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Recap / Blakes Seven S 2 E 6 Trial

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Written by Chris Boucher.
Directed by Derek Martinus.
Airdate: 13 February 1979.

Wracked with guilt over Gan's death, Blake teleports down to an apparently uninhabited planet to gather his thoughts and let the others decide if they want to continue with his cause. Meanwhile at Star Command, Servalan seeks to dispose of Travis by having him court-martialed for a past atrocity.


This episode has the following tropes:

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  • Alien Sea: One made up of digestive fluid.
  • Aliens Speaking English: Subverted as that's not enough for Zil to easily get across what's going on.
  • All for Nothing
    Blake: I almost killed you all. I did kill Gan. For nothing: an empty room, a trick, an illusion. Now I find myself wondering if that's what it's been all along: just a dream.
  • The Assimilator: When the planet becomes aware of the 'parasites' on its surface, it changes its surface to rid itself of them through subsidence and flooding, consuming their bodies to replenish the energy used in the process.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: In-Universe; is Blake suffering a Heroic BSoD or is he just manipulating the crew into continuing to follow him?
  • BBC Quarry: Averted with a jungle planet.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: A possible version as we don't see his face, but Travis shoots the soldier with Par, presumably the same one who was griping about wanting to see some action.
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  • Big Brother Is Watching You: The trial being held in-camera does not prevent Servalan from watching via a hidden camera.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • Zil dies, but her eggs will survive absorption and create a new generation.
    • Gan is dead, but Blake rediscovers his heroic willpower and makes a humiliating strike against the Federation.
    • Travis is condemned for his atrocities, only to escape and continue his vendetta against Blake.
  • Bridal Carry: Blake carrying Zil.
  • Computerized Judicial System: As per "The Way Back", guilt or innocence is decided by a computer. As Travis' guilt is a forgone conclusion, Servalan concentrates on subtly influencing the Arbiters who decide the sentence, so Travis will get the death penalty.
  • Courtroom Episode: Travis and Servalan's half of the plot.
  • The Dead Have Names: Thania insists that the list of alleged victims of the massacre be read out, ostensibly because she might want to challenge their accuracy, but actually so they'll weigh on the mind of the Arbiters when deciding their sentence.
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  • Death Seeker: Blake deliberately leaves his weapon up on the Liberator. However the death of Zil makes him rediscover his nature as The Determinator.
    Blake: I am not ready to surrender anything!
  • Defiant to the End: Travis shows his contempt to those who've just condemned him to death, deriding them as fools and hypocrites.
  • Dissonant Serenity:
    • Travis is ignoring the trial proceedings despite his life being at stake.
    • Servalan is her usual calm self when a gun-waving Travis turns up in her office right after an attack by the Liberator.
  • Distinction Without a Difference: Avon is not being led by Blake, he's just choosing to follow him.
    Vila: I don't see the difference.
  • Don't Make Me Destroy You: Travis and Par in a Mexican Standoff. Travis ends it by knocking out Par, but not killing him.
  • Earthquakes Cause Fissures: The planet opens fissures in order to swallow the humanoids on the surface.
  • Everybody Laughs Ending: At Vila's expense.
    Avon: I would quite like to have met this Zil of yours. It's not often that one comes across a philosophical flea.
    Vila: That's the stuff that legends are made of.
    Avon: Then again, perhaps they are not that uncommon. [Blake and Avon laugh.]
  • Fanservice: Jenna walking around in her tight leather pants.
  • A Father to His Men:
    Thania: You served a full tour with Space Commander Travis, didn't you?
    Par: Five years. He was hard...
    Thania: ...But fair?
    Par: No, not often, anyway. But you could always rely on him not to get you killed unnecessarily. He never wasted troopers.
    Thania: Oh, that's something, I suppose.
    Par: Major, when you're up to your neck in slime and lasers, that's everything.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Though 'friends' is pushing it, Travis and Par refuse to kill each other, despite having every reason to do so.
  • Foreshadowing: For "Star One" when Servalan launches a Military Coup to depose the President, and Travis pulls a move that even Servalan couldn't foresee.
    • Par regarding a member of the High Council: "Don't worry about them. Space Command runs the Federation."
    • Rontane: "Servalan's ambitions threaten us all. And the President particularly dislikes being threatened."
    • Travis to Servalan: "Still one step ahead? You're not going to use me anymore."
    • Jenna asks Avon what he knows of guilt, setting up the Anna Grant backstory in Countdown.
