Episode 16 – Action Banana

Welcome to the sixteenth episode of Down and Safe, where Michael, Liz, Scott, and Amal embark on a discussion of the third episode of season two, Horizon, wherein we discuss the intricacies of the mining industry, the deadly fern on the grassy knoll, and delicious hot pepperoni pizza.

This is a useful reminder that this podcast is very probably not safe for work, and may contain mild spoilers for the rest of the Blake’s 7 series throughout the episode (we keep major spoilers to a spoiler section of the podcast that we give warning is going to be particularly spoilery.)

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9 thoughts on “Episode 16 – Action Banana

  1. I read Avon’s monologue differently. He’s not planning to leave; he’s trying to work out *why* he doesn’t want to. He establishes that he’s not staying because he needs the rest of them to crew the ship. He *doesn’t* need the rest of them to crew the ship, as he establishes in his conversation with Orac (or, at least, he’s got a better chance of survival without them, than with Blake actively seeking out risky situations). He is, at some level, staying because he wants to.

    I think this surprises him a little, but he accepts it.

    And so, when he realises that three pursuit ships are heading his way – a number he knows he has a poor chance of fighting off himself – he doesn’t run. Running at that point would be the most sensible thing to do; three pursuit ships are only a problem if they catch him with nowhere to escape to. By contrast, if he stays and tries to rescue the crew, he probably *will* end up having to fight the pursuit ships which, even with a full crew, is riskier than putting six million spacials between him and them. And yet he stays, because he’s realised that he isn’t, as he’s claimed, driven purely by self interest.

    The impending arrival of the pursuit ships doesn’t force him to rescue the crew. It forces him to make a decision that proves that he is going to act against his strict self-interest out of loyalty and friendship, which is something that he’d hoped to stay in denial about.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes! This. “Horizon” has always been a favorite episode of mine, and I’ve never found it boring, precisely because of the very nice exploration of Avon’s loyalties. Plus, I’m a sucker for the sorts of head vs. heart kinds of arguments he tends to get into with Cally, and there’s a great one here.

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  2. I see this exchange happening:

    Boucher: “Allan! Oh, excellent. Glad to have someone of your stature on the show. And we’ve got a corker of an episode for you. I want you to go right into the heart of British Colonialism and cut it out. If the Torries aren’t rioting, we’ve failed.”

    Allan: “Right, I’ll see if I can get this in between my twelve episodes of Z Cars… Oh, and maybe I should watch those first episodes, throw in some references…”

    Months later-

    Script Boy: “We’ve got the final draft of Horizon.”

    Boucher: “Yes! Excellent, we had such a mess of overruns on Shadow and Redemption… We need to get… Oh. Oh… Well, so much for the Torries rioting… OK, let’s get the casting folks on the line.”

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  3. I can’t deny that Allan Prior is not my favourite B7 writer. However, I have a lot of love for Horizon because it has some excellent Federation minions. Anything with a glimpse into the background of how the Federation functions immediately bumps up the score for me. Also the mind-control/torture stuff links back to ‘The Way Back’ and it’s always a bonus when the writers remember things that happened earlier in the show.

    I pretty much agree with David Matthewman’s take on Avon in this episode. I’ve always seen him not as seriously planning to leave, but as playing with the idea of leaving, to see if he would really go through with it. And then finally reality calls his bluff and says, okay, here are the incoming ships, if you’re really going, you need to go now. And he doesn’t.

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