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Warning: PG 
29th-Apr-2010 02:16 pm
Warning: PG


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Twin Souls
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30th-Apr-2010 06:10 am (UTC)
Though I prefer him more in the role of anti-hero (who despite himself, then turns into a hero anyway...).
Nice job!
30th-Apr-2010 06:53 am (UTC)
True. Though there are many 'flavours' of antiheroes. Batman, and many of our comic heroes are considered antiheroes.

The antihero I prefer, and the way I've always seen Avon, is a sharp edged, pragmatic hero. A Sam Spade-like character who is clearly a hero, but doesn't speak like one, is very cynical and doesn't suffer fools.

Edited at 2010-04-30 06:55 am (UTC)
30th-Apr-2010 07:05 am (UTC)
Although...Blake also falls into the category of antihero. With what he does and his lack of morality, he cannot be considered a traditional white-hat hero either.

A white-hat hero, has problems lying to their friends, does not go around committing mass murder, doesn't consider it all right to work with mob bosses and drug lords and cause the suffering and deaths of multitudes because winning is the only thing important to him, nor do they go around committing vigilante acts and summarily executing people without any proof, all of which Blake does.
30th-Apr-2010 11:59 am (UTC)
In regard to Blake, you give new meaning to the word anti-hero....
30th-Apr-2010 05:33 pm (UTC)
It's not a new definition. Nor is it my personal definition. It is well within the definition of an antihero by people who are much more learned about literary antiheroes than I am.

There is the narrow, usually limited popular definition of an antihero which is reflected a lot in science fiction. And Avon definitely falls in that category.

Blake has a lot of the characteristics of the traditional hero and so many view him as one. But then, so does Avon, though not as many. But it is the other things that Blake does and characteristics he shows that a traditional hero would never do and which definitely fall in the category of things an antihero would do, that make him an antihero.

A true archetypical hero is a white-hat, perfectly moral character with no flaws at all and who would never ever compromise his values no matter what.

These are not my definitions.

The idea of the antihero is one who is 'grittier', more realistic, and is in many ways against the 'whiter-than-snow' hero of tradition who would die before he would lie to anyone or betray their trust, least of all to his friends. All of which Blake does repeatedly.

Blake can in no definition of the word be considered without some deep flaws. The fact that he considers any act, including mass murder of innocents, becoming a drug dealer who will be responsible for the harming of countless others, and being a vigilante as perfectly justified, tears him out of any list of true archetypical heroes.

The fact that he considers winning more important than keeping moral value and not hurting innocents, and that the end justifies any means, makes him an antihero, even more than Avon.

In fact, other than for some surface, behavioral things in which Avon is more of an antihero than Blake (and these are the things which most people seem to harp on when saying Avon is an antihero), actually Blake has far more deeply disturbing character flaws which fall within the antihero definition than Avon does.
3rd-May-2010 06:03 am (UTC)
Another type of anti-hero is a character who constantly moves from one disappointment in their lives to the next, without end, with only occasional and fleeting successes. But they persist and even attain a form of heroic success by steadfastly never giving-up or changing their goals. These characters often keep a deep-seated optimism that one day, they will succeed. But in the end they still meet the ultimate fate of a traditional villain, failure.
= Blake
3rd-May-2010 06:16 am (UTC)
Yes, that is one aspect of Blake which meets the anti-hero critieria.

All of his character flaws, of which there are far more than Avon, plus all the immoral things he does, also qualify him to be on more of the villainous end of the anti-hero spectrum as well.
3rd-May-2010 07:06 am (UTC)
That's what makes him also interesting, though.
3rd-May-2010 08:05 am (UTC)
It's a personal like and dislike ;) And I respect that you like Blake.

But for me, personally, Avon with his flaws, is infinitely fascinating.

And personally, Blake's flaws make me sick. I cannot in any conscience like or think positively of anyone who regularly commits acts of mass murder on the pretext that it is justified. Or to think that murder of innocents (men, women, children, babies) is perfectly all right in order to prove himself right, no matter how good intentioned he thinks he is. It just makes him arrogant to think that his 'righteousness' allows him to play god with other people's lives and that's sickening to me, not admirable.

