Yup, it's that time again. It's very therapeutic for me to bash someone I loathe with a passion. This is actually mild. I could have written an essay on how I think Blake was an evil, bullying, manipulative, vindictive, lying, machiavellian, self-serving, two-faced, double-crossing fanatic with the brains of a pea, and who strutted around like he was god and who was only 'nice' and 'acted' like a hero when he got his way.
These are all my opinions and personal reactions to Blake so be warned and it's only your own fault if you keep reading and don't like it. Go read something else. You have been warned, again.
Blake the Consumate Failure
I really don't understand why people think Blake was such a success and why the crew was far safer during season 1 and 2 when canon doesn't really support that.
Blake had very few successes. And except for one or two, most of his so-called successes were usually entirely due to pure luck that had nothing to do with his plans or intelligence, and usually despite his failure as a leader and his lack of intelligence.
And for danger. The crew was always in constant danger when Blake was around, usually hunted like animals from one end of the Federation to the other, constantly being pursued by Federation ships even between episodes, and barely escaping with their lives. And usually because of Blake, because the Federation were after Blake and the Liberator. We never once see the crew in danger like that during S3 and 4. We never begin an episode with the crew being hunted by pursuit ships like they were consantly in S1 and S2.
We know for a fact that the Federation stopped hunting Avon and his crew early in S3. So they were generally far safer, between episodes, even when they only had the Scorpio.
They were in far less danger in S1/S2? Really? I believe that in every episode they were in some kind of danger, or it wouldn't make much of an episode, would it? Same as in S3/4. But during which season were they in constant danger between episodes as well and the episode started with the ship running away from pursuit ships? I believe that was only S1/2. That means that according to canon, they were in constant danger and stress during S1/2 and not that much in S3/4.
Several times we see the crew rescued from danger directly because of something Avon did or thought about and which had nothing to do with luck. Usually it was despite bad luck. Blake? Definitely not as many times as Avon. Usually Blake's decisions put them in more danger and they only got out because of some incredibly dumb luck that had nothing directly to do with Blake.
I'm going through every episode now cataloguing the danger and stress in each episode, along with the incidents of pure luck and failures. And sadly, in S1/2 they went from one failure to another with very few successes in between not attributed to luck. They had a few, but very few. And even in the end, even Blake acknowledged that the few successes he had didn't achieve anything. He said that twice in two different episodes. So great success Blake? Sorry, not even the writers agreed that he was any kind of success. And as for his plan to blow up Control/Star One, which he wasted 5 episodes trying to do, ended up being a big, expensive failure didn't it? It only made the situation far worse, not better.
Pretty much everything Blake touched crumbled to dust, when he wasn't busy getting his friends and innocents killed.
How many times did the crew get captured because of Blake's failure as a leader and not because of traps by Servalan? Many times. It's the one constant feature during his reign as leader. Oh yeah...it's sooo safe constantly being captured. How many times did they get captured during Avon's time? That weren't attributed to Servalan's traps? Very few compared to Blake.
I think it was a testament to Avon's leadership that he was able to keep them all safe even when he only had the Scorpio, whereas the number of times they were close to death with Blake when he had the Liberator, I've lost count. The only reason why they didn't lose the ship was due to pure luck and usually despite Blake's stunts and inability to lead or think.
And Vila was far happier when Blake was there? Really? I don't see Vila constantly getting drunk or trying to drug himself into oblivion during Avon's time as leader, only during Blake's. There are only two times I remember Vila getting drunk in S3/4. And both times Vila wasn't actually drunk. Once he was acting drunkish, but that was because of the sand making him act that way. At another, Vila was pretending to be drunk. Was there another incidence in S3/S4 when Vila was drunk? Please let me know because I don't remember one.
During which season did Vila go to such great lengths that he deliberately compromised the safety of the ship just so he could go and have a little fun? I believe that happened several times in S2. Now why would Vila do that? Could it be because he was having a horrible time and the only way he thought he could have any fun or rest was to forcibly take it even at the expense of the others?
What does Vila do for fun and rest in S3/S4? Hmmm...how about just telling Avon they're all tired and need some rest? Why? Because Avon cared far more for his crew and their welfare than Blake ever did. Vila knew Avon would listen and do something.
With Blake, Vila rarely did more than just whine and complain about everything, he rarely took the initiative to use his brain and make well thought out suggestions that didn't have to do with lock-breaking or thievery. Vila really shined with Avon. The only time he did with Blake was when he was being used for his skills, not for his intelligence.
Nor do we see Vila constantly sleeping on duty during Avon's time or the crew complaining that he was sleeping on the job. Far more during S1/S2 than S3/S4. The constant need to sleep is a symptom of extreme stress. Why didn't we see that after Blake left? Could it be because they were no longer in constant stress and danger?
Oh yeah, how many of his own people or people working with him did Blake get killed? I know how many Avon did, two. Blake? Let me see...his original Freedom Party, the prisoners on the London, half the people who agreed to follow him on Cygnus, Kasabi's group, Gan, his group on GP....oh yeah, it was
I attribute the crew's death on GP as Blake's fault. The crew made it safely down to the planet. It was Avon's fault, and ORAC's mainly, that they crashed but they survived the crash. Why did they get killed? They were killed by the Federation troops who were there because of Blake's failure as a leader, not because of any stupidity on Avon's part. Avon's crew were just unlucky they were there at the scene of another one of Blake's disasters and this time, not even Avon could save them.
Stress? Hmm during whose reign do we see the crew so exhausted and their health so compromised that they needed drugs to stay on their feet and so they wouldn't collapse in pain and stress? Not Avons. And sorry, it wasn't just during Horizon they were like this because it takes a long period of abuse to get to the point where the health of the entire crew is so compromised that drugs are essential just to keep functioning. That doesn't happen in a few days. Oh yeah, the crew was really happy that they were on such a pleasure cruise. And we know that stress continued after Horizon because we see Cally had the crew doing rehabilitation exercises long after Horizon. This doesn't happen if they had adequate rest and times of little stress to recover. But it's good practice to do those exercises for prevention, it doesn't indicate they were still under the same conditions as before. Really? Then why did we not see one scene in S3 where they had to do such exercises? Or S4?
How many times do we see the crew relaxed and safe enough that they could just do something social together? Like playing board games, sharing a meal together or just chatting? Constantly during S3/4. Why? Because they all felt safe.
During Blake's time? Not once. Did they play games? Yes, but look at those times carefully, they were playing on the side, while they were working. Or they were eating, while they were on duty. Does that sound relaxing?
Oh yeah, they were in soooo much danger during Avon's reign that sat around playing games and having meals together as a crew. Sorry but that makes no sense. They did that because they did not feel like they were in danger all the time and always had to be working or on the alert. Unlike Blake, Avon allowed his crew time to rest and relax between missions. He never once snapped at them to get back to work when they were milling around talking and not on any mission, like Blake did constantly. Oooh yeah, it's such a pleasant environment when you have a boss constantly on you like that. I'm sure the crew reeeeally looooved being treated like that by Blake all the time.
And more on pleasant/unpleasant atmosphere...hmmm how about Blake deliberately causing conflict among his crew. No? Look at what he did to Avon and Vila. Blake very deliberately put Avon down in front of the others and repeatedly showed no confidence in him. He did that to encourage Avon because Avon feels a need to prove himself when Blake does that? Really? Then explain why Blake also does that when Avon is not present? He deliberately puts Avon down in front of others so that they would never see Avon in a positive light, so Avon would never have a chance to take over leadership. Explain why Blake does that after Avon has already done what he needed to do and they are just sitting around, waiting around for it to work?
Does Blake ever once defend Vila when the others are ragging on him? Not once. In fact he constantly shows he doesn't really trust Vila except as a lock-picker or at the weapons station, and this encourages the negative view of the others.
And did Vila only complain that no one listened to him only during Avon's time? Uh...no, that started during Blake's reign when Blake constantly acted like Vila was invisible and had little respect for what he said, except when he wanted a pair of hands to open locks or activate the neutron blasters. This is something Avon points out about Blake attitude towards Vila in PP.
Avon was the only one who occasionally listened to Vila and took him seriously as a man, not just a pair of hands. Vila came into his own after Blake left. We see him taking initiative and thinking of things and doing things outside of his role as thief and weapons station. He was finally thinking as Vila, not just in his comfort zone.
Vila was confident enough in himself to present his ideas to the others, something he was never confident enough to do during Blake's reign.
And during whose reign did Vila complain that he was always called on when there was something unpleasant do to? That would be during Blake's reign. Oh yeah Vila just loved Blake giving him all the crap jobs to do. That's what he lived for and he wsa sooo happy doing that.
The way I saw it, the only reason Vila was happy during S1/S2 was when Gan was still around. After Gan was killed directly because of Blake's failure as a leader, Vila changed and became much more self-oriented, to the point where he betrayed the entire crew just to save his own life in Hostage. Who did Vila refer to as a double-crosser? I believe that was Blake.
How many people/planets/groups did Blake save as opposed to Avon? I mean directly, not as a result of luck that had nothing to do with Blake or Avon? Avon by a mile.