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Episode D8: Games
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Steve Rogerson



Joined: 16 May 2004
Posts: 8940
Location: Nottingham

PostPosted: Tue May 18, 2004 7:35 am    Post subject: Episode D8: Games Reply with quote

Stratford John was excellent as Belkov, but a very strange relationship he had with his computer Gambit. And yet another episode in which no-one wins, despite Vila thinking he had. I wonder why that necklace was fake and what did happen to the crystals that Belkov stole if the weren't on Orbiter.

At the end it was a nice demonstration of Scorpio's weaponary that saved the day, and it looked like Slave was itching to show its fire power when it said to Dayna re the patrol ships: "Do you want me to begin evasive or offensive action?"

Odd moment 1: Tarrant blames Vila for getting them spotted behind the wall by the guard, yet he and Gerrin were both clearly visible.

Odd moment 2: Why did Vila leave his hand where the guard could stand on it?

Dialogue moments:

Vila: "You steal for your reasons, I'll steal for mine."

Vila: "They're after blood, my blood."
Dayna: "Tell them you've already given."
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inge



Joined: 16 May 2004
Posts: 1158

PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2004 9:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Odd moment 1: Vila always gets the blame.
Odd moment 2: He had to hang onto something or he would have fallen into whatever he was hiding in.
Gambit was an interesting computer, pity it self destructed. I would like to see more between Orac and the Gambit computer.
Belkov was a good character too.
Maybe he hid the crystals somewhere off planet.
That's what I would do.
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>CarnÚll<
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PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2004 6:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

He Took Whatever Crystals He Did Have In His Ship, Along With The Millions of Credits He Milked Out of The Federation

At Least I Got The Imperssion He Would Have By His Demands too Servelan For Enough Feldon Crystal too See His Way Round The Galaxy, He Woulda Used Them For Fuel
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Cockroach Boy



Joined: 29 Dec 2005
Posts: 7143
Location: Dancing with the Mara

PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2006 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As with his role in Doctor Who, Stratford Johns is a great, pompous villain in this one. Belkov is consumed with vanity but is also very verbose and cunning, He reminds me a little of Colin Baker's Doctor, circa season 22. He bounces especially well of Jackie Pearce. However, Servalan (or Sleer if you must) is by this stage a character who has badly run out of steam. The script doesn't have much to do with her that hadn't already been done before. Really, any Federation official could have arrived on the planet and it wouldn't have made much difference.

The Scorpio crew all get a slice of the action in this one. Its good to see the writers resisting the temptation to turn it into the 'Avon Show', but it does stretch credulity a bit that all the Games on the orbiter should match so perfectly with one of the crew skills. The fact that the end prize of their games is a poisoned challice is a neat trick, anticipating some of the themes of mid 80's Who, especially The Five Doctors. As with Gold, this could be taken as a critique of capitalism - the relentless persuit of money (the great 'game' of the 80's) leads nowhere in the end.

Paul Darrow gives one of his best peformanes of the whole season. Taking Avon down a darker route was an interesting creative decision, but it did limit the chances for Paul to show his skill for comedy. He has the chance to banter a little more here, especially with Orac. After several episodes in which we haveseen his obsessive and paranoid side, it is good to see something a little different. Even the realisation that Belkov haswon the 'endgame' is played with grudging, amused admiration.

Gambit is an interesting creation. Orac's horror that it (or should that be 'she') may be capable of friendship is a good touch and its hard not to feel a little sorry for the computer when it is told to destroy itself. Strattford Johns plays his regret at 'her' necessary death very well indeed.

This is quite a complex story after more straightforward tales like Animals and Stardrive. We have fraud, black holes, natives, video games and sentient computers all in fifty minutes. The ending is a bit of a jumble and first time round its not really clear what has happened. However this is a fun story with a charismatric new villain.
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BLAKESCREWE



Joined: 16 May 2004
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Location: 1977!

PostPosted: Thu May 11, 2006 4:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is another one I cant really get to grips with - Servalan was really annoying by now and only Vila comes out of it with much credit !
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Cockroach Boy



Joined: 29 Dec 2005
Posts: 7143
Location: Dancing with the Mara

PostPosted: Thu May 11, 2006 5:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BLAKESCREWE wrote:
This is another one I cant really get to grips with - Servalan was really annoying by now and only Vila comes out of it with much credit !


