B7 Classic: THE GIFT OF B7 - PART FOUR
- 19 Jan 2022
- Blake's 7 Analysis
- 70 Reads
THE GIFT OF B7 - PART FOUR
by Luke and Michelle Sims
The story so far:
In 2013, Luke Sims (known on the forum as Gauda Cheese) embarked on a B7 rewatch with his sister Michelle, who had never seen the series before. He posted regular reports of her reactions and opinions on the Gift of B7 thread, and it was lovely to relive through her eyes the experience of watching B7 for the first time. You can read her impressions of the previous seasons in:
The Gift of B7 Part One (Season A) here
The Gift of B7 Part Two ( Season B) here
The Gift of B7 Part Three (Season C) here
Luke: Season D is my favourite (yep, I'm one of those) and I cannot wait to find out what Michelle thinks...
Rescue or Life Giving Sea Devil
"Cally's not dead. Is she?"
"No way! Does she come back?"
No. She's dead.
"That's it. I hate this episode!"
"He's not joining the crew is he? He sucks."
"Avon is threatening in this one."
"Vila is going to save the day!"
Michelle thought this episode was one of the weaker ones, even after I explained that Jan Chappell didn't want to be in Season D and they did the best they could. This episode has an impossible task: introduce a new status quo and write out Cally. I quite like it, but Michelle and I agree that it's the weakest season opener of the series.
What put her off was the death of Cally. She found it jarring and the episode really wasn't exciting enough to get her over that.
She asked if Soolin is the new crew member and I said yes.
"Well, she didn't do much."
The positives were that the regulars all had some great lines and we both had a few laughs. Vila saving the day drunk as a skunk was awesome.
I asked her what she thought of Avon in this episode and Michelle thought he was awesome as always, but more threatening - kinda evil, too.
Okay, so the new stuff? She thinks Scorpio is a bit crap compared to the Liberator and Slave is a rubbish version of Zen. She wants to see more, though. I love the Scorpio.
The guns are cool apparently, and I agree - love the silver guns.
As for the end theme, she didn't notice it had changed, she was too busy telling me how crap a death scene Cally had.
“Compared to the first two opening title sequences, this one was kinda boring.”
Again, I agree.
Power or Barbarian Sewing Champion
Kate: You're a Seska
Nina: No, I'm a woman
"UGH what's the difference!"
"Does Avon have to kiss every woman he meets?"
"That's the first time anyone's ever referenced Dayna's skin colour."
"That end theme music is too happy sounding for this show."
Ben Steed never beat his first effort, according to Michelle. Kairos remains her favourite of his three stories. Moloch edges out Power for her, just because Servalan was in that one.
She wasn't sure what to make of Gunn-Sar, because at the start he seems like a dick for almost beating Nina, but she later found him charmingly stupid and kinda sweet during that moment he shared with his wife while sewing.
Pella surprised her, as she did Avon, with her choice of hostage and turning out to be a bit of an evil bitch.
I could see Michelle frowning when Avon overpowered Pella and said that biologically men usually win. I think he's right, at least when force is concerned, anyway.
I was asked where Soolin was and Michelle was glad to see her turn up at the end.
Michelle was taken aback when Pella referred to Dayna as the black woman.
This was a step up for Michelle from Rescue and I have a feeling that she will quite like the next episode. I love all four of Holmes' B7 stories and she loved Killer and Gambit.
Traitor or Sleeriously?
"Who shot that guy - was it Servalan? It's totally Servalan....... is it Servalan?"
"This battle's pretty good. Those guys fall well."
"Dayna's wearing crap this season. So drab."
Vila: Blake would be proud of you.
"Yeah, he is being Blake-like. I guess he has to?"
Look at the costumes.
Oh come on, that kid's wearing Avon's old costume, so is Tarrant. They've got no wardrobe budget!
Servalan finally appears.
"Yay! I knew she wasn't dead. And don't tell me there was no wardrobe budget - look at what she's wearing! I want it! Maybe all the clothing budget went to her."
Traitor is by far her favourite episode so far this season, and her eyes lit up at seeing Robert Holmes' name. The use of Pylene 50 to pacify populations and take back control faster was a clever idea and "So Federation."
