Monday, 12 January 2015

We Need Less Power

If you don't think Power is the worst episode of all Blakes 7, here's my attempt to persuade you that you are wrong to not think that.

But first, here are two good things about Power:

No, I don't mean Gunn Sar's moobs.

They only count as one.

The other is the way Avon defeats Gunn Sar in their duel using "a glove" as his weapon - really he uses his cleverness to defeat Gunn Sar's brainless brawn.

Now for the bad points:

Power is the last of Ben Steed's three sexist scripts for Blakes 7 - the previous two being Harvest of Kairos and Moloch - and manages to be the most sexist and the most awful.

The sexism runs through this episode with the division of men (that is, male mannys) and women (female mannys) into separate tribes, the Hommiks and the Seska respectively, but is exemplified in the character of Nina who was a Seska but now lives with the Hommiks as the wife of Gunn Sar, and explicitly states that she is a woman as opposed to being a Seska and helps the Hommiks turn more captured Seska into "women" by operating on them to remove the crystals which give the Seska psychic powers.

Their conflict interacts with Avon's attempt at obtaining a crystal to make Dorian's teleporter work. In the sngle worst scene in Blakes 7, he comes up against Pella, a Seska, who has the crystal Nina surgically removed from another Seska, and who threatens to use her psychic powers against Avon.

Pella: "I don't want to hurt you, Avon."
Avon: "Oh, it's good. But it's not good enough."
Pella: "Don't make me do it again."
Avon: "You must, though. Mustn't you?"

Avon: "Oh, it hurts, Pella. But I will win. There's not much left, is there?"
Pella: "Enough."

Avon wins, because...
Avon: "You see, Pella, it's your strength, and however you use it, a man's will always be greater. Unfair, perhaps, but biologically unavoidable."

And then, to cap off this inexcusably out of character speech from Avon, he kiffs Pella against her will as if in order to make the scene completely irredeemable.

Various other bits of sexist nonsense litter the episode, such as Dayna only defeating Gunn Sar with assistance from the psychic powers of two Seska. It gives me the feeling that Ben Steed wanted Gunn Sar to have been even more of a MAN than Jarvik, if that's possible.

At the end Avon shoots Pella (who was, to be fair, trying to steal Scorpio! and maroon the rest of them on Xenon Base like Khan at the end of Space Seed) and looks quite cool doing so, but this moment is ruined by the following exchange of dialogue as Pella is dying:

Pella: "That always was the easy answer for the man - the Hommik!"
Avon: "If you didn't want the answer, you shouldn't have asked the question."

To that sub-James-Bondian quip Avon adds this bit of fish-philosophising, which I can only conclude comes straight from the mind of Blakes 7's worst writer, Ben Steed:

"It's a problem, isn't it? You can have war between races, war between cultures, war between planets. But once you have war between the sexes, you eventually run out of people."

Bye bye Ben.

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