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Recap / Blakes Seven S 3 E 7 Children Of Auron

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Drink up your nice genocidal plague.
Written by Roger Parkes.
Directed by Andrew Morgan.
Airdate: 18 February 1980.

Servalan infects Cally's homeworld with a Synthetic Plague, to blackmail them into creating clones in her own image.

This episode has the following tropes:

  • Adam and Eve Plot: One male and one female survivor establish an Auron colony on another planet using the gene stocks. How they intend to raise thousands of children on their own with no technological infrastructure is another matter.
  • Ambition Is Evil: Ginka resents being passed over for promotion in favour of Deral. Then he's eager to seize the Liberator, only for Servalan to pick Deral for that too. So he tells Servalan that Deral replaced her embryos with his own, so that Servalan will destroy the bio-replication plant along with the rebels.
  • An Offer You Can't Refuse: Servalan demands to use the gestation facilities in exchange for inoculating the embryos from the pathogen.
  • As You Know
    Orac: Reproduction by Clinician Franton's method of group cloning has resulted in highly developed psychic faculties, telepathy being the most obvious example. These faculties are, of course, limited to the young since cloning was developed relatively recently.
    Avon: We know all that.
    Orac: Since I lack sensors to assess what is or is not in your mind, I cannot assess what is or is not already known to you.
  • Badass Bandolier: Worn by Ginka.
  • The Bait: Servalan denies It's All About Me, because as well as babies in her own image she also wants the Liberator, as it has the strength to command the loyalty of all the factions. Servalan is counting on Cally being contracted telepathically by the Auronar and persuading the others to come and help.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Servalan's clones won't be running the galaxy and the Auron race is to be started again on another planet, but Auron has been depopulated and Cally has lost her sister. Even the death of Servalan's 'children' is allowed a certain pathos.
  • BBC Quarry: Averted; Auron is a long-established civilization so the action takes place inside a city, with Thruscross Reservoir Dam and Leeds Polytechnic used for location shots.
  • Blessed with Suck: Thanks to their policy of isolation, the younger generations of cloned Auronar have no resistance to an alien disease.
  • Brainwashing for the Greater Good
    Cally: Some of us wanted to participate in galactic affairs.
    Dayna: So what happened? Were you overruled?
    Avon: The great passive majority psyched them into line. Telepathic communion is a wonderful thing.
  • Cassandra Truth: Franton warns CA-1 that the epidemic could be a Federation plot, but he doesn't listen.
  • Clones Are People, Too: Averted with probably the most casual and realistic treatment of this trope in any Space Opera. Cally and her sister Zelda are depicted just like real-world natural twins, independent individuals with their own personalities and motivations who just happen to look identical. The episode does, however, depict one hard-SF big disadvantage of large-scale cloning — lack of genetic variation leading to lack of disease resistance and vulnerability to epidemics.
  • Coming in Hot: With Screen Shake too. Pilot Four-Zero applies the retros just in time to land, then dies.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Servalan says the Clonemasters were destroyed in the war, explaining why she doesn't just use the same people who produced a clone of Blake in "Weapon".
    • The concealable pistol that Servalan gives Deral is the type she stole from Dayna's bedroom in "Aftermath" (though Chel took that one off her, so she must have found another one in Mellanby's armoury).
  • Cruel and Unusual Death:
    • Pilot Four-Zero's death, covered in boils and leaking yellow fluid from his mouth.
    • Ginka and Deral die in shrieking agony as their skin glows red-hot.
  • Death from Above: Servalan uses Orbital Bombardment to destroy the Control Centre and bio-replication plant.
  • Disaster Democracy: When Avon is reluctant to divert course from Earth, Tarrant just puts it to the vote. This shows that Avon's role as The Captain is actually dependent on this Ragtag Bunch of Misfits agreeing to go along with him.
  • Egopolis: It's not enough for Servalan to use one of her manly Hot Consorts to give her children, they've got to be created in her own image.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Servalan is genuinely distraught over the death of her children.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Captain Deral is shocked that Servalan is willing to carry out genocide on a neutral planet for aims that are purely personal.
  • Everyone Laughs Ending: One of the more infamous examples of this trope in Blake's 7; Avon cracks a lame joke and everyone laughs after almost every member of Cally's race gets killed with biological warfare, including her sister.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: British-Asian actor Ric Young plays Ginka.
