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Avon was a Natural Leader 
5th-Oct-2010 03:47 am
I've taken leadership courses and there are many types of leaders and Avon definitely falls into one of those types. He's actually a natural leader. He expects people to follow him, he slips into a leadership role quite easily without having to ram it down people's throats like Blake and Tarrant, he initiates actions and people naturally look to him for leadership when someone louder and more distracting isn't around.


Being a loud, bullying, manipulative liar isn't a prerequisite for being a leader. If it were then only people like Blake could be leaders. Usually, at my work, leaders like that are detested and hated and no one respects them. People who lead like Avon, who know what they're doing, who don't throw their weight around constantly, who don't insist their way is the only way, they are the ones who are loved as leaders, even if they are cold emotionally. They aren't flashy leaders but they are competent ones. They are rational, logical and responsible who are able to think big picture and long term. They are able to understand complexities and know how to problem solve by fixing the problems. This is Avon. Blake? Not a hope. He's the kind of amateur who comes up with emotional, knee-jerk bandaid solutions that usually end up destroying everything and solve nothing. But they look really good and flashy solutions on the surface and that is typical Blake.

Avon wanted to be leader and he wanted to take leadership from Blake, that was very clearly specified several times. Avon never hid that. Of the two, Blake had the advantage as leader, he was more charismatic, forceful and was much more of a bully. That doesn't make Blake a good leader nor does it make Avon not a leader, just different types of leaders, with one people are more inclined to follow. Though they will follow both types, just as it works in the real world. To assume that just because Blake was a leader then Avon couldn't also be a leader too is a very limited and narrow way of thinking.

Even when Tarrant came onboard and tried to take leadership from Avon, he never succeeded. Watch their interaction carefully. From the beginning, even when Tarrant was trying to give orders, he always recognized that when there was anything important to be done, when there was real danger or if there was a policy decision to be made, he always asked Avon's permission.

Avon kept a careful eye on Tarrant's performance. If Tarrant looked like he couldn't handle things Avon immediately stepped in and took over and led the others in what needed to be done. Avon left the dreary day-to-day operation of the ship to Tarrant.

What does this sound like? This sounds like Avon was the exec and Tarrant was the junior officer who took care of less important and boring tasks. Tarrant didn't realize this at first. He thought that because Avon let him shoot his mouth off that he was the leader, but he learned soon enough and it became very clear Avon was always and only the leader.

And Avon never followed Blake. Avon never acknowledged Blake as leader. He was only on the ship for his own personal agenda. Any actions he took on the ship was because he was a team player or Blake bullied him into it. Avon never followed despite himself. He was a failure as a follower because Avon was never a follower, he was a leader in conflict with another leader who was a bully. The only time Blake ever gave Avon a real choice on a mission, Avon categorically refused to go, and he didn't. Blake learned that the hard way.

Avon needed time alone, but he was never a loner. Avon constantly sought out companionship, something we never see Blake doing. Avon played board games with the crew, he shared meals with them and had chats, he went with Vila to have some fun. Even when he was working and didn't need to be with everyone else, Avon hung around the others. That's a very strange definition of a loner. In comparison, Blake never did any of those things with the crew. The only interaction he had with them was by necessity, it was never social. So who was really antisocial according to canon? It was Blake, not Avon.

From the beginning to the end, Avon was usually right about everything. He had a far greater and deeper understanding about people and how society worked. Blake was completely clueless. Avon knew it was all about money and power, that's how the world runs. Even in our society that is true. Vila was right that Blake strutted around arrogantly thinking he could handle everything and he knew all about handling the Terra Nostra, when in reality he didn't understand a thing about the lower classes or the underworld. Avon knew though, he knew Blake's silly plan would never work. Like most of Blake's plans, it was an ill-conceived failure that this time didn't even have the benefit of luck.

