BLAKES 7 – THE WAY BACK
In the first episode of Blakes 7 we meet the title character and learn a little bit about him. He lives in a domed city on a world ran by a authoritan regime in which most perfectly usual and normal activities are seen as crimes. For instance when we first meet Blake he is asked by two people to meet a group of dissidents outside the city, which Blake knows is a crime, but still goes with them anyway, which shows that Blake is not quite the goody-goody that you might first expect from the comment he made about going outside being a crime.
We soon learn that Blake used to be quite a feared resistance leader in the past and worked with the one of the men he had been taken to meet, but was then betrayed by someone and then captured, brainwashed and put back into society with his memory wiped of his dissident ideals turning him into the person we met at the start of this episode.
He also learns that the brother and sister that he thought were still alive had been executed by the same Federation that he had up to that point not been entirely against. Then when Blake sort of worked out that he was not the person that he thought he was things turned full circle and he ends up being arrested again after a bunch of Federation troopers massacre everyone at the meeting and taken back to the city where the federation scientists try to get Blake to believe that he imagined the massacre and that it hadn’t actually happened, that it was all a dream so to speak.
The Federation work out that their original actions with Blake have not entirely worked and that people are still willing to follow Blake and his like, in their anti-federation stance, that they have to make people not trust Blake by discrediting him somehow, so they fit up Blake with allegations of assaults on children, by planting false memories into his brain to make him actually believe that he had done what he was being accused of.
As a result of these allegation Blake is given a sham trial wehre he is summarily convicted and sentenced to exile on a penal Colony called Cygnus Alpha where the federation hope that they will finally get rid of the scourge know as Blake.
Blake’s lawyer starts to piece together evidence that all was not quite correct with the evidence that Blake was convicted upon and goes to the authorities about his findings but, despite this, Blake is sent of to the penal colony anyway and the federation murder the lawyer and his wife just for the hell of it, and poor old Blake is stuck on a prison ship but now starting to regain his memories of his old life and his true beliefs and tells one of the guards that he is going to get back to the Earth somehow.
By the end of the first episode we are left in no doubt that the Federation are not very nice people at all, and will go to extreme lengths to stop the people who they believe might cause them trouble and this is all captured in what they do to Blake in this episode, which is basically set up a sham trial making people think that he had assaulted children in order to stop people wanting to follow him and try to subvert the authority of the Federation which they consider is nothing but absolute.
The fact that they went to such lengths to do this shows that Blake as a person whom the Federation have a great issue with which shows that people will follow him and do the things that he says and that as far as the Federation are concerned he is a major thorn in their side and needs to be eliminated (hence the title sequence which I think is pretty good and quite impressive for the time) hence their plan to ship him off to a penal colony with lots of other ne’er-do-well’s.
We only get to meet a couple of the fellow prisoners whom Blake is going to spend the rest of his life with including a thief named Vila Restal and a smuggler named Jenna Stannis who are probably actually guilty of the crimes that they are being sent to Cygnus Alpha for unlike Blake who is totally innocent of the crimes that he has supposedly committed, which means that Blake is probably the only innocent person on board that ship, although I am sure that the majority of the other prisoners would also claim that they are innocent.
Blake certainly doesn’t seem to be the person that the Federation are presenting him as, at least not in this episode, as even he wasn’t aware of his past until he met his former associate Bran Foster, and might well have remained in the domed city had he not met Ravella who was the person who you could argue set up what happened to him but he was probably glad about that as he realised that everything that he thought was a total fabrication and that he was an entirely different person.
What this episode did very well was to set up up the premise of the series that the Federation are totally and utterly evil, and will stop at nothing to get their own way, and also make Blake want to destroy them in whatever way he can and also knowing that he is a threat to them or they wouldn’t have gone to all of the trouble they went to.
In some ways this episode of Blake’s 7 was quite different to a lot of the other episodes, and could almost have been an entirely different show to what we would get in the later episode but really did set up the the world of the show and what sort of people the Federation are and also what kind of people are the people who are considered to be the bad guys, which are totally at odds with the normal good guys versus evil guys which you often get in science fiction series.
This episode did a good job in setting up the premise of the series and by the end of if you really want to see if Blake does get back to Earth as he promised the guard at the end of the episode, which shows that the first episode has done it’s job and done it well.