Michelle also liked the fight scenes in this one, from the battle between the Rebels and the Adapted to the one at the end, especially when Dayna was beating the tar out of the General.
From the moment she saw the painting she wouldn't shut up about Servalan. Michelle was giddy and anxious to see her appear. Of course the distorted voice gave it away, but Michelle didn't care. She's happy the evil witch is back and looking better than ever. Mich isn't too concerned about how she's still alive, just happy to have her back.
She dug hearing a lot of the exposition in this episode about the Federation's fast expansion and that the High Council took back control. This episode had a lot going on and she was absorbed throughout.
I had to bring up the costumes thing to Michelle but she didn't even seem to care. Much like Holmes' Killer, she was far too engrossed in the story.
As for me? I love it, as I do all of Holmes' four stories and his best effort of the series comes later. I can't wait to experience Orbit with her.
Stardrive or Avon Sucks at Asteroids
"Drunk Vila helps again... what a clever bastard!"
"Damn, Avon that's cold!"
Not too many comments for this one, for a couple of reasons. One is that Michelle and I had a big weekend. Went to a Red Dwarf con here in Melbourne and she finally got to meet the Cat. Then we went to a games night and got home about 3:40am.
And today was bloody hot. We're not sure where one of our cats has got to and my uncle's mother passed away. So we're both pretty overwhelmed and exhausted.
However, we did want to make the time to enjoy an episode of B7 even if it is Stardrive. Something normal, y'know?
Anyway, Michelle found Follett's second offering to be rather..... bland. During and after Dawn of the Gods Michelle had a lot to say, but with this one she couldn't even bring herself to rag on the Space Rats' costumes. She made up for it by being very happy when Soolin and Avon blasted the hell out of most of them.
Things she did like were Vila pretending to be drunk to offer advice and get out of work and the final scene which she found quite cold blooded and disturbing.
She wanted to know why Orac didn't just give them the darn answers rather than making them sift through mind numbing footage. Also, what's with Soolin? She wants to know more.
Love it or hate it, at least Dawn is full of ideas. This one is just a straight forward runaround.
Animals or Dayna's Bad Romance
"Good costumes on those animals."
"Ummm... wait... wait.... what?"
"What's the maths on that relationship?"
Hang on, hang on.
"How do people not know who Servalan is? She was president during a galactic war. How could you not recognize someone that hot!"
Just roll with it.
"Dayna loves him? I thought she was hooking up with Tarrant!"
That made me chuckle and I can see why she would say that.
"Soolin has pretty hair."
"Shut up. Girls comment about things like that!"
"The Animals remind me of Where the Wild Things Are."
I didn't behave the same way I did for Animals as I did for Servalan on IMAX. Though I didn't really influence her there, she hated that one without my help. Animals she thought was Alan Prior's best story, though she was creeped out by the relationship between Justin and Dayna.
I was quizzed relentlessly about the logic of Servalan being incognito. How no one knew who she was when she was the bloody president! She acts the same, dresses the same and IS THE SAME! Yes, Michelle, I know.
Michelle loved the look of the Animals and I have to agree with her, they look really good. Leagues better than the Decimas and Zil.
That this was the other episode I didn't like, Michelle could understand. But it isn't just the relationship between Justin and Dayna that I don't like. Its just sooooo boring! Being boring is for me worse than being bad.
Despite the logic of why Servalan is in the position she's in, Michelle enjoyed this one because there is a lot of Servalan in it. It didn't bore her, which is what Stardrive did.
Next? Eight consistently good to great episodes! I hope Michelle will think so, too.
Headhunter or OOOORRRRAAAC! The Heavy Metal Opera
"Never seen Avon lose it like that."
"Is Avon going to pash Vena? He pashes everyone. I'm surprised he hasn't made out with Soolin."
"They look like rescue Gladiators."
"Eww, he just crushed her to death!"
"That was the dude's head? That's creepy."
"That Android is scary."
"Those trolleys are gonna do jack #$%^."
"Don't need this anymore... throw."
"Soolin is really puffed. She should lay off the smokes."
Michelle thought this one was really good. She dug the mystery behind the Scorpio's systems failures and she really liked Muller's andriod. It was scary and suitably creepy.
