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Episode B13 : STAR ONE
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Simon



Joined: 19 Sep 2001
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2005 9:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just one of my many musings on the bus earlier:

Is the message that the writers of B7 are trying to convey in this episode (in fact the second series):

Defence comes at a price.

Meaning, Star One was the main defence against an Andromeden attack, however, the cost of that defence was that it was designed to keep the inhabitants of Federation Space subdued.
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ziggysawdust
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2005 5:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a review I submitted to Judith Proctor's site a couple of years ago, of 'Star One', there is a great 'reviews' section on her page with a couple of other reviews as well. Here tis:

Reviewed By David Dixon
'Star One' This episode had been pre-empted into being the end of the series as far as I was concerned when I first watched it way back when. The massive build up that began at 'Pressure Point', and continued to unfold throughout the majority of season two, meant that the actual discovery and ensuing developments in 'Star One' would have to deliver. This was to be Blake's final mission, before potentially 'leading the rabble to victory' back on Earth and handing the Liberator over to Avon without question 'as long as the others go along with it'.

The episode begins with the deplorable loss of four thousand lives aboard the Nova Queen, who are blissfully unaware souls enjoying their Soma and futuristic chess machines before imploding ungracefully at the hands of the ore carrier. With typical cold efficiency, the operator at Keldan control remarks 'computer flight co-ordination doesn't make errors' before slipping into animalistic panic at the last second, possibly more concerned with his own fate after being responsible for thousands of passengers and half of Kelden citys population meeting a firey demise. A very sobering beginning to the episode.

Seeing a panic stricken Servalan is a treat in the second scene, as she is shown to be such a monster most of the time. Star One is on the fritz,dramatically altering weather on several planets in sixty days and after seeing the arduous efforts of Blake trying to find it in previous episodes, this development creates immediate suspense (is this Blake's doing? Or if it is breaking down on its own, Blake is wandering into something more complicated than first thought)

Perhaps the best narrative device used in this sequence is Servalan's passionate cries 'No one knows where Star One is! No-one at all!' followed directly by a cut to the LIberator cruising on a direct path to its location.

The Liberator flight deck is beseiged by differences of opinion, as usual, aside from Avon's surprise determination to 'get on with it' and move on directly to the Star One target. This would have to be perhaps the only time Avon is dismissive of reservations in following Blake, and usually being the most vocal in questioning the actions of the 'idealist', the 'glorious leader'. His justification in driving the mission forward, to be 'rid' of Blake and take the Liberator does not hold water with me, especially when his future actions of a revolutionary nature are to be considered-Blake also confronts Avon with 'You really do hate me, don't you?' to which Avon evades an answer and (to me) looks decidedly less than hateful towards his idealist comrade.

Speculation on what might have happened if the LIberator had survived the ensuing chaos and sped off with Blake and Jenna on board is in my view the most fascinating hypothetical in the series, but Jenna's comments on Avon's potential take-over of LIberator, 'Why should we?', and 'we'll finish what we set out to do, nothing else is settled', indicate that Avon would have a fight on his hands for command of the ship, even with Blake leaving to head a revolution on Earth.

Of course, I find Cally's reservations slightly out of character, in that she is for the most part the closest crew member to Blake in terms of his fanatisism and fervour to strike at the Federation. But someone had to be the 'conscience' here I guess. Again we get a glimpse at Blake's self driven quest (similar to 'Pressure POint') with him saying 'it's the only way I can be sure that I was right' when justifying blowing up Star One and therefore being instrumental in the deaths of many people.

Next we find Servalan back in full monster mode, having just tortured to death one of the Pyscho manipulators who had conditioned the team of Federation scientists on Star One, in order to ascertain that none of the team had betrayed the Federation and given away information on Star One. Her grab for ultimate power by staging her hurried coup over her superiors is another indication that crisis is growing, promising that this episode is no mere 'Tom and Jerry' Travis/Servalan/Blake standard episode. Durkhim is the perfect voice of reason here, a sounding board for the paranoia, ego, and ruthlessness that is Servalan here.

Then we see Lurena, on Star One, getting traumatised by the calm and calulating Andromedan body snatchers (which reminds me of many a Doctor Who episode), with the truly spine tingling line by alien-inside-Stott's body saying 'After all what can she do alone? She is the last one'.

On board the Liberator, we have a shift from ideological conflict to the 'let's get on with it' resolve after located the 'Garden paradise' of Star One, with bits of comedy even thrown in, with Blake informing a bemused Cally to find 'a door' to the Star One complex 'preferably marked entrance'. The look on Cally's face is priceless. The first indication of an intergalactic threat is aluded to, with the discovery of the huge antimatter minefield and the fact that Andromeda is behind said barracade.

