Blake’s 7: Crossfire Part 2 review

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Set during the third TV season of Blake’s 7, Crossfire Part 2 continues the story of the Liberator crew’s involvement in the Federation’s civil war, with Servalan (Jacqueline Pearce) usurping the previous President (Hugh Fraser). Across four stories, Avon (Paul Darrow), Vila (Michael Keating), Cally (Jan Chappell), Tarrant (Steve Pacey), Dayna (Yasmin Bannerman) and of course, Zen and Orac (Alistair Lock) come into conflict from a variety of angles, in four compelling stories.

First is Trevor Baxendale’s Funeral on Kalion, the only Servalan story in the set, and we learn of the mighty shipyards of Kalion, and the desperate lengths both Servalan and the old President will go to when the chance to control them arrives. Behind the very public funeral of ex-ruler Thern Sorren, Avon and Villa are also keen to capture control of the shipyards and the story is a well-choreographed exercise in deception and manipulation.

Second is Cavan Scott’s Shock Troops, and it tells us more than we’d like to know about how the Federation recruits and controls it’s every growing army. It’s told from a non-Liberator crew member’s perspective and is a gripping exposure of just how far the Federation will go. It’s a Dayna tale, a clever choice given her standard role as the warrior in the team.

Paul Darrow wrote the third story, Erebus, and there are slight nods to his own Blake’s 7 fiction, but nothing anyone unfamiliar would need to know. Of course, Avon is at the centre of the story, and we learn something of his past and just how ruthless he can actually be as he comes up against someone almost as driven as he is. It’s a clever tale given us a sense of Avon’s desire to be in control and it also gives Orac time in the spotlight.

Steve Lyons closes the set with a Tarrant / Vila centred story, The Scapegoat. For a few minutes it has almost too much familiarity – the team are meeting someone in a bar, there’s an encounter or too and plenty of deception, but the story takes these elements and blends a very different story with Toby Longworth’s Lockwood interactions with Vila paining a richer version of Vila than we sometimes get. Tarrant’s character is also well-explored as he deals with the aftermath of events orchestrated by the former President.

As a whole it’s a strong set of stories, it gives a sense of the wider Federation, the balance of power as it shifts but the stories also entertain without being forced to fit a larger arc. On the strength of this, it’s a pity the next set looks set to end this particular chapter in the Liberator crew’s history.