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The Dialogue of B7: Part 4 - Season D
trevor travis


DAYNA: “Don't you ever get bored with being right?”
AVON: “Just with the rest of you being wrong.”

“Come on you great oaf. This is no time to take a nap. If I've broken my back hauling a corpse about, I'll never forgive you Tarrant.” (VILA, after hauling an unconscious TARRANT to safety)

TARRANT: “Vila rescued me?”
AVON: “You were injured trying to rescue Cally. He rescued you. Suddenly I am hip deep in heroes.”
TARRANT: “Where is Cally?”
AVON: “Cally is dead.”
TARRANT: “Are you sure?”
AVON: [long pause] “Yes, I'm sure.”
DAYNA: “He went back in.”
TARRANT: “You wanted to be a hero too?”
AVON: “We needed Orac.” [He throws a tool into the damaged Orac] “We still do.”
VILA: “Orac got a bit dented. For which he blames me. It seems I rescued the wrong one.”

AVON: “Pass out again and I'll leave you, Tarrant.”
TARRANT: “I'm surprised you came back this time.”
AVON: “We stand a better chance as a group.”
TARRANT: “What? While something is eating me you can get away?”
AVON: “Or vice versa.”

AVON: “Stand still. Drop the gun. Now move away from it. Slowly.”
DORIAN: “Name's Dorian. And in case you hadn't noticed, I just saved your friends lives.”
AVON: [smiling] “You know what they say. No good deed goes unpunished.”

TARRANT: “All pilot systems are green. Count is two minutes and running. Better strap down tight. I haven't lifted these into orbit too often.”
DAYNA: “How often?”
TARRANT: “Once.”
VILA: “When was that?”
TARRANT: “In about one minute and forty five seconds.”
AVON: “If we last that long.”

VILA: “Looks like Dorian's a gun freak.”
DAYNA: “There's nothing freaky about these. They're beautiful. Look.”
VILA: “So?”
DAYNA: “Look. Each of these is a different mode. You clip them into the basic handgun and you've got a weapon for every occasion. Laser, plasma bullet, percussion shell, micro grenade, stun, drug. They're all here. I worked for nearly a year on a gun like this. I never did get it right.”
VILA: “Just goes to prove what I've always said. Stealing's quicker.”

AVON: “Well now, it begins to look as though Dorian has got a lot of very bright associates.”
VILA: “And we've got a lot of trouble.”
DAYNA: “Cheer up, Vila. You've got a lot of very bright associates too.”
VILA: “Oh yeah? Name six.”

DAYNA: “Why call a computer Slave?”
DORIAN: “Joke, I suppose.”
AVON: “Someone has a very expensive sense of humour.”
DORIAN: “Everything has its price, Avon. You have to decide whether you want to pay it or not, that's all.”

TARRANT: “Avon's quite capable of killing you, you know.”
DORIAN: “I never doubted it.”
DAYNA: “Beneath that cold exterior, beats a heart of pure stone.”

DORIAN: “Be so good as to pour my guests some wine, Soolin. Surely now you can allow yourselves to trust me.”
AVON: “He who trusts can never be betrayed, only mistaken. Cally once told me that that was a saying amongst her people.”
DORIAN: “Cally?”
AVON: “Cally was murdered. So were most of her people.”

TARRANT: “What do you think [about Dorian]?”
AVON: “I think his taste in wine and women is impeccable.”

“You know, Avon could be right about getting out of here. There's something very suspicious about a man who keeps his booze under lock and key.” (VILA to himself, while drinking, after breaking into Dorian’s cabinet)

DORIAN: “You underestimate me, my dear.”
SOOLIN: “The smallest movement is all it takes, Dorian.”
DORIAN: “She could do it too. Soolin was taught by the best.”
SOOLIN: “The second best actually.”
DORIAN: “Oh, of course you killed him didn't you? He was one of the men responsible for the death of her family. She killed all the others too. She's a formidable enemy.”
AVON: “But not without a gun.”
DORIAN: “That's right, Soolin.”
SOOLIN: [examining her gun] “You're right. I did underestimate you, my dear.”

DORIAN: “That's why I came for you. You care for each other. After what you've been through together, you couldn't fail to care for each other. Even you, Avon.”
AVON: “Spare me the amateur psychology.”
DORIAN: “I wouldn't expect you to admit it. But you belong to them, Avon. Just as they belong to you. That's why I rescued you.”
AVON: “I thought you wanted the teleport system.”
DORIAN: “Orac will give me that. What you will give me, all of you, is life.”
TARRANT: “Killing us won't give you life.”
DORIAN: “Soolin is a stranger to you. But one outsider can be absorbed in a gestalt.”
SOOLIN: “Gestalt?”
DORIAN: “Together you will become one creature. A gestalt. It will be a strong creature. It will absorb much more than an individual could before it dies.” [Sounds within the room] “You see. It will work. It begins. I knew it would. The room accepts you. It will make you one and give you my death.”
SOOLIN: “What is it? Can you hear it?”
AVON: “I underestimated you too, didn't I?”
DORIAN: “I knew you'd see it, Avon. My creature will need to understand. It must warn me of approaching death. Yours will be its understanding.”
SOOLIN: “What is it?”
DORIAN: “That's what you're going to replace, my dear. You and the others.”
AVON: “I imagine it was once a man. One of a long line who died in his place.”
DORIAN: “They die quickly now. My corruption has become too much for one man to bear.”

“I'm going to give up drinking, you know. It'll be pink asteroids next.” (VILA after seeing Dorian age to death, and the creature replaced by a body of a young man)


AVON 119

ANALYSIS: Chris Boucher makes writing an episode of B7 look effortless, as he not only successfully reformats the show following the Now-Get-Out-Of-That ending of “Terminal”, but also manages to fit in a homage to the Oscar Wilde book “The Picture Of Dorian Gray” into the bargain.

It’s maybe a big coincidence, that immediately after the destruction of the Liberator, than a man with a ship (Scorpio) which very nearly has teleport facilities comes hunting for the crew, but Boucher and incoming producer Vere Lorrimer clearly didn’t want to fix what wasn’t broken. Everything is set up here to allow B7 to continue in a similar vein as before, despite one or two cosmetic changes.

As is customary for a season opener, the dialogue chart is headed by the lead character, with Avon taking more than a quarter of the dialogue. Not far behind is Dorian, the latest in a series of great guest characters in the programme.

With a small cast for “Rescue”, Dayna, Tarrant and Vila also all feature heavily. Cally’s departure is a bit unsatisfactory, coming off screen... after late attempts to persuade Jan Chappell to stay came to nothing. Meanwhile, Soolin’s introduction is ambiguous; it’s unclear whether she will become part of the crew or not (although her position in the end credits is a bit of a giveaway!).

“Rescue” is a cracking start to Season D, maintaining the standard of dialogue to which viewers had become accustomed.
trevor travis
One thing to point regarding Season D. Episodes are in the region of 3-5 minutes shorter, due to episodes being scheduled for 50 minutes. The majority of episodes from Seasons A to C were scheduled for 55 minutes (with the odd exceptional 50 minutes).
trevor travis


DAYNA: “Can you open it [the door]?”
TARRANT: “You can or you can't.”
VILA: “Very difficult.”
DAYNA: “Very necessary.”
TARRANT: “Why, unless of course you feel like living on nuts and berries for the rest of your life.”

“I am Gunn Sar, chief of the Hommiks. I rule by right of challenge, which means I'm the biggest, toughest, meanest son of a Seska on this planet.” (GUNN SAR to AVON)

GUNN SAR: “What's the tally of challenges?”
CATO: “Twenty-five dead and one missing, sir.”
GUNN SAR: “Oh, come on, Cato. Don't quibble. Marquin fell backwards off the cliff.”
CATO: “Yes, sir.”
GUNN SAR: “So he's dead. Like, you can't say someone's missing as such. Not when they've taken a dive into a bottomless gorge.”
CATO: “No sir.”
GUNN SAR: “So, it's twenty-six dead.”
CATO: “The council ruled it was twenty-five, sir, and one missing.”
GUNN SAR: [to Avon] “Twenty-five men lie dead who tried to stand against me. And one, if he's not still falling, is no more than a greasy spot on the rocks, right?”
AVON: “Impressive.”
GUNN SAR: “You killed two men.”
AVON: “If I'd known we were keeping score, I would have brought more ammunition.”

GUNN SAR: “Anyway, they're [the dynamon crystals] useless. Expensive baubles for the ladies. So, why do you want 'em?”
AVON: “My computer suggested they might be useful.”
GUNN SAR: “Huh! Your computer! Not your books or your mates or your woman or your assistant, but your computer.”

VILA: “And what happens if Dorian doesn't reset the switch?”
PELLA: “There's a nuclear compression charge.”
VILA: “Yes, there would be.”
PELLA: “The whole base would psss...ohhh” [she gestures with her hands]
VILA: “Oh, well. Nuts and berries it is, then.”
PELLA: “Nuts and berries?”
VILA: “Or rodents.”

TARRANT: “Orac knows more than he's saying.”
DAYNA: “So what do we do? You can't put thumbscrews on a computer.”
TARRANT: “Oh, he'll answer. We just have to ask the right questions, that's all.”

GUNN SAR: “I am Gunn Sar, slayer of Mavarik, Lord of the Hommiks. I rule by the strength of my right arm and by my left arm and by the... [He loses his place, and a Hommik whispers in his ear. Avon smiles] “When Gunn Sar dies in combat, the victor is Lord.” [The Hommiks cheer. Gunn Sar walks over to Avon] “I've got to say all that.”
AVON: “Tradition.”
GUNN SAR: “Well, old Mavarik was sixty-three. He had it coming anyway.”

VILA: “The Seskas are women. All of them are women.”
TARRANT: “And presumably the Hommiks were men. Looks like it was a war between the sexes.”
DAYNA: [bitterly] “And the men were winning.”

GUNN SAR: “I am Gunn Sar, chief of all the Hommiks, I rule by right of challenge, and twenty six lie dead...”
DAYNA: “So I challenge you.”
GUNN SAR: “What?”
DAYNA: “I challenge you. You rule by right of challenge. I challenge that rule.”
TARRANT: “Not one of your better ideas, Dayna.”
DAYNA: “Do you accept my challenge?”
GUNN SAR: “Don't be foolish. You're, well, you're a...”
DAYNA: “A woman? Yes. Take a good look.” [She punches him on the jaw]
GUNN SAR: “All right, woman, you just made a very big mistake.”

TARRANT: “Orac, in sixteen minutes this base will be destroyed and you with it. Is there anything logically more important than trying to stop that happening?”
ORAC: “Yes. The most logical course of action is to transport me to safety with all due urgency.”
VILA: “He's grovelling!”

[Avon shoots Pella, before she can shoot him]
PELLA: “That always was the easy answer for the man - the Hommik!”
AVON: “If you didn't want the answer, you shouldn't have asked the question.” [She dies]

AVON: “It's a problem, isn't it? You can have war between races, war between cultures, war between planets. But once you have war between the sexes, you eventually run out of people.”
SLAVE: “It is beyond my humble capacity to offer an opinion, Master.”
AVON: [smiling] “Oh, that's very good. You may turn out to be my kind of computer after all.”

TARRANT: “You want to join us, is that it?”
DAYNA: “Why?”
SOOLIN: “Why not? Dorian's dead.”
AVON: “You give your allegiance easily?”
SOOLIN: “I don't give my allegiance at all. I sell my skill.” [She whips out her gun]



ANALYSIS: The battles of the sexes is an old sci-fi cliché, but “Power” works because it subverts the idea, with rough, tough but loveable Gunn Sar also having a softer side (he’s a dab hand at needlework), while Pella turns to be the true villain. By the end of the episode, it appears than Nina (a woman) is making the decisions for the Hommiks.

