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Recap / Blakes Seven S 3 E 4 Dawn Of The Gods

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Written by James Follett.
Directed by Desmond McCarthy.
Airdate: 28 January 1980.

The Liberator is pulled into a black hole, where they encounter a mythical being from Cally's homeworld who plans to take over the universe.


This episode has the following tropes:

  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot:
    • Orac puts everyone in danger just because it's curious about the black hole. The trope is given a tongue-in-cheek nod earlier when Orac is playing the space monopoly game and predicts it will take over the galaxy.
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    • Lord Thaarn insists that all calculations be done with pen and paper rather than computers, for fear that a machine intellect will evolve an intelligence superior to his own.
  • Affably Evil: The Caliph of Krandor.
  • All There in the Manual: The game of Monopoly IN SPACE! the cast are playing is apparently called Cosmos.
  • Anachronism Stew: Tarrant expresses surprise at a graphic writing stick (a pencil), saying he's never seen one outside a museum. Groff is dressed like a Western Union Man, while the Caliph is done up like the Mad Hatter.
  • Ancient Astronauts: Thaarn and the other gods of Auron are implied to be this; Avon thinks their failure to age in a million years was because they had a spaceship traveling at close to light speed. In the legend Thaarn even has a chariot, in a Shout-Out to Erich von Däniken's Chariots of the Gods?
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  • An Offer You Can't Refuse: The Caliph makes an offer for the Liberator's herculanium hull. Double the rations when the crew are Made a Slave!
  • Arsenal Attire: The Caliph has a combination Agony Beam Lie Detector in his cane.
  • Ask a Stupid Question...
    Vila: There's gravity here!
    Avon: Are you sure?
    Vila: [hanging from the hatch by his fingers] Of course I'm sure!
  • As You Know: Orac spells out what's so fascinating about a black hole, causing Avon to snap, "We know all that!"
  • Auto Doc: The resuscitation capsule is used to treat Cally.
  • BFG: A neutron blaster is set up outside the Liberator. It turns out to be a No-Sell.
  • Bottle Episode
  • Bring It
    Tarrant: One day Avon, I may have to kill you.
    Avon: [Psychotic Smirk] It has been tried.
  • Brutal Honesty
    Avon: If it is a collapsed white dwarf star, gravitational distortion will tear the Liberator apart. Our remains will spread out over the entire surface adding a thickness of a few atoms to its diameter.
    Dayna: No one could accuse you of trying to hide things from us.
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  • Call-Back: Space City is mentioned in the game of Cosmos.
  • Catchphrase: Used for Black Comedy when Zen kills two Faceless Goons.
    Orac: Fascinating!
    Zen: Confirmed.
  • Cold Equation: As the Liberator faces imminent destruction, Avon helps himself to the only spacesuit on the flight deck. He end up fighting with Tarrant who insists they should all die together.
  • Continuity Nod: When the Caliph's men try to dismantle the Liberator, Zen deploys the defense system used in "Space Fall".
  • Computers Think Faster: Zen taking so long to answer a simple navigation check means he's checking their circuits down to the component level for a fault.
  • Curiosity Killed the Cast: Sensing something unusual about the black hole, Orac takes the Liberator in for a closer look because it can't tolerate gaps in its knowledge.
  • Deer in the Headlights:
    • Vila freezes up at the sight of the approaching lights, so Cally has to get inside his head to get him to run. She saves his life again when he's frozen in terror at the sight of the slave catcher, only for Cally to run up and shoot it.
    • They're wearing Hazmat Suits so it's difficult to tell, but the salvage crew approach Zen's glowing defense system despite Orac's fervent warnings not to, so were presumably lured in by the same kind of hallucinations experienced by our heroes in "Space Fall".
  • Deflector Shields: Avon orders the forcewall raised despite the drain on their energy banks.
    "At this acceleration rate, every dust particle could strike the Liberator with the force of a meteoroid!"
  • Department of Redundancy Department: "The universe, Cally. And the great universal force that controls the universe..."
  • Derelict Graveyard: Instead of being destroyed in the black hole, the Liberator ends up parked on an artificial construct littered with the remains of other spacecraft stripped for raw materials needed by the Thaarn.
