May 24, 2022

Gabbing Geek

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Blake’s 7 “Blake”

The series comes to a real downer of an ending.

Well, here it is.  The end of the road.  Now, to be fair, I knew how the series ended before I even started.  I tend to look things up and was really looking forward to finally seeing this show.

On a side note, actor Paul Darrow, who played Avon, did have a short scene with his actress wife in this episode.  His character shot her with a ray gun.

Yeah, the series ends in a hopeless fashion, and oddly enough, it wasn’t planned that way.  In the final minutes of the episode that brought Roj Blake back, all of the protagonists are, well, dead.  Probably.  Orac is somewhere else, but Blake is dead.  The others were shot, including Avon presumably since in his case, it happens after the closing credits started.  But apparently, this wasn’t an intended ending as the writers figured, in the event of a fifth season, they would simply say any characters played by actors still interested in being on the show would have been simply stunned.  The only one dead for certain is Blake himself as that was a condition for actor Gareth Thomas’s final return to the role, that Blake would be killed in a very definitive manner.  And since Blake actually bleeds heavily when Avon shoots him in the gut, then it follows that he got his wish.

And really, everyone’s death actually is Blake’s fault.  Avon had made mention during Blake’s time on the show that Blake’s actions could get a lot of them killed as it did with Gan, and it seems to be very much the case.  Jenna, we’re told, died running a blockade one too many times, but she took a lot of Federation troops with her.  Blake, meanwhile, has set himself up as what appears to be a bounty hunter on a lawless planet looking to reform. It also happens to be the planet Soolin grew up on, so her backstory did come out after all.  Avon knows he needs a figurehead, and he had Orac figure out where Blake was, so off they went to find him to see if he could be that leader.  Instead, they all die.

And they died because Blake’s bounty hunter thing was all a bit to test potential recruits for his new rebel army, and a woman he brought in just before delivering Tarrant was a Federation officer infiltrating Blake’s compound.  His act was a little too good for Tarrant, and that led to Tarrant killing one of Blake’s associates and Avon gunning down another plus Blake himself.  By then, the Federation officer had ordered everyone to throw down their guns.  Vila, as he always does, tried to talk to her and see if he could at least be taken alive, a moment that gave Dayna what she thought was an opening to go for a weapon. She wasn’t fast enough and dies.  Vila then knocks out the officer for shooting Dayna, only to take one in the back.  Soolin and Tarrant, in that order, go next, taking a couple troopers with them.  All four fall to the ground in slow motion.  That leaves Avon, surrounded, heavily outnumbered, on his own.  He smiles, raises his gun, and cut to credits as the guns go off before the show’s inappropriately heroic theme music kicks in.

And lest we forget, Vila is there to remind the audience Cally also died as a result of her involvement.  Slave is destroyed when the Scorpio is shot down, a rather memorable sequence where the series went all out as Tarrant had to land the ship as best he can without getting himself killed.  So, really, that’s it.  A good ending if a downer one, and one that would have only been made better if this wasn’t perhaps the one time Servalan didn’t show up to reveal she was behind the Federation’s actions the entire time.

I have read that Darrow did write a sequel novel, an unofficial one, that suggested Avon lived and had more adventures while another by a different author suggested Vila also survived.  Darrow himself actually owned the rights to the show and was at one point before his death working a on a revival that would have showed Avon living in exile on a penal colony before inspiring a new group to take up the fight, but that never quite came to fruition.

As it is, I am glad to have watched this show.  Yes, like old Doctor Who, it comes up short for fight choreography and often special effects (though some of the model work as the series progressed did get a lot better), but for all those weaknesses may have hurt the show, it made up for it quite a bit in terms of acting and writing.  Plus, many of these actors, if not all of them, have stayed busy since then.  Gareth Thomas before his death did an episode of Torchwood while Josette “Dayna” Simon did a Merlin two parter, so I’ve even seen some of them in other places Plus, a number of them, including Thomas, reprised their roles for some Blake’s 7 audioplays from Big Finish, the same people that do the Doctor Who audioplays.

So yeah, this was a good show.  Not perfect, but it showed what can be done with smart writing and acting even if the production values for the series don’t quite live up to that standard.

9.5 out of 10 computers with very similar voices.

Well, that’s that for that side trip.  Time to go back to Doctor Who.  Besides, there’s a new Doctor in town, and this one is, well, Scottish.

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