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Recap / Blakes Seven S 4 E 1 Rescue

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Written by Chris Boucher.
Directed by Mary Ridge.
Airdate: 28 September 1981.

After the climactic end of last season, the former crew of the Liberator are stranded on Terminal. When an explosion kills Cally and injures Tarrant, a salvager called Dorian arrives to rescue the others. Suspicious of his intentions, our anti-heroes seize his spaceship Scorpio only to find themselves conveyed by automatic pilot to his hidden base on Xenon, where they encounter a beautiful gunfighter called Soolin and an even more deadly threat.


This episode has the following tropes:

  • Abnormal Ammo: Dayna enthuses over the handguns in Dorian's arms locker.
    "You clip [the magazine] into the basic handgun and you've got a weapon for every occasion. Laser, plasma bullet, percussion shell, micro-grenade, stun, drug."
  • Ace Pilot: Tarrant has to fly Dorian's ship despite never having flown that class of planethopper before.
  • Ascetic Aesthetic: The Scorpio was conceived have a dark and gritty look, having been inspired by the Nostromo from Alien. Unfortunately (as was usual for the BBC at the time) the producers insisted that the set be well-lit.
  • The Alcoholic: Vila (though he decides No More for Me after seeing Dorian disintegrate). Justified as Cally has died; he's likely Drowning My Sorrows while putting up his usual front.
  • All Your Powers Combined: The victims that Dorian lures into the Room have been dying too quickly as his centuries of corruption become too much to bear. Dorian plans to create a stronger Creature by absorbing a group of True Companions into a single gestalt being.
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  • Beauty Equals Goodness: The Creature has absorbed all of Dorian's negativity, so is a hideous monster. When Dorian dies, it reverts to the form of a beautiful youth while Dorian decays into a misshapen figure, then crumbles to dust.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Avon saves Dayna, Vila saves Tarrant, Dorian saves Vila and Dayna, then Vila saves everyone (except Dorian, of course).
    Avon: Suddenly I'm hip-deep in heroes.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: Dayna is attacked by a snake-like creature whose head splits open into four jaws.
  • Blatant Lies: Dorian claims not to recognise the names of our heroes, but is shown to be looking for the Liberator in his introduction scene.
  • Call-Back: Avon repeats Cally's line from "Mission to Destiny" - "A man who trusts can never be betrayed, only mistaken".
  • Chekhov's Gun: Vila helps himself to the Cool Guns in Dorian's arms locker, but decides to keep the Federation carbine as well, presumably because he's more familiar with it. He leaves the gun lying around and so it gets missed when all the other weapons have their ammunition removed.
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  • Continuity Nod: The episode starts with Avon and Dayna checking out the spaceship that Servalan said she'd left for them in "Terminal".
  • Contrasting Sequel Main Character: The sycophantic Slave replaces the snarky Zen, and cold Soolin replaces empathic Cally (she also contrasts with the other Action Girl — hotheaded Blood Knight Dayna).
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Vila is treated with the usual lack of respect, but he risks his life rescuing Tarrant at the start, and saves all their lives by being thoughtful enough to bring the one weapon that works.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Soolin killed all the people who murdered her family, including the one who mentored her in being The Gunslinger.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Dorian (see Homoerotic Subtext) talks of indulging every vice, and is in a relationship with Soolin as well.
  • Downer Beginning: The episode begins with the destruction of the spacecraft our heroes could have used to get off Terminal, followed in short order by Cally's death.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Her: Cally dies in an explosion. Offscreen.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: A plot point with Xenon Base.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Soolin is introduced as an Ice Queen and The Gunslinger. Her character doesn't change much beyond this.
  • Evil Is Hammy: The Room not only extends Dorian's life, it also magnifies his Large Ham.
  • Evil Laugh: Dorian as the Room begins to absorb our heroes.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Avon points out that Dorian is missing one of them for his gestalt. Dorian snaps that Vila will join them later. And he does, with the only working firearm.
  • Faux Action Girl: Dayna swings between this; however most of the time it's justified as she's still the youngest and least experienced member of the crew. Her confidence rises whenever she has a gun handy, but she lapses into fear when she doesn't.
  • Gilligan Cut: "Vila's probably got the other door open by now." Cut to Vila next to an open the wine cabinet.
