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Another Blake Rant - At least Black had good intentions? I used to think so... 
16th-Sep-2010 01:00 pm
Another blake rant...why? Because it's very satisfying and Avon deserves at least one person to defend him.

The meme, from the other side...bwahaha. Because there should be some balance.


I used to believe that despite all his flaws that Blake at least had good intentions. I didn't think that that excused him from being a lying, duplicitous, bullying ass, but at least his ultimate goal was good. But the more I look at the canon details about him and study the logic of his character, the more I'm convinced that Blake was never anything more than a self-serving man who never had any good intentions except for himself and a few select people like him. The only good thing about him was that he could fool people into believing he was good by the 'face' he put on when things were going his way.

I'm using facts from canon, not imaginary things that could have happened behind the scenes but never appeared on screen.

The first fantasy seems to be that Blake was never a violent man until the Federation captured him. The Freedom Party was a peaceful party that was fighting to free people from oppression by the Federation and that was what Blake was doing. So, from the beginning Blake had good intentions, was a pacifist and was a basically a good man trying to fight tyranny.

Wow. What show were people watching to come to that conclusion? Because canon shows us the exact opposite.

Proof? Hang onto your hats while I take a tour through the series and point out some salient points that seem to be completely ignore.

Let's deal with this fantasy about the Freedom Party. I am drawing these facts (and my own interpretation of them) from The Way Back, Cygnus, Seek, Avalon and Shadow.

Before I began hating Blake with a passion, when I first watched The Way Back, I noticed some odd things about this episode. For a party that supposedly was helping people and for the introduction of a supposedly heroic character, there were some very strange things being shown to the audience.

First, Bran Foster's people use threat against Blake in order to keep him in line. They plant false evidence against Blake and threaten to use it if he doesn't do what they say. Now, Bran Foster says later that Blake is free to leave if he wants but, this shows us something very fundamental about this group, they are not above using intimidation to get their way, and once they do, then they sound nice and are pleasant. This is a very important point.

Second, Bran Foster, who was a co-leader of the old Freedom Party with Blake, doesn't seem all that sympathetic towards Blake once he tells him that his family is dead and that everything he's been fed has been a lie. Anyone who has received this kind of shock needs support and encouragement. Does Blake receive any from Foster? The only thing Foster seems focused on is getting more recruits for the Party and the upcoming mission. Odd behaviour for a friend, don't you think?

Third, is this exchange:

Like Blake asks suspiciously, "Why are you telling me this now?"

Bran's response is, "Because we're preparing to move again. And if it were known that you were with us, we'd get more support."

So Blake, who has been under the Federation's thumb for 4 years but Bran, who knows about his family and what has been done to Blake, doesn't bother coming to rescue him, until he needs him to do something. Sounds like Bran is using Blake like a tool. Odd behavior for someone who is supposedly a friend. So was Bran not a friend, or was there something wrong with Blake that Bran did not treat him like a friend, and would have left him to rot if he didn't want to use him? Sound familiar? Doesn't this sound like what Avon wanted to do at the end? And Avon and Bran Foster aren't the only ones who wanted Blake as a figurehead only and had no intention of giving him any kind of real leadership role. Strange, don't you think? The people who actually know Blake for any length of time, wouldn't let hm anywhere near leadership if they're given any kind of choice?

Four, study carefully everything Bran says to Blake. He tells him that once people know Blake is with them, then they'd get more support. Note that Bran never once offers, suggests or shows any indication that he wants Blake back as a leader or co-leader. This is purely a figure-head role, like a puppet they want to trot out to lure the masses.

And another interesting thing. We assume that there was mass unrest and people were flocking to join the rebellion. That is not how it looks like here. Bran is coming to Blake because he wants to get more support and they obviously are not getting it. It looks like when Blake's leadership collapsed the Freedom Party and the entire rebel movement, it still hasn't recovered after 4 years. And we know from what Servalan says in another episode, there doesn't appear to be widespread support for the rebellion. Even though there is support from various grades, it is only among the young people.

Fifth, the Freedom Party was a purely political party. Its aim was never to help everyone who was under oppression by the Federation. Listen to what Bran Foster says.

