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Episode C13: Terminal
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hobgoblin



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PostPosted: Sun Oct 16, 2005 9:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What do people think of the parallels between Terminal and Star Trek III: The Search for Spock?
There do seem to be a number of ideas that are similar, such as:
1. Both feature artifically created planets;
2. Both planets have accelerated evolution;
3. The heroes' spacecraft is boarded by the enemy;
4. The heroes' spacecraft is destroyed;
5. Both involve the search for a missing companion on the planet;
6. Both end with the heroes marooned but with the option of taking the enemy's inferior spacecraft.
Search for Spock was released in 1984, after Terminal. Do you think it possible that the Star Trek scriptwriters lifted ideas from B7? Is this at all likely?
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Valentine
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2005 2:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hobgoblin
Quote:
What do people think of the parallels between Terminal and Star Trek III: The Search for Spock?
There do seem to be a number of ideas that are similar, such as:
1. Both feature artifically created planets;
2. Both planets have accelerated evolution;
3. The heroes' spacecraft is boarded by the enemy;
4. The heroes' spacecraft is destroyed;
5. Both involve the search for a missing companion on the planet;
6. Both end with the heroes marooned but with the option of taking the enemy's inferior spacecraft.
Search for Spock was released in 1984, after Terminal. Do you think it possible that the Star Trek scriptwriters lifted ideas from B7? Is this at all likely?


Interesting possiblity about the two storylines being very close. Perhaps, the writer's of the latter did pinch from "TERMINAL" considering how at the beginning "B7" was thought of as, the BRITISH version of "STAR TREK", wasn't it. (Especially with the similarities between the transporter/teleport systems and, both "ENTERPRISE" and, "LIBERATOR" never landing on a planet!!!)

Maybe, the "STAR TREK" writer's were getting their own back.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2005 5:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here is a review I wrote for 'Terminal' on Judith Proctor's site, thought you might all enjoy it, here tis:

Terminal
By David Dixon
Being an avid fan of Blake's Seven requires the 'suspension of disbelief' process to be fully ingrained, primarily concerning the visuals and special effects, but less often, the plot devices and character continuity. I can quite happily sit back and watch the two dimensional drawing of Liberator hurdling into a cardboard background, believing it is a real ship in deep space, or even accept the fire breathing trolley that is the security robot in 'Time Squad' and 'Project Avalon' as a danger to our heroes. However, when it comes to plot and character inconsistencies, that are not marred by budgetary constraints, I have to stop and say 'what the....?'

Having said that, this episode has many redeeming features that make it enjoyable, if not classic. I find the beginning of the episode intriguing in that it mirrors many of the early Avon/Blake interactions: here we have Avon secretly changing course (and plans) without consulting the others, believing his reasons to be 'sound' but not believing his ship to be a democracy (how many times did Avon complain bitterly about this side of Blake's nature?).

The Tarrant/Avon exchange again mirrors the confrontation of old, ie: Why don't you tell us what you're doing? Because I don't want to! Tarrant's comment 'we're just meant to sit by quietly and let you do it, whatever it is.....' could have come from Avon himself in series one or two. Marian's review notes that Avon 'rushes blindly to Blake's aid under circumstances where even Tarrant would stop and think'. Again, this is closer to Blake's characterisation ('Seek, Locate Destroy', 'Breakdown', 'Hostage') than the typical viewer perception of Avon. Terry Nation, it seems, is not only surmising that Avon would lay down literally everything to help Blake, but infact he has taken on many of Blake's traits as well. This assumption by the writer is at odds with the Avon we are presented with in series three. In actual fact he resembles more of a rebel leader closer to that of Blake in season four!

Without getting too caught up in season three narrative, it is surprising that Avon is so obsessed with getting to Blake, to the point that he ignores potential (ultimately real) danger to Liberator, and fails to ascertain the very plausible risk of a Federation trap, compared to his motivations and actions in the previous episodes in this series, in which he is concerned with self preservation, escape from the clutches of aliens, revenge, scientific curiosity and the occasional foray into finding a stronghold ('Volcano'). As soon as Terry Nation picks up his pen, and an ending to the series is required (barring the BBCs as yet unforseen commissioning of S4), we suddenly see Avon crusading ahead, ready to rescue his leader Blake, whom he had all but forgotten, and actually barely mentioned in the previous eleven adventures!

