It’s been a while, but you can find the first episode redux [The Way Back] here
INT: SPACESHIP/BBC STOREROOM, ONE CIRCULAR WINDOW TO SHOW BLACKNESS OF SPACE, LOTS OF CONVICTS SITTING ON CLASSROOM CHAIRS, NO TATTOOS
Blake sits with his back to the window, restrained by a piece of ribbed plastic tubing curving round his torso.
He surveys the convicts in front of him.
‘Who wants to join my crew?’
Half of them raise their hands.
‘Who knows how to act?’
‘Okay. Jenna, Vila, Gan, young-looking student.’
Young looking student grins. ‘Hi, I’m…’
‘Should be enough.’
SWITCH TO: SHIP COCKPIT/DRIVE ROOM/BRIDGE/ROOM WITH 3 CHAIRS AND CARDBOARD CONTROL PANELS
An old-ish guy tells his crew of two to say some random numbers and set course for Cygnus Alpha. They repeat the numbers for a few seconds then the youngest crew member, we’ll give him the rank of lieutenant, goes back to the book he was studying.
‘Still revising for the command exams I see…’ says the captain, nodding.
‘Yes, Sir. Don’t want to be stuck on this shit heap for the rest of my life.’
‘It’s not that bad.’
‘It’s quite bad.’
‘As long as we don’t encounter any prisoner revolts or escape attempts, and you don’t have to see first hand how psychotic half the crew is, especially this guy here…I won’t say his name cos I’m half afraid he’ll shiv me…but the guy with the stern face sitting over there…’
‘You mean Raeker?’
‘Is that how you spell his name?’
‘Not Raiker? Or Raker?’
‘Well, yes. Raeker. He’s okay most of the time, but there’s a female prisoner on this trip and I’m a bit worried he’s gonna do something.’
‘You’re not worried the prisoners won’t do something to her?’
‘Nah, they’re all gay. Half of them at least. And I mean gay, not just gay in prison. Or are they bi? Ah, forget it, let’s just try to get to Cygnus Alpha in one piece, huh? Hello Mr. Raeker.’
‘Sir, shall I go give the usual lecture to the prisoners?’
The captain nods and they both walk outside into the corridor. They stop almost immediately, careful not to walk off set and into a back alley in Hammersmith.
‘There’s a female prisoner on the roster…’ says the captain wearily.
‘Be discreet, Raeker.’
‘It’s a big ship, Sir. Don’t worry.’
‘No…I mean, don’t try and fuck her.’
INT: PRISON ROOM
Raeker enters and runs through a speech he’s probably done a thousand times, enjoying the threats and trying to give Jenna some seductive side glances.
When he’s done, he tells the prisoners they’re free to move into the next room, which has no entertainment of any kind, only an armed guard standing on a stripper’s podium. All the prisoners file out except Blake, who’s trapped by his ribbed tubing.
‘So you’re Blake,’ says Raeker, slouching down on one of the vacated seats.
‘Yes, I’m Blake. Sir.’
‘Quite a fall…a rebel leader of men to molesting children.’
‘She was 17…’
Raeker coughs. Blake does ‘ahhh’ face.
‘It’s fiction. I never molested anyone. Sir.’
‘I don’t care. Just don’t make any trouble on my ship, Blake. I want a nice quiet episode, with lots of Jenna scenes…me and Jenna scenes…me and Jenna in the little space behind the walls scenes…top and pants off, her saying this is wrong, me saying make them bounce…you can watch if you want, Blake…say something like, hang in there, Jenna…’
‘Captain’s calling you Raeker,’ says one of the guards.
Raeker snaps out of his fantasy and nods, moves towards the door then rotates dramatically and shoots one of the older convicts.
‘That part comes later,’ said Blake.
Raeker smirks, grabs a guard by the collar and points at the convict. ‘Revive him.’
‘Sir, I can’t.’
‘He’s only contracted to get shot once.’
‘Give him a fiver, get him up.’
‘That’s one fifth of our budget.’
Raeker scowls and walks out of the room. Five seconds later, he runs back in, panting. ‘Sorry, I completely forgot. Jenna, I could make this trip much more comfy for you…’
‘You can stay in my quarters…’
Raeker frowns briefly then lights up again. ‘ I can give you fingers in the computer room, followed up with a Spiderman. Yay or nay?’
Jenna gets in close, avoids Raeker’s glare and whispers in his ear, ‘I’d rather fuck James Woods.’
Raeker glances over at the director, who glances at Terry Nation, who nods. Thinking ‘I have a mum, I’m not sexist’, Raeker backhands Jenna with genuine spite.
‘You’ve done that a lot, haven’t you…’ says Jenna, rubbing the sweat stain off her cheek.
