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Today's topic is best use of a hoary old trope.



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:/

I didn't consider this scene to be using the trope I have in mind until I had an argument with my boyfriend about it. Now I'm convinced that not only does it use this trope, it does it excellently.

I said it was interesting that Avon had no choice but to do what he did. He said it wasn't interesting, it was annoying. "There was nothing he could do" is an extremely tired trope, he said, used to make the anti-hero and his or her world gritty without making him/her culpable. After some discussion, we decided that we were both kind of right (yay XD). It was a tired trope, but B7 was doing something interesting with it. Usually, "there was nothing he could do" is about the hero or anti-hero's exacting standards for him or herself--everyone tells him or her "oh, you couldn't have saved your men!" And yet he or she still suffers for the mistake, feeling grief, guilt, etc.

In B7, though, Avon is just a colossal dick about it. It's a moment that erodes just a bit more of his humanity. You could even argue that it helps him do what he does in Orbit. We see that even as we normally tell a character that he or she shouldn't feel that guilt, we expect it. Or if not guilt, at least grief. Avon refuses both, and that's unusual. Even more unusual is the fact that it never comes up again.

"Who?" indeed.




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7. Best use of a hoary old trope
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30.The coolest thing

Date: 2014-05-10 04:56 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] clocketpatch
clocketpatch: A small, innocent-looking red alarm clock, stuck forever at 10 to 7. (Avon)
We see that even as we normally tell a character that he or she shouldn't feel that guilt, we expect it. Or if not guilt, at least grief. Avon refuses both, and that's unusual.

I found it incredibly shocking when it happened. Not because it wasn't in character (it was incredibly, gloriously in character), but because, as you say, we are conditioned to expect a certain response from our anti-heroes when they commit these anti-heroic actions, and Avon just refused to go there.


Even more unusual is the fact that it never comes up again.

Yes and no. In any other show, yes. But B7 leaves ends untied just for the hell of it.

Date: 2014-05-11 02:36 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] elviaprose.livejournal.com
Yes and no. In any other show, yes. But B7 leaves ends untied just for the hell of it.

So true, but I find usually one can read these omissions as intentional and get interesting characterization out of it.

Date: 2014-05-10 07:38 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] aralias.livejournal.com
ext_23799: (Default)
this is an interesting choice, and i primarily agree with you. i do think the way avon chooses to handle this choice and the way that the others respond to him about it is very interesting. i just want to stick my own oar in and say that i don't think this portrays him as a dick - just because he doesn't have a 'trial' afterwards to brood over it. because seriously - this is what happens.

AVON How long will it take?
PLAXTON Fifty minutes.
DAYNA If it's to be done, it'll have to be done in forty-five.FIRST POINT: This is the kind of thing Blake used to say to Avon all the time. The example I can explicitly think of is 'Time Squad'. Obviously Avon has moved away from 'the rest? Have the same chance as I have', but this is explicitly the same situation - she's a brilliant scientist, and he's only shaved off a very small proportion of the time.
PLAXTON All right. Then she explicitly accepts that time window, and says that she can do itYou can pressurize your main drive tube so I can work in there?
AVON Yes. Come with me. [Hands her goggles, picks up the drive.]
PLAXTON Fine. [they exit]
DAYNA Forty-four minutes, fifty-five seconds, and counting.
[Main drive chamber. Plaxton is working on the drive connections.]
DAYNA [V.O., over intercom] Two minutes, ten seconds.
PLAXTON Just the main ignition controls now.
[Scorpio flight deck]
AVON One minute precisely, Doctor. Avon continues to warn her.
[Main drive chamber. Plaxton is still working.]
PLAXTON Two more connections. Not long now.
[Scorpio flight deck]
TARRANT They're in range!
AVON Time is up, Doctor. And again
PLAXTON [V.O., over intercom] Almost done.

We've talked before about how this almost certainly wouldn't have happened to Blake, whom the narrative would probably have saved. But I think Avon does everything right in this scene. And it's interesting that you bring up 'Orbit', which I think is him being much worse (unless you want to argue that by doing a creepy voice he warned Vila away).

I think what's interesting about this scene, actually, is the way the others react, and the way Avon closes down as a result of being told that his actions which have been (as I suggested above) as close to helpful and fair as he could possibly have hoped for, are in fact completely unacceptable in Dayna and Tarrant's eyes.

BUT HAVING SAID THAT - they let him take that guilt and save them all. Then they can all stand around feeling like they had no other choice but to let him make that decision (but stil feeling guilty about having a hand in Plaxton's death), because Avon was too strong and evil?

Meanwhile Avon knows he had a choice, and I think made the right one.

Date: 2014-05-11 02:38 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] elviaprose.livejournal.com
I really, really like this reading! I think it's even more interesting, really. I'd like to see this dynamic explored more. You get a lot of post-Orbit fics, but not a lot of post Star Drive. It would be interesting to see Dayna and Tarrant trying to figure all of this out together.

Date: 2014-05-13 10:31 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] lycoris.livejournal.com
I love the end of Stardrive so much. I can see that the episode is rather ... terrible but Avon is so brilliantly interesting in it that I forgive it quite a bit. He's clearly losing himself all the way through and while there is nothing he could do to save Plaxton, he clearly locks away any idea that he might ever, ever care. If he does feel at all bad, it's totally down at the very bottom of himself. In some ways, it never needs to come up again because it's right there - Avon's grown harder and since he was already pretty hard ... it says nothing good.

(I really quite like Season 4 ... I think this is sometimes why!)

Date: 2014-05-14 11:26 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] elviaprose.livejournal.com
Yes! Again, we agree!

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