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Recap / Blakes Seven S 3 E 5 The Harvest Of Kairos

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Servalan meets a manly Man. Lucky her.
Written by Ben Steed.
Directed by Gerald Blake.
Airdate: 4 February 1980.

A former Federation officer called Jarvik boasts to Servalan that he can capture the Liberator, whose crew are planning to steal a shipment of valuable crystals from the planet Kairos.

This episode has the following tropes:

  • Action Girl: After Jarvik beats Tarrant in hand-to-hand combat, Dayna takes him on rather than meekly surrender her transporter bracelet. She does a lot better, but eventually Jarvik uses his greater strength to knock her down and then teleports them both up to the Liberator.
  • Abandoned Warehouse: Avon discovers the antique moonlander sitting in an aircraft hanger.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Jarvik roars with laughter when Tarrant tries to bluff them into surrendering with a tiny clunker of a spacecraft.
  • All Planets Are Earthlike:
    • Subverted; Avon sets a condition that Servalan must beam them down to a planet with Earth-like conditions. Servalan sends them down to Kairos.
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    • Averted; the planet Avon retrieves his Sopron rock from requires breathing masks.
  • All Webbed Up: Anyone killed by the spider-creature.
  • Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?: Tarrant asks for Avon's tactical assessment, only to find he's busy arguing with Orac over his rock.
  • Author Tract: This is the first of three episodes written by Ben Steed, all of which come across as lectures about how Women need to shut up and give in to their desire for Manly Men like Jarvik. Includes lots of gratuitous Out of Character moments - suddenly Servalan hunts the Liberator using Non-Manly computers and science, instead of her usual scheming, manipulation and vicious cunning. She seems to want the approval of someone she'd kill out of hand in other episodes. Avon, an equal-opportunity misanthrope, is suddenly a misogynist instead. Oh, and Dayna loses to a guy she'd demolish if someone else wrote it. Add in the invokedSpecial Effect Failure and you're left with an episode that can really only be enjoyed as Camp.
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  • Bait-and-Switch Comment: Servalan gets a Forceful Kiss from Jarvik. Servalan decides she appreciates his manly audacity and makes him The Dragon.
    Servalan: But first, there is the question of that degrading and primitive act to which I was subjected in the control room. [Beat] I should like you to do it again.
  • Badass Boast: Avon claims he's the only Man capable of reprogramming Zen.
  • Behind the Black: Whenever the spiders attack.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: The cast are menaced by a Giant Spider-like creature. Unfortunately it's invokedNightmare Retardant with its slow wobbly walk and big googly eyes.
  • Brandishment Bluff: Avon creates a crude analogue version of the Sopron rock, and wires it into the lander. When the Liberator scans the lander, Zen informs Servalan that it's an advanced cruiser just like the Liberator, only more powerful. Jarvik urges her to ignore this bluff, but Servalan doesn't want to take the risk and flees.
  • Break Out the Museum Piece: Servalan seizes the Liberator and has its crew abandoned on Kairos. Their only hope of escape is an unarmed and obsolete Apollo-era landing craft.
    Tarrant: But there's nothing I can do with this...
  • Camp: Captain Shad, which makes you wonder at the enthusiasm
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You: As they've fleeing the Liberator, Servalan orders Dayna shot. Dayna quickly points out that if they kill her, who operates the teleport?
  • Cold Equation: A Federation transporter with a valuable cargo is too heavy to reach orbit from a Death World, so Servalan orders the captain to leave some of his labourers behind. There's a moment of Black Comedy when a guard is taunting the labourers as he locks them out, only to find the transporter taking off without him as well.
  • Combat by Champion: Invoked by Servalan, who insists that Jarvik prove himself a worthy suitor by defeating Tarrant in a hand-to-hand combat as well as a space battle.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Jarvick tosses his knife at Tarrant's feet, then attacks him when he bends down to pick it up. He wins the fight with an I Surrender, Suckers.
