The Trial of Roj Blake
S1EP01: The Way Back
We are first introduced to Blake when he breaks the law by following a group of rebels who claim they have information about his family whom he is only in touch with via video recordings. It took them awhile to persuade him, but he goes all the way by obeying their instructions and refrain from eating or drinking Federation food and water, and following them to a forbidden area of the Dome.
Once Blake follows them outside, he meets Bran Foster, a former colleague and co-leader of the Freedom Party.
Note several things here:
1 Blake is susceptible to breaking the law even though he has regular contact with his family. He has no reason to believe that they are in trouble. The Federation has made sure he doesn't.
> This tells us that Blake is a natural criminal and has no sense of morality. Even as he tells the rebels that what they're doing is wrong, he continues following them.
2 Blake's life has been nothing but a failure.
Blake's actions caused the destruction of the original Freedom Party, the collapse of the entire rebel movement and made himself a laughing stock, a puppet who betrayed everyone, including his family and friends, supposedly because of brain washing by the Federation.
There is no doubt that Blake betrayed everyone he ever knew, but there is doubt about the assumption that he was brainwashed into doing this. There is no canon proof about this other than Blake's claim, a claim by a man who had his memory wiped.
Many things in canon throw suspicion on what really happened to Blake, and none of them are very flattering.
3 Blake's true nature reveals itself very early
To properly understand what happened to Blake Pre-Way-Back, we have to include scenes from a later episode, "Seek, Locate, Destroy" where Blake and Travis give us more details about what happened, and thus puts the first episode into context.
From TWB, the rebels who bring him in don't seem to have much respect for Blake. They intend to use intimidation and blackmail to force him into cooperating. Bran Foster 'says' Blake is free to go, but that is unlikely since he had evidence planted in Blake's residence to implicate him and thus give him no choice. I.e. Using the threat of the Federation as their 'gun' in Blake's back to force his 'willing' cooperation.
Why do that if you don't plan to use it?
This shows us what kind of rebels they are, people who use intimidation and immoral means to 'persuade' people to follow them. If these tactics sound familiar, that's because they are Blake's tactics on his crew and the people he meets throughout the show.
But that is just conjecture. Let's get back to Blake's true nature.
Blake was supposedly a co-leader with Bran Foster, but there are some very disturbing things about this relationship. Ostensibly, they should be friends, but Foster shows little respect or regard for Blake in this episode, and certainly no compassion, which is exceedingly odd if they were friends.
Foster notes that Blake isn't the same man that he used to be. Now, what does that mean? Presumably, the way Blake acts now is completely unlike the way he was before.
So let's do a little compare and contrast.
How is Blake now? He's fairly polite. He doesn't enter a situation and immediately try to dominate it or to give people orders and take over. He doesn't try to use everyone and everything as if they all belonged to him. He isn't violent and bullying when people oppose him or he doesn't get what he wants. Blake actually shows some attempts at rational thought. He's somewhat pleasant and social rather than overbearing, arrogant and controlling.
This is the man the Federation 'created,' a good citizen, someone who is actually a 'nice guy.' Which makes sense. Why would the Federation want someone who was a vicious, controlling, lying, manipulative bully who thinks of himself as a demi-god?
When Blake first arrives, Foster doesn't see any of these characteristics and so he concludes Blake isn't the man he was.
Is there any proof of this extremely negative evaluation of Blake's past?
There is Bran Foster's behavior. Blake has been under Federation control for 3 years and Foster hasn't bothered to help him even knowing that Blake's family was executed because of Blake's behavior. He is only bringing Blake in now because he's had such little luck in recruiting new people and needs Blake's 'reputation.' And note two very important things about Foster's plan, not just the timing. When he tells Blake about his family, Foster shows very little compassion, all he's interested in is his plans and how he's going to use Blake in them. Also note carefully that Foster never once mentions Blake coming back as leader, only as a figurehead.
That's strange behavior for someone who is supposedly a friend and co-leader.
