When is there going to be that TV movie, anyway?
The story so far: Gizzy and Servalan finally twig that the Liberator is run by Roj "Beyond Insane" Blake and his band of cutthroats and decide open a can of asswhup 11. Unfortunately, Blake's gang of cutthroats are sick and tired of the total asshole in charge. This truly demonstrates the difference between End of Days and Blake; in one, the leader is killed by his most devout follower in a tragic misunderstanding; in the other it's one asshole killing another thanks to their complete lack of HR skills.
BLAKE'S 7: LIBERATOR
CHAPTER FIVE: Safe Harbour
"I don't want to spend the rest of my life dead just because Blake wants to fight a holy war with the Federation! I know his type. All high ideals, big talk and never mind the collateral damage!"
Vila 2.0 is bitching again and while he gains points for sounding genuinely troubled for once, he loses points for taking Gan for a long walk down the Giant Space Corridor to bitch in private rather than making everyone listen like good old Vila 1.0. The trouble is, Gan doesn't give a shit about Vila's righteous indignation. Which does rather rob the plot of some momentum. Are we supposed to sympathize with Vila or Gan? Inaction or indifference? Are we - terrifyingly - supposed to applaud Blake for his blackmail? "You make me sound like an idiot when you put it like that," Vila pouts. "You don't need my help in that department," Gan retorts, sacrificing what little consistent personality he has for the sake of a quip.
I don't mind that in surreal comedies (like for example when an intellectual like Manny Bianco loses the power of rational thought for a decent gag), but this is supposed to be character drama. So you get the characters RIGHT and don't change them on a whim!
AhHAH! We meet again, Evil Lunatic Script Editor, my old nemesis!
As Vila points out this poor bit of scripting, Gan rather worryingly refuses to believe that the lying scumbag in charge is in any way wrong and mindlessly chants that the Federation is corrupt and thus everything is justified. Vila reminds him that "everyone is corrupt", which is the sort of thing you'd think Gan would remember what with them being both hardened criminals on the run - even without When Vila Met Gan to contradict, this is very bad. It's like Vila and Gan have been replaced by bitchy exposition droids, and why does Vila claim to have such insight into Blake when a) he's only known the guy a few days and b) so has Gan, so there's nothing special he can say to have spotted as Gan would have spotted it as well.
"They murdered my wife," Gan says with all the passion of someone trying to read fine print, revealing that his pointless loyalty to Blake is a hithertoo unmentioned and completely unforeshadowed desire to completely destroy the Federation. Odd how his career plan was 'become a farmer and marry an ugly woman' last week and when even in a society composed of prisoners, never felt any need to bitch about the Federation. In fact, all the signs are he considered his punishment just!
Vila once again points out how badly written Gan is this week, so the big guy goes and sulks. And, no, I'm not making this up. Avon then appears right behind Vila, who is terrified as they are in a huge corridor stretching for miles and logically it should be impossible for him to sneak up on them. Or something. I dunno. You think a professional theif in a dangerous environment might have better instincts. I mean, do we really need another "Eeep! Avon, you frightened the life out of me!"? It would have been better had Vila calmly told Avon to come out of the shadows and reveal he knew the guy was there all along - it's what Vila 1.0 would have done.
Avon 2.0 then does what he does best - misquotes one of the lesser known Avon lines ("How long?" "Long enough") and act ridiculously coy and suggest "the Liberator will be best served by a regime change". Because saying something like, "I'm a free man and I don't have to do what Blake says" would just be camp, wouldn't it?
Meanwhile, Jenna is technobabbling about superluminal horizons. As far as I can tell she's saying "Hit the brakes before we crash into the sun," which, I feel confident, that everyone could work out on their own. Why is it she vomits technobabble but is so coarse and blunt the rest of the time? ELSE! You got some splainin ta do! She's also very annoyed that Blake is worried there might be another ambush, so she's forgotten her obsession with double-checking everything to do with space travel. Christ, C'Rizz was more level headed than this cow. Blake explains that his paranoia is based entirely on Unseen Adventures at Rigel and "High Tower" where the Federation were ready, waiting and fully cocked. Jenna - now easily rivalling Blake as Biggest Loonbag in This Show - puts it down to bad luck, even though there was no possible way for the Federation to know where they'd be heading. Jenna instantly assumes that Blake fears that Gizzy was able to put a homing device on the Liberator. Which is nice and neat and, oh wait, why haven't they checked that with Zen already?!
Gan drops by and asks for updates on bitching, and Blake reveals he has another theory - one of his crew is betraying him to the Federation. Oh, the chutzpah! No wonder this is on audio, it would smash through TV screens. You kidnap a bunch of people, patronize them, blackmail them, and then blame THEM for every time your stupid plans fail and cause mass slaughter. Full fist, Blake! FULL FIST! It then strikes Blake that maybe, just maybe, Gizzy isn't a complete moron and knowing that the Liberator is down on supplies might be looking for more. Blake instantly goes from "theory" to "this is fact" with no intermediate state at all. "He knows where we're going and he's covering every single bolthole!" rants Captain Paranoia to his bewildered cohorts. "He must have half the fleet out here on interdiction duty!
