This is weeks episode is a doozy. An icy planet in rebellion. A search for a Federation officer who may know the location of Central Control. All set against a countdown to destruction.
The Federation commander, Provine, quickly realizes that, despite the optimism of his underlings, they are going to be over run. I have to say he exudes that stiff upper lip attitude the Brits seem to do so well. He also seems slightly jaded and straight to the point. All attributes you'd like in an officer who didn't work for an evil empire.
Giving in to the inevitable he arms a device and evacuates. Ordering a subordinate to give them four minutes to reach the launch pad before activating it he leaves through a secret tunnel. Can't have a villain base without secret tunnels. Of course things don't work out as planned. The rebels breach the command center and shoot the Federation officer. In the ensuing battle the tunnel that Provine is in collapses, killing his colleague and preventing him from escaping. Of course the rebels fail to kill the officer in the command room before he activates the doomsday device.
A countdown, thus the title, pops up showing how long the people of Albion have left to live. It seems that the Federation has used the threat of this device as a means of population control. The rebels took a gamble that they were bluffing and lost. With time running out Cauder, the rebel leader, sends out a distress call. Now, here is where I have a small contention with this episode. I have to believe that there are some space ships on this planet. Why a general evacuation isn't ordered I don't understand. But I digress. That is a small quibble and doesn't affect the story at all.
Luckily for for everyone involved the Liberator is already on its way to Albion for their own reasons. Blake has learned that Provine used to work at Central Control before it was moved. He hopes that he can kidnap him and learn the new location. We finally come back around to the over arcing story for this half of the season.
The crew receive the distress call and decide that they better get down there before Provine gets himself shot. Blake, Avon and Vila teleport down to search. As usual Jenna and Cally get left on the ship. I guess there were dishes to do. On one hand I get that the writers were a little opposed to showing women facing danger. However, this is a rebellion by golly. Women have fought in guerilla wars before.
I digress again. I'll try harder to stay on topic. Our intrepid trio don't find Provine. They do however find a launch pad with a shuttle that doesn't have near the range needed to escape the planet when it is destroyed. Of course they are promptly captured by the rebels because that's just how these operations go. I think it's a requirement to be captured at least once per episode.
They are taken in and Cauder explains the situation to them. Albion had tried to secede from the Federation but that was denied them. He then organized the rebellion but brought in a mercenary named Del Grant to lead the assault. Apparently Grant is a professional rebel. He has led rebellions on several worlds against the Federation. This was kind of cool to hear that rebellion is spreading but a little surprising that any have succeeded. He definitely knows Blake by reputation and as I've said before, I think that's Blake's biggest success. He is a figurehead in being just by existing. Whether he ever wins or not is oddly irrelevant.
Avon is visibly taken aback to hear about Del Grant but shrugs it off. He explains that he knew a man by that name once who swore to kill him. Normally Avon is unflappable so it is odd to see him nervous. The reunion with Grant is rather heated as Grant accuses Avon of leaving a woman named Anna to be tortured to death by the Federation. As there is no time for revenge we get back to the task at hand. The device will release Solium radiation which will wipe out all life on the planet but leave the buildings intact. It will also dissolve quickly so that the planet can be recolonized without all those pesky rebels.
Of course the device isn't located there only the control panel. Vila breaks into the safe containing the information, because that's what Vila does, and heads back to the Liberator to have Orac figure things out. The rest of the team splits up to see if they can find it tucked away somewhere. Meanwhile Provine is busy skulking around. He knocks out Ralli, the only female member of team rebel who seems more competent than the guys around her. He sneaks his way to the launch pad where he kills a rebel guard and steals his uniform. The launch bay doors have malfunctioned and need a replacement circuit.
Orac comes through and finds out where the Solium device is hidden. At the freaking polar cap. With no time to waste Avon and Grant teleport there to disarm it. I have to say I felt like the writers did a good job with this. They hid the bomb in a remote location and when it is found its frozen in ice. I've that when its thawed weakens the structure of the facility causing it to start collapsing. Avon and Grant hash out their differences over a massive planet killing bomb. A lot is revealed about Avon's past but doesn't answer all of the questions concerning his relationship with Anna. In a fit of insanity they remove their teleport bracelets vowing to save the day or else. And that's when the roof collapses.
Meanwhile back at base Ralli has woken back up. Blake takes a trooper to go check the silo one more time for Provine. While they're gone Ralli and Vila find Provines file and realize that he is posing as the rebel that just left with Blake. Vila dashes off to save him only to get lost. Because that is also what Vila does. Luckily for us Blake is an action hero after all and manages to shoot Provine. Vila arrives just in time to witness Blake question him. Provine tells them that Control is now called Star One and give them the name of a cyber surgeon Docholli.
Back with the bomb Avon wakes up to find Grant trapped. Grant tells him to get out while he can but Avon refuses and finishes defusing the bomb at exactly 1 minute left. True. Action. Hero. Move. Boom. Or no boom. Whichever you prefer. Armed with new knowledge Blake and crew fly away to find Docholli and Grant goes back to Albion to pick up his pay check.
This was a great episode. It had action, a clever plot, good characters and a little mystery involving Avon. I can't believe that it's taken me this long to watch this one. And they successfully did all this without relying on the overuse of Travis and Servelan. I definitely recommend that you go watch.
Rating: 5 out of 5
Grant: I heard you were dead.
Avon: I heard the same about you. Wishful thinking, perhaps.
Coffee of the Day:
I'm sorry guys. Nothing fancy here today. Community Coffee Dark Roast. It has grown on me greatly though with a little repeated drinking. I need to invest in a variety pack to try for these reviews.