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Recap / Blakes Seven S 3 E 13 Terminal

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It is possible to be too anti-social.
Written by Terry Nation.
Directed by Mary Ridge.
Airdate: 31 March 1980.

Avon has set the Liberator on course for an artificial planet called Terminal, but refuses to tell the others why. On the way there the Liberator flies through a cloud of strange particles that start eating away at the ship. Avon teleports down to Terminal, where he encounters Blake being held prisoner by Servalan, who wants to swap him for the Liberator.

This episode has the following tropes:

  • Alternative Character Interpretation: An In-Universe version when Servalan muses over whether Avon decided to Come Alone in case it was a trap, or because he wanted to keep whatever Game Changer Blake had discovered to himself.
  • Artistic Licence Biology: Evolution is not predestined, but a response to the environment. Given that humanity is now settled on hundreds of planets, no single artificial environment could predetermine the course of its evolution.
  • Bad Boss
    • Servalan has a team of scientists who say they can duplicate the Liberator. "In fact, they've staked their lives on it."
    • Servalan shoves one of her soldiers aside to get to the teleport first.
  • BBC Quarry: Averted; Avon beams down to the artificial planet and finds himself on a windswept hill in Oxfordshire. He's not impressed.
    "And if this is an example of a man-made planet, they ought to get back to the drawing board and start again."
  • Big "NO!": Servalan's response when Avon tells Vila to run for it in the Liberator instead of going along with her Evil Plan.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Servalan gets her just deserts, but at the cost of the Liberator. Our heroes are stranded on a dangerous planet, but might be able to escape if they can repair the ship Servalan left behind.
  • Blatant Lies: On meeting Blake, Avon feigns indifference that doesn't mesh with the lengths he went to at the start of the episode to find him.
  • The Bus Came Back: Only he didn't.
  • The Cassandra: Given that they don't know what the Unknown Phenomenon is, Zen advises going around it. Avon refuses to deviate from their course. Zen's caution is justified when it causes the destruction of the Liberator.
  • Casual Interstellar Travel: Terminal was last seen near Mars, and Tarrant wonders how it could have gotten out here.
  • Covered in Gunge: The interior of the Liberator once the enzymes eat their way inside.
  • Diverting Power: Vila orders Zen to shut down the auto-repair systems as they're fighting a losing battle and draining the power banks. Instead he orders Zen to divert all power to its computer analysis to analyse the infection and find a solution. Unfortunately it turns out that Failure Is the Only Option in this scenario, as it instead results in the corrosion speeding up and destroying Zen before he's able to find a solution.
  • Electronic Speech Impediment: Played for tearjerker effect.
    Zen: Dysfunction...dysfunction on Computer Banks 3 and 6 (slurring) all resources now concentrated on maintenance of teleport facilities. I...I have failed you.
    Vila: He never referred to himself before. He never once used the word "I".
    Zen: (talking slower and slower) I... have... failed... you... I.. am... sorry... I... haaaaave...
    Vila: He's dying. Zen is dying.
  • The End... Or Is It?: As the Liberator starts blowing up around her, Servalan keeps her head and races for the teleport. She activates it, runs into the teleport chamber only for the teleport console to blow up. But we don't see if Servalan has been teleported out beforehand.
  • Evil Gloating: Servalan can't resist taunting Avon over how she's manipulated him.
  • Evolution Power-Up: Terminal was an experiment to study what humanity would evolve into. It's not pretty.
  • Facepalm: The episode opens on a weary Avon doing a double facepalm.
  • Failed a Spot Check
    • It takes a while for Dayna and Vila to notice the walls starting to ooze green goo. Servalan doesn't seem to notice either (it's not like she's never been on board the Liberator before) even though its condition is blatantly obvious by that stage. A line cut from the script had her assuming the Federation had been hounding the rebels so much they didn't have time for cleaning and maintenance.
    • Cally and Tarrant don't notice a door sliding open behind them. Next thing we see, they're prisoners.
  • Foe Romance Subtext: Avon seems almost pleased to see Servalan is the one who lured him into a trap.
  • Formerly Sapient Species: The Links.
  • Future Primitive: The Links, presumably from the term 'Missing Link'. However according to Servalan, "the creature you saw is not what Man developed from. It is what Man will become."
  • Good News, Bad News
    Tarrant: Do you want the good news or the bad news?
    Cally: Surprise me.