  • A Friend in Need: Avon makes no secret of his desire to rid himself of Blake, but when the planet looks like it's going to absorb Blake, he reprograms the teleport to look for him.
  • Get Out!
    Travis: [tosses the flask at her] You lack subtlety, Major.
    Thania: What are you suggesting, Travis?
    Travis: Get out.
    Thania: Look—
    Travis: GET OUT!
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: Averted; Troopers Par and Lye even point their guns at two high-ranking politicians until they are verified by voice-recognition.
  • Hanging Judge: Fleet Warden-General 'Starkiller' Samor is a respected and strictly by-the-book officer. Servalan arranged for him to be the Arbiter because she knew he'd push for the maximum sentence for an officer who had disgraced the service, and no-one would question a sentence given by such a respected figure.
  • Heroic BSoD: Blake
  • Hyperspeed Ambush: The Liberator does a high-speed hit-and-run attack on Star Command.
  • Hypocrite: Travis calls the Arbiters on this after they find him guilty. As we've seen (and will continue to see) his behaviour is not atypical of a Federation officer at all.
  • Ignored Epiphany: Old 'Starkiller' rejects the suggestion that the Federation military system is just as guilty for producing psychopaths like Travis.
  • Indy Hat Roll: Travis dives through the doors as the courtroom goes into Lock Down after a hull breach.
  • Invisibility Cloak: Avon invents a deflector shield that enables the Liberator to slip by the patrols around Star Command. It can mask them from anything except a short-range scan.
  • I Regret Nothing: Thania intends to argue that Travis deeply regrets this 'momentary aberration'. Travis has no intention of going down quietly, so makes his own summation instead.
  • Inherent in the System:
    Travis: I reacted as I was trained to react. I was an instrument of the Service. So if I'm guilty of murder, of mass murder, then so are all of you!
  • In Vino Veritas: Par offers his former commanding officer a Quick Nip, then it's revealed he did so at the suggestion of Major Thania who wants to loosen Travis' tongue and find out what he's up to. But Travis refuses to talk to her, except to sneer at such an obvious ploy.
  • It's All My Fault
    Blake recording: I was wrong. Completely and utterly stupidly wrong.
  • Just Following Orders
    Thania: Trooper Par? Do you think he's guilty?
    Par: No doubt about it, Major. He gave the order. We just did the shooting.
  • Kangaroo Court: While flawless on the surface, the court-martial has a Hanging Judge and the Defence officer is also working for Servalan.
  • Kill Me Now, or Forever Stay Your Hand: Blake leaves a homing beacon the Liberator can use to find him again, so if either party want nothing more to do with the other, they can always blame a technical fault for not receiving or sending the signal.
  • The Last Man Heard a Knock...: Blake teleports down to a planet that he thinks is deserted, and leaves a homing beacon that he can return to if he decides he wants to be rescued. Right after he leaves the beacon and his teleport bracelet in a metal case, Zil steals it.
  • Layman's Terms
    Avon: It just occurred to me, that as the description of a highly sophisticated technological achievement, 'Avon's gadget works', seems to lack a certain style.
  • Leave Me Alone!: Blake teleports himself down to a planet, and programs Zen and Orac with orders that will prevent the Liberator finding him until he wants to come up again.
  • Lizard Folk: Zil
  • Mama Bear: Due to Blake's sudden appearance out of nowhere in a flash of white, Zil assumes that he is a child who just hatched from an egg, and has been trying to protect and coach him on how to survive.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Avon thinks that Blake's behaviour is just a ploy to guilt-trip them into continuing to follow him.
    Avon: Which only leaves one question to be answered. Is it that Blake has a genius for leadership, or you (pointing) have a genius for being led.
  • Manipulative Bitch: Servalan arranges a scrupulously fair trial to ensure that Travis will be killed without her own motives and involvement being suspected. The President could announce a stay of execution in exchange for Travis giving evidence against Servalan, but by then Travis would be a convicted mass murderer, making it politically unacceptable.
  • Meaningful Echo: Blake can't help reflecting on Zil's warning that he must resist the Host or his Oneness will be absorbed in his battle against a soul-crushing dystopia.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: To restore their reputation and confidence after Gan's death, Blake attacks Star Command. In doing so he inadvertently gives Travis a chance to escape.
    Travis: I must remember to say thank you before I kill him.
  • Noodle Incident: Travis is being court-martialed for a massacre he committed on the planet Serkasta. Not the one on Auros mentioned in "Seek-Locate-Destroy", presumably because Servalan officially cleared him so he could be used to hunt down Blake.
