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Recap / Blakes Seven S 3 E 2 Powerplay

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Written by Terry Nation.
Directed by David Maloney.
Airdate: 14 January 1980.

Carrying on from last week's cliffhanger, Avon has returned to the Liberator to find it under the control of a Federation squad led by Captain Del Tarrant and Section Leader Klegg. Meanwhile Vila and Cally face their own dangers.


This episode has the following tropes:

  • Action Girl: Tarrant and Avon watch in appreciation as Dayna chokes Klegg to death.
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  • Air Vent Escape: Avon and Dayna hide in the inspection channels.
  • Affably Evil: Zee and Barr are the nicest and prettiest Bounty Hunters you could meet. Pity their job is capturing people so they can be dissected for their Human Resources.
  • Asshole Victim: Tarrant informs Avon that his literal backstabbing of Klegg's men is justified as they're a Federation death squad (Avon doesn't care either way, but the audience might).
  • BBC Quarry: Averted with Chenga, which is quite lush and green (filmed in How Steam Gorge and Plumpton Rocks in Yorkshire).
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • The Chengan hospital ship lands in response to a distress call from someone in peril from hostile natives. It's not Vila but Servalan, last seen trapped in Mellanby's underground base by the Sarrans.
    • Avon thinks that someone else is hidden on board and is killing Klegg's men. This suggests that Blake or Jenna might turn up. Instead Tarrant and Dayna become their replacement crewmembers.
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  • Bounty Hunter: Zee and Barr are the nicest and prettiest bounty hunters you could meet. Pity their job is capturing people so they can be dissected for their Human Resources.
  • Brandishment Bluff: Vila tries to pretend that he's part of a squad of ten men. The Primitives have been watching him and know he's full of it.
  • Counting to Three: Vila realises he's Being Watched, so starts to order a non-existent squad of troops into position, commanding them to attack on the count of ten. When nothing happens, he starts his count again.
  • Debut Queue: Although Tarrant is introduced in the previous episode, we only get to know him in this one.
  • Decoy Hiding Place: Albeit an accidental one; a guard notices the latches on the inspection panel (normally flush with the floor) are raised. However that's because our heroes were leaving the channel, not entering it.
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  • Defiant to the End
    Klegg: She'll die slowly, and very noisily!
    Dayna: Don't count on it.
  • "Die Hard" on an X: Avon must retake the Liberator from Tarrant's men.
  • Dirty Coward: Vila, which is Played for Laughs.
  • Domed City: The Chenga city (it appears to be a real-life covered water reservoir or chemical tank).
  • Dressing as the Enemy: After his own starship was destroyed in the battle, Tarrant stole a uniform from the Federation ship that rescued him. Finding himself on the Liberator after having to Abandon Ship a second time, he then assumed command of Klegg's men, having been trained as a Federation captain in the past.
  • Dwindling Party: Tarrant kills off Klegg's men one by one. Unfortunately he's exposed when someone overhears him during The Reveal.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Tarrant's ruthless culling of the Federation squad is at odds with his moralistic portrayal for the rest of the series.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Tarrant demanding to know what Avon is doing on his ship. This foreshadows his role as either The Rival or The Lancer for Avon, now finally in command of the Liberator.
  • Fakeout Escape: Avon and Dayna launch an Escape Pod.
  • False Reassurance: The bounty hunters assure Vila that he'll make a vital contribution to their society.
  • Fate Worse than Death: What awaits anyone captured by the Hunters. Vila doesn't listen.
  • Hilarious Outtakes
    Josette Simon: (in character as Dayna) Avon, what are you doing?
    The knob Paul Darrow (Avon) is fiddling with breaks off in his hand, sending him into an adorkably abashed smile and fit of giggles:
    Paul Darrow: Pulling the set apart.
  • How the Mighty Have Fallen: Cally taunts Servalan with this, but it turns out being the President of even a vastly diminished Federation still gives her enough pull to negotiate her release.
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game
    Vila: Hunters? What are they after, big game?
    Primitive: No, us!
  • Idiot Ball:
    • Even if he dismissed the Primitives' concerns as exaggerated, Vila seems awful trusting of the High-Techs for a professional criminal.
    • Klegg gives Tarrant and Avon five minutes to surrender. As they're right outside the door, five seconds would have been enough; this only gives them time to cook up a plan.
  • I Have Your Wife: Klegg threatens to kill Dayna unless Avon and Tarrant surrender.
  • In the Back: Avon and Dayna break out of their cell, to find their guard propped up in his chair with a knife protruding from his back. Bond One Liners ensue.
    Avon: That's a difficult way to commit suicide.
    Dayna: Maybe he was cleaning it and it went off.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: Avon pretends to pull this trope on Tarrant, but he's actually pulling this on Klegg.
  • Karma Houdini: Zee, Barr, and the people who work at the Slaughterhouse.
  • The Load: Vila doesn't look happy at being back on the Liberator.
    Cally: Given the choice, would you rather be a load of spare parts down there?