Like the bit where Vila uses the dust to lift fingerprints. Very nice touch.

Servalan by this stage was not being well written for. I think Jackie is an excellent actress - not just in B7, but in Dr Who, David Copperfield and Dark Season - but at this point she was fighting against scripts that had nothing interesting to do with her and Shirley Bassey style outfits that were just horrible.
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inge



Joined: 16 May 2004
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PostPosted: Fri May 12, 2006 12:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Along with Gold, one of my favs of S4.
Cockroach Boy said:
Quote:

Gambit is an interesting creation. Orac's horror that it (or should that be 'she') may be capable of friendship is a good touch and its hard not to feel a little sorry for the computer when it is told to destroy itself. Strattford Johns plays his regret at 'her' necessary death very well indeed.


For an interesting take on this story read Interminable Nightmare on the Hermit site:

http://www.hermit.org/Blakes7/Library/DispStor.cgi?DD=0&ST=0213&COUNT

Its a great story, I highly recommend it.
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Servalans Hair



Joined: 12 May 2006
Posts: 67

PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2006 6:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not a bad episode
A good spin off would be that they could do "The Crystal Maze" to get the stuff they wanted - how much fun would it be to see the crew chasing richard o brien round a satellite!!!
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egrorian



Joined: 09 Jun 2004
Posts: 160

PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 9:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So - can anyone settle this for me once and for all - did Belkov escape at the end or did his ship blow up? It's just not clear to me no matter how many times I've seen the episode.
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white afro in space



Joined: 07 Oct 2004
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2009 4:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just assumed his ship blew up
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Futsie
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Joined: 21 May 2004
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2009 7:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I assumed it blew up too... Or fell into a black hole. It never even occurred to me that he might have survived until you questioned it! I'd have to watch the episode again with that in mind..
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pna



Joined: 15 Aug 2005
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 9:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Watched it again a couple of days ago - I thought Belkov escaped - he apeared to be laughing in triumph, just before Gambit did as he ordered and self destructed... but then again I didnt quite understand each line of dialogue that followed - I think Vila said something like Belkov 'wouldnt need it where he was going', which could have been the black hole, but I'm not sure...
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Tim Squad



Joined: 01 Mar 2012
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 7:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
This is quite a complex story after more straightforward tales like Animals and Stardrive. We have fraud, black holes, natives, video games and sentient computers all in fifty minutes. The ending is a bit of a jumble and first time round its not really clear what has happened. However this is a fun story with a charismatric new villain.


Didn't really get what it was all about and why did Servalan not act surprised when Belkov said he could give her some outlaws? In the other ep she had destroyed their ship and is supposed to think they're dead already? This is not explained/resolved.
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thunda



Joined: 27 Jun 2005
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 2:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Strange story, not one I completely understand, and not just the plot, but the characters act uncharacteristic at times. Avon losing his usually cool persona, Tarrant leaving a wounded Gerren behind, Vila going "Rambo", Soolin playing nursemaid, Dayna falling for the old 'hey look at that' so Belkov can escape, and even Servalan seems a bit naive here. The usually inept Federation troopers are even more incompetent than usual. After Dayna shoots down two of them the last one decides to take on Tarrant in a fist fight so he can get thrown into the pressure container and turned to dust so Vila can use it to copy Belkov's fingerprints. It's like the writer wrote the end of the story first and then tried to make everything arrive there regardless if it made sense.
All the technobabble that was mentioned only served to make the story more complicated. Energy from distant stars light years away? Energy from a black hole? Flying into a black hole? I would have rather had the story concentrate on the duel between Avon and Belkov with the Scorpio crew as chess pieces. To sum it up the only thing that made this story entertaining was Stratford Johns' excellent acting.
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SHARPBLUE



Joined: 18 May 2004
Posts: 3026
Location: Swindon

PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 2:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The clue is here:

[Scorpio blasts Orbiter which disintegrates and disappears]

SOOLIN You've done it.
DAYNA Yes, but what have you done?
AVON Proved my somewhat simplistic theory, Orac.
ORAC Apparently so. It would appear that positive and negative inputs were balanced by the feldon crystals. Indeed, the balance was so perfect, that they simply ceased to exist, along with everything in their immediate vicinity.
TARRANT I'm glad we didn't get too close.
DAYNA But 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.
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