  • Designated Victim: Cally's telepathic abilities attract yet another Villain of the Week. At least her mind isn't taken over this time, and she becomes a Damsel out of Distress, saving all their lives.
  • Don't Make Me Destroy You: Thaarn uses these exact words when Cally rejects the idea of becoming Queen of the Universe.
  • Due to the Dead:
    • Tarrant volunteers to recover Vila's body for a Burial in Space. He gets a shock when Vila gets up again.
    • At the end of the episode, Tarrant insists they head for Groff's home planet to let his family know of his fate.
  • Exact Words
    • Orac says that the ship is behaving normally. It's perfectly normal that a spaceship passing near a black hole will be caught up in its gravity well, after all.
    • Space has ceased to exist outside the Liberator. Not because they're in an Eldritch Location, but because there's a breathable atmosphere.
    • The Caliph uses a Lie Detector on Dayna to make her tell him where Orac is. Dayna replies that there's no person of that name on the Liberator, and never has been. So he has a go with Tarrant.
      Caliph: The neuronic whip is on an automatic setting. It has only to sense one lie and it will boil your brains in your skull. Where is Orac?
      Tarrant: If he's not on the ship, I don't know where he is.
      Caliph: How tall is he? (Tarrant demonstrates) A dwarf?
      Tarrant: We never think of him as one.
      Caliph: What is the color of his hair?
      Tarrant: He hasn't got any. A bald dwarf shouldn't be too hard to find.
  • Faceless Goons: Men in Hazmat Suits try to slice up the flight deck with cutting torches, and there's the usual black-clad guards with concealing helmets.
  • Failed a Spot Check: While fleeing to the Liberator, the crew stop to shoot at the slave catcher, which keeps on coming despite the damage. They race off, failing to notice that Vila has frozen in fear. Fortunately Cally then appears to drag him off.
  • Famed In-Story: Groff is shocked to find the latest slaves are from the 'invincible' Liberator. Avon says it's propaganda they've found handy.
  • Forbidden Zone: Sector 12 is the 'vessels mysteriously disappear' type.
  • Foreshadowing: Cally promises to explain what she did to upset her people. This happens in "Children of Auron".
  • Gilligan Cut: The crew try and persuade Vila to put on a spacesuit and take a look outside the ship.
    Vila: Oh no. Not me. Not a space suit. Well, it wasn't my idea. I never did trust those things. Nothing, absolutely nothing in the whole galaxy can or will persuade me to wear one. Not a chance.
    (Cut to the air lock where Vila is wearing a spacesuit)
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Groff stays behind to pull the big red lever, getting killed by the Caliph in the process.
  • Hypocrite: Avon snarks "Our hero" when Vila wakes up. Tarrant notes that at least Vila didn't try to help himself to the only spacesuit.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: Cally wakes up on a round bed covered in furs, though to Lord Thaarn's credit he doesn't try to force his affections on her.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Vila after they survive falling into a black hole. We can hardly blame him.
  • Irony: The Caliph is led to believe that Orac is a bald dwarf. Turns out that's exactly what his god is.
  • Leave No Man Behind: Averted; Avon is fully prepared to leave Cally behind, not to mention Groff and all the other slaves, despite the fact that Krantor is about to blow up. Then again that probably is why...
  • Made a Slave: At least they're just pen-pushing instead of sweating away in a radioactive mine.
  • The Man Behind the Curtain: Cally even pulls aside a literal curtain, to find Auronar's God of Evil is actually a wizened and lonely old man. She claims afterwards that she never saw him, allowing Thaarn to preserve his dignity as a figure of legend.
  • My Brain Is Big: Lord Thaarn.
  • Names To Run Away From Very Fast: In-Universe
    Cally: On Auron, the name of the Thaarn is a symbol of darkness and evil.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Thaarn turns off his energy isolator to prove to Cally that it's not influencing her mind. He should have removed her sidearm first.
  • Nightmare Fail: In-Universe; Avon is not impressed by the vehicle sent to round them up. Vila seems pretty scared of it though.
  • Nose Art: A robotic slave catcher with teeth painted on the nose and glaring searchlight eyes is sent after our heroes. Some find it more terrifying than others.
