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Recap / Blakes Seven S 4 E 7 Assassin

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The face of someone who's just been told Servalan is his new mistress.
Written by Rod Beacham.
Directed by David Sullivan Proudfoot, and Vere Lorrimer (uncredited).
Airdate: 9 November 1981.

When our heroes discover that Servalan has hired a professional assassin known only as Cancer to eliminate them, they decide to strike first.


This episode has the following tropes:

  • Action Fashionista: In between an Evil Costume Switch, planting killer spiders and kidnapping Avon, Piri takes the time to style her hair into a towering bun.
  • Actually, That's My Assistant: A variation - Piri, Cancer's supposed Sex Slave, turns out to be the assassin the crew is looking for.
  • Affectionate Pickpocket: Piri has a tendency to Security Cling to our heroes. It turns out she's actually the Villain of the Week, and uses the opportunity to steal and later replace a key.
  • All According to Plan: Avon is Captured on Purpose, beaten up and Made a Slave. He'll be all right as long as they left his teleport bracelet on him... Oops!
  • Almost Out of Oxygen: Our heroes seize the spaceship of Cancer, who escapes and shuts off the life support remotely, forcing them to split up and search in the limited time they have left.
  • Animal Assassin: Piri uses some kind of transforming spider-creature for her assassinations.
  • Antagonist in Mourning: Played with after Servalan thinks she's destroyed the black ship with our heroes still in it.
    Captain: You don't seem altogether happy.
    Servalan: Oh, I'm happy enough. It's just that a universe without Avon and Tarrant will take a certain amount of getting used to.
  • Auction of Evil: The slave auction. Anyone who's not sold after three auctions is regarded as unusable and killed off.
  • BBC Quarry: In this case a sandpit in Dorset.
  • Beehive Hairdo: The Reveal that Piri is actually Cancer is given when she somehow has time for an Evil Costume Switch into black clothes and a towering bun of hair. The latter makes her not as scary as she should be.
  • Big Blackout: Servalan remotely shuts off power and life support on the black ship, so our heroes are forced to leave the flight deck and search for Cancer.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Dayna pulls a Teleportation Rescue Just in Time. Tarrant jokingly accuses her of waiting till the last minute on purpose.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: The hysterical sex slave Piri is actually the assassin Cancer.
  • Bond One-Liner: After Cancer is bitten by her own spider-creature and dies screaming, Servalan demands to know what is happening. Avon replies, "I'm afraid your friend is feeling the pinch."
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You:
    • Avon doesn't want to kill the man they think is Cancer, in the hope of getting Servalan too when she makes contact with him.
    • Piri knocks the gun out of Fake-Cancer's hand rather than let him shoot Tarrant and Avon. She later reveals that her contract was for all five Scorpio crewmembers, so it was done to earn their trust.
  • Casting Gag: The fake Cancer is revealed to just be an actor who was bought to play the role of an assassin. His real-world actor, John Wyman, had played the KGB assassin Erik Kriegler in For Your Eyes Only earlier that year.
  • Conflict Ball: Avon and Tarrant fighting over Piri. If Avon Has a Type, Piri is definitely not it.
  • Cover Identity Anomaly: Despite supposedly being a slave since she was a child, Piri doesn't know what mangon (the local food for slaves) is. Realising she's slipped up, she kills off Nebrox quickly.
  • Cut Phone Lines:
    • Avon's commlink comes off during the struggle with the slavers, and one of his captors decides to keep it. Fortunately Nebrox gets it back for him.
    • Servalan remotely cuts off all communication from Cancer's spaceship to prevent Scorpio from coming to rescue them. However she later turns them on again to engage in some Evil Gloating. Avon doesn't miss the opportunity, but by that point Scorpio is so far away it's unclear if they got the message.
  • Cutting the Knot:
    • Rather than waste time trying to identify Cancer, Avon figures they can just kill Servalan before she has a chance to pay the assassin. Never mind that our heroes haven't been any better at killing Servalan than she has at killing them.
    • Rather than go searching through the black ship, Avon suggests barricading themselves on the flight deck, flying it back to Xenon Base and keeping it there until Cancer is forced to surrender. Unfortunately the controls are locked because Servalan is controlling the ship remotely.
  • Dark Is Evil: Cancer's black ship. Even the interior is black! When Piri does her Evil Costume Switch she's in black too (unfortunately it's let down by a silly topknot).
  • Decoy Damsel: On boarding Cancer's ship, Avon and Tarrant discover a large steely-eyed man with a Beard of Evil dressed in black leather uttering death threats, and a Hysterical Woman he's keeping as his Sex Slave. Turns out the tearful Damsel in Distress is Cancer and the man is the slave, a male actor that Servalan purchased to play the role in order to lure Cancer's targets into a trap.
  • Dies Wide Open: Avon wakes up Strapped to an Operating Table with Cancer standing over him. Or is he?
    Piri: You're quite right. He's completely dead.
  • Distinction Without a Difference