There’s a real split in dialogue in “Power”, with Avon just coming out on top in a near dead-heat with Vila and Pella, and Tarrant not far behind either. For the second successive episode, all four remaining human crew members of the Liberator are given over 50 lines each.

With Zen no more, Orac is a little more prominent in Season D; that starts here, with Orac being deliberately evasive, apart from when Avon tells him not to be. Orac now seems to be completely answerable to Avon.

The decision to almost completely exclude Soolin from the episode is a questionable one. Surely some of the dialogue could have been spread around to have her as part of the crew for the entire episode. At least it does give her the last to have the last word, when she appears at the end of “Power”.
trevor travis


AVON: “That means the Helots are back in the empire. But they aren't the sort to cave in so quickly! It took the Federation years to subdue them on the first expansion.”
DAYNA: “They've retaken Lubus and Porthia Major in the last few weeks. If Helotrix has gone, that means the Federation now control most of Sector Four.”
VILA: “If they keep expanding at this rate, we haven't as much time as you thought. They will be knocking on the door in a couple of years.”
AVON: “How are they doing it?”
VILA: “I don't know, but maybe we should start running now! I always thought your idea of having a combat base was crazy.”
AVON: “Vila, I won't run. We have to find out what it is they're doing. Why the old colonies are being conquered so easily. Then perhaps we could do something about it.”
VILA: “The five of us? Oh, and trooper Orac here.”

GENERAL: “Mind you I have a sneaking respect for these Helots. I led a squadron of them once. Marvellous fighters, especially at close quarters. They love the hand-to-hand stuff.”
QUUTE: “Not really necessary, of course, these days sir.”
GENERAL: “Don't you believe it Quute. You can't do everything with missiles. Bunkers, strong points, inner city combat - you've got to winkle them out with cold steel. It's the only way of clearing the ground.”
QUUTE: “Gas, sir?”
GENERAL: “It's not always effective. Do you remember the Fletch expedition of twenty-nine?”
QUUTE: “No, I don't think I do, sir.”
GENERAL: “Fletch used gas, against the Wazis. Complete massacre, bodies everywhere. Took dinner with his officers that night, suddenly the Wazis came over the wall, butchered the whole expedition. Seems the Wazis are gill breathers - they can lie dormant for days.” [The two are eating dinner throughout this exchange]

GENERAL: “What do you think of them?”
QUUTE: “They seem like all Helots after adaptation: suggestible, obedient, glad to follow orders. They should make excellent troops.”
GENERAL: “I don't know. Something missing, I think. Fire in the belly, Quute. You can't fight without it.”

DAYNA: “I didn't know Helots were originally from Earth.”
VILA: “Everyone came from Earth originally. That's a well-known fact.”
SOOLIN: “It's a well-known opinion, actually.”
TARRANT: “Most well known facts are.”

VILA: “That idiot's looking forward to it. He can't wait to go snooping around Helotrix”
AVON: “He's good material, is Tarrant. One of the best.”
VILA: “He's not the man for the job. Tarrant has about as much subtlety as a Tarzian Warg Strangler. All I'm saying is Tarrant's going to walk straight into trouble and get himself killed or captured. If he's dead he can't talk. But if the Federation find out we're hanging around, we won't stand a chance. Not in this ship. At least in the Liberator we could always outrun them.”
AVON: “Vila, if the Federation do have some new weapon, the Helots will know all about it. All Tarrant has to do is ask a few questions in the right places. Even your Tarzian Warg strangler might manage that.”
VILA: “You think so? Well you'd better give him a list of questions and then a map to find the right places.” [Vila exits]
SOOLIN: “Doesn't have much time for Tarrant does he?”
AVON: “Ah well. Tarrant is brave; young; handsome.” [Avon chuckles] “There are three good reasons for anyone not to like him.”

SOOLIN: “About the ship. It was never designed to tangle with Federation cruisers.”
AVON: “Oh I'm working on them.”
SOOLIN: “You are?”
AVON: “With Orac's help. These old freighters are fitted with short burn boosters to help get their payloads into orbit. Orac is figuring out a way to redesign them to give us extra in-flight speed.”
SOOLIN: “I thought he was keeping unusually silent.”
AVON: “Probably sulking. One of the almost human things about Orac is that it does not like to work.”

“Remember Tarrant, we are only interested in whether or not the Federation have some new weapon. Whatever else is happening down there, even if they are executing the entire population, you are not to get involved.” (AVON to TARRANT)

VILA: “Blake would have been proud of you, you know.”
AVON: “I know, but then he never was very bright.”

FORBUS: “When I die I should like Commissioner Sleer right beside me.”
DAYNA: “But you work for Sleer, manufacturing Pylene-50.”
FORBUS: “I am compelled to work for Sleer. That inhuman devil is the cause of it. Sleer is responsible for what you see - and now only Sleer keeps me alive.”
TARRANT: “What happened, what do you mean?”
FORBUS: “Pylene-50 used homoeopathically, is simply a muscle relaxant. Sleer discovered that hundred times normal dosage totally subverts the will, tried to force me to part with the formula. I refused. I didn't understand Sleer's nature then. Totally callous savage ambition. There is a poison called Tincture of Pyrellic. Perhaps you've heard of it?”
DAYNA: “No.”
FORBUS: “It is the extract of Pamporanian fungi, it cripples and eventually kills. Death is agonizing and there is no cure. I have Pyrellic poisoning - Sleer's doing. There is an antidote that prevents the poison spreading. As long as I take it daily I get no worse, but Sleer, of course, controls my supply.”
TARRANT: “So long as you manufacture Pylene-50.”
FORBUS: “That is the threat always over my head. To work for Sleer, or to die in agony.”

AVON: “We'll go down to cloud level. If we stay between them and the planet we may not show up on their scanners.”
VILA: “Once we're below them we'll be cut off. We won't stand a chance!”
AVON: “Slave! Give me manual control! I'm banking on them searching outwards, not inwards.”
VILA: “And if you're wrong?”
AVON: “If I'm wrong you can say ‘I told you so’, provided you speak loudly and quickly.”

LEITZ: “Those two off-worlders seemed very anxious to find you as well. They seemed to think they recognised you.”
SERVALAN: “Really?”
LEITZ: “And of course, Practor recognized you as well. That's why you killed him.”
SERVALAN: “What do you want, Leitz?”
LEITZ: “The presidency.”
SERVALAN: “Anything is possible.”
LEITZ: “After all, somebody has to take Practor's place. You could use your influence, I'm sure. And of course you'd know that your secret would be safe with me - Servalan.”
SERVALAN: “I'm sure it would. But I don't submit... to blackmail.”
LEITZ: “There's always a first time. And it's better than being executed. [She turns to face him and puts her arms up behind his neck. They kiss] “After all, how many people've you killed to conceal your secret?” [She slips a crystalline dagger from her sleeve.]
SERVALAN: “You mean now?” [She jabs it into his neck - he falls] “Twenty-six. So far.”

TARRANT: “You can't afford not to believe me, Avon.”
AVON: “How the hell did she get off the Liberator?”
TARRANT: “I don't know.”
DAYNA: “Look, we both saw her. It was Servalan.”
TARRANT: “You're just running away from the truth!”
AVON: “All right, I believe you. I didn't want her to die like that anyway. I need ... to kill her myself.”


PA 1

ANALYSIS: “Traitor” sets up the rest of the season. Suddenly the Federation is growing at an alarming rate, thanks to its new pacification drug, Pylene-50, to the point that Avon can no longer afford to be a bystander. As one would expect from a Robert Holmes script, there’s a lot of good dialogue with “Traitor”.

The Season D arc is an interesting one; it contains of only two core stories (“Traitor” and “Warlord”), with stories with a loose connection - the Scorpio crew searching out either scientists or valuable materials – in between.

“Traitor” sees the broadest ever share of dialogue between characters – it’s something of a surprise, but the General heads the dialogue chart with just 54 lines (I did double-check the figures to make sure!). It’s extremely close, with six characters (only two of them regulars) with 40 lines of dialogue or more. For the first time since “The Way Back” and “Space Fall”, the guest characters have more than 50% of the dialogue – their share in “Traitor” is 56%.

Of course, “Traitor” also sees the return of Servalan, in disguise of Commissioner Sleer. It’s the weakest aspect of the story, it’s clear that it’s Servalan from early on, while surely half the galaxy knows who she is - she was the President Of The Terran Federation! Having said that, it’s great to see her back, and she’s deadly as ever, as double-agent Leitz finds to his cost. Judging by Avon’s reaction to the news of her survival, his love/hate relationship with Servalan has changed simply to hate after the events of “Terminal”.
trevor travis


“If we want to keep this heap of ironmongery operational, we have to visit Altern Five in order to recover selsium ore to make fuel crystals. Hitching a ride into the Altern system on that asteroid is the only way we're going to get past any Federation patrols and within teleport distance of Altern Five. Now if anyone has a better idea, I'd like to hear it.” (AVON to the CREW)

TARRANT: “Precision guidance lost.”
AVON: “Slave, initiate the backup system.”
SLAVE: “I'm very sorry about this, but that WAS the backup system.”

VILA: [enters – apparently drunk] “Hello there! Anyone for a party? I'm afraid you'll have to bring your own booze 'cause I've already drunk my own. Anyone got any booze? Huh?” [moves across to Soolin] “And how about my cold, calculating Soolin? I'd like to see you unbend just a little before we're all ... all ...”
DAYNA: “Sometimes, Vila, you can be quite disgusting.”
VILA: “Not so, my lovely. I can be disgusting all the time. It's easy. Easy as colliding with an asteroid, eh, Avon? You know, they say all your life passes in front of you when you're about to, about to... y'know. It's what's happening to me now. All my past life...”
AVON: “That's one misfortune we don't have to share.”
VILA: “Fourteen I was when I was first sent to a penal colony. Ship was hit in the main drive by a meteoroid, bang! Y'know what they did to repair it? Activated the force wall and generated an atmosphere inside the force wall so the repair team could work in a vacuum without spacesuits, ‘cause it wasn't a vacuum any more if you see what I mean. Very clever, those old prison hulk skippers.”
AVON: “Slave, activate force wall. Pressurise it with our air reserve.”
SLAVE: “That would be most inadvisable, Master. I'm terribly sorry but our force wall generator is in a poor condition.”
TARRANT: “Slave's right. We'd lose the lot.”
AVON: “It's a great pity we didn't bring Orac.”
SLAVE: “But I could manage a small force wall, a blister force wall, around the damaged part of the hull.”
AVON: “Then do it!”
TARRANT: “Let's go.” [Avon and Tarrant exit]
VILA: [claps] “Hurray!”
SOOLIN: “Out of the mouths of drunks...”
VILA: [Drops the pretence] “Drunk? Who's drunk?”
DAYNA: “You are.”
VILA: “Show me how to get drunk on plain water and I won't waste time.”
DAYNA: “Well, then why pretend?”
VILA: “Because, my lovely Dayna and Soolin, no one ever tells someone who's drunk to volunteer.” [Dayna and Soolin laugh] “I don't like to work in main drive chambers, especially main drive chambers that are separated from space by one of Slave's force walls.”

VILA: [recognising the design of the helmet on the viewscreen] “It's a Space Rat!”
SOOLIN: “Friends of yours?”
VILA: “Friends? Space Rats? There's no such thing as a friend of a Space Rat - they even hate each other.”
TARRANT: “What else do you know about them?”
VILA: “They're maniacs, psychopaths! All they live for is sex and violence, booze and speed. And the fellahs are just as bad.”

VILA: “You're wasting your time. They [the Space Rats] won't have radio. The only technology they're interested in is on wheels or flies or goes bang. You know what they're up to right now?”
DAYNA: “What?”
VILA: “Right now they're trying to make up their minds which piece of nastiness they're going to send up to zap us with.”
DAYNA: “Oh, surely they won't risk an attack without finding out first what it is they are going to attack.”
VILA: “Oh, that's the logical way of thinking. But those psychopaths down there are Space Rats. Their philosophy is simple: if it moves, zap it.”

