Nico (vilakins) wrote,

Gambit (211)

While the fearless leader's away, the thieves will play.

This is a fun but surprisingly complicated plot. It's part of the Star One arc, but there's also Federation conniving to take over the unnamed planet that Freedom City is on, and of course Vila and Avon's excellent adventure.

Vila and Avon
I can see why Vila gets left behind after his bad behaviour on Space City, and Jenna rubs it in with her grin and wave when she says "Bye!" But why is Avon there? To keep an eye on Vila, or is he being punished too? They're both very resentful and quick to abandon the others without teleport while they have some fun.
Avon's reaction to Thrylce's death by speed chess is interesting. He says that risking money isn't always enough, and that it's the biggest gamble, the "real kick". Does he egg Vila on to play the Klute because of the thrill of betting his life? On the other hand he spits out his ice-cream when Vila chooses to continue playing the big wheel beyond what Avon thought was safe. I suppose one could assume that Avon relishes the ultimate gamble--at no risk to himself--or perhaps there's no risk anyway. Avon has Orac, Vila's wearing a bracelet, and he knows he could get Vila teleported before the Klute could press his button. Because I like to think there's some liking there, I'm going for the latter interpretation.
I wish we'd seen the cut scene where they gorge themselves on ice-cream on the Rink, but I still like the way they lie to Blake at the end, working so well together inthat too.

Krantor and Toise
Krantor is fun to watch; he and Servalan are well matched. I do the way they both insult and threaten each other while remaining full of charm and oily politeness--and the look of affront he gives Toise for daring to wear headgear that might outshine his own costume. Yet when Avon and Vila take them for ten million credits and he turns to Toise in shock, Toise forces him to his knees. That relationship may not be as one-sided as one thinks.

This is a very good episode for Travis 2. He cares about Docholli and protects him, and I don't think it's because of Docholli's knowledge. He looks genuinely offended and hurt when Chenie sneers at his noble nature, and if I didn't know what was coming at Star One, I'd feel quite sorry for him. I wonder how much it would have taken to deflect him from his plan to revenge himself on the whole human race.

I like Chenie and rather hope that one day she and Docholli meet up again, and I even enjoy the raddled Marlene Dietrich croupier. She looks rather like someone from Cabaret or a  Weimar Republic night club, and the drag nun is a nice touch.

Krantor's mirror comms is a huge advance on Servalan's small and often B&W screens, and the one photo Blake has of Docholli is a grainy, B&W one. I regard this as proof of the Federation's stagnancy; they are so reactionary and rigid that innovation and creativity are stifled and they rely on huge fleets and massive numbers of troops rather than anything Krantor's planet would regard as state of the art.

Convoluted plotting
Servalan doesn't just want to stop Blake getting to Docholli, she also uses the bug on Travis in the hope of inducing Krantor to kill Travis before he can blow Docholli up with his booby-trapped arm. If this works, she can then have Krantor killed for presumably getting the location of  Star One out of Travis, also a good excuse for the Federation to move in and clean out "this pestilential rat-hole" so close to their borders.
So far so good.
But I'm as puzzled as Jarriere who asks what will happen if Travis evades Krantor and reaches Docholli. Servalan says, "Even then, it won't go wrong. You see, I've allowed for that possibility too, Jarriere." I had thought that they were enacting an elaborate ruse with the grenade in the arm for Krantor's benefit, but that remark implies that  there really is a bomb--and there is indeed but Blake says it isn't primed. Why not? Is Jarriere, behind his air of gentle befuddlement, a clever explosives expert with rebel sympathies who gets away with not in fact arming the arm?

A fun and entertaining episode with interesting and likeable (though not always both) guest characters, and the most depth we've seen from Travis 2.

Tags: blake's 7 - episode reviews
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