Blake understand what it was to be human? If he didn't understand those things which should be common sense, he doesn't have a hope of understanding what it means to be human. The only one who did was Avon.
Aftermath Avon enigmatic
Comments 
7th-Oct-2010 10:18 am (UTC)
I tend not to take the overall storyline of the series very seriously. Nowadays it is perfectly natural to have a whole regiment of writers and continuity-nazis on the pay-role. I understand that the BBC didn't have that luxury in those days. This is obvious in the show. I don't think they gave character development much thought. Blake was the charismatic leader, Avon the snarky second in command, Vila the comic relief, Gan the muscle, Jenna the strong female pilot and possible romantic interest for the leading role and Cally, the alien-angle and possible love interest for the second in command. Of course there were moral dilemmas interweaved in the storyline, but B7 was, if anything, a children's show and needed action and adventure.

That's why Blake's 7 is a paradise for fanfiction writers. If the actual scriptwriters were allowed to tinker with almost every aspect of the show f.i. the personality of a character ( I remember that I didn't like Vila at all in Space Fall, because he suggested to kill Avon off for conspiring with the shuttle crew; the Vila I got to know in the course of the series would never suggest such a thing), then the fanfic writers have free reign. One doesn't feel obliged to stick to canon.

Blake may have had many faults as a leader and maybe others do regard him as a figurehead, but I still think he was all good intentions. I also think he regarded Avon highly and knew what he was worth. He was also a sympathetic leader, who looked out for his crew ( he threatened Del Grant if anything should happen to Avon, he didn't drop off Cally at the first possible planet after 'the web'). Maybe he didn't understand Avon. He was actually surprised and hurt when he discovered in Star One, that Avon hated him. That must have hurt, because I think he regarded Avon as friend. A very inaccessible friend, but he accepted him the way he was.

Blake did expect the others to follow him, even if he didn't explain his actions, but Avon did the same on at least one occasion: when he expected the others to go to Terminal, without explaining why. And look what happened. They lost the Liberator (at least Blake didn't manage to do that) and got stranded on a desolate planet; Servalan had boobytrapped the complex and Cally dies in an explosion. I think in a way, Avon is directly responsible for that (the fact that the writers just killed her off and didn't deal with that in the first episode of season 4, was a real disappointment, but then again, it was a show for kids). And then there's the awful episode when Avon is perfectly willing to throw Vila out of an airlock just to save his own skin. Blake would never have done that. He would've gone down with his friend. This episode is another example of the erratic way the scriptwriters were at it. The Avon we knew would never do that.

What I'm really saying is that the viewer can make up his own mind about their favourite character. There are too many inconsistencies in the show, which is great actually. Every character can be the valiant hero.

Edited at 2010-10-07 10:22 am (UTC)
7th-Oct-2010 02:40 pm (UTC)
Yes, I think we differ a lot in how we view Blake. I don't think he ever cared about his crew or treated any of them as friends except for when he was using them as tools. There are far too many instances of Blake not caring one bit for his crew. Not even when they were sick (ORAC, Destiny, Shadow) or collapsing around him (Horizon). Avon and Blake were never friends. Avon never considered Blake as one and Blake never treated Avon as one. You don't treat friends the way Blake does. If I had a friend who constantly lied to me, betrayed my trust, manipulated and bullied me, who would shaft me the moment he thinks he could benefit his cause by doing so, and would blithely sit by without one ounce of compassion and watch me collapse because he was overworking me for his own purposes (Horizon), or who couldn't care less that I was clearly ill and indicated so and go back to working on my own agenda and couldn't care less to get me some real help when he knew I was dying (ORAC)...I'd say, with friends like that who needs enemies. I fully understand why Avon not just hated Blake but he really hated him.

I fully believe Blake never treated Avon or any of them as friends and only valued them as brains, a pair of useful hands...just like any other tool he could use. Anyone he doesn't need at the momoment or he doesn't find useful to his cause, or who don't bow to him like he's some god, he treats them like garbage (Cygnus, Shadow) and throws them away.