  • Continuity Nod: Programming a condition into Zen that the crew have to be teleported to safety before handing over control was first suggested by Section Leader Klegg to Avon in "Powerplay".
  • Curse Cut Short
    Vila: Just one pocket full. I suppose I could retire to the lakeside of Gardinos and be waited on by those cute, little—
    Tarrant: Yes. Well, what you do with your booty is up to you.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Ben Steed was told to write an episode focusing on Tarrant, which is why Avon is unusually wrapped up in his own interests rather than snarking with Tarrant over which one of them captains the Liberator.
  • Declining Promotion: Jarvik is offered command of the Liberator as a reward for capturing it. However he rejects this, saying he'd have stayed in the military if promotion was all he was after. He prefers to be Hot Consort to the ruler of the Federation instead.
  • Death by Materialism: Anyone stranded on Kairos can't resist picking up a crystal or two in case they're rescued. Unfortunately the spider-creatures eat Kairopan, and anyone who is carrying it. Even if they realize this and throw the crystal away, they'll still have particles of Kairopan on their skin and clothing which the creatures can sense, especially when all the crystals have been devoured and the creatures are starving.
  • Death World: The Kairopan crystals can only be harvested for one week after the vernal equinox. No-one has ever survived if they stayed on the planet after one week.
  • Deflector Shields: Servalan is shocked that the Liberator can fire through its own force wall, and the ship also has the ability to overlap (as opposed to interlock) the force walls for greater protection. Unfortunately only Cally has the skill to do so, and Avon takes her off the bridge just when her skill is needed.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Servalan
  • Dirty Coward: Servalan could have fought or tried fleeing in the Liberator. Because Zen is telling her the spacecraft is marginally stronger and faster, she teleports off the Liberator.
  • Do a Barrel Roll: The Liberator rotates on its longitudinal axis to imply the clever manoeuvres our Ace Pilot is putting the Liberator through with invokedNo Budget for special effects.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Jarvik rejects Dayna as a hostage when Tarrant calls him on it, and also objects to her being shot purely because Servalan is a Sore Loser.
  • Evil Gloating: Jarvik thinks it's Unsportsmanlike Gloating to do this to a Worthy Opponent, but has no problem if Servalan wants to indulge herself.
  • Exact Words: Servalan has to put our heroes down on a planet with Earth-conditions. If that planet happens to be swarming with hostile fauna, too bad.
  • Fantastic Racism: Jarvik sacrifices three Federation cruisers just to hide his real plan. He later says that the crews didn't count because he only used mutoids (female personality-wiped cyborgs).
  • Fighting Fingerprint: Tarrant derides the opening attack formation as unimaginative, but it also tells him that Servalan is the one after them.
  • Foreshadowing:
  • Friend or Foe: Captain Shad accidentally shoots Jarvik.
  • Funny Foreground Event: Avon is poking his rock with a technical implement in the foreground, as the others are busy with tactical Technobabble. It gives off a small explosion and they all turn to him.
    Avon: Sorry.
  • The Generalissimo: Servalan introduces herself as "President and Supreme Commander of the Terran Federation", showing that she's taken over both political and military commands.
  • Gentleman Ranker: Jarvik joined the Federation as an officer, but quit and rejoined as an enlisted man because he hated computers and liked manual labour and fighting.
  • Good Old Ways: Jarvik waxes lyrical about the supremacy of Humanity over machines, takes pride in manual labour and hand-to-hand combat, and when the most ruthless and powerful Woman in the galaxy argues with him, throws Servalan onto the nearest sofa, grabs her by the throat and gives her a Big "SHUT UP!".
  • Green Rocks: Kairopan, which is a valuable red crystal of unrevealed purpose, and Sopron, which is a green-and-black mineral lifeform that protects itself by projecting itself as the same species, yet more powerful, than anything that scans it.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: Jarvik's soldiers apparently never bothered to search Avon after taking him prisoner. He still has his rock (which could be used to bash someone's head in) and Orac's key, despite the computer being just as valuable as the Liberator.
