The conclusion of Blake left us all with a feeling of shock. A phenomenon I call Post Gauda Prime Syndrome. Even though I found out about the crew’s final moments beforehand (courtesy of an over-formative Federation cipher) I was not robbed of any of the suspense, and even on subsequent viewings those same emotions never leave me. Things like the chill and heart racking tension of those final moments, the sounds of Avon's pleading voice, the shrill sounds of gunfire as credits loom... It all makes for some pretty powerful stuff (and from some of the essays written on the topic, it seems that some people still haven't recovered from the shock, and hence are still suffering from Post GP Syndrome).
I have read a number of essays on this topic, some deep and emotional, others unsentimental with a true British flair, and others still of prophecy and the essence of futility (or at least that is the way that I have perceived them). People have tried to justify the events and rationalise things in their minds. While some people are very adept at this, others come up with crazy conspiracies and the like. After much deliberation of this topic, I have decided to add my tuppence worth to the debate. I have tried to present two very reasonable suggestions (theories) for the final moments of Blake and I hope that for some people that this might be the answer that puts their mind at rest and cures them of Post GP Syndrome.
First, the theme of Blake's 7 is one of a minority fighting an oppressive majority. Avon was right when he stated that Blake's mission wouldn't succeed. It was not that he simply didn't care (although that is likely as well) but because he knew that without full scale widespread rebellion the Federation would crush Blake. The Liberator, although a powerful ship and far superior to the Federation pursuit ships and indeed any other Federation space craft, was only a single ship. If small rebellions took place, the Liberator would be fighting a myriad of ships. Whether the Liberator could withstand a massive attack is debatable, but we do know that if three pursuit ships hit the same place simultaneously the Liberator would almost definitely be destroyed. A massive attack would offer a high success rate of this happening.
Apart from the Liberator, which is Blake's one big advantage over the Federation (along with the teleport, Zen, Orac and not to mention Avon, Vila, Jenna, Cally and Gan), he doesn't really have any means to overthrow the Federation. Trying to persuade drugged citizens of the real truth would be pretty hard, and the Federation's empire is expansive. Like most media that deals with rebels fighting oppressive governments or societies, the hero is doomed to win all the battles but lose the war (novels like One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest (Ken Kesey) and Brave New World (Aldous Huxley) share some of these themes and ideals for heroes). This type of fare seems to be standard in the 60's and 70's and to a lesser extent the 50's and earlier. It is also common today in our present pessimistic societies. I guess that Blake's mission was doomed before it was started based on societal trends of the time (both his and ours).
Also, Blake's approach to the problem was all wrong. The most obvious example of this is his false belief that destroying Star One would result in the crippling of the Federation and allow him to 'lead the rabble to victory' and establish a new order. Even though Star One proved to be more valuable intact, due to the sudden onset of the Andromedan War/Invasion, it was eventually destroyed. For the purpose of this argument, it doesn't matter who destroys Star One. The only thing that matters is that it is destroyed. After the destruction of Star One the Federation is basically subdued and it has also lost 80% of its fleet (something that would not have been the case if Blake had destroyed Star One and the Andromedans never happened). As Blake disappears in Series 3 we are unable to see if, now that Star One is really gone, he would have been successful. The writers never explored the option of having snippets of information about Blake's exploits, successes and failures popping up as Orac buzzed away in his quest to obtain infinite knowledge.
The fact that Blake went out of circulation in Series 3 is a pity, as it was the opportune moment to achieve his task. However, if he was going to succeed then surely Avon and the rest would have heard genuine messages about Blake's activities. The idea of Blake going into submission and attempting to form a passive resistance is feasible but he didn't exactly seize the moment when the Federation was most vulnerable, which seems different in light of the obsessive Blake of Star One and indeed all of Series 2. Perhaps he was injured? Or captured?
Surely, once the Federated worlds were left to their own devices and pacification drugs wore off, wouldn't it be easy enough to form a sizeable resistance? The lack of information only proves to show the futility of Blake's mission, being so aptly portrayed by the writers, who obviously almost totally discarded his character (bar Terry Nation, but Terminal in some lights was a bit of a disaster).
It was Blake's loss that he did not strike when the iron was hot. The Federation was scrambling about trying to restore order and seize power for a while. Servalan as well, had her sights set on the Liberator and would have been easy to get around. (Although if Blake had of continued in his rebellious ways, the focus would have been on him and not the Liberator, which probably would have suited Avon.) Despite the Federation's obvious weakness that remained for the greater part of Series 3, Series 4 brought about a change. The Federation came back with a vengeance. They came back with their ruthless Pylene 50 pacification programme. They were tougher and stronger and even harder to resist in their now desperate political situation (which is marked by the many rebellions in Series 3 - most notably Anna Grant's attack on Servalan's presidential palace).
Blake attempting to overthrow them (providing he survived the events of Gauda Prime, which he didn't) would have been minimal and even less than they were before.
I guess what I am trying to say is that Blake's quest was futile and was designed to show people the pointlessness of trying to overthrow oppressive tyrannical empires and the fate of those who try (as discussed above). In other words he was a martyr. Destined to die at the hands of Chris Boucher and Terry Nation before the curtain even went up. However, it was also designed to show the nobility of doing that very act and the enlightenment of truth.
The other reason for the crews' death and the reason it had to happen is much simpler. It is directly to do with the creator of Blake's 7 - Terry Nation. From day one, Blake's 7 suffered from Nation's pessimistic views - 'I can only see terror in space' - Terry Nation (courtesy of BBC Critical Guide). With this in mind, the characters were used to show Nation's beliefs and views. This is why the characters had to die. All of them. Good and bad. To complete the vision. To tell the tale of the fight that is futile.
Yes, Avon does survive, and there is plenty of confirmation of this, but he loses everything. I would love to know what made Avon so special. Even though he is one of my favourite characters, the fact that he survives doesn't entirely seem fair, and according to my way of thinking, doesn't fit either of my theories.
Servalan's disappearance after Warlord also agitates; her fate is not confirmed. It would be a pity if she survived as it would destroy the message of the story, especially in light of the fact that in a way they (the principal characters) all lost. Servalan lost when her presidency was usurped while she was cooped up on Terminal trying to steal the Liberator from Avon. Her resulting tactics in Series Four, the hiding, the secretiveness, only exemplify her loss, her reduced, pitiful status. Even she has lost to the Federation system.
The fact that it is 'Terry Nation's - Blake's 7 - tends to be forgotten and his views tend to be ignored as we all try to rationalise Gauda Prime in our minds. We are all suffering from Post Gauda Prime Syndrome.
I hope that my theories have rationalised the Gauda Prime events. I hope that my theories will be of medicinal value and will clear up some of the extreme cases of Post Gauda Prime Syndrome that I have seen.
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Last changed on 17th of July 2002