    Avon: All right, he's not infallible. It's just that up to now he has never failed.
  • Double Entendre: When auctioning Avon, Borac says he's strong enough to work all day with strength enough for "any little chores you might have in the evenings".
  • Double Standard: Lampshaded by Soolin when accused of being a Green-Eyed Monster by Tarrant.
    Soolin: Oh, terrific. If two men don't like each other that's a rational judgement. If it's two women what else could it be but jealousy?
  • Dynamic Akimbo: Soolin combines this with a Captain Morgan Pose.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: One which saves Soolin's life, as she rushes off just as the mechanical spider is about to strike.
  • Evil Costume Switch: Piri pretends to be a slave and spends most of the episode in frumpy clothes, blubbing. Naturally, when the truth is revealed, she stops to change into a rather stylish little black number and redo her hair.
  • Evil Gloating: Piri takes Avon alive just so Servalan can call him up and tell him how she planned the whole thing.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Piri wears a crab-shaped brooch. "It's been staring you in the face the whole time."
  • Fake Kill Scare: When Servalan realizes that Cancer has failed, she locks the controls of the black ship and sets out to destroy it with her own. Avon sends out a distress call but isn't sure if Scorpio got the message. Then Servalan arrives, blows up the black ship and has a drink with her captain to celebrate. Fortunately her celebrations are premature.
  • False Reassurance:
    • When Avon turns up begging for food and water, the slavers promise to provide that for the rest of his life.
    • Piri apologises for being a Hysterical Woman. "It won't happen again, I promise." Next time we see her, she's Cancer.
  • Faux Action Girl: Soolin. If she'd teleported down with Dayna, Servalan would be dead. Likewise she'd be a logical choice to go onto Cancer's ship to take on a Professional Killer like herself, but Avon and Tarrant go instead. She makes up for it in the second half of the episode.
  • Fictional Currency: Servalan pays 700 vems for Avon. That's amore.
  • Foreshadowing: Verlis is shown chortling lewdly about the slave Servalan purchased. This is the burly Mr. Fanservice that plays Fake-Cancer, not Piri.
  • Girly Run: Avon running from the slavers, before he's caught under a Dogpile Of Doom. It's especially funny as a female slave is seen doing this trope later on.
  • Grapes of Luxury: They're not shown eating the grapes, but Servalan and the slavetrader Verlis spend a lot of time sipping drinks and being fanned by enormous feathers held by shirtless slaves.
  • Hand of Death: Shown planting the killer spider near Soolin.
  • Handwave:
    • The Economy Cast at the auction is explained by them being agents acting for a large number of clients who'd rather not be directly involved in something as illegal as slave trading. All the bids are made via communicator.
    • To explain what he's doing on the black ship Avon says that Nebrox could come in useful, but we see no follow-up to this.
  • The Hunter Becomes the Hunted: "So the prey has come looking for the hunter. How interesting."
  • Hypocritical Humour: Tarrant accuses Soolin of "simple female jealousy" toward Piri... and then immediately starts squabbling with Avon.
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Woman!: Soolin responds appropriately to Piri's hysterics:
    Tarrant: You enjoyed that, didn’t you?
    Soolin: There are two classic ways of dealing with a Hysterical Woman. You didn’t really expect me to kiss her, did you?
  • I Ate WHAT?!: Avon when told his mangon stew is made from fungus. He lets Nebrox help himself.
  • Idiot Ball: Steven Pacey hated this episode because Tarrant was portrayed so foolishly. One would think that Avon too would be more suspicious of Piri, as she points out In-Universe.
  • I Got You Covered: Played for Laughs; while Tarrant engages in Good Old Fisticuffs with Fake-Cancer, Avon is shown sitting in a chair watching them until the right moment when he can stick a gun in Cancer's face.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: The Foe Romance Subtext reaches fetish-fuel levels when Servalan buys Avon as a slave and insists that he call her Mistress. Unfortunately he's rescued before things get interesting.
  • Ironic Echo: On meeting the legendary Cancer, Avon comments that he's "only a man". When the real Cancer is about to kill Avon, she too expresses disappointment. "A man's just a man when all's said and done."
  • Karmic Death: Cancer is Hoist by Her Own Petard.
  • Kick The Son Of A Bitch: Avon takes evident pleasure in gunning down Borac.
  • The Load: Our heroes leave Piri locked in a cabin rather than take her with them, despite knowing that Cancer has already gotten through a locked door. Piri however turns out to be Cancer anyway.
  • Lured into a Trap: Servalan sent the message to Cancer knowing that Orac would intercept it, and the Seven would come looking for Cancer.
  • The Man in Front of the Man: Or in this case, the woman.
  • Money Is Not Power: On seeing Avon is up for auction, Servalan offers any price the slavetrader will name if he's sold to her immediately. However Verlis is unwilling to bend the rules in public, so Servalan has to bid with the others.
  • More Deadly Than the Male: Servalan and Cancer team up to outsmart our heroes.

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