In 'Duel', Giroc casts a spell upon Blake, depriving him of sight, so that Travis almost succeeds in killing him. The scene is probably meant to demonstrate Travis's ruthlessness and evil nature. However, the simple fact that sight is crucial for survival strikes me as relevant for many events in the series, including its tragic ending.
B7 starts with 'The Way Back', where the camera focuses on Blake's eye to mark his first glimpse at the truth and concealed memories. It ends with 'Blake', where he bears a scar across that same eye. It is, in a way, the story of one man's fight for his vision, the vision of a more humane and righteous world.
There are some likeable traits of Blake's character which I ascribe to the faculty of 'good sight'. For instance, his ability to see through other persons. Much has been said about Blake's insight beyond Avon's apparent coldness and cynicism concealing his basically positive and trustworthy nature. In the same way he sees through Sarkoff in 'Bounty' or through Ro in 'Horizon', and sets out to bring their dormant or hidden qualities to light. He is also capable of seeing beyond the surface of events, as when he divines Travis's scheme after the rescue of Avalon, or sees that 'something is wrong' with the explosion of Ensor's ship.
Blake's antagonist is Travis, a villain with an eye patch. This is admittedly a stereotype, but I also interpret it as a symbol, implying limited views. Travis commits crimes and atrocities without seeing them as such. In 'Trial', he declares that he is 'totally dedicated to his duty' and that he acts 'as an instrument of service'. His military training and the ideology he serves largely contribute to his moral blindness. Travis's vision is further limited by his hatred and single ambition to destroy Blake.
Something 'goes wrong' with Blake's vision in 'Star One'. In his ambition to blow up the Federation's Control, Blake decides to overlook the number of deaths his action would cause. His voluntary moral blindness in this respect makes him similar to Travis. The parallel is suggested by the scene in which Blake has to pretend he is Travis (and actually does it with great success). The scene ends as one of the Andromedans asks him what happened to his eye patch.
It would be interesting to guess what Blake answered, but the fact is that the eye patch is actually there. Blake's vision has become dangerously narrow, as his obsession with destroying the Federation has developed into a sort of 'tragic flaw' of his character. In this episode Blake is almost fatally wounded, and so, by implication, is his moral integrity. Finally, however, he gains victory over his 'dark self', embodied in Travis. He restores his vision as he deactivates the bombs, realizing that 'humanity is going to need all the resources it can get' in the ensuing battle with the aliens.
In the final episode, Blake appears with a scar across his eye. He has lost his ability to see through appearances, so he needs the 'bounty hunter' operation in order to find out whom he can trust. This, however, cannot replace the lost vision. Blake mistakenly decides to trust Arlen (Arlen: 'Your friend Blake said he couldn't tell anymore who was Federation and who wasn't. He was right. He couldn't.') He also fails to see beyond the surface of events and does not realize that the flyers reported to 'have crossed without clearance' and 'not planned for the area' are actually the Federation forces coming to get him.
In both 'Star One' and 'Blake', although in different ways, the loss of vision proves to be fatal. Both episodes were written by Chris Boucher, who, just like Giroc, aimed straight at Blake's eyes. In the first, Blake is deprived of his humane vision; in the second, of his keen perception. I think Boucher intended some symbolic connection between the two, but it is not very clear. Anyway, heroes should keep their eyes open.
Back up to Essay index
Back up to Blakes 7
Last changed on 15th of May 1999