One fat geek's SUCCESSFUL attempt to regenerate into a not-so-fat geek by watching the entirety of Doctor Who while walking on a treadmill

A strategic withdrawal is running away -- but with dignity

Sep 08 2019
A strategic withdrawal is running away -- but with dignity

So, the trending numbers look worse today, but the daily numbers look great. Go figure. It's been a couple of months since I have strung together five consecutive days of actually hitting the treadmill (or working out in any way), and tomorrow I will finally buck that trend. Also tomorrow the first and highest of three really bad weigh-ins will drop off the moving average. So I think tomorrow I will inch back above 30 cumulative pounds lost, and that will be nice. Assuming that's how the numbers work out. We'll see. But today felt strong from a workout perspective, so I have high hopes for tomorrow's numbers - both daily and cumulative. As for what I watched, it was the very last episode of Blake's 7 and holy crap did it deliver. Massive spoilers below the fold if you, like me, are completely unspoiled on this forty year old show.

Blake

(Blake's 7 Wiki recap)

I knew Blake would return for this episode. I mean, it's kind of obvious given the title. And after the finale the previous season where he appeared but turned out to be an illusion, I correctly assumed that he would return for real this time. What I did not expect: the ending.

So, the previous episode had Avon seeking to create an alliance of several planets to fight back against the Federation, and that went... poorly. The home base for Scorpio was heavily damaged, and in any case its location was revealed. This story opens with the group scuttling the base and seeking a new way to start over. Avon has decided that what they need is a figurehead to lead the rebellion, and Blake is the obvious choice. Super computer Orac has tracked down Blake's probable location on a lawless planet.

The Scorpio heads there, and things go... poorly.

The ship is attacked and severely damaged, leading to its crash landing on the planet's surface and the computer Slave's demise. Blake appears to be operating as a bounty hunter, but late in the story is revealed to still be operating as a very cautions rebel leader. That revelation comes too late, however, and the whole thing goes all Sam Peckinpah. When Blake comes face to face with Avon, Tarrant announces that Blake has double crossed them and Avon shoots Blake. Repeatedly. Than shit gets really crazy as Federation soldiers arrive and a huge shootout begins. Tarrant dies. Dayna dies. Soolin dies. Vila dies. Vila is literally the only character who appears in every single episode, and there he is dead.

Which brings us to these masterful closing seconds as Avon is surrounded:

If you didn't watch, the gist is that Avon is hopelessly surrounded. He straddles Blake's corpse, smiles, raises his rifle, and the screen freezes on his face as the sound of gunfire erupts.

It is a shocking ending to what is arguably a children's program. It is bleak, nihilistic, and perfectly in line with the series as a whole. The very first episode contained multiple shocking deaths, and throughout the show characters died with alarming regularity. A happy ending where the group finally defeats Servalan and the Federation would have read fake and hollow. An open ending would have been unsatisfying, when they knew full well there would never be another series. As brutal as it is, this ending perfectly encapsulates everything that made this show so good.

I am so glad I decided to watch Blake's 7 as a part of this ridiculous project. It exemplifies how much can be achieved with limited budgets, and Paul Darrow gives a master class on how to take a generic character and raise him far above what the original scripts ever provided. I think my greatest regret in waiting so long to watch it is that I never got to meet Darrow. I certainly would have sought him out at conventions if he ever did them. Now it's too late. The good news is, a few years ago he wrote a trilogy of books about Avon and they seem to be well reviewed. I will be picking them up shortly.

And on that note, I am calling it a night and heading off to bed. Tomorrow I get back to Doctor Who with the animated Tenth Doctor story The Infinite Quest. I've never seen it. Here's hoping it is halfway decent.

STATS:

Episode(s): Blake's 7: Blake
Steps Walked: 7,052 today, 5,010,037 total
Distance Walked: 3.05 miles today, 2,586.51 miles total
Push-ups Completed: 0 today, 12,458 total
Sit-ups Completed: 100 today, 7,865 total
Weight: 277.72 lbs (five day moving average), net change -29.28 lbs


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