  • Guile Hero:
    • Servalan uses her battle computers to work out what Tarrant will do and lay a trap. Tarrant uses his battle computers to work out what he should do and does the opposite, thereby avoiding the trap.
    • It isn't the manly Tarrant who saves the day, but Avon with his Brandishment Bluff.
  • Help, I'm Stuck!: A terrifying Giant Spider invokedwobbles slowly towards Dayna, who's caught in a flimsy strand of spider web in the middle of an open field in broad daylight. Why she doesn't just unlace her boot and jump free is not revealed.
  • Hope Spot: Servalan has the Liberator outnumbered and outmanouvred, but Tarrant is able to outsmart her. Jarvik comes up with a cunning plan and is given three of the most advanced cruisers to carry it out — the Liberator is able to destroy all three. Our heroes board the freighter only to be ambushed, but then Avon appears and guns down their ambushers. Success! Nope — everything up to now was just a distraction for the guards hidden in the cargo.
  • Insult to Rocks: Avon thinks even the rock is smarter than his colleagues.
  • Intimate Open Shirt: Jarvik spends half the episode with his jumpsuit unzipped, showing Servalan the goods.
  • I Reject Your Reality: When Tarrant tries to bluff them into surrendering, Jarvik pleads with Servalan to believe her own eyes rather than what Zen is telling her. When Zen offers a possible explanation (the Apollo lander is just a holographic projection designed to hide the spacecraft's true nature) she decides to run.
  • Irrevocable Order: Avon uses this to enforce a provision to their surrender. When Servalan interrupts, Avon points out that he must finish giving Zen the command or he won't accept it.
  • It Amused Me: Why Servalan sends down Jarvik to fight Tarrant and retrieve the teleport bracelets as a Battle Trophy (she can prevent Zen beaming them up by moving Liberator out of orbit, and there's no shortage of spare bracelets on the ship). However Avon quickly realises that Jarvik's presence means that the Liberator will blast them (all Servalan has to do is target the general area he beamed up from and obliterate it) so Servalan is likely being a Manipulative Bitch as usual, using Jarvik to pinpoint their location without risk to herself.
  • It's The Only Way To Be Sure: Even though she's marooned our heroes on a Death World, Servalan decides to drop a few plasma bolts on top of them.
  • Just Plane Wrong: The spacecraft they salvage is an Apollo-era moonlander, apparently used by an early Earth expedition. But such a vehicle wouldn't be able to take off from any planet of Earth-like gravity, and it would leave the landing legs behind. Ragnarök Proofing is involved too — even if Avon and Tarrant got the lander working, the fuel would be useless.
  • Kick the Dog: In case you think Servalan's entirely lost her edge...
    • Captain Shad reports that due to a rich harvest they're carrying too much cargo, and asks permission to dump the excess. Servalan orders him to leave the workers behind instead.
    • Tarrant refuses to hand voice command over to Servalan. She threatens to have Dayna executed then-and-there, and makes it clear she'll work through the crew until someone folds.
    • Tarrant has won and forced Servalan to abandon the Liberator, but as she's leaving she orders Dayna shot.
  • Large Ham: Jarvik in all his macho glory.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: A guard is taunting the workers who are going to be left behind on the Death World, when the transporter leaves without him as well.
  • Literalist Snarking
    Servalan: So tell me, Zen, how does one operate this craft?
    Zen: One manipulates the controls, and the craft functions accordingly.
    Servalan: Yes, and I've heard of your impudence. Now perhaps you will tell me how to manipulate the controls.
  • Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: When Jarvik grabs Dayna as a Hostage for MacGuffin, Tarrant reprimands him for hiding behind a Woman and they fight mano-a-mano instead.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang!: Cally suggests they split up into two teams. Avon declares I Work Alone and walks off in a huff. Amazingly, no-one is eaten by the horrible monsters. However later the others walk off and leave Dayna to untangle herself from a web, and the spider creature attacks her.