Vila...yes I like him too some extent, but only by ignoring a lot of really bad things he does. I fully believe the Vila who suggested murdering a total stranger on no evidence other than vicious innuendo was the same one who would at any moment suggest they abandon a crew member to danger the moment his own life was at risk and who did betray the entire crew in Hostage, something Vila did almost consistently. I can see why Avon was so scathing in Aftermath when he is surprised Vila hasn't already abandoned them all and was still on the ship. This is also the Vila, when Avon needed the help of a friend he could trust in Orbit, did the despicable thing of suggesting one of the women go in his place. I actually don't blame Avon for wanting to dump him to save his own life for someone who would so easily abandon a friend and who in the past has already sold him out to save his own skin. It's really a wonder Avon ever took such a treacherous man back on the ship, knowing he would suggest dumping any of them at any time just so he could be safe. At least Avon never did except in Orbit, though he might consider it. And at least Avon only did it when he felt there was no other choice, not just when there was any form of danger.

And for me to point out that at least Blake didn't lose the Liberator...is unfair to Avon. Blake very nearly lost the Liberator many times. The only reason why he didn't was due to pure luck, usually despite his inability to come up with any logical solution. Avon was just unlucky, usually despite making sound logical decisions.
7th-Oct-2010 02:40 pm (UTC)
And Terminal...Avon only didn't tell the crew because he had no choice. His instructions were specifically not to tell anyone and to come down alone, something that wouldn't have happened if he had told the crew. He wasn't being devious just to get his own way. Avon was never directly responsible for that. Directly responsible would be if he planted the bombs, or if she died on the ship because of the particle cloud. Cally died because of Servalan's traps. That means Avon was indirectly responsible through a third party. And it wasn't as if Avon made a stupid decision that got them all down there. It was Servalan's trap and the cloud. In hindsight it was not a good idea to go through the cloud (something Blake would have happily danced through, except that in his case he would probably have gotten lucky and the ship would be fine). Avon acted on the information he had and it told him that it wasn't that dangerous. Even Dayna and Cally agreed with him on no pressure at all from Avon. Zen was only suggesting that they go around it because there wasn't any information. It wasn't like other times when Blake was around and Zen categorically refuses to do things or to cooperate because it knows it was dangerous. The fact that it didn't shut down, tells Avon that it was just a warning and Zen wasn't acting on knowledge of real danger. So Avon went ahead, making a logical decision based on information he had at the moment.

I consider Orbit an anomaly. Avon was not the kind of man to do what he did to Vila. The whole episode was ludicrous, made no sense logically, and it wasn't just Avon who was acting out of character. The writer didn't seem to know the show very well or how each character acted, which is surprising because we know he had written for the show before. I actually like Avon and Vila's interaction a lot in that episode except for the last 8 minutes and that bit when Vila didn't want to help Avon and suggested one of the girls go down instead. Other than that, they seemed like friends and interacted as equals.

Yes, Blake would never have considered what Avon did in the shuttle. But Blake would have no qualms sacrificing any of them against their wills as long as he thinks his goals can be accomplished.

Yes, there are many inconsistencies in the show and really it was a very badly written show because of that. But every viewer can make up their minds about their favourite characters and who the heroes and villains are. I've made my choices and I'm sure others have made their own. I'm perfectly accepting of that, as long as others realize I have every right to make the choices I have made. A lot of people like Blake. That's fine. I hate Blake. That should also be fine.
7th-Oct-2010 02:48 pm (UTC)
One other thing, Avon was a very fair man. He rarely ever treated anyone badly, not even with an unkind work, unless they treated him very badly first. That he would hate Blake with such venom in Star One tells me that they were never friends and Blake never treated Avon as a friend or with any respect or consideration, or Avon would not be so livid in his hatred and need to be free of Blake. The way he says it, with such vitriol, it's like Blake is some disease he wants to rid himself of. And Avon will do anything to rid himself of Blake, even help him at Control even though its suicide and Avon knows Blake betrayed all their trust, even in Star One when he was so livid with hatred. It wasn't anger, Blake recognized it as hatred. There has to be a reason for that. If Blake was ever a friend to Avon, and only occasionally treated him badly, I doubt if Avon have ever expressed such hate and extreme desire to rid himself of Blake, which already started way back in Breakdown.

