Blake’s 7 – Audio Series 1 Episodes 4 – 6 Review

B7 AS1 P2

The first full cast Audio Drama series from Big Finish comes to a rather epic conclusion as Travis makes an appearance… alongside the President of the Earth Federation himself! These are three top quality stories, showing this Audio Series to be a fine example for the medium and for Blake’s 7 stories. Let’s take a closer look!

Official Synopsis:

Orac has tracked Space Major Kade, the man who killed Jenna’s father, to the planet Vere.

Jenna wants her revenge, but that must wait. Blake needs her to pilot the Liberator to Stellidar Four, where he has a small window of opportunity to solve the mystery of a new Federation device.

It’s a daring plan. And it could be the beginning of the end for the Liberator crew…

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

Cast of Characters:

B7 Mirror

The sheer basicness of this cover can not be understated.

Roj Blake (Gareth Thomas) – Fearless leader of his own group of rebels, Blake is now more determined than ever to find Star One and put an end to the Federation once and for all…

Kerr Avon (Paul Darrow) – Cold and calculating, Avon is slowly becoming more accustomed to working in a group, and even going along with Blake’s plans. Not that he’d let on, though…

Vila Restal (Michael Keating) – Cowardly thief who never finds the time to stop complaining. Or drinking… but mostly complaining.

Jenna Stannis (Sally Knyvette) – Former smuggler who has ended up running alongside Blake and his band of rebels.

Cally (Jan Chappell) – Partially psychic woman from the planet Auron, she is often the voice of reason in the group… if she gets a role at all…

Orac (Peter Tuddenham) – Super intelligent A.I. who has managed to become sentient enough that he complains about having to do work below his level of expertease.

Zen (Peter Tuddenham) – The A.I. for the Liberator, Blake’s ship. Handy for controlling the Liberator… and that’s it.

The President (High Fraser) – The President of the Earth Federation itself, making a rare appearance… but for what purpose?

Travis (Brian Croucher) – Former Space Commander who worked for Servalan, now he’s trying to get back into the Federation’s good books by trying to finally capture the Liberator and its crew…

and more!

The Good:

B7 Cold Fury

Ah, the old thermal suits that leave the face a exposed to the elements. Handy!

These three stories make up a story arc involving The President coming up with a plan to capture Blake and parade him and his ship across the galaxy to crush the resistance. It’s a nice change of pace to see (or hear, I guess) Blake and co. go up against someone who isn’t Servalan.

In Episode 4, “Mirror”, Blake, Avon and Vila arrive at the location where Fedorac is located, only to find out it was a ruse made to draw them out. At the same time Jenna takes the Liberator and goes after the person who killed her father (which is a nice extra bit of character backstory never present in the TV series) but finds he is already dead, by the hand of Travis. Jenna and Cally them become trapped on the planet and its atmosphere and Orac takes the ship back to meet Blake and co. It all ends with a mad dash out of the exploding Federation facility, and with the capture of Vila by Travis! It’s a good run around that gives some good interaction with the classic crew and a good twist with Locklan, the woman who was sent to capture them in order to save her sister (who she then meets as a mutoid…)

“Cold Fury”, Episode 5, takes place on the icy planet Horst Minor, where the President is overseeing a cloning project (that he pretends to have no prior knowledge of…) and where Travis is slowly mentally torturing Vila in order to bring him to his side. Blake and co. eventually go down to the planet and end up in a whole host of trouble, including a rather funny Avon facing off with an Avon clone scene, which was great. It ends with Vila seemingly falling for Travis’s methods and leading the Liberator crew into a trap…

B7 Caged

An effective cover, showing you don’t need to fit the whole cast on it.

Finally, Episode 6, “Caged”, sees the Liberator docked in a special prison and the crew either in cells or being interrogated over the key to use Orac. Vila is seemingly by Travis’s side and the President himself arrives to oversee things. There is a great scene where The President and Blake sit at a table debating whether his rebellion is just causing unnecessary death, and ends with Blake shooting the President dead! … admittedly it later turns out it was a clone, tying back to the previous episode, but that makes sense (if Blake had killed the Earth Federation President, I’m pretty sure it would have been mentioned in the TV series…) but it was nonetheless a great scene to hear Blake’s delight that he finally actually did deliver a major blow to the Federation, like he always said he would, even if it was short-lived. Obviously Vila helps everyone out at the right time, showing he was just going along with it until he could find the time to help, and there is even some good old fashion Blake v Travis scenes to boot. It was a great story and a satisfying end to this mini arc.

The Bad:

No much, though I will say it’s both nice and annoying to hear Brian Croucher back as Travis. Series 2 Travis always sounded unthreatening and … well, a bit like an idiot, especially compared to the original Travis from Series 1. So hearing him here is accurate to the period they’re trying to recreate, but it does still sound more comical than it should do…

Overall Thoughts:

What a great mini story arc this was. The last two stories flew by and had great twists and turns and moments for most of the main cast. I look forward to buying Series 2 soon and seeing if the streak can continue!

Episode 4 “Mirror”:

4 Star Listen

Episodes 5 “Cold Fury” and 6 “Caged”:

5 Star Listen

 

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