Monday, 23 September 2013

C3 Volcano

EPISODE: C3 Volcano
BROADCAST: 21/01/1980
WRITTEN BY: Allan Prior
DIRECTOR: Desmond McCarthy
SCRIPT EDITOR: Chris Boucher
PRODUCER: David Maloney
DVD: Blake's 7 - Series 3

"I don't trust anybody except myself, it's why I'm still alive."

Tarrant and Dayna teleport to the planet Obsidian, home to a massive Volcano, seeking some people that Dayna's father knew and to investigate a rumour Blake was there. Dayna & Tarrant are captured and taken to see Hewer the leader of the pacifist colony there, who was at the Federation science academy with Dayna's Father. Servalan has been alerted to the Liberator's presence and sends Federation troops to take the ship. Tarrant asks to use Obsidian as a base. When Tarrant & Dayna don't make contact Avon teleports down after them and immediately looses contact. Servalan and her troops arrive on the Planet's surface and are met by one of the Obsidian colonists Mylus who provides Servalan with a message. She has him and his companion killed. Avon finds the bodies and regains contact with the Liberator reporting he suspects a Federation presence there. Servalan returns to the Federation troopers. Avon sights the troops and returns to the Liberator. Tarrant & Dayna are escorted out the base and captured. Cally receives a message asking for teleport: Vila activates the system bringing 4 Federation troopers aboard. Zen detects 8 Federation cruisers attacking and Avon begins destroying their ships. Cally attempts to contact Avon telepathically. Avon is bemused that the remaining cruisers are approaching but not firing when he is taken prisoner. The Troopers bring Orac to the bridge. Avon has Zen open fire on the ship and attacks the troopers. He is injured and the survivors teleport to the surface with Cally & Orac. Servalan leaves the scene of the battle. Tarrant and Dayna are being held inside the base by Hewer's son Bershar but Hewar finds them and confronts his son for forsaking his pacifistic vow.Hewer has him killed and releases Tarrant & Dayna. Hewer reveals they are dying, the planet contaminated by radioactive fallout. He prepares to set off a nuclear device hidden in the core of the planet to destroy it. Avon sends Tarrant & Dayna after Cally & Orac and gives them one hour. The Federation trooper commander uses Orac to compute a safe approach to the planet for Servalan's fleet. Cally tips Dayna & Tarrant off telepathically to the troopers position. They kill the troopers and retrieve Cally and Orac. They return to the Liberator before Hewer detonates the device destroying the base.

Just dreadful in so many ways. It's obvious from early on that someone on Obsidian isn't towing the party line and since there's only really two of them with speaking roles the field is a little narrow. The rest of them are hard to tell apart and at one point I thought the son had been killed on the surface and we were heading for something with robot duplicates but no...... The Federation Troopers in this episode are missing the green perspex ring/visor round the top of their helmets and it's just symbolic of the whole episode: something's missing and just not right.

I'm led to wonder if it was a good idea to have Federation Troopers wandering round the Liberator for the second episode running? It does rather invite comparison with the previous episode which was so much better. I've had trouble with writer Allan Prior's previous episodes so I feel it's appropriate to apportion some blame to him though d├ębut director Desmond McCarthy probably aught to take some responsibility too. He does win points for reusing some of the BBC's volcano footage used in Doctor Who: Inferno.

Michael Gough appears in this episode where he's absolutely wasted in the roll of Hower. He had one Doctor Who to his name as the time as the Celestial Toymaker in the story of the same name and would return in Arc of Infinity as Hedin. Federation Officer Mori is played by Ben Howard who was Hinks in The Green Death.

Volcano was released on video on Blake's tape 15 on 7th January 1992 paired with the next episode Dawn of the Gods and alongside tape 16 The Harvest of Kairos & City at the Edge of the World. Blake's 7 season 3 was released on DVD on 20th June 2005.

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