January 24, 2022

Gabbing Geek

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Blake’s 7 “Pressure Point”

Blake's luck comes to a close when he bites off more than he can metaphorically chew.

One of the things season two of Blake’s 7 has really hammered home is that Blake himself may be a little too gung ho to attack the Federation.  Sure, he has a fantastic ship, better than anything his enemy has, with two supercomputers that each dwarf the Federation’s best, but he’s still only got five other people to back him up.

And this time around, he pays for that.

Yeah, to put it bluntly, one of the heroic crew of the Liberator dies in this episode, and it is easily the person who arguably deserves it the least.  Gan gets crushed by rubble, holding the opening for the others to escape when Blake’s decision to attack the Federation on Earth, plans he distinctly did not share with the others, goes awry.  Blake had been in contact with a rebel leader, but that woman and her squad were killed.  The woman herself was taken by Servalan and Travis, with her daughter being held somewhere else with the message that if the girl did not send Blake into a trap, her mother would die.  Her mother, an old classmate of Servalan’s, was dead anyway, but she didn’t know that right away, allowing the men of the Liberator to be captured.  Granted, between Vila and Avon, getting out is simple enough, and Blake’s ultimate target is the supercomputer that runs everything.

Worth noting:  Avon was the last member of the crew to say he would help, but his reason for doing so is very Avon-ish:  he knows if Blake succeeds, Blake will be too busy on Earth to keep the Liberator, so Avon figures he can keep it.  Blake doesn’t argue with that.

Plus, I would love to know if the BBC had advertised someone was dying in this one because there were a lot of close calls on display.

But regardless, the computer was a trap as it isn’t even in the heavily fortified room it’s supposed to be in.  Travis set the whole thing up, and the only reason Blake and the men escape is that Jenna comes down separately, finds the newly orphaned girl, and uses Servalan as a hostage to get her people rescued.  Travis, being Travis, tosses some explosives ahead.  That ends up killing Gan but also trapping Servalan and Travis temporarily underground, much to Servalan’s displeasure.

By the by, who dresses Servalan?  She’s got some really chic outfits on display here, not counting the ones that look like they’ll pop off if she inhales too deeply.  Those are…something else entirely.

But yeah, Gan dies, and the episode ends with the survivors flying away, Gan’s seat conspicuously empty.

So, what to make of that?  Gan was, as I saw it, a likeable enough man, but his big contribution was supposed to be his physical strength, something that was rarely played up except to show someone else taking him down.  He had some stronger morals than some of the others, and except when his inhibitor chip was malfunctioning, seemed more like a laid back sort of man just happy to help.  I don’t think he was a true believer, but he was always a steady presence.  There are no unlikeable characters among the protagonists, but Gan was the one that, arguably, we should feel the worst about dying.  He wasn’t an amoral narcissist like Avon, a cowardly comic relief figure like Vila, or a hard-core true believer like Blake or possibly Cally.  He didn’t have an indispensable role on the ship like Jenna does either.  He was just the man who was always ready to use his gifts to help the others.  It’s only fitting that his last words were to leave him because he wasn’t worth rescuing if it would endanger any of the others.  If anything, this was the one episode where his strength wasn’t on hand to show just how tough the opponent of the week was.

The whole thing should be a sobering moment for Blake, the rest of the crew, and possibly the audience that this is not the sort of show where the good guys always escape unharmed.

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