Edited at 2010-10-07 02:51 pm (UTC)
8th-Oct-2010 05:57 am (UTC)
as long as others realize I have every right to make the choices I have made
I can't imagine people attacking you for that. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and LJ is a perfect outlet for your thoughts.
8th-Oct-2010 02:07 pm (UTC)
Yup, unfortunately they do, which really pisses me off. Because that's out of line.
8th-Oct-2010 04:23 am (UTC)
Like you said; we'll never see eye to about Avon and Blake, but that's okay. You are far better versed in B7-canon (if there is one) than I am, so you're probably right about Blake. But to me that still doesn't make him a murdering, treacherous bastard who just used people for his own personal cause and Avon the saintly hero (there are many instances in the script where I don't like the way he acts/reacts at all).

I guess everyone who likes Blake's 7 sees what he wants to see, like in real life. If you like somebody, it's more likely to forget about their flaws and visa versa: if you don't like a person, you usually put their behaviour under the magnifying glass. I think you put both our heroes under the magnifying glass, but not many fans are willing to do that, so they remain loyal defenders of their favourite character.
8th-Oct-2010 02:13 pm (UTC)
I've never thought of Avon as a saint, far from it. He was a flawed hero. What pisses me off is that everyone seems to bash Avon and take a very prejudice view of everything he does, where Blake does far worse but he gets a pass and despite what he does, he is constantly described as better, more moral, successful, pleasant, loyal, and compassionate when he was rarely. And Avon, the descriptions we often get are failure, violent, insane, selfish, self-serving, nasty...sound familiar? In almost every post on LJ, I see these words assigned to Avon and Blake. It's a highly prejudiced view of them that is not supported by most of canon. And that is why I am so rabid in pointing out all of the things Blake does that people turn a blind eye to and defending my poor Avon from such unfair attacks.

And the idea that Blake loved Avon and respected him and trusted him when he treated Avon so horribly most of the time and constantly encouraged the others see him negatively and constantly questioned everything Avon did, just makes my stomach turn. And seeing Avon and Blake pictures where Blake is holding Avon and being nice to him make me want to hurl because of all the times Blake shafted Avon and betrayed his trust because his cause and anything he was doing currently that wasn't even remotely connected with the cause was far more important than the lives of the crew.

Yes, PD has often said that his preferred acting style is to keep people guessing. So when I see people interpret everything Avon does as automatically negative even when he's trying to do something good...and even go to the point where they make up stuff that is not canon to prove it and case in point is the horrible transcripts on Hermit which are not only clearly anti-Avon in the way it describes and interprets Avon's facial expressions, it contains some whoppers of lies which do not occur in the series and which make Avon look really bad. That really makes me really angry and I will defend my poor Avon against people who think he was so terrible and Blake such a saint because everything he did was for non-selfish reasons so anything he does has to be excused.

Edited at 2010-10-08 02:28 pm (UTC)
8th-Oct-2010 02:29 pm (UTC)
Surely there are others out there who defend Avon. Of all the 7 I thought he was most liked. I probably don't visit enough B7 comms to notice Avon bashing, 'cause it never occured to me that there were people out there who are mean to our Avon. I can understand that one gets carried away in comments sometimes, but I didn't notice a vendetta against Avon (but then I've been away for a long time).

The Avon/Blake love angle is probably as old as the series is among certain fans. And here I mean love in the broadest sense of the word (meaning it sometimes actually resembles hate). I never knew slash existed before I came to Lj and this com. I saw B7 as a child and it was just fun to see these two arguing all the time. I began to read slash stories ( the milder ones; I'd rather the writer left out the explicit bits)) and thought they were okay. Some of them are nice reads on a cold, rainy evening.

