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The episode opens with our band of rebels preparing a raid on a Federation communication station. A station that looks like an old chemical plant.
The rebels slip past the automated guards and Vila works his magic to get them through the gate. We see one of the first highlights of Vila's talents. He plays the fool, very well, but he is actually very intelligent. Cowardly, but intelligent.
Blake and Vila successfully breach the compound and reinforcements teleport down. Cally is tasked with guarding several captured technicians. During the raid a guard escapes and we get to see Vila take action. He manages to incapacitate the guard but not before he sounds the alarm.
The technicians take the opportunity to overpower Cally causing her to lose her teleport bracelet. The rest of the rebels manage to plant their explosives and escape. Cally, who had escaped, however is left behind. We're treated to a scene of her frantically searching for her bracelet with the explosive timer superimposed over her face. She missies her ride and is left behind.
Back on ship we learn that the sabatoge was a ruse to capture a Federation Cypher unit. Blake and his team can now intercept and decode every message that Space Command sends.
At last we get our first look at Space Command and a new character Servelan.
She is giving an update to a duo of political couriers concerning the search for Blake. A new commander has been tasked with his termination. We get to see some of the inner workings of the government and hints that not everyone involved is truly evil. The politicians are determined to maintain control but with at least the image of benevolence. On Earth they use drugs. On the outer worlds they are forced to use violence. One of their commanders, Travis, has a reputation for unmatched ruthlessness.
At his appointment we see that at least some of the Federation Officers still hold themselves to some sense of honor. Servelan is shown to be cold, manipulative and ruthless in her own way. When a junior officer protests Travis being reinstated we see her use her womanly charms to disarm him.
Back on the Liberator we see Blake agonizing over the loss of Cally. Jenna, as she often does, serves as the voice of reason and helps him learn to live with it. In many ways Jenna is the most compassionate character. Even Blake, despite his morals, is too driven to really care about those around him.
While using the cypher unit they learn of Travis' involvement. Blake is stunned stating that he had believed that he had killed Travis. It's revealed that Blake's "civil disobedience" was actually a little more violent than he let on. To me this answers how he has such extensive knowledge of military targets.
Travis and Servelan realize that Blake has a cypher unit and decide to set a trap. Surviving the explosion Cally was taken prisoner and is now bait for the rebels. Luckily Blake has learned a few tricks and springs his own trap.
They make good their escape with Travis vowing to chase Blake forever. Too bad that cypher is now useless. But alls well that ends well.
This episode epitomizes everything that was great about Blakes 7. Strong characters. Excellent dialogue. Tight script. Ambiguous morals. The special effects are still cheap but they're as good as we can get with our budget. The action scenes could be a little tighter but I expect that's due to the production schedule and not just lack of effort.
All of the characters get at least minor moments in this episode to show their strengths. Vila gets to be clever, Blake gets to moralize, Jenna plays her role as voice of reason, Avon gets to be tech savvy. Gan's strength is, well, his strength and he gets to move difficult gears around. Ok, maybe he could have had a bigger role. Cally gets an understated role but we see her enduring massive torture while refusing to sell out her comrades.
We also introduced two recurring villains in the form of Servelan and Travis. In their own ways they mirror Blake and Avon. Travis is driven and ruthless in the pursuit of his objectives much like Blake. Servelan is calculating and self serving much like Avon.
Far and away one of the top episodes. Next up we'll have Mission to Destiny.
5 out of 5.
Hello there. How are you? Excuse me wandering about your premises but I wonder if you can help me. I'm an escaped prisoner. I was a thief but recently I've become interested in sabotage, in a small way you understand, nothing too ambitious, I hate vulgarity, don't you? Anyway, I've come to blow something up. What do you think will be most suitable?:
Coffee of the Day:
Today's episode was written with the help of Community Coffee's French Roast. Dark and delicious the way coffee should be.