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Character discussion: Gan

 
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thunda



Joined: 27 Jun 2005
Posts: 1356
Location: Kaldor City

PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2015 9:53 am    Post subject: Character discussion: Gan Reply with quote

Next up;

The Sheriff of Nottingham, the Birmingham Brawler, the Aberdeen Assassin, the Melbourne Mauler, the Legend of London, the Sidney Storm, the Beast from the East, the man mountain, the back breaking, bone crushing, rip roaring, ale guzzling, lady pleasing, high stepping, tough as nails, pub fighting, heart stealing, `avin a go cause he knows heís `ard enough, .....Olag Gan!!!


Aw, hell, who am I trying to fool? This is the most boring character of the B7 crew. Iím not saying heís not likable or didnít have potential, itís the way he was utilized(or nor utilized) that made him bland.

He starts off as Vilaís bodyguard, throwing his weight around, giving us the impression heís going to be the muscle of the group. That quickly changes when we find out he has an implant which prevents him from killing. I guess the writers thought that would make him a more interesting character while letting Blake and Avon do the bulk of the fighting, but what it actually did was neuter Gan as a viable threat. Now that we know he canít kill we realize all that tough talk was bluster, or mostly bluster. To be fair, Iíll admit Iím not sure how a Ďlimiterí works and how far Gan is able to go. Does it work on intent or belief? The conscious or sub-conscious? Could he beat someone within an inch of their life or would it kick in if he thought he might kill them? They did something similar on Buffy the Vampire Slayer with the character Spike where he was unable to kill humans but able to kill supernatural creatures. Perhaps because they had no souls he didnít consider them alive. With Gan it reduced him to an unreliable crew member who probably couldnít use a blaster if it came down to that. It also raises the question of whether he would be able to function at the controls of a warship in a pitched battle?

If you think that I didnít like the character of Olag Gan youíre mistaken. I thought he he was a necessary part of the crew and the stories. He, not Blake, was the ďeveryman,Ē the one the viewer could identify with. Someone who got caught up in events over his head and couldnít dig his way out. A prisoner of circumstances. He was there for us, to ask the questions we were thinking. To have someone explain parts of the story . He was also the morality of the crew. The one to remind them that theyíre crossing a line. The one who went jaw to jaw with Blake in Shadow when no one else would. That was how I believe the character was meant to be. That is how I will remember him.
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Ron



Joined: 14 Feb 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2015 8:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The limiter seems to me to be introduced, partly, to demonstrate another of the Federations sinister devices - alongside their use of passifying drugs etc. It adds to how much we detest the Federation. I felt that Gan's description of it meant it would kick in pretty early when he was fighting someone. I can picture him, in Project Avalon, slowly failing to hold on to the (robot) Avalon in a battle of strength. He's told "that's not Avalon" but doesn't yet know that she's a robot, so maybe the limiter activates with his mental 'intention to harm a living being'.

Gan's all right! When he failed to make it, I felt sorry for him.
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thunda



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 23, 2015 10:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Was the limiter really a bad thing? If it can stop a convicted murderer from killing again, is that sinister?
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Futsie
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2015 8:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The idea of preventing murderers from murdering isn't sinister, but given what we've seen of the Federation's willingness to mess up people's minds purely for its own political reasons, the idea that it has the technology to fit a device into the brain which directly controls behaviour IS rather sinister
That power in the hands of people like Servalan, Travis, Alta Morag, Dr Havant, Ven Glynd etc is rather disturbing...

And Gan appears to be innocent (at least from what he says), so his limiter also seems like an unjust punishment which has left him unable to defend himself in an often rather savage galaxy...

As to how the limiter works, I guess it can't be that refined because otherwise why not just fit Blake with a limiter-type device to control him instead of using all those complicated and time consuming reprogramming therapies? And the "course interceptor" technology may have only been fully developed later, judging by events in "Voice From The Past". So I'm assuming that when Gan's limiter was fitted, the technology of direct brain control wasn't that advanced.

