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Who gets the last word?
This started in a discussion on the Rewatch Down Under, about which characters had the last lines in which episodes. I did some research, and, as what I found seemed to me to say some interesting things about the changing patterns of power in Blakes 7, I have expanded it a little and am posting it here.

Firstly, in terms of raw numbers, Avon gets by far the most last lines – 16. Blake has just over half that, with 9, then Vila and Tarrant with 6 each, Jenna with 4, Soolin 3, Zen, Travis and Servalan, 2, and ORAC, Dayna and Carnell (the only guest character to merit such an honour), 1. (This adds up to 53, not 52, because Deathwatch ends with ‘Bring us up, Cally’, said simultaneously by Avon and Tarrant; I have counted it for both). Poor Gan, unsurprisingly, gets no last lines, but I find it more surprising that Cally doesn’t either. But then she is the gentlest, least competitive member of the crew, so it is perhaps not so odd that she doesn’t need to have the last word.

When you break it down series by series, it gets more interesting. The Way Back ends with Blake saying ‘No, I’m coming back’ – a strong statement of intent to begin the series. In Spacefall, Blake orders Jenna to follow the London to Cygnus Alpha, before saying to Avon ‘With a ship like that and a full crew, then we CAN start fighting back’, and in Cygnus Alpha he says, again to Avon ‘When we can handle this ship properly, we’ll stop running. Then we’ll fight’. In each of these, he establishes himself as the dominant character, makes unilateral decisions, and brooks no dissent. In Time Squad Zen gets the last word, but it is merely to say ‘Confirmed’ to Blake’s order to set course for Centero – an order again given without apparent discussion. Blake’s last lines are not always so aggressively dominating, but he gets 6 in total, more than any other character. Avon gets none. Jenna gets 2 – ‘Standard by six’, in Deliverence, and an alarmed ‘Blake!’ in Orac as she sees the Liberator’s twin explode – and Vila 1, ‘Take us round the easy way this time’ in Mission to Destiny.

Travis’s only 2 last lines are both in series 1 – ‘Run, Blake. Run. As far and as fast as you like. I’ll find you. You can’t hide from me. I am your death, Blake.’ In Seek, Locate, Destroy, and ‘He should have killed me’ in Duel. Both are powerful statements of intent, mirroring Blake’s early last lines. In Project Avalon, he has the second last line ‘I will destroy you’, a similar statement of intent, but the actual last line belongs to Servalan, a dismissive ‘Launch the pursuit ships’ which, by not engaging with him at all, shows that his power in the Federation is already waning.

Series 1, then, sets Blake up as the dominant character, and Travis as the antagonist, both with powerful last lines that seek to stamp their control on the situation. In the course of series 2, this changes. Blake again starts strongly, ordering Avon back to his position in Redemption, and telling Bek to destroy the moon disk farm in Shadow, but after that, his only last line is in Killer, telling Jenna that there has to be a plague warning transmitter for Fosforon. After the events of Pressure Point, his power with the crew is not what it was. Avon’s is on the rise: it takes him until Trial to get the last line, and then it is a joke about Vila and philosophical fleas, but after that he has another 3 (Countdown, Voice from the Past, Star One), so that he has one more last line than Blake. And of course he ends the series, taking charge with the order ‘Fire!’. Jenna’s 2 last lines, in Hostage and The Keeper, are merely confirmations of instructions. Vila has 2 jokey lines, in Horizon and Gambit. Carnell, of course, ends Weapon, and Zen ends Pressure Point, responding to Blake’s ‘Get us out of the solar system’ with ‘Confirmed’.

Series 2 ends with Avon seemingly in charge, but Aftermath, the first episode of series 3, ends with him being challenged by the new antagonist, Tarrant, with the words ‘What are you doing on my ship?’, and after that they split the last lines between them, Avon getting 6 and Tarrant 4 (plus Deathwatch where they both speak). Two of Tarrant’s are Dawn of the Gods and Harvest of Kairos, where he is either giving instructions or responding to Zen’s response to his instructions: in the early part of the series he seems to be dominant. By contrast, in the early part of the series Avon gets the last line only in Powerplay, again making a joke against Vila, and in Children of Auron, where he authoritatively states that Cally will prefer to stay with the crew, before yet again making a joke. He gets the last line in Rumours of Death – ‘Well, slightly exaggerated, anyway’ – but after that he is dominant, and his last lines are often orders. Sarcophagus, where he alone fights off the alien who had enslaved the others, would seem to be a tipping point. However Terminal, where he is so disastrously wrong, changes the balance of power again, and the series ends with Tarrant taking charge again: ‘Let’s see if we can’t find a way off this planet. There’s a lot to do.’ Avon and Tarrant dominate series 3 – the only other character who gets any last lines is Vila, who ends Volcano and City at the Edge of the World, in both cases making a joke.

If series 3 seems to end with Tarrant in the ascendant, in series 4 he has settled down as effectively second in command. His only last line is the very last line of the series – ‘Avon!’. Avon dominates series 4, with 5 last lines, and the only other character to get more than 1 is the newcomer, Soolin, who gets 3: Power (‘I don’t give my allegiance at all. I sell my skill’), Assassin (‘Vila, all sweet things have one thing in common: a tendency to make you sick’) and Gold (‘Not for nothing, Tarrant. We risked our lives to make Servalan rich’). Vila only gets 1 line (‘It’ll be pink asteroids next’ in Rescue), ORAC gets 1 (‘Yes, Master!’ in Headhunter), and Servalan/Sleer gets the last line in Sand (‘I had the gun but I didn’t kill you, Tarrant. Yet’). Dayna finally gets a last line, in Warlord, but it is the rather disappointing ‘She took her glove off’ while the camera is focused on Tarrant’s agonized face.

In this way, the last lines of Blake’s 7 episodes track the powerplay between Blake and Avon, and between Avon and Tarrant; and they present Travis as an antagonist and then show him being eclipsed. Vila is a constant presence – he gets 1 or 2 last lines in every series, and they are often jokes. The women in the crew, typically, fare badly. Soolin does well, with 3 spiky and assertive last lines in series 4, but Jenna’s are mostly confirmations of commands, and Dayna’s only one is a comment on someone else’s tragedy. Cally gets none at all. Servalan gets only 2, surprisingly – establishing her dominance over Travis in Project Avalon, and showing a previously hidden side of herself in Sand.
Huh, that’s very interesting. I hadn’t noticed, but you’re right, there’s definitely an authority pattern there that tracks with the show as a whole.
The Blake’s 7 section of my blog, where I post fics, art, essays, etcetera.
That is a very interesting take on the series and it was an inspired outline of the series by character's last statements in an episode. I've never seen a comparison exactly like this and it was interesting and made a lot of sense as to how certain characters ebbed and flowed as it were during the series. Thank you for all your hard work compiling it all!
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