    Tarrant: The good news is Avon doesn't know we're here. The bad news is he's nowhere in sight. He seems to have vanished.
  • Hell Is That Noise: A heartbeat-like sound plays while Avon is exploring Terminal.
  • History Repeats: To the events of "Pressure Point". Once more the captain of the Liberator is obsessively pursuing something, withholding information from and running ramshod over the objections of their crew, only for the object they're pursuing to turn out to have never been there, and it all to be an elaborate trap. And, as we learn in the next episode, it gets one of the crew killed.
  • Hostage for MacGuffin: Servalan offers to swop Blake for the Liberator.
  • If I Do Not Return: If Avon is not back in twelve hours, Zen is programmed to take the Liberator to another planet before handing over control. He's also included a recorded message with a full explanation of his actions.
  • I'll Kill You!: Avon threatens to kill anyone who follows him down. When the crew do so anyway, Dayna asks what they should do if they run into Avon. Tarrant replies, "Duck."
  • I Surrender, Suckers: Knowing that the Liberator is damaged beyond repair, Tarrant submits to Servalan's demand.
  • Kick the Dog: Servalan tells Avon that she personally saw Blake die. We discover this is untrue in the final episode of the series.
  • Killed Off for Real: Zen and the Liberator.
  • Lame Comeback: After thirty hours without sleep, Avon acknowledges that his Snark-to-Snark Combat with Tarrant isn't up to scratch.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall
    • "I have also recorded a full explanation of everything I am doing. [snip] It's very detailed. The only thing missing is the end."
    • "We must keep the continuity right."
  • Leave Me Alone!: Even after 30 hours straight, Avon rejects all offers of help piloting the Liberator.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: Avon is shot with a Tranquillizer Dart, wakes up in a room and goes exploring, discovering Blake in a life support system unable to be moved. However the whole time Avon is actually Strapped to an Operating Table which feeds him hallucinations. The guards then carry Avon to where he was originally shot and 'wake' him, before dragging him off to see Servalan.
  • Love Is a Weakness: Avon declares that sentiment is a weakness.
  • Ludicrous Precision: Zen corrects their course when they're only nine seconds in advance of schedule.
  • Meaningful Name: "Terminal" was meant to be the end of the series. In-Universe it's an experiment to determine where Mankind will end up.
  • Milking the Giant Cow: Servalan does an open palm version when ordering "Maximum power!" The perils of excess ham are promptly demonstrated.
  • Mistaken for Exhibit: Vila convinces one of Servalan's minions to let him take Orac off the Liberator by pretending the computer is a sculpture he's been working on made out of junk.
  • The Morlocks: Terminal was created to study the future evolution of mankind. Turns out it's a vicious ape-like creature. In an inversion of this trope, the scientists who study them live in an underground base, while the Links roam the surface.
  • Moving the Goalposts: Servalan promises to swop Blake, his life support gear, whatever Game Changer he's discovered, and the ship Servalan used to arrive on Terminal for the Liberator. Turns out Blake's presence is faked, the Game Changer never existed, and Servalan's ship may have been irreparably damaged when it crash-landed on Terminal, which is something of a Death World thanks to its hostile lifeforms. Plus the ship and underground base are booby-trapped, but we don't find that out till next season.
  • Negative Space Wedgie: Liberator passes through a cloud of liquid (in a vacuum?) which contains enzymes that start eating away at the hull.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Avon leads them into a trap organised by Servalan, refuses to alter course around the liquid cloud, and takes Orac's key down to the planet so they can't use it to analyse the enzymes.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Vila takes Orac with him by invokedpretending it's a sculpture. Orac is switched off and Servalan isn't there to tell her mooks otherwise.
  • Obvious Trap: Though Avon doesn't go for it until Zen verifies that the message is indeed coming from Blake. Turns out they're just using a recording of his voice.
  • Off-the-Shelf FX: The substance that contaminates the Liberator was toy slime. Unfortunately it had been found out to be harmful for children, so the set crew had to rush out to the toy stores and buy every container while they were still on the shelves.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
    • Avon refusing to tell anyone his plans, and threatening them at gunpoint if they don't go along.
    • Zen using "I" when telling the crew how sorry he is that he has failed them, as he is dying.
  • People in Furry Suits: The Links.
  • Poor Communication Kills:
    • Zen might have tipped off the crew earlier that the 'minor' damage was actually causing serious power drainage.
