Blake’s 7: Redemption

May 9, 2015 in Blake's 7, Guest Blogs by GuestBlogs

A Guest Blog by Hevy782

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After the dramatic cliffhanger at the end of Orac Blake’s 7 returns for a second series to resolve Orac’s prediction about the destruction of the Liberator. At first I expected it to be a season long arc with the prediction hanging over the characters heads for quite a while but surprisingly it was completely resolved here in the first episode. Although it should be noted that the audience at the time would’ve been waiting nine months to find out what happened and probably wouldn’t want to of waited any longer than that and that’s fair enough. Behind the scenes wise very little had changed. David Maloney was still in the producer’s chair and Chris Boucher was still serving as script editor. Even the writer and the director of Orac are back with Terry Nation and Vere Lorrimer returning for Redemption. Although there wass one big change behind the scenes and that was that Terry Nation role was diminishing. Not only was he writing less episodes but he was also only being consulted on general storylines and ideas. Another change, albeit not a big one, was that Peter Tuddenham took over as the voice of Orac after the production team became aware that the original actor Derek Farr was unavailable. It was a change that was easy to get away with as it was a voice that the audience had only heard in one episode broadcast nine months earlier.

The episode picks up just hours after the last one left off with the crew of the Liberator trying to understand Orac’s prediction. Avon comes up with the answer by pointing out the stars in the background, noting that that constellation can only be seen from one place in the universe and if they avoid that sector then Orac’s prediction will never come true. With that mystery solved they quickly discover that they have more immediate concerns when the Liberator falls under attack from two unknown alien ships. Following the attack control of the Liberator is lost and Blake soon realises that the creators of the Liberators are taking back what’s theirs. Following the mysterious disappearances of Gan, Avon and Cally, Blake orders Orac to regain control of the Liberator but just after he does this the bridge is invaded. They are then taken aboard a space station where Avon and Jenna are imprisoned and Blake is taken for questioning. During questioning Blake learns that the creator of the Liberator is a super computer known as the System which enslaved its creators and took over its universe of origin. From the comfort of his cell Avon recognises the star constellation outside as the one from Orac’s prediction and realises that even if they escape the space station they are doomed to be destroyed. Despite this an escape attempt is launched and Avon, Jenna, Gan, Cally and Vila begin to fight their way through the space station towards the Liberator. Meanwhile, a malfuction in the system (brought about by Orac) gives Blake an opportunity to escape and they all meet back up again aboard the Liberator. They take off and are then pursued by a sister ship of exactly the same design. The ship then explores due to Orac’s interference with the System, fulfilling his prediction. With the Liberator and it’s crew now safe Blake orders Zen to take them to Earth sector, claiming that they have unfinished business there.

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It’s not hard to see that this is the start of a new series as the budget has been refreshed and thanks to this the visuals have returned to what they were at the start of series one. The fall in production values over the course of each series was a common problem for shows back then, especially when they had a budget at small as Blake’s 7’s to begin with. Now one would be forgiven for thinking that the production team blew at least half that budget on this first episode but the massive sets you see of the space station interior aren’t actually sets. It was actually all shot on location at what I believe is a nuclear power station. Additionally, the main casts costumes have all been given a significant upgrade (which is a little odd when you consider the events of this episode take place only hours after the previous one) and some of the changes are interesting to say the least. Avon now looks like he’s wearing some sort of biker jacket (which I think suits him) while Gan is wearing a massively impractical overcoat. Blake is probably wearing the strangest thing although the colours work quite well and I’m not sure what to think of Cally’s dress. Jenna and Vila are wearing the most simplistic clothes and it works out very well for them, especially Jenna with her costume matching her character very nicely. But the biggest costume problem in this episode is the costumes of the Alta’s who wear one very dull shade of blue and have random pieces of clear plastic stuck to them. This doesn’t exactly fit with the idea that they come from a highly advanced civilisation. On a more impressive note the model shots for this story are great and the model for the space station is particularly good. It’s also nice how the models all have similar elements to them which makes sense given that they were all built by the same civilisation. It’s also provides a nice bit of foreshadowing before it is actually revealed that the ships belong to the people who built the Liberator.

Now that we’ve had our little talk about the visuals let’s move on to the episode’s plot. And as plots go it’s quite a good one, nothing too breathtaking but definitely nothing bad. The balance of plot between the characters is fairly good although Blake and Avon (and maybe Jenna) are definitely in the forefront here. Gan gets a decent action scene which means that Cally is the one who gets the least to do here which I can live with given that she has been in the forefront of quite a few previous episodes and I’m sure will be again in some future ones. Then we have the Alta’s who are rather bland character and while they are meant to be emotionless it does unfortunately end up making them rather dull. And that isn’t helped by the fact that, as previously mentioned, their look is also rather dull. It’s also even more disappointing to think that these are the people who built the Liberator and I always preferred that plot point as one that remained a mystery, like the Doctor’s real name in Doctor Who. It’s something that will always be disappointing no matter what it ends up being and this just proves that point. I personally imagined the creators of the Liberator to be a bit more disembodied and mystical as opposed to the rather bland sci-fi idea that is presented here but anyway, I digress.

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In conclusion, I feel like my review of this episode is much more negative than how I actually feel about this episode. While it’s not as good of a series premiere as The Way Back was I’m still giving it a nine-out-of-ten for it’s sheer energy and excitement, especially in it’s second half. The epic scale of the location filming really helps to give the episode the hugeness that it needs and it ultimately leaves me very much excited for what’s to come. Speaking of, next up is the first episode not to be written by Terry Nation and it’s called Shadow but until then be sure to sound off your thoughts on the episode in the comments below.