Sarcophagus, by Tanith Lee, comes right after Rumours of Death in season 3.
It starts on a planet with some alien mannys dressed in fancy clothes. They do something to make other mannys, all dressed in different colours, appear and disappear. The aliens turn to go away but then one more manny - in black - appears unexpectedly, and they have to make him vanish like the others before him.
This scene is very colourful and fabulous, but I don't know what is going on and none of the aliens or mannys say anything the whole time. It seems to fit with the rest of the episode, but I don't know why. It's too complicated for a cat like me.
Then a spaceship takes off from the planet to finish this bit and next we are on the Liberator, where Cally is feeling sad. Zen sees an alien spaceship, so Cally, Avon and Vila teleport across to it. The inside of the spaceship is like the planet from earlier.
They find a dead body with a mysterious ring. Cally starts feeling strange and draws her gun and shoots, but there is nothing. She picks up a dusty thingy and gets teleported back, but Avon and Vila are stuck until Cally goes back and holds their hands so they all get teleported away before the spaceship explodes.
So many strange things happen in that scene with Cally that there is a mystery established. Avon knows something secret is going on but he doesn't know what. Back on the Liberator, Avon examines the thingy.
It is blue.
Cally has secretly taken the ring from the dead body.
Avon and Tarrant have a big argument.
Dayna sings a song.
Cally hears a voice in her head while she sleeps.
The blue thingy begins to glow. Orac tries to work out what is going on but it goes wrong when the blue thingy breaks into pieces. Orac is damaged and then Zen goes wrong too when telling them there is an intruder on the Liberator.
Cally allows the alien to take her over because she is lonely. She goes into a deep sleep.
Dayna tries to wake Cally but something knocks Dayna out.
Vila is by himself on the flight deck. He talks to himself and does magic tricks. Then he sees the alien.
It looks like Cally with gold skin and red hair and a fabulous shiny costume.
Tarrant finds Dayna and the real Cally, then he goes to fight the alien Cally but she stops his gun from working. The alien tells Tarrant that she is in charge of the Liberator now and he has to choose between being a servant or dying. Poor Tarrant is very useless here, he can't do anything.
The alien describes Vila: "He has a very high IQ and yet he acts like an imbecile."
Vila and Tarrant are both her prisoners. She tells them she wants to go back to her own planet but it is very far away.
Dayna and Avon come in. The alien gives them the same choice as she gave Tarrant, but Avon defies her, telling her she will not take the ship and nobody will do as she says.
"You have given us your terms, now I will give you ours: no deal."
He dares her to kill him.
"Make me die. There's nothing else you can make me do."
The alien makes explosions but doesn't kill Avon.
"You look so beautiful when you're angry."
He kiffs her, and steals the ring while he kiffs her. Without the ring the alien begins to die and gets scared because she doesn't want to die. But Avon doesn't give the ring back so she gets old and fades away and the real Cally is alright.
That is the end of the episode. Avon defeated the alien by being clever and working out she needed the ring to live, and he also realised she was so much like Cally she would not kill him because Cally is his friend.
He was very brave to try his plan and dare the alien to kill him, but maybe if we think about other episodes and not just this one, this story comes right after Rumours of Death which left Avon feeling very sad, so maybe he was reckless instead of brave.
This episode also comes not long after Children of Auron. That was a story that left Cally very sad and lonely, and so that may explain why she was so easy for the alien to take over. This is a clever story that works both by itself if we just think about it, and also as part of the series of stories that come in a row in season 3.
Avon kiffs the alien Cally as a distraction to steal her ring. It is a good distraction - I know I would be distracted if Avon kiffed me! This is also a good bit of writing by the writer of the story, because it means Avon kiffs Cally without kiffing the real Cally, which obviously he would not do because he would still be sad after Anna died not long ago, in Rumours of Death.
The same writer would use another clever trick to do something similar in season 4's Sand.
But that's another story...