I worried her by saying this was by the guy behind Voice From the Past, but cheered her up again when I said he also wrote Children of Auron.
Avon screaming at Orac: Restore the teleport! really made her sit up.
There was some great little moments in this one as well. The scene where Soolin discovers Vila in the locker, then says he should be a professional after he opened the box was fun.
She loves it when Tarrant and Dayna team up, so those two doing some running around was great for both of us. I love it when those two team up as well.
The horror aspect she thought fit in pretty well with Blake's 7, especially when it can look as good as this episode did. The only thing she wasn't big on were the rescue suits. She found them a tad funny.
I was asked if Tarrant or Soolin had done any audios. Tarrant yes, but I haven't got that set yet, but Soolin, no. "Big Finish doesn't like Season D," I told her. A Scorpio Chronicle would be super rad. There is so much you could do. Tarrant mentions to Vila that it was their turn to go on a mission. This makes it open for soooo many two-hander plays a la the Liberator Chronicles. (Okay, rant over)
Next up, a good episode that could have been great, if it wasn't for one character in particular...
Assassin or Revenge of the Surfboarding Killer Bikini Vampire Cancer
"Hey, they did that fake dummy thing in Red Dwarf, right?"
B7 did it first!
"Is it the old man?"
Um... you just met Cancer.
"That lady is suss. She's also *$#%ing annoying!" My sister doesn't drop many F-bombs.
"Look at her reaction to old man stew. It's her!"
But you just met... oh, alright.
"That old dude was way too nice to live."
"Soolin is great in this"
"This bitch is like a Scooby Doo villain that even Shaggy and Scooby Doo could figure out."
Ha, she also reminds me of a Batman villain from the 1960's.
"That death scene is the worst thing I've seen since "CRIMOS!""
So what did you think?
"Oh, I loved this one, but that Cancer lady was horrible."
Then both of us reenact her death scene and laugh ourselves silly.
Servalan blows up the ship
Michelle says (and I kid you not): "And now they're all dead, end of series."
I laughed, but well... you all know why.
As I said above, Michelle loved... well, almost loved this episode. The models are good, the costumes are fun, Richard Hurndall is absolutely amazing and Servalan is sexy as hell. Soolin gets some great lines, the one about suffering making Piri a better artist being my fave. Mich liked it when Soolin slapped Piri, and later when she remarked that at least a dead person can't hurt her.
There was a surprised look on Michelle's face when Avon actually rescued Nebrox. She didn't expect that.
There is just one problem with the story, only one. Her name is Caroline Holdaway. Michelle and I spent a while afterwards discussing all the things we liked about the story which is everything and everyone else and then we just pretended to act like Piri/Cancer, almost dying with laughter.
The actress just has zero subtlety and Michelle went off on a tangent about how bad she is. I was a bit worried that she may have hated this one, until I asked what she thought. Sometimes I think we're twins even though she's 11 years my junior. We don't always agree when it comes to this show and others, but we both agree that this episode could have been absolutely amazing, but one person lets it down.
Michelle thinks, and I agree, that just because B7 is a science fiction action show, doesn't mean you need to overact.
Anyone wanting to know if Michelle recognized Richard Hurndall will once again be disappointed, because she's never seen The Five Doctors. She really did enjoy his performance, though.
So all in all, that's two winners in a row. Next up is Games and I frickin' love Games!
Games or Stop Shooting Yourself, Stop Shooting Yourself
"Dayna, the ninja!"
Tarrant feeds a FederationTrooper into a mulcher
"Whoa, Vila killed someone! Is that, like, three?"
Well... Yeah, yeah it is.
"Gawd, what is Servalan doing rubbing that gun on his face?"
"Aww, it's a fake."
"We'll never see Belkov again, will we?"
Three in a row! Michelle really enjoyed Games. Every crew member got something to do, but mostly she loved Vila. His eagerness to steal the crystals, his line Why deal when you can steal, saving Dayna and Tarrant, actually killing someone. She commented that the dust on Tarrant's boot is probably the dead guy, and she cheered when Vila pulled out the necklace then got her bubble burst.