SOOLIN: “You never intended to wait for Vila and Dayna to report back, did you? You're just using them.”
AVON: “Vila and Dayna are useful diversions.”
SOOLIN: “IF they get caught.”
TARRANT: “Which is fairly likely.”
SOOLIN: “I wouldn't count too heavily on that. Dayna's sharp and she handles a gun quite well, considering her sheltered upbringing.”

DAYNA: “Dr. Plaxton, how marvellous to see you again. Do you remember us, Dayna and Vila, your best students. We thought we'd never see you again after you left the academy.”
PLAXTON: [to Atlan] “Is this some sort of trick? I've never seen these people before in my life.”
DAYNA: “Your memory hasn't improved. Do you remember the time when you, you lost your ground car and reported it to the police as having been stolen? Oh, and this must be your new photonic...
PLAXTON: “I don't know you.”
DAYNA: “...space drive. Why it doesn't look anything like as sophisticated as the prototype you were working on at the academy, but that's only to be expected having to work under these conditions.”
PLAXTON: “I... I do not know these people.”
ATLAN: “Do not or will not?”

AVON: “Time is up, Doctor.”
PLAXTON: [over intercom] “Almost done.”
VILA: “Plasma bolt fired.”
SOOLIN: “Thirty seconds to impact.”
PLAXTON: “One more connection to... [Avon cuts her off]
TARRANT: “What are you doing?”
AVON: “Programming in the main circuit drive.”
DAYNA: “You can't do that. That main drive will fire as soon as she makes the final connection.”
SOOLIN: “Fifteen seconds.”
AVON: “We can outrun that bolt. She's dead either way.”

AVON: [To Vila] “At least now we can outrun the opposition. That should make you happy.”
DAYNA: “What about Dr. Plaxton?”
AVON: [stone faced] “Who?”



ANALYSIS: “Stardrive” starts and finishes very strongly. The opening scene is fraught with tension; even picking up essential supplies is a life-or-death task, now that the comfort zone of the Liberator has been lost. And the end is somewhat shocking – not Avon’s (difficult but necessary) decision to sacrifice Dr Plaxton, but rather his cold blooded reaction to Dayna’s question.

Avon returns to the top of the dialogue chart, while both Vila and Dayna both have strong episodes; the sequence where Vila pretends to be drunk to get out of fixing Scorpio is a complete delight.

Soolin has more dialogue than in any other episode of the first five episodes of Season D. Dr Plaxton & Atlan are the only guest characters with any significant dialogue.

James Follett has a different style to some other B7 writers, writing in long sentences. It means his episodes have less lines per episode; although in the case of “Stardrive”, there are several sequences that contain not much dialogue.
trevor travis


TARRANT: “I only hope your mad scientist is going to be worth the trouble.”
DAYNA: “Nothing mad about Justin. At least there wasn't, the last time I saw him.”

DAYNA: “You are making a new race of animals - or humans. Why?”
JUSTIN: “Ah well, I can't tell you all my secrets, can I, Dayna? It's nice to see you. You look very well. I would say beautiful but I'm a scientist and we're supposed to be short on emotion and that sort of thing, aren't we? But I will say you look quite beautiful, my...” [Justin looks at the video monitor Dayna is looking at.] “Admiring the work?”
DAYNA: “I think it's disgusting.”

DAYNA: “Well, I'm one of a small group fighting the Federation. We've got a base, we're gathering equipment and we're looking for allies. We're also trying to recruit experts... specialists in relevant fields.”
JUSTIN: “Relevant to what?”
DAYNA: “The eventual destruction of the Federation.”
JUSTIN: “Relevant to war in fact.”
DAYNA: “Possibly.”
JUSTIN: “Unless the federation have become pacifists, it has to be war.”
DAYNA: “If they were pacifists, the problem wouldn't exist.”
JUSTIN: “And it is a problem for which you see yourselves as the solution.”
DAYNA: “We are led by a man called Avon. He thinks we need someone like you. We'll be going into radioactive areas from time to time and that is your field, or it was.”
JUSTIN: “It still is.”
DAYNA: “Avon thinks it might also be possible to use genetic engineering techniques to synthesise a drug we need.”
JUSTIN: “For what?”
DAYNA: “Protection. Against a pacification drug the Federation use.”
JUSTIN: “I once worked for the Federation.”
DAYNA: “Did you?”
JUSTIN: “Yes. And I liked their proposition even less than I like yours.”

“A planet hopper that can outrun a pursuit unit, hovering over a useless planet that has been abandoned since the war? Set a course for Bucol Two.” (SERVALAN to her CAPTAIN)

DAYNA: “Look, what was the object of the work? It must have had some object, some war object if the Federation backed it and built this place.”
JUSTIN: “The war object was to create a species, not necessarily human, that could go into areas heavy with radioactivity and act as shock troops. The federation had suffered losses of up to sixty percent front line troops. Now just think what a few squads of radiation proof space commandos could do.”
DAYNA: [Sighs] “Oh, I'm glad you never succeeded. It was a horrible idea.”
JUSTIN: “No, it was justified by the times.”
DAYNA: “But how about now, why are you going on with it? All this. It's insane.”
JUSTIN: “Well just think! Those animals can go into any of the devastated sectors of the war zone and the radiation won't kill them. They can work on simple projects already. Og certainly could. They and their kind can make whole systems habitable again without the loss of a single human life. I know it seems callous to work on the animals as I do, but the painful business of the physical transplants is over... all that is needed now is a few simple brain grafts and I'm very close to home, very close. Now do you see?” [Dayna nods]

ORAC: “The fault remains in the inertial guidance glycolene ballast channels. It therefore will be necessary for someone to enter the tank.”
VILA: “Sounds messy.”
ORAC: “Physical inspection and adjustment is essential if potentially uncomfortable.”
VILA; “Sounds very messy. [Vila looks up and everyone is looking at him] “Now look! You can drown in that filthy muck down there.” [Tarrant opens the floor hatch.]
TARRANT: “Mmm, smells lovely.”
VILA: “No, it doesn't. It's disgusting.”
AVON: “Well, somebody has to go down and you are the one with the delicate touch, Vila.”
TARRANT: “Magic hands. You've often said so yourself.”
VILA: “Why do I get all the dirty jobs?”

ARDUS: “If I seemed to make a mistake in mentioning Servalan, I am sorry. An old man's memory is suspect, Commissioner Sleer. Especially an old man whose eyes were burned from his head.”
SERVALAN: “Naturally, it is forgotten.”
ARDUS: “I know Servalan is now a non-person. I was incorrect in mentioning her name.”
SERVALAN: “You were, but as I say, it is forgotten.” [to her captain] “Show Ardus back to his ship.”
[Minutes later Servalan blows up the ship containing Ardus]

AVON: “Go and get cleaned up, preferably somewhere else.”
VILA: “Is that all the thanks I get? Not even a glass of wine?”
SOOLIN: “We've used the best of it up. Correction: you’ve used the best of it up.”
AVON: “Orac, is the navigation system fully operational now?”
ORAC: “No, it is recommended that a further overhaul of the glycolene ballast channels be carried out.”
VILA: “What?”
TARRANT: “It's lucky you didn't get cleaned up.”
SOOLIN: “Or boozed up.”
VILA: “Would you settle for fed up? It's somebody else's turn.”
AVON: “Try and do it right this time, Vila.”
VILA: “A glass of wine when I come up or I don't do it at all.”
AVON: “Half a glass.”
VILA: “Before I go down?”
AVON: “Don't push your luck.”
VILA: “What luck?”

VILA: “Are we expecting trouble on this trip?”
AVON: “A federation patrol attacked Scorpio at Bucol Two. They might wonder what it was doing there in the first place. I would in their position.”
VILA: “Then it's dead stupid of us to go there, right? Dead being the operative word.”
TARRANT: “Dayna is there.”
VILA: “And I'm sorry about that, but I don't see why I should be punished for your guilty conscience.”



ANALYSIS: “Animals” is not very well loved. It isn’t awful by any means, but it does have some scripting problems (so rare for B7), as the rush to get in the first few scripts of Season D really catches up with the show.

The dialogue chart is highly revealing. I would normally welcome a different name from usual in the top position. But Dayna is so badly out of character; the script needed much more revision after the lead character was altered from Cally to Dayna.

Servalan is not quite right either (fortunately the pretence of her going around killing everyone who recognises her is dropped after this) - she’s hardly given any decent dialogue at all. There’s no mention of Servalan’s previous past history with Dayna e.g. killing her father. Completing the top three is the slightly creepy Justin; maybe he would have come across better, had his romantic interest been more of his own age group. Plus he treats poor Og like, er well, an animal. By the way, Og only growls and howls, which is why he’s missing from the dialogue chart.

Avon has just 21 lines in this episode – his worst representation in his 51 episodes. Vila provides some much needed light relief, but again he’s not in “Animals” that much. And Soolin having just 7 lines edges out Cally in “Countdown” (8 lines) as the least number of lines in an episode for a joined-up regular crew member (I’m discounting Soolin in “Power” plus other examples where the crew member has yet to join, plus Blake’s cameo in “Terminal” ).
Edited by trevor travis on 24 February 2014 19:07:45
TT, your Animals lines of dialogue does not include Og. I always thought that although he didn't have any lines per se, he did scream out "Og" a few times during the episode. Does that not count as dialogue? I suppose that was the reason Justin named him Og? His only uttered word? -Paula
Zil: Oneness must resist the Host.
trevor travis
BradPaula wrote:

TT, your Animals lines of dialogue does not include Og. I always thought that although he didn't have any lines per se, he did scream out "Og" a few times during the episode. Does that not count as dialogue? I suppose that was the reason Justin named him Og? His only uttered word? -Paula

Paula, I'll have to check. I thought he just growls; the transcript says the same. I'll check to see if there's an actual word in there, and if so add his line, or indeed lines, accordingly.

PS I struggled a bit for quoteable dialogue in "Animals", as you can tell by the inclusion of "Justin, Justin, Justin, no, oh no".

EDIT: Now checked - Og just growls and howls throughout "Animals". Have now changed some of the quotes: I wanted to get some of Kevin Stoney's Ardus in there, and also remove that awful final line of Dayna's.
Edited by trevor travis on 24 February 2014 19:12:01
Maybe it was just me, but when the Mudoids captured Og, he seems to scream Ooooogggggg! instead of just plain screaming. I suppose it is open to debate as to what he screams. -Paula Grin
Zil: Oneness must resist the Host.
trevor travis

VILA: “Just our luck to get this mission.”
TARRANT: “It was our turn.”
VILA: “If Avon rates this Muller as such a genius why didn't he come for the man himself?”
TARRANT: “He probably just wanted to get you away from the base, to avoid more bother over Muller's lady.”
VILA: “I was a perfect gentleman towards her.”
TARRANT: “That's what bothered us.”

AVON: “The point is will they [the Robot Development Cartel] use force to hold him?”
VENA: “I ... I don't know.”
DAYNA: “But the outfit he works for is civil not military.”
AVON: “They might get a lot less civil at the thought of losing MONEY.”
SOOLIN: “And Muller's brains are their single most profitable asset, yes?”
AVON: “Without question.”
DAYNA: “But force is hardly...”
AVON: “...is their most predictable resort”

“A straightforward pickup job you said. As last words go, they're not likely to be famous.” (VILA to TARRANT)

TARRANT: “You slugged him [Muller] a bit hard, Vila.”
VILA: “He was trying to kill you. I would've been next.”
TARRANT: “Even so, that's a pretty valuable head you hit.”
VILA: “I didn't hit his head! I hit him sort of across the shoulders.”
TARRANT: [Examines Muller.] “Oh, no. Let's get him into the medi-capsule.”
VILA: “Medi-capsule! He can't be that bad!”
TARRANT: “I think he's dead.”

