The ending of Blake's 7 - still being talked about 40 years later

04 March 2024
"Blake's 7," a landmark British science fiction television series that debuted in 1978, carved a niche for itself in the annals of space opera dramas with its compelling narrative of rebellion, resistance, and the quest for freedom against the backdrop of a dystopian universe.

The series, created by Terry Nation (Doctor Who fame), unfolds the gripping saga of Roj Blake and his band of renegades as they challenge the totalitarian might of the Terran Federation.

This fight against oppression, fraught with moral complexities and philosophical dilemmas, struck a chord with audiences, setting "Blake's 7" apart from its contemporaries through its dark tone, complex characters, and unflinching exploration of themes of autonomy, tyranny, and the cost of resistance.

The finale conclusion of "Blake's 7" remains one of the most daring and discussed show endings in television history (save for the more recent Soprano's fade to black ending), notable for its departure from conventional storytelling and its willingness to confront its audience with a narrative as unsettling as it was unexpected.

The unexpected return of Roj Blake, the eponymous hero and erstwhile leader of the rebellion, serves not as a rallying point for a final, victorious stand but as a catalyst for the ultimate unraveling of the crew's cohesion and purpose.

Blake's transformation from an idealistic rebel leader to a hardened, perhaps cynical, figure employing the very tactics of deceit and manipulation he once abhorred is a poignant commentary on the corrupting influence of prolonged conflict. His methods, designed to test the loyalties of those he encounters, reflect a deep-seated paranoia and distrust, a survival mechanism honed through years of battling an omnipresent and omniscient foe.

In the episode under consideration, the intricate plot unfolds towards a climax that is both shocking and poignant. 

Roj Blake, the eponymous yet estranged leader of a ragtag group of rebels, meets his demise at the hands of Avon, a complex character whose motivations and loyalties have been a subject of intrigue throughout the series. 

The subsequent deaths of the remaining crew members and Avon's final standoff with the Federation forces are depicted with a sense of inevitability that underscores the series' darker themes. 

Think about that. 

The good guys lost. 

In a British Broad Casting produced show. 

This dramatic finale is considered one of the best show endings of all time by many a seasoned viewer. 

blake's 7 concept art

So what of the themes of the final episode of Blake's 7?

Rebellion and Authority

This episode poignantly explores the enduring conflict between rebellion and authority, presenting a narrative that resonates with real-world struggles against oppressive regimes. The series portrays Federation authority figures not as monolithic villains but as entities with their own motivations and methods for maintaining control. 

This nuanced depiction invites viewers to contemplate the complexities of governance, resistance, and the cyclical nature of power dynamics.

Morality and Ethics

The moral quandaries faced by the characters reflect broader ethical dilemmas, challenging viewers to consider the cost of resistance and the ethical implications of their choices. 

The episode raises questions about loyalty, betrayal, and the greater good, prompting a reflection on the moral compasses that guide us and the consequences—both intended and unintended—of our actions.

Identity and Humanity

"Blake's 7" delves into themes of identity and what it means to be human, with this episode serving as a focal point for examining these concepts. The characters' journeys of self-discovery and the choices they make in the face of existential threats offer a profound commentary on individuality, humanity, and the collective struggle for a better future.

Character Analysis

The character arcs within this episode of "Blake's 7" are not only meticulously crafted but also serve as profound vehicles for thematic exploration, weaving together the series' central motifs of rebellion, morality, identity, and the pervasive influence of technology. 

The dynamics between the characters, especially the tragic confrontation between Blake and Avon, stand as a testament to the series' deep engagement with the complexities of human nature and interpersonal relationships. This episode, in particular, illuminates the intricate dance of cause and effect, highlighting how Roj Blake, in his relentless pursuit of rebellion against the oppressive Federation, perhaps unwittingly sets the stage for his own tragic demise. 

blakes 7 final episode themes

His leadership, marked by unwavering commitment to the cause, ironically seeds the mistrust and circumstances that lead to his fatal confrontation with Avon. This moment is emblematic of the series' broader narrative, which consistently interrogates the costs of resistance, the weight of leadership, and the fragile nature of trust within the crucible of rebellion. 

Through Blake's journey, the series offers a nuanced reflection on the paradoxes of fighting for freedom, suggesting that the path of rebellion is fraught with moral ambiguities and can lead to unforeseen consequences, including the ultimate sacrifice of one's life. This pivotal episode, therefore, not only advances the plot but also deepens the thematic discourse of "Blake's 7," challenging viewers to ponder the true cost of defiance and the complex interplay of personal and collective aspirations in the quest for liberation.

servalan blakes 7 concept design
Concept art of Servalan whom ironically was not feature in the final episode of Blake's 7

In conclusion, this series final episode of "Blake's 7" serves as a microcosm of the series' broader thematic exploration, offering a rich tapestry of narrative and character development that engages with fundamental questions about power, ethics, identity, and the human condition

"Blake's 7" has left an indelible mark on the science fiction genre, influencing a wide array of later works with its bold thematic exploration and complex character dynamics. The series' focus on the moral ambiguities of rebellion, the nuanced portrayal of authority, and the contemplation of humanity's relationship with technology have inspired subsequent science fiction narratives to engage with similar themes in more depth. 

The willingness of "Blake's 7" to address the darker aspects of its narrative universe and to conclude its story with a powerful, albeit tragic, resolution, has set a standard for storytelling within the genre, encouraging creators to embrace complexity and moral ambiguity in their own works.


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About the author Jimmy Jangles

My name is Jimmy Jangles, the founder of The Astromech. I have always been fascinated by the world of science fiction, especially the Star Wars universe, and I created this website to share my love for it with fellow fans.

At The Astromech, you can expect to find a variety of articles, reviews, and analysis related to science fiction, including books, movies, TV, and games.
From exploring the latest news and theories to discussing the classics, I aim to provide entertaining and informative content for all fans of the genre.

Whether you are a die-hard Star Trek fan or simply curious about the world of science fiction, The Astromech has something for everyone. So, sit back, relax, and join me on this journey through the stars!
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