Stratford Johns is really good in this one as the slimy and clever Belkov. I love the part where he's talking to Servalan, then has to quickly suppress a giggle. He seemed to have great chemistry with every character he interacted with, especially Servalan.
Some of the science-y stuff towards the end went over Michelle's head, but she didn't need to ask me anything. She got the gist just fine - Servalan loses, Scorpio loses, Belkov wins.
It was cool seeing Dayna show off her skill with another weapon like that ninja star thing and it's quite brutal (and cool) when Tarrant fed someone to the mulcher and the red mist spurted.
For me, it's a shame Bill Lyons only got to write one story. This one is clever, exciting and has some cool action.
Next up is Sand. A top fiver for me, methinks.
Sand or Computer Love
"Servalan has her walking heels on!"
"Reeve is a douche. I hope he dies."
This is Blake's 7, of course he will!
"Hey, is it the sand?"
Says Michelle, just as the sand does something.
What's the episode called?
"Soolin's a bitch."
Yeah, your favourite woman and favourite man had sex. They are totally going to have your favourite babies!
"Ha ha... shut up!"
"Awww, poor Vila. He's right about Cally, though."
Okay, so this one was a bit delayed and it's both our faults, for a few reasons. One is that both of us have become obsessed with Elementary and are racing each other to the end (she won) and Mich was a bit sick. The other thing is that I've quit smoking, so I've been very grumpy.
Anyway, enough of that behind the scenes malarky, what did Michelle think of Sand? She really liked it. The episode had two major pluses, those two things being Servalan and Tarrant. Michelle might like Avon and Vila more as characters, but she totally has a crush on Poor Gallant Tarrant.
Servalan in particular was something Michelle wasn't sure about. Some of her actions and demeanour seemed out of character to her. I explained my take, however, which is that no one acts the same way all the time. To me, Servalan still felt very cunning and evil, but here we see more of her character and I, for one, love it. I think Sand and Children of Auron are Pearce's best performances.
Soolin didn't get any Michelle love in this story. She wanted to know what the point of her speaking out of turn was except to be a bitch.
Servalan and Tarrant having a fling got a shocked response followed by a fit of giggles. She liked it, and I'm not going to ask any more than that!
As always, the dialogue sparkled. Michelle liked the part where Tarrant called Servalan a panther and that if she were the girl next door, he would move... next door. Cally is brought up for the first time, and Michelle sided with Vila on this one. He is the only one who outwardly seems to give a damn.
The mass walk out on Tarrant was very well done. Dayna looked especially wounded, maybe because she and Tarrant are... were... close.
That's four winners in a row, and I am going to assume Gold won't break the cycle. Gold is gold!
Gold or Alwaaaaaays Beelieeeeeve Innnnnn Yourrrrrrr Soullllll (Shady Fat Guy - Part Deux)
"They aren't stunning these guards, are they?"
Avon: He's usually right.
"Wow, Avon compliments Vila!"
Keiller hits on the Pretty One
Why are you saying "Ew", Michelle - is it because he's fat?
"What? No! He's a creep and a sleaze. Shut up idiot, if you try and make me feel bad I'll beat you up!"
I can't help but mess with her sometimes.
"I thiiiiink Tarrrrant isssss reeeeeeealy gooooood in thiiissss ooooooone!"
That cracked me up.
"High heels. Totes Servalan!"
Avon implies that a greedy gangster is exactly what Servalan is.
"Tarrant and Avon - the Staredown!"
Five in a row! Michelle really dug Gold and who can blame her? Heist stories done well are always memorable.
Michelle loved that this was a straight up heist story, something that never would have been done during Blake's era. A lot of guards dropped and Michelle was a tiny bit uncomfortable, asking me if they were being stunned.
Um no, sorry hun, they're dead.
Character moments again! Sometimes it's the little things that can make a story fun and memorable and this one had a few we both liked. Avon complimenting Vila, Soolin raising her gun so Keiller backs off. “Soolin... shot them both!” Tarrant acting drugged. Vila thinking everyone has a criminal record.
Michelle loved the end and the up-close conversation between Avon and Servalan. That short exchange showed more chemistry than Sand and I LOVE Sand! Michelle kinda agreed, apparently I'm not allowed to say anything in any way negative about Tarrant.