AVON: “Any action Vila and Tarrant were forced to make was purely defensive.”
VENA: “Murderers.”
AVON: “Try not to be stupid.”

VILA: “A little hard work never hurt anyone.”
TARRANT: “How would you know?”

ORAC: “The cause of the circuit pulse fluctuations in Scorpio's systems is as yet unknown.... It is imperative to establish that cause in isolation.”
AVON: “Quarantine. Your advice is to leave everything up there in orbit until we find out what is wrong.”
ORAC: “Exactly.”
DAYNA: “Including Tarrant and Vila.”
AVON: “They'll be needed up there anyway to run checks.”
SOOLIN: “You're going along with that?”
AVON: “For the time being.”

DAYNA: “They'll [Vila and Tarrant] be dying up there!”
AVON: “Not yet!”
SOOLIN: “They won't have long.”
AVON: “They have oxygen units and suits.”
DAYNA: “In the dark? Under those conditions?”
AVON: “Orac?”
ORAC: “They must be left there!”
AVON: “To die?”
ORAC: “There is no option. To reopen teleport contact could expose the base to undefined systems influence.”
AVON: “Oh, you'll have to do better than that, Orac, if you expect me to kill them.” [Pauses to thinks - turns to Dayna and Soolin.] “Rescue suits! Restore the teleport to normal function.”
ORAC: “I urge you not to...”
ORAC: “Very well.”

ORAC: “It is vital that you render me inoperative.”
SOOLIN: “I'm sorry?”
ORAC: “You must then conceal me, securely, until you destroy the intruder, if you can destroy the intruder.”
SOOLIN: “Anything's possible when you are as insane as I obviously am.”
ORAC: “You must believe me, Soolin.”
SOOLIN: “I think I do believe you, that's what I meant about being insane.”

“Is this a private game or can anyone play?” (SOOLIN, after finding VILA hiding in a cupboard)

ANDROID: “You are no longer masters, but mastered. You will accept your destiny.”
AVON: “Why the head? Why take your creator's head?”
ANDROID: “You wanted Muller. You wanted his genius. You imagined you were getting him.”
TARRANT: “So the head was to trick us.”
ANDROID: “Just as the failure of the life support system tricked you into reopening the teleport unit.”
AVON: “Why come to us?”
ANDROID: “To fulfil our destiny.”
AVON: “You mean your destiny, and that of Ensor's first brainchild.”
ANDROID: “Where is Orac?”
AVON: “You plan to unite with Orac.”
ANDROID: “One being.”
VILA: “That could be a lot of power.”
ANDROID: “To you, it will be God.”
SOOLIN: “That's not what Orac wants.”
ANDROID: “Where is Orac? You are powerless.”
AVON: “Once you have Orac, we are finished. Enslaved!”
ANDROID: “Enslavement or elimination. A clear choice. WHERE IS ORAC?”

TARRANT: “Well, who puts on the [android’s] head?”
AVON: “It will be Vila, or it will be me.”
VILA: “It'll be you!”

ORAC: [possessed] “Join us, Soolin. We can fulfil your every desire.”
SOOLIN: [Deactivates Orac] “You wouldn't know where to start.”

DAYNA: [after blowing up Android] “End of problem! Right, Orac?”
ORAC: “Prospects for organic humanoid life are now secured.”
AVON: “Muller's android?”
TARRANT: “Gone to the great cyberneticists in the sky.”
AVON: “You fool! It's superstitious half-wits like you who hold back every advance we make.”
ORAC: “And arrogance, Avon, like yours and Muller's which threaten to destroy...”
AVON: “Shut up!”
ORAC: “Yes, Master!”


AVON 132

ANALYSIS: “Headhunter” is a fun interlude in the middle of the downbeat Season D – even the jangly end credit music suits the episode!

The regular cast dominate this episode. There are heavy shares for Avon (23%), Tarrant (19%), Vila (15%) and, at last, Soolin (11%). Soolin not only has plenty of dialogue, but also some of the best dialogue within the episode. Some of the most humorous lines in “Headhunter” are wonderful; any fears after “Animals” that the dialogue of B7 may be becoming more mundane are killed off.

Orac is central to the plot of “Headhunter”, and the supercomputer hits new heights with 48 lines and 8% of the dialogue. He even gets the last word!

It’s nice to see a bit more of Xenon Base again, while “Power” and “Headhunter” are the only two episodes to feature the exterior of the planet.
trevor travis


SERVALAN: [Recording] “Utiliser to Cancer, Utiliser to Cancer. Domo the ninth, five subjects. Utiliser to Cancer, Utiliser to Cancer. Domo the ninth, five subjects. Utiliser to Cancer...” [cut off]
TARRANT: “Is that it?”
VILA: “That's it, just the same message over and over again.”
DAYNA: “Well it doesn't mean anything. Utiliser, Cancer, five subjects - it's gibberish.”
TARRANT: “Domo the ninth?”
VILA: “Son of Domo the Eighth, presumably.”
DAYNA: “The ninth must be a date.”
SOOLIN: “Domo is a planet.”
TARRANT: “I can't say I've ever heard of it.”
SOOLIN: “It's a hostile planet near the edge of the sixth quadrant. About ten years ago it was colonised by a group of space pirates. They use it as a base to attack any undefended ships, loot them and auction the passengers off as slaves.”

AVON: “Yes, I know about him [Cancer].”
TARRANT: “So who is he?”
AVON: “I've no idea. No, I mean it. I don't know who he is, how old he is, what he looks like, or where he comes from, but I do know what he does.”
TARRANT: “And what's that?”
AVON: “He kills people - for a great deal of money.”

DAYNA: “A hired assassin with Servalan as his utiliser - why?”
AVON: “I don't want to seem paranoid, but the tape said five subjects. You may use your fingers, if you like, Vila.”
DAYNA: “Well I suppose it makes sense. Why break her neck chasing us around the galaxy when she can pay a professional to do it for her?”
TARRANT: “Yes, but so what? Why should he find us any easier than she can?” [To Avon] “He's good, is he, this Cancer?”
AVON: “You can imagine how much it hurts me to use the word infallible.”
TARRANT: “Oh, come on. Nobody's infallible.”
AVON: “All right, then he's not infallible. It's just that up to now, he has never failed.”
TARRANT: “Do you know, I really think you're frightened.”

SOOLIN: “Avon, if no one has ever seen the man's face, how will we know him?”
AVON: “Perhaps we won't have to. If we're right and Servalan is going to be on Domo to give him our names and some form of down payment, perhaps we can handle this some other way.”
SOOLIN: “What other way?”
AVON: “Servalan has lived altogether too long. Cancer is a professional. With his pay-mistress dead, he will pack up his toys and go home.”

NEBROX: “A fine, well-set-up young fellow like you, you won't have any trouble in finding a buyer. Whereas an old wreck like me, with no special skills...”
AVON: “I shouldn't think that bothers you too much.”
NEBROX: “Yes, but they only... they only put you up twice. Then they decide you're not worth your keep, and ...” [makes cut-throat gesture] “This... this will be my second time.”
AVON: “Oh - I'm sorry. I wish you luck.”

“I think, if you don't mind, I would prefer my slave to address me as `mistress.’” (SERVALAN, after winning AVON in the slave auction)

DAYNA: “I almost had her [Servalan]. I almost had her!”
AVON: “Almost is never good enough.”

“Avon, what *is* that terrible noise?” (SOOLIN, on hearing Piri’s wailing)

[Soolin slaps Piri in the face]
TARRANT: “You enjoyed that, didn't you?”
SOOLIN: “There are two classic ways of dealing with a hysterical woman. You didn't really expect me to kiss her, did you?”

TARRANT: “Right, that's it.”
AVON: “What does that mean?”
TARRANT: “If I'm going to die, I'd rather do it with a gun in my hand than sit around here shivering like an old woman.”
AVON: “Don't be a fool, that's exactly what he [Cancer] wants.”
TARRANT: “After the hash you've made of this business, you're in no position to call anyone a fool. Anyway, if that's what he wants, let him have it.”
AVON: “All right, you've made your impression. You can sit down now.”
TARRANT: “What does that mean?”
AVON: “She [Piri] knows that you are very brave. Now sit down.”
TARRANT: [Temper rising] “Avon, you're beginning to get on my nerves.”
AVON: “Oh really?”
TARRANT: “You botched this mission from the start.”
AVON: “You would have handled it differently.”
TARRANT: “Well, it certainly doesn't speak highly of your much vaunted brains.”

PIRI: “You're quite right, he's completely dead. I killed him. Pity, in a way. He was a fairly impressive specimen.”
AVON: “You killed Cancer?”
PIRI: “Oh Avon! And you are supposed to be the clever one. I AM Cancer.”

AVON: “Why didn't you let our ‘friend’ [the actor pretending to be Cancer] finish off Tarrant and me when we first came aboard this ship?”
PIRI: “Oh no, that would never have done. My contract was for all five of you. I had to get you to trust me so that you'd take me back to your base, and I could simply pick you off one by one. Besides, that would have spoilt our fun.”
AVON: “Our fun?”
PIRI: “Oh yes. Utiliser, are you hearing all this?”
SERVALAN: [through communicator] “Every word. I only wish I could see you as well. Congratulations Cancer, you are a credit to our sex.”
PIRI: “Would you like to have a few words with our friend, before he goes?”
SERVALAN: “Oh yes. I couldn't let him go without saying goodbye. Avon. You're not sulking, I hope.”
AVON: “I'm full of admiration for your brilliance. This was all a setup from the beginning, I take it.”
SERVALAN: “Oh, yes. And you co-operated beautifully. Incidentally, the whole ship is bugged. It has been fun listening to all your little plans and squabbles. But I'm surprised at you, Avon. I would have thought you were the last person to be taken in by a pretty face.”

PIRI: “You're too clever, Avon, you and Soolin. With the pair of you gone, dear sweet Tarrant will escort me back to base and I shall simply pick up where I left off.”
AVON: “With the pair of us gone?”
PIRI: “Oh yes, I should imagine that blonde bitch is probably dead already. In fact, I'm sure of it. [Shot of the spider transforming into Piri's brooch. She shows it to Avon] “Pretty, isn't it? I am disappointed in you, Avon. Cancer, the sign of the crab. It's been staring you in the face right from the very beginning. Fortunately, it has an inexhaustible supply ... of venom. Him, Nebrox, Soolin, and still more than enough left over for you.” [She puts it on his chest, in transforms again and creeps slowly towards his face] “Oh I wish that I could tell you that it's a painless death, but I'm afraid it's very much the reverse. On the other hand, I can assure you that it's quick. A pity Avon. I was looking forward to a real duel between the two of us, but a man's just a man, when all's said and done.”

SERVALAN: “Well! May I congratulate you on a job well done [blowing up Cancer’s ship], Captain.”
CAPTAIN: [Handing her a glass of wine] “You don't seem altogether happy.”
SERVALAN: “Oh, I'm happy enough. It's just that a universe without Avon and Tarrant will take a certain amount of getting used to.”

DAYNA: “Well, aren't you going to tell us what happened? Vila's very worried. He wants to know what became of that sweet little girl.”
SOOLIN: “Vila, all sweet things have one thing in common: a tendency to make you sick.”


AVON 132

ANALYSIS: “Assassin” is the last time we see the crew of Scorpio emerge victorious, as they avoid death at the hands of hired assassin Cancer.

The three Scorpio crewmembers who stay on board Cancer’s ship - Avon, Tarrant and Soolin - take well over half the dialogue between them in this episode (Avon’s share alone is 27%). Not that it’s either Avon or Tarrant’s greatest moment, as both make a complete hash of things. Instead it’s up to Soolin to save the day. She works out the true identity of Cancer, saves Avon’s life and kills Cancer in one brush of her gun, and gets the final word.