Another astonishing part of this episode is Avon's violent behaviour, pulling a gun on Tarrant, followed by Cally's intuitive comment that Avon had meant to kill him, and Avon's direct threat to kill anyone that follows him down to Terminal. Of course one can argue that he is only trying to protect the rest of the crew from probable danger. Or that this is Avon's version of Blake's commandeering of Liberator systems and desertion of the ship in 'Trial', albeit with his more violent manner, but this is heavy handed by his standards (unless you count his actions in 'Blake' or 'Orbit' I suppose!).

Of course, as in every other episode in Blake's Seven, the rest of the crew join the fun. In this case Tarrant and Dayna teleport down to investigate and provide back-up, whether Avon likes it or not. Meanwhile, Avon is being guided to Blake's whereabouts by an Orson Welles voice inside a metallic soccer ball: ('It's been nice talking to you' Avon wryly comments), and being watched by mysterious humanoid figures. I particularly enjoyed this part, because it was not instantly identifiable as a Federation group, simply a mysterious situation that was captivating Avon. On board Liberator, Avon's carelessness has resulted in the corrosive material literally rotting the mighty ship inch by inch. The level of suspense builds nicely here, with the successful B7 double emergency on the ground and on the ship simultaneously.

I think Villa's contribution to the narrative is consistent in 'Terminal' with development he has undergone throughout series two and three. Consider Villa in 'Space Fall' compared to the same 'little man' in 'City At the Edge of the World', or his 'unsung heroism' in 'Ultraworld' and his viciousness in 'Rumours of Death'. During the unfolding emergency on Liberator with the space gunk obliterating all systems, Villa works well with Dayna, keeping a clear head and coming up with practical solutions and ideas. Perhaps Terry Nation paid a little more attention to observing Villa throughout S3 than he did with Avon.

At the beginning of this review I mentioned 'suspension of disbelief'. I can take trolley robots, I can take Decimas, I can even take Moloch in a Davros-esque kind of way. However, the 'Links' have to be the biggest letdown of the entire Blake's Seven series in terms of ludicrous looking aliens, next to the tacky giant insect in 'Harvest of Kairos'. Why on Earth would they bother with these men-in-suits who make Roddy McDowell in the 70s 'Apes' series look like an incredibly believable simian? This ruined the suspense that had been building up rather nicely, with the descending stairwell, the relentless pump/thump of Terminal, and the slime oozing from Liberators ceiling. I suppose I can't blame Terry Nation for that though.

Possibly the moment of greatest impact on first viewing of this episode was when Avon activates the view-screen and we see Blake's emotionless face appear, the first time we have seen it since 'Star One'. Avon, or at least Terry Nation's Avon, is visibly, audibly delighted and excited that his comrade is back: 'So he is alive...Blake is alive' with a measure of enthused emotion in his voice not heard for some time. As he leaves the room, he is struck and falls unconscious. Blake may be alive, but these mystery aliens have an agenda that Avon had not bargained for in his fervour.

What strikes me as fascinating is that the ensuing conversation that Avon has with the Blake simulation is probably exactly what a conversation between the two would be like, and should have been like in S4s 'Blake'. It is right on the mark when Avon says 'there were times when your simple-minded certainties might have been refreshing', as one gets the impression that much of the time Liberator is simply floating in space during S3 (not that this is a bad thing, it would have indeed been boring to sustain a relentless campaign against the Federation after the first two seasons of just that). Here, Avon is clearly very glad to see Blake, and the obligatory chat about the limitless wealth seems like an aside, with Avon primarily wanting to conduct the impossible 'lightening raid' and get Blake home where he belongs. Peculiar, considering he was hardly searching frantically beforehand, although other writers were positioning Avon in various emotional/moral standpoints in those episodes, playing down his reliance on his original leader.