The fact that some people think Avon was insane is probably due to episodes like Orbit (in which PD played Avon pretty insane), but I don't think he was insane.
8th-Oct-2010 02:45 pm (UTC)
Yes Avon was by far the most popular character but that doesn't mean people view Avon positively. They to love the negative image of Avon. They love the 'bad boy' image and really play it to the hilt. These are the people who I consider as bashing Avon a lot, they don't consider it as bashing because they love that aspect of him. A lot of how they describe Avon is villainous behavior but they love that. They love how supposedly nasty he was all the time to people and how he killed everyone who ever betrayed him. Which is such a cartoonish version of Avon that only takes a few things he does and make that Avon when that was not all that Avon was. Most of the time he had legitamate reasons for behaving the way he did and he rarely behaved that way unless he had no choice or he was provoked.

Yes, I understand the reason for slash and pron. Those have never interested me and the pairing of Avon and Blake just makes me ill considering what really happened in the series.

PD has categorically said that Avon was not insane, he was only reacting under extreme stress. He's also said that if he had been put under the stressors that Avon had been, its naturally that he would behave that way too.

I don't really consider Avon that insane in Orbit. He made a logical, albeit very selfish decision in Orbit. I doubt if he would have even thought of it if ORAC hadn't suggested it. But once ORAC did, Avon was really tempted and he made a horrible mistake, which is very human. I don't think Avon wanted to and once he found a different solution, which was really a crazy one that had little hope of success, he chose that rather than continue doing something wrong. Perhaps he had a lapse of temporary insanity when ORAC gave him a solution and he let his fear override his better instincts. But when he ran into the alternate solution, he became himself again and did the right thing.
9th-Oct-2010 12:29 pm (UTC)
I'm trying to remember why I fell in love with Avon all those years ago. I don't think it was because of the bad boy image. I think part of Avon's charm is actually born out of the fact that there was Blake. I liked their fights, their arguing, Avon's attack on Blake's conscience and vica versa. I liked the way he questioned every order; that he didn't accept Blake as a leader, but tolerated him in that role so long it was to his advantage. He was the brake on Blake's gung-ho attitude. Without the character of Blake I probably would never have noticed Avon. That is obvious in series 3 & 4. I watched them only a few years ago for the first time, but was rather disappointed. Of course the writers tried to recreate the same concept by introducing Tarrant, but it just didn't work for me. Apart from a few episodes (namely Rumours and Sarcophagus) I didn't like the show anymore. I didn't like Avon anymore. Although I'm sure he's a great leader, I liked him better when he was (not) being led.

I'd like to think that Blake was actually glad Avon opposed him. When Blake came up with a new plan, there was always Avon who would scrutinze every aspect of it, trying to leave nothing to chance. Blake knew very well how valuable Avon was to him. But he also knew there was a risk he would leave him. I don't think he ever suspected Avon would just betray them. He knew Avon's sense of honour would have prevented that.

Oh, I forgot to mention that another reason to fall in love with Avon were of course his good looks and pleasant (voice that got all the great lines).
10th-Oct-2010 02:16 pm (UTC)
For me, I detested Blake from the very first episode that Avon wasn't in. A friend of mine introduced me to B7 and after the first boring episode with Blake, I wasn't interested. I really couldn't imagine forcing myself to watch an episode with someone like Blake in it. But I gave it another try and thank god. The moment Avon entered, a geek as the hero, he had me hooked. I loved Avon's blasting of Blake and his intelligence as opposed to Blake's stupidity. It made me love Avon, but only to the extent I wanted him to get rid of Blake. After awhile I couldn't watch any scene with Blake in it without becoming ill and wanting to wish Avon would shoot Blake and just get it over with. I really felt for Avon and how increasingly frustrated and angry he became because of Blake.