    Vila: There's something very suspicious about a man who keeps his booze under lock and key.
  • Get It Over With: Avon has no interest in a Just Between You and Me from a madman. Dorian however has his own plans for our heroes.
  • Hand Wave: Only the bridge is pressured during flight, explaining why we don't see more of the ''Scorpio'' set.
  • Heads-Up Display: The new Title Sequence.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: Dorian points out that Avon really is bonded to his True Companions, no matter what he might pretend.
  • Homoerotic Subtext: It's implied that the Pretty Boy left in the Creature's place was actually Dorian's lover — he looks rather guilty when talking of how his 'partner' was the first victim of the Room. Given the source material, the inclusion of this trope is hardly surprising. Dorian gives Avon and Vila some rather coy glances too.
  • Ice Queen: Soolin keeps an icy reserve even when kissing her boyfriend, and his betrayal seems to have little effect on her emotionally, implying their relationship was more sexual than romantic.
  • I Don't Pay You to Think: Slave (Dorian is therefore rather annoyed when having to deal with Orac).
    Slave: Thought is beyond my humble capacities, Master.
  • Improbable Age: A plot point — Dorian knew the inventor of Orac, even though he'd been in hiding for 20 years before his death. Avon is also surprised when Dorian has the skill to repair Orac, work on the fundamental principles of a teleporter, and construct an Elaborate Underground Base.
  • Ironic Echo
    Avon: He who trusts can never be betrayed, only mistaken. Cally once told me that that was a saying amongst her people.
    Dorian: Cally?
    Avon: Cally was murdered. So were most of her people.
  • It Works Better with Bullets: Dorian had Soolin replace all the clips in their handguns with blanks. Then he did the same to Soolin's gun too.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: If Avon has any feelings about Cally's death, he's careful to hide them. When called on the fact that he went back for Cally's body, he claims it was only to get Orac.
    Dayna: Beneath that cold exterior beats a heart of pure stone.
  • Killed Off for Real: Cally
  • Let's Split Up, Gang!
    • Avon warns Dayna not to rush ahead to save their friends. She refuses to listen and nearly gets eaten by a giant snake before Avon arrives Just in Time to shoot it.
    • Avon notices Tarrant is missing (because he passed out) and goes back for him. He refuses to leave his gun with Vila, but also refuses to take Vila with him. Then Dayna runs off again, leaving Vila alone. Both Dayna and Vila get into trouble.
  • Literal Cliffhanger: Unfortunately the 'cliff' is less than convincing, so a ravenous snake-creature is added at the bottom.
  • Luck-Based Search Technique: Dayna somehow opens the hatch to the Room (though it may have happened deliberately as Dorian was trying to lure them down there).
  • Master of Unlocking: Averted; Vila can't get through the security door to the hanger, and says it's not even worth trying. Once the others leave, he abandons the futile task and goes to have a drink instead.
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard: At least Soolin had a good excuse.
  • Moral Luck: Our anti-heroes hijacking the ship of the man who saved their life, at gunpoint, turns out to be entirely justified, since he's actually a depraved immortal trying to absorb them into a gestalt entity for his own purposes. Convenient, that.
  • No Seatbelts: Averted: Scorpio actually has safety belts on its flight deck, unlike the Liberator.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Lampshaded by Avon when he holds their rescuer at gunpoint.
  • No Guy Wants an Amazon: Averted with Avon, who after being outdrawn by Soolin notes that Dorian has impeccable taste in wine and women.
  • No Immortal Inertia: Dorian ages to dust when the creature is killed.
  • No Pronunciation Guide: Dorian pronounces Soolin's name like a Southern USA-style "Sue Lynn". Everyone else in the entire show pronounces it as one word with stress on the first syllable.
  • Pink Elephants: Vila decides No More for Me after seeing Dorian age and disintegrate before his eyes. "It'll be pink asteroids next."
  • Properly Paranoid: Dorian turns up to rescue them from a Death World. Ungrateful Bastard that he is, Avon keeps him at gunpoint and hijacks his spaceship. Turns out Avon's suspicions are entirely justified.
  • Quick Draw
    Dorian: I wouldn't poison a good wine, Avon. If I Wanted You Dead... there are much more direct ways of achieving it. I could snap my fingers... (He snaps his fingers. Soolin draws her gun and aims it at Avon) And you're dead. Fast, isn't she?
  • Reaction Shot: Used to break up the images of Dorian's Rapid Aging. Rather than attempt to morph from one image to the next, they simply cut to individual reaction shots, then back to Dorian in a further state of decay.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: The unexpected renewal of the series would lead to a rather uneven season as scripts had to be hastily written (then rewritten when Jan Chappell decided not to return), with new characters created from scratch and new props built.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Dorian claims to be almost 200 years old. Avon thinks he's nuts.