I admit, on first viewing, for the first and perhaps last time in Blake's Seven history, I was surprised to see Servalan behind the whole deception (silly me I hear you say). Although inconsistencies were rife in other aspects of the episode, I actually believed that an alien race was behind it all, given the unusual setting, costuming, language, technology etc. (not a gas masked trooper in sight!).

Servalan manages to get Avon to reveal his intention NOT to get his crew mates killed on this dangerous excursion, to which she says 'how very noble of you'. Another shining example of character inconsistency, or too many writers presenting their 'take' on Avon. He only defends Villa in 'City At the Edge of the World' because 'a good thief is hard to find', he almost kills Tarrant in this very episode, as he almost does in 'Sarcophagus', he abandons a comprehensive search for Blake and Jenna in S3 (remember how easy it is for him to locate Blake in 'Blake' via Orac).....not to mention Avon using Tarrant as cannon fodder twice in S4 ('Orbit' and 'Stardrive') and his attempt to lure Vila to his death in 'Orbit' also.

Avon's nobility is better illustrated when he orders Villa to take the Liberator out of orbit, thereby trading his own freedom and that of Blake for the 'noble' victory of depriving the Federation of a fleet of Liberators. And the characterisation of a man who is devastated by news that he was talking to a drug induced electronic dream rather than his leader, and that Blake truly is dead, is again noble, heroic, tragic. Definitely not the consistent image of Avon presented to us in Blake's Seven, but Terry Nation's Avon, yes.

After displaying her appalling knowledge of evolution regarding the links and the evolutionary 'speedup' on Terminal, or Terry Nation providing us with a useless aside to ponder over for a millisecond, we see Servalan retain her prize in a great ironic moment, with the tyrant so fixated with her victory that she fails to notice she is seated in the middle of a fungi ridden corpse-ship. Villa again displays his 'City at the Edge of the World' cunning by saving Orac, and everybody loses, with the Liberator scattering across space and Avon and the others trapped on a barren, doomed planet without prized leader Blake. Cally's farewell from the series is as unremarkable as Jenna (and later Servalan), and we finally see the first of many ironic Avon smiles in the face of adversity.

I think this episode suffers primary due to the fact that Nation is writing for Avon as he alone perceives the character to be, ignoring the cavalcade of other writers who have superimposed their own views and development of Avon before 'Terminal'. The character developed, or rather oscilated throughout series three, from scientist and reluctant participant (Kairos) to second in command (City) to man bent on revenge (Rumours) to an almost symbiotic hero (Sarcophagus). I would disagree with Marian in the sense that I think Terry Nation knew how to write Avon as a primary charscter and a hero, yet he always placed that character within the framework of his original concept of 'Blake's Seven'-part of the original crew.
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Cockroach Boy



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2006 7:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Of everything Terry Nation ever wrote, Terminal is the script that embodies all his obsessions. You've got the collapse of tecnology reflected by the decay of the ship, the idea of a progress as a dead end and human powerlessness in the face of evolution(the missing 'Link' just leads us back to where we came from) and of course, in Avon's behaviour, the embodiment of the cynical outsider whose greed leads to ruin. Nation was an extremely pessimistic writer - who else would have penned a short story claiming that 'We Are The Daleks'? - and this script shows his fears at their most extreme and most clear.
The 'spirit' of this episode reminds me of David Cronenberg movies like Shivers, Rabid and Crash where the characters are intimately involved in the collapse of the world around them but no make no real effort to stop them.
As an ending for the series, 'Blake' could not have been bettered, but judged on their own merits I actually think Terminal is the better episode.

Mind you, I normallty watch Rescue afterwards to cheer myself up.
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Cockroach Boy



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PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 5:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A lot of people comment on Avon's strange behaviour in this episode. It seems like this is the point at which he begins the descent into paranoid psychosis that we saw in Season 4.

This being the case...did he deliberately order Zen to fly the Liberator through that particle cloud knowing that it would doom the ship? And is that why he was so insistant that the rest of the crew remain aboard.

From a rational point of view this seems insane. But if Avon is psychotic, then from his point of view it would have a peverse logic.

Servalan is hunting for the Liberator, obsessed with possessing it. Her fleet is growing more powerful - at the end of Moloch he knows that they cannot stand and fight but must run. And however much Avon wants the ship, it comes with the baggage of a crew he simply doesn't care about or even like.