The only scenes I enjoyed were the ones where when Avon was without Blake. Destiny was my favourite episode of S1, and Deliverance. Avon happy and interested in otehr people after Blake leaves the picture and a natural leader who looks quite comfortable in the role, except for the fawning. Avon with Cally without the blight of Blake on the scene causing tension. Avon playing detective. I like a happy Avon.

My favourite season was S3. I applauded when Blake was gone and Avon was finally able to come into his own and do what he wanted, which was lead intelligently. Yes, there was no conflict and Tarrant was a poor substitute but for me it was still better than anything with Blake in it. It was the writers fault they didn't create good enough tension, but Avon as leader was great. The writers should have done what they originally intended, not a young incompetent buck like Tarrant who did not have the charisma. He was a poor substitute for Blake and every one of Blake's stunts in Tarrant's hands becomes clearly despicable and despisable because he didn't have the charisma to pull it off and cover up how bad he was.

But I didn't want Avon to get rid of Tarrant as badly as I wanted him to get rid of Blake. I celebrated when Avon killed Blake at the end. Why couldn't he have done that earlier?

I only liked any scene in S1/S2 without Blake in it, even when Avon was there. I've started doing my owen version of S1/S2 episodes and editing Blake entirely out of them.

I think Blake hated Avon opposing him. Blake couldn't stand anyone opposing him, it had to be his way or the highway. He stomped on anyone who did, using threats, bullying, yelling until he got his way and making Avon back down, or he would do his normal lying and manipulation to get his way. That doesn't sound like Blake being glad anyone opposed him. Because if he did then the opposition from Avon, which usually made far more sense and would have avoided getting them into more trouble, would have made some difference to Blake's plans but it never did. Blake always got his way even when he recognized it was the stupidest thing to do.
10th-Oct-2010 02:16 pm (UTC)
Blake knew Avon would never betray him...is that why whenever Avon is even a little late in bringing Blake up, Blake immediately is suspicious of Avon, without first asking if he had a good reason to do it? Blake might have good reason to be suspicious at the beginning, after CA, but not after Avon had saved Blake's life numerous times and had proven himself. Blake never trusted Avon. That is why he deliberately kept Avon a prisoner on the ship by adjusting the odds to make sure Avon could never have the conditions to leave. Blake knew Avon wanted to rid himself of Blake. But look at every time Blake lets Avon leave the ship alone. In Breakdown, Blake deliberately shows his face on the research station even though they could have used someone else to pretend to be the captain. Blake whose face is known all over the Federation. He tells Cally that he wants Avon to make up his own mind and he's not going to stop him, but he makes sure Avon cannot stay by showing his own face on the station, and giving a really weak lie to convince the station people. Yeah, a weak lie from someone who lies as easily as breathing. And in Killer, again Blake shows his face on a Federation station when Avon and Vila go down to get the crystal. Blake didn't have to do that. He could have easily sent one of the others. But it makes sure Avon could never stay on the base with Tynus. It's no wonder Avon was so livid with anger and wanted to free himself from Blake in Star One. He recognized after Blake's admission in Horizon that Blake was deliberately keeping him a prisoner on the ship against his will.

For me, Avon's good looks and voice are great bonuses. But I am always drawn to the intelligent geeks who usually play the second banana on a show. SO when I saw Avon as leader, I loved it.
11th-Oct-2010 06:40 am (UTC)
Maybe the fact that I never saw the first episode (at least I can't remember having seen it in those days) is the reason that I was introduced to a different Blake than everyone else. The Blake that took action and organised their escape (which admittedly went wrong); the one who was not prepared to let innocent people die in order to stay in control of the ship's computer.

The way you view him, I'm surprised you put up with him all these early episodes. If I hated a character that much, I would probably have stopped watching, but I suppose it's your love for the character of Avon that kept you going.

I like a happy Avon I'm afraid I've always had a knack for unhappy people, suffering from a guilty conscience,a dark secret or some other kind of physical or mental pain. Maybe that's why I like Blake there.

I've started doing my owen version of S1/S2 episodes and editing Blake entirely out of them
Looking forward to reading it.
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