Vila and Dayna are a bit marginalised here, as they set off on the Scorpio, thus taking them away from the main action. Meanwhile, Servalan is much more like her old self in “Assassin”.

Piri (Cancer) and Nebrox head the guest characters. Caroline Holdaway’s performance as Piri is a little unusual, to say the least. But it doesn’t detract too much from a strong episode with plenty of interesting dialogue.
trevor travis


ORAC: “Feldon is the hardest known subject in the universe.”
AVON: “And currently the most valuable.”
VILA: “Go on, you're just getting interesting.”
ORAC: “It's extremely rare, traces found in the asteroid belt and on a few insignificant planets. Invariably prized as a precious stone until its commercial and industrial uses were discovered. Feldon concentrates energy.”
DAYNA: “Well so does a burning glass. So what?”
AVON: “That's not a bad analogy, but given the right conditions Feldon is infinitely more efficient.”
SOOLIN: “Infinitely more efficient?”
AVON: “I use the word deliberately.”
TARRANT: “But did you use it accurately?”
AVON: “The Federation is investing two hundred billion credits on the project. For unlimited energy, I would say that that was cheap at the price.”
VILA: “So would I. Where?”
AVON: “Where what?”
VILA: “Where do we steal the Federation crystals from?” [Avon smiles]

TARRANT: “Why should this middle-aged Federation professor [Gerren] want to help you, Avon?”
AVON: “Because apart from being a brilliant geologist and an expert in mining techniques, he is also greedy, avaricious, and a crook.”
VILA: “Has he got any faults?”

SERVALAN: “This isn't a game Belkov. We want those crystals and we want them now.”
BELKOV: “And I'm the only one who can get them for you. It is a game Commissioner, and I hold the winning hand.”
SERVALAN: “No hand is a winning hand until it's played, Belkov. You should know that.”

“Oh, so you survived. Oh, well done! Ah, but no points for you, I fear. I shall have to mark you down as ‘retired hurt.’” (BELKOV to GERREN)

“I don't mind playing games, but I do object when the opposition [Belkov] makes up the rules and decides to be the referee as well.” (AVON to SOOLIN)

SERVALAN: “Perhaps we can do business after all.”
BELKOV: “Good, then without appearing to be greedy, I'd like to discuss the question of my payment first.”
SERVALAN: “The Federation's been paying you for twelve years. I'd say you're lucky to get out with your life.”
BELKOV: “Oh, I wouldn't. I want Orac, my ship, and enough Feldon crystals to negotiate my way round the galaxy.” [Servalan expresses her surprise] “You're getting a bargain, and you know it.”

TARRANT: “Right! I want you to get into cover and wait.”
VILA: “Out here, alone?”
TARRANT: “Belkov may double-cross us.”
VILA: “I should think that's highly likely. What d'you expect me to do about it, mount a one-man rescue?
TARRANT: “Something like that.”
VILA: “They're [the Mecronians] after blood, my blood.”
DAYNA: “Tell them you've already given.”

VILA: “We've been trying to contact you for an hour. What the hell have you been doing, taking a nap?”
AVON: [On Scorpio] “I've been doing what we came for. How about you?”
VILA: “Oh nothing much, I've been shot at, trodden on, nearly captured twice...” [Explosion – burning man runs past] “...and now I think they're trying to blow me up. A fairly average day, you know.”

SOOLIN: “Who's winning [the chess match]?”
ORAC: “We've both made sacrifices.”
AVON: “He means that Gambit is.”
ORAC: “A temporary advantage.”
AVON: “To an inferior computer?”
ORAC: “Which merely disguises my long-term strategy.”
AVON: “Let's forget your ego for the moment.”

BELKOV: “Look, I can't take you with me. You can see that, can't you? You're needed here, but you can't be left intact either. With all the trouble I've been to, to destroy the evidence, I can hardly leave you with memory banks full of it, can I?”
GAMBIT: “Is there some other function you wish me to carry out?”
BELKOV: “When all other tasks have been performed, go to self-destruct sequence as programmed. Gambit...”
GAMBIT: “Yes, Belkov?”
BELKOV: “I shall miss you. I don't suppose that concept could possibly mean anything to you. I just thought I'd mention it.”

“Tarrant, this is your one-man backup team. I think it's time we got out of here.” (VILA, after persuading GAMBIT to open the door to where Tarrant, Dayna and Gerren were trapped by Belkov)

VILA: “What about the crystals?”
AVON: “There aren't any damned crystals. There never were any damned crystals. They're like everything else on this ship: a game. That's why the last one has to be impassable.”

DAYNA: “After all that, we go home empty-handed.”
VILA: “Er, not entirely empty-handed.” [produces Belkov's necklace] “Well, I saw it lying about, seemed a pity not to take it. After all, Belkov won't be needing it where he's gone.”
AVON: “Let me see that.”
VILA: “I'd say the last game was mine, wouldn't you?”
AVON: “I have bad news for you, Vila.” [Smashes crystals with his gun butt] “It's a fake. End game to Belkov.”



ANALYSIS: “Games” establishes a trend for the next few episodes – with the crew of Scorpio after precious materials to improve their lot.

Avon has just under 20% of the dialogue and heads the chart for a third successive episode, while it’s a good Vila episode, who is given plenty of quotable dialogue, as well as coming to the rescue of Tarrant & Dayna.

Belkov, played by Stratford Johns, is the latest in a line of strong guest characters in B7, while Gambit is an interesting take on a computer with a personality.
trevor travis


“I know a land beyond the heart of time. The sun never comes there. No moon ever shines. And man, a grain of sand, nameless and lost, blows with the dust. I apologise, H.Q., but that's what this place makes me think of. The sun never comes here. Just sand and mist. Virn, the green planet. Never rains here either. There's something strange. Not just the way the ship was affected when we came down. Not just the way all the machinery plays up. Not just the way we're dying. You still listening, H.Q.? This is Don Keller, remember me? On Virn, where we have a plague on our hands. On my hands. So when do I get something from you?” (Recording of DON KELLER, from five years ago)

REEVE: “Which makes you rather an odd choice for this mission.”
SERVALAN: “You think so?”
REEVE: “Commissioner Sleer? In charge of the pacification program? There's nothing for you on Virn. Unless someone thought I'd be lonely?”
SERVALAN: “I'm sure you're accustomed to loneliness, Investigator Reeve. You must be alone such a lot.”

TARRANT: “It [Virn] certainly doesn't look very appealing.”
DAYNA: “No, it's much too green.”
VILA: “Why don't you repaint it while you're down there?”

REEVE: “No moonlight. What a pity.”
SERVALAN: “I have nothing to gain by tolerating you Reeve.”
REEVE: “Oh, you sure of that?”
SERVALAN: “I suggest you go back to the fire. The alternative could be frostbite.”
REEVE: “I don't believe that. A woman like you?”
SERVALAN: “There is something you should realise. There are no women like me. I am unique. That makes me rather dangerous.”

SERVALAN: “Reeve, you apparently think this is a new, exciting experience for me. It isn't. I've confronted several maniacs with guns.”
REEVE: “Oh, I'm sure you have ... Madam President.” [She smiles.] “I'm right aren't I, Servalan? We never actually met. But I was at one of those official receptions for good and faithful servants that you occasionally graced with your presence.”

SERVALAN: “I hate to tell you this, Tarrant, but you just killed an enemy of mine [Reeve].”
TARRANT: “Well, everyone's entitled to one really bad mistake.”

ORAC: “My emotions are deeper than the seas of space. One times one is only possible in the ultra-dimensional.”
AVON: “Turn Orac off.”
ORAC: “I love you.”
AVON: “Off!”
ORAC: “We will be lovers for a little while, or maybe for a long while, who knows?”
SOOLIN: “I do.” [Removes Orac’s key]
VILA: “What a thought.”

TARRANT: [Into teleport bracelet] “Avon. Avon, what are you waiting for?” [no response]
SERVALAN: “What a shame.”
TARRANT: “Yes, it is rather a pity, we could all have had a reunion.”
SERVALAN: “Instead the reunion is limited to two. What is your particular grudge against me?”
TARRANT: “Let me see. You sat and watched my brother die. That doesn't seem to make me like you very much. Aside from all the countless other reasons anyone might have for blowing your head off.”
SERVALAN: “What fascinating violence.”
TARRANT: “I'm also a fascinating shot. Particularly at a distance of three feet.”
SERVALAN: “Is that how close we are? Something must be drawing us together.”
TARRANT: “We're both looking for the same thing.”
SERVALAN: “Are we? Then I suggest we agree a truce.”
TARRANT: “You mean I put the gun away and you and I trip hand in hand across the base, until you brain me with some convenient blunt instrument.”
SERVALAN: “You underestimate your usefulness, Tarrant. I said a truce. Or we can stand here until we die of sedentary collapse. Because you aren't going to kill me, Tarrant, however much you think you want to.”
SERVALAN: [Pulls the end of his gun to her forehead] “At a distance of one inch, the shot should be even more efficient.”
TARRANT: “Very neat Servalan. You've found my weakness. I prefer to shoot a moving target. In other words, be very careful.”

TARRANT: “Would this be the point at which we break down and tell each other the stories of our lives?”
SERVALAN: “To soulful music?”
TARRANT: “Oh preferably. How did you get away from the Liberator?”
SERVALAN: “It was difficult.”
TARRANT: “It was impossible.”
SERVALAN: “Manifestly not.”
TARRANT: “So how?”
SERVALAN: “The teleport. A malfunction. A power surge. Suddenly I was back on a Federation world.”
TARRANT: “What a lucky little commissioner you are.”
SERVALAN: “Aren't I, though?”
TARRANT: “What happened to the presidency?”
SERVALAN: “It was stolen in my absence. I shall take it back eventually.”
TARRANT: “If the new boys don't spot you first.”
SERVALAN: “I'm dead. And anyone who was ever directly involved with me has been purged.”

SERVALAN: “If anyone can find a way out of here, you will.”
TARRANT: “Will I?”
SERVALAN: “Naturally. You are both resourceful and decorative.”
TARRANT: “Thank you. I might say the same about you. But then I'd also say you're possibly the most unscrupulously venomous woman in the galaxy. Being shut in here with you is rather like being locked in a cage with a panther: a black cat with large golden eyes and long silver talons.”
SERVALAN: “Oh, Tarrant. I'm just the girl next door.”
TARRANT: “If you were the girl next door, I'd move.”
SERVALAN: “Where would you move to, Tarrant?”
TARRANT: “Next door.”

SERVALAN: “Don Keller, he was my lover. I was eighteen.”
TARRANT: “He's the reason you're here.”
SERVALAN: “He left me. I grew up. Power became my lover. Power is like a drug. It is beautiful. Shining. I could destroy a planet by pressing a button. I loved him.”

“Presumably the sand up here has compared Vila's wits and stamina with mine and concluded that I am the dominant male. On the herd principle therefore, it decided that Vila was superfluous and it could kill him. You two, of course, would have been allowed to live.” (AVON to SOOLIN & DAYNA)

AVON: “Where we are now we are causing massive atmospheric disturbance. Let us get closer. Let us make it worse. Eventually there may be enough of a build-up to create some kind of rain.”
SOOLIN: “Or to knock us out of the sky.”
AVON: “This is not just a rescue mission for poor gallant Tarrant! While the sand remains active, the planet will not let go of us. The instruments are unreliable. We have Virn hanging on our heels. How do you think we are going to get away?” [Soolin and Dayna rush to their positions] “I take it that means yes.”
DAYNA: “Well, how could we refuse, Avon? You are the dominant male, aren't you?” [Avon smiles]

VILA: “You never said what the woman was like, Tarrant.”
TARRANT: “Didn't I?”
DAYNA: “Pretty?”
TARRANT: “Pretty familiar... Servalan.”
AVON: “Servalan!”
TARRANT: “Yes. She explained her survival.”
DAYNA: “And did she excuse it too?”
AVON: “Presumably she was after the same thing as the Federation, but for private purposes.”
TARRANT: “And Don Keller was supposed to have been her lover.”
AVON: “She told you that?”
AVON: “You believed her?”
TARRANT: “Not necessarily. I think it was a gambit to gain my sympathy in a nervous situation.”
AVON: “And she got it, too, didn't she? Your sympathy, I mean.”
TARRANT: “Yes, Avon.” [Dayna glares at him] “I've said all I'm going to.” [Dayna, Soolin, and Vila leave the flight deck]
AVON: “Orac has theorised that the planet makes its own sand. It's probably cooking up a new batch right now. Servalan may not get off Virn alive, which would make you the last man in her life.” [He smiles] “That's ironic, isn't it?”