  • Ludd Was Right: Jarvik gave up a Federation captaincy to become a manual worker. He even smashes a machine at the end of the following speech:
    "...when was the last time you felt the warmth of the Earth's sun on your naked back? Or lifted your face to the heavens, and laughed with the joy of being alive? How long since you wept at the death of a friend? Doesn't mean a thing to you, does it, Madam President? You've surrounded yourself with machines and weapons, mindless men and heartless mutoids; and when they've done your work, and the machines have done your thinking, what is there left in you that feels?!"
  • Mineral MacGuffin: The Kairopan crystals (though it's actually Avon's rock that plays a more important role plotwise). As usual they don't get any of them.
  • Neutral Female: Cally stands watching as Dayna wrestles with Jarvick. Because of this, he's able to teleport Dayna out of there when the spider creature 'attacks'.
  • No-Gear Level: Our heroes lose the most powerful ship in the galaxy and their two Master Computers.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Used by Jarvik when he's convincing Servalan to listen to him on how to take down Tarrant.
    Jarvik: You don't know Tarrant, Madam. He's a Man. He thinks and acts like a Man, not like a machine. That's why he's still alive.
    Servalan: And you, being a similar Man, no doubt, in thought and action, will know exactly where he's heading now?
    Jarvik: Oh, yes. Right now he's heading for the Harvest of Kairos.
  • Not What It Looks Like
    • Tarrant catches Avon holding onto Cally and asks if they've really got time for that. In fairness, their interaction is played for some Ship Tease, with Avon speaking to her much more gently than he normally would.
    • Servalan doesn't look happy when Jarvik teleports up in mid-wrestle with Dayna.
  • Pantomime Animal: Brian the Spider's notoriously-slow Ominous Walk is due to the operator sitting in it backwards, with the forelegs operated by his feet and the back legs by his hands.
  • Phlegmings: The spider has the appropriate drool when menacing Dayna. Justified as it's looking to feed on what she's carrying.
  • Quit Your Whining: When Tarrant gives Avon a What the Hell, Hero? for ignoring their crisis, Avon pointedly comments that Tarrant shouldn't have any problem as he's the best space-warfare commander flying the most powerful spaceship in the galaxy. "Or so you keep telling us."
  • A Rare Sentence: Avon smugly listens to Orac admit the Sopron is (by a 'marginal' degree) more rational that it is.
  • Rated M for Manly: Jarvik is a throwback to when Men were Real Men and Women liked it.note 
  • Rebel Relaxation: Jarvik slouches insolently on a console while Servalan rants about his incompetence.
  • Refuge in Audacity:
    • Jarvik is hauled before the President of the Federation after he's heard bad-mouthing her tactics. His response is to announce, "Woman, you're beautiful" and give Servalan a Forceful Kiss. When Servalan orders him sent to the punishment cells, he bangs her guards' heads together, picks up a weapon and points it at Servalan...and then casually puts it aside, saying he's not here to brawl with her minions. It works because Servalan enjoys his manly chutzpah.
    • Stuck in a primitive spacecraft with no weapons against the most powerful ship in the galaxy, Avon tells Tarrant to call up Servalan and demand her surrender. It works because while Servalan has everything to lose, Avon (while as much interested in self-preservation as she is) has nothing to lose, as their only other options are die in space or die down on the planet.
  • Right Through His Pants: Servalan and Jarvik are shown relaxing after sex, but still dressed.
  • Series Continuity Error: Tarrant's backstory doesn't match what's said in this episode, though that may be due to the confusion created with the writer's bible (Tarrant was originally to be a Federation deserter called The Captain, played by an older actor). This may also be why Tarrant is portrayed as the captain of the Liberator and Servalan's main target, rather than Avon.
  • Screen Shake: During the space battle and moonlander launch.
  • Skewed Priorities: Avon is so obsessed with his rock that he takes Cally off the bridge at a time when her expertise is needed to fight a space battle.
    Tarrant: That thing has warped your reason, Avon; it has even warped your notorious instinct for looking after Number One.