Maybe it simply prevents Gan from using weapons, or is triggered by certain brain activity or chemistry that comes into play when he is in a violent situation? I don't know whether it "limits" him by causing him to be unable to act physically, or maybe it activates in stressful situations and gives him some greatly enhanced conscience or empathy so he is unable to bring himself to kill anyone, even an enemy? That would have a certain irony to it, given that those in power in the Federation are probably psychopathic and regard empathy as a weakness.

I've seen fan debate about whether Gan is actually some kind of homicidal maniac and his rampages in "Breakdown" were closer to his real personality than his usual behaviour. I suppose that could be true and if the limiter were a "conscience" then the absence of its control would allow him to carry on being a maniac... But in that episode it mentions that the limiter is feeding scrambled impulses into his brain so I prefer to think that it was driving him to attack people... Then again, if he calmly deceived Cally into letting him go, maybe he wasn't so scrambled after all...

These things were never really resolved or explained in the series and I suspect the limiter may have been introduced only to create a bit of tension when Gan is put in a situation where he needs to kill an enemy but can't, and for us to be shocked like Jenna was at the sort of thing the Federation stoops to ("Brain implants!!").

As for Gan the character, I agree he was at his best when he was opposing Blake and others on questions of morality. Apart from that, I think the writers didn't quite know what to do with him. Sometimes he was a nice guy, which made him one of the most likeable but least interesting of the characters, and other times he was just the muscle. I recall reading an interview with one of the other cast (think it was Paul Darrow) who said that David Jackson was told Breakdown would be his big episode, an episode centred around Gan, and instead he spent most of it just lying on a table.
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thunda



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2015 11:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent post, Futsie.

Futsie wrote:
The idea of preventing murderers from murdering isn't sinister, but given what we've seen of the Federation's willingness to mess up people's minds purely for its own political reasons, the idea that it has the technology to fit a device into the brain which directly controls behaviour IS rather sinister
That power in the hands of people like Servalan, Travis, Alta Morag, Dr Havant, Ven Glynd etc is rather disturbing...

And Gan appears to be innocent (at least from what he says), so his limiter also seems like an unjust punishment which has left him unable to defend himself in an often rather savage galaxy...


I agree, Futsie, if the Federation put a limiter inside an innocent man and sent him to a penal planet in order to make him suffer they are sinister. However, thereís nothing Iíve seen or heard that suggests that Gan is innocent. He admits to killing a security guard and his only explanation is that the guard was armed and killed his woman. He doesnít mention anything about self defense or defending his woman or it being an accident and before Jenna can press him on it he conveniently gets a headache. Even by todayís standards heíd be convicted. As much as we may not like the Federation justice system it does seem fair and it does work. Avon, Jenna, Vila, they were all guilty. Blakeís problem wasnít that the verdict was wrong it was that the evidence was fabricated yet his advocate agreed it was obtained fairly. Unless something similar happened with Gan, and I see no reason why it would, Gan was guilty.

Would the Federation go to the trouble of performing a complicated operation on Gan simply to punish him for killing a security guard? Doesnít seem plausible. It seems more likely that the limiter was put in to protect the other convicts from him, particularly the non violent felons. It also seems more likely that this was not a one time occurrence. Gan seems to have aggressive tendencies as shown early on when he threatens to break Arcoís arms and legs off or when wants to get close enough to the Armagons to blow them up with him.

As I stated in my previous post Iím not sure how the limiter works but Iím pretty sure it doesnít control his behavior it simply prevents him from killing. Is that any worse than giving a dangerous mentally ill person a lobotomy or keeping him doped up twenty four hours a day with ďmedicationĒ? He has shown that he is more than capable of defending himself. Aboard the London, with the limiter plus suppressants, he was still able to neutralize two armed guards. Throughout his stay with the crew he frequently engaged four or five adversaries at a time.