Mich seems to think the show is heading towards a final showdown between Servalan and Avon, which will probably have a high body count. Now maybe if B7 was made today with story arcs etc in mind, that would happen, but I think Michelle is in for a shock.
She's made a few comments now about characters dying. Most of them are jokes, but Mich is realising they aren't having any luck except survival, which might just run out.
Next up? My second favourite story of them all...
Orbit or He Isn't My Brother and He's Heavy (Bad Bad Fat Man - Part 3)
"Pinder looks like a rat."
"He's an abusive douche."
"Is that Orac fake?"
Avon: Oh, Vila...
"No way." Followed by total silence for the rest of the episode.
I'm going to go out on a limb and say this makes six winners in a row, but only for me. Michelle hated this story and we all know the reason why.
For Michelle, it was the complete lack of hesitation on Avon's part. He was willing to kill Vila in cold blood. Michelle thought that in their way, they were friends. I told her they probably were, but Avon always looks out for number one.
Michelle was quite enjoying the episode before Orac says Vila weighs 73 kilos. She knew both parties were going to double cross each other but she didn't know how. Mich guessed the fake Orac, but not Egrorian's plan.
The episode is also very funny, mostly because of Vila, and Michelle and I had chuckled. There were some amazing visuals too - when Avon and Vila are on the shuttle and you can see outside of the front window, and the amazing effects of Egrorian and Pinder ageing to death.
After the story finished I asked Michelle what she thought... and she had Vila-like tears in her eyes. She loves Vila and she loves Avon. Avon disappointed her in this story and she wanted to give Vila a giant big hug.
We're going to visit family in Canberra for a week and Michelle looks at me and says, "So we leave it there!" Well, the next two episodes won't fill her with joy. Hopefully I won't be too grumpy to everyone, as I stay away from the fags.
Warlord or Zukant Believe A Word You Say
"Those guards are killing them for fun? Jeez."
"Is Orac dead?"
"Everyone's so mean to Vila!"
"How does she get that space helmet on?"
"This episode is really brutal."
Awesome. That's the consensus for Warlord. Zeeona is... not annoying at all to me, any more. I was waiting for Michelle to mention something, but we were both too into the story.
This story also looks great! The pink planet, Xenon blowing up and how hot the sets look, Zukan's ship and Zeeona's death.
If any of you are wondering if Michelle recognized any of the costumes from Who... well, she still hasn't seen much of it. By not much I mean barely any.
Michelle thought this one was really violent, the most violent one she's seen. The needless killing at the start, the killing of Zukan's people at his own hands. Mich knew Zeeona would die, but seeing the final moment was shocking. Then you have Zukan dumping his second out the airlock with the bomb and Soolin and Avon kicking ass. The story is uncompromising.
Oh Avon, Avon, Avon - first willing to kill Vila and now sending Zeona down knowing she would die. He wouldn't let Tarrant go down. Michelle isn't that mad about it though. She felt bad for Vila in Orbit, also she feels for him for being the most insulted and pushed around person in the crew.
Zukan is another of those interesting characters, like Krantor. Totally different, but you just want to see more of him.
The only minus this story gets is Zeeona's hair and the daggy looking dock worker outfits that Avon and Soolin wear. Mich dug all the other costumes.
I haven't told Michelle that this is Servalan's last appearance. I didn't have the heart, but wow soooo hot.
Blake or Peckinpah Bloodbath
"Why did you make me watch that?!"
One quote this time, just straight to the point. Sheer devastation, tears, a bit of anger with me for taking her on this journey. Shock. Anger that Servalan never showed. Deeply upset that Vila does something heroic, only to be shot in the back. The warrior Dayna is shot down without ever having a fighting chance. Tarrant lives through the crash landing of the Scorpio, only to die.
At any time over these months, Michelle could have gone online and in seconds known everything, but you can't fake a reaction like this.
Vila's death cut Michelle the deepest. He does something heroic and dies. According to her, no one ever truly liked him or appreciated him and now he's dead. (I do not agree with this)
I was asked many times if Servalan was going to turn up, but I couldn't tell her, otherwise I'd risk her guessing the ending. She had to experience it like most of us did. Hey, she's 20! I was 9 when I saw this.