Blake then has the brilliant idea of switching off all the power, and as Jenna patiently explains that this will cause them to fall out of the sky and crash, Zen reveals that the solar system ahead is actually packed to the gills with Pursuit Ships (well eight of them in silent running mode). Why are they only visible now? Er. Well. No idea. Blake reveals to the awestruck Gan and Jenna that HE'D lay a trap like this, which is why he was able to predict it. Only took him three attempts of blundering into the exact same trap, apparently. Jenna then gets stroppy that, what with this being a trap, they're running out of places to hide. Day-am woman, when did you suddenly want to hide? Less than a minute ago you refused point blank the idea the Federation were any kind of threat whatsoever. And, given the huge freaking weaponry the Liberator has, why don't they nuke the ships while they're in "quiescent mode" and get on with it?
Blake refuses Gan's suggestion of fleeing to the only viable alternative - the frontier - because he's certain that playing hide and seek with the Federation will eventually turn up some place they can hide. "We have to!" booms Blake, having gone from mindless paranoia to seasoned military strategist to psychotic optimist in less time than it has taken me to TYPE those words.
Did James Swallow write anything this week? The ELSE reigns supreme!!
CHAPTER SIX: Seeking Sanctuary
"Any other bursts of blinding genius, Blake? No? You surprise me."
With a strange wheezing groaning sound, the Liberator jumps into hyperspace whereupon Jenna... turns off the engines. Surely this is kind of bad? Considering it's a death sentence in normal space, what the hell happens in hyperspace? At the very least they'll stay exactly where they are and not move a sodding inch, and they want to do that because that's why they're in hyperspace in the first place. Right? Oh wait, Jenna says that they can plunge into oblivion for ages before they actually have to do anything. Well, that explains everything doesn't it, as she bitchily turns on the intercom and basically demands, "any of you grunts got any better ideas?" and switches off before anyone can answer.
"Any other messages?" asks Blake idly. "Just the one, just like before," says Jenna. Er... what?
Meantime, Avon is clearly getting a kick out of scaring people in the Giant Corridor and decides to pop up right behind Blake to scare the shit out of him. Why not? Blake hastily explains he was going for a long, long, long walk to gather his thoughts (a conservative estimate, methinks) and when Avon - acting as creepy and obsequious as anyone can imagine - offers to help, Blake reveals he's been trying to look up on his A to Z for any space garage not surrounded by the cops. One drawback: Gizzy will be waiting for them. Avon notes that "The Commander does show a certain kind of dogged cunning... quite atypical for a Federation fleet officer." Which begs the question of why the Federation is still in power when they refuse to let anyone with brain cells run the military. Yet this does explain Servlan "Take My Brain" 2.0.
"He's made this personal," whines Blake unhappily. Jeez, you insult him in front of all his men, blow up his space fleet and threaten to topple his society and the guy doesn't see the funny side? No wonder Blake is such a man of the people when he has such superb powers of deduction. Especially since there's no evidence whatsoever that Gizzy is alive, let alone in charge of the Federation response. Not only are we leaping to conclusions that Gizzy is their enemy, we're basing his entire psychological profile on that false premise!
Clearly as underwhelmed with Captain Paranoid as I am, Avon suggests they pack in this foolish crusade and putting them all in a galaxy-wide siege to the death. Blake bitches and asks if Avon has a better idea, which is rather redundant as the entire series is one long testimonial to the fact that, yes, Avon ALWAYS has a better idea than the useless twat of a main character. Avon points out that running desperately back and forth the galaxy fleeing the Federation will get them killed, but Blake has a cunning plan: "I won't let that happen."
Avon stares at him. "I'm sure you believe that," he says kindly, in what is the funniest line of perhaps the entire franchise.
Since they agree that running around will get them killed, Avon suggests they hide at the frontier world until the Federation stop looking for them while Blake has his heart set on a huge epic space battle. "WE HAVE TO MAKE A STAND AGAINST SERVALAN! DON'T YOU SEEEEE?!?" Captain Paranoia rants.
Avon stares at him. "Now who's making it personal?" he asks politely.
Definitely Swallow writing this bit. Blake 2.0 is clearly portrayed as an incredibly stupid suicidal maniac, but at least we're not expected to mistake it for brilliant terrorist charisma. Blake, realizing what a total idiot he is, shouts at Avon to stop picking on him and runs to the Bridge to get Jenna to tell him if anything interesting has been happening in the thirty seconds since they last spoke. She doesn't, so Blake lists his top three possible destinations and Jenna says they're all crap - even the one from The Daleks' Masterplan (which, since it was a molten slagheap of volcanos and lava beds, is reasonable I suppose). Vila gets told off for Gan when he points out how monumentally retarded their beloved leader is, so he actually comes up with a better plan than Captain Paranoia who no doubt longs for a blade to cut off his fingers.
Vila's Cunning Plan: they go to a dead solar system called Eos and use the abandoned space dock there. It's not even a spooky dead solar system, just a ghost town after the company owning the dock went bust and didn't demolish the facilities they left behind. As it's been officially covered up, hardly anyone will think to protect it and no one will expect Blake to go there in the first place.
Deeply, deeply hurt at how damn pathetic Vila has shown him to be, Blake immediately claims that Vila is a traitor leading them into a cunning Federation trap. But Avon, Jenna and Gan agree that it is an incredibly brilliant plan and ignore Captain Paranoia. As Blake's inferiority complex grows worse and worse, I wonder why it will take eleven hours to get to Eos via hyperspace? Isn't hyperspace supposed to take the edge off? Especially as Eos is incredibly close to where they are in the first place. Mind you, space is big. Really big. You won't believe how absolutely huge it is. You might think that it's a long way down to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space...
