Monday, 30 September 2013

C4 Dawn of the Gods

EPISODE: C4 Dawn of the Gods
BROADCAST: 28/01/1980
WRITTEN BY: James Follett
DIRECTOR: Desmond McCarthy
SCRIPT EDITOR: Chris Boucher
PRODUCER: David Maloney
DVD: Blake's 7 - Series 3

"One day, Avon, I may have to kill you"

The Liberator is on course for Auron when it deviates off course and set on a course for the uncharted sector 12. They are dragged into a black hole which Orac is fascinated by due to the absence of X-Ray emissions and seizes control of the ship to satisfy his curiosity. an injured Cally is telepathically contacted by the legendary Auron being the Thraan, who reputedly gave the Auron their gift of telepathy. Vila is sent outside in a spacesuit to make repairs but discovers a gravitational pull and a solid surface. Cally hears a telepathic call again. Villa finds debris and then sees a light before loosing contact. Tarrant goes outside to fetch Villa and they discover a breathable atmosphere. They analyse some of the debris and discover it's part of a spaceprobe but is missing the mineral herculanium which the Liberator's hull is also made of. The crew go outside where they encounter The Caliph, an eccentrically dressed man working for the Thraan. He tells them that they are on the artificial planet Krandor and imprisons them so he can take their ship for his master. Cally tells the others of the legend of the Thraan's return to Auron before she is taken to meet him. They are put to work under the technician Groff while the Caliph has Orac sought and salvage team sent to dismantle the Liberator. Orac engages the ship's defences and kills the intruders. Cally rejects the Thraan and attacks him, deactivating the mechanism that has stopped the Liberator crew using their guns. They flee to the ship and escape. Zen detects that the Thraan has escaped.

An episode that starts with the crew playing Galactic Monopoly with Orac suggests that the writer maybe hasn't quite got the hang of what he's writing for. What follows after that is deathly slow in places, decidedly odd in others but right the way through doesn't feel quite right. It's not helped by Tarrant distinctly taking charge very much relegating Avon to the background making me think this episode was written for Blake (and Jenna) then the names got changed. There's no reference to the missing crew members and no explanation why they're suddenly going to Cally's home planet of Auron .... though IIRC they do eventually get there in 3 episodes time: shades of Blake declaring his intention to go to Earth in Redemption and getting there 3 episodes later.

I think there's a workable story involving the Thraan there as a legend behind Cally's people but as it stands here the moment when they arrive on Krandor it turns into a retread of the aforementioned Redemption with black clad guards and slave gangs. The Thraan is set up as a returning villain with Tarrant even noting "I think we've made ourselves another enemy" but this isn't ever followed up on.

Yes the resuscitation capsule does look like a poly tunnel from a garden. And I think that's the view screen from Doctor Who: Day of the Daleks in Krandor's control room.

Oh so Orac *CAN* operate the Liberator's internal defences now? Shame he didn't do it in the last two episodes when there were Federation troops aboard! You're feeling the lack of a Federation presence in this episode too. It's the first episode since.... Redemption I think where there's no Federation personnel appearing, and only the fourth overall (add The web and Mission to Destiny onto that list). Somehow without the show's recurring villains it turns into a sub par Star Trek knock off.

Second duff episode on the bounce. I'm afraid this is matching my recall of the vast majority of season 3 from the first (and in the most part only) time I watched it when the videos came out. How long is it till Rumours of Death?

Marcus Powell who plays the Thraan was The Web as a Decima. Another episode with an Auron legend in it IIRC. Terry Scully, Groff, was Fewsham in Doctor Who: Seeds of Death and Vic Scully in Survivors.

Dawn of the Gods was released on video on Blake's tape 15 on 7th January 1992 paired with the previous episode Volcano 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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