Michelle was excited to see Blake! She knew from then on that this episode would be a big deal. She also liked that he explained what happened to Jenna. That is, until I told her he might be lying.
I look at Michelle and I see someone who wants to hate the ending and on an emotional level she does, as do I, but she agrees it makes sense. The crew had to fight hard for most of their wins and they lost a lot.
There is probably more and I'll talk to Michelle about this one for a while to come, but I'll leave it here.
I'll give her a couple of days before the Season D rundown, and a few more before I get Michelle's definitive (at least for this watch) top five.
Season D Roundup
Michelle's favourite stories were: Games, Warlord and Traitor with mentions to Assassin (let down by Cancer) and Gold.
Mine are: He Isn't My Brother and He's Heavy, Computer Love and Alwaaaaaays Beelieeeeeve Innnnnn Yourrrrrrr Soullllll with mentions to Stop Shooting Yourself, Stop Shooting Yourself (actually I like this as much as Gold) and Zukant Believe a Word You Say.
Michelle's two least favourite are Orbit (NOOOOOOOOOOOO) and Rescue with a mention to Animals.
My least favourite is Dayna's Bad Romance. I like to love the rest.
Her top two characters were (she won't mention Tarrant) Vila and reluctantly Avon, but Michelle really hasn't forgiven him for Orbit, Zeeona and shooting Blake. He didn't even give Blake a chance! With regard to Soolin, she was too much like Dayna and you didn't find out enough about her until the end.
My top two characters are, and always will be, Avon and Vila. Unlike Michelle, I love every second of Avon we get in Season D. Unpredictable and badass. Vila, the smart and hilarious thief. The running gag of Vila saying things like Doesn't everybody? (have a criminal record) is hilarious. He's the heart of the season.
Right, so Michelle is in the room with me and I have given her an ultimatum: she has to tell me what her favourite episodes are, or I will do my impression of Avon on the Orbit shuttle: Vila... oh Vila... which always freaks her out!
"How many can I have?"
How many do you want?
"Harvest of Kairos."
Are these in order?
"No. City At the Edge of the World. Gambit"
That's three, you got two more.
"Possibly Star One, I don't know. What's that episode where someone murders someone? It's in Season 1. Mission to Destiny?
You forgot Death-Watch. (I'm looking at the roundups by this stage, as she's taking ages.)
"Oh yeah, that's awesome, that one."
Now it's between Warlord and Mission to Destiny.
"Mission to Destiny wins. But if I was doing a top ten it would include Warlord, Killer, Aftermath, Countdown, Games/Gold."
I let her have both Gold and Games. Can you blame us?
Not Star One?
Okay worst episodes. Keep it to 5.
"Hostage. Ew kissing a cousin!"
"Voice From the Past."
"Dawn of the Gods."
"Cygnus Alpha." WOW! Yes, my sister is an atheist (like me) and she hates things with heavy religious themes.
For anyone who is keeping score, my top ten if you locked me down today would be:
Everybody Hurts..... And is Tired
He Isn't My Brother and He's Heavy
Goldcally... duh duh daaaaaaa
Stop Shooting Yourself, Stop Shooting Yourself
Alwaaaaaays Beelieeeeeve Innnnnn Yourrrrrrr Soullllll
Lady In Red
Cleanliness is Next to Vila-ness
Zukant Believe A Word You Say
Though four to ten could change!
Only two episodes I disliked.... Servalan in IMAX and Dayna's Bad Romance.
So now, encompassing all 52 episodes who were your fave characters?
"Vila, Avon, Servalan... and Tarrant." No need to go into the whys, they're in the previous posts. Michelle does however love Cally, mostly because of Season C.
Mine are Avon, Vila, Servalan and Dayna. I asked Michelle to guess this and she got it right away and in the exact order.
Michelle only disliked one character - and that's Blake.
I'd love to ramble on forever and I wish we had more than 52 episodes, but for now I think we can say this is officially it. We will cover the Big Finish audios, but this is a wrap.
· Posted by Travisina on 22 March 2014 4745 Reads ·