The one thing I canít answer is the moral aspect. Are people like Havant, Glynd, and Morag evil? To us perhaps, but if they truly believe that what theyíre doing is in the best interests of the Federation and the Federation has the best interests of its citizens at heart, are they truly evil? Doing bad things for good intent?
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thunda



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PostPosted: Fri Jun 09, 2017 4:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

After Gan died it seemed like the moral voice of the crew was put on Callyís shoulders which kind of went contrary to how the character was previously. Seems to me they could have kept Gan and just redistribute some of the lines. Imagine Gan in Star One saying some of Callyís lines. Sounds even better.
GAN Are we fanatics?
BLAKE Does it matter?
GAN Many, many people will die without Star One.
BLAKE I know.
GAN Are you sure that what we're going to do is justified?
BLAKE It has to be. Don't you see, Gan? If we stop now then all we have done is senseless killing and destruction. Without purpose, without reason. We have to win. It's the only way I can be sure that I was right.
GAN That you were right?
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Commissioner Sleer



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PostPosted: Sat Jun 10, 2017 5:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great observation thunda. I'm not particularly fond of Gan but I agree he served a useful if underdeveloped purpose on the ship. I remember being shocked at his death as a kid. It's hard to believe now in this Game of Thrones world, but back then, Gan dying was a BIG deal.

Cally taking up Gan's moral policing never set right with me. Cally was introduced as an incredible take no prisoners fighter and then suddenly she's arguing the peace movement on board the liberator. And I can't really argue any reasons for her character's change. If I were Jan Chappell I'd want out too.
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thunda



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 03, 2017 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Commissioner Sleer wrote:
Great observation thunda. I'm not particularly fond of Gan but I agree he served a useful if underdeveloped purpose on the ship. I remember being shocked at his death as a kid. It's hard to believe now in this Game of Thrones world, but back then, Gan dying was a BIG deal.

Cally taking up Gan's moral policing never set right with me. Cally was introduced as an incredible take no prisoners fighter and then suddenly she's arguing the peace movement on board the liberator. And I can't really argue any reasons for her character's change. If I were Jan Chappell I'd want out too.


I didnít appreciate Gan until Shadow and even though he never managed to reach that level again I still missed him after he died.


Imagine this scene from Rumours of Death with Gan saying Callyís lines. Seems more in character.



SHRINKER Why me? I haven't done anything. I've only ever --

TARRANT Oh, don't tell me, let me guess. You've only ever followed orders.

SHRINKER It's true! It's true!

TARRANT I believe you. Stand there.

AVON Is everything ready?

VILA Just as you said. I set it all up myself.

GAN Are you sure you want to go on with it?

AVON Yes, I'm sure I want to go on with it. Look, Gan, I know you don't want any part of this. All right, I'm not going to give you any part of it. You're out. This is mine. I'm doing it.

GAN And what am I doing, Avon? Just following orders, like him?

SHRINKER He's right. It'd be murder.

VILA Well, you should know if anyone does.

AVON I'm going to get cleaned up. Will you entertain my guest?

TARRANT It'll be a pleasure. [Avon exits]

SHRINKER Why? I don't even ... I never saw him before. What have I ever done to him? DAYNA You killed someone he loved.

VILA And there aren't many of them about. Avon's not a very lovable man, in case you hadn't noticed.

SHRINKER Who was it?

[Vila, Dayna and Tarrant circle Shrinker as they taunt him]

TARRANT Oh, did they give you names when they gave you your orders?

DAYNA Hm, even if they did, could you put a face to the name? One screaming face among so many screaming faces?

VILA Did they beg, Shrinker? Did they plead? "No, Shrinker. Please, Shrinker"?

TARRANT Can you remember how they cried, what they cried? Can you separate the voices now?

DAYNA Or is it just one long satisfying scream?

GAN Stop it! Stop it! All of you! Leave him alone.

TARRANT He's an animal, Gan.

GAN Yes, and it's contagious, isn't it?

-transcript courtesy of hermit.org
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