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The Harvest of Kairos was the fifth episode of Series C it was first broadcast 4 February 1980.


From the VHS release:

The unthinkable has happened - Servalan is in control of the Liberator and Avon and the crew are stranded on the planet Kairos after the harvest...


The Liberator is in orbit around a planet where Avon has teleported to the surface to collect samples. Tarrant suspects there are Federation ships nearby, using a natural blind spot as camouflage. Servalan is monitoring events from her command ship but her aide Dastor tells her that a maintenance worker, Jarvik, has claimed he could take the Liberator with three pursuit ships. Servalan has Jarvik brought to the bridge to show him the Liberator's destruction. Avon returns to the ship with sopron, a mineral that Zen says is a capacity-charged brain. The Liberator leaves orbit in the opposite direction to where the Federation ships are waiting. Servalan is bewildered since the computers said it was the only defensible route but Jarvik points out Tarrant would have used the information to guess where the ambush was. He correctly predicts Tarrant will now head for the harvest of Kairos.

Tarrant explains to the crew that Kairos is the only source of a precious substance called kairopan but it can only be harvested for one week each cycle: Anyone who has stayed on the planet longer has died in unknown circumstances. Vila, Cally and Dayna all agree with his plan to hijack the transport ship carrying the harvest but Avon is preoccupied with sopron and has both Orac and Cally scan it: Orac believes it is a processing unit of marginally greater power than himself while Cally sees her parents.

Jarvik explains to Servalan that he was Tarrant's captain on a previous harvest but has become dissatisfied with the Federation's reliance on computers to discuss tactics. Servalan makes him an acting major in charge of defending the kairopan. The captain of the escort shuttle, Shad, informs Servalan there has been a higher than usual harvest: She instructs him to leave behind a group of labourers and one guard to make room.

The Liberator defeats the pursuit ships and Tarrant, Vila, Dayna and Cally board the transport ship. They are ambushed by guards in the cargo hold but rescued by Avon. However, Shad and more guards are hiding in the actual crates and take control of the Liberator. Shad brings Servalan aboard where Avon instructs Zen to obey her orders but only on condition she transports the crew to a safe Earthlike planet. Servalan orders Zen to set course for the nearest such planet: Kairos.

The crew teleport to the surface and split up. Vila steps on some kairopan which Dayna pockets. Tarrant and Cally find the bodies of several labourers but fail to spot a giant insect lurking nearby. Avon stumbles across a landing module which would allow them to link up with a craft in orbit. Servalan offers Jarvik a place by her side if he teleports to the surface and retrieves the crew's bracelets.

Dayna is attacked by a giant insect; Jarvik directs her to repel it with the kairopan. He explains the insects can smell the kairopan on anyone who has touched it. He then reveals his reason for being there and challenges Tarrant to a knife fight, defeating him and holding him at knifepoint. Tarrant, Avon, Vila and Cally all surrender their bracelets but Dayna insists he fight her for hers. As they are fighting, the insect returns and Jarvik directs the Liberator to teleport them both up.

The crew take off in the landing module just as the Liberator razes the area. Avon reveals that he has rigged the module with a version of sopron, which defends itself by projecting a larger image of whatever threatened it. The Liberator's sensors see the landing module as an alien spacecraft more powerful than itself. Tarrant contacts them and demands they surrender. Jarvik knows it is a trick but Servalan decides to abandon ship and orders Shad to kill Dayna. Jarvik steps between them as he fires and is accidentally killed. Dayna points out they need someone to work the teleport and transports the Federation personnel to the transport ship. The crew retake control of the Liberator and Avon orders Zen to erase Servalan's voice print.



Story notes[]

  • This is the first of three episodes written by Ben Steed.
  • The giant spider costume was nicknamed "Brian the Spider" by make-up designer Sheelagh Wells, in an effort to counteract her arachnophobia. She thought that if the spider had a name, it couldn't be very frightening. Her approach worked.
  • The protostage landing module is in fact a Lunar Module (LM) from the Apollo Program, the ship that landed on the Moon.
  • Avon's line, "I understand that this ship is the most powerful in the galaxy, and you are the most astute space warfare commander" is dubbed, with the word "astute" replacing whatever was originally said.



Filming locations[]

Bovingdon Airfield, Herts.

Production errors[]

To be added.


  • This is the first episode where Servalan is shown to meet Tarrant and one of only two episodes where she is shown to board the Liberator, the other being Terminal.
  • Tarrant states that there isn't a Federation anymore. The accuracy of the statement is unclear but the Federation is clearly functioning again by Rumours of Death.
  • Cally's reference to her parents seem at odds with the revelation in Children of Auron that she is a clone.


Avon: I understand that this ship is the most powerful in the galaxy and that you are the most astute space warfare commander. Or so you tell us often enough.

Tarrant: (On Vila's retirement plan) Two weeks of that and you'd be looking for something to break into.

Tarrant: Didn't you hear me call?
Avon: I imagine the whole planet heard you.

Avon: This happens to be the most sophisticated lifeform it has ever been my good fortune to come across. Present company not excepted.

Avon: When you live on the permanent dark side of a planet, no-one cares too much what you look like.

Dayna: If you want mine, you'll have to take it.
Jarvik: There always has to be one.

Vila: Are you sure you can dock this thing?
Tarrant: I hadn't really considered it.
Vila: What?
Tarrant: I thought we'd be dead by now.

Home video releases[]

Series 3 DVD

DVD cover

  • Original BBC video release (Volume 16) in 1992.
  • Fabulous Films video reissue (Volume 16) on 1 March 1999.
  • DVD release as part of the Series 3 box set on 20 June 2005.

External links[]