Every tyrant and dictator out there has the same thought processes to justify their actions. They all think they are justified. Just because someone thinks they have 'good' intentions, doesn't make them good. These people do not recognize an objective morality. They think they can define morality to suit themselves. That makes them, and Blake, immoral. Because anyone can subjectively define any act completely justified, even acts of unconscienable mass murder.

The problem with that is, where does it stop? It doesn't because he thinks he is above any objective morality. He defines morality to be anything he wants. Which is fine as long as we agree with his actions but what happens when he crosses the line? Which he will inevitably do because he has no limits that curb what he is unwilling to do other than personal whim.

Just like Blake in the final episode. Deva blasts him for his decisions, accusing him of playing stupid games that will get people killed. I just love it, even at the very end, Blake has more of his own people who see him for what he really is, and its not admirable.

And Blake refuses to listen, he demands that Deva indulge his silly games. Ok, sorry...we're talking about people, innocent people, getting killed here...not indulging in flavours of ice cream. But this is the extent of Blake's morality. He has none other than what he feels like.

To me, who flies, or at least used to fly, regularly for business, it is the actions of self-righteous fanatics like Blake who are responsible for me being afraid to fly or if heaven-forbid some bastard fanatic decided to blow up my plane because he was on some crusade where he didn't feel he had a choice, it would be because of people like Blake.

To me, his are not likeable or interesting character flaws. They're despicable. No one has the right to play god with someone else's life. Go ahead and commit noble suicide if you want. If he had done that I would probably like Blake. But he doesn't. He crosses lines that usually only villains are capable of or heroes who are so deeply flawed that they usually end up with a bad end, or they ride off into the sunset without anything, because it seems most writers recognize that not giving these people bad ends would not be a good idea.

Have you ever watched the Watchmen? In the end, the heroes, the real heroes, realize that their friend has betrayed them and committed an heinous act for the sake of a 'good' intention. But in the perspective of the movie, he is clearly the villain, despite his so-called good intentions doing good. And one of his friends is so sickened by it that he goes and kills himself because he cannot stand what this so-called friend and hero has done.

It really amazes me to think that a show that caters to kids would be so irresponsible as to hold up what Blake does as the actions of a hero. Is it really responsible to have kids think that the ends justifies the means, regardless of how immoral it is? If I had kids, I would never let them watch Blakes 7 without some very strong moral guidance.
3rd-May-2010 09:28 am (UTC)
No one has the right to play god with someone else's life.
Isn't that what all (great) leaders do to some extend (esp in wartime)? And what we, the followers allow them to do?

Avon and the others had opportunities enough to 'rid' themselves of Blake. He made it very easy for them after Gan's death (Trial). Maybe the rest of the crew are equally to blame by letting themselves be led by Blake?

Your Blake resembles a psychopath (who make great leaders and business men I heard, because of their lack of conscience and a Blake like that would have been even more interesting), but I can name several instances where he showed that he cared and was subject to remorse and was able to admit failure(Star One). To me Blake was just a man, severely blinded by idealism, revenge and the hope that he could make a difference, who just happened to stumble upon the best cards dealt to him ever: Liberator and his crew/Avon.

Came across an interesting book: http://www.flipkart.com/book/great-leaders-tyrants-arnold-blumberg/0313287511
Might change your view on Blake as a leader? (I haven't read it, btw)
3rd-May-2010 03:49 pm (UTC)
I have heard the theory that a lot of great leaders are psychopaths. I don't quite agree. I recognize they have a lot of characteristics of psychopaths. Makes it very disturbing, because society has allowed success to blind us to this fact. And it is exactly why we are in the sorry state that our society is in now, because we allow bastards like this to be held up as heroes and allow them to lead, when they should really be put away. Which is exactly why I hate Blake.

Oh yes, it does sound like Blake is a psychopath and he does exhibit a lot of the characteristics of one. The way he lies without blinking an eye, etc. those are all characteristics of a psychopath. But just because he shares some characteristics of a psychopath, doesn't mean he is one. Many other conditions contain the same characteristics.

Blake does have emotion, it is one of the primary drivers for his actions. In many ways he acts like a spoiled child, a rebellious teen bully who never grew up and hates it when he doesn't get his way. The way he sulks and throws a temper tantrum and strikes out at others when none of his tactics work and he doesn't get what he wants or other people oppose him, he acts like a child.