  • Explosive Leash: Servalan pushes a Big Red Button in her control room to kill Ginka and Deral.
  • Foreshadowing: For "Rumours of Death" — the Liberator is heading for Earth because Avon wants to settle accounts with a Federation para-investigator called Shrinker.
  • Friend or Foe?: A Federation mook accidentally shoots his friend as our heroes push him out the door.
  • Good Cannot Comprehend Evil
    CA-1: I just can't believe it. I can't believe that anyone can be so—
    Servalan: Successful?
  • Good is Not Nice: Having seen the Federation commit genocide, no-one spares any sympathy for Captain Darel. Despite his help he's sent back to a certain death at Servalan's well-manicured hands.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Knowing that Servalan regards him as expendable anyway, Deral decides to look out for Number One.
  • Hidden Weapons: Though as Darel obviously has his gunhand in his pocket, it's not that hidden.
  • Hollywood Healing: Orac comes up with a cure to save our heroes, though not quickly enough to save everyone else on the planet.
  • Hostage for MacGuffin: Ginka's squad seize Avon, Tarrant and Cally. Servalan offers to spare their lives if Vila surrenders the Liberator.
  • Human Aliens: There's still confusion over whether the Auronar are aliens or humans; here the writer assumes the latter, with their Psychic Powers being a result of their cloning experiments.
  • Hypocritical Humour:
    • Servalan sympathises with the Auronar pilot about all those "unscrupulous fortune-seekers" out there.
    • Avon complains about the superiority complex of the Aurons, so Vila quips that he should get on well with them.
  • Improbable Infant Survival: Averted; the children are stated to be the first to die from the disease. The gene bank only survives because it's in isolation and Servalan agrees to provide the cure.
  • Lie Detector: Knowing Servalan's reputation for treachery, Vila pretends that he wants someone to teleport up so Orac can verify Servalan is telling the truth.
  • Making Use of the Twin: Twins are used for Auronar extras.
  • Meaningful Name: Pilot Four Zero is Patient Zero.
  • Mega-Maw Maneuver: Servalan's crocodile-like spacecruiser scoops up the Auronar patrol vessel after disabling it with an ionic ray.
  • Mexican Standoff: Servalan has her hostages, so Vila takes Deral hostage when he teleports up to the Liberator. Vila threatens to destroy Servalan's spacecruiser, but that's where the cure is. And after they escape our heroes hide in the replication plant, knowing that Servalan won't destroy her own clones.
  • Mugged for Disguise: A lethal version when Servalan orders Ginka to kill several Auronar who've come in for treatment, just to get their Hazmat Suits.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: Cally had previously stated that she was sent by the Auronar to aid La Résistance on Sauron Major, and she couldn't return because she had failed her mission. Here she reveals the real story is that she was part of a dissident faction that didn't agree with her people's neutrality, and was made an exile after she left to fight the Federation.
  • My Significance Sense Is Tingling
    • Cally senses the mass death on Auron and goes catatonic.
    • Servalan senses the death of her offspring, perhaps because they are telepathic.
  • Negative Space Wedgie: Servalan tells the Auronar pilot that he struck an ionic reef, apparently a residual effect of the weapons used during the Intergalactic War (actually they fired an ionic weapon at his vessel).
  • No Kill like Overkill: Servalan blows up Control Centre to stop our heroes escaping. Fortunately they've already left the building. Averted when she realises they're getting close to the replication plant, and so has to reduce the yield of the missiles used. She then orders Ginka to lead a squad inside, but Ginka persuades her to blow up the plant instead.
  • Plague Episode: The Federation unleash a deadly plague on Auron.
  • Properly Paranoid
    • Avon thinks they're being Lured Into a Trap and refuses to dock the Liberator or take Orac down to the planet's surface. The group that teleports down is captured, but the attempt to seize the Liberator fails.
    • Servalan has her Co-Dragons implanted with some kind of Self-Destruct Mechanism, presumably to avoid Klingon Promotion. Given that she's fighting other factions of the Federation, trust is likely in short supply.
  • Pun: As Dayna takes Deral's weapon off him, Vila quips, "Disarming, isn't she?"