    • Servalan cuts off Vila's communication when he's actually trying to warn Avon that the Liberator can't go anywhere.
    • Zen reports a transmission to Avon just when it seems he was finally starting to grow suspicious of the odd delay and was about to tell Tarrant what he was doing. This convinces him to keep on going without explaining, leading to the disaster that follows.
  • Psychotic Smirk: Avon after watching Servalan blow herself up. Given that he's been terse and depressed throughout the episode, we can forgive him some small pleasures.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot:
    • Gareth Thomas had grown his beard for a theatre role he was performing. As he was only available for a short time, his scene had to be filmed in a nearby village hall, hence the dark set to obscure the surroundings.
    • Deep Roy was supposed to be playing one of the Links, but broke his collar bone when Steven Pacey accidentally threw him down the hill while rehearsing the fight scene.
  • Reveal Shot: Avon is arguing with Tarrant, who is revealed to have a gun shoved in his stomach.
  • Schmuck Bait: In case rescuing Blake isn't enough of a motive, the message promised that Blake had found a Game Changer that would make them "rich and invincible".
  • Screen Shake: invokedIt needs some work as the screen does more shaking than the crew.
  • Series Fauxnale: The third season ends with the destruction of the Liberator, Servalan appearing to be killed, Blake's confirmed by her as dead, and our heroes stranded on a planet. This was meant to be the end of the show. So imagine everyone's surprise when the continuity announcer declared that the show would be back the following year.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Apparently once-proud humanity will give way to a Planet of the Apes.
    • The technologically advanced race living beneath the surface and the savage primitives above, is an inversion of the Eloi and The Morlocks from The Time Machine.
  • Space Clothes: The Terminal guards prance about in silver uniforms with a red triangular shoulder yoke and Sci-Fi Bob Haircut.
  • Strapped to an Operating Table: Blake can't leave his operating table as he's dependent on its life support system.
  • Tempting Fate
    • Vila urges Dayna to make a move in her space monopoly game. She loses to Cally.
    • After passing through the liquid, Zen reports everything is OK. Cue shot of the enzymes eating away at the outer hull.
  • This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself:
    Avon: One last thing. I don't need any of you. I needed the Liberator to bring me here so I had no choice but to bring you along, but this is as far as you go. I don't want you with me. I don't want you following me. Understand this: anyone who does follow me, I'll kill them.
  • Time-Passage Beard: Blake
  • Tim Taylor Technology: Servalan's last words are "Maximum power!". The Liberator tears itself apart under the strain.
  • Trash the Set: The Liberator gets blown up because the set was falling apart anyway.
  • Tricked into Escaping: Avon is made to believe that he escaped from his cell and found Blake on his own, so he'll be more inclined to believe the illusion.
  • True Companions: The crew (even Vila) insist on teleporting down with Avon. He has to threaten them with death to stop this, but they follow him anyway.
  • Variant Chess: The crew are playing some kind of Space Monopoly.
  • We Will Meet Again: Averted; Servalan says they won't meet again. And if the series hadn't been renewed another season, she'd actually have been telling the truth!
  • Wham Episode: The Liberator is destroyed and Blake and Servalan die. Or do they?
  • Wham Line:
    Avon: So he is alive. Blake is alive.
  • Worthy Opponent
    Avon: If it was a trap, it had to be yours. The precise planning, the meticulous detail, the general flair, who else could it be?
    Servalan: Thank you. That you of all people should appreciate my work is very flattering.
    Avon: I thought it might be.
  • You Owe Me:
    Tarrant: And we're just meant to sit by quietly and let you do it, whatever it is.
    Avon: That's exactly what you're meant to do. You and the rest of them owe me—
    Tarrant: Do we?
    Avon: —and I am calling in the debt. With or without your approval it is going to be done.
    Tarrant: How do we approve of something we don't know about?
    Avon: You could try trusting me.
    Tarrant: All right, Avon, we'll try trusting you. Just don't expect us to make a habit of it.
  • You Said You Would Let Them Go: Played with — Blake never existed, so Servalan doesn't have to release him. She lets the crew of Liberator live, and Vila beam down to Terminal, but it's implied that she doesn't expect them to survive anyway. To help ensure this, the next episode reveals that she's booby-trapped both the base and the spacecraft she arrived on. Even if they do survive, Servalan's fleet of Liberator ships would make her so invincible any ragtag group of rebels won't be a threat unless they possessed similar technology.