But even with emotions, he still does have not have any objective sense of morality. He makes up his own. Just because you have emotions, doesn't make you moral. It's what you do with them and how you justify your actions in your own mind that makes you moral.

I can name several instances where he showed that he cared and was subject to remorse and was able to admit failure(Star One)

Blake rarely showed he cared about his crew until after he got them killed or captured. To me that is a very shallow caring, the kind of caring that would shaft all of them to meet his goals but wring his hands after. Which, I am sorry, but makes his caring almost fake. Because a truly caring person, who regrets, changes his ways. He does not do it, regret and then continue doing it. Because that shows his regret is worth nothing, its just for show and to make himself feel better because he has the proper emotions so he can convince himself he's not a monster and then he can continue screwing his crew.

I do not believe at all that Blake gave them any chance to dump in him Trial. The whole thing from beginning to end was a manipulation to make sure they wouldn't. Avon recognized this and called him on it and Blake pretty much admitted it when he came back. He knew the crew was so pissed off at him for his betrayal that they were ready to dump him.

The whole Trial was one big manipulation. It was never about giving them any choice, it was about not giving them a choice. The whole way he does it shows that it wasn't. Blake tells them that they could leave him on the planet if they don't want him as leader anymore, and he would understand. Sounds very good of him, doesn't it? But that is all it is. A lot of empty words. It is the other things that he has arranged which makes this nothing but an act.

Blake arranges a planet that has absolutely nothing, not even civilization. He makes sure he brings no supplies down.

In effect he was creating a situation where if the crew decided to leave him, he was making absolutely sure, it would make it seem like they were abandoning him helpless and without anything and that would be mean and uncaring of them.

And to really emphasize this, he has the gall to say that he would understand if they decided to leave him, and HE WON'T THINK TOO BADLY OF THEM. WTF! He is deliberately turning the tables and pouring on the guilt if they leave him there with absolutely nothing. He won't think too badly of them? What a manipulative lying bastard. Why should they feel guilty for dumping his lying, treacherous, deceptive, betraying ass? If they did, it would be justice for all the things he's done to them and not just at Control.

If Blake truly meant to give them any kind of a real choice, he would have gone somewhere where it won't make the crew feel like they were 'abandoning' the SOB in the middle of nowhere instead of just dumping him as leader, or maybe contacted Avalon or one of the other rebel groups to pick him up just Avon wanted to do if Control succeeded.


3rd-May-2010 03:50 pm (UTC)
And you know what, Blake's manipulation didn't work. Other than for Cally, the crew did not want him back. They were even ready to dump him with nothing rather than take him back. They didn't even bother to do the one thing he thought they would if they cared about him, ask questions and wonder about Blake. Only Cally was doing that. The others didn't even bother. They were that pissed off at him. They did not want him back. It was only by a fluke of chance, talking about Gan, that they accidentally triggered the message that Blake left.

Even then, Avon still didn't want Blake back. He was convinced that it was all a manipulation, esp after watching the message and he was right. The others are so easily led, they missed all of the transparent manipulation in that message and how Blake so easily turned and made them all feel guilty. If they listened to that message carefully, they'll realize Blake recognized he failed and he was wrong, but the only thing it appears that he really feels bad about was that he picked the wrong target and he was duped by the Federation. He feels no remorse at all for what he personally did to them all, he felt he was justified, and the target made it justified except he was wrong about the target. This man was never their friend. They were all never more than useful tools for him. Something Avon recognized in some of the things he said.

The crew never wanted Blake back, he manipulated them into wanting him back. That is different.

Blake is a master deceiver, his ability to manipulate and bully them into doing what he wanted is the same as putting a gun to their heads and forcing them.