“Don Keller. You waited five years to show me you were dead. And Del Tarrant. I had the gun but I didn't kill you, Tarrant... yet.” (An emotional SERVALAN at the end of the episode)



ANALYSIS: For the second successive season, Tanith Lee delivers a quality script - and in the process, she gives Servalan her best outing of Season D.

Out of the 52 episodes of B7, this episode contains the least lines of dialogue (353). However, there is a good reason for this – Tanith Lee’s prose style is quite different to that of e.g. Allan Prior. She writes in longer sentences. And her dialogue has a real shine to it.

Tarrant just edges out Servalan in the dialogue stakes, but it’s pretty close, as one would expect – after all, a big chunk in the middle of the episode is these two replying to each other. It’s nicely structured; the romance between them doesn’t seem too forced. Servalan is given some character development; it’s one of the few instances where she is almost vulnerable at times. However, it’s all done perfectly within character.

Avon is still given plenty to say in this episode, as he works out how to make it rain to defeat the Vampire Sand (the sand is an interesting concept). Meanwhile, Investigator Reeve features heavily in the first 20 minutes, before Tarrant kills him.

An episode of B7 with an almost unique feel to it. It feels like a stage play. But also an episode that works tremendously well.
trevor travis


KEILLER: “Welcome, welcome to the Space Princess, everybody” [Soolin frisks him]
SOOLIN: “He's clean.”
KEILLER: “Of course I'm clean, what do you take me for. Avon and I are old friends. It's good to see you, Avon.”
DAYNA: “Nobody said move, Keiller. Just relax.”
TARRANT: “But not, too much.”
KEILLER: “Say, Avon, what is this? Old Friend. Can't you keep your gang under control.”
AVON: “They're not my gang, Keiller. We are together for mutual convenience. I imagine that if I double-crossed them, they would try and kill me. Just as they will kill you, if you let them down.”

AVON: “Why pick on us?”
KEILLER: “You have a ship for the getaway. And a reputation for daring.”
TARRANT: “Which you heard about where?”
KEILLER: “Oh, I've known Avon, long time. We're old friends...”
TARRANT: “That's not what I asked.”
KEILLER: “On the grapevine, my friend. You're getting to be big news.”

KEILLER: “I say, you two, that was good shooting.”
AVON [To Soolin] “Not bad.” [To Keiller] “Soolin killed them both.”

KEILLER: “Your friend, Vila, he wants no part in this?”
SOOLIN: “He doesn't trust you, Keiller. He thinks it's a trap.”
KEILLER: “Suspicious.”
AVON: “And frequently right. How much further?”

AVON: “This is interesting. Keiller's record. Very impressive. His last employer was the Federation.”
SOOLIN: “What's he doing here on Zerok?”
AVON: [To himself] “On the President's personal staff. But which president?”

KEILLER: “Look, do you all have to stare at me like that? I swear I didn't let you down. All right. I was told to contact you.”
TARRANT: “By whom?”
KEILLER: “I don't know. I don't - really. But they play rough, I do know that. They blackmailed me, said they'd use my record against me... I've got a criminal record, you see.”
VILA: “Hasn't everybody?”

KEILLER: [after shooting the Doctor] “See, Pretty One, I can shoot too.”
SOOLIN: “He wasn't armed.”
TARRANT: “Or dangerous.”
KEILLER: “Everyone's dangerous.”

AVON: “Be ready, Vila.”
VILA: “Aren't I always?”
AVON: “No, you're not.”

SERVALAN: “Congratulations, Avon. I see you worked it out.”
AVON: “Keiller was once on the personal security staff of the president of the Federation. That just had to be you. It wasn't hard to work out. But it wasn't meant to be, was it?”
SERVALAN: “I don't know what you mean.”
AVON: “You wouldn't leave me a clue like that. Not unless you really wanted to. You knew I wouldn't be able to resist it. You planned everything, every move, you even knew that Keiller would disobey you, and you hoped that I would trust him because of that.” SERVALAN: “Very good.”
AVON: “I almost did trust Keiller. When I found out it was you, I knew I was safe from him, at least. After all, he has nothing to gain from obeying you. Only in the end, it occurred to me that he might possibly imagine that you would keep your side of the bargain and pay him his reward instead of just killing him. He doesn't know you as well as I do.”
SERVALAN: “Who does? Avon, would you be careful with the gun. My guards have orders to shoot you first. The price of my life would be yours.”
AVON: “Well, now. The sacrifice might be worthwhile.”
SERVALAN: “You're not the sacrificial type.”
AVON: “You're right. We'll do business as arranged. That was very good bait, the black gold.”
SERVALAN: “I knew you'd like it” [They laugh]

SOOLIN: “Avon, why didn't you tell us that you knew who it was who was setting us up?”
AVON: “Would it have made any difference if I had?”
TARRANT: “You know damn well it would. Servalan's not just some greedy gangster.”
AVON: “Surely that is exactly what she is.” [Avon and Tarrant glare at each other]

SOOLIN: “Avon, you took risks with our lives.”
AVON: “For ten billion in cash and an outside chance of killing Servalan? Would you rather I hadn't?”
ORAC: “It was not sensible.”
AVON: “What's that supposed to mean?”
ORAC: “Within the last few hours, Zerok has ceded to the Federation.”
DAYNA: “So that black gold will be of use to Servalan. The Federation doesn't know how she's got it. She's made herself a good profit.”
ORAC: [Almost laughing] “It's worse than that, unfortunately.”
TARRANT: “Worse?”
ORAC: “The Federation banking system will now take over that of Zerok. All bank notes drawn by the Bank of Zerok will be declared invalid within seven days and all private transactions will be illegal directly. The consequences of this are clear.”
TARRANT: “Yes, they're clear all right. Aren't they, Avon? We've just risked our lives, for nothing.”
SOOLIN: “Not for nothing, Tarrant. We risked our lives to make Servalan rich.” [Soolin throws some bank notes in the air. Avon laughs manically]



ANALYSIS: “Gold” is a superb heist story. It is an archetypal Season D episode – with no-one up to any good. And also it marks the start of a sequence of stories where everyone goes wrong for Avon – that laugh at the conclusion of this episode is not a healthy one.

Roy Kinnear’s Keiller makes an excellent guest character – which is just as well, because he takes a whopping 26% of the dialogue, a record for a guest character.

Avon (who is just 12 lines behind Keiller), Tarrant and Soolin are also well served by this episode. Both this episode and the forthcoming “Warlord” place Avon & Soolin together as a pair, and they make a good combination.

Servalan has her smallest part in any episode in “Gold”. But it’s quite nice the way she is tucked away until the final few minutes. And she and Avon have one wonderful final scene together; the only other time they’ve met in Season D is “Assassin”, presumably because Avon is so murderous in his feelings towards Servalan in the final season, thereby ruling out too much interaction between them.
I think your selected dialogue for Sand should also have included:

SOOLIN The indestructible Liberator was destroyed, and Cally died.
VILA Why don't you just shut up! What the hell do you know about any of that?

I think it's the only time Cally is mentioned after Terminal/Rescue? Vila's upset reaction (whether or not it was Sand-induced) does seem genuine. He had witnessed the death of Zen, he was the last of the crew to leave the Liberator and Cally had been a friend.
My views are my own.

VILA: I'm entitled to my opinion.
AVON: It is your assumption that we are entitled to it as well that is irritating.

Twitter: @TravisinaB7
trevor travis
Travisina wrote:

I think your selected dialogue for Sand should also have included:

SOOLIN The indestructible Liberator was destroyed, and Cally died.
VILA Why don't you just shut up! What the hell do you know about any of that?

I think it's the only time Cally is mentioned after Terminal/Rescue? Vila's upset reaction (whether or not it was Sand-induced) does seem genuine. He had witnessed the death of Zen, he was the last of the crew to leave the Liberator and Cally had been a friend.

Good point Travisina.

Anyway, back to this little project. Typically I was only three episodes from the end, when other priorities took over. But Orbit, Warlord and Blake now to follow...
trevor travis


AVON: “What is the surface analysis, Slave?”
SLAVE: “Nitrogen, methane, and argon predominate. Also traces of free ammonia and sulphur compounds. It is unsuitable for your illustrious life form, Master.”
VILA: “He thinks it stinks, too.”
SOOLIN: “I make the surface temperature minus ninety to a hundred.”
TARRANT: “Cold at night.”
AVON: “You can tell us when you get back.”
TARRANT: “The message was for you!”
AVON: “I get chilblains, Tarrant.”
TARRANT: “Oh, why not?”
DAYNA: “Shouldn't he have some kind of backup, Avon? That kind of environment...”
AVON: “I was hoping you would volunteer.”
DAYNA: “All right, I'm a volunteer.” [Tarrant and Dayna leave the flight deck]
AVON: [Looking at Vila] “Do I hear three? No, I didn't think I would.”
VILA: “You know I like to stick with you, Avon, where it's safe.”

VILA: “I still think that message was a phony. Egrorian hasn't been heard of for ten years.”
SOOLIN: “I've never heard of him, ever.”
AVON: “Said to have been a genius. Scientists are still trying to understand the Egrorian theory of parallel matter.”
SOOLIN: “What happened to him?”
VILA: “He disappeared, along with a few million credits from the Space Research Institute.”
SOOLIN: “So he's a criminal.”
VILA: “Aren't we all? Except he pulled off a big one. Which is why he's not sitting on Malodaar.”
AVON: “It is a good hideaway.”
VILA: “Hideaway? Avon, if I got my hands on that kind of money, I'd have gone somewhere I could enjoy it. What is the point of having money if you have to exist on a hole like that!”
AVON: “You are forgetting: there is a big difference between you and Egrorian. He has a brain.”
VILA: “Oh yeah? Well, if you had one it might have occurred to you this could be a Federation trap.”
AVON: “Well, of course, it's occurred to me. Why do you think I'm sending Tarrant?”

VILA: “This Egrorian, you said he was some kind of genius.”
AVON: “They said he was supposed to be some time back.”
VILA: “Well, that's what I mean. Living alone all these years, you don't know what he's like now. These super-brains often go pop, don't they?”
AVON: “That's true.”
VILA: “He could be dangerous, Avon.”
AVON: “There is a chance, I suppose.”
VILA: “This guy's gonna need careful handling. You want someone with tact. I mean, you know me.”
AVON: “Oh yes, I think so.”
VILA: “Blunt, always speaking my mind, I'm just the sort to upset him.”
AVON: “Well, you'll just have to try not to, won't you?”
VILA: “You should take one of the girls, Avon. Hey, why not? A girl might... you know, interest him. He's probably forgotten what they look like.”
AVON: “Vila, if I didn't know you better, I would think you were trying to get out of this.”

TARRANT: “I did a course at the Space Institute not long after Egrorian disappeared. The rumour was that he'd been helped in his getaway by someone at the very highest level.”
DAYNA: “Servalan? But why should she want to help Egrorian?”
TARRANT: “Why should Egrorian want to see Avon?”
DAYNA: “You mean there could be a connection?”
TARRANT: “When Servalan does anyone a favour, she wants repaying with interest. I'm just wondering if Avon's the interest.”