As the Liberator wheezes and groans through that mysterious region where space and time are one, Avon has noticed that baffling message chat between Blake and Jenna and asks Zen to explain what the hell is going on. It turns out that Blake is sending unknown messages to an unknown person. Avon decides that he has had enough of this shit and at Eos he and Blake will have a showdown. Oh, how I look forward to Avon scattering Blake's entrails across the galaxy. It's enough to make me want to listen to the next episode!
CHAPTER SEVEN: Insurrection
"I won't flatter your ego by pretending this comes as a surprise."
The Liberator docks with the Eos station and Blake immediately heads out to try and prove he is in any way useful and or relevent, ignoring Jenna's remarks the platform is all old and rusted and likely to fall apart. Moron. Gan follows and they all insult Vila for being spineless - despite the fact that without him they'd still be running in circles being chased by Space Commander Gizzy, the bunch of ungrateful jerks. As the skutters go out to do whatever it is they do (isn't the Liberator supposed to be dry-humping the platform by now?) and Gan and Blake get in the way, Jenna has anothe schizophrenic moment and goes from calling Vila a lazy coward to a backstabbing traitor. Meanwhile, Blake and Gan pass the time by quoting bits of random Douglas Adams as they realize that a rusting ruin isn't exactly the perfect place to get supplies.
To pad out the episode, they then turn to admiring the "glass-spinning hornets" of the skutters as they, uh, do stuff which seems to involve eating everything they see, chewing it up and spitting it out in lots of nanobotty goodness. Oh, how Blake marvels at this and forgets the fact that every first aid box does exactly the same thing, which is why he's not the guy with nine fingers. With the Liberator finally getting that whacking great hole fixed (which hole? no idea), Gan and Blake can cause chaos and death wherever they want to! YAY!
This proves to be the last straw. Since the fully-repaired Liberator can take off over a minute before Blake and Gan can come back and get them all killed, Avon and Vila decide it is time to set sail for Freedom City! Jenna, showing her usual razor sharp instincts just says "Ay-varn" in increasingly loud and annoyed volume rather than doing a damn thing about it, and the tragedy is I half-remember what's going to happen next. Jenna realizes rather too late what the hell is going on as Vila reveals he actually DOES have a spine and won't automatically obey everything she says. Poor Jenna. Not.
As Captain Paranoia instantly blames Avon for being abandoned (OK, he's right, but he has no reason NOT to think Zen has gone psycho again), does Jenna send the Plothole to rescue Gan and Blake? Does she tell Zen to re-dock? Does she even try to contact Blake? Does she just stand where she is yelling at Avon and Vila to explain what the hell is going on? Not even that! She does FUCK... ALL. No, I tell a lie, she goes absolutely batshit insane. And not in an intertaining 'trying to mudwrestle India Fisher' sort of way. "You don't control this ship," she shrieks, despite the fact he's doing that right in front of her, "it just allows you to THINK you do!"
None of this stops Avon from effortlessly proving the intellectual and ethical superior of everyone else in the show. True, Gan and Blake are stuffed, but they can easily find part of the platform with life support available and though they cannot escape right away, there is communications equipment and Blake's resourceful insanity. It is, to coin a phrase, a better deal than others would give. It's easier to survive and escape than Cygnus Alpha. Indeed, Avon would be completely within his rights to shoot Jenna dead (oh... if only...) since she is completely useless, but is willing to keep her on as pilot.
Since Jenna is so utterly loyal, and righteous and trustworthy she...
...contacts Blake and tells him he's screwed. Which I think is a bit uncharitable as even Blake 2.0 and Gan 2.0 could really work that entire business out for themselves.
CHAPTER EIGHT: Divided Loyalties
"Oh, this ship is a marvel, isn't it? Tailor G-fields, the fastest drive I've ever seen... I don't think I'm willing to let you take over just yet, Ay-varn. I told you before, this ship doesn't answer to you. The Liberator is ALIVE, it's willfull and moody. You just have to know how to talk to it."
Things get off well as Blake and Gan struggle to ensure we have no sympathy for their plight and big man Gan hurls abuse at Vila for abandoning the guy who has mocked and ridiculed and bullied him (not to mention apparently been responsible for getting both of them shipped to a penal planet for the rest of their natural lives) while Blake is simply in denial and convinced everything will sort itself out if they just chill out. As Avon says - "An optimistic evaluation, Blake, but sadly the wrong one. That's the problem with men like you, Blake. You refuse to see the harsh reality of the situation even when it's staring you in the face."
After being told that his fascistic attitude and bullying manner have lead to his crew turning on him, does Blake adapt his strategy? Of course not! Showing a stupendous mastery of diplomatic skills, Blake immediately starts screaming that free will is an illusion and that none of them have any choice but to do what Blake says as part of the supreme plan of universal destiny! The Liberator and symobilism and shit and I honestly cannot be bothered to waste another iota of my time listening to Blake's ranting. I'd rather watch The Idiot's Lantern in a Clockwork Orange get up forcing me to see every scene, with sticky tape over my mouth so I would be forced to swallow my own vomit.
"Oh, spare me the rhetoric!" moans Avon in genuine-sounding pain. While he's not exactly a decent substitute for Paul Darrow, he's the best audience identification figure I can think of on audio. Come on, everybody: AVON 2.O SPEAKS FOR ME!