  • Retcon: Cally's Back Story.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Cally thinks that Avon going to Earth to avenge The Lost Lenore is pointless.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: The rebels smugly teleport Deral back to Servalan, knowing what she does to those who fail her. She barely gives him time for a Big "NO!" before sending Deral to join Ginka in hell.
  • Series Continuity Error
    • Servalan already knows that Dayna has joined the Liberator crew, having met her in "The Harvest of Kairos".
    • Tarrant's What the Hell, Hero? speech to Avon about Cally deserving their support because she's a member of this crew is less impressive given the way he treated Vila in the previous episode.
  • Scare Chord: Happens just about every time Servalan does something evil.
  • Shiny New Earth: Servalan offers Vila a governorship if he hands over the Liberator. "Earth, if you like."
  • Ship Tease: After arguing with Avon over why she left Auron, Cally snaps to the others, "Why do you imagine I've never gone back? Affection for him?" Cue Reaction Shot from Avon.
  • Single Tear: Wept by Servalan of all people.
  • Space Clothes: Pilot Four-Zero wears a silver spacesuit.
  • Spanner in the Works: Dayna points out that Servalan probably thinks that Vila is alone on the Liberator, not knowing that she's joined the Liberator crew, and that Pater has been brought up for treatment. Deral teleports up with a hidden weapon and captures Vila, only to be captured in turn.
  • The Spock: After Cally persuades the others to head for Auron, Avon (who suspects a trap) consults Orac for a more objective viewpoint.
  • Status Quo Is God: Zelda dies and Cally decides to stay on board the Liberator, instead of helping to rebuild the Auron race.
  • Subspace Ansible: The Liberator is out of range of the Distress Call, but Zelda contacts her sister Cally via Twin Telepathy.
  • Suicidal Pacifism: The Federation has played along with Auron's neutrality because it's never been in their interest to conquer it. Now that Servalan does have an interest, the Auronar are easy prey.
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: Pilot Four Zero needs a drink after his near death experience. Servalan gives him one laced with the pathogen, her crew having already been immunized.
  • Tantrum Throwing: Servalan crushes a metal cup and shouts, "Fool!" throwing it at the guard who let the hostages escape. He flees before she has time for anything more permanent.
  • Teleportation Rescue: Dayna teleports down with some bracelets to rescue the others. Unfortunately Zelda takes off her bracelet because she insists on fixing a fault, and dies when the missiles strike.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Ginka hates Deral for being promoted over him while Deral hates Ginka for trying to undermine his authority.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Zelda dies because she stays back to adjust the feed banks, even though Avon points out that the fetuses are going to die anyway.
  • Variant Chess: Avon and Tarrant are playing on a triangular board with pyramid-shaped pieces.
  • Villains Act, Heroes React: The Terran Federation is conflicted by rebellion and civil war, a prime opportunity for forging alliances with some of these rebels or breakaway factions to oppose Servalan. Yet the crew is going along with Avon's quest for personal vengeance because they're bored and there's nothing else to do. Meanwhile Servalan is working to establish a dynasty and increase her strength and authority by seizing the Liberator. According to the next episode, there's a rebellion brewing on Earth that will be quashed because of Servalan's quick response in mustering her forces, without any opposition from the Liberator. One can't help thinking that our heroes lost their drive along with Blake.
  • Visual Innuendo: While exchanging Belligerent Sexual Tension with Cally, Avon is pointing a long buzzing device at a red cup.
  • We Need a Distraction: Franton raps on the hatch window and flees when the Trigger-Happy guards start pursuing her, enabling our heroes to jump them from behind.
  • We Shall Return: Not that Deral lives long enough to deliver the message.
    Avon: Tell Servalan she missed us.
    Pater: It was for nothing. All of it was for nothing.
    Franton: And tell her Auron's children will return.
  • Widow's Weeds: Servalan starts wearing black from now on. Jacqueline Pearce requested this to indicate Servalan mourning for her children, although the change in colour actually occurs from the start of the episode.
  • Window Love: Cally and Zelda on either side of the Decontamination Chamber press their hands against the glass.
  • You Are Number 6: Pilot Four-Zero, C.A.-1 and C.A.-2.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: And when Cally does, there's soon no home to come back to. She doesn't even elect to stay and help raise a new Auron species.
  • You Have Failed Me: Servalan even has a couple of preset Big Red Buttons for this purpose!