A Guest Blog by Hevy782
As we continue our voyage through the sci-fi classic Blake’s 7 we move on to the second episode which is given the intriguing title of Space Fall. Once again written by Terry Nation, Space Fall introduces us to new recurring characters, Kerr Avon and Olag Gan played by Paul Darrow and David Jackson respectively. Something I forgot to mention last week was the director of the episode, who was Michael E Briant. He, like many other people in front of and behind the camera on Blake’s 7, had strong ties to Doctor Who and directed what may very well be my favourite Doctor Who story, The Robots of Death. This time around we have Pennant Roberts directing who also directed a couple of Doctor Who stories and there’s a connection here to one of his stories but that’s a topic for later. Now that we’ve successfully covered the general trivia for Space Fall let’s move onto the synopsis.
Continuing from where last episode left off, the transport ship has now taken off and is on it’s way to Cygnus Alpha, but there are rumours that where the ships safely out of the way the prisoners are neatly and quietly disposed off. Blake, who naturally enough is determined to escape before this can happen, is then introduced to Kerr Avon, a computer expert who will prove vital to their escape. After convincing Avon to join their cause, they put a plan into action to hijack the ship but a mistake by Restal costs the freedom of everyone bar Blake, Jenna and Avon who end up locked inside the main computer, leading to a stalemate with the ship’s crew. But after the ruthless Raiker starts executing prisoners they have no choice but to give themselves up. Having regained control of the ship the crew find that there is an abandoned spaceship in close proximity. After the boarding party goes missing, Raiker decides to send Blake, Jenna and Avon aboard to find out what’s happened. After overcoming the security system they managed to commandeer the ship and escape, killing Raiker, who was stuck between the airlocks, in the process. They then decide to follow the transport to Cygnus Alpha and free the prisoners to give their new ship a full crew to take the fight to the Federation with. And on that note the end credits roll.
You may remember last time me bringing up to topic of moral ambiguity, something Blake’s 7 is apparently renowned for, but not really seeing too much of it in the first episode. Here that changes as we are introduced to two very different characters, Leylan and Raiker, who both work for the Federation but have two completely different moralities. Leylan was quite lenient and understanding but Raiker was much more strict and heartless. However, these actions make his ultimate death all the more satisfying and leaves the episode on a higher note than last time. I was trying to remember where I’d seen Raiker before and then curiosity got the better of me and I looked him up and found that he was in a Doctor Who story titled The Face of Evil, also directed by Pennant Roberts. Some directors are well known for casting people they’ve worked well with before and Pennant Robert is probably one of them.
Interestingly, the episode had quite a lot going on and felt like it was longer than it actually was but not in a bad way. It was well developed and didn’t waste any time. However, all this did mean that some characters had to sit on the sidelines and these ended up being Restal, Gan and, to a lesser extent, Jenna. However, Restal and Jenna at least get quite few good lines and moments. I couldn’t help but laugh at Restal dropping the gun which ended up messing up their escape and his distraction of the guard by simply showing him simple tricks was rather good, and one could argue that the guard’s somewhat jovial reaction to him once again shows a level of moral ambiguity. However, this wasn’t what the episode was all about and one of it’s primary focuses was establishing the character of Avon and his relationship with Blake. Overall I think he’s a good character and adds something new that wasn’t there before. His coldness is a standard character trait but it’s one not normally matched with a computer genius so there’s something unique there. I’m sure he’ll grow and soften up over time as it’s very difficult to sustain a character like this without having him develop into a bit more accepting character but I just hope they don’t loose his humour with it, which nicely contrasts with Restal’s so they don’t clash.
To conclude, Space Fall was an enjoyable improvement over The Way Back and it gets a solid nine-out-of-ten from me. Good plot, good action, good character development and some good model shots, although I’m still waiting for one that really stands out to me. But still, we’re only two episodes in and definitely going strong. Next week we’ll be taking a look at episode three which is simply titled Cygnus Alpha but until then be sure to sound off your thoughts on the episode in the comments below.