  • Smooch of Victory: Vila and Dayna share a Hug of Victory after destroying a Federation warship.
  • Space Pirates: Tarrant convinces the others to engage in a bit of piracy. Sure the Federation is the target, but it doesn't bode well for the future ethics of these 'freedom fighters'.
  • Starfish Aliens:
    Avon: This happens to be the most sophisticated lifeform that it has ever been my good fortune to come across. Present company not excepted.
    Tarrant: Life? But it looks like...
    Avon: A rock. Yes. Well, when you live on the permanent dark side of a planet, nobody cares too much what you look like.
  • Suddenly Shouting: Jarvik has seized the Liberator and left the crew stranded on a Death World where their only means of escape is an obsolete landing module without weaponry.
    Avon: Once your friend Jarvik teleports that's the last we'll see of the Liberator. A couple of plasma bolts will be the last we'll see of anything.
  • The Swarm: Unfortunately the prop department could only afford to build one of them.
  • Taking the Bullet: Albeit an accidental version.
  • This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself: Servalan tells Jarvik to take down a team and beat Tarrant and his friends in hand-to-hand combat. Jarvik brags that he'll do the job alone. For some reason our anti-heroes go along with this instead of kicking Jarvik in the head while he's wrestling with Tarrant.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Tarrant has suddenly become the Federation's most wanted instead of Avon. Makes one wonder if this was was originally written with Blake in mind.
  • Trojan Horse: Captain Shad and his men are hidden in the crates of Kairopan crystals.
  • Vestigial Empire: Vila points out that the Federation doesn't really exist any more. Try telling Servalan that.
  • We Need a Distraction: Jarvik knew Tarrant would suspect something if it was too easy to seize the cargo, so he sacrificed the three cruisers.
  • Women Prefer Strong Men: Presumably why Servalan puts up with Jarvik aggressively manhandling the President of the Terran Federation in her own control room. Though Jacqueline Pearce assumed that Servalan was like an Uptown Girl enjoying a "bit of rough" for kicks.
  • Worthy Opponent: Jarvik and Tarrant feel this towards each other. Averted by Avon who cuts short Tarrant's post-mortem praise. "He was just another Federation thug."
  • Writer on Board: Servalan has to act seriously out-of-character in order to explore Ben Steed's themes of Ludd Was Right and Women Prefer Strong Men. She's been entirely willing to rely on cunning in the past — now Servalan is an Ice Queen who's overly reliant on battle computers. Servalan allows Jarvik to give orders and manhandle her on her own command deck, despite being obsessed with her own authority and ego. She even balks at having Jarvik executed when it looks like his cunning plan has turned out to be a disaster.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: Tarrant was apparently Jarvik's lieutenant during the last Kairopan harvest, fifteen years ago. Either Tarrant is meant to be considerably older than the actor playing him (which doesn't make a lot of sense, given how much emphasis other episodes place on his youth), or he was a Child Soldier.
  • You Said You Would Let Them Go: Servalan captures the Liberator and threatens to execute our heroes one-by-one until they order Zen to transfer command authority to her. Tarrant points out Servalan will likely kill them anyway, and refuses. Avon however concedes, but quickly adds a provision that Servalan must first leave them unharmed on a planet with Earth-like conditions. Unfortunately the nearest planet of that description is a Death World, and Servalan later tries to destroy them with Orbital Bombardment just to be sure.
  • You Have No Chance to Survive: Tarrant bluffing Servalan into fleeing.
  • You Got Spunk!:
    Jarvik: You fight well, but you're still a Woman. (Dayna tries to knee him in groin) Not quite a lady...
  • You Will Be Spared:
    • When Jarvik appears to have stuffed up the plan, Servalan balks at having him summarily executed, but does order her guards to arrest him for court-martial.
    • Servalan takes a shine to Avon's amoral intelligence, and says that if she did shoot the crew one-by-one to enforce Tarrant's compliance, she might consider sparing him.