Blake’s 7 : Time Squad

December 6, 2014 in Blake's 7, Guest Blogs by GuestBlogs

A Guest Blog by Hevy782


Another episode, another new regular cast member. Jan Chappell joins the Liberator as Cally in the fourth episode of Blake’s 7 which is titled Time Squad. Series creator Terry Nation is once again on writing duty for this story and Pennant Roberts, director of the second episode Space Fall, returns to direct this time around. Of the first three that episode was my favourite (followed by the first episode The Way Back and finally the third episode Cygnus Alpha) and part of the reason for that was the strong directorial decisions of the episode so hopefully we see that carried over to here. So then, high expectations for this episode and I hope it lives up to them so without further adieu let’s get into the synopsis.

After escaping the Federation pursuit ships seen at the end of last episode. Blake decides to go on the offensive and destroy a Federation communications complex on Saurian Major, despite reservations from Avon. Along the way the Liberator picks up a distress beacon from a small ship. Blake and Jenna teleport aboard and find a couple of cryogenically frozen beings. They bring them back to the Liberator to revive them and then continue on their way to Saurian Major. Once they arrive, Blake, Avon and Vila teleport down while Jenna and Gan stay aboard the ship to keep an eye on the defrosting beings. On the planet below they look for resistance fighters but instead find Cally, a telepathic Auron woman who informs them that the rebellion has been wiped out. While the four attack the complex, Jenna and Gan are menaced by the thawed beings who are in fact guardians of the genetic stock stored in the ship. Blake, Avon, Vila and their new ally Cally successfully infiltrate the complex and shut down the safety protocols on the reactor. However, they are pined down by the guards and the Liberator is not responding. Luckily, Gan and Jenna are successfully able to kill the guardians and teleport them back just before the reactor overloads. Cally is then welcomed as a new crew member. The Liberator continues on it’s crusade with an adequate crew of seven, although Avon is annoyed that Blake is counting the computer, Zen, as a member of the team.

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Another strong episode with a lot going on. It almost feels like two episodes in one with the stuff happening up on the Liberator seeming totally unrelated to the stuff happening on the planet below. Also, neither one of them seems the main focus of the episode and both share the spotlight. There is no main-plot and sub-plot here, just two equal plots. However, twice as much going on does unfortunately mean that both stories aren’t as developed as they could’ve been and may have worked better as two separate episodes. Nevertheless, both work quite well and both have their own individual merits. Starting with the one on the Liberator, we are provided with an interesting mystery as to who these beings in the ship are but more importantly it serves to give us more insight into the character of Gan, who at this point has been so supportive of Blake and his cause that he has almost become inconspicuous. Here we finally get answers and they provide us with new insight into the character of Gan which also gain him new sympathies. I’m also left wondering how his implant will affect later episodes.

The stuff on Saurian Major was fairly interesting and gave us a nice introduction to the character of Cally. That side of the plot itself was a little basic but given the time involved it would’ve been too underdeveloped had they tried to add more elements to it so I can understand why it is how it is. Cally herself is an interesting character and I like the telepathic angle of her character. She comes across as a much stronger character than Jenna who, despite showing promise in the first two episodes, has lost momentum as of late. Maybe she’ll pick it back up again in later episodes but for now I’m just hoping Cally doesn’t suffer a similar fate. Blake and Avon are basically singing the same song they were last episode (it’s figure of speech) which leaves the only other character worthy of note to be Vila. It’s easy to see by this point that he’s the comic relief and he fills that function admirably with some very witty lines, most notably the one about the intelligent plant life. The alien planet itself is fairly well realised, with what is presumably a red lens-filter making it feel that little bit more alien and inhospitable. The communications complex itself looks good enough, I only wish we spent a bit more time in there fighting and evading Federation troops along with a cool model shot of it exploding to finish it off in style. Working our way backwards a bit here we take a look at the first act of the episode where we have the whole crew of the Liberator (minus Cally, for obvious reasons) attempt to get the alien ship aboard. It’s a tense scene and it’s Avon’s chance to shine in the episode. We get some good model shots with the Liberator trying to line up so the ship can be brought on board before Blake and Jenna run out of oxygen within it. This also provides us with some interesting stuff in terms of model shots and while it’s nothing too breathtaking it’s still very good and probably joint first so far in terms of models shots. For those who are interested the one it’s joint with is the transport ships landing and takeoff last episode. Finally we have Zen who I’m not sure whether to trust or not at the moment. One particular character, Avon, seems to despise the computer and this provides some funny dialogue from him which is good enough for me.

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To conclude, Time Squad is another good episode despite being a little too basic and underdeveloped. I still feel that the two ideas would’ve been better utilised as two separate episodes but they’re still good enough as one. Cally looks to be an interesting character and I’m intrigued to see where they take her, and the rest of the crew of the Liberator, next week in an episode titled The Web but until then be sure to sound off your thoughts on the episode in the comments below.