‘It’s a long trip. You’ll change your mind.’
‘8 months. Narratively unexplained.’
‘8 months? That’s easy. I’m about to go sex-free for 2 seasons.’
‘You’ll still change your mind.’
‘Doubtful. I’m already in ascetic mode. At least until you’re out of the picture.’ Jenna looks left, where her sex fantasies lie. ‘That Liberator ship better have some long and smooth weaponry…’
Raeker gets uncomfortable with a woman talking about sex, so he quickly runs back to the cockpit and informs the captain that the convicts have been lectured to.
‘Good, good. Now, what do you make of these three white dots on our 2 quid radar?’
‘Looks like some kind of space battle.’
‘Agreed. Lieutenant, send a message telling them we’re made of cardboard then set course to go around them.’
‘But, Sir…what if some of their missiles go off course and hit us?’
‘Space is big, we should be okay.’
A shockwave from the battle crashes into the side of the ship and makes them wobble a bit.
SWITCH TO – PRISONER’S ROOM
A guard stands on the podium and tries not to listen to Blake discussing his plans to take over the ship with Jenna, Vila, Gan, Avon and the young looking student who was forced to swallow lots of shaving foam as a child and ever since has waxed instead of shaved and cannot bear to wank as his brain tells him that instead of cum, foam might come out.
‘So, we get Avon into the computer room, he takes control of the system, Gan strangles the guard, we get some guns, take over the ship then see if we can land in Phuket and get some pussy before bringing down the Federation.’
Blake notices Jenna, coughs and adds ‘get some cock’ to his plan.
Jenna shrugs. ‘It’s all good to me.’
‘Excellent. Now, all we need to do is convince Avon.’
‘He won’t do it.’
‘Leave it to me. I’m based on Zapata.’
Blake wanders into the second prisoner’s room and sits near Avon, who is either meditating or planning a second stab at Dhalgren.
‘You look lonely over here, all by yourself.’
‘Better than being with you.’
‘I don’t think you can take over the ship. I don’t think you can turn on the computer. You don’t even know how to use excel, do you?’
‘Appealing to my ego? Won’t work, sorry.’
‘There’ll be an action scene. You can wrestle with a nice strong man.’
‘The one who’s scared of foam?’
‘The pretty one out there. Your ally.’
‘Not him. One of the guards.’
‘Good. He looks like a jacket.’
‘So, you’ll do it?’
‘I’m in. But when we take over the ship, I want to sit in the captain’s seat.’
Avon gets up and walks into the other room, waits for the others to distract the guard then ducks through a panel and into the walls. He crawls for a while until he reaches the computer room set. As promised, there’s a guard inside. Avon waits until his back is turned then jumps out and wrestles him.
‘You’ll never guess the password,’ screams the guard before being knocked out by a punch to the stomach.
Avon examines the computer, searching for the little scrap of paper that has the password scribbled on it. Secretly, he’s hoping the guard will wake up and grab him from behind.
Meanwhile, back in the cockpit, there’s another shockwave.
‘One more of those and we won’t have a ship,’ says the captain.
‘Sir, there’s a breach in the hull.’
‘It’s okay, the foam will take care of it.’
‘Ah, you’re new here, I forgot. See, every time we get hit by space pebbles and there’s a hole in the ship, this foam comes out, fills the hole and then immediately hardens.’
SWITCH TO – PRISONER’S ROOM
Blake, Jenna, Vila and Gan are whispering to each other, wondering what’s taking Avon so long.
‘Maybe he took a wrong turn?’
‘It’s a one way wall.’
‘Maybe the computer loads really slowly…’
‘Possible,’ says Blake. ‘I’ll go and check.’
‘You can’t go, we need you to lead the charge out of this room,’ says Jenna.
‘Okay. Vila, you go.’
‘Err…I would, but I’m scared. I’ll talk around it, it’s the 70’s, a guy can’t say he’s scared, but I am, I’m really scared. I don’t want to die. Before you turned up Blake, I’d already volunteered myself to Gan. Luckily, he’s a gentleman. One hand job and done. But I can’t go in those walls.’
‘You’re a coward…’ says Jenna.
‘I’m not, I’m just not good with walls.’
‘You better at least be funny.’
‘I am, sometimes.’
‘He’s okay,’ says Gan. ‘He’s got a good line in episode 3. Architectural style is early maniac.’
‘Very well,’ says Blake, turning to the young looking student. ‘Young man, you go.’
‘Yes, Blake. I haven’t done anything yet, I’m desperate to do my part.’
‘That’s the spirit.’
‘If I don’t make it back…’
‘You’ll make it.’