Now Lurena is on the loose, pursued by the 'quig, march!' Andromedans. Blake, Avon and Cally have teleported down following them across the inhospitable Star One landscape. Blake and Cally are captured with Blake mistaken for Travis-Cally? 'She's my mother' Blake replies (possibly the most Tom Baker Doctor Who-esque comment I've ever heard Blake utter!). I have to comment that these comedic interludes in this episode are beautiful counterpoints to the massive feeling of impending doom and finality.

Then TRavis arrives and has a long awaited exchange with gun toting Avon, and I got the distinct impression that TRavis admired Avon for his 'talk or scream' ultimatum (wish that there had been more contact between these two rather than the somewhat predictable Servalan/Avon sexual tension that ensues in later episodes).

Jenna, in her last gasp of strength in the series, takes the helm and investigates the potential threat of alien hoardes crossing into 'human' space. And Orac making the flawed prediction that 'there is no cause for alarm' (slipping a bit from his earlier viewscreen projection of Liberator number two being destroyed in 'Redemption'). (Judith: he may not be able to read alien computers to get the information for a correct prediction)

Avon loses Travis as a terrified Lurena bursts out of the body storage broom-cupboard, and the suspense level of this episode rises steadily, now that TRavis is expected to blow Blake's cover and blow him away at the same time. Avon kills a body snatcher and reveals the true slimy horrific aliens that are here to eradicate humanity. This triple hero aspect of the episode is explicit here-Jenna taking control on the LIberator, Blake collating all the information he can as well as laying explosives left right and centre, and Avon blasting his way to the bottom of things as well. Edge of the seat stuff, and the last rallying of the true core characters of 'Blake's 7' as well.

Travis bursts in and blasts Blake to the ground (a first!). While Blake lies down supposedly dead (check the body Travis if you want to be certain!), Travis really shows us that through all the self-perceived ill treatment he has received from the Federation, the rebels and humanity in general, he is now willing to commit 'the final act' and wipe them all out.

Jenna assumes command, and informs SErvalan of the impending invasion, based on detector information that masses of alien ships are ready to storm the minefield. Meanwhile, Avon saves the day (readying him for command in series 3?) and personally kills TRavis,an act I would have loved Blake to perpetrate, because I think Travis now 'matters enough to kill'. Avon's concern for Blake really shows a level of admiration and even affection for the laeder he has gone out of his way to undermine verbally throughout series one and two (debatable, considering not one act of treachery towards Blake by Avon had ocurred). He cares about Blake being seriously hurt and this is VERY significant in my view.

The explosive charges are removed, and Lurena, the flawed heroine, blows herself and the last of the Andromedan saboteurs to pieces.

Now the final scene: Avon on the bridge, determined to take on a massive invasion fleet because of a promise he had made to Blake. The tension mounts. Then the final appearance of Blake, seriously wounded. Avon is again showing his real feelings towards Blake here, telling him to get back to bed. 'Don't You trust me?' he asks. 'For what it is worth I have always trusted you, from the very beginning', Blake's last words for two seasons. The look on Avon's face is worth freeze framing forever. He is, dare I say it, touched. This is the end of Avon's real purpose, from here on in he is alone, with the likes of Tarrant to bounce off, missing this key interaction that makes these first two seasons the most interesting.

The episode ends with suitable tension, close ups of those on the bridge, and 'Fire!' ending this pivotal episode. Snipes about sets, locations, logical plot holes such as how short a time it takes the Federation fleet to arrive etc. do not matter if you have an imagination. One of my all time faves.
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Cockroach Boy



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PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2006 10:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love this episode. It's packed full of incident and surprises. It changes the rules of the series completely by placing the Federation and Liberator crew on the same side. The idea Blake spends most of season 2 trying to find and destroy Star One only to end up having to protect it is very clever. It's also great that Avon goes from wanting the rebellion finished to fighting on the frontline.

The scenes with Servalan are very tense and dramatic, emphasising that the events that we are seeing are on a galatic scale. Jackie Pearce gives possibly her best peformance of the entire series. Croucher also gets a good exit, building on the improved peformance he gave in Gambit.

It's a nice last episode for Jenna. By alerting Servalan she effectively saves the human race - not bad for Teleport Girl!!

The spaceships come in for quite a bit of flack. True, the alien fleet is poor. But the opening sequence is very effective. So are the dying alien creatures which look suitably strange.

The Season two cliffhanger is even better than the one for Orac. Just as we thought we knew the rules that the Blake universe operated by, everything has been turned upside down. Travis is gone, Servalan has engineered a coup, Blake is no longer capable of leading and a whole new race of aliens have appeared. Things will never be the same again...
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dave



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PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2006 2:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree. Croucher could never fill Grief's shoes as Travis but he had started to grow on me by Gambit - and he wasn't too bad in Trial either.

