and our heroes are sent to the mines to encourage them to be more cooperative.
  • Make an Example of Them: Gan is tied to a post as an example to the others (actually so he can be Trapped by Mountain Lions during much of the episode).
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: Ro is told his father died in an accident. Cally claims the Kommissar killed him with his bare hands.
  • Meaningful Name: The planet Silmareno has been renamed Horizon by the Federation, and is meant to be a stepping point to the Federation expanding into another galaxy. At the end of the episode, Ro decides to keep the name rather than just return to the Good Old Ways. The name incidentally was adopted by the official Blake's Seven fan club.
  • Microts: Time units
  • Mind Probe: The Disorienter, though it's mainly a torture device.
  • Never Tell Me the Odds!: Averted with Avon.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: The Kommissar shuts down the scanners and removes the guards so he can assassinate Ro. This only makes it easier for Ro and Blake to kill him.
  • Phony Psychic: Cally uses telepathy and information uncovered by Orac to convince Ro that she's a mystic.
  • Princess in Rags: Selma was supposed to marry Ro, but she rebelled against Federation 'training' and has been sent to the mines until she recants or dies.
  • The Quisling / Puppet King: Ro believes that the Federation is helping his people rise out of ignorance.
  • Released to Elsewhere: Ro was told that Paura was sent on a training course, while actually he was sent to the penal colony on Cygnus Alpha.
  • Right Behind Me: Blake takes Jenna on the mission because Avon is less likely to run out on him without their Ace Pilot. While telling her this, Avon appears in the doorway but fails to make one of his trademark sardonic quips.
  • Rousseau Was Right: The Primitives rush to the food bowl, fighting over the contents until a sharp order from Selma makes them stand aside so the former royal can eat. Blake isn't impressed, so takes charge of the food distribution himself and makes sure everyone eats one-at-a-time so they can get the same amount.
  • Shirtless Scene: Blake and Vila, who unfortunately are a bit flabby after all their time stuck on the Liberator. Meanwhile Cally and Jenna keep their flowing gowns on even though they are sweating away in the mines alongside them.
  • Signature Style: "Adrenaline and soma" was a favorite writing tic of Allan Prior.
  • Sinister Surveillance: Anyone teleporting down is picked up by the scanners. Avon gets Orac to find a place they don't cover.
  • Smug Snake: The Kommissar is convinced he can manipulate Ro or simply eliminate him if he's too much trouble. Ro gets his dart in first.
  • Some Kind Of Forcefield: There's an invisible 'magnetic barrier' protecting Horizon. The freighter can pass through because the hull has been specially demagnetised. Liberator only survives because its forcewall was raised. The Federation flotilla don't know about the barrier and fly right into it.
  • Space "X": "We've been in space flight and space crises a long time."
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Underplayed; when someone has to teleport down to find out what happened to Blake, Gan gets Vila's reluctant assistance by pointing out that if he doesn't teleport down, Cally will have to go in his place. Avon however point-blank refuses, even when Cally insists on teleporting down alone.
  • Subspace Ansible: Averted; they're so far from Central Control there's no direct link.
  • Take Me Instead: The Kommissar wants Blake to hand over the Liberator. Blake refuses, but suggests they keep him and let the others go so they can flee in the Liberator, pointing out the Liberator can easily run down and destroy the Federation freighter if they try to take them off the planet. The Kommissar decides to abandon his plan and calls for reinforcements instead.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Avon and Blake.
  • Tempting Fate: Avon asks how many Federation pursuit ships would be needed to take on the Liberator. The answer is three, which is the number in the flotilla that responds to the Kommissar's alert.
  • The Triple
    Avon: I am not expendable, I am not stupid, and I am not going.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: What happened to Horizon after Blake left? Were they successfully able to resist the Federation? There's another planet where the Federation can get Monopasium-239, and given that Horizon is a long way from anywhere making an invasion (or genocide and resettlement with colonists) an expensive proposition plus the Federation itself collapses at the end of the season they may well have.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Avon is the only one left on the Liberator. He asks Orac to calculate his odds of survival. The Liberator has Infinite Supplies, Orac can handle combat and navigation if Zen proves difficult, and unless they go looking for trouble the Liberator can survive against anything short of three Federation cruisers.
    Orac: The odds would be 3.5 to 1 on survival.
    Avon: Therefore I do not need Blake, I do not need any of the others...
    Orac: Is that a question?
    Avon: ...I do not need anybody at all.
    Orac: Is that a question? I—I—I must ask you to be more specific.
    Avon: Shut up, Orac.
  • World of Snark
    Avon: It's all negative, the whole thing.
    Avon: A fifth-grade ignorant, and you would say so, would you?
    Vila: Well, I never had a chance, did I? I chose the wrong parents.
    Kommissar: So you're a Resister. Some malfunction of the genes, I suppose. It throws up a Resister about every hundred thousand. Mostly they're detected in infancy.
    Blake: I was a late developer.
  • You Are Not Alone: On seeing that Gan at least is still alive, Avon says, "So, I'm not alone..."
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness
    Blake: When you are all dead, Ro, the Federation will use this as a booster planet to extend their empire further. With their new ships, with your fuel. You are digging your own graves, Ro. They code-named this place Horizon. It's an horizon you will never cross.
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