  • Salvage Pirates: Dorian claims he just turned up to salvage equipment from Terminal.
  • Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: Noting that Vila risked his life to save Tarrant, Avon mutters, "I'm hip-deep in heroes." It's then pointed out that he went back into the destroyed base to find Cally, but he claims it was to find Orac which they need to survive (Orac can take over a passing spaceship's computer and land it on Terminal).
  • Security Cling:
    • Avon throws himself on top of Dayna, then Vila throws himself on an unconscious Tarrant, to shield them from explosions.
    • Locked in the Room alone with the Creature, Dayan throws herself into Tarrant's arms when he turns up.
  • Screen Shake: Averted for the earthquake, during which the actors stumble about in an unconvincing manner. Played straight for take-off.
  • Series Continuity Error: Terminal is shown to be a spherical planet instead of oval.
  • Sound-Only Death: Cally's death is only shown by her crying out Blake's name as the underground base explodes. This was due to Jan Chappell deciding to leave the series, agreeing only to voice act a couple of words.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: There's a well-done scene of the booby-trapped spaceship blowing up.
  • Surpassed the Teacher
    Dorian: Soolin was taught by the best.
    Soolin: The second best actually.
    Dorian: (laughs) Oh, of course you killed him didn't you? He was one of the men responsible for the death of her family. She killed all the others too. She's a formidable enemy.
  • Surrounded by Idiots
    Dayna: Don't you ever get bored with being right?
    Avon: Just with the rest of you being wrong.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Scorpio just happens to have a talking Master Computer and a teleport system, albeit not working at this stage. Dorian is shown to have prior knowledge of the Liberator, so it may be a deliberate attempt to mimic their technology.
  • Sycophantic Servant: Master Computer Slave
  • Take Off Every Zig: The audience gets its first sight of the sequence in which Scorpio flies down a narrow canyon into a rectangular hole in the cliff, then is carried on a giant elevator pad down to Xenon Base.
  • Tap on the Head
    • Avon uses these exact words with Dorian when he calls him on Playing Possum.
    • Averted with Tarrant, who's noticeably weak after surviving the booby-trap explosion, and passes out at one stage.
  • That's What I Would Do
    Avon: If I'm right about the base the charges will already have been triggered.
    Dayna: What do you mean?
    Avon: Ultrasonic fuses keyed to pick up the explosion from that ship. That's how I would have done it.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Servalan really wasn't leaving anything to chance with her efforts to kill the Liberator crew. The first set of explosives, which she left in her former spacecraft, only succeeds in blowing up a Link. However, this triggers a second set of explosives, which destroys the living quarters and claims Cally's life. Worse still, it in turn sets off a third set of explosives which will blow Terminal apart completely, with only Dorian's arrival saving the remaining survivors from certain death.
  • Throwing Your Gun at the Enemy: When Dayna's handgun turns out be loaded with a blank clip, she throws it at the Creature in an attempt to drive it away.
  • To Absent Friends: Done as a plot point; Soolin has poured wine glasses for everyone, but there's one left over. However there wouldn't be if Cally had survived (as Dayna points out) yet Dorian claimed he didn't know anything about the Liberator crew.
  • True Companions: An invoked trope by Dorian.
    Dorian: One of the group was killed before I got there. But the group remains. Bound together by time and pain and the need to survive. The death of the telepath will make it more difficult. But they can still be used.
  • Twisted Ankle: Dayna stumbles when turning to flee the snake-creature. Later she falls down an unconvincing slope...err, cliff.
  • Was Once a Man: The Creature in the Room.
    Avon: I imagine it was once a man. One of a long line who died in his place.
  • Whole Plot Reference: The Picture of Dorian Gray IN SPACE!
  • With Friends Like These...: Tarrant is reluctant to go searching for a second door because he's worried that Avon will get through the security door and leave without them. Earlier he tells Avon that his Leave No Man Behind is actually because if they get attacked, Avon can run away and let the others get eaten. Avon doesn't disagree, but points out the same motivation could also apply to Tarrant.
  • You're Insane!: Avon to Dorian, who admits that if it weren't for his Room purging all negativity, he probably would be.
  • Your Head A-Splode: The snake-creature when Avon shoots it (apparently the explosive charge used for the sfx was too large).

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