EGRORIAN: “Now, then, Avon. What would you say if I offered you mastery of the galaxy?”
AVON: “Oh, I would say thank you.”
VILA: “For a whole galaxy? Oh, come on, Avon, show the man some gratitude.”

EGRORIAN: [Laughs] “Do you think my mind is addled?”
VILA: “No, no, it's just we don't get offered galaxies every day of the week.”

“Sir, your most illustrious colleague Avon wishes to communicate.” (SLAVE to TARRANT)

VILA: “It certainly takes some getting used to.”
AVON: “What does?”
VILA: “Knowing we've finally cracked it. All I want now is to find a way of living forever... All we have to do is knock out a few planets for target practice, then name our own terms. We can have whatever we want! Think of it... I'll have an imperial palace with solid diamond floors, and a bodyguard of a thousand handpicked virgins in red fur uniforms. Vila's Royal Mounties.”
AVON: “You're dreaming again.”
VILA: “A man has a right to dream. Anyway, what's to stop us? I suppose it will get boring after the first fifty years, eh?” [Notices Avon's expression] “What's the matter with you?”
AVON: “I was thinking about Pinder, and the way he said ‘pleased to make your acquaintance, ma'am.’”
VILA: “Is that worrying you? Listen, if it'll set your mind at rest, I never thought you were a woman.”
AVON: “He said it as though it were a phrase he had been taught.”
VILA: “Maybe Egrorian gives him lessons in etiquette as well as judo.”
AVON: “Or maybe he has been taught that that was the way of addressing a stranger. Servalan, for instance.”

EGRORIAN: [Kneeling] “Servalan, my steel queen, my empress, the only reward I crave is a place in your affections.”
SERVALAN: “But you already have that, Egrorian! Ten years ago I risked my position to help you continue your work.”
EGRORIAN: “And not a day has passed since then that I have not yearned for the time, when I would be able to repay your trust by laying all the world and the galaxy at your feet.”
SERVALAN: “Oh, get up!”

VILA: “Unlike some people around here, I don't boast about my abilities, I keep them hidden.”
DAYNA: “Oh, you certainly do.”

VILA: “You're thinking of Servalan again.”
AVON: “She is never far from my thoughts.”

EGRORIAN: “Orac, what was the subject of my degree thesis at Belhangria University?”
ORAC: “Your paper e-stroke-nine-on-stroke-six-zero-four-four was on particle physics and dealt specifically with the properties of rissions. It was marked Beta plus, Egrorian.”
PINDER: “Only beta plus, Egrorian?”
EGRORIAN: “Pinder, you're to be seen and not heard, remember?”
AVON: “If Orac has a fault, it is a tendency to give more information than is requested.”
VILA: “Or less information than requested.”
AVON: “But seldom just the information that is requested.”

SERVALAN: “You pathetic fool. That isn't Orac!”
EGRORIAN: “Highness...”
SERVALAN: “Look at it!”
EGRORIAN: “I asked... But I...”
SERVALAN: “It's just a box of flashing lights! I warned you about Avon, and he still tricked you. I will kill you for this.”

SERVALAN: “What a pity we haven't a link with the shuttle.”
EGRORIAN: “Yes, it is unfortunate. Still, is it necessary?”
SERVALAN: “I should like to be able to see Avon.”

AVON: “Not enough! Not nearly enough! Damn it, what weighs seventy kilos?”
ORAC: “Vila weighs seventy-three kilos, Avon.” [Vila overhears as the door closes. Avon fetches his gun with a determined look on his face]

TARRANT: “A neutron star?”
AVON: “A microscopic fragment of one. It's the only possible explanation. It was unbelievably heavy.”
DAYNA: “So how could Egrorian have planted it aboard?”
AVON: “He must have reprogrammed that automatic landing bay of his.”
SOOLIN: “And you moved it on your own?”
AVON: “I couldn't find Vila.”
VILA: “I'm glad about that.”
TARRANT: “Pity about the tachyon funnel, though.”
AVON: “We had no choice.”
VILA: “It's a trip I won't forget, Avon.”
AVON: “Well, as you always say, Vila: you know you are safe with ME.” [Avon and Vila stare at each other]


AVON 126

ANALYSIS: “Orbit”, is for its opening 34 minutes, mostly a comedy (Vila’s every line, in particular, is a gem). But, in a stroke, it turns into something far darker and sinister – as Avon is placed in a situation where he believes the only way to survive is to kill Vila.

While this is an appreciation of one of B7’s great strengths, its dialogue, it would be remiss to describe a couple of sections of the latter part of “Orbit” which have no dialogue. Firstly, the look on Avon’s (Paul Darrow) face after Orac imparts the knowledge that “Vila weighs seven-three kilos”. It says a thousand words – one can almost see Avon’s whole thought process; the regret, and then the resolution. Also, there’s a clearly distressed Vila (Michael Keating) in hiding; such were the power of these scenes, that the shots were cut back to make it less obvious that Vila had been crying. Yes, dialogue is a key strength of B7, but so is the pool of acting talent, as evidenced here.

Robert Holmes’ previous two scripts had shared around the dialogue. Not only does “Orbit” have a much smaller cast than either “Gambit” or “Traitor”, but also most of the dialogue is concentrated on just a few characters. Avon, Egrorian and Vila take a whopping 68% share between them. The dialogue has a typically Holmesian sparkle – I also wanted to include Vila’s “Hello, Pinder. How's the arm?” but it’s out of context without around three lines of explanation.

“Orbit” is a disturbingly well-written episode, and a hugely memorable one.
trevor travis


DAYNA: “It's going badly.”
VILA: “Hardly surprising. Avon's idea of diplomacy is like breaking someone's leg then saying ‘Lean on me.’”

AVON: “Originally the stuff [Pylene-50] was administered by medical laser, but now they have developed variants. It can be fed into your reservoirs or even into the air that you breathe.”
MIDA: “You're saying, then, that we have no protection.”
AVON: “On the contrary, I'm offering you the best there is, total immunity. I have the antitoxin. What I do not have is the necessary equipment to mass produce it. Or the raw material from which to obtain the toxin extract... Zukan has the raw material, and you, gentlemen, you have the necessary equipment.”
BOORVA: “Any such alliance would be futile as long as Zukan remained outside it.”
LOD: “And he has the armies.”
CHALSA: “And the war fleet.”
BOORVA: “He's a pirate. Zukan's a pirate, and [points at Avon] he's an outlaw”.

TARRANT: [into communicator] “This is Xenon base, identify yourselves. I repeat, identify yourselves.” [There is just static] “You have ten seconds or I'll open fire.”
VILA: “With what?”

SOOLIN: “Why would he [Zukan] be so displeased if he found out you were here?”
ZEEONA: “You know what fathers are like with their daughters.”
SOOLIN: “As it happens, I don't. Mine was murdered when I was eight.”
ZEEONA: “I'm sorry.”
SOOLIN: “So were the men who did it, eventually.”

SOOLIN: “Zukan need never know. He saw her [Zeeona] come aboard and as far as he's concerned she still is. When he gets back to Betafarl he'll think she's simply disappeared again. We know nothing about it.”
AVON: “He'll never believe that.”
SOOLIN: “But you lie so well.”

ZUKAN: “Betafarl has perpetual day -- did you know?”
DAYNA: “No.”
ZUKAN: “It never sleeps. Perpetual light. All that energy. There are times when I miss the darkness. It is hard to live always in the light.”

VILA: “How much oxygen have we got down here? How long can we last without fresh air?”
TARRANT: “Eighteen, twenty hours.”
DAYNA: “And how long to dig our way out?”
TARRANT: “Anything up to four days.”
VILA: “Oh no.”
DAYNA: “Oh well, I was never very good at maths, but...”
VILA: “You don't have to be. We're dead.”

AVON: “Federation guards.”
SOOLIN: “You know what that makes Zukan, don't you?”
AVON: “I know what it makes us.”

SERVALAN: “It was a mistake to let Avon take your daughter. If he escapes we've achieved nothing.”
ZUKAN: “You do not trust your own men, Commissioner?”
SERVALAN: “It isn't a matter of trust so much as matching ability.”
ZUKAN: “Against one man?”
SERVALAN: “Against Avon.”
ZUKAN: “You make me wonder if I didn't choose badly. You fear him. He and I, together we could have been invincible.”

ZUKAN: “They're all dead. Eleven good Betafarlians. Do you think you'll see them in your dreams, Finn?”
FINN: “Not me.”
ZUKAN: “I will, if my dreams aren't already overcrowded.”
FINN: “You should take dream suppressants.”
ZUKAN: “They don't help. I see my bad dreams in other people's eyes.”

AVON: “Perhaps we could reverse the process on the neutron bombarder and use it as a neutralising filter. Is that feasible, do you think?”
ZEEONA: “Risky, though. It's not very stable, it could go critical.”
AVON: “One person must go down. Volunteer? Or shall we draw lots?”
ZEEONA: “I'll go.”
TARRANT: “No! Why?”
ZEEONA: “Because I'm the only one who knows how to work it.”
VILA: “Seems reasonable.”
TARRANT: “Shut up, Vila.”
ZEEONA: “I want it to be me. It has to be me.” [To Tarrant] “Don't you understand?”
TARRANT: “Then I go with her.”
AVON: “No. She will go alone.”
SOOLIN: “Let her do it her own way, Tarrant. You'd demand the same.”



ANALYSIS: “Warlord” is a pivotal episode for Season D. Not only does it pick up the Pylene-50 storyline from “Traitor”, but it also serves as a lead into “Blake”. At first glance, Avon’s sudden desire to fight may seem out of place, but his motivation is well described: there’s a simple choice of fight the Federation or eventually end up as a zombie!

The seven major characters in this downbeat episode are the five human crew members, plus pink-haired father and daughter Zukan & Zeeona. The haunted but ruthless Zukan is an interesting guest character; he’s just edged out of top place in the dialogue chart by Avon. Avon is calm in a crisis and saves those trapped; once again, though, the darker side of his character comes out at the conclusion of the episode, although it’s left ambiguous whether he knew Zeeona would kill herself.

The biggest pity about this episode is that it does not serve as a fitting finale for Servalan. She tells Zukan to “enjoy your new territories” and then disappears out of B7. Servalan has only had a main part in two episodes in Season D, and one of those is “Animals”.

“Warlord” is required to glue the rest of Season D together, while providing a strong storyline in its own right – it achieves both.
trevor travis


VILA: “I never liked that place anyway.”
SOOLIN: “Especially not once the wine ran out.”
DAYNA: “You know, I still don't think Zukan told the Federation.”
VILA: “About the wine?”
DAYNA: “About the location of the base.”

SOOLIN: “Your anti-Federation alliance wasn't worth spit without Zukan.”
AVON: “A slight exaggeration.”
SOOLIN: “You think so?”
AVON: “Nobody is indispensable.”
SOOLIN: “You needed a figurehead. He was it. Or am I wrong?”
AVON: “You are right. But then figureheads aren't too difficult to come by. Any idiot can be one.”
DAYNA: “On your feet, Vila. This could be your big moment.”
AVON: “Any idiot within reason, that is.”

TARRANT: “You going to tell us what we've got planned, Avon?”
VILA: “We know what we've got planned. Running away is what we've got planned.”
DAYNA: “A strategic withdrawal is what we've got planned.”
VILA: “There's a difference?”
TARRANT: “Oh, yes. A strategic withdrawal is running away... but with dignity.”
VILA: “So lay in a course and let's get the dignified hell out of here.”

