Powerplay was the second episode of Series C it was first broadcast 14 January 1980. It acted as a proper introduction for Del Tarrant played by Steven Pacey, following his cameo in the previous episode.
From the VHS release:
While Vila and Cally are in safe hands, Avon's back on the Liberator...with a few hostile Federation strays. Then the safe haven turns into a nightmare and the crew start to die one by one...
Avon and Dayna are confronted by Federation captain Del Tarrant and a group of troopers led by Section Leader Klegg, the latter having been the first to board the Liberator. Avon poses as a survivor of the battle named Shevron who has taken refuge onboard the ship, with Dayna as his wife. Klegg is suspicious, since Zen has been programmed to only obey orders from the former crew, and instructs both to give Zen orders to see if he obeys. Tarrant knocks Avon unconscious, thinking he has a weapon, and the pair are locked in a cabin.
Vila's life capsule has landed on the planet Chenga where he has attempted to contact Zen but is unable to hear his response. He is found by Lom and Mall, two men who live a primitive lifestyle but are fully aware of technological matters. They warn him they are being hunted by the Hi-Techs, who take them to a fate worse than death. Lom is hit by a tranquiliser dart and Mall carries him to safety but is separated from Vila.
Cally is onboard a hospital ship bound for Chenga, which has been picking up survivors of the Intergalactic War. The ship stops to pick up a last passenger who turns out to be Servalan. However, her requests that they contact the Federation fall on deaf ears.
Avon and Dayna manage to get out of their cabin and find the guard has already been stabbed in the back. They head through the ship's service tunnels. Harmon and another trooper discover the tunnel exit after they have used it and Harmon leaves his colleague on guard. The trooper hears someone in the hatch. Harmon returns with reinforcements. Klegg fires into the hatch but hits the trooper left on guard, who has already been hit on the head. Meanwhile, Avon and Dayna launch a life capsule to make it appear they've left the ship.
Vila is found by two Hi-Tech hunters, who turn out to be attractive women named Zee and Barr. They tell him their ancestors came from Earth. The Primitives rejected their use of high technology so they try to bring them back to their city so they can be of benefit. They escort Vila back to the city.
Avon leaves Dayna in a cabin while he speaks with Zen, who tells him they are on their way to collect Vila. He returns to the cabin to find Dayna has already been captured and Tarrant and Harmon are waiting for him: Tarrant has deduced his identity. Avon turns the tables by accusing Harmon of killing the two troopers, having realised Harmon discovered the Liberator's store of precious stones. Harmon attacks Avon and Tarrant kills him. Avon is correct about Harmon taking the stones but in fact Tarrant killed the troopers. He reveals he deserted the Federation prior to the war but joined the battle against the Andromedans. He was picked up by a Federation ship when his own was destroyed, acquiring the uniform, then took refuge on the Liberator when it too was destroyed. Since Klegg and his men were already onboard, he posed as a Federation officer to dispose of them. Unfortunately, one of the troopers overhears his confession.
Vila is reunited with Cally while Servalan manages to negotiate for her return to the Federation. She delightedly informs the two Liberator crewmembers the real reason the Hi-Techs bring people to the city: to kill them for use as organ donors. The pair realise they have been paralysed.
Klegg and his surviving troopers take refuge in the teleport chamber with Dayna as a prisoner. Klegg offers to teleport Avon and Dayna down to a safe planet in return for Avon giving him control of the Liberator and leaving Tarrant behind. Avon appears to help the troopers capture Tarrant. However, when Klegg is distracted, the trio jump the troopers and overpower them, with Dayna killing Klegg.
The Hi-Techs are about to kill Vila and Cally when the Liberator teleports them aboard. Avon instructs Zen to take orders from Tarrant and Dayna and welcomes them to the ship.
- Avon - Paul Darrow
- Cally - Jan Chappell
- Vila - Michael Keating
- Tarrant - Steven Pacey
- Dayna - Josette Simon
- Zen - Peter Tuddenham
- Servalan - Jacqueline Pearce
- Klegg - Michael Sheard
- Harmon - Doyne Byrd
- Lom - John Hollis
- Mall - Michael Crane
- Zee - Primi Townsend
- Barr - Julia Vidler
- Nurse - Catherine Chase
- Receptionist - Helen Blatch
- Fight Co-ordinator - Max Faulkner
- Production Assistant - Edwina Craze
- Production Unit Manager - Sheelagh Rees
- Director's Assistant - Shuna Young
- Assistant Floor Manager - Antony Root
- Film Cameraman - Peter Chapman
- Film Recordist - Ian Sansam
- Film Editor - Sheila S. Tomlinson
- Series Videotape Editors - Sam Upton (Uncredited), Malcolm Banthorpe (Uncredited)
- Visual Effects Designer - Steve Drewitt, Jim Francis
- Video Effects - A.J. Mitchell
- Graphics Designer - Doug Burd
- Studio Lighting - Brian Clemett
- Studio Sound - Malcolm Johnson
- Special Sound - Elizabeth Parker
- Costume Designer - Dee Robson
- Make Up Artist - Sheelagh Wells
- Music By - Dudley Simpson
- Series Created By - Terry Nation
- This is the only episode of Blake's 7 to open with a re-enactment of the end of the previous episode.
- Orac does not appear in this episode, making it unclear if it is meant to be onboard the Liberator.
How Steen Gorge near Pateley Bridge, Yorks.
Plumpton Rocks, Harrogate, North Yorks.
To be added.
- Although Tarrant's name was given in the closing credits of "Aftermath", this is the first episode where his surname is mentioned in dialogue and when his first name is mentioned.
- Zen being programmed only to obey the orders of recognised crewmembers is what Blake instructed Orac to do in "Redemption".
- Tarrant states that he would have recognised Blake; however, when he meets him in "Blake" he does not.
Vila: (Hearing growling in the trees) That sounds big and bad-tempered. Just hope it's vegetarian.
Dayna: There were only two. I should have been able to kill them both.
Avon: We all have our off days.
Avon: (Finding a trooper with a knife in his back) That's a difficult way to commit suicide.
Avon: Anybody that comes through this door...kill them. (Beat) Anyone that isn't me that is.
Klegg: She will die slowly and very noisily!
Dayna: Don't count on it.
Avon: That one's Cally. I'll introduce her more formally when she wakes up. That one's Vila. I'd better introduce him now, he's at his best when he's unconscious.
Home video releases
- In edited form as part of compilation video Aftermath in 1986.
- Original BBC video release (Volume 14) in 1991.
- Fabulous Films video reissue (Volume 14) on 1 February 1999.
- DVD release as part of the Series 3 box set on 20 June 2005.