This is the first episode not written by Terry Nation. There are many good things about it which I shall list first.
Cally is wonderful in this. She is tough (I cheer her "Central, the next shot will be right down your throats" and "A necklace, Vila, made from your teeth" every time), her telepathy is properly and cleverly used, and she saves the crew and probably the universe.
Like Gan and Vila, I am extremely dubious about Blake trying to use the Terra Nostra. Quite apart from the ethics, dealing with the [space] Mafia is asking for trouble. I also doubt that the burning of the president's garden at the end did much. I think they just hit the moon discs where the crew put the tent pegs, sorry, sensors, and they wouldn't have found much of the 'garden' on foot. It was a warning to the Federation that someone knows their secret at best, and an empty gesture at worst.
He's great in this, at the top of his insulting form (poor Gan), and I like the wordless byplay between him and Blake with the gems. He also looks very good in white.
I like that she refused to smuggle Shadow because of the ethics and not the death sentence.
I am puzzled that Gan of all people is in charge of the Liberator while Jenna is on the surface. This makes very little sense when they could expect some very strong defence from the Terra Nostra or, as they find out, the Federation. Still, it did get Jenna off the ship--twice.
Hanna and Bek
I'd have liked some more backstory for Hanna and Bek. Why did Hanna and Petey become addicts, and why did their parents make Bek promise to look after Hanna and Petey? Because they were addicts? What happened to the parents? Poor Hanna was dying which made her a convenient victim, and I bet Bek didn't hang around on Space City and become a rebel.
Apart from Cally's, which is wimpy and does not suit her toughness here, they're mostly very good, especially the white desert shirts. And Jenna has silver boots! How SF!
There are some great lines in this episode, even from Blake and Jenna who are not usually noted for their wit. I especially like Blake's response to Vila.
VILA: But that's Space City, one of my all-time great ambitions.
BLAKE: You'd probably be disappointed.
VILA: I'll take that chance.
BLAKE: I would never forgive myself, Vila.
Tits and bums!
Well, there are on Largo's walls! I'm not sure why: if it was meant to show decadence, why didn't Largo at least get a chair to sit on?
Shadow must turn people blue gradually. Hanna's hair is blue and Peter looked completely blue.
Bad crew for sytopping Zen from telling them about the trace element.
Moon discs are meant to avoid direct sunlight, but we saw a lot of them in the sun.
I assume the enforcer killed Largo with an overdose of Shadow, gong by the colour of his dribble. What did he do though, force Largo to take the globules at gunpoint? Hold him down and force-feed him?
It is generally assumed that the Chairman is the President, but is he? He's certainly got access to a battle cruiser, but he might just have the president in his pocket.
Orac calls Cally a human. [rolls eyes at all the conflicting stories we get about Cally and the Auronar]
Zen warns that Orac does not have the safety of the Liberator at heart. I don't think he's talking about the transdimensional alien here.
And now for the bad.
Vila looks young and delectable in this, and that's about the best I can say for him. Otherwise Boucher has reduced Terry Nation's clever, witty, and very capable thief to a useless idiot with a drink problem. It's not just in this episode of Boucher's either, but I shall post on that separately. I can believe Vila being interested in Space City, but going over there and getting legless when it's run by the Terra Nostra and he has a large bounty on his head hardly fits with his well-developed sense of self-preservation. I've explained it to myself by having the alien get at Vila too, giving him a mental push to get drunk and forget everything that happened, but the fact remains that Boucher writes Vila as a useless spare part with one notable exception after Michael Keating requested an episode in which Vila wasn't stupid.