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Episode A8: Duel
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BabylonRebel



Joined: 29 Apr 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2006 10:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Duel I think is one of the more 'middle of the road' type episodes. Not bad, and not good. Blake and Jenna have some nice scenes, and it's fun watching Travis in action, doing what he loves - killing.
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Cockroach Boy



Joined: 29 Dec 2005
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2008 12:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Isn't Elizabeth Parker's music for this episode good? Very atmospheric, giving the episode an especially haunting feel. Although DFudley Simpson's music is good for what you might call the 'standard' kind of B7 episode, it's a shame Parker didn't do the music for some of the more offbeat stories.
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Futsie
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2008 12:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oo, I didn't realise someone else did the music for this episode... but yes, I've always noticed the how atmospheric it is...
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Cockroach Boy



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PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2008 5:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Either due to a falling out or just because he didn't like his music (not sure which), Douglas Camfield chose not to work with Dudley Simpson on B7 or 70's Doctor Who. Which is why Terror of the Zygons, Seeds of Doom and Inferno sound different (and IMO, rather better) to other 70's Who stories.

Sadly Parkes only musical contribution to Doctor Who was Timelash.
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Lucifer Sam



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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 8:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's one aspect of Travis that I don't think anyone has mentioned in connection with DUEL. He claims to prefer Mutoids to humans, but it's clear from DUEL that he he finds them repulsive. He complains when his pilot changes that test-tube full of blood in her chest, and seems to be disgusted when she later feeds off bats in the forest.

Most critically, he refuses to allow his companion to take blood from Jenna when she is captive. It makes obvious sense for her to do so, and one would have thought a man like Travis would enjoy seeing one of his enemies suffer. The only explanation is that he finds the vampirism of the Mutoids disgusting.

It's worth noting that if Travis had allowed the Mutoid to feed, she would have had the strength to cut the rope holding the trap at the first attempt, killing both Blake and Jenna.

No wonder Blake kept sparing Travis's life. Travis was his own worst enemy.
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Cockroach Boy



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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 9:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wonder if Travis aversion to mutoids is partly connected to his own self loathing?
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white afro in space



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 3:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cockroach Boy wrote:
I wonder if Travis aversion to mutoids is partly connected to his own self loathing?


What makes you think Travis was a self loather? I thought he had a great stock of auto-admiration. It's just that he found that everyone and evrything around was not upto his standard. He has more in common with Avon, in that regard.

Regarding Lucifer Sam's questions, I think Travis favoured Mutoids as pilots and soldiers because they were more efficient and perhaps he found them expendable - as did Jarvik. I'd say that Travis did loathe Mutoids on a personal level because he found them to be less-than human.

As for the Jenna vampirage, I assumed this was strategic on Travis' part. If the Mutoid was allowed to kill Jenna, then she would lose her value as bait.
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Lucifer Sam



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PostPosted: Thu Sep 02, 2010 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your comments White Afro.

I've no idea how much blood a Mutoid would need to regain full efficiency. However, any blood donor will tell you that an adult can afford to lose one to one-and-a-half pints of the stuff without problems. I suspect a Mutoid just 'topping up' would need much less than this.

Also, even a dead Jenna would work as bait to lure Blake into Travis's trap, as he would obviously assume she was only injured and/or stunned and go to her aid.

I suspect the reason Travis pretends to prefer Mutoids to humans is that there's some myth-making going on. He's trying to make a name for himself both with Servalan and in the Federation Army as a whole as the hardest, most ruthless b**tard around; someone who's not even fully human... Sadly for Travis, he's not as hard as he likes to think he is.
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Cockroach Boy



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PostPosted: Sat Sep 04, 2010 10:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

white afro in space wrote:
Cockroach Boy wrote:
I wonder if Travis aversion to mutoids is partly connected to his own self loathing?


What makes you think Travis was a self loather? .


I think there's quite a lot to support the case that he is.

He repeatedly denies the value of his own existence or the possibility of it being seperated from his duty. Trial and Deliverance both seem to suggest he had some sort of moral code at some point but by the time we meet him he is bound to serve a system the representatives of which he hates and which he expresses contempt for almost from the outset. For all that he clearly recognize the Federations flaws he does have the regard for his own worth outside of it to seperate himself from it until his hand is forced. His supresses his own identity in obsession, much as the mutoids do theirs through their (sadly unexplored after this episode) conversion. I think he sees in them a reflection of the truth of his own very sad existence.

IMO his hatred of Blake was a much a case of self avoidance as anything else. What better way to run from how much you hate what you have become than to channel all that hatred on to another? In fact, I think Travis obsession with Blake only makes sense if he's being driven by other things. An experienced career soldier would expect to be shot at and possibly wounded in the course of action, Travis original mission was actually a success in that Blake was captured and brainwashed, his rebellion put down and as Servalan points out the injuries could have been treated. So I think it's his self hatred pushing him to ever further extremes(even if you take thje slash view that Travis desires Blake, he evidently hates that desire)

He does change in series 2, but that is in to a more nihilistic figure.

And if trying to destroy your own species isn't act of symbolic suicide, I don't what is.

God, you can tell he's one of myfavourite characters!
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Lucifer Sam



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 14, 2013 12:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just another (belated) note referring to what is one of my favourite episodes.

I notice that some contributors to this thread take the Guardians (sorry, I can never remember their names) line about wanting to teach Blake and Travis a lesson about the reality of warfare at face value. A 'lesson' that is, as Travis says, pathetic.

However, I think the Guardians have another agenda; basically, they enjoy watching people knocking the crap out of each other. The script hints that their race had a violent streak, leading to incessant warfare and eventually the extinction of all life on their planet. So with no more home-grown violence available to satisfy their craving, what do they do? Become voyeurs. Perhaps that's why no modern weapons are allowed: as far as the Guardians are concerned, the more primieval and elemental the violence, the better.

Evidence for this would be Blake's line at the end about 'Not trusting your motives' and the way the Guardians appear, apparently in a state of some excitement, as Blake and Travis get down to some serious hand-to-hand combat. Also, the older of the two Guardians comes over all unnecessary at the thought of how much violence there is inside Travis. When rebuked by her colleague she mutters something to the effect that 'old habits die hard'.
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RichardWho



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PostPosted: Sun Mar 31, 2013 9:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, I think you could have something. I always though this episode was a copy of the Classic Star Trek episode where Kirk has to fight a reptilic alien in a duel. In that story, the guardian only reveals himself when Kirk shows mercy towards his opponent.
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Futsie
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 02, 2013 7:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, I always felt that Giroc represented some of the primitive aggressive nature of the race that had led to its own self destruction. Ironic that she accusingly calls Travis "primitive" several times when her very taunting perhaps demonstrates that she is not exactly enlightened either...

I thought Sinofar was more representative of a higher nature, or the conscience and guilt of a race which killed itself... which would explain why she says to Giroc "you keep us prisoners, Giroc." Mind you, I guess Sinofar's motives could be questioned also, but I'm inclined to believe her statements about "restoring the balance" and that "we must atone".

Perhaps the primitive nature vs higher nature is why Giroc is old and Sinofar is young? Giroc is the old way of doing things, or even the less evolved aggressive/animal instinct based way of doing things, while Sinofar is the relatively younger (in evolutionary terms) intellectual or spiritual way of looking at things? And the ongoing and unresolvable conflict between the two natures is why they're still prisoners...
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