Realizing that they're getting nowhere trying to bamboozle Avon and Vila into submission, the cunning Blake and Gan turn their attention to Jenna the Flaxen-Haired Schizoid Space Babe and try to trigger one of her incredible personality shifts. They point out that Avon cannot be trusted after he decided to ditch people who repeatedly betray him and refuse to trust him, while still leaving them with lives and liberty! Actually, come to think of it, this isn't much of an argument either, is it? Still, it seems to work as Jenna replies that she "understands the gravity of the situation". Now, just for a moment, think on that phrase. Have you EVER heard ANYONE use it without making a crap joke about their present situation, which involved gravity?
Well, that tradition isn't broken here as Jenna turns up the gravity and sucks Avon and Vila to the floor. Zen cheerfully explains what she's doing and Jenna takes this as absolute proof of her insane theory that the ship is still a free-thinking thing after Avon lobotomized it. Um, if that was the case, why haven't you all been hotwired into the computer, you insane bitch? And, seriously, you sound EXACTLY like Chip Jamison. It's spooky... meanwhile we get the first "Shut up, Vila" from Avon, but it's not as impressive a put down as we're used to. Mainly because it's normally saved for something better than, "I should have known better than to listen to you!" as a retort.
Anyway, the Liberator goes back to collect Blake who, give him his dues, is the only one to remember that Vila and Avon are being slowly crushed and saves them. Gan then decides to beat Vila to death (oh, what a lovable man he is! I sure hope HE doesn't die horribly... very soon... like now...) but Blake stops him because... er. Oh yes. He needs Avon and Vila. No idea why as Vila has shown no skills in pickpocketing, lockpicking or drink-mixing and Avon's computer skills are clearly worthless. Nevertheless, Avon earns more points by not turning into a pathetic bitch and instantly trying to get into Blake's good books. "How magnanimus," he sneers, voice dripping with as much contempt as I have for this series. You know, Salmon's not bad as Avon when he gets material vaguely worthy of him.
Blake starts bullshitting everyone that he deliberately allowed Avon to stage his takeover in order to demonstrate that Avon couldn't actually beat him. Vila doesn't believe Blake for a moment - not that he wouldn't be that stupid, or manipulative, but that he actually was competent enough for his plan to work. "There are no failures, only more data," Blake quotes from Engineering School (snigger, yeah, sure). Blake then goes on telling everyone that the builders of the Liberator did not think in terms of a chain of command (what gave it away? When Zen killed Mezin?) but Avon points out that Blake is extremely lucky Jenna didn't leave him behind. "You're a smarter man than me, Avon!" wails Blake petulantly, "But you didn't win today because you DON'T UNDERSTAND PEOPLE!"
Avon stares at him for a long moment and then turns to the others. "And you really think he's the better man to follow?" he asks, incredulously.
The general consensus is "until something better crops up". Realizing he isn't going to get a better vote of confidence, Blake tells the skutters to eat the rest of the platform and tells everyone to get out their address books for anyone useful, who needs their help, who can help them and most importantly are gullible enough to do whatever Blake tells them too. Gan tries to follow up this truly impressive display of chutzpah by trying to guilt-trip Vila about abandoning the guy who's made his life a misery throughout the audios. "I thought we were friends!" You didn't think at all, you fucking idiot...
And so, the second four-part story of Liberation comes to an end. Vast improvement overall, with its consistent portrayal of Blake as a total jerk and everyone acknowledging he is a total jerk. All we need are for him, Jenna and Gan to die horribly, Vila to be recast and Cally to turn up, and this series will be on the up...
CHAPTER NINE: The Trap
"In his day, Nikko Valentine was a radical activist and a real old bruiser. He's been a thron in the Federation's side for years. Sounds like he needs our help!"
The final 'mini-arc' of B7E begins as we find out who Blake was sending mysterious messages to. Of course, in the old series anyone doing that was immediately placed under suspicion by the whole crew and tended to go insane, but here Blake is allowed to do whatever the hell he wants without telling anyone. Jesus. I had a good feeling off the previous story which at least confronted Blake with what a stupid bastard he was. Tragic. It turns out - in another apalling bit of exposition clearly showing ELSE has come back from lunch - that some guy called Niko has been sending Blake spam emails or something about how his planet's government has become the bitch of the Federatio and complete takeover is imminent. Can you see my pulse quick? CAN YOU?!?
Blake of course is trusting a guy he has never met before in his life on a planet he never heard about. But they SAY they're not a Federation trap, and that's good enough for Captain Paranoid. Is it because Avon's black? You seem to trust everyone else unconditionally. Funny that. Oh, and some garbed jargon - omicron level is apparently the new "lockdown". Presumably nicked from the TV series where it was simply the AC/DC for the teleport. I'm shaking my head in disgust at this stupidity and missing the point, but I best stop before I snap my neck like Bill Crosby in that Family Guy episode.
Oh, hello, Gizzy! You're actually the one smacking round Nikko and luring Blake into a trap! In an episode CALLED "The Trap"! Bugger me sideways, I did NOT see that one coming from before this audio series was announced, no siree... Still, Gizzy is keeping it consistent unlike most people in this universe and has decided to not waste time constantly updating everyone as to his badass plans. After all, if he wins, he looks incredibly cool. If he doesn't, no one knows. They're finally showing someone evil and corrupt who ISN'T a non-functional retard in this series. Though he still has Adam Garcia as his stooge for some reason.
As the Liberator wheezes and groans towards... er... whatever the hell this planet is called, Blake finally deigns to tell Avon what the hell he's been up to. Avon simply stares at him and gently explains that this is a trap so unsophisticated Wile E Coyote would piss on it. Blake cunningly reveals that he KNOWS that, because Nikko's gratuitous omicron reference is actually code for... "lockdown". Eh? You mean, he kept his story straight and ergo is a traitor? Well, I guess that's how Blake's mind works given his treatment of Avon, who laughs his head off when Blake tells him he is needed to go and walk straight into the trap...
