Tarrant shines (and not just his teeth, either).
They all seem quite friendly, even when they tease poor Vila (and landing on a penal colony must have brought back bad memories for him). I like the idea of them playing games together--and Orac taking it so seriously.
This has to be Tarrant's best episode. It's fairly obvious that he was being written as the new leader at this point, and he does an excellent job of it.
- he's in charge without bullying
- he's prepared to go out and retrieve Vila's body to give it proper star orbit 'burial'
- he's very clever with his truthful yet deceptive description of Orac to the Caliph
- he's very clever at maths too, even though he doesn't know about graphite writing sticks
- he's the one who promises Groff that they'll go to Xaranar and tell his wife how he died. And I bet they did.
I rather like how he keeps asking Vila how he is while continuing to argue with Tarrant about the spacesuit (not that I think wearing one would have made any difference had the Liberator broken up at those speeds and under those stresses). He's worried about Vila, though he'd hate to admit it, and continues to look at him after he's helped him up.
Poor Avon though, seeing a computer-less life full of manually worked equations ahead of him.
But Avon and the others were going to leave without Cally! I hope she didn't realise that. I know there've been some nasty fanfics about her exacting revenge, but I think she'd understand, having been a guerrilla fighter. I liked that she protected the Thaarn's rep by saying she hadn't seen him.
He's fairly sensible and alert (if a bit peeved about losing the game) in the first half. I think the famous swig came from a bottle that was near the game, so not as secret as people sometimes think. Or was it his station? I love his skilful boot on the space-welded door. (We sniggered at the 'space' part of that because we like noticing how often it's used as an adjective, but it makes a bit of sense this time; I think vacuum can in fact causes things to stick.) I also liked how he recognised that Orac was quite right about space (as in vacuum) no longer existing because there was air--and wonder if Tarrant was inspired by that in his answers to the Caliph about Orac. Vila was also sensible and intelligent about the gravity and the debris--but that's pretty much where it ends.
In the second half, Vila does little but ask Cally about the Thaarn, fail to pick his way out of the cell, and be petrified by a Robot Wars reject designed to frighten primitives. What the hell was going on there? Vila behaves like a complete idiot and this wasn't even written by Boucher, unless he slipped those bits in.
This starts well too, with the observation that the absence of X-rays around a black hole is unusual. Very true. It's all down the gravity well from there on though, even the Newtonian stuff.
- Tarrant says, "Strange. The Liberator's following a curve. Traction beams produce straight-line motion." Um, no, not if the object they're pulling is moving in another direction at the same time, but I suppose Tarrant was thinking of two ships stationary with respect to each other. I'll give him that one seeing he's so clever about everything else. :-)
- They're going so fast that Avon orders the force wall put up because a dust particle could breach the hull on impact. Yet somehow they slow down very quickly without coming apart, then park. OK, maybe they have very good inertial dampeners.
- Crandor exerts a huge gravitational pull, but when they're parked, there's only 1G. All right, hand-wave at brilliant Thaarn manipulation of gravity.
- Six Avons (and a hell full of them) is very funny, but Vila only has two eyes.
- Why does clever Tarrant think Groff's from another galaxy? I'm very glad he isn't.
I was surprised to see that the Caliph provides the same office organisers that I've used. A nice homey touch that must have been much appreciated.
I'm not sure why the gravity reverser switch was right out in the open, but at least it couldn't be used until the Thaarn turned off the energy isolators.
Where did they get their food from?
Avon looks great in his black polo; still not sure about the tight lobster trousers.
Vila's gold and dark brown shirt and jacket rather suit him.
I liked Tarrant's rich green jerkin very much, but the pale green shirt's not really his colour, though I find it rather amusing that both he and Vila wear similar shoelace ties.
Cally's 'flame' outfit is quite nice, but too sombre for her.
Dayna's blue looks wonderful on her; if the shoulder had been less SF-pointy. I'd pick that outfit as one of her best.
Not a bad episode, but apart from Tarrant, not a particularly good one either.