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


Twin Souls
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 03:51 pm (UTC)
And his 'admission' makes PP even worse because it is very clear, just as it was when he was trying to 'persuade' Gan after finding Kasabi's group had been slaughtered, that he knew very well the level of danger was beyond what the crew was willing to accept, when he made that promise to them. He knew but he didn't bother to tell them. The whole promise was a sham when he made it and he knew it, and the way he is able to act so reasonable and nice the whole time he was making that fake 'promise' makes him very much like a psychopath.
3rd-May-2010 03:59 pm (UTC)
I was pleased when they had that conversation between Blake and Deva at the end and the nature of choice came up again.

Blake says Deva does have a choice. Deva says he doesn't.

And you get the distinct impression that the only reason he is still following Blake is because of a promise he made, before he realized the kind of man Blake was, and if he felt he had any choice at all, he'd be dumping Blake so fast, it would make your head spin.

And I love how the writers show us that Deva is as scathing about Blake as Avon is. Accusing Blake of doing stupid things that will get people killed.
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 06:37 pm (UTC)
Blake didn't know the planet was dangerous but he definitely planned to use a planet that would make him look pitiful and so he'd be able to say that despicable...I won't feel badly about you if you left me there...what a lying, manipulate bastard.

If you take a look at what the crew was willing to do, they were never reluctant to fight the Federation. They only objected because Blake's plans were usually suicidal. Those were inevitably Avon's objections to Blake, even from the very beginning in Cygnus Alpha. He knew Blake would get them all killed.

When Blake's plans weren't stupidly suicidal (and there were very few that weren't), Avon and the crew didn't tend to complain or resist. I don't see that Blake's efforts was to make a reluctant crew fight. They wanted to fight, but they had limits on what they were willing to sacrifice.

The crew made their limits very clear in PP. They wanted an even chance of surviving. They refused to do anything that they considered a pointless sacrifice. Blake didn't have any limits, he would sacrifice himself and all of them and any number of innocent people to get his way, even if it was just to make a point.

He had no right to force his crew to follow his values as long as they were willing to fight.

Like Avon said to Cally snidely...on Earth it is considered ill-mannered to kill your friends while committing suicide...that is what Avon objected to. Avon never once made any objections to fighting the Federation. All of his objections were against stupid plans that would get them killed.
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.

3rd-May-2010 05:26 pm (UTC)
...and of course he is more handsome than Blake.
What do you make of Avon's behaviour in that dreadful episode where he was perfectly willing to throw Vila out of the airlock to save himself (can't come up with a title right now)? Temporary insanity?
3rd-May-2010 05:38 pm (UTC)
This was Avon's worst act. But at the same time, I do try to think of it from his viewpoint. People tend to think that Avon is so evil here, Vila is so innocent and Avon always picks on Vila who never did anything to him...hmmm

Let me see, what has Vila done to Avon by this point? Um, Vila has already shafted Avon and the rest of the crew in Hostage. He gave his friends up just to save his own life. Is that any different than what Avon is doing in Orbit? When Avon is going through the corridors hunting Vila, he is jumpy, acting as if Vila is going to jump out at him any minute. I wonder why...is it because he expects that Vila, who has already sacrificed Avon before to save his own life, to be thinking the same thing here?

And not to mention, Vila, the moment there is danger, is more than willing to dump other people just to get out of danger. Before this, Vila already told Avon to abandon Tarrant just to save his own miserable life. Before this, Vila was more than ready to dump the human race rather than staying and fighting to give them a chance of survival.

Sorry, I don't see Vila as being very noble or that he was that much of a victim of Avon in Orbit. Avon was just treating Vila the way Vila had already treated him and others before. Not to say that it was right, but I do understand why Avon would be more willing to sacrifice someone who had already sacrificed him before. I'm just surprised that Avon bothered to take this treacherous man back onboard at all after Star One. No thievery skills are worth someone who would so readily stab you in the back just to save his own life.

3rd-May-2010 05:44 pm (UTC)
Avon definitely was bad in Orbit. But did you see how quickly he grabbed onto the slimmest of chances the moment he was given one? Thinking he could move something so heavy that it stopped the ship from leaving orbit was silly, but he would rather take that almost impossible chance.

And Avon was not the initiator of the idea to dump Vila. It took ORAC to give him the idea. Vila doesn't need anyone to give him ideas to dump or betray his own crewmates, he thinks of them all by himself and he acts on it even though they are only in danger, and not always in eminent risk of death.
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