And then he receives a signal (I always picture it happening at night, when the rest of the crew are asleep) and he thinks he's found Blake and what's more that he is being offered some sort of 'fabulous secret'. So he decides to destroy the ship and the crew as well. When the Federation learn of its destruction, they will assume that he is dead too. As Servalan said, there's no-one as free as a dead man. With his traces covered and his earstwhile allies dispossed of, he will be free to make full use of whatever it is that Blake possesses that is going to make him rich.

Except that of course, he is deceived. Servalan knows him better than he knows himself. She understands that Avon is at least partially driven by a need for Blake to be alive. Perhaps by destroying the Liberator he is unconsciously peforming an act of symbolic suicide (as Carnell might say); destroying the one thing that he claimed bound him to Blake while at the same time trying to find him.

This would certainly go some way to explaining his season 4 behaviour. In Terminal he sees the worst, most ruthless sides of himself, things that perhaps even he has never fully faced before. And he is still outwitted. The one thing that could salvage his pride - that the woman who made him a fool perished in a trap he had actually set for his own crew - is taken away from him in Traitor. That is why he says he has to 'see her die'.

Although Avon survives the events of Terminal there is no way back for him anymore.
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Futsie
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 7:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Blimey! That's certainly an interesting theory!!

Although personally I still like to think that Avon cared about the crew. When Servalan tries to get him to call the Liberator, he tells Vila to take the ship away and keep going. And I think when he tells the others not to follow him it's just that he doesn't want them to get involved in what he suspects may well be a trap. I put the refusal to avoid the cloud down to his determination and stubborness... plus they believe there's no danger at the time, if I remember correctly...?

I agree that Avon was starting to go a bit off the rails tho! "Sentiment breeds weakness. Let it get a hold of you and you are DEAD" isn't exactly the sign of a happy camper I reckon... and that bit where he finds Blake's bracelet and the medical report and says, smiling, "so he's alive" but then sort of 'corrects' himself by saying "Blake is alive" in a really cold way... you can almost see him crushing his own emotions - chilling!
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Servalans Hair



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 05, 2006 8:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ooh! What an episode!
But I put the preview on for series 4 straight afterwards and I couldnt believe it just shows the ending of Blake!
Ive been watching it from episode 1 with my partner and managed not to give the end of it away and the bloody preview spoils the whole thing!
Gutted!!!!
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Ron



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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2007 9:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hobgoblin wrote:
I'd be interested to know if people feel this should have been the finale or if you were happy to have a fourth season of the series?
Obviously, Series D was different in feel with the base, Scorpio and Slave being introduced and Avon's descent into madness but oveall, do you feel happier with the way the show ended?


The ending of ĎTerminalí has both the uncertainty about what happens next and, with everyone filing past Avon in the unusual drawn-out final scene, a suggestion that it could be a conclusion. Maybe it wasnít decided but there must have been lots to speculate about after series 3 and Iím glad there was a further series and it didnít end with ĎTerminalí.
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Lucifer Sam



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PostPosted: Thu Sep 02, 2010 2:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Any football fan will tell you the looks that the rest of the crew gave Avon as they filed past him were just like the looks Rob Green received from the rest of the England team after his little fumble in the World Cup game against the USA. Everyone knows Avon has made a huge cockup that has cost the team dear.

I rewatched this episode last night, for the first time in 30 years. The first time around, the death of the Liberator left me so shocked and stunned I neither knew nor cared that the crew had survived. Seeing the episode again as an adult, I understand Avon's smirk at the end a little better. At least everyone in the crew survived, and Servalan didn't get the Liberator.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 7:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Turnidus wrote:
I thought the smartest thing Vila did was manage to take Orac with him, by fooling them that it was a worthless piece of junk. Which of the other crew could have made that convincing and got away with it? And none of the others even gave Orac a second thought I don't think.