The prisoner who’s afraid of foam goes to the wall, waits for the distraction then disappears inside. He goes a few metres then turns back and listens in to his comrade’s conversation.
‘What was his name again?’
Blake shook his perm. ‘I can’t remember either. Man looks like a joiner, should be okay. Right, let’s get back to the plan. Jenna, can I have a word with you in the other room?’
‘You’ve tried that four times already.’
‘Fifth time’s the clincher.’
‘I’m not gonna fuck you, Blake.’
‘But it’s the 70’s!’
‘Can we get back to staring at the red light on the camera up there.’
‘Fine. Just don’t end up with Avon, okay?’
SWITCH TO – COMPUTER ROOM
Avon is hugging the guard, letting him put his hands on his throat and choke him. The director intervenes, telling him to get on with it. Avon sighs and palm chops the guard’s temples, knocking him out again.
‘Okay, now go back to the computer, Avon.’
‘To do what?’
‘Press some buttons.’
Avon walks over and presses some buttons. The ship is rocked by another shockwave. Avon falls over and wanders around drunk before straightening himself out and waiting for Blake to turn up. Despite everything, thinks Avon, he’s still a leader. And his responses are always so quick and clever. Like the time he said I couldn’t use excel. Maybe I should give him another chance, let him show another side to himself that isn’t based on Zapata. Or maybe I should shoot him in the face and dump him out the airlock. Man, emotions are difficult. ‘What do I do here, Terry? Who am I?’
‘You’re a sociopath who gradually becomes a hero with a brief relapse in Season 4 Episode 11 when you try to murder Vila cos the shuttle’s too heavy…’
‘You can fuck Blake in the tie-in novels.’
‘Or the fan fiction.’
SWITCH TO – IN THE WALLS
The prisoner who’s afraid of foam gets trapped in a small space and dies in absolute terror as Terry Nation sprays shaving foam at him just off-camera.
‘They won’t even remember you came in here.’
The director calls cut, the crew pack up and leave, and Terry straddles the young man to get a better angle for the foam.
‘Mr. Nation, the crew…’
SWITCH TO – COMPUTER ROOM
Blake and Jenna storm in, just managing to avoid Raeker shooting at them from the corridor outside. They lock the door and tell the captain to surrender the ship or they’ll trash the computer.
‘Blake, we have a situation,’ says the captain, using a wall phone that may or may not be plugged in. ‘There’s a space battle nearby, and one of the ships is on a collision course with us. I think I forgot to tell everyone that, but it’s true. We’re running blind, we might get nudged a little and then we all die.’
‘I don’t believe you.’
A guard interrupts and tells the captain all the other prisoners have been recaptured, six of them killed.
‘You hurt them?’
Raeker nudges the captain. ‘Sir, I have an idea. I’ll execute one prisoner every thirty seconds until Blake comes out.’
‘So I have your permission?’
‘Officially, no, but, unofficially, yes. Or officially yes, but unofficially, I really like your plan, but officially I have to frown on it a bit. I regret saying excellent idea.’
Raeker hurries off to put on his Witchfinder General costume, while Blake, Jenna and Avon wait for the captain to respond to Blake’s last line of dialogue.
‘Switch on the camera,’ says Raeker, ‘and pay close attention cos the image resolution is quite grainy.’
‘Are you surrendering?’
‘I’m gonna kill one prisoner every thirty seconds. After two and half minutes, I’ll get to someone you know. That’s how long you have to surrender.’
‘Good job I didn’t talk to any of them,’ said Avon, folding his arms.
Raeker shoots a few extras, each one dropping to the floor without a spot of blood dripping out. Blake scratches his head, wonders what Zapata would’ve done, wishes he’d been based on Pol Pot then tells Avon to open the door.
‘You’re giving up?’
‘He’s murdering the catering staff! He’s won, we’ve lost.’
Avon groans a bit then opens the door. The captain swaggers in and tells them to get away from the computer. Blake screams at the captain to stop Raeker killing people, to which the captain says, hey, I didn’t authorise that.
The young lieutenant runs to the prisoner room and tells Raeker to stop slaughtering prisoners. Raeker smirks, signals the guard to prop up the prisoner he shot earlier, then shoots him again.
Raeker strolls up to Blake with a ‘I just landed a role in Critters’ face, when in fact it’s Star Wars he’s landed a role in which seems better but realistically won’t get him anywhere, just ask Wedge.
‘You could’ve won Blake…if you’d had guts.’
‘I’ll settle for yours.’
The other guards stop Blake from choking Raeker and take him back to the prisoner’s room, along with Jenna and Avon. They sit on the chairs with the ribbed plastic tubing restraining them and wonder where it all went wrong.
‘Should have just got Gan to kill everyone,’ says Blake.