AVON: Oh no. It's your battle, not mine, Blake. Or do you still think I'll steal the Liberator when your back is turned?
BLAKE: You're an objective eye...
AVON: You mean I'm a "clinical, cold-hearted bastard who understands the nature of evil better than you"? No. Sorry. I'm staying put. Fresh air has a corrosive effect on my lungs.
BLAKE: And because I trust you, Avon...
(Avon laughs hysterically.)
BLAKE: OK! OK! But at least I know where I stand with you...
(Avon keeps laughing at him...)
Blake gives up and decides to tell the others as Gizzy gets more space chat with pursuit ships and stuff. Aparently he now has control of the planet Nikko's on, and has ordered every... single... pursuits ship in the entire galaxy to head there for the ambush. Ooh, maybe the rebels will all die horribly? I never thought that could turn into an uplifting story resolution, but there you go. Learn a new thing every day. Meantime, Blake tells bosom buddy Gan about his secretive insanity. He thinks Blake is an idiot. So does Jenna, and Vila but Jenna and Gan get to play the "shut up, Vila" game as the thief quietly points out what a bunch of fucking hypocrites they are rushing around helping the oppressed while simultaneously oppressing him.
Since Jenna seems to believe that Blake is actually just popping down the shops to meet someone by the deli, she asks him to get some more fuel and thinks no more about it. What? MORE fuel? How much does this bloody ship need? Didn't the whole Eros trip fix it? Doesn't the Liberator generate its own fuel? Zen has clearly decided that the crew are all morons and ignoring them. Even when Avon tells him off, Zen keeps pausing as though he's more interested in doing sudoku than the involvement of the crew. Good for you, Zen, I know exactly how you feel. Oh and apparently the amazing Liberator is incredibly fuel inefficient. "This ship drinks more than Vila," Gan mutters. Fuck off and die, Gan.
With the now ominously-distracted Zen piloting the Liberator to... this place. Fedras or something. Even the name of the planet sounds like "Bitch of the Terran Federation"! Meanwhile, Gizzy (who is sounding more and more Richard Armitage) gets a report about Garcia about a mysterious wheezing and groaning coming from the edge of the solar system, but it's not Liberator because... hang on. That's not Simon Pegg, is it? It sounds like him doing his Michael Caine voice from Shaun of the Dead. They got Simon Pegg and DIDN'T make him Vila?! That has to be without doubt the most stupid thing I've heard in all these audios put together!
...So yeah. Zen's acting odd and there appear to be a fleet of other Liberators loitering around the place. Private Dexter, do you think there may be some kind of connection betwixt the two? Dexter? What's that? Oh, he's gone to cheer himself up by watching Something Borrowed with the volume cranked up. Shellshock, don't you know. Anyway, the Liberator materializes in "sector 11" and zooms in towards the trap where Gizzy is waiting. Hang on, I thought sectors were huge! There seem to be around twelve in this solar system and if this solar system is so fricken big, why is the Liberator going so quickly?! GAH! STUPIDITY! SENSELESS STUPIDITY!
CHAPTER TEN: Collaborator
"Always the same patter, 'it's easier if we help ourselves'..."
Right. Blogger completely nuked my review of this episode and I am so thoroughly pissed off with everything that I am not going to listen to it again. A quick summary of what I had to listen to.
Avon and Blake board the Plothole to fly to Fedras. Jenna asks Zen if there's anyone hiding in the solar system. Finally he bothers to say yes - 57 civilian craft hiding in perfect attack formation. Jenna is a fucking retard so she sends the others on their way. Gan suddenly demands that the hithertoo unmentioned armory full of handguns be shared amongst them, but not Vila because only a convicted murderer with super human strength can be trusted with loaded firearms. Why does he want a gun now instead of the rest of the series? No idea, maybe because Gan is a fucking retard. Jenna has another change of personality and says no one is allowed alien firearms aboard an alien spaceship. Vila points out how utterly inconsistent her personality is, so they ignore him.
Meanwhile, Gizzy's plan is working brilliantly until Servalan kicks down the door and demands to know why Gizzy hasn't been returning her calls. She wants to see the Liberator for herself - so she'll watch on a monitor here rather than a monitor at her luxury apartment. Servalan is a fucking retard.
Finally, Zen gets it through Jenna's ridiculously thick skull that 57 civilian craft all identical is slightly suspicious, like the fact that the 58th civilian craft looks just like a Federation battle cruiser. Jenna immediately starts screaming for Blake over the comm, and Gan has to point out that they're silent running and have switched off. So Jenna starts screaming for Blake to pick up the damn phone. Is this helpful? No, because fucking retarded Jenna has now let Garcia record her voice and identify her... so... they weren't actually identified earlier? So Vila's righteous fury at having been blackmailed is a complete waste of time?
ELSE IS FUCKING RETARD!
(Oh, if anyone is offended, it's my blog and I'm not in a happy mood. Get over it.)