Unless there is something about Blake's behavior in the past that we are not told.
Until Seek, Locate and Destroy. The information we are told in the later episode, sheds light about Blake's character. Travis tells us that it wasn't long after Blake joined the Freedom Party that he developed his own following and led attacks on the rehab centers.
Unlike the rest of the crew, Blake has always been extremely violent.
Blake developed his own following? He's already leader. Why would Blake feel a need to have a 'following' among a group of people who were already rebels? (early demigod behavior anyone?)
There are two ways of seeing this. Either Foster disagreed with Blake and so Blake created a splinter group within the Freedom Party so that he could follow his own agenda, or Blake wanted to make himself a leader. Both are equally likely given what we know of Blake's character.
The second one is second nature. Blake always tries to take over every situation he comes into, an automatically dominating personality who has the arrogance to think that he must be the leader and that he must be the only one.
The first one is even more interesting and is perhaps even more probable because of the negative way Foster treats him. It is possible that the Freedom Party was a peaceful political party that was only engaged in non-violent civil actions. Along comes Blake, whose first and only recourse is violence and destruction and lots of it, regardless of how many innocents are killed.
Foster and others in the Party may have been opposed to violent actions and refused. Of course, we know Blake never accepts no for an answer when it's his personal agenda at stake. He developed his own following, a bunch of young, irresponsible, violent hotheads like himself, and led them on attacks on the rehabilitation facilities.
That may be why Foster never offers to make Blake leader again and he is very careful that he holds something over Blake's head in order to control him this time.
An even more interesting scenario is the nature of the Freedom Party. This is not a group that is fighting for the 'freedom' of those who are oppressed under Federation rule. We are told very clearly by Foster what kind of group this is. So when Blake talks about fighting until the honest man is 'free' in the computer room in the London, we must take this fact into consideration. The Freedom Party wasn't some altruistic rebel movement that was trying to deliver people from oppression. Far from it. It was a political party that was trying to help Outer Rim planets gain political freedom from the Federation. They never cared about people, just their own personal self-serving agenda, just like Blake.
This picture becomes even more interesting when we add Blake's shameful attitude in "Shadow."
When Gan objects to Blake's actions being immoral and that they will hurt people in the Outer Rim, especially those in the lower classes, Blake's response is very telling and gives us proof that Blake was never in this for anyone except his own personal agenda. He never cared about others and when he talked about freedom, he never meant delivering people from oppression. Blake's response to Gan's accusations and concerns?
Blake said he only cared about Earth. His own self-damning words and he punctuates this with his shameful and deceptive treatment of Bek and Hanna. Blake, because he has no use for them in his personal crusade, leaves them to die in the middle of Terra Nostra headquarters with the TN leader dead at their feet. Blake basically shoved them out the airlock' because he doesn't need them. He apologizes right before he teleports away, leaving them to die. Very polite thing to do while you're shoving a knife in someone's back. It's a vicious, deceptive, lying behavior to treat someone 'nicely' at the same time as being a bastard to their faces. Blake has no excuse for this treatment of defenseless innocents who has never harmed them and has only helped them because he comes back for them moments later, because he needs them to help with Vila and to find out more information on his pet agenda.
So, it's obvious from these canon facts that Blake wasn't some heroic crusader out to save people from oppression and he had a personal agenda. Earth. Which was a different agenda from Bran Foster and the Freedom Party. Is that why Blake developed a personal following? Because he was a snob who was only interested in Earth while Foster was only interested in the Outer Rim colonies? That would explain a lot about Foster's behavior towards Blake, would fit in with what Travis says about Blake's history and fits in with Blake's despicable attitudes in "Shadow."
This fanpage is for those who never believed Blake was a hero or even a nice guy. It is for those who
believe he was a self-serving, immoral, deceptive, Machiavellian villain who only fooled
others into believing he was a crusader in order to follow his bloody campaign of personal vengeance
against the Federation.
This page will examine all of Blake's stunts and study his actions and behavior within the context of the episode and the series.