This whole episode just highlights the futility theme many associate with the show.
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Ron



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PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2006 9:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In Star One differences between Blake and Avon opinions come to a point. Blake says some very serious things and they both get personal and it seems very hard to forgive. I like the way the characters relationships interweave with the immediate danger. It is a great cliffhanger for the end of the season.
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Richard1978



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PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2006 7:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One thing that was specualted with this episode were that the Andromidan invaders were to be the Daleks, but the Dr Who production team overuled this. How far did this idea go?

The irony of Blake having to side with the Federation was one of the high points of the episode, & nearly makes up for the low ones.
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Janov Seldon



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PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2006 8:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nation himself was to have written a two part season finale but had to pull out as he was moving to the US, so Boucher wrote Star One along the lines discussed with Nation. Apparently, they did think about using the Daleks for about 5 minutes but it was dropped quickly.

I can't see the Who team objecting. If anyone it would have been Terry Nation, but as he would have got paid for their use, I can't see him objecting.
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Ron



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2006 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cockroach Boy wrote:

The scenes with Servalan are very tense and dramatic, emphasising that the events that we are seeing are on a galatic scale. Jackie Pearce gives possibly her best peformance of the entire series.

Servalan is very clever. The tension builds up when Jenna realises they need to send a message to the Federation and Servalan immediately trusts her. Their reactions are exactly like people in a real-life emergency; they quickly decide what needs to be done. It shows how capable Jenna is and Servalan's logical thinking is so impressive.
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Last edited by Ron on Sun Mar 14, 2010 11:18 am; edited 1 time in total
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pickle



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PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2007 5:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wouldn't then bomb lurena failed to discharge have destroyed star one anyway?
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white afro in space



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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2007 12:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ron wrote:
Servalan is very clever. The tension builds up when Jenna realises they need to send a message to the Federation and Servalan immediately trusts her. Their reactions are exactly like people in a real-life emergency; they quickly decide what needs to be done. It shows how capable Jenna is and Servalan's logical thinking is so impressive.


I read somewhere that Jenna was originally supposed to be a type of flipside to Servalan. A Servalan that took a different direction. Pity the series didn't make use of this device and Jenna became just a bit of eye candy. The scene Ron describes is probably the closest we got to seeing Jenna and Servalan working toward a common purpose.

Don't even think about it, Lib
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the masters of cheese



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PostPosted: Sun Mar 14, 2010 12:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

have just started watchin this ep...i had forgotten how naff the one before it was...i was waiting for brian blessed to jump out and start shouting lol...this ones quite a thoughtful and intersting ep..lookin forward to seeing it again as i think ive only seen it about 3times ever...cos i didnt like it much when i was younger..but im appreciating it much more now
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ZEN



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PostPosted: Sun Mar 14, 2010 1:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

the masters of cheese wrote:
have just started watchin this ep...i had forgotten how naff the one before it was...
Yep, The Keeper wasn't brilliant was it!. Yet, even that had its good scenes

Quote:
this ones quite a thoughtful and intersting ep..lookin forward to seeing it again as i think ive only seen it about 3times ever...cos i didnt like it much when i was younger..but im appreciating it much more now


You didn't like Star One!! First time I've ever heard anyone say that about Star One! Its by far one of the better episodes of series 2, and that cliff-hanger - who can ever forget that
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AnnaGrant



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PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2011 11:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just rewatched Star One yesterday-haven't seen it in ages.

I'd forgotten how much great dialogue there was, and what it reveals about the characters' relationships. I'm thinking particularly about the Avon/Blake exchanges, about trust and Avon saying explicitly that his price for the Star One plan was the Liberator.
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thunda



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PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2012 6:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ziggysawdust wrote:

Of course, I find Cally's reservations slightly out of character, in that she is for the most part the closest crew member to Blake in terms of his fanatisism and fervour to strike at the Federation. But someone had to be the 'conscience' here I guess. Again we get a glimpse at Blake's self driven quest (similar to 'Pressure POint') with him saying 'it's the only way I can be sure that I was right' when justifying blowing up Star One and therefore being instrumental in the deaths of many people.


I've seen this opinion of Cally's apprehension posted many times, and I myself felt that way too, but now years later after rewatching Star One a few hundred times I feel differently. Cally may be indepted to Blake for giving her life meaning again, she may hate the Federation almost as much as Blake , she may even be a bit over zealous at times, but she realizes there's a thin line between being a freedom fighter and being a terrorist. Being responsible for the deaths of civilians which could run into the millions on a gamble which may or may not hurt the Federation is not something she takes lightly. Unlike Blake she doesn't shoot first and rationalize later, if she did she would have shot him back on Saurian Major when they first met. Also, remember in Shadow she gave two warnings before opening fire on the gunship that was about to attack.

As for her change from her "gung ho" attitude in Pressure Point, I think Blake misled her just like he did the others. He probably forgot to mention that besides controlling information, the computer network also controls climate, communications, security, and food production. I think she found out about the importance of Star One later on which leads her to question whether they are really fanatics. In my opinion Cally stayed true to her character.
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