  • Not Big Enough for the Two of Us: Orac isn't happy that the Thaarn escaped.
    Orac: It is intolerable! There is insufficient room in the galaxy for his intellect and mine. (Tarrant removes key)
    Tarrant: I don't know. He did have one redeeming feature. He didn't like computers.
  • Not So Above It All: Orac seems a bit miffed when Avon walks out on their game.
  • Oh, Crap!: "A black hole. My god. We're falling into a black hole."
  • Percussive Maintenance: Vila, the noted lockpicker, when trying to open a stuck hatch.
    Avon: (on vox) Use your delicate, skillful touch.
    (Vila kicks the hatch open instead)
    Vila: I used my delicate, skillful boot.
  • Reflecting Laser: The Liberator tries to blast its way out, only to suffer Attack Backfire. At first they assume this is due to being in an Eldritch Location, but it turns out the shiny walls are just reflecting back the neutron blast.
  • Reverse Polarity: The Liberator escapes when the gravity generator is put in reverse.
  • Rubber-Forehead Aliens: There are a couple working for the Thaarn.
  • Salvage Pirates: Ships drawn into the black hole are dismantled for their Herculanium.
  • Shoot Out the Lock: Avon and Tarrant breaking Dayna and Vila out of their cell.
  • Single Malt Vision: Avon wakes up Vila who's been knocked unconscious. Seeing a multiple Impairment Shot of his Vitriolic Best Buddy staring down at him, Vila moans, "I'm in Hell, and it's full of Avons."
  • The Snark Knight
    Vila: Why don't I ever win?
    Avon: Being a born loser might have something to do with it.
  • Snowy Screen of Death: Though without the snow. The Liberator crew have a glimpse of a metal claw swiping at the scanner before it goes black. Zen just switches to backup scanners.
  • Space Clothes: Vila puts on a gold spacesuit with Fishbowl Helmet and external air hoses.
  • Spaceship Slingshot Stunt: The Liberator following a slingshot orbit is what first tips them off that they're near a black hole.
  • Space Suits Are SCUBA Gear: Vila's air hose breaks off while he's exploring the Eldritch Location that the Liberator has ended up in. After a Commercial Break Cliffhanger Tarrant goes out to look for Vila, but finds he's still alive because the place has a breathable atmosphere.
  • Sword over Head: Cally takes pity on the Thaarn and doesn't kill him. Fortunately the series ended before the character had a chance to make them regret this.
  • Take Over The Universe: Thaarn has created a means of controlling gravity anywhere in the universe.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Avon and Tarrant
  • Tempting Fate: Orac says the Liberator is behaving normally. The ship promptly gives a lurch.
  • Title Drop: "The story goes back to the mists of Time, to the Dawn of the Gods."
  • Tractor Beam: The gravity generator, though it generates a total field rather than a beam.
  • Unrealistic Black Hole: Though only because it's an artificial construct created by Lord Thaarn.
  • Variant Chess: The crew are playing Cosmos, a board game that appears to be Monopoly IN SPACE!
    Orac: Rule 10. A player may miss two turns while on a penal colony planet. On his third turn, he must pay a ten thousand credit fine, and leave the colony.
    Dayna: Now's your chance to come out fighting, Vila.
    Vila: Oh, sure, on miserable little space shuttle while he's got an entire battle fleet waiting for me.
    Avon: One cruiser, if you check. I didn't consider you worth a battle fleet.
  • Villain Teleportation: The Caliph
  • Wake-Up Fighting: Having passed out while struggling with Tarrant, Avon goes to karate-chop him when Tarrant wakes him up.
  • We Can Rule The Universe Together: The Thaarn is Lonely at the Top and wants Cally to rule the Universe with him.
  • We Will Meet Again: The Thaarn flees in a spacecraft and Avon predicts that they've made another enemy. He need not have worried as they don't meet again.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: The price of immortality is high. So very high.
  • Why Are You Looking at Me Like That?: Someone has to go outside to repair the Liberator. Vila points out that the hatch would be shut tight after being exposed to years of vacuum without a refit. Isn't it fortunate they have a Master of Unlocking on board...
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