Blake’s 7: Breakdown

February 7, 2015 in Blake's 7, Guest Blogs by GuestBlogs

A Guest Blog by Hevy782

b7breakdown1

As we continue our look back on Blake’s 7 we reach Breakdown, an episode which guest stars prolific film actor Julian Glover as a villainous surgeon called Kayn. Many will probably recognise him best from Indiana Jones and Star Wars where he played Walter Donovan in The Last Crusade and General Veers in The Empire Strikes Back. But that’s not all. He also appeared in the film version of Quatermass and the Pit as well as multiple Doctor Who stories. Other credits to his name include James Bond and most recently Game of Thrones so as actors go he’s certainly done a lot, especially in terms of cult television and film. Shifting focus back onto the episode itself, Terry Nation is once again at the helm in terms of writing and Vere Lorrimer has returned to direct his third story after previously working on the third and sixth episodes Cygnus Alpha and Seek-Locate-Destroy. Vere Lorrimer has previously managed to attract Brain Blessed to the role of Vargas in Cygnus Alpha so he seems to do a good job when it comes to casting big names but unfortunately his directorial decisions are often rather bland and simple which isn’t bad but instead just means that there’s more work for the actors to do to keep the viewers interested. Luckily they’re also backed up by a strong script so let’s look at that now with an overview of the plot.

Breakdown itself begins with Gan’s behavioural limiter implant malfunctioning which causes him to attack the rest of the crew. They manage to subdue him and diagnose what’s wrong with him. Unfortunately, they have no way of helping him alone and therefor must find help elsewhere. Avon suggests the neutral medical facility XK-72 and after traversing a dangerous sector of space they manage to arrive safely. Once there they meet a surgeon named Kayn who soon works out that they are fugitives and summons the Federation. Blake must then force Kayn to complete the operation as the enemy closes in. With the operation complete, Kayn is returned to XK-72 just as Federation ships arrive. They open fire but Blake is able to manoeuvre the Liberator out of the way and the blast instead strike XK-72, destroying it. Blake and his crew then make a swift exit and easily manage to outrun the Federation ships. Gan is then welcomed back by the rest of the crew and they then head off to continue their crusade elsewhere.

b7breakdown2 b7breakdown3

It’s another good episode in my opinion, definitely lifted by the presence of Julian Glover. But as his brilliance is pretty much self-explanatory I’m not going to go on about him. Instead I’m going to talk about Gan who has been missing out on the limelight for far too long now. When I started watching this episode I thought it was going to centre around Gan and while I guess it did in one way it just wasn’t the way I’d hoped for. I guess the best way to describe it would be that while Gan is centre stage the spotlight is anywhere but. Similar to Avalon in the previous episode, Gan is treated as more of a plot device to drive the story forward than a character in his own right. He only really gets one proper scene as himself and the rest of the episode he spends either in a savage state or unconscious. But while Gan misses out in this episode some other characters are given a chance to shine. One of these is Cally who we get to see a more caring side of and we even get to see signs of an almost sisterly relationship between her and Jenna.

However, the character who is perhaps in the spotlight the most is Avon who almost abandons the crew of the Liberator in this episode. However, even when he’s doing so he’s not simply selling them out but is instead trying to make sure they get away safely. Eventually he does decide to return to the Liberator when Kayn’s interference causes things to become quite uncomfortable for the crew of the Liberator which proves that he has grown rather attached to his new friends even if he doesn’t like to show it. The episode also reveals that Avon has a number of boltholes scattered around the galaxy for him to find sanctuary in if things get too hot for him with the crew of the Liberator. It says quite a bit about his character that he has these but it says even more that he was willing to give one of these up to save the life of Gan. Speaking of Gan, he’s not the only thing that’s lacking in this episode as there is also a distinct lack of humour here. Now obviously I didn’t come into this expecting a slapstick comedy but I was expecting a little more than what I got. The only funny line I can think of is Vila’s one about being afraid of nothing and that’s rather feeble compared to a lot of the other stuff he’s come out with. Vila does get a serious moment though when he threatens Kayn which is nice to have.

b7breakdown4 b7breakdown5

In conclusion, Gan may still be missing the attention that he now desperately needs but that doesn’t mean this is a poor episode. Breakdown is a nice little episode which develops some characters nicely and I’d give it a seven-out-of-ten for those reasons. We’re also now nearing the finale of the first series and next up with have an episode intriguingly titled Bounty but until then be sure to sound off your thoughts on the episode in the comments below.