"You've probably heard that the settlers in the Outer Worlds are rightly demanding greater autonomy. If we can help to unify their voices, the Administration will have to listen."

"The security forces are already overstretched. If we can step up our campaign of civil disobedience here on Earth, they will have to concentrate their forces here, and that will give the Outer Worlds much more freedom of action. Now we must aim to have at least one world declare its independence within the next two years."

"We've got to cause as much disruption as possible in the food manufacturing division. There's nothing more effective than ration cuts to cause unrest."

So what was the goal of the Freedom Party? Was it to help those who were under Federation oppression. Yes, but only to help people in the Outer Worlds to break free from Federation rule. It was never some altruistic party that wanted to help people in distress. The only thing they had was a personal political agenda. This is very consistent with Blake's actions and his character,  and really highlights some of the despicable things he says and does as early on as Spacefall and Cygnus. 

Sixth, and note what these people were prepared to do in order to achieve political freedom. Peaceful civil disobedience, my ass. What they are planning to do is to disrupt food manufacturing. And for those who think that they were trying to prevent the drugged food from being distributed, you'd have to imagine the facts because that is clearly not what it says here.

Let's take a look at what this really means. What they are proposing to do is to cause food disruption, yeah, such a lovely way to put the fact that they plan to starve people on Earth just so they can get their own way. Simple, harmless ration cuts don't result in mass riots that will cause the Federation to divert already overstretched security forces back to restore order. The ration cuts have to be so painful that people rise up in arms en masse because they see their families starving. These are tactics of the Freedom Party. Hurting innocents for a personal agenda. Sound familiar? This was the party Blake belonged to. Explains a lot about how Blake operated, doesn't it? It was the way he always operated.

Seven, don't you find it interesting that Bran Foster seems to believe in the Administration? Blake acts like it's some evil entity that has to be torn down. Foster says, "If we can help to unify their voices, the Administration will have to listen." This means that Foster actually believes that as long as they have enough of a political voice, the Administration will respond and do something. He's not acting as if the Federation is some evil organization that will crush any opposition with violence and is not interested in listening to its citizens. It sounds like he still believes on some level that the system works, otherwise he'd be more like Blake. And if the rebels believe that…interesting, don't you think, what it says about the Federation in general?

Eight, the Freedom Party was a peaceful party that was only involved in non-violent protests. Well…that's a matter of opinion, isn't it? Depending on whether you think that starving innocent people to get what you want is considered harmless. But we know that from the beginning, Blake wasn't peaceful. In Seek, Travis very clearly says that Blake led his people on attacks against the Rehab facilities and they released some prisoners.

Doesn't sound very peaceful to me. Attacking doesn't mean you go up to the door, knock politely and ask for people to be released. Nor does attack mean you held a peaceful demonstration outside the doors using signs and chanting. Attack means violence. And I'm not naïve enough to think that they could break into a Federation security facility and successfully rescue prisoners without weapons and lots of violence.

Even if the Freedom Party was peaceful, it's very clear from what Travis said, that once Blake got his hands on the party, it was no longer. Blake was a violent man from the start, which pretty much supports his destructive tactics in the show.

And another thing about the Freedom Party, just because we don't see them have weapons in the episode doesn't mean they didn't have weapons, only that they didn't have them at the time. Ridiculous? Not at all, not according to canon. In Avalon, her people had weapons but they never had time to get them before the Federation attacked. Blake found their weapons still in the weapons rack. It's not a stretch to think it was the same thing with the Freedom Party.

Nine, I always thought it was odd that it was said that, "Blake had only been involved with the dissidents for a short while, but he already had a following." Isn't it strange that the so-called leader of the group formed his own personal following inside the group? Sounds like there was conflict between the leaders, doesn't it? Some people preferred Blake to Bran and followed him instead. And Blake's way meant leading violent raids against the Federation.

 Ten, another strange inconsistency is in Shadow. The Freedom Party is clearly only for the benefit of the Outer Worlds. But in Shadow, Blake is clearly only cares about the people on Earth and hang the people in the Outer Worlds. No? Pay attention to the show. When Gan objects to Blake's immoral actions that will help to hurt the people in the colonies, what does Blake say? "Earth is all I'm interested in."

This seems to be in direct contrast to the objectives of the Freedom Party, doesn't it?