The Plothole lands on Fedras but because Blake is randomly switching between completely paranoid and frying pan enthusiast, decided to land a ridiculous distance from the rendezvous, so they are forced to run there through the open as Blake mocks Avon for the fact this is the first time he's ever been off Earth and is scared of some passing grass-munching eight-legged antelope - the B7E fanbase, probably. Nikko arrives and lures them to a trap, bitching that the Federation is sending in troops as peacekeepers (wow, ripping off Farscape, how Freudian). It turns out that Blake and the Liberator are now famous - yeah, right, because they left all sorts of witnesses alive to big them up after they triggered two 9/11 civilian massacres. And the evil corrupt Federation forget to put up a media blackout. ELSE is a retard. Avon accuses Nikko of being a traitor and he says he's a double agent who intends to steal the Liberator for the People's Army of Fedras or somesuch bollocks. Then Gizzy turns up and Nikko snivels like mad to try and spare his life.
Gizzy helpfully exposits that Blake and Avon are completely surrounded and just as the atmosphere starts to get even vaguely compelling, Servalan turns up and starts being so coy and camp and "ooh, dahlings, I always act like we're actually at a dinner party" and JUST SHUT THE HELL UP!
CHAPTER ELEVEN: Tactics of Deceit
"You're old news. Other public enemies need their moment in the spotlight too, you know."
The end is nigh. It's not here yet, but it's nigh. Blake and Avon are caught in the most predictable ambush since Hostage, while Gan, Jenna and Vila are being stupid, irritating and useless in the Liberator which is a shame as it hasn't even been ambushed yet. And there's a huge space fleet of Liberators no one has given much thought too, which I think we can all agree is a particularly stupid thing to do.
I do not give a tinker's cuss about what happens next. Audio drama FAIL.
In order to ramp up how epic this all is, there is for the first time a Doctor Who style cliffhanger reprise as the three minute long episode loses EVEN more time by repeating more of Servalan's punch-my-face awful dialogue. Or maybe it's just the way she says it. Like so many of B7 2.0, it's all superficial. You don't for a moment think that Servie 2.0 is anything except the stupid pampered Mariane Twanette who is as totally clueless as she acts. Blake rolls his eyes when it becomes clear Servie wants to do the old Dr. Evil villainy rather than just shooting them right here and now. "She wants the ship," Avon explains patiently to the moron that is his leader. "Everyone wants the ship!" Blake complains like a six year old.
Servalan asks Avon who he is and is told: "Kerr Avon, Lunar University Lauriette in Computer Pyschology," which I pray to god is an attempt at humor. Gizzy patiently explains that Avon is a criminal as well, since Servalan's too bloody stupid to work it out herself. Blake protests that, yes, he is hanging round with the scum of the universe, but... apparently they're honest. Unlike Servalan. Yes, that justifies hanging round with thieves, smugglers, murderers and crooks. They don't work in the government. With a gift for debating like that, it's no WONDER Blake is so feared by his political rivals...
On the Liberator, Jenna reads out a list of different space ships. That's supposed to impress us. I think Gizzy saying "every ship in the fleet" was more impressive than a long, tedious list of frigates and 'rape your momma'-class battle cruisers. Still, the long, long list seems to reveal to Gan that they are ever so slightly stuffed. Vila asks for yet another time why they aren't running for their lives. Jenna suddenly realizes this is a brilliant idea and abandons Blake and Avon to certain death - which is perfectly excuse, unlike that time the damn dirty Avon underhandedly left Blake and Gan to certain boredom and eventual rescue. Oh, Jenna, you are so wonderfully hypocritical, can you please die? Maybe when Gan becomes the spandex-clad Cat Strangler and kills you? Wouldn't that be nice?
Tragically, Zen is still suffering from narcolespy so his stuttering and faltering answers form the expression "the System is ready". Which isn't ominous at all. Since escape is out of the question... or maybe just Jenna and Gan have forgotten they just resolved to escape thanks to their autodelete memories and the ELSE, Jenna decides to go machine gun crazy and kill them all. "If they want a war, they just got one!" Jenna squawks, quoting the more memorable and touching scenes of Babylon Five in a stupid gung ho moment of mindless slaughter. Definitely ELSE writing this bit. Wait, the enemy are firing 'plasma thrusters' as Gan explains. Zen is unable to do his catchphrase as he's got completely bloody sick of this and switched himself off.
Oh... if only...
As the Liberator gets nine colours of shit kicked out of it (with ELSE helpfully making sure there isn't any new dialogue, hence Vila's "I don't mind 'rough', it's fatal I'm not too keen on!"), Jenna is still able to make a pursuit ship turn "nova" at the cost of what little acting talent she has shown so far. You thought she was bad before, check out her 'excited bloodlust' which sounds like a Solenoid Robot from Rojer Ramjet. More explosions, more hits, Zen still refusing to do anything, and Vila saving Gan's life because one of them isn't a worthless prick. This goes on for a while.
Back in the quarries of Fedros, Servalan asks if the Liberator as powerful 'as they say'. WHO says? Gizzy? Didn't all the footage on youtube of it raping a space station and nuking a battle fleet suggest to Servie that it WAS? She also is completely ignorant of Blake's gang, but that could be characterization on her part rather than bad scripting. Could be. Probably isn't, but it could be. Servalan bitches that one ship, no matter how powerful, cannot tip the balance of power, but Blake smacks her down by pointing out if she really thought that she wouldn't be a panting crazed bitch demanding the keys, would she? At last, confronting someone stupider and more foolish than he is actually gives Blake the slightest of edges. All he needs is to lobotomize everyone else in the story and he might become tolerable.
