The Trial of Travis
Number one, Travis is certifiably insane. We've known this all along because Blake has told us but today we get to see it first hand. Travis doesn't even deny it. As a matter of fact he tells the judges it's part of the reason he's such a good officer. He was trained to be ruthless and so therefore he is so.
The next takeaway is that even though is a heartless bastard, his men do give him grudging respect. During one scene a trooper named Par sneaks booze to him in his cell. We learn afterwards that he did it with help from Travis' defense counsel but he makes it clear to her that he didn't do it for her. He tells her that Travis never wasted the lives of the men under him. In his words " When you are neck deep in slime and lasers, that's everything".
The third takeaway is the inclusion of two observers, Rontane and Bercol, who give a running commentary on the trial and the motivations behind it. I believe they were also briefly in Seek-Locate-Destroy but I don't remember much of them from that episode.
We learn that they are there on behalf of the president who feels that Servelan is a threat to his regime. President is a bit of a misnomer. Don't forget that he got "elected" through the use of drugs, brainwashing and straight up murdering people. But I digress. It's clear that they know how badly Servelan failed concerning the Blake debacle but it's also clear that knowing and proving are two different things. Another flaw in this episode is that these two characters just wander off screen and don't come back. It's left unclear whether or not Servelan offed them or what. I feel like so much more could have been done with these two characters.
it is nice to see that the Federation is prone to its own backstabbing a and intrigue though. It makes them much more interesting as villains than if they were just an implacable, monolithic empire who never failed. I digress however. A sentence finally comes down and Travis is found guilty and sentenced to death. Surprise surprise. We've got to leave off on this story line for now but I promise we'll be back soon.
The Trial of Blake
Blake finds an uninhabited, or so we think, planet to teleport down to to do some soul searching. He takes great pins to keep the crew from being able to track him but leaves them a rambling message about how they all need to decide how they're going to proceed. Typical Blake hubris, he leaves to decide and just expects everyone to go along. Of course Avon is having none of it and has taken several opportunities to remind him that it's his fault Gan is dead.
After teleporting down Blake is immediately treated to having rocks thrown at him and his stuff stolen. Because even on an uninhabited planet he ain't welcome. We soon meet Zil who tells Blake that to move is to live.
All of of this becomes a moot point when we realize that the planet is actually a living entity. That's right folks, the planet is one big space beast and Zil and her kind are essentially sentient fleas. The planet wakes up and starts absorbing said parasites to get rid of them and through some techno mumbo jumbo Blake is teleported out at the last second.
The he crew decides to forgive and forget and Blake confesses that until now he had bought into their legend that they were invincible. Now, it should be noted that the storyline so far has been weak, but the characters are as strong as usual. Avon is narcissistic, Vila is a bit craven, Jenna is resolute in her behavior and Cally is as clever as always. The sad thing is, the writers just don't seem to know what to do with them. Jenna and Cally are essentially ignored, Vila gets fairly little air time and Blake gets a poor treatment as tortured leader. It's clear that the loss of Gan has rattled him badly. He even admits that he started to believe that he couldn't fail. We jus acknowledged that massive hubris that has been building for several episodes now. Except we get a really weak story to deal with a massive issue. To be fair I suspect that they were trying to shoehorn in some of the standard sci fi fare of strange alien worlds to help ratings, but it just doesn't work. At all. And of course the hubris isn't gone, just out in the open. What is Blake's idea to get their moxy back? Take a run at Space Command. Luckily for us Avon just so happens to have worked out a device that will make them undetectable to sensors. And here is where the two story's meet up at last.
Trials and Tribulations
Just as Travis' sentence is passed the Liberator shows up and just happens to blast the section of the station that the trial is taking place in. Luckily for Travis he is the only one to escape before the airlocks seal. We have a Point Break moment between Travis and Par before Travis clocks him and he escapes to confront Servelan. Stealing a pursuit ship and a mutoid crew he flies off to chase Blake. Meanwhile the Liberator makes good it's get away without realizing that they've just saved the life of their arch nemesis. Oh the irony.
I'm conflicted on this episode. Overall it was a good episode and advanced the shows overarching story nicely. But man did it have some weak points. Notably the Blake sojourn story. The strengths we're seeing Travis in all of his over acted glory by Brian Croucher. And it is nice to see such an obviously flawed hero in Blake. But it's clear that the writers were treading fairly new ground and didn't know how to deal with a less than perfect captain. Is he supposed to be wise and humble? Is he supposed to be driven and narcissistic? Is he out for his own glory or for the common man? They vacillate between all of these characteristics without settling in on anything. At least at the moment. Maybe further down the road. Or maybe I'm just reading too much into things.
Rating: 3 out of 5
Then you'd better be very careful. It would be ironic if it were you.
Coffee of the Day: One of these days they are going to leave you. They were almost ready to do it this time. One more death would do it.
Nothing fancy here. I went with our workhorse Dark Magic by Green Mountain Coffee. This is our usual daily choice due to the fact that it's dark, smooth and we get a steady supply from my mother in law who likes to buy it in bulk. But I do highly recommend it.