My theory about it is this. Blake never had any good intentions about helping people, only himself and people he cared about. People like himself, on Earth. When he joined the Freedom Party, he thought it was a freedom loving Earth group that wanted to help and free people on Earth. But he soon found out that Bran Foster's political agenda was entirely different from his. Foster had the opposite goal. He was only interested in freeing the Outer Worlds (hence Freedom Party), at the expense of the people on Earth. Blake goal was the exact opposite.

It is also possible that Foster was against using direct violence but Blake wanted to use violence. So Blake and Foster had a falling out. Blake formed his own following inside the party and led them on his own political agenda, starting with violent attacks on the Rehab centres.

This theory explains all of the 'strange' things and inconsistencies we see:  Bran's unsympathetic attitude towards Blake, not wanting Blake as leader again and only rescuing Blake when they had a use for him. It also explains why the Freedom Party's agenda and Blake's were clearly opposite.

So, in conclusion. Did Blake start out with good intentions? I cannot in any conscience, according to canon facts, believe that he was anything other than a self-serving man from beginning to end.

 

Blake had answers? He didn't even know the questions. Avon had all the answers. He was right about everything from the very beginning. Avon had a far better understanding of how everything worked than Blake did. He was far more realistic and he actually had brains and plans. Blake usually got himself into trouble because he refused to listen to Avon or the others and he wasted his time randomly going around destroying things rather than having any coherent, well thought out and coordinated plan.

Avon followed despite himself? Hardly. That is shown in canon. Avon had his own purposes for following and it was never for Blake. The only reason why Avon was there at all was because of bad luck on his part and he wanted the ship. Avon hated every moment he spent on the Liberator with Blake. That is canon and stated more than once. And unlike Blake, Avon does not lie. Avon would have happily left Blake to rot in Horizon, and he did. If Cally had not gone down over his strong objections, Avon would have lived happily ever after with her. I think after Horizon, Avon realized Cally would not leave Blake and so he was stuck on the ship too. But by the end, Cally wasn't all that hot on Blake any more, was she? Ever wonder why all of a sudden, the only gung-ho rebel of the group aside from Blake, is questioning whether they are fanatics, whether what they're doing is justified and she no longer seems to really support Blake and the way she looks at him after he answers, it's clear she is not pleased.

Avon never needed Blake to give him leadership, Avon was a natural leader long before he met Blake, and he expected people to recognize that. This is shown from the very beginning and he was very comfortable in this role. When Blake was not around in S1 and 2, the others all naturally deferred to Avon and they worked very well as a cooperative team with Avon accepting everyone's input equally, something that almost never happened with Blake. Avon actually succeeded as a leader far more than Blake ever did. Blake as a leader was loud and arrogant, but successful, rarely. You don't see any of the crew leaving Avon or trying to leave him, or try to sneak out on him to do their own things or to let Blake walk into a trap without lifting a finger. You see the crew do that constantly to Blake. So who was a good leader? It's not the one who could barely keep his crew with him without using lies and manipulation. The crew actually cared about Avon and considered hm an important member of the crew, that is stated several times. Do we hear that once about Blake? Or do we see them refuse to lift a finger even though Blake's relatives are being held hostage? Oh, yes, the sign of a really successful leader is if your crew is more than willing to shaft you =P

Even after Tarrant pushed him for leadership in S3, Avon wasn't that concerned. Whenever there was something important to be done, Avon naturally assumed leadership but left the less important stuff to Tarrant. Avon didn't have to control everything at all times, not like Blake. On the other hand, Blake was very insecure as a leader. He has to push himself on others by using underhanded tactics and bullying when people questioned him. Blake always has to be right, even when he realizes he's wrong. He has to control every single little thing, even to the point he will not let the crew stand around and talk, something he did several times. Sounds very insecure to me.

And a man who lies as easily as breathing and who thinks that any immoral act is justified, even the murder of hundreds of millions of innocents or betraying his friends, as long as his goals are met...oh yeah, such a man of integrity, nobility and high ideals...LOL I can't stop laughing.