Meanwhile, Nikko is boring Avon stupid with justifications of how, even though his resistance group consists of Nikko only because everyone hates him and thinks he's a nutter, he was right to betray Blake on the offchance the most powerful ship in space WASN'T caught by his arch enemies. Avon finally shuts him up by explaining that he doesn't care that Gizzy threatened to kill Nikko's imaginary girlfriend Deborah (?!??), and will happily snap Nikko's neck the first chance they get. Just as Avon 2.0 was starting to work, ELSE instantly turns him into a mindless vengeance machine. This is Avon, not Gan you idiot! The real Avon would have told him to shut up and that was it while he obviously worked out a plan to escape.
Then it turns out that Gizzy is so in touch with the operation that no one has known about the huge space battle occuring in the sky above them. Blake has to ask what the big flashes are before anyone notices it in the first place. Jesus Christ. "What are you doing to my ship?!" squeals Servalan like the useless tool she is. She really IS a brain dead aristo bimbo in this version. How depressing.
Meanwhile the-guy-who-must-be-Simon-Pegg reports that the Liberator's blown up half the enemy ships. Garcia suggests they get the biggest FU missiles they've got, throw them in the vague direction of the enemy ship and hope they blow themselves up. Avon's critique about the military seems more and more insightful. This suicidal plan manges to damage the Liberator and, since atom bombs didn't work, Garcia suggests they use pissy blue lasers to finish it off. Tch. And they only just finished fixing the damn thing. At this rate they're going to spend more stories repairing the Liberator than doing anything else.
Things are finally looking up as Jenna's console blows up and she loses consciousness and lots of blood. Vila puts Gan in charge as big man finally realizes he is a complete moron and totally unable to do a single damn thing so he shouts at Zen for help. Even though you'd have thought if Zen was going to help, it would be before the ship was smashed to pieces. And because Gan is so trustworthy and has a spine, he immediately gives up and whimpers pathetically that they are all screwed.
CHAPTER TWELVE: Warzone
"And people don't matter? You're all the same, all crazed with power!"
"Clearly, there's no end to your stupidity!"
"It's SEVEN actually. If you count Zen. And the ship."
"CASCADE FAILURE! IMPLEMENT PROGRAM! ISOLATED! DEACTIVATED! BALANCE HAS BEEN RESTORED! OPENING HOLO-CHANNEL!"
I've had to listen to thirty-six of these bloody things. The next time anyone thinks I have it easy, just remember that.
Basically, sweet FA has changed over the course of the previous episode except the pursuit ships actually have been firing instead of just lurking evilly. Adam Garcia and Maybe-Simon-Pegg note that the Liberator is completely and utterly stuffed, so now is the best time for them to stop and reload because obviously nothing can possibly go wrong, can it? At that moment, Gizzy rings up and explains that the Bitch in White wants the ship salvage so the, er, "failure in communications" which meant everyone thought she wanted the Liberator blown to smithereens excuse is stuffed. Ah, Gizzy, even as he fails to stop the plot being predictable, he has more personality than everyone else around him.
Blake is told to tell his utterly-trustworthy-and-obedient crew to surrender, which is rather odd as it's thoroughly established they're so screwed they wouldn't be able to even BLEED on their enemies as they die. Blake therefore refuses and Servalan tries to be clever, using her criminal genius to point out they're not in the House of Commons but he's actually a prisoner with guns pointed at his head. Thanks, Servie, that needed to be told. Everyone would be really confused otherwise.
Gizzy sighs and, once more, takes his brain dead superior to one side and explains that just because she asks an insane, frying-pan-wielding suicide bomber to capitulate it doesn't mean they automatically will. Blake is confident however, that the Liberator is the perfect bargaining chip despite Avon's best efforts to make him realize they're screwed. "She's desperate for the Liberator, it's her ultimate power accessory - she hasn't stopped salivating since she arrived," Blake observes in a true ELSE moment. Nikko at this point starts pointing out that the rebels and the rulers don't care about the common working man and Blake is as bad as his enemies. No one listens to him, as Blake protests that HE is a person too and should be given respect.
To prove his point, he immediately gives up and agrees to hand over the Liberator - the others will ceasefire on the condition Blake and Avon are allowed to escape with their lives. Aw, Blake, you're so gallant and honorable, doing what Avon was going to do to you except condemning your comrades to death and leaving a super weapon in the charge of your mortal enemy. You're a role model for children everywhere.
Hang on, when did they get teleport bracelets?
The Liberator refuses to respond to Avon's attempts so Avon decides to get in the Plothole and fly away, leaving Blake as security. Gizzy blows Nikko's head off after he starts yet another speech. Bout time too. In the confusion, Blake kidnaps Servalan and drags her aboard the Plothole (pissing off Avon, for whom things were really starting to look up) and the Bitch in White can only roll her eyes at this and point out how utterly stupid Blake is as he delays taking off so he can trade EXTREMELY pathetic cliches with Gizzy ("They can't get away!" "I beg to differ!" OH SHUT THE FUCK UP, BLAKE!). Avon sighs and points out they're fleeing in the hope the Liberator hasn't been blown up, in yet another bit of nicked dialogue (from Volcano, this time, and oddly enough a line from Tarrant... ELSE, why?!?)
With Servalan as a hostage, Gizzy can't order Garcia and MSP to open fire, and instead they have to arrange boarding parties to storm the stricken vessel, and this time he's in command. Because, you know, this is personal. Mind you, it might be better for his career than sending disposable red shirts to rescue Servalan. You just know she'd remember that and she's insufferable enough at the best of times.