‘Hang on,’ says Jenna, ‘what happened to that guy we sent to check on Avon?’
SWITCH TO – PHARMACY
Terry Nation puts 30 cans of shaving foam on the counter, pauses then adds a pack of condoms.
‘Going on a trip?’ asks the staff.
Terry shakes his head. ‘Sci-fi show.’
The staff looks confused.
SWITCH TO – COCKPIT
The captain gets the ship back online and discovers that the alien ship has pulled up alongside them and inexplicably has a hatch that they can attach to.
‘I wonder if they have couches too,’ mutters the lieutenant.
The captain stares at the image on screen.
‘Sir, we could take it apart and sell it for millions,’ says Raeker.
‘Yes. Nice idea. We can split the cash between the two of us.’
‘What about me?’ asks the lieutenant.
‘You are weak and unintimidating. Raeker would probably murder his own child, so I won’t try to screw him over. As for the other guards…Raeker, you can murder them when you have time. Maybe space it out a bit, one every few weeks, that way we can avoid suspicion.’
Raeker nods and the Captain goes to the hatch tube. He tells some guards to suit up and go and investigate the alien ship.
‘If there’s any aliens on that ship, be nice to them, but if they’re aggressive, defend yourself. But, mostly, stay diplomatic. Here, take these machine guns.’
The two guards go inside the very thin tubing, walking slowly to give the impression they’re walking in space and not through a building site. They get to the hatch on the alien ship, open it, marvel at the insane wattage of their super white lighting, go inside, say some nonsense and die, all within thirty seconds.
Another guard goes across and has the same thing happen to him.
‘Maybe we should do something ridiculous,’ says the captain.
‘Send Blake and the other two?’ asks Raeker.
‘Why not? They’ve surely learnt their lesson from the computer room debacle. Let’s suit them up and send them over to a ship far more powerful than our own. Give them some machine guns too.’
Blake, Jenna and Avon cross over and walk into a alien cockpit or drive room that is unlike anything the Royal Shakespeare Company has ever seen before. They hear some voices, see some memories, walk towards certain death until Blake screams ‘noooo, don’t go over there, the memories are fake, I’m not a paedo.’
He shoots the computer screen which seems to mollify the ship.
‘Blake, what do you see over there?’ asks the captain. ‘Is there gold?’
‘We’re still checking.’
Raeker suits up and tells the captain he’s heading over to the alien ship.
‘I’m far too evil to leave hanging.’
‘True. Good luck.’
Raeker walks through the space tube to the alien ship and sees Blake trying to shut the hatch. Incredibly, he manages to miss Blake’s gut and shoot him in the shoulder instead, which gives Blake a slight sprain, then the alien ship shuts the hatch itself and Raeker is sucked out into space.
The captain sees him float by, goes into a corner, wipes the sweat from his armpits, breathes out and mutters, ‘thank fuck for that.’
SWITCH TO – THE LIBERATOR DRIVE ROOM/COCKPIT/COCKTAIL LOUNGE
Avon, Blake and Jenna mess around with the ship controls, pick up a gun each and then settle down on the couch for a chat.
‘I can’t believe we’re here,’ says Jenna.
‘It’s destiny,’ says Blake.
‘Are we going to Thailand now?’ asks Avon.
‘I am looking forward to seeing the guy beat a drum with his dick,’ says Jenna.
‘No, I need a crew.’ Blake stands up. ‘We’re going to Cygnus Alpha to rescue Gan and Vila, then we’re going to fight.’
‘You’re confusing character with performance. Besides, he’s got the maniac joke in episode 3. He comes with us.’
‘What about Thailand?’ asks Jenna.
‘Pilot the ship, Jenna. That’s your new job. Your only job.’
‘And me?’ asks Avon.
‘Just skulk around and challenge me occasionally.’
Blake waits for someone to say something else, but no one does. ‘Is this episode just bleeding into the next?’
‘Looks like it.’
‘I think we’re already on episode 3.’
‘Should I say things dramatically as if it’s the last 5 minutes or casually as if it’s the intro?’
‘Dunno,’ reply both Jenna and Avon, Jenna having to shout a bit to make herself heard from the pilot’s console.
Blake shrugs and sits on the couch again. He pours a drink. Terry Nation comes over and tells him he did really well, especially the interaction with Avon.
‘What’s that white stuff on your sleeve?’
‘What about me?’ asks Jenna, returning to the couch. ‘Did I do okay?’
‘You took the slap well.’
‘Prison ship realism.’ Terry puts out a hand, stopping an inch from her chest. ‘Maybe drop the jacket zip a little…’
‘To pilot the ship more effectively?’
‘Perv…’ mutters Jenna, pulling her zip all the way to the top.