  • Ludd Was Right: Chenga society split into two factions, the Primitives who wanted to live the simple life, and the High-Techs. Naturally the latter turn out to be the villains.
  • Master of Unlocking: Dayna jibes Avon over his apparent inability to unlock their cell, but he gets the door open anyway. Justified as the lock he's tampering with is just another type of hardware-based computer like he's used to.
  • Murderer P.O.V.: Somebody walks up to the Federation trooper outside Avon and Dayna's cell. He nods in recognition, but is next seen dead.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The promo makes it look like Klegg's squad have found and killed our heroes in the inspection channel, but they've already left by then.
  • Not Good with People: Dayna calls Avon on how he never explains his intentions. Avon deadpans back that he's shy.
  • Organ Theft: Cally and Vila are picked up by a hospital spacecraft from the neutral planet of Chenga, rescuing survivors from the battle against the Andromedans. Chengan society split into two factions, the Primitives who wanted to live the simple life, and the High-Techs who embrace it. Unfortunately the Primitives are being hunted and captured by bounty hunters so their organs can be used for Human Resources, and it turns out the hospital ship isn't missing the opportunity provided by the wide-ranging battle. Only a last-minute Teleportation Rescue saves our heroes from being dissected.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: Avon returns to the Liberator, only to be confronted by series newcomer Del Tarrant dressed as a Federation captain and demanding to know what they are doing on his ship. Avon's instinctive response is, "YOUR ship?" before pretending to be civilian refugees from the battle. As Tarrant later points out, no-one would question that a Federation captain was The Captain, unless he already knew that the Liberator didn't belong to Tarrant.
  • Override Command: Klegg and his men have seized the Liberator, but it's still under the control of Zen unless they can find a member of the crew to transfer command to them.
  • Putting the Band Back Together: The Liberator once more has its Seven — Avon, Cally, Vila, Zen, Orac, and new members Dayna and Tarrant.
  • Red Herring: Avon sees one of Klegg's men leaving the vault after stealing some diamonds. He later identifies him as the killer to Tarrant. Turns out Tarrant is the killer.
  • Right Under Their Noses: Avon and Dayna hide in the cell they escaped from, the last place their searchers will look. Or so they think, because Klegg eventually works it out and captures Dayna.
  • Samus Is a Girl: Menacing lights move towards Vila...only for the Hunters to turn out to be two beautiful women.
  • Series Continuity Error: The planet that Servalan is rescued from doesn't look much like Sarran.
  • Shoot Him! He Has a... Wallet: Tarrant punches Avon as he appears to be reaching into his jacket for a gun (though we later find out it's to stop Avon speaking to Zen and giving himself away). Klegg shoots one of his own men, whose body had been dumped in the inspection channel.
  • Slipping a Mickey: Vila and Cally are given a drink by the medical receptionist, then realise they can't move.
  • Snark-to-Snark Combat: Tarrant and Avon take turns.
  • Something They Would Never Say: When Tarrant demands to know what Avon is doing on his ship, the latter replies, "Your ship?" A civilian refugee wouldn't have questioned this, unless he already knew the Liberator didn't belong to Tarrant.
  • Spot the Imposter: Klegg insists that Avon and Dayna do a voice check with Zen to see if they're members of the crew.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Tarrant looks like a younger and sexier Blake, with the smuggler background and Ace Pilot skills of Jenna.
  • Take Me to Your Leader: Inverted with Servalan, who gets exasperated with the Chengans giving her the runaround, tells the nearest nurse that she's the President of the Terran Federation and demands that whoever is in charge be brought to her immediately! It works too, as Servalan is able to bargain for her own release.
  • Talk to the Fist: Tarrant punches Avon to stop him being revealed by the voice check.
  • Tap on the Head: Tarrant knocks out Avon cold.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Tarrant and Klegg.
  • Teleportation Rescue: And Just in Time too, as Cally and Vila were about to be euthanized.
  • Tempting Fate: Vila keeps going on about what nice people the Chengan High-Techs are.
  • That's What I Would Do: Why Tarrant didn't fall for the Fakeout Escape.
  • There Are No Coincidences
    • Klegg notes that Avon and Dayna appeared on the Liberator right after the ship manouvred close to a planet.
    • Averted with Servalan, who runs into Cally and talks about what a coincidence it is.
  • Tranquilizer Dart: Lom is darted in the face, but Mall carries him off before the Hunters get there.
  • Verbal Backspace
    Avon: Anybody that comes through that door, kill them! (grins) Anybody that isn't me, that is.
  • The Voiceless: Mall the Primitive, whose actor is apparently is not being paid for a speaking part.
  • We Will Meet Again: Servalan might have lost all her power, but she assures Cally that it will only be temporary, and when she gets it back she'll make hunting down our heroes a priority. Inverted when Servalan discovers the truth about Chenga; she makes a point of turning up to let Cally and Vila know they won't meet again.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Tarrant doesn't hesitate to pistol-whip Dayna unconscious. Justified as she was attacking Klegg, and if he didn't she'd have been shot by the other soldiers.
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