  • Off the Rails: After not speaking or reacting to anything in the courtroom, Travis interrupts his advocate's summary.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: Par bringing Travis a drink against regulations. He respects his former commanding officer, but they just don't have the relationship that involves that kind of informality.
  • Planetary Parasite: A harmless version except for being a Planet Eater, and only then on a small scale. They are safe as long as the planet isn't aware of their presence, so try to keep moving and avoid forming into groups.
  • Properly Paranoid
    • Travis has Par take a drink first, before sampling the offered flask of booze.
    • Avon has programmed the computer to search for Blake's homing beacon. Jenna insists on checking it first.
    Avon: I'd be disappointed if you didn't.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech
    Arbiter Samor: Space Commander, we have considered your sentence at some length. Your contention that what happened on Serkasta was a direct result of your training concerned us greatly. We accept that you are trained to kill. As are we all. What we cannot accept is that this training leads inevitably to the murder of innocents. Your behavior was not that of a Federation officer, but rather that of a savage, unthinking, animal. [snip] Do I take it you have nothing to say?
    Travis: The Federation is run by hypocrites and supported by fools. I'm glad to be rid of you all.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Travis continues to hunt Blake even though he too is now a fugitive from the Federation.
  • Rogue Agent: Travis demands a pursuit ship from Servalan, who helpfully throws in a mutoid crew as well, the implication being that he will continue to hunt Blake secretly on her behalf. Travis rejects the offer.
  • Rubber-Forehead Aliens: And wearing a body stocking instead of a rubber suit.
  • Run or Die: Zil encourages Blake to keep moving as he will be absorbed by the planet if he remains in one place too long. Turns out her earlier activities (poking him with a stick, stealing his stuff, throwing rocks, squirting him with liquid) were just to keep him moving, in the belief that he was a newborn child that needed to be trained.
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: Par tells Lye that he could have shot the Senator if he tried to run, as the only rules that matter are those made by Star Command.
  • Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: The crew contemplate whether Blake has decided to leave them, or whether they should decide to leave him.
  • Shout-Out: Avon's line "Keep thinking, Blake. That's what you're good at" is from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
  • Sleazy Politician: Bercol and Rotane hope the trial will embarrass Servalan politically, then make a snide comment that any attempt to embarrass her personally is futile.
  • Space Station: Star Command.
  • Suddenly SHOUTING!: After sitting quietly the entire trial, Travis interrupts his lawyer's summation with a Big "NO!".
  • Surrounded by Idiots
    • Avon snarks at the others constantly for following Blake after he got Gan killed. Then he does the same himself.
    • Travis: "The Federation is run by hypocrites and supported by fools. I'm glad to be rid of you all."
    • Servalan re Travis: "It's a pity he's got to die. He's so much better than anything I've got left." Given the amount of times Travis has failed to capture Blake, one wonders what the rest of her minions are like.
  • Teleportation Rescue: Without any means of pinning down Blake's location, Avon has to do teleport sweeps of the planet in the hope of picking him up.
  • That's No Moon!: The planet is a living creature that regards the humanoid life on its surface as we would an annoying flea.
  • Thinking Tic: Avon rolling the game pieces in his hand.
  • Those Two Bad Guys:
    • Senator Bercol and Secretary Rontane from "Seek-Locate-Destroy" return.
    • Troopers Par and Lye, the two soldiers guarding the trial room.
  • Three Lines, No Waiting: Star Command, the Liberator, and Blake/Zil.
  • Trigger Phrase: Travis demands a spaceship. Servalan orders its mutoid crew be mind-wiped and programmed to respond to the orders of the man who gives the word "Outlaw".
  • Two Roads Before You: Should the crew run off and become Space Pirates, or continue with Blake's Hopeless War against the Federation?
  • Urine Trouble: Implied when Blake is squirted by liquid from someone unseen in the surrounding jungle. However it turns out Zil is just trying to get him moving.
  • Variant Chess: Avon plays with Jenna to kill time.
  • Walk-In Chime-In
    Servalan: What about casualties?
    Travis: [entering with paragun] High, and rising all the time.
  • What Would X Do?: In this case, what would Gan do? Maybe ask the obvious question of did Blake leave a message for them?
  • With All Due Respect: Par to Thania, on giving Travis the drink. "With respect, Major, I didn't do it for you."
  • You Know Too Much: With an inquiry pending into her handling of the Blake affair, Servalan seeks to dispose of the main potential witness. Travis is smart enough to realise this, and points out to his Defence officer that she too is likely to fall victim to Servalan's machinations.
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