Thats the one thing that concerned me; will they not forget Orac?? I've enjoyed series 3 and think it's better than Season 2. It was more fun with good episodes where S2 had dull moments and 2 silly eps (or they looked cheap)-Gambit/ The Keeper- The only dull ep in S3 was Deathwatch in which Steven Pacey could have shown us he could act but Tarrant is rather flat (I think the word is) He's good looking and has a good voice but my fav character is Vila or Orac in this season. I think this ep was clearly written as a 'the end' with one 'character' dying: Zen and the Liberator. Only Dayna and Vila realized something was wrong with the ship and therefor had no problem giving it to Servalan. 'Blake' had to appear either real or as an illusion to Avon, cause the show after all is called 'Blakes7' so Gareth Thomas had to make a cameo! Servalan the 'bad guy' had to die. Could have been e decent ending for the show. The hero's surviving and the fed - Servalan- losing.
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ZEN



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 7:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tim Squad wrote:


The only dull ep in S3 was Deathwatch in which Steven Pacey could have shown us he could act but Tarrant is rather flat (I think the word is) He's good looking and has a good voice but


I wouldn't let Claireblues1 hear you saying that She'll have ya guts for garters

I thought Deathwatch was one of the better episodes of S3 myself - there are 'duller' episodes to be had in the 3rd series Yes Smiley
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Tim Squad



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 9:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ZEN wrote:
Tim Squad wrote:


The only dull ep in S3 was Deathwatch in which Steven Pacey could have shown us he could act but Tarrant is rather flat (I think the word is) He's good looking and has a good voice but


I wouldn't let Claireblues1 hear you saying that She'll have ya guts for garters

I thought Deathwatch was one of the better episodes of S3 myself - there are 'duller' episodes to be had in the 3rd series Yes Smiley


I guess everyone has their favorites - characters and episodes- Never really understood the fascination for Avon as a sexy man, maybe thats a matter of taste! I think he's a great character but don't see him as hot or sexy. Sorry Avon fans! Thought this was a nice pic of him,


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Futsie
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 4:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry Tim Squad, the image library site doesn't let anyone do hotlinks to their images so we can't see that picture

Try a refresh-without-cache of this page (or delete your browser cache/temporary files then reload this page) and you'll see what the image library site does to hotlinked images...
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ZEN



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 5:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tim Squad wrote:

Never really understood the fascination for Avon as a sexy man, maybe thats a matter of taste! I think he's a great character but don't see him as hot or sexy. Sorry Avon fans!


I couldn't agree with you more "Tim Squad", he's a great character, but he's neither hot or sexy No Smiley - he's certainly not the be-all and end-all of Blake's 7 as some would like us to believe
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MagnusGreel



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 1:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Misc. thoughts after recent re-viewing: Vila snatches Orac out of the jaws of oblivion and not one of the others cares, after he teleports down with it... Great mood, partly created by that "heartbeat", presumably from some bit of machinery we never see. That sound is still going even after what happened to the complex, in "Rescue", for continuity I guess.

I don't believe in complaining about minor irritations, such as the matching hairdos on the... whatever the man and woman were. The real future is bound to be filled with clothing and hairstyle horrors, for those of us too locked into a present-day mindset. That sort of thing distracts from what's great about episodes like this, mainly what we learn about these people, and what questions are raised that we're forced to puzzle out for ourselves.

What are we seeing going on between Avon and "Blake"? In that conversation, there are implications just barely touched upon. Why was Avon fanatically desperate to get Blake back? Was it just to get rich? Why did he very transparently behave like Blake when on the Liberator, even repeating the Blake line from "Voice From the Past", word for word: "Why don't you just try trusting me?"... which Avon loudly objected to, when Blake said it?

Avon's under some sort of major pressure. They all are, but Avon's is special and particular to him, not just the result of losing some battles. I worked all this out years ago, I basically figured Avon out, then I forgot most of it before writing it down! Oops.

It has something to do with Avon feeling some things he can't admit to himself. The others actually make a big display of solidarity and personal loyalty to him, after he's treated them like crap, and his answer (to himself, not them, though he says it aloud): "Sentiment breeds weakness. Let it get hold of you, and you're dead."

Great visual of Avon, right after he teleports down. Final moment, classic. I got the sense everyone had a lot of fun blowing up the Liberator!
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