Aboard the vessel in question, Jenna is a coma (close enough to death to work for me) while Gan is being more depressing that Niel Pye with low blood sugar as Vila is left to try and sort this mess out. Blake and Avon turn up and Gan immediately bitches at them before revealing that things aren't as doomed and lethal as he has been whining about for the last ten minutes. Jenna is now merely unconscious and "will be fine" and the damage "isn't serious". Christ, I hate you, Gan. Avon meanwhile introduces Servalan to Vila: "She'll be slumming it with us tonight."
Zen finally switches on and he's in a mean mood. Sealing off the flight deck, trapping everyone, Zen announces that he's rebooted and the whole "nice guy" circuit has been bypassed. After everyone shouts at Zen for a while, Avon finally says "save your breath, no one's listening any more", which is an expression that should be framed and hung up in ELSE's office.
Meanwhile, Garcia and MSP realize that that huge fleet of Liberators... is actually a huge fleet of Liberators. Wow, Gizzy worked that out three episodes ago you retards! And "huge fleet" now means "five". Who immediately blow up the ships of the fleet the proper Liberator hadn't already. That's over thirty seconds of lasers firing and explosions. Boring padding, so it must be time for the season cliffhanger. Blake is horrified at the destruction of the Federation fleet (wow, you were happy enough to do it throughout the series) while Avon is mightily pissed off that the System can crack his firewall.
A hologram appears in the room and starts talking to everyone. "We are the System. We are One. You have something that belongs to us."
...sigh... Wow. The alien invasion that EVERY SINGLE CHARACTER has been predicting throughout the series happened. What an amazing twist. And it turns out the Liberator was build by the Borg voiced by a ring modulator. Amazing. I mean, because a massive space battle is much more impressive and audio-friendly than Redemption, isn't it? ELSE strikes again, going back to rewriting whole episodes and turning them to shit...
To Be Continued... whatever...
In conclusion... it's a mess. What did you expect me to say? ELSE and James Swallow fight to try and turn the last third of this season into something halfway decent, like Adrift desperately trying to justify Something Borrowed. The Eros Station segment is the best part of the audio adventures I've heard - there's a clear plot, a twist that isn't signposted and the characters behave like real people. Blake is a nutter, he is treated as a nutter. Avon is a genius, he acts like a genius. The Liberator is sentient, it acts sentient. But it's all ruined. Why the hell doesn't Avon just snap Blake's neck if they hate each other so much? It's not like the brotherly rivalry they had on TV. The difference between Gareth Thomas and Derek Riddel's portrayals of Blake is one is actually charismatic to cover up his obsession and increasing insanity. No one in their right mind will fall for Blake's soap boxing, which is why no one on the ship does. Except... they all follow this man they all think is nuts, and who isn't even clever like Avon, ala Season 4. ELSE is ruining this series - how the hell else do you justify twelve episodes of Vila bitching that he doesn't trust the Liberator a damn inch and then totally ignoring a crisis to list Zen and the Liberator as members of "Blake's 7". Laugh? I never started.
With your stories cut into three minute segments, things are always going to suffer. Why bother. Why the fuck bother, answer me that? What the hell good is served by these bite sized segments bar the fact that I can review them individually without my skull exploding? There have been 36 of these bloody things and the show still hasn't got over it's feel of "dodgy pilot ep". Why kill off a main character if no one cares or mentions it again? Why go to such trouble to make Zen nice if you're going to turn him evil again right away? Why rip off TV episodes you clearly have no interest in? The cast, bar Dobro, have all found their feet but they can't do anything with the trash they're given. Servalan is supposed to be an evil genius, so what's the actress supposed to do with a script that paints her as a clueless princess? Yet at the same time she does all the things an evil genius is supposed to do, like take charge, berate henchmen, come up with audacious schemes... Every character seems to have two modes and flicker back and forth. Every time Travis is a ruthless and clever soldier, he turns into the pussy-whipped stooge of Servalan. Whenever Gan becomes the moral majority, he becomes a mindless berzerker who just wants to smash things. On the rare occasions Vila acts like Vila, he quickly becomes a camp old Jewish twat who spouts quotes. Blake is the only one to remain steady - a stupid, mindlessly optimistic man with a chip on his shoulder and all the leadership of Chris Lilley.
You know what the difference is between Mr. G and Blackadder is? One's an idiot with an inferiority complex in the real world and the other is the only intelligent person in a historical reanactment. That's why we like Blackadder. Why we want him to win. Because he isn't stupid. He's unlucky. He thinks on his feet. And he fundamentally realizes that no one - NO ONE - cares about him because they're all wrapped up in their own problems. Mr. G assumes everyone loves him and he can do whatever he wants. And when they don't he has a tantrum and then has to chicken out, refusing to accept whenever evidence is thrown at him.
This is the Mr. G of cult science fiction. It has the skeleton of a successful format and some decent actors and expects to win with no effort whatsoever. And the worst part is, it's right. Just as Mr. G gets off scott free and is never judged by anyone for the insecure asshole he is, this show gets plaudits.
Odd how absolutely no one has reviewed it bar those soundbites I quoted earlier, huh?
Maybe it's because all the normal people didn't listen to it. Which is a pity. Because when it's the easily-pleased idiots who worship Summer Hieghts High and demand more, they're heard because no one is around to point out how stupid this all is. Well, B7 Enterprizes, I sat through it all. You didn't fool me and I've got proof, which I've posted here. I really am not sure I even want to hear this amazing second season they've got planned. I'm not even sure it would be worth clicking "download" for. But if I don't point out how stupid and retarded it all is, then no one will...