We know this is how the writers viewed this kind of ability because of what they have Avon say in S3 to Cally, when Tarrant pressures Vila to go with him. Avon regrets letting Tarrant do that to Vila. Cally thinks Vila is an adult and he has the freedom to make his own decisions, which it what it appears like on the surface. But Avon points out, Vila didn't feel he had a choice. He felt pressured that he had to do it and that he didn't have a choice, not because he wanted to. That shows us that the writers view this kind of ability to 'persuade' as tantamount to putting a gun to someone's head and forcing them. The person is so pressured, they don't feel like they have a choice. And how is it that Avon of all people would have this kind of understanding or empathy for Vila? Because that is the exact effect Blake had on Avon, and explains perfectly why Avon is so livid and venomous in Star One when he needs to be free of Blake. Cally again expresses a similar view as she did with Vila, Avon is free. Avon points out he is not free of HIM. Avon basically felt like a prisoner, because of what Blake did to him. We only have to look at Horizon and what Blake said to Jenna about arranging odds so that Avon would never feel he had the right conditions to leave. Blake recognizes Avon wants to leave and would in a heartbeat if he had the right conditions. Avon, like he says to himself in The Web, is not there willingly.

And we know the crew didn't really want Blake back at all except he made himself sound so pitiful, because of their attitudes towards him after this episode. Jenna, the one who loves him, says some very nasty things about Blake, and she increasingly sounds like Avon. They are all so pissed off at him that they will not lift a finger to help him even though they know he is walking into a trap in Hostage and Travis has his relatives. Avon is a good man. He doesn't want Blake back either but he doesn't want to see him dead.

If Blake didn't make himself seem so pitiful, they would have left him. Unfortunately once they brought him back, he took up leadership again. He never gave them any choice about that.

3rd-May-2010 05:23 pm (UTC)
You are far better versed in Blake's 7 then I ever will be. The fact that I hardly ever watch episodes anymore, seems to give me selective memory. I remember now, that in Trial, Blake went to an unstable planet (did he know this before he went down?), where he would not be able to survive.

In the series, Blake was never a character I was very interested in (I never watched the first episode and I believe this was all about him). I saw him more as a likeable leader, who had a difficult time keeping his band of 'outlaws' together. The sparring between him and Avon was what did it for me. I liked the idea of a leader, who constantly has to come up with ways to convince his reluctant soldiers that they should carry out his plans (and in Blake's case this involves shameless, lying, cheating and worse according to you.) Maybe if I watch the series again now I'd probably agree with you.

3rd-May-2010 04:30 pm (UTC)
And why do I love Avon despite his flaws? It's because he is capable of real guilt, not the self-serving guilt that Blake has that only leads him to do more of what he wants, even though it is morally wrong and people tell him.

Avon? Avon has a real conscience. He might not speak like he does, but his conscience and guilt actually makes him stop doing bad things or at least wrestles him to a standstill so that he can't act. Avon listens to others and can be made to feel guilty and out of that, he will stop what he is doing. Just like in the computer room in Spacefall. Blake? He risks Avon's life knowing very well he might be killed and when Vila objects, he yells at him and says this is the best chance they have and he refuses to stop.

Avon in Cygnus Alpha? He knows already that Blake dominates and he has no defence against him and that the moment Blake comes back, he won't have a choice and Blake will drag them all to their deaths. He tries to abandon Blake on Cygnus Alpha, but Jenna is able to persuade him to give Blake more time. Even later when Avon insists on leaving, and stops Jenna from bringing Blake back, Avon just paces, unable to leave. His conscience stops him from going all the way with it.

Blake on Cygnus Alpha? The prisoners who will not fight with Blake? He has no problems abandoning them to the mercies of Vargas's remaining goons, nor does he bother telling any of them that the poison was fake and they don't have to be afraid. He never bothers going back for them because he was never interested in saving people nor did he care that some of them were so scared they were cowering in the cells, he only wanted useful tools, crew for his ship. Blake took a great risk just to go back to get the guns. Don't see him even thinking about the prisoners at all or talking about them. And we know he never went back for them, not even after because of the number of teleport bracelets left in the bracelet tray in the subsequent episodes.

Avon might be flawed and try to act selfishly, out of fear for his life, but Blake? He is flawed, immoral, has a very weak conscience, and nothing stops him unless the entire crew bands together against him.





30th-Apr-2010 06:26 pm (UTC)
Hmm, looking at lists of antiheroes on several sites that give definitions, and some lists even include Dr. Who. Which I don't quite agree with but I understand why they would say that. He does do some things that antiheroes do. But the Doctor is still more moral than Blake ever was.
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