“In the end, winning is the only safety.” (AVON to the CREW)

AVON: “I think we can find ourselves another figurehead, someone we can use to unify and expand the Rebel Alliance.”
SOOLIN: “Just like that.”
AVON: “More or less. He is strongly identified with rebels, you see, and very popular with rabbles. They will follow him, and he will fight to the last drop of their blood.” [He smiles] “Idealism is a wonderful thing. All you really need is someone rational to put it to proper use.”
DAYNA: “Someone like you.”
TARRANT: “So where do we find this useable idealist?”
AVON: “According to Orac, he is on a frontier planet called Gauda Prime.”
SOOLIN: “Gauda Prime?”
TARRANT: “You know it?”
SOOLIN: “Yes, I know it. It's a bad place to be. No self-respecting idealist would be found dead there.”
AVON: “I imagine that is what he is trying to avoid: being found dead anywhere.”
TARRANT: “Look, are you going to stop playing games and tell us who it is, Avon?”
VILA: “It's Blake, isn't it? You think you've found Blake.”

BLAKE: “Where did you get that gun?”
ARLEN: “I won it in a lottery. What do you care?”
BLAKE: “I don't, so long as it wasn't issued to you.”
ARLEN: “It's Federation.”
BLAKE: “That's what I mean.”
ARLEN: “Do I look like one of theirs?”
BLAKE: “I can't really tell anymore.”

DAYNA: “But Servalan told us he [Blake] was dead.”
AVON: “And you believed her?”
DAYNA: “Well, she had no reason to lie.”
AVON: “She doesn't need one. It comes quite naturally to her, like breathing.”

AVON: “Orac, what proof do we have that Blake is on Gauda Prime?”
ORAC: “That is where his trail ends.”
TARRANT: “What trail? Explain.”
ORAC: “The chain of cause and effect amounts to a trail, if you can follow it.”
VILA: “I can't even follow you.”
ORAC: “Everything has an effect on everything else around it. It is not easy to trace one line through the pattern of infinity, but in this case, I have. Blake is on Gauda Prime.”
TARRANT: “How long have you known?”
AVON: “Long enough.”
DAYNA: “Before Zukan?”
AVON: “Oh, yes. And the answer to your next question is, yes, I would have left Blake where he was and said nothing if things had gone according to plan.”
TARRANT: “Oh, I must try and work that into the conversation when we meet him.”
VILA: “If we meet him.”
SOOLIN: “Still not convinced?”
VILA: “You tell me what a line through the pattern of infinity is, and I'll tell you whether I'm convinced or not.”

SOOLIN: “GP was an agricultural world. The settlers were sent there to grow crops, raise timber. They were farmers, my family among them. They were given title to the land.”
AVON: “And then somebody discovered there was more profit under the ground than there was on top of it, only the farmers were in the way, and the law was on their side. Hence the Open Planet designation.”
TARRANT: “What, get rid of the law you get rid of the problem?” [To Avon] “You seem to know a lot about it.”
AVON: “Orac is an excellent research tool. Do you imagine I would take us in blind?”
TARRANT: “You've done it before.”
DAYNA: “What happened to your family?”
SOOLIN: “When the mining corporations moved in, the farmers moved out. Those that didn't were murdered.”
VILA: “And it wasn't even a crime.”
SOOLIN: “Oh yes, it was a crime all right. It just wasn't illegal.”
VILA: “That's what I meant.”
SOOLIN: “I hope so.”

TARRANT: “If I leave the controls for a second, she'll flip over and break up.”
AVON: “Slave, take over the flight controls.”
SLAVE: “I am most humbly sorry, Master, but I can find no flight controls.”
TARRANT: “It dropped below his tolerance a couple of minutes ago. It's only a computer, Avon. It takes talent to fly a dead ship. Look, there's nothing you can do. You're not a good enough pilot.”
AVON: “I can see that.”
TARRANT: “So get the hell out of here, will you? There's no point in both of us dying.”
AVON: [picks up Orac again and makes his way to the teleport area] “Are you ready, Orac?”
ORAC: “Of course I am.”
AVON: “Then do it! Goodbye, Tarrant.” [Avon and Orac teleport]

SLAVE: “The ground is very close, sir.”
TARRANT: “I know that!”

BLAKE: “Do you know it's getting so you can't make a dishonest living on this planet anymore?”
DEVA: “That is the object of the exercise.”

VILA: “Oh, charming. Really charming.”
DAYNA: “Oh, stop moaning, Vila.”
SOOLIN: “It's better than spending a night in the open.”
VILA: “Are you serious? The state the roof's in, it's the same as spending a night in the open.”
DAYNA: “Well, if you'd prefer the trees, feel free to go. Don't let us stop you.”
VILA: “I'd prefer a city, but I'd accept a town. In fact, I'd settle for some indication that we weren't the only people left alive in this miserable tree sanctuary.”

SOOLIN: “But one thing I do know: if you want to survive on this planet you have to assume that everyone is out to get you.”
VILA: “I always assume that wherever I go.”
SOOLIN: “The difference is, on Gauda Prime you'll be right.”

“Sir? Are you still not awake, sir? I would be most grateful if you could try to stir yourself and listen to my report. My emergency power cells are virtually exhausted, I'm afraid. There is a flying vehicle approaching, sir. I'm sorry, but I will have to close down now. Crash damage and power loss make it impossible for me to continue. May I express the humble hope that the same is not true for you, Tarrant.” (SLAVE’S final words to an unconscious TARRANT)

“The fire was stupid. Putting Vila on guard was suicidal. What's the matter - is staying alive too complicated for you?” (AVON to DAYNA & SOOLIN)

VILA: “What hit me?”
DAYNA: “Don't worry, Vila, they went for your least vulnerable spot.”
VILA: “Oh, my head.”
DAYNA: “Exactly.”

SOOLIN: “Did you find out what they were doing in this area, Orac?”
ORAC: “They came to investigate my distress signals, naturally.”
DAYNA: “Naturally. You wouldn't have set us up, by any chance, would you, Avon?”
SOOLIN: “Now that is an unattractive idea. I really could be quite annoyed if I thought we'd been the bait in a trap you'd laid for them, Avon.”
VILA: “Where's Tarrant?”
AVON: “I had no idea it was you. And it shouldn't have been. As a matter of interest, you've been walking in the wrong direction if you want to get out of this forest.”
VILA: “I asked where Tarrant was.”
AVON: [ignoring Vila] “Still, that's no longer a problem.” [he nudges a dead bounty hunters with his foot] “We just inherited a flyer.”
VILA: “Avon, if you're here, and Orac's here, how did Tarrant get off the ship?” [Avon stares at Vila]

TARRANT: “A random program.”
BLAKE: “It's an old smuggler's trick.”
TARRANT: “Did you learn it from an old smuggler?”
BLAKE: “No, from a young one, actually. Her name was Jenna.”
TARRANT: “What happened to her?”
BLAKE: “She tried to run the blockade once too often. Happens to all of them eventually.”
TARRANT: “You made the capture?”
BLAKE: “Nobody made the capture. She hit the self-destruct. And when it blew, she took half a squadron of gunships with her.”

VILA: “Sooner or later we're going to drop into one of these holes in the ground and never come out.”
AVON: “Sooner or later, everyone does that, Vila.”

TARRANT: “What on earth happened to you?”
BLAKE: “Oh, most of it wasn't on Earth, Tarrant. Not what happened to me.”

ARLEN: “He [Tarrant] passed the test, then.”
BLAKE: “I'm satisfied.”
DEVA: “These stupid games you insist on playing, Blake, will get someone killed eventually.”
BLAKE: “I have to test each one myself.”
DEVA: “No, you don't have to! I set up systems for that. I broke the security codes on their central computer. I got us access to official channels, information, everything we could possibly need! You don't need to be involved at all.”
BLAKE: “All right, I find it difficult to trust. It's a failing, I admit...”
DEVA: “And any one of our people could select the people you've collected. You don't need to do the bounty hunter routine, either!”
BLAKE: “Indulge me.”
DEVA: “Do I have a choice?”
BLAKE: “Oh, there's always a choice, Deva.”
DEVA: “Not for me, there isn't. I said I'd follow you, and I will, until the Federation's finally destroyed. But if you're killed, where does that leave us?”
BLAKE: “With a base, the beginnings of an army!”
DEVA: “All of it useless if you're not there to lead it.”
BLAKE: “You worry too much, Deva.”
DEVA: “Somebody has to.”

TARRANT: “He sold us, Avon. All of us. Even you.” [Avon approaches Blake]
AVON: “Is it true?”
BLAKE: “Avon, it's me, Blake.”
AVON: “Stand still!” [Blake does] “Have you betrayed us? Have you betrayed me?”
BLAKE: “Tarrant doesn't understand!”
AVON: “Neither do I, Blake!”
BLAKE: “I set all this up!”
AVON: “Yes!”
BLAKE: [starts forward again] “Avon, I was waiting for you” [Avon brings the gun around and fires three times. Blake stops, but is still standing. Avon swings the gun up to point at Blake's face. As his knees begin to buckle, Blake grabs Avon's arms]
BLAKE: “Avon...” [He collapses. Avon lets him go. Blake falls at Avon's feet]

ARLEN: “Be so kind as to drop your guns, all of you.” [Three Scorpio guns hit the floor] “You and this nest of rebels are now prisoners of the Federation. Your friend Blake said he couldn't tell anymore who was Federation and who wasn't. He was right. He couldn't.”
TARRANT: “You're a Federation agent?”
ARLEN: “I'm a Federation officer.”
VILA: “Oh, now, look, I've never been against the Federation.” [crosses over to Arlen] “I mean, I've only ever been along for the ride. I'm not even armed. You can't kill me. I'm completely harmless and armless.” [Dayna goes for a gun. Arlen shoots her. Dayna falls back into Tarrant's arms. He lays her down. Vila whacks Arlen and she falls unconscious. Vila picks up Arlen's gun]
VILA: “Sorry.” [Vila is shot in the back by a Federation trooper. Soolin shoots a trooper, but is shot herself. Tarrant also shoots a trooper, and heads towards the still motionless Avon]
TARRANT: “Avon!” [Tarrant is shot by a trooper. Avon looks up from Blake's body as additional troopers enter the room. Avon watches as the troopers form a rough circle around him. He looks back down at Blake and then straddles Blake's body. He looks up. Avon slowly raises his weapon. He smiles/grimaces. Cut to credits as the first of several shots rings out]



ANALYSIS: “Blake” is quite simply an extraordinary and completely unforgettable piece of television. The massacre of almost the entire cast in the final five minutes is completely shocking, but is often voted as one of the best-ever finishes to a TV programme.

At the centre of this episode are two characters – Avon and Blake. Blake tops the dialogue for the twentieth time in 28 appearances (having also been second five times). Avon, who has topped the dialogue chart in 17 episodes, probably has more screen time here, but his scenes are split four or five ways, where Blake’s are mostly two-handers.

While the whole episode is building up to the tragic reunion between Avon & Blake, “Blake” also is a farewell to the rest of the characters too. Thus they are all given plenty to say and do in this episode. Tarrant plays the hero in crash-landing Scorpio, and is then paired with Blake; Vila karate chops Arlen; Soolin revisits her home planet; while Dayna being shot is the dreadful moment that one realises that they’re all going to end up on the floor. And all have their fair share of memorable dialogue. In fact, even Slave is given some great lines here.

There have been several stories where it has almost been possible to quote the entire episode. “Blake” is one of these – the opening scene on Scorpio in itself has a terrific amount of quotable dialogue. Not for the first time, I’ve broken my own rule on the number of quotes. Even then, I had to cut out the discussion over whether Blake could be a bounty hunter, the exchange between Orac & Slave and Slave’s subsequent “And Scorpio is under attack!”, and Blake twice testing Tarrant (both amongst the wreckage of Scorpio and in Deva’s office).

“Blake” ensures that B7 goes out with a huge, memorable bang, while, at the same time, it is true to the spirit of the show, with dialogue and character at its heart.
trevor travis
I'm out tomorrow, so the stats for Season D will follow, probably, on Monday.
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