Saturday, 15 May 2010

Big Gay Longcat reviews Blakes 7: Blake

SPOILER WARNING: Do not read this review if you have not seen the last episode of Blakes 7 but have any intention of ever doing so. This review will give away all of the ending to the series.

Avon needs Blake, so they go looking for him and find him. But is Blake still a goody or has he decided to join with the baddys? It's up to Avon to decide who to believe, and what to do about it.

Blake, by Chris Boucher, is - of course - the last episode of season 4 and the last TV episode of Blakes 7 ever. It is a very sad story and brings to an end the tragedy of Avon that was begun at least as far back as Rumours of Death in season 3.

It starts with Scorpio! abandoning the base, which then blows up. This directly follows on from the events of the previous episode Warlord and shows there is no turning back now.

Avon wants a figurehead for his rebellion after Zukan turned out to be a baddy. Vila quickly realises he means Blake. Orac has tracked Blake to the planet Gauda Prime, which was also Soolin's homeworld and sounds like a very bad place.

Blake is in a wood, having noms, when he meets Arlen. Blake is a bounty hunter and he kills three other bounty hunters so he can capture Arlen. It looks like Blake has become a baddy!

Scorpio! is attacked and they are going to crash on Gauda Prime. Vila, Dayna and Soolin teleport down first. Tarrant can't leave the controls or Scorpio! will explode straight away, so he can't escape. Avon hesitates as he is sad that he has to leave Tarrant behind, but then he teleports down with Orac. Scorpio! crashes and Avon thinks Tarrant is dead.

Blake is paid for capturing Arlen. The mannys paying him have detected where Scorpio! crashed.

Vila, Dayna and Soolin find an old house. Mannys are looking for them, they attack Vila but Avon arrives and kills them.

On crashed Scorpio! Slave dies but Tarrant is still alive. Blake finds him and they fly back to Blake's base in a flying thing called a flyer. Avon and the others follow them in another flyer they got from the mannys Avon killed.

At the base Blake learns there are a lot of ships coming that they didn't know about before, but he doesn't pay attention to this because he is excited that he is going to see Avon again. He hands Tarrant over to the mannys because he knows who Tarrant is from hearing Slave say "Tarrant" before he died.

Tarrant doesn't know it is Blake but guesses it when Blake mentions Jenna and knows a lot about their group including Orac. Thinking Blake is a bounty hunter and a baddy Tarrant escapes before he can find out Blake is not really a bounty hunter, he was just testing Tarrant. Blake is still a rebel and Deva and Arlen are working for him.

Tarrant is on the loose and he fights with mannys who see him. An alarm goes off. Avon and the others arrive in time to help Tarrant. Blake comes in. Tarrant tells Avon that Blake is a baddy and Avon believes him enough to ask Blake "is it true?"

"Avon, it's me, Blake." Blake is happy to see his old friend, but Avon has been through a lot of things since he last saw Blake and his best friend Tarrant has just told him Blake has betrayed them.

"Stand still," says Avon to Blake.
"Have you betrayed us? Have you betrayed me?"
He shoots Blake three times.

Blake's last word is "Avon."

Arlen shoots Deva and reveals she is a Federation officer. She shoots Dayna when Dayna goes for her gun.

Then Vila disarms and knocks out Arlen.

But more Federation soldiers arrive and shoot Vila, Soolin and Tarrant.

Oh noes! Tarrant is dead! Poor Tarrant.

Avon is surrounded as he stands over Blake's body. He raises his gun and smiles.

The end.

That is the end of the saddest story I have ever seen. Blake and Tarrant (and Vila, Dayna and Soolin) are dead and Avon is in big trouble. I am a very sad cat as I write this and think of the tragic ending that they came to after all of Avon's cleverness and Tarrant's bravery and everything.

Why am I also a happy cat at the same time? It must be because although it is a sad story, it is a very good story at the same time. Everything in the episode drives events towards the final scene and the consequences arise from who the characters are, as established not just in this episode but as far back as Star One, when Blake tells Avon that he always trusted him.

Blake still trusts Avon as he did then, but Avon has been through so much since then - particularly the events of Rumours of Death when he found out that the love of his life had betrayed him - that he believes Blake could have betrayed him as Anna did.

Vila trusted Avon too, until the events of Orbit when Avon proved he would kill a goody and a friend to save himself. But here it looks to Avon like Blake is no longer a goody or a friend because Tarrant, who is Avon's friend, says so and the situation makes it look like Tarrant is right.

Easy to overlook with so many characters getting shot is Vila, right before he gets shot, doing the bravest thing he ever did when he knocks out Arlen. Vila is not my favourite character, but I do like him because he is clever in a different way from Avon and the others, and most of the time he pretends not to be.

Why was Vila brave right at the end? I think he was always both clever and brave, he just pretended not to be so other mannys wouldn't know how clever and brave he was. He acted silly so they would underestimate him. I think this worked so well that even some of the story writers underestimated how clever Vila was.

I don't know how Avon survives, but I do know he does survive because Kaston Iago in Kaldor City is really Avon in disguise. I know this because he is played by Paul Darrow and he meets Carnell who was in Weapon from season 2 of Blakes 7.
Duncan thinks Iago is a different character from Avon but he is wrong, Iago is Avon with only a different name for legal reasons.

This episode makes me feel both happy and sad at the same time, like at the end of a Shakespeare tragedy. It is unlike anything else I have ever watched. It does not feel like a story all by itself, it feels like the end of a story - the story of Blake and Avon that was started when Blakes 7 started.

Now that story is finished. Blake is not my favourite episode even though it is very good, but it is a brilliant way to end the story. It ties together the whole series. Blake is a TV masterpiece.

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