Blakes 7

245 – Blakes 7 – The Keeper

In the run-up to Star One, the gripping second series finale of Blakes 7 we take a detour to The Keeper – an episode of Blakes 7 that few people consider “a keeper.”

Nonetheless, Ben and Eugene dutifully explore the second series’ penultimate episode.

5 thoughts on “245 – Blakes 7 – The Keeper”

  1. I agree Sally Knyvette seems to be enjoying herself, now that Jenna has been given something to do. Though I’m not sure I can see the ‘hardened space pirate’ lurking beneath – but then I don’t think I’ve ever seen that.

    There is just one scene where I think Knyvette shows her ability as an actor transcends the material, as she transitions to the terrible over-acting from the routine under*-acting – and that’s the scene where she ‘bargains’ with the sooth-sister.

    There aren’t many wizards ‘n’ stuff in Blakes 7

    Glad you remembered Cally. Sinofar?

    I am baffled by this reading that Blake doesn’t ‘get’ the power that Star One offers. I too took the alternative view that he didn’t believe anyone should have that power. That doesn’t mean inferring an altruism on his part, or that he’s suddenly ‘nice’ but we know that he is a zealot and like many a terrorist (or ‘freedom-fighter’) he has fixed ideas that are incorruptible in their own way.

    As to Servelan, now her own influence and networks within The Federation she is supposed to be ‘supreme commander’ of have diminished to the point following the outlaw Travis around is her best prospect of finding the location of Star One, once again we don’t have any kind of avatar for the evil oppressors. Just another petty crook to add to the bunch of them kicking around the space lanes…


    1. Again, I stand by my position that, one must at least give a nod to the era that the program is created in. No, there are no “wizards” in Blakes 7. In the 1970s there was a considerable amount of legitimate (if poorly conducted) research into the potential psychic abilities of human beings.

      The “wizardry” in B7 is an extrapolation of something that wasn’t as universally dismissed as nonsense at the time. The writers have at least tried to keep their characters within the realm of a potentially real resource or potential of the human brain.

      I wish I could say that such research was actually universally dismissed nowadays but at least the major universities have largely given up on it.

      I actually think we discussed this during Gattis’ First Men on the Moon. Wells’ original premise of the moon’s viability, while vaguely plausible when published, was completely untenable at the time of Gattis’ version.

      That said, the old crone in the Keeper is dangerously close to crossing that line, and yet, it seems the writer is trying to indicate that it is somehow the drugs that is making the gift of prophecy possible. What wasn’t clear: was it the drug imparting the ability, or was it the drug unlocking the potential in the brain of the old crone?

      It’s actually been quite some since I listened to that podcast, but my recollection was that it was brought up to point out that the writer (or perhaps the Script Editor, after the fact) seemed to waste time just to point out that it was the drugs, not magic.

      This could be in keeping with the brief that B7 was not supposed to exist in a world of magic.

      1. But even if you define the division between ‘magic’ and ‘sci-fi’ in terms of the approach rather than the content, is there really any attempt to explain/justify Cally’s ability? (Or the magic bracelets, for that matter…)

        And as for the sooth-sister: drugs cause foresight? Really?

        Them’s magic drugs, them is.

        1. Let’s avoid spoilers concerning the possibility of us visiting Cally’s planet in the future and getting more information about her planetary background and instead stick to what we’ve been told and what was the zeitgeist of the time. At the time it was widely believed (and supported by some of the aforementioned legitimate but flawed research) that certain psychic abilities were inherent in some people. No further explanation is needed for the audience to accept the existence of this potential. If some humans have a latent psychic ability, why not an alien race like Cally’s have it at a more developed level? No more explanation is needed than if her species had furry cat tails.

          Returning to H.G. Wells – at the time of War of the Worlds, people knew about the canals and growing seasons on Mars, therefore no further explanation to justify life on Mars was necessary. We know it to be completely wrong now, but at the time it wasn’t complete crackpottery.

          On to the drugs then. One of the so-called psychic abilities being investigated was precognition or premonition. What is that but fancy words for foretelling the future? You don’t hear it as much since Timothy Leary and Steve jobs died, but there was a time (I’m not convinced that time has entirely gone, yet, either) when people were espousing the idea that drugs such as LSD unlocked untapped potential in the human mind. We still hear people repeating that nonsense that humans only use 10% of their brains, and, given the belief that precognition is something potential in the human brain, mixing the three concepts makes and easy mental stroll to “drugs that can unlock seeing the future.”

          The whole thing is complete bullshit, of course, just like Wells’ invading Martians, but they’ve stayed the course of audience plausibility within the contemporary lay-person’s understanding of reality.

          (As an aside, to this day, they’re still using all those things as justification to the audience. I believe the movie Lucy was exactly that.)

          Magic bracelets, magic bracelets, magic bracelets! Not magic, they’re technology. The Federation invested a lot of time and money studying the curious properties of Aquataine (I think that’s the name and/or spelling) which seemed to hold the key to unlocking matter transference. Clearly tech, not magic.

          Now…personally, I’d be a lot more convinced if they had to wear Aquataine-based suits or an Aquataine capsule of some kind for teleportation, but… BBC budget.

          1. There is a point where the assumed foundations in physics are so weak, and justification for the jump into fantasy so sketchy, that it seems impossible to me to deny we’re on the same continuum as Harry Potter.

            A bit of technobabble may dress it up. Though, to be fair, not much technobabble: a metal aquitar with ‘curious properties’ does little to even hint at how human tissue is teleported.

            Suppose they’d said, instead of scientists or engineers, they had a team of the Federation’s finest alchemists and wizards working on the project… Would there be many implications for our understanding of what the magic bracelets do, or any of the plots involving them?

            I’d suggest: none whatsoever.

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