AnotherMurderousBlakeMoment
Comments 
22nd-Jun-2013 03:24 pm (UTC)
Anonymous
One of the things that made me get into the show recently, after years of ignoring it, was identifying with Avon. Why? Because I'm a tech who's trying to actually get things done despite the fuckwits in charge. I've stayed where I am this long for the sake of my coworkers, but I'm looking for something else now, because it's just not enough. I've had enough of empty words from bosses who don't listen to what we say.

A tech is who I am, and I'd rather be hands-on, but if there was any possibility of me taking charge and fixing things, I would. Sadly, the ones with the power are in another office, we don't even have a way to talk to them - it's classic Mushroom Management.

I'm goal-oriented, and I think about the people I work with. I'd rather be doing something practical, but if what management are doing isn't going to work, then I'll say something - if I have the option - and if they don't listen, I'll usually find a way to give the impression I'm doing what I'm told, while actually doing whatever's needed to achieve what we need to, guiding others to do likewise. That doesn't always go down well, but I do get results - it's never yet got me fired!

I've openly claimed a leadership role in a previous job, in action if not in title, and had everyone apart from a particularly self-absorbed designer coming to me at every stage to find out what to do - albeit while leaving the arrogant bell-end running the more visible parts of the project to it, because that's where the TV cameras were.

From what I found out later, it seems that the tit they'd put in the management role was chosen specifically because they knew he'd be out of his depth as they *wanted* the project to fail. They weren't paying enough attention to realise I'd taken over until we were too close to succeeding for them to interfere, at least not without admitting that's what they were doing...

I wouldn't call myself a leader, but I guess I must be, if two driving instructors, three kids, a vet, two nurses, a stay-at-home mum, four pensioners and some other people who came and went as they pleased were all happy to follow the instructions of self-confessed dole scum - and to keep working for me despite the fact that most of them weren't paid.

Blake would be a liability in any management role, because, as you so rightly point out, his goals are short term ones which don't necessarily benefit the overall objective and may, in fact, be detrimental to it. He can get people to believe him short-term, but then he has to rely on keeping their options limited. He tries to recast his failures as successes and fails to learn from his mistakes.

Avon, on the other hand... I'm not sure I believe he was never political, but I'll admit my evidence for that is circumstantial. It was said that he's the no2 computer expert, and that the no1 caught him, but if that's the case, why was Anna running him? He was stealing the amount he was so they could leave earth together, go somewhere far enough away they would be safe. People usually assume that he'd planned to leave before and the only change was to take her, but if they knew what he was planning, then they could have stopped him. Instead, they placed her with him, let him *almost* succeed, and then let him run - presumably to see who he'd go to, who his contacts were, because Grant hadn't been able to find that out.

To me, it seems more likely that they didn't know what he was planning, just that there was something, and the involvement of CS is what makes me suspect it was political - or at the very least that they thought it was. If he was up to more than just the theft, then there's no reason to assume that he'd told Anna what that was. He would have had to tell her about his plan to get away, but that doesn't mean he trusted her with everything. It's entirely possible that whatever it was, he'd planned to complete it *after* leaving earth - long term planning again. The theft could have been meant as a cover activity for whatever his real goal was, and we know he didn't trust Blake, so it doesn't seem so unlikely that he would have kept it to himself afterwards.
20th-Jan-2015 02:25 am (UTC) - Agreed
Sorry it's taken this long to see your comment. I've been so busy writing that I haven't had much time to drop by LJ even though I always meant to.

Definitely agree with you on those points. Avon was a tech leader, not a pure leader like Blake. Someone who led by merit and his technical skills not because of charisma or administrative skills. That is often the case in a tech situation, which I also share, and you :)

There is the tech stream and the management stream. Both have leadership roles though pure management streams don't get their hands dirty with the actual work. Techies lead project teams because they can mentor and teach others and know what the work is about. Management have overall project leadership roles. At least that is how it was in the shops I worked at.

I agree about Avon having a 'political' agenda too which he never shared with Blake because he never trusted the man. To him, as he stated, Blake was a fanatic who waded in the blood of others, climbing over the dead bodies of his own people, to achieve his goals. We saw that very clearly from Space Fall onwards and most likely before that too.

It appears we share a lot of the same opinions about Blake and Avon. If you're interested, I'd love to